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Saturday, May 21, 2005
Some End of the Year Thoughts
1. CalStuff was an amazing learning experience. Through blogging, I have learned a unimaginable amount of information about media, journalism, Berkeley, writing, affirmative action, the school's budget, the ASUC, and a wealth of other topics. Blogging actually makes you a better person (more informed, better able to articulate your points). Blogging also helped me get a (very-short lived) job. [And I'm still trying to figure out a way to make a living blogging once I graduate.]
2. Blogging is difficult. First of all, there aren't really any rules. It's not like there is some manual we can check to tell us what to do. Which means we (and by that, I mostly mean I) make mistakes. Sometimes they are little mistakes, and sometimes they are big mistakes. I suspect they are happening less frequently over time, and will continue to do so, but it's not entirely clear exactly what a blog is anyway, so it's hard to know what to do.
Secondly, blogging is hard because of the personal relationships that cloud this whole thing. During the ASUC campaigns Ben and I both got phone calls asking us to hold off on reporting on (completely legitimate) campaign news from a rather angry member of one of the two major parties. And we ended up posting the information, but it's annoying that sometimes CalStuff becomes personal. I wish that I could say that the Smart Ass/Cal Patriot/ASUC Website/Some Other Group on Campus is terrible or stupid or doing a bad job or some other criticism without people taking it personally. Sadly, that's not the case, and criticism on CalStuff to most people implies me personally criticizing them (instead of their group).
3. There are people and organizations that need criticism, and not a lot of sources out there to provide that criticism. In fact, for a very long period, the Daily Cal was basically the only source that could call bullshit on people that needed to be called bullshit on. (I'm ignoring the entirely symbolic and completely unpublicized efforts of the ASUC to occasionally condemn something.) Which means when the ASUC/Administration/Someone Else did something stupid, unless it was reported in the Daily Cal, people often wouldn't find out about it, and if the only reporting was a Daily Cal news article then it would have to be unbiased, with a couple quotations in support of whatever happened, and a couple in opposition. And of course, there wasn't any type of institutional criticism of the Daily Cal until blogs came along.
4. Blogs do an amazing job at covering certain types of news events. A recent example is the problems in the Greek Community. Between the hazing problems, boat fight, alcohol problems, and moratorium, there was news happening almost every day. CalStuff could update whenever something happened, and we could provide the links to all the great coverage from other sources that students might not normally come across (such as the news segments on KRON 4 or the newspaper articles from local and national papers).
5. Expect a bigger badder more aggressive CalStuff next year. We'll be doing some more site maintenance stuff around here to streamline things and make for a better user experience for all of you. And as our readership increases, it means more people out there to offer us tips on what is going on around campus. [Not to mention the increasing ease to integrate other technology into blogging (such as the Patriot's efforts with video, and the very slim chance we might start podcasting next year). We're also probably going to add another writer next year to cover some aspects of campus that we have been neglecting.
So, as always if anyone has any comments on any of these matters, I would love to hear from you. And again, if anyone has any suggestions of new features you would want us to add that you have seen on other blogs, we'd love to hear about that also.Email This Post!
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