There are not too many people working at US newspapers doing what Steve Swenson does for Bakersfield.com — moderating citizen participation. He’s been doing it since July 2005 and for part of that time I had a front-row seat to watch him grow into the job in a way that is authentic and vital, applying the right balance between inserting himself into debates and cracking down on bad actors.
N.L. Belardes does us all a favor by interviewing Swenson.
What my role is in relation to the world of journalism is actually a pivotal question. I’ve been a news reporter for 36 years. I’ve spent nearly all that time keeping my opinions to myself while trying to be fair and accurate.
This is different. I can share what I think. I can comment on the news and the people in it. I generally do that in a light hearted way. I like to think of myself as a paid smart aleck.
If newspaper.coms are going to be successful with citizen content and user participation, they will need more Steve Swensons — many, many more. It’s one of the most important jobs news sites need to fill. In fact, there should have been an army of Swensons in the news business a decade ago.
Good job on getting this interview, Nick. I think it’s cool that you, who has so often been so harsh on TBC, recognize the value of Steve’s job.
[tags]blogs, citizen journalism, citizen media, newspapers, journalism[/tags]