When discussing OJR, we shouldn’t forget Layne and Welch

There continues to be lots of chatter about the closing of Online Journalism Review.

I used to work with Robert Niles at E.W. Scripps.  He’s a fine person and did an admirable job with OJR given the resources he was given.  So no slight intended here …

I’ve been an OJR reader long enough to remember what it was like under the stewardship of my friends Matt Welch and Ken Layne.  Now there’s an era of OJR that is bygone and worth lamenting. (Lots of history in this Google search link.)

Too bad Annenberg couldn’t stomach an online journalism review that was lively and provocative.

I just had to say that because in all the hoopla about OJR closing, the great work of Welch, Layne and the other writers of that era seem sadly to have been forgotten.  It’s an angle in Mark Glaser’s piece that seems to be missing.  If OJR is worth saving, it’s worth remembering what it was like in the Welch-Layne era and maybe trying to recapture that spirit.  Online journalism could use some free-spirited iconoclasts now more than ever.

I don’t think Niles was ever given the opportunity or the resources to continue on in the tradition of Layne and Welch, which makes it all the more vital to remember the golden era of OJR if there’s going to be any talk of bringing back.

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