Be like Kevin

Kevin Roderick was kind enough to link over to this blog today. Part of his Friday Buzz.

That seems like as good a jumping off point as any to talk about Kevin’s blog.

I would guess it’s been three years since he launched it. It was immediately obvious that it was so good and Kevin was so dedicated to the task, and so well qualified for it, that it was part of the reason that Matt Welch and Ken Layne shut down the excellent LAExaminer.

Roderick’s blog has become a must read for media types. It is often quoted in Romenesko (the gold-standard approval for media blogs, because Romenesko rarely links to other bloggers, and rarer yet, the same ones repeatedly).

Roderick has delivered some scoops on media in LA, but LAObserved is more than a media blog. Roderick covers local politics and Hollywood. He acts as a filter/editor for the important news, but what makes LAObserved so interesting is that Roderick knows the city so well. You read LAObserved because you believe Roderick knows LA better than any other writer and he’s going to tell you both what’s important and what’s interesting. It’s not what leads on the TV news or floats to the front page of the local newspapers: It is what is human and real.

Roderick’s style is not news style. It’s not the heavy writing of traditional journalism. It has the breezy zest of the best bloggers. Roderick’s posts contain rare opinion, but prolific observations honed by years of knowing the city he covers.

Here’s the buried lede: Roderick is a real journalist. His pedigree is impeccable. His 30 years in the business should qualify him for one of those doddering old goats who just doesn’t get this newfangled media thing, but he understands it better than some in the MySpace generation.

Robert Niles did an excellent piece recently about reporters who blog. There is some good advice there, but Kevin Roderick also provides a good example. He is proof that somebody raised in the bowls of Big-J journalism can adopt to the new style and be successful at it, and not lose an ounce of integrity.

There should be an LAObserved in every city in this land, and I think the biggest media companies in each city should be launching them. Every staff should have at least one person who knows the city well and can learn to communicate like a blogger instead of a journalist. Those sites, when done right, will become popular.

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