When AnnArbor.com talked about bringing bloggers into the fold of its new (now delayed) launch, most of us assumed they were talking about experienced (well, as experienced as the new technology allows) bloggers.
The first A2 blog I've found - a wine blog - appears to be a local Ann Arbor wine expert who is apparently going to learn how to write as the site comes on line.
"It's Just Grape Juice," created in July 2009, appears to be the "wine blog" for AnnArbor.com. Clearly the author is a wine expert, but the long rambling sentences and large blocks of type don't bode well for a very readable blog.
It's hard to criticize this because this is not someone I know or have ever read before, but a good editor would have been helpful in this effort. Although my blog criticizes editors, it is not because editors are not important, but because they are crucial parts of the process. That's why good editors are so important.
To be clear, it is not my intention to run down this blog or the expertise of the writer, it is clear that he knows his stuff. My point is that he has been thrust into a position of writing about it, and despite what most people think, there is a certain amount of skill and expertise involved in written communication, just as there must be in selecting a fine wine.
A competent editor would have punched up the lead of this blog, shortened the sentences and paragraphs and tried to focus the wine column in a crisp, precise way. When there is a worry about what "new journalism" will bring, it is precisely this kind of writing most of us are talking about.
Personal pronouns become troublesome in writing and there are plenty of "I's" in the wine column. Before AnnArbor.com gives the keys to the car to these bloggers, maybe they should hold a few Journalism 101 classes.
Communication, even in the new age of technology, is going to require decent writing skills.
And one other part of this new blog raises another concern. Apparently the author of this blog is a principal in a company that owns or operates a series of restaurants. Not saying he will, but will the writer slant columns to favor or benefit his own company and who at AnnArbor.com will monitor that?