Of the many reasons that journalists at the Inquirer and Daily News have griped about Philly.com in recent months, “Voices of Philly.com”—a group of mostly amateur (and mostly white) bloggers—has ranked high on the list. Part of it is the competition: Those amateur bloggers are given pride of place on the website’s blogs page, while blogs produced by writers at the two newspapers are pushed down to less-prominent spots.
The other part of the gripe? The amateurs aren’t quite as productive as the professionals. After receiving a tip, we checked out how those 18 bloggers are faring, and the results were decidedly mixed: Just four of them had posted in the last week—all of them, incidentally, women: Erika Ettin, Carli Lloyd, Amy Wright Glenn, and Carrie Leskowitz. Given their prominence, it seems the “Voices” aren’t producing very much in timely fashion.
Step back a little, and it doesn’t look quite as bad: Nine of the bloggers—half—have posted since the beginning of the month. Another four posted in August. Five others—including, quite notably, Gov. Tom Corbett—posted prior to that and have never been heard from again. (And Corbett, though he was supposedly a blogger, didn’t actually post; he was posted about.)
The lesson: Writing is hard! Writing on a regular basis—be it daily or weekly—is really hard! Most amateurs have a hard time keeping up. That’s why these kinds of efforts very often have mixed results. Anybody can write one column or blog post; it’s that second one that’s tough.
The front page of Philly.com has a section devoted to the most recent blog posts from the papers’ professional staffs, so they haven’t been elbowed aside entirely. But it’s plain that the professionals are cranky about losing any turf to a roster of semi-celebrities who have other day jobs. And they’d have less to legitimately gripe about if the amateurs were as productive as they are. The burgeoning war between Philly.com and the staffs of the city’s two daily newspapers looks like it’s just getting started.