CLEVELAND (TDB) -- At a newspaper, few voices sound a dissonant note. It is supposed to be that way, because the news report it publishes isn't what the reporters and writers and columnists want it to be. It is what the editors determine it should be, what management seeks to make it and market, and Jeff Coryell could not single-handedly extend the perimeters of journalistic freedom.
How could he be privileged to say whatever he wanted to say, write whatever he wanted to write? He worked under the mantle of a large publication whose brand and audience he was glad to tap and access for money. So there were strings.
Newspapers and newsrooms are distinct from blogs, they are a composite of different personalities, tastes, worldviews and characters. They are the product of an older social order, rooted in a pre-technological time. They come from the industrial era and don't really see themselves operating under a set political doctrine. Mostly they reflect what's happening, they seldom lead, and they determinedly write about other folks admirable moments, and often about their worst times. They are products that serve the marketplace, and not places were there are absolutes. They survive in the gray area, a zone that is not welcoming to an activist.
There can be no singular style in that zone. For an activist, it is stifling, and can only offer an embittered departure. Jeff's blogging on the newspaper's portal was the prototype of a platform new to the publishing industry, and he went far beyond the comfort zone of a metro daily.
I think most mainstream journalists sense -- and some passionately believe --that there is something a bit shadowy about the blogs, that they lack a certain transparency. The newsrooms aren't prepared to turn their audiences over to such a group. They aren't ready to give them a seat at the Scribe bar.