The Cyberbrains

Research and contemplation in new media

Standing behind what you print, even if you didn’t write it

Reviewing anything is a daunting task for a newspaper. Believe me – I know firsthand. After using a poor auto review Thinking in the sunfrom a wire service and losing our biggest advertiser at a weekly I helped I start, I don’t think I ran another review again. But newspapers and other media organizations cannot ignore reviews either. It’s fundamental to the community mission of providing objective information. Most importantly, if a news organization has the guts to run a review, it must stand behind it, no matter who complains – and in today’s converged age of journalism – no matter who writes it.

A case in point – The Columbia Missourian rarely writes reviews anymore. That’s why all of us citizen journalism watchers cheered when they began to include reviews from CoMoWhine and Dine, a local blog from five frequent diners who claim “the only thing we’re sugar-coating is the desserts,” in the weekly free circulation paper. The site deserves the publicity because its authors write some pretty good, and I think pretty fair, reviews. It’s the first place I go now before deciding where to eat in town. What I like about the blog, that I think it would be hard for a media organization to duplicate, is the reviewers divergent tastes. They review everything from fine dining to fast food. They differ on whether to hate or love the national chains or whether fast food is barely edible or ultimately satisfying. One of their contributors gave Arby’s 5 for $5.95 a glowing review (just don’t try to eat all 5 sandwiches yourself, Revee cautions). Continue reading

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March 16, 2008 Posted by | From The Cyberbrains | 1 Comment