He likes scrapple.
Since the academic world is mostly vegan, Glenn is stuck in the newspaper business, where carnivores eat politicians for breakfast.
They taste like scrapple.
Facial hair is quite the rage at this paper. Columnist Bill ("the love doctor") White sports a little goatee, probably to drive the ladies mad. Paul ("I don't need no steenkin' helmets") Carpenter, of course, is a manly handlebar moustache type These are the elites of local journalism - at the top of their game. But if you're an indie blogger like me, they are the enemy - corporate slaves, establishment press, yada, yada, yada. They may prey on pols, but only those sanctioned by their entrepreneurial sponsors.
Blogging is my passion - I love to write, am so opinionated I actually argue with myself and can only get one letter to the editor published every month no matter how many false names I use.
What's a blog? Technically, it's a web log, a diary in reverse chronological order. In the Lehigh Valley, there are over fifty. Most, like Keystone Politics or Pamela Varkony's Perspectives, are political. But there's something for everyone. Want a restaurant review? Check out Beyond Scrapple - LV Ethnic Foods. Need a laugh? Look in The Junk Drawer or Dot Penn.
In contrast to journalists, we present raw and unfiltered information. Read us at your own risk. We have no editors, and in some cases, no ethics. But Blogistan is a meritocracy. The cream rises to the top while the bad ones disappear pretty quickly.
We polibloggers are the most dangerous, preying on everyone, including each other. We taste like scrapple, too.
Bloggers and mainstream have serious disagreements. For example, I'm appalled by the disgusting hate speech at The Morning Call Reader Forum. I was horrified by a corporate decision to lay off reporters at a paper that still turns a profit. But we're no replacement. A recent study does show an increasing number of people (59%) consider blogging a significant source of information, but most of us (87%) still readily concede the importance of professional journalists.
Instead of competing with the mainstream, we actually complement them and each other. We'll often focus on a particular topic (LV Black News Network) or a specific geographical location (News Over Coffee: Nazareth News). A newspaper, which has a larger and more diverse audience, is simply unable to do this. Another advantage is real time interactivity. I exchange comments with readers on a regular basis, something the papers are reluctant to do. If I'm wrong about something, and I often am, my readers gobble me up pretty quickly.
They say I taste like spam.
When are we at our best? For poliblogs, it's election time, baby. That's when newspapers head for the hills. Candidates are encouraged to buy ads or have supporters send letters to the editor that may or may not get published. Scant coverage really hurts poorly funded candidates. Incumbents and well-funded candidates win the day. Once the election's over, the mainstream media will emerge from their bunkers and charge us with voter apathy.
That's a crock. Bloggers always have a big jump in daily readership at election time. That's actually when readers are most hungry, and not for scrapple.
Last election cycle, things began to change. I was covering all the mudslinging in the Northampton County municipal races. Real pros like Bill White, Joe Nixon, Sarah Cassi and the editorial board at both local papers joined in the fun. I then posted Northampton County Council campaign finance reports online, something that local government only makes available in their offices. People just devoured them, noticing names and connections that I would have missed. Blogs, readers and both local papers presented a better picture of the issues and people running for office. Befuddled incumbents actually began filing 24 hour reports, something they had never done before. This improved coverage made a big difference.
Not everyone likes that. Northampton County Dem boss Joe Long had a hissy fit when John Stoffa once let me tag along to a news conference. Mayor Pawlowski's office refuses to return my calls. Maybe I should invite him to lunch and promise to tip the waitress.
But for every pol who looks down his nose at us, there's another who views us as another way to communicate with constituents. Many elected officials - Congressman Charlie Dent, Lehigh County Exec Don Cunningham, Easton Mayor Sal Panto, DA John Morganelli and Commissioner Browning - routinely include us in their news releases. Panto's first post-election interview was with a blog, Easton Undressed. In fact, three local blogs - Inclusion (Mike Donovan), The Tatamy PA Blog (Chris Moren) and LV Throwdown (Julian Stolz)- are published by elected officials.
The people who've been nicest to us? Reporters. It's clearly an accident, but we somehow make the mainstream better and more responsive. That's why, nearly a year ago, Glenn Kranzley decided he wanted to link to some Lehigh Valley blogs.
In a few short weeks, Blogger Tuesday has already had an impact. Michael Molovinsky's post about deplorable conditions at Fairview Cemetary resulted in a news story and a meeting with the owner. Instead of banging his head up against a tombstone, he made a difference.
That's why most of us write - to make a difference. Blogger Tuesday gives us an opportunity to do that while spicing up the standard fare at The Morning Call.
Yes, scrapple can be spicy.