Let me begin by explaining that most blog sites have traffic or site meters. These meters provide valuable information to a blogger about the amount of traffic logging on to his or her site, what they are reading, where the readers are from and, most importantly, who the readers are. This last bit of information comes from the domain site of the reader. On a daily basis, this site's meter registers hits from various media sources, such as the Indianapolis Star, WTHR-TV, WISH-TV, The Tribune Company, and the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, among many others. The site meter tells me specifically what post the reader logged on to read if it was accessed by a link from another site or an Internet search.
Just this past week, Advance Indiana noted how an AP report by Ken Kuzmer concerning Jesus MCC's Town Hall Meeting discussing "Would Jesus Discriminate?" was strikingly similar to a post on this site from a month earlier. AI also noted that the organization behind the "Would Jesus Discriminate?" campaign, Faith in America, had lifted that same post dated June 15, 2006, verbatim and posted it as a news release on its site without attribution.
Back in February, WISH-TV's Jim Shella contacted AI Editor Gary R. Welsh on a post we did on offensive comments House Speaker Brian Bosma made to a Jewish group, which we attributed to a post on the Daily Pulse. In a report on WISH-TV concerning Bosma's resulting apology to the group, Shella mentioned that the story originated with local bloggers without any specific attribution to the Daily Pulse or Advance Indiana. Incidentally, Jim Shella has his own blog, which links to only two other blogs, Taking Down Words and Frugal Hoosiers.
Last month, the Louisville Courier-Journal's Leslie Stedman Weidenbener became the first mainstream media to write about a new law the Indiana legislature passed this year which shields Indiana's traditional real estate brokers from the competition of discount brokers. The Indiana Law Blog and AI, which have reported extensively on this new law, have been highly critical of the failure of the mainstream media to report on the draconian law. AI suspects the heavy advertising realtors do with their publications may be the reason some in the mainstream media are going easy on the industry.
AI exclusively reported after interviewing the head of Indiana's leading discount broker, Home Yeah, just how damaging the new law would be on the discount broker industry. John Slimak told AI Editor Gary R. Welsh that Home Yeah would lose at least 62% of its business when the new law took effect on July 1. Weidenbener did a follow-up interview with Slimak based upon the account first reported on Advance Indiana for her June 25, 2006 article, who told her that Home Yeah had decided to close down its business in Indiana as a result of the new law. Nowhere in her article does she attribute AI as a source for her reporting.
Today, Weidenbener writes about Indiana blogs she reads. Her short list of four blogs (Taking Down Words, Masson's Blog, Frugal Hoosiers and The Indiana Law Blog) did not include Advance Indiana. But before putting in a plug for these specific blogs, she takes the typical shots at them which bloggers have become accustomed to hearing from the mainstream media. She writes:
Now before I get into some detail about some of these blogs, I must mention an important caveat: Blogs have different standards for posting gossip, innuendo, commentary and even accusations than more traditional media sources, such as Web sites operated by The Courier-Journal.
Bloggers can often write about issues without researching or offering competing sides of an issue. They offer lots of opinion. And most give readers a chance to comment fairly freely about their own views on an issue.
That's not a criticism of any specific blog. It's just the nature of this form of media. And it's important to understand. It's also why many readers establish favorite blogs, ones that generally reflect their own personal views.
Ms. Weidenbener, you are perfectly entitled to express your pompous view towards blogs, but you better be prepared for the criticism bloggers like me are quite prepared and willing to direct back at you. The fact is you relied on AI's report--which led you to John Slimak--and which provided you the most salient point in your story on the new realtors protection law. Pretend all you want that you don't rely on Advance Indiana as a source of information Ms. Weidenbener. We know better.