Can bloggers provide a ‘public service’?

Public service awards are a big deal in mainstream journalism.

But “citizen journalists” can do their part, in a small way.

Here’s an example: I blogged on Thursday about a cool regional map for electric vehicles, noting that the our local ones should be included.

People who are involved in the program read the item, and now they will include it.

This is a “win-win.” In fact, I think promoting our EV recharging stations can also help promote our area to some enterprising “green” tourists. I’d love to have them come to my hometown of Nevada City, look around and buy lunch. Maybe they’ll come back.

Here’s the note: “Just spoke with the folks at EVA, they agree. So now we begin the process of interfacing to larger sites. Great way to expand advertisement! It will be interesting to see how many sites are out there that have charging maps and how up to date they are, and if they have facility to easily add new stations. Thanks for the nudge.”

This blog is is a fun exercise and an avocation, not a vocation; I’m working with a media startup now. But the traffic has been growing, and more important, I’m impressed at the quality of the *signed* comments.

The comments are generating some interesting, thought-provoking dialogue, not the “f bombs” you read in The Union’s comment section. I never see many comments on, and KNCO doesn’t even offer them.

I hope that intriguing online dialogue becomes more commonplace in *all* our media and blogs. The potential for raising the bar and providing thought-provoking discussions in real-time is enormous in our community. We have a lot of smart people here.

But it starts with signed comments, not anonymous ones. And it starts with a nonpartisan approach to journalism. Our local media, in print and online only, as well as most bloggers, seem to “take sides” too often. Once you get pigeon-holed, you lose your effectiveness and credibility.

I see too much of that around here. How sad. If you want to get down to brass tacks, just get the voter register and see how journalists and bloggers are registered to vote. It’s all very predictable.

BTW, I’m “decline to state” and swing both ways. I voted for Obama in the last election, and I think he’s doing a good job. But I’ve also voted for Republicans in the elections since I was 18 years old. We need a new political party system.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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