December 22nd, 2008

Vermont View Sets Evolutionary Pace

by Philip Baruth

Look, the Vermont blogosphere is still in its infancy, and generally speaking it does the best it can with what it has. And what it has is considerable. But over the weekend, it took a bold baby-step forward: Vermont View, the blogging arm of the Rutland Herald and Times-Argus, added a local blogroll to its sideboard.

We know, we know: stop the presses.

hands, clasped

But it’s a bigger deal than may first appear. To now, the blogs operated by the state’s major dailies have linked only internally, holding themselves out of the general conversation, and holding the rest of us at arm’s length from the conversations happening on their own sites.

This intra-corporate linking tends to produce a sub-set of blog I’ve come to think of as a “clog” over the last few years: a digital cul-de-sac designed to inhibit readers’ movement beyond the corporation’s borders, and into the larger world of ideas beyond.

Not good for anyone.

With its new linking policy, Vermont View has made several things clear at once: 1) the failure to link outside these sites has never been a technical issue; 2) far from fostering competition between new and traditional media, a larger, more active blogosphere helps grow everyone’s readership; and 3) whatever else may happen, Vermont View will not wind up in the La Brea Tar Pits of the early twenty-first century, because clearly they are open to change.

And more than anything else, VDB loves the smell of evolution in the morning. Kudos.