Best election blogs awards

Deutsche Welle is doing it. And now Washington Post is doing it. Giving out awards to blogs, that is. (Do I hear anyone say “Hello Sweden?”)

On October 25, Washington Post will be announcing its “Best Blogs – Politics & Elections 2004 Readers’ Choice Awards” to readers’ favorite politics and elections blogs. Categories include Best Democratic Party Coverage, Best Republican Party Coverage, Best Inside the Beltway, Best Outside the Beltway, Most Original and Most Likely to Last Beyond Election Day.

Voting ends on October 15 and [drums please] here (free registration required) are the nominees. Daily Kos is nominated in 7 out of 10 categories. Other obvious candidates are Eschaton, Wonkette, Talking Points Memo, Instapundit and Andrew Sullivan.

A sample from one of the political blogs mentioned above. From Wonkette. Ten reasons to invade Iraq (instead of WMD):

– Didn’t rewind rental tape

– Mixed recyclables

– Wrote a book

– Reads books

– Throws like a girl

– Is too tall

– Fuzzy math

– Prevented OBGYNs from practicing their love

– Wanted us to pass a global test

– Is a BIG GAY

A constructive blog debate

This is unusual – a constructive Swedish blog debate. The liberal blogs are usually in consensus about current topics, but a post by PJ Anders Linder about a proposition from the Swedish Moderate Party sparked a comment from Mathias Sundin. That was picked up by Dick Erixon, who for once had a differnet opinion than SvD:s “PJ Just Nu” who in turn replied here. Johan Norberg threw in his five cents the day after and it is actually quite refreshing to see that these gentlemen are able to discuss topics online and in public that they don’t fully agree on. Erixon and Sundin continues to discuss. There is hope for the Swedish blogosphere.

Thank the guys in PJ

It’s an amuzing coincidence that bloggers nowadays are referred to as “the guy in pajamas” and the first op-ed blog in Sweden is led by PJ Anders Linder.

Footnote: Jonathan Klein, former senior executive of CBS 60 Minutes, on Fox News said in the Dan Rather controversy: “Bloggers have no checks and balances. [It’s] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas.” Andrew Sullivan responded in Time magazine “Does this mean the old media is dead? Not at all. Blogs depend on the journalistic resources of big media to do the bulk of reporting and analysis. What blogs do is provide the best scrutiny of big media imaginable—ratcheting up the standards of the professionals, adding new voices, new perspectives and new facts every minute. The genius lies not so much in the bloggers themselves but in the transparent system they have created. In an era of polarized debate, the truth has never been more available. Thank the guys in the pajamas. And read them.”

No comments on Svenska Dagbladet’s blog

Nicklas Lundblad writes about Svenska Dagbladet’s op-ed blog “PJ Just nu” in the current issue of Axess (not online yet, and I have not yeat read it). PJ Anders Linder comments on the article in the blog today and says that there are no plans to introduce a comments function on the blog, something that I fully understand. I wouldn’t expect any corporation or organization to set aside the resources for monitoring that kind of instant feedback. But I don’t think that the reasons that Linder points to are valid.

He writes: “SvD’s offer to readers is not to listen to everybody’s opinions about this and that, but to offer a flow of chosen material furnished with personal, hopefully thought-provoking and readable comments. With a completely free comments function the border between SvD and all other web sites would be blurred, the quality label disappear, and the readers nor SvD would benefit from it.”

I think no-one expects an uncensored feedback channel online in any corporate blog. What we would like to see is a representative from big media to open up to the conversation that blogs enable. Traditional media’s monopoly on selecting what is considered to be news and setting the agenda is slowly disappearing, thanks to blogs. The views that Linder expresses shows that SvD maybe considers its blog to be just another vehicle for the same type of information, i.e. another one-way megaphone for the carefully selected and filtered news angles that we already see in the printed paper. We don’t need more of that, we need you to listen to us, the grassroots. That’s the whole point with a blog. And maybe Linder can show that he is actually able to listen to other sources than his liberal blog buddies. We are out here, are you reading?

No comments is fine, but more conversation would be valuable.

Update: Further evidence of the symbiotic relationship between PJ Just Nu and liberal bloggers today when PJ Anders Linder and Dick Erixon give each other a pat on the back, here and here.