July 9, 2009

PLAIN DEALER REPRESENTATIVE calls bloggers “a bunch of pipsqueaks.” This is so 2002. But anyway, the inevitable conclusion:

We’re just going to ignore the phrase “public journalists,” OK? It’s a bizarre formulation — as opposed to, what, private journalists? — but he probably meant something like “citizen journalists,” and we’ll just mark it down to speaking off the cuff. But why, representative of us readers, is it kind of unfortunate that Schultz gave Jarvis a lot of ink? Back to Diadiun:

“… which I thought was kind of unfortunate because Connie’s column is read by 25- or 30,000 people a month, which has to be many times more than this guy gets on his blog, and she gave him more publicity through that column than he would get on his own anytime.”

Thirty thousand readers a month “has to be many times” what Jarvis gets on his blog? Wait, that sounds like one of those unsourced, unreported assumptions you might get from … from … A BLOGGER! Diadiun actually started to say “is,” but than corrected himself and phrased it “has to be.” That was an admission, however subconscious, that he didn’t have any idea what he was talking about. He was guessing to make his point.

Why is it so common for print people who criticize the low standards of the Web to go on the Web and say and write things they would never say or write in print? Does Diadiun just guess at stuff in his newspaper column?

Since Jarvis has more than 20,000 followers on Twitter, I would guess that Schultz’s 30,000 monthly readers, as reported by Diadiun, do not dwarf Jarvis’ readership. But I don’t like to guess — even in a blog! — so I did something crazy. I got all newspapery and responsible. I asked Jarvis how many readers he has.

“My web stats say I had 106,000 unique vistors in May,” Jarvis answered via e-mail. “I had about 20,000 RSS readers, last I knew,” though he confessed to having forgotten his password to re-check that figure.

I suspect that a lot of bigger-deal columnists than Diadiun have smaller readerships than Jarvis’s. Newspaper circulation numbers are padded to begin with, but those numbers don’t reflect how many people read any particular part of the paper. Does everyone who picks up the New York Times turn to Maureen Dowd? I doubt it. But everyone who reads Jeff Jarvis reads Jeff Jarvis.

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