Comments on: Loebs and blogs don’t mix A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: JimPrevor Wed, 26 May 2010 15:43:04 +0000 Dear Mr. Salmon —

I realize you are very busy, and I mean no offense, but it might make sense to investigate before you dismiss the hard and valuable work that people do.

My name is Jim Prevor. I’m the guy you use as an example of failed blogging. In reality your comments are a critique of failing to read the directions.

There is no Loeb category for blogging. The category is entitled “Online Commentary and Blogging” and the criteria is “excellence in analysis and commentary that originates online” — so if George F. Will decided to give up his Washington Post gig and, instead, post his column online every Tuesday and Thursday — he would be eligible. There is no requirement to have a blog or be a blogger.

The new category is obviously a response to changes in the media whereby many respected publications don’t have the page count to carry all the great stuff they could publish, so they publish it online. Also many of these publications don’t have the frequency and would miss news cycles, so they post online material while it is of public interest.

I happen to have an “Online Exclusive” up right now with The New Atlantis, a quarterly journal on science and technology. The piece is on food safety, the lead relates to the current Romaine lettuce recall and we didn’t want to wait three months for the next issue. So we posted the piece online: ns/how-to-improve-food-safety

Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, virtually all professional journals, etc. now do “online exclusives” – plus there are so many dedicated sites that only do online, The Huffington Post, The Daily Caller, etc. – these publications run terrific stuff and do it online. Some of it is on blogs, much is not.

To clear the record: Although I have occasionally contributed The Weekly Standard Blog, which is published every day, has dozens of contributors and, contrary to your assertions, did not close — I never had a dedicated blog at The Weekly Standard and never had a blog anywhere that closed.

The pieces I was nominated for had nothing to do with the Blog and were three articles, exactly identical in form and substance to the kind I have had published in the print version of The Weekly Standard, except for reasons of space and timeliness, the editor ran them online.

As far as I go, I write on food safety, sustainability, organics, genetically modified food, traceability and many other subjects at It is a highly successful online publication.

I also write columns for and edit a whole group of business-to-business publications that focus on fresh foods: PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine, DELI BUSINESS magazine, Cheese Connoisseur magazine, etc.

I have written business and opinion pieces on the Op-Ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, the Star Tribune and in many other venues.

I’ve been fortunate and people have found value in my work. I’ve won over one hundred editorial awards and am the recipient of The Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity and, yes, now, I am a proud finalist for the Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism for work that originated online.

What, precisely, is your problem with that?

Very truly yours,

Jim Prevor

By: FrancineMcKenna Wed, 26 May 2010 12:04:12 +0000 @Cynic

Thanks for your kind words. I actually submitted my entry with live links and all the comments. I agree that one doesn’t get the full effect unless blogs are viewed in their native habitat. I’m proud of my design and I like to choose photos, videos and music that makes subtle points about my subjects. None of that comes across on a flat piece of paper.

I wrote on my site last night about how I feel about the honor. As far as the other choices… I’m looking forward to breaking bread with Nell Minow, David Pogue and and Jim Prevor. This was a first-attempt to recognize work like mine. I know of know others available to me that do it at such a high level. I’m glad to pay the $100 out of my own pocket to be judged alongside others who have a major media organization paying it for them. I don’t see why promoting my own work is any different than taking a paycheck from someone who does it for you. In fact, I find it more honest.

By: HBC Wed, 26 May 2010 03:13:58 +0000 The first blogger to say: “I’d never accept any prizes they really wanted to give me” wins.

By: Cynic Tue, 25 May 2010 13:41:56 +0000 It’s ironic, Felix – we disagreed before, and yet I feel as if we’ve both been vindicated by the thoroughly dismal result.

I still think that integrating the categories is the way to go; and I’ll reiterate that a blog submission for a Loeb (or other award) ought to consist of a larger number of entries, and be submitted in the form of hyperlinks so that judges can view the stories in their original medium. And I continue to think that such awards are a pressing need – both for the support of the blogosphere, and for the continued relevance of the awards themselves.

Looking at the Loeb list, though, I’ll confess to having a few doubts. McKenna is a solid pick, and one that displays some of the blogosphere’s signature strengths – the intensely narrow focus typically found in a niche publication of the trade press, with the ability to reach a broad and interested audience. The rest of the choices are simply laughable. And that should be true even by the bizarrely twisted criteria of the contest. No three things that David Pogue has ever written constitute prizeworthy journalism. The forum at The Economist was interesting, I suppose, but not only was it not blogging, it wasn’t terribly important. The participants had all voiced the same views elsewhere. Mere aggregation of pundits is not prizeworthy; it’s what a decent op-ed page does every day. And you’ve already dealt with poor Jim Prevor.

I happen to think that a blog with twenty-one entries really might be worthy of a prize, if those entries had shaped the national discourse in a decisive way on a key issue. But they didn’t. Neither did any of the other bloggers up for this award. And that’s why it rings so false. It seems to betray a view of blogging as an amusement or diversion, a venue for interesting ideas, perhaps, but not a place for journalism. And that’s tragic.

We need to integrate blogs into mainstream prizes. Perhaps the failure of the Loebs to accord them separate-but-equal status will provide the impetus to finally get that done.