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Blogging At The White House: “Part of the Job”

National Journal’s Alexis Simendinger (huge fan of FishbowlDC’s “Best of White House Pool Reports”) writes, “Like it or not, some White House correspondents find that blogs are now a big part of the job.”

In an information marketplace that increasingly says, “Give them what they want” instead of, “Give them what they need,” the Internet is encouraging news consumers to call the shots. The White House press corps, in some ways one of the last protected habitats for inverted-pyramid mainstream journalism, is tiptoeing toward those tastes with blogs, and with writing that entertains and mixes analysis with news. And to keep Web tom-toms beating with reader curiosity, White House journalists, who traditionally chased exclusives and sought to match rather than cite their competitors, have bowed to the online custom of accessorizing their blogs with “open source” news, information, and links.

“It’s a very different kind of journalism than what I’ve done before,” said the Los Angeles Times’ White House correspondent, Jim Gerstenzang, who at his editors’ urging recently began to focus almost exclusively on his newspaper’s latest online invention, a blog called Countdown to Crawford. Like many news blogs, it offers bite-sized appetizers of information. And some posts are supposed to be more Cheez Whiz than escargot.

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