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FBLA EXCLUSIVE: Patrick Goldstein ‘Blogging Is Journalism’

goldstein_jynydnlnc.jpgWe announced Monday that Patrick Goldstein will be a full-time blogger for the LAT, shifting his “Big Picture” column to a by-the-minute blog on the L.A. Times web site.

The news floored us. We thought newspaper reporters still viewed bloggers as unkempt basement monkeys writing snarky hyperbole in their underwear. Turns out, we were wrong. (We totally have to buy a pair of pants.)

For more insight about what this shift means, we asked Patrick a few of our patented stupid questions. He was kind enough to answer:


Is the blog still going to be called “The Big Picture?” Yes, the name stays the same. I always liked what it promised — that we’d try to connect the dots about entertainment and pop culture. The simple link to it is: www.latimes.com/thebigpicture.

How long have you been covering Hollywood? Too long! Actually, I started writing rock music reviews in junior high school, worked for Cream magazine when I was still a teenager, covered the music business for the Times as a freelancer in the 1980s and 1990s before graduating to the movie beat around 1996. My biggest influence was Bob Hilburn, our longtime pop music critic, who always said — it’s OK to appeal to the people in the industry, but make sure you write in a way that the kid at Reseda High School will understand too. I’m not sure I always thread that needle, but that’s what I’m aiming for — the casual fan as well as the pros.

How will blogging change that coverage? What other differences can readers expect as you make the transition from print and online to full-time online writing? Blogging is still journalism. It’s just more immediate and more personal, which is what most people want today. Information is free, all newspapers can really offer that’s unique is a strong voice and an informed point of view. The biggest change for me, as a reporter, is that I won’t have the luxury of asking 15 people what they think about an issue before I write about it. I’ll make a couple of calls and then plunge into the pool.

Did you ever think “blogging” was antithetical to “journalism?” Maybe there are still some old-school journalists who have a snobby view of bloggers. I’ve never been one of them. The hardest thing for me to do this week was scroll through the 50 or 60 blogs I read regularly (not to mention the 100 others I have in my fave places) and winnow them down to 15 or 20 for my blogroll. I get tired of reading guys like David Poland claiming that I can’t stand bloggers. That’s baloney. I just can’t stand his blog ’cause I hate people who act self-important. I couldn’t get through the day without reading my fave politics and sports blogs. It’s the only way to keep up these days.

Will you be working from home? (And if so, do you plan to shower and dress before working?) I’ve been working from home ever since my wife and I had a kid, because I never saw my dad when I was growing up — he worked too hard. So I want to be around, at least for a few of the dad-son moments. I’m writing this right now in my sweats and Cubs t-shirt. I only get dressed up if I’m having lunch with a Hollywood agent and don’t want to be mistaken for the valet.

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