Scott Rosenberg, in “There is no “first blogger,” dismantles the Wall Street Journal’s well-intentioned but surprisingly clueless weekend round-up about the so-called 10th anniversary of blogging. At issue, for many folks, are the Journal’s assertions about who did things first in the weblog world. By general agreement the newspaper got it wrong.
In We the Media I wrote:
Justin Hall was a sophomore at Swarthmore College in 1993 when he heard about the Web. He coded some pages by hand in HTML. His “Justin’s Links from the Underground”15 may well have been the first serious weblog, long before specialized weblog software tools became available. The first visitor to Hall’s site from outside the university came in 1994.
The Journal does a nice job of getting quotes from a variety of people who read (and in one case don’t read) blogs, capturing some flavor of why the publishing form has become so important.
But the introduction, which misses so much, is what Scot accurately calls the Journal piece a typical example of the
needless effort being dedicated toward a pointless goal — the identification of a “first” that is really only of use to old-fashioned editors eager to fill slow-news days with anniversary features.
Is this a lesson for other journalists? It should be but probably won’t be.