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blog: Vail Daily censoring blog entries

David DempseyVail CO, Colorado

blog(n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author. (www.Webopedia.com)Ive been censored by the Vail Daily.Yes, thats right. Im coming right out and saying it. Censored. Even the word itself seems like an obscenity to a journalist or a newspaper publisher. Maybe it is even too controversial a topic to make it to press (or to the e-equivalent). Playing the censorship card feels like a clich. First Amendment, freedom of speech blah blah blah. Most of us played the ol freedom of speech card as soon as we learned about the Bill of Rights in elementary school. I believe I used it when defending myself after talking back to my parents as a new know-it-all 5th grader. But Mom! Telling him hes a butt-face is my legal right! Its the FIRST amendment, look it up! Its the one about freedom of speech!While my days of dramatically claiming censorship every time my parents told me to shut up are over, I must admit that I was taken aback when I submitted a blog entry, and got a response from the managing editor, Alex Miller, that it would not be allowed to run. The blog entry was regarding a cover story from the Vail Daily entitled Boy, 8, sued in Beaver Creek ski collision. https://www.vaildaily.com/article/20071220/NEWS/541382740&SearchID=73305146163295I felt strongly about this article. It sparked something in me that inspired me to create a blog entry voicing my opinion about the story. I sat down and whipped up my thoughts on what I had just read. The title was Pick on Someone Your Own Size. I will admit that my writing wasnt that good, the piece was cynical, and my response was pretty inflammatory towards one of the people in the story. My understanding is that as (volunteer) bloggers, we were meant to write about our views on local issues, and be sort of an online voice for the local community. For me, it was a good way to practice my writing skills, and test the waters of a new hobby. By definition, a blog is a type of journal, a communication to the rest of the world, whether anyone is listening or not. The format of blogs can vary widely, and basically it fall somewhere between rambling in a journal and op-ed journalism. Thats why I was surprised when I got this back after submitting my piece:Thanks for your blog entry but given the litigious nature of the party in question and some of the colorful assertions you’ve put in here, I’m going to pass. If you’d like to take another stab at it and talk about these kinds of suits in general — and not focus your attack solely on this one guy — I’d have another look.Thanks–Alex MillerManaging EditorVail Daily | Vail TrailI wont bore you with the details, but I responded back and forth, and basically the gist of the conversation was: yes, blogs are screened for content, and my topic and stance was too controversial and risky to be associated with the paper. No, you cant write about what you think about the specific case, try writing about these types of cases in general. What?! Since when did newspapers shy away from writing commentaries on legal cases? What about all that stuff about O.J. and Michael Jackson? Surely I wasnt the first person to write something opinionated about someone involved in a law suit. Was I?Maybe I was. After a while, I decided to let it go, but it still left a bad taste in my mouth. I didnt want to write about ridiculous lawsuits in general. I wanted to write about the one in the paper. I could have lived with just about any other reason for not posting it. I figured you write at a 7th grade level would suffice just fine.While the original cover story inspired me to write Pick on Someone Your Own Size, Richard Carness editorial, Sue no longer means Mom https://www.vaildaily.com/article/20080107/EDITS/829137141 inspired me to write this. Richards piece was outstanding and hit the nail on the head for what seemed like most of the readers I spoke to. It was a total grand slam in my opinion (hopefully my opinion isnt the wrong one). I even read the entire thing, despite my tendency to get bored or lost by the second paragraph of editorial pieces.What inspired me wasnt that it was such a well written piece (it was) but the content. Richards take on the case was exactly the same as mine, only expressed more convincingly (he even mentions picking on someone your own size). The question is, why was Richards hard-line take on the story acceptable, but for my blog, the topic was too controversial? What were the real reasons behind my blog being cut? At first I thought the Daily was just being chicken, but now it smells more like something fishy.The Daily even did an Our View editorial by Tamara Millerhttps://www.vaildaily.com/article/20071227/EDITS/471394763with more opinions regarding this story. I imagine if blogs are being screened for controversial content, this entry I give you today may never make it past my outbox. I hope I am wrong. Newspapers and magazines love to print editorial content from someone complaining about some aspect of their publication. It makes them appear to be more credible and balanced by showing that they are willing to accept both sides of the storythe good with the bad.


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