Taking the shades off for a Sunshine suit

The News Sentinel’s decision to recruit some bloggers to help cover its Sunshine suit against the County Commissioners is drawing some react.

Editor Jack McElroy outlines the plan in his Sunday column, which was posted on his blog Friday evening. He’s trying to address the thorny issue of covering yourself in a new way, sort of crowd-sourcing a story in which the newspaper is a player. He said:

To provide independent scrutiny of our coverage, however, we also put out a request among local bloggers for volunteers to monitor our reports. Three bloggers stepped forward. Happily, they span the political spectrum.

On occasion, we may also publish excerpts from these blogs in the print edition

Randy Neal, who’s been doing a lot of coverage of the suit and open meetings issues at his popular Knoxviews site, said: “its an interesting experiment in citizen journalism. I’m not sure a newspaper has ever done anything like this before. Once again, the KNS is way out front in working with the the local blogger community.”

Enclave, a Nashville blog, said; “The fact that Mr. McElroy is utilizing bloggers is fine, but more remarkable is a rare concession from a paper that its relationship to a particular subject can adversely affect its claims to objectivity. I am impressed.”

And northwest Tennessee journalist and blogger Trace Sharp (Newscoma), posting on Music City Bloggers, may have captured it: “Campers, this is HUGE.”

The three bloggers that stepped up to give this a try (Dave Oatney, Rich Hailey and Russ McBee) are independent as hell, politically diverse from one another and can cogently put their thoughts to blog.
As one of the bloggers, Russ McBee wrote on this blog, “Stay tuned. This will be interesting.”

Yes, indeed.