Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Embracing the Challenges

At The Spokesman Review's weblogging forum on Wednesday, January 26, 2005, it was evident that the newspaper is making an admirable effort to understand and address the challenges weblogs create for traditional newspapers. Rather than dismissing as crude and unprofessional the webloggers' self-publishing, The Spokesman Review seems intent on finding ways to embrace weblogging's challenges and respond to them in a way that improves its own product. Managing editor for online Ken Sands and associate editor and columnist Dave Oliveria candidly explained how the paper is somewhat uncertain but eager to learn how weblogging fits with and in traditional print journalism. That The Spokesman Review is experimenting with weblogs, talking with webloggers, and encouraging rather than discouraging us suggests an open-mindedness that will likely lead to successful innovation.

So I wonder, why isn't the criminal justice community here in northern Idaho trying the same experiment? Why isn't that community comprising law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors and public defenders, correction, and juvenile justice engaging the rest of us through weblogs? Yes, it's true that most of the local agencies have some representation on websites...that are stiff and uninformative. Why not use the conversational weblogs to interact more effectively, to personalize yourselves and your agencies?

This morning The Spokesman Review carried an article by Tom Clouse headlined, Community shows its support. Commenting on the community's outpouring of support for wounded Coeur d'Alene police officer Mike Kralicek and his family, former Coeur d'Alene Police Chief Tom Cronin said, "Police officers don't understand this. They see a small percentage of people over and over again. But every one of these cops' hearts are 10 times bigger today because they know the community cares about them. This is the community they protect and serve every day paying them back."

Chief Cronin, if the local criminal justice agencies would experiment with community interaction via weblog, the agencies might find more common ground than they realize with their community.

Yes, just as newspapers are facing some challenges from weblogging, so will criminal justice agencies. But you're going to face them anyway. Webloggers scrutinize and comment freely on things of interest to us. The administration of criminal justice is a valid topic. It is so not because the community wants to destroy the criminal justice system but because the community wants to better understand and improve it. Weblogs are one opportunity for the criminal justice agencies to experiment with being inclusive rather than exclusive and reclusive. Embrace the challenge.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a test posted comment. At the weblogging forum last night, DFO said he had difficulty posting comments.

12:03 PM, January 27, 2005  
Blogger Happy X. Dopey said...

While I agree with your view that Law Enforcement would be well served being more inclusive of the public, I believe that they would be concerned with accidental release of information which would have been better kept quiet (until after an investigation, etc.). However, I think this might be a non-issue if the matter was handled correctly. It's a nice thought and one I support.

7:38 AM, January 28, 2005  

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