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Friday, June 02, 2006

"Blawgs on a Roll"

Dahlia Lithwick has this piece, "Blawgs on a Roll," in The American Lawyer.  Responding to the often-heard complaint that journalists "just don't get it right when they talk about the law," Lithwick writes:

My guess is that legal reporters are not sloppy or lazy-indeed, most of them impress me as meticulous and precise. The problem is that it's quite difficult to write about law in a way that is both technically accurate and also interesting and accessible to lay readers. That also explains the gaping chasm in the universe of legal writing: There are endless law review articles, and there are compacted news stories about court cases. In the middle, there are a few magazines that cover legal news (The American Lawyer, The New Republic, The New Yorker), and a plethora of cable TV shows that report every titillating detail of the latest celebrity shoplifting, divorce, or murder case. . . .

It's awfully hard to talk about the law in a fair, moderate, and interesting way when everyone else on the TV, radio, and op-ed pages is dumbing it down.

And that's where the blawgs come in.

After a nice plug for Prawfsblawg, Lithwick suggests that the proliferation of law-related blogs is helping law-journalists for several reasons, including this one:

[L]aw professors, who can be exceedingly cautious in print, sometimes become slightly drunk on the Internet's thin air.  Whereas legal thinkers once limited their most serious scholarship to law review articles, occasionally nipping out into the dangerous world to write an op-ed, now many of them offer off-the-cuff observations about everything from partial birth abortion bans to their favorite CDs, several times daily. The blogosphere thrives precisely because it exists at the interstices of the ivory tower and pop culture. As a result, it's the most fertile ground for cutting-edge law talk.

I wonder, is the idea that law-blogs are more useful to journalists -- that is, that law-blogs help journalists get a fuller picture of the relevant issues and debates -- if they are more "law &"-ish (or just "&-ish")?

Posted by Rick Garnett on June 2, 2006 at 05:59 PM in Blogging | Permalink


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Tracked on Jun 3, 2006 6:32:18 AM


You're being too modest. She quite rightly singles out your excellent work on the blog.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Jun 2, 2006 11:11:07 PM

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