NPT: Blog or Webzine?

The recent stories about the special uses of Alcatraz and the Charlestown Navy Yard have raised some questions not only about how the National Park Service manages its properties, but how we at National Park Traveler go about our work.

For a minute we'd like to focus on the latter question, because it runs to the integrity of the Traveler and what we hope to accomplish.

First off, we think it's important to differentiate between a blog and a webzine, or web magazine. Why? Because the former has become sort of a pejorative term and because we believe we've pushed beyond merely being a "web-log," or blog.

While blogs are increasingly popular -- Technorati simply says there are "zillions" of photo, video and blog sites -- some associate blogs with citizen journalists who simply like to see their words in print and don't always adhere to a tight ethical line in how they approach what they type. And yet, there are some incredibly fine blogs out there that on a regular basis upstage the so-called "mainstream media" in covering the news. And, admittedly, there are some not-so-fine blogs that have caused more than a few folks to look down with disdain upon bloggers as a whole.

At National Parks Traveler, we've developed a web magazine that covers the national park system and National Park Service. There's rich content, ranging from news, commentary and travel pieces on the parks to videocasts and podcasts, with more features in the planning stages. In developing that content, we adhere to commonly accepted journalistic standards and don't resort to unsubstantiated rants.

Indeed, when one anonymous reader questioned the facts of my initial post on the Charlestown Navy Yard, I double-checked my sources and about the only error I could detect was that the party actually ended at 11 p.m., not 1 a.m. as I initially reported. However, I'm told it took until 1 a.m. to remove the tents.

Along that line, we encourage readers to point out specific problems with our posts. We're not perfect, but we strive to be as accurate as possible. We're also not merely amateurs with computers, but rather have fairly lengthy resumes when it comes to what we do. While Jeremy tends to work a bit more behind the scenes in developing interpretive programs, you'll find my work in a wide range of outlets, from Smithsonian, Audubon, Hemispheres and major newspapers such as the Miami Herald, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Denver Post to The North Face's webzine, Explore Epic, which currently is featuring two of my pieces on parks.

There's a transition throughout the world on how news and information in general is being consumed. Newspaper readership and advertising is down, Internet viewership and advertising is up. The Gen-Ys and Gen-Xs -- the groups that the folks at Golden Gate National Recreation Area and many other parks so want to entice -- more often than not go online, not to the newsstand, to find out what's going on in the world and to plan their trips.

Hopefully, National Parks Traveler can provide at least a little of that information.

Comments

Kurt,

As far as I'm concerned, you and Jeremy are doing a terrific job. This webzine pulls off a unique yet wonderful balance between visiting the controversies surrounding managing parks and visiting the beauty and "wonders" (pythons in the Everglades!) of said parks.

As you know, even the best newspapers in the world make mistakes.

Keep up the good work!

npt rocks. keep it up.

NPT brings attention to parks and issues not covered anywhere else. Thank you for this important work! Oh, and I love Jeremy's videos.

Kurt, you and Jeremy have created a important and informative appendage to understanding the critical issues facing our National Parks today (through your website). I have learned alot about the intricate aspects in how our National Parks are administratively run, ruined, raved and ranted over your website. Some of this stuff you would never find even in the back pages of your local newspaper. I know that I'm free to put my two cents in worth of blog but within respectable bounds, and I thank you for that. Remember, "the pen is mightier then the sword"! Keep up the good work!!

What's in a Name? "A Blogzine by any other name would read so sweet" Whatever you call it, NPT is hot. You have a lot of readers contributing their views on matters pertaining to parks and other public land management issues. Keep on Trucking.

Art

Thanks everyone for the comments. Without getting into the details, we had run into a situation where we were refused some park information because we were "just bloggers". As you all have found with the new website, and backed up with Kurt's statement in this article, we are really trying to build something beyond "just" a blog. The community participation in the new site has been extraordinary so far, and Kurt and I both feel an obligation to bring quality stories to the site and feed the dialog about park issues.

Andrea, thanks for the video comment! I've got more in the works, including an interview tomorrow, and another request sent in email.

we were refused some park information because we were "just bloggers"

Sounds like the government BS bureaucracy machine.

Keep up the good work. I've been critical of your "slant", as I'm far left on the issue of preservation, but you both are doing good work.