The best blogs are idiosyncratic, unmediated expressions of an individual sensibility, a notion which tends to make old-media executives squirm, so much so that many print-media publications refuse to let their employees blog.I said something similar to that first paragraph in that Yale Law Journal Pocket Part essay I mentioned this morning. The essay is mainly about whether law journals should change in response to the internet, but at one point I talk about institutional blogs, specifically law school faculty blogs:
I think that’s a mistake. In fact, I think editors and reporters should be encouraged to blog independently of the publications for which they work.
[You law journal editors don't] need to host a blog to talk about your articles. In fact, it is better if you don’t. Institutionalized blogs tend to be flat and safe.To continue to Teachout's train of thought... of course, I'm in favor of lawprofs blogging independently from the law school's website. Law schools shouldn't fret too much about their lawprofs expressing themselves idiosyncratically in our own separate blog spaces. There's a temptation for the law school and the lawprof blogger to try to improve things by making a bigger, better law school website replete with blogs, but it will suck the energy out of the blogging.
I have put some effort into starting a faculty blog at my law school, perhaps something like The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog. But I have little hope that this project will go well, and I note that the Chicago project has never gained much traction. Since the original spike of attention that greeted the announcement of its existence, the traffic to the site has waned. And there is no bloggish energy to the site, with a post – usually a long one – going up only every few days. I don’t think this is a special Chicago Law School problem, but a predictable consequence of worrying about preserving the dignity of the institution they so conspicuously represent.
Postscript: Speaking of Lee Siegel, I enjoyed watching Bob Wright and Mickey Kaus argue about it on BloggingHeads.