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This Blog: Lessons Learned = Mistakes Made

I added "professional blogger" to my resume this spring and landed here on edweek.org in September, so I'm still relatively new to the business.

The challenge of a professional blog is twofold:

1) Posting something everyday that will hold readers' attention. It has to be different in some compelling way from what they get from other media and other bloggers.

2) Having the equivalent of an "email to everyone" at your disposal. Unlike other people who work for a news source, the blogger - professional or otherwise - has no editor serving as a gatekeeper to the public.

We all make mistakes. And over the last few days, I've made two. I got Andrew Rotherham wrong on NCLB predictions (here). An infelicitous phrase created the wrong impression of my views on NCSPE vs. one of its writer's (here).

The two needlessly pained some people, and for that I'm sorry. Neither spell the end of the world, but three would be a trend line, so it suggested a need for reflection.

What are the lessons learned?

When you criticize someone, make sure it's deserved and err on the side of caution. The tougher the critique, the more sure you need to be of the facts - and how they are presented. Finally, bloggers have to police themselves; every posting should at least be put through a "what would an editor say?" simulation.

In the future, if you think I've made an error, please use the comment form. You are doing me a favor.

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