I was struck by something "Scott" wrote to our blog last Friday: "Ya'll need to find a REGULAR blogger, and quit treating this thing as a 'by the way.'"
Scott was no doubt referring to the fact that in the two months NPR has been offering Mixed Signals, we have had an assortment of blog hosts -- JJ Sutherland, Andrea Seabrook, Robert Smith, Mara Liasson, and now this Rudin fella. Scott, you should know that this is still a work in progress. I promise you it's not seen by anyone here as a "by the way." I understand the importance of a relationship readers/listeners have with a familiar presence on the air -- just look at how people feel about NPR's Scott Simon of Weekend Edition Saturday." For years I've been writing the weekly online Political Junkie column, a column that couldn't exist without the constant back-and-forth between my fellow "Junkies" and me. So I know of what you speak.
But having said that, I also know that the folks we've had as blog hosts brought an amazing assortment of strengths and experiences. JJ was able to offer insights from his time as producing for NPR in Baghdad. Robert Smith has a deliciously off-the-wall view of everything, perfect for someone who lives in Brooklyn by way of Seattle. Andrea not only covers Congress, and makes things uncomfortable for the likes of Tom DeLay and Nancy Pelosi, she is also pregnant -- which makes things pretty uncomfortable for her as well. And I thought her enthusiasm with which she does her job showed in her blogging.
I've known Mara Liasson even before I first came to NPR, which was in 1991, and while I think she is an outstanding political reporter and a pleasure to work with, I also knew that she had not a clue what blogging was all about. So it was fun watching her blog and learn at the same time.
(Footnote: I'm not saying Mara is ill-prepared for the 21st century, but I do know that she spends a lot of her time listening to her eight-track tapes.)
The bottom line is that, ultimately, the NPR blog is an experiment. It's a work in progress. A lot of tinkering will be going on. I hope you can stay for the ride.