I think they matter at Britannica where executive editor Ted Pappas is putting together a really interesting team of "bloggers" including distinguished historians Joseph Ellis and Michael and Jana Novak. This week, the Britannica has interesting posts on the war in Iraq, on the Holocaust , on baseball (by Denny McLain -- the old Tigers pitcher), on politically inane theater criticism (by the always entertaining Theodore Dalrymple) and, today, by yours truly on audience.
So has Britannica caved in to the democratizers? Has the old lady gone over to the dark side?
Not really. Fortunately, the Britannica is still defending the fort from the amateur hordes. Ted handpicks who to publish on the Britannica blog. So there are no anonymous bloggers on this site, no lonelygirl15s or Essjays misleading everyone with their invented identities and ignorant posts. Britannica is approaching web publishing the right way -- recruiting experts and then publishing their work in an entertaining and interactive forum.
So I'm proud to be the latest "blogger" on Britannica and I look forward to a long and fruitful assocation with this august institution.