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Dave, I don't know that the relationship is so one-way between journals and blogs. I'd like to see blogs as more of a sounding board and incubator for ideas, and as such they be a good place to generate more thoughtful articles. At least, that's the idea - I agree that too often we get bogged down in pop culture and throwaway polls. Still, at least it keeps alive a general interest in Mormon Studies and helps to build a base of readership than can at least potentially be there for the independent journals. I agree also that we cannot afford to lose the independent journals; I am simply hoping that the relationship between journals and blogs can progress from being parasitic to symbiotic.

This has come up a number of times recently, and as a blogger and as an aspiring academic I really don't understand the fear that blogs might somehow take over for or diminish academic print journals. Journals are peer reviewed and go through an editing process. They have institutional (often) support. Blogs are a different type of production and very few have any type of role in the academy as opposed to journals. But, I'm open to having missed some crucial factors in the argument. If I have, I'd say they haven't been too well articulated. Perhaps it's true that in absence of blogs, journals and conferences provided the only outlet for discussion, but that we have more avenues today for discussion doesn't necessarily diminish the traditional forms. To reiterate, I think the biggest thing going for print journals is that they have an institutional role that I think would be hard to overcome and hard for blogs to break into.

I think of blogs like Steve mentions here. They're places to generate ideas and discuss and can help produce better work that appears then in a print journal. In saying so, I don't think i share your views about the parasitic nature of blogs, which seems to me to assume that blogs only rehash what comes out elsewhere, which a lot surely do, but others do produce unique and original content that goes from blog to print journal. I think that type of migration will happen more. In coming about, I don't see any siphoning off of readers for print journals, rather I see blogs providing an increase in interest. The same group that has read academic journals (academics and their fellows) will continue to do so, but blogs, I think, can only generate further interest in journals. I, of course, am only speculating and dont have access to subscription rates or demographics, and would like to see more hard data on it.

So, I disagree that blogs are not necessarily good for promoting scholarship, and I have to turn to the JI as an example, but certainly the JI could be anomalous :)

Jared, I think you're absolutely right about the relationship between blogs and academic journals. It's a slightly different situation for independent journals like Dialogue that don't have any institutional affiliation or, crucially, funding. Dialogue and other LDS independent sector publications have relied for their funding on non-professionals and independent scholars and subscribers who are not academics, but interested observers. In an earlier era, fMh readers were the folks who would have supported Exponent II, JI readers would have been the natural donors to JMH, etc. I think it's the casual reader & subscriber who might not care as much about the content as the community, but in the past would have been willing to pay to skim the content and feel part of the community, who can now a little bit of content and a lot of community for free that's perceived as a (minor) threat. But ultimately only minor, I think--I may have made too much of it in my talk. (And, btw, I did mention JI as a place where the really, really smart kids hang out :))

Oh, and for the record, Dave, I became interested in Mormon studies when I was about 9 and read Claudia Bushmans _Mormon Sisters_. Blogging came a bit later :)

I agree with Kristine's observations, but would also add that journals need to look at having stronger online presences as well as diversifying their offerings and doing more fundraising AND attracting more young talent with the skills to communicate online by opening up more opportunities for involvement that don't require the commitment and authorization that the old line way of doing things often requires. In addition, I think we need to be prepared for not every journal to have a significant print presence. Print costs a lot.

Yes, I'm going to pull this example out again, but...

Mormon Artist has 1,678 members of its Facebook group. Yes, it costs nothing to join the group. But in less than 2 years, that's a pretty nice following and what's more it's a pool that Ben Crowder has pulled editors and contributors from. And eventually some of these young people may just make some money and be able to support the magazine financially.

I'd love to see some hard data, but my sense is that just as many of us Gen Xers have moved on from some of the old school debates (as Kristine mentioned in her presentation), many of the educated Mormons in their twenties have moved on from the journals and professional organizations -- I use the word moved on not in the sense that they have outgrown them, indeed, they may only be vaguely aware of them, but moved on because as digital natives they are very used to creating their own content and discussions and communities.


Eric, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_Six

Another of the code words... September Six.


Thanks, and I think you're right, I neglected to discern between independent journals and academic journals. I can see the point that in the past some might have paid to participate in the community, but now don't have to pay to have the community and might, therefore, not contribute funds. It's a theory that makes sense, but I'd still like to see some hard data that blogging has actually affects subscriptions. Maybe you can't share that type of data, but have you seen decreased donations/subscriptions and can that be traced to increase in blogging? Anecdotal evidence perhaps?

At any rate, I think that you're right that the 90s cast less of a shadow over what young scholars do (which, I think will actually increase participation in independent publications like Dialogue).

And notice I say "less" of a shadow, not no shadow. I think the code words still resonate in some circles, and even among the "young."

Let me add that the parasitic relationship is beginning to work both ways (parasitic meant here in a completely neutral tone). I know some JI blog posts have turned into print publications and I suspect that the same is true for some of the stuff Sam and J. do at BCC and Nate does at T&S. So I see the relationship as one of interdependency rather than one way. Whether this deals with the issue of getting younger readers to subscribe to print journals is another question.

I'll second David G. I've seen pieces move the other direction. My own forthcoming Dialogue piece draws on blog discussions that I had. Nate has gone further, essentially getting journals to republish his blog posts. (Nice gig, if you can pull it off!)

Of course, the counter is going to be that Nate wasn't really blogging to begin with -- he was always writing a journal-ish piece, and just happened to vet it first on a blog. I think that's true, to some extent. But even if it's true, the blog makes opens up the experience more. The piece is no longer essentially on spec and if not picked up, a total waste of time. Rather, it's still a blog piece that generated blog discussion, and therefore still worth writing. Blogging provides a cushion for new writers who might otherwise be unwilling to take the risk of writing on spec.

Jared, it's not so much that blogging has pulled subscription numbers down, only that, as far as we can tell, people under 30 just don't _start_ subscribing. If you recall that Dialogue was started by a bunch of grad students, it's mildly worrisome to find the median age of subscribers hovering somewhere north of, well, my age ;)

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