The natural thing to do when you start a magazine (or a Web site or podcast, for that matter) is to immerse yourself in the subject matter. Beyond learning the basics yourself, you’ll want to know who in the field you’re covering is most successful; who is the most knowledgeable, and what sources of news and information already exist from which you can poach learn.
If you’re smart, you’ll also find out where the current news and info sources are weak, and who, despite good publicity, knows what they’re talking about, and who doesn’t.
Now I am a long-time podcaster. In podcasting, two years is a long time, so quit your snickering. I know who’s been around, where podcasters get their news, and which podcasters are experts and which simply play one on an RSS feed. But I do not know these things in the blogging world. My impression of bloggers up to this point is that they are either masters of their content, and have no particular personality or style to study, or that they are all style; completely devoted to the sacred status of the blog. So it’s time for me to learn from my simplistic view, and confirm or eliminate the parts of it that don’t fit.
This is the part where I might get in trouble: I honestly feel that I am alone on the diving board, ready to take the plunge into a world full of hierarchies and conventional wisdom. The magazine I am to help produce (some people have already suggested that a magazine covering Internet mediums like blogging and podcasting is an anachronism) has not yet made relationships for itself in the community we wish to document. We are newcomers, and while blogging and podcasting is all about the new, it is human nature for newcomers to be regarded with a critical eye. It is also the nature of new media creators to be skeptical, and to ask us to prove our bona-fides in their world. We’re going to have to do that starting now.