Volokh Takes The Boeing

law-gavel-book

On the day that news broke that Ezra Klein and Wonkblog are leaving the Washington Post, the Volokh Conspiracy made its debut there.

We began this blog in April 2002, when it was just the Volokh Brothers. That’s almost 12 years of blogging. (How can it have been that long?)

In the course of these years, we’ve tried various experiments. The growth of the blog from the two brothers to a dozen-odd regular contributors has been one such experiment (or perhaps a series of experiments). The introduction of comments has been another. I know from reader e-mail that not all these changes have been universally acclaimed. But I think that, on balance, the blog is more viable and valuable because of these changes.

We’re now trying what might be the most ambitious experiment yet: a joint venture with the Washington Post. The Post will host our blog, and pass along its content toPost readers (for instance, by occasionally linking to our stories from the online front page). We will continue to write the blog, and Volokh.com will still take you here.

We will also retain full editorial control over what we write. And this full editorial control will be made easy by the facts that we have (1) day jobs, (2) continued ownership of our trademark and the volokh.com domain, and (3) plenty of happy experience blogging on our own, should the need arise to return to that.

My hearty congratulations to Eugene Volokh and his co-conspirators. They were already, at less than a year old, a fixture in the blogosphere when I launched this site, and have consistently maintained one of the highest quality sites going for all this time. Indeed, they and Crooked Timber were exemplars when I decided to make OTB a group blog at a time when many great solo author sites were watering down their brand by bringing on lesser co-bloggers to increase volume but either lowering quality or giving up a sense of voice.

The downside, as Eugene examines in detail at the link, is that this puts the blog behind the Post’s rather annoying paywall. While they’ve negotiated some pretty good workarounds, it still makes getting to their content and engaging with one of the finest comment sections on the Internet more daunting. But the hoped for upside is that the exposure at the Post, including occasional promotion on the front page, will help bring their brand of informed, collegial legal commentary and analysis to a wider audience. I wish them much success in that endeavor.

And, no, I don’t think jettisoning the progressive Klein while bringing on the more libertarian Volokh was some grand ideological scheme by Jeff Bezos and the new overlords at the Post. I’m rather sure they’d preferred to have kept Klein and his successful blog all things being equal. And these are two wholly different sorts of enterprises aimed at mostly different readerships.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, James Joyner, Law and the Courts, Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Stonetools says:

    Count me in the possible ideological shift camp. I’ll wait and see what happens to Sarah Kliff and Greg Sargent. If either goes, then the shift is definitely on.




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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I don’t know James, seems awfully coincidental to me.

    hits sarcasm off button




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  3. Peacewood says:

    I don’t always agree with Volokh and his compatriots. But his blog is one of the most well-researched and thoughtful on the internet, and he’ll be a fine replacement for Ezra Klein regardless of political leanings.




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  4. Andre Kenji says:

    @Stonetools: If they are replacing Marc Thiessen and Jennifer Rubin with Volokh, that´s only going to get better. If not, there is nothing worse or more hackish than these two.




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  5. C. Clavin says:

    @Andre Kenji:
    See Chaits take-down of Rubin:
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/01/jennifer-rubin-now-worshipping-chris-christie.html

    Oh… And Hannity has already pu$$ied out on moving from NY.
    Republicans these days are such cowards.




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  6. Andre Kenji says:

    @C. Clavin: She is so bad that there are good takedowns of her from people like Eric Erickson…




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  7. Rob in CT says:

    I count that blog on my rather (sadly) short list of “people with whom I have serious ideological disagreements but find are worth reading anyway.” So that’s cool. But absent other changes, it certainly would be a tack to the Right at WaPo.




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  8. LC says:

    Indeed, they and Crooked Timber were exemplars when I decided to make OTB a group blog

    So these people are to blame for Doug?




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  9. Moosebreath says:

    @Rob in CT:

    “I count that blog on my rather (sadly) short list of “people with whom I have serious ideological disagreements but find are worth reading anyway.” So that’s cool.”

    I tend to agree, with the exception of David Bernstein’s Middle East posts, which are a waste of perfectly good electrons.




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  10. sam says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I tend to agree, with the exception of David Bernstein’s Middle East posts, which are a waste of perfectly good electrons.

    Yeah. I was thinking yesterday it’s going to be interesting when DB’s posts reach a much wider audience.




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  11. grumpy realist says:

    I’ve found Volokh to be too much of a libertarian sausage-fest to appreciate it. Especially the commentators.

    A truly libertarian society would collapse and vanish within 2 generations because women would be at such a disadvantage from having and raising kids that no one would do it.




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  12. al-Ameda says:

    Although I find the Libertarian sector of the political spectrum to be a niche cul-de-sac, I do like Volokh’s blog and I hope it works out well for Volokh at the Washington Post.




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  13. john personna says:

    I think the form of the two, the old Volokh and the new WP page, show an interesting transition.

    It definitely looks more link-bait, more viral mill, in the new format.

    Old headlines look like:

    Canadian Prime Minister Harper on Israel

    after the takeover:

    Breaking News from August 2013: NSA Is Providing 2-3 Tips a Day to the FBI?

    Is it? Click through to find out.

    Or, this is cute, just click to facebook or tweet without reading more.




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  14. gVOR08 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    A truly libertarian society would collapse and vanish within 2 generations

    Two generations? No way. The guys at Galt’s Gulch would have been murdering each other for cigarette butts within months.




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  15. PD Shaw says:

    @john personna: I agree. I also notice there is far less content previewed on the main page. The old Volokh had the first few paragraphs of content available before the need to click through.

    The new format has a lot less appeal to me since the Volokh material is quite specialized. As a regular reader, there were only certain topics that I was ever interested in reading through completely. Also looks like the comment section (which was good) has been killed.




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  16. sam says:

    PD, I can go to the comments. I haven’t posted any yet, though.




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  17. Rick Almeida says:

    Takes the Boeing?




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  18. sam says:

    Well, apparently, one must create something called a “Washington Post Display Name” to comment. I’ve not got the foggiest how to do that.




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  19. Rob in CT says:

    @Moosebreath:

    I was going for charitable. I actually haven’t clicked over there in a while.

    And Grumpy Realist is dead-on about the commentors.




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  20. PD Shaw says:

    @sam: Its Darwinian; only the finest commentors will be able to overcome the hurdles put in place to contribute. Or the craziest.




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  21. Motopilot says:

    @john personna:

    I think the form of the two, the old Volokh and the new WP page, show an interesting transition.

    It definitely looks more link-bait, more viral mill, in the new format.

    It will be interesting to see what Bezos does with this viral link-bait, in view of what he’s planning for Amazon.

    http://news.msn.com/science-technology/amazon-will-sell-you-things-before-you-know-you-want-to-buy-them#tscptme




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  22. Electroman says:

    @sam: It’s essentially what most web sites call “registering”. If you have an .edu or .gov email address, you can get through their paywall for free (and this is their intention, not an exploit).

    Back when I was a kid, I carried the Post, and my neighbor (Bob Berglund if anybody remembers him – he was Secretary of Agriculture at the time) told me that the Post “should be printed in red ink on yellow paper!” He coughed up his subscription payments, though.




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  23. dazedandconfused says:

    Another ask for what “The Boeing” means.

    In the wonk v. wank argument, my opinion that we need more ideological legal arguments in the media about as much as we need more holes in our heads right now.




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  24. sam says:

    Take the Boeing:

    Back when blogs were young the phrase “take the Boeing” was coined (at Instapundit, of course) to describe blogs that sold out [and] affiliated with major media. As in “The Volokh Conspiracy took the Boeing,” to describe their affiliation with WaPo. Given that Jeff Bezos now owns the WaPo, however, I suggest that we should update the phrase. As in “Mr. Bezos, I am prepated to take the Prime Air.”

    From Prof. Bainbridge.




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  25. john personna says:

    Related, on the decline of news:

    Form of Headline Awful pic.twitter.com/Kwu6UhUwP2— Christopher Mims (@mims) January 23, 2014

    I expect CNN to roll back on that one. Or I hope so. What a terrible world it would be with that as the norm.




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  26. Rick Almeida says:

    @sam:

    Thank you.




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