Magazine article Foreign Policy

The Blogging Life

Magazine article Foreign Policy

The Blogging Life

Article excerpt

After six months of daily posts for the new, four FP bloggers gave us the scoop on "feeding the beast." We spoke to STEPHEN M. WALT, professor of international affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and coauthor of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy; THOMAS E. RICKS, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, former Washington Post correspondent, and author of Fiasco and The Gamble; DAVID J. ROIHKOPF, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of Superclass; and our newest blogger, Open Society Institute fellow EVGENY MOROZOV, an expert on how the Internet is shaping society who now writes our Net Effect biog.

What's the mission of your blog?

Walt: Foreign-policy discussion in the United States often runs the gamut from A to B. What I'm trying to do is broaden that conversation a bit.

Ricks: I wanted to play with the form. For example, with the series I did on the Battle of Wanat in Afghanistan, I wanted to interact with the readers. I had participants of the battle writing in to me. That's not something you can do easily with a newspaper series.

Rothkopf: My main goal when I started was that it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes a day. That was not successful. More seriously, I wanted to find a different voice and treat foreign-policy issues with a little less of the theological stiffness that I see in the way it's generally treated, and every once in a while--if I'm lucky--to puncture a taboo or make someone angry.

Morozov: The overall mission is to elevate the debate about the political impact of technology. Too much of the current debate is dominated by cyberutopian assumptions that I think need to be challenged and analyzed.


How is blogging different from other writing you've done?

* Walt: Blogging is almost the antithesis of scholarly writing, which tends to be very slow, painstaking, and careful. You also have to have a much thicker skin as a blogger because the response is so instantaneous, and you're likely to be wrong more often than you would with something you spend months or years working on.

* Ricks: Writing for a newspaper is a very formalized structure. …

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