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the take

What's the Story With Errol Morris's New ‘Times’ Blog?

Errol MorrisPhoto: Getty Images

Among the many new blogs introduced by the New York Times recently is one called Zoom, by genius documentary filmmaker–advertising director Errol Morris. Purportedly a blog in which "a filmmaker uncovers the hidden truth of photos" — potentially launched in response to the recent kerfluffle involving the Times and their choice of photo subject to represent opponents of the immigration bill — Zoom reads less like a blog and more like a lecture. Morris's first and only post takes us through a series of photos, starting with one of the Lusitania, then adding context through other photographs in order to make the point that … well, it's not entirely clear, but seems to be that photos mean more the more you know about them.

Though Morris is an amazing director, he's not much of a blogger; 1,600 words in your first entry, followed by two weeks of silence, doesn't instill a great deal of confidence in your readership. Now we're never going to criticize an artist for working in advertising to fund the projects he wants to pursue, especially when those projects are so outstanding. But don't the high-profile ad campaigns Morris is responsible for at this point — from the "I'm a Mac" campaign to spots for Miller, HP, and Volkswagen — disqualify Morris from serious journalism, even the half-assed kind of journalism that blogging represents?

Zoom [NYT]