Should a magazine reporter who blogs, blog the story first?

One of my favorite magazine writers who blog, BusinessWeek’s Steven Baker, who wrote the Google cloud-computing cover, is asking an interesting question:

“So, which is better: Writing what we learn as we learn it, or holding it secret and publishing it later? Given this (blog’s) readership, I’ll bet 9 of 10 of you would say to publish as we learn. But as I write this, I’m coming to appreciate the traditional approach.”

I, for one, don’t believe, in the type of story Steven is referring to, a writer should “scoop” him- or herself on a blog. Obviously, there are breaking stories that should be blogged. (Heck, I’m witnessing more and more breaking stories being ‘Twittered’ – like this morning’s fire at the Old Executive Office Building.) But in-depth, comprehensive stories like Steven’s cover story don’t need to be blogged first. That said, I often seen book authors test certain hypotheses on their blogs during the writing of a book. In those cases, I’m sure it’s a lot like sharing manuscripts with friends. If the writer and publisher agree with that approach, there’s nothing wrong with it, but I don’t think it’s a “requirement.”

I’m all for transparency and I’m a, hmmm, rather prolific blogger, but I engage in business and “research” and developing ideas all day long. I’m in meetings with clients and employees and talking with all sorts of people on a wide variety of topics — including story ideas for magazines. However, I rarely — if ever — blog about something until it’s at least half-baked. (Note: And I can’t recall EVER blogging about private meetings w/ clients, employees, friends, etc., unless I have received permission from the others to do so.)