Dan Gillmor (dangillmor) Wed 13 Oct 04 05:26
Just a quick note to say I'm boarding a plane from the U.K. to San Francisco and won't be online until late today or early tomorrow. See you soon....
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Wed 13 Oct 04 07:38
Dan, you seem to do a heck of a lot of travel, presentatations, etc. How do your bosses feel about this? How do you juggle it with your work? How does the financial aspect of it work?
Michael E. Marotta (mercury) Wed 13 Oct 04 08:11
* Has anyone changed their mind as a result of reading a blog? * Has anyone changed their mind about their choice of Presidential candidate? * Have you talked to anyone who has? Blogs, like newspapers, and radios, and gossip across the fence, just tell people what they want to hear.
Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 13 Oct 04 08:37
That's mighty reductive.
Uncle Jax (jax) Wed 13 Oct 04 08:50
I'm not sure my quantum physics blog fits that description, either!
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Wed 13 Oct 04 09:15
Yeah, I hope for good filters that turn up interesting stuff i wouldn't run into otherwise, and that serendipitously turn up things I didn't even know were runintoable.
Ted (nukem777) Wed 13 Oct 04 10:24
I think the Web is pretty much like any marketplace, with all the same dynamics. Like Alice's Restaurant, you can pretty much find and get anything you want, IF YOU KNOW HOW TO SEARCH. That's the big downside of blogs and independent viewpoints; they aren't that easy to find and the database in terms of topics is not all that searchable. That will all get better over time. But you can do all that now with print media if you are willing to spend the time and money or hang out at the library. The Web just lets you get to it all faster and put it out faster. None of that is intrinsically better in terms of content or reliable sources. But again, that will get better over time. It still all comes down to individual attitudes towards wanting to be informed. I don't see the Internet as ever being able to have the "sway" of the big media, for good or ill.
Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 13 Oct 04 12:09
Like what Bruce said, I think the collaborative filtering is the most interesting part. Discovering a particularly good writer through their blog is always nice but in a way I'm more interested in what the collective ends up judging worthy of discussion - the kind of 'wisdom of crowds' effect that James Surowiecki writes about. Dan, how do you view the Dave Winer argument that subject-matter experts make better news sources than generalist reporters?
Dan Gillmor (dangillmor) Thu 14 Oct 04 15:06
The collaborative filtering is definitely a fascinating development. I don't know that it always ends up producing "wisdom," as in Surowiecki's (terrific book) notion of this. Conventional wisdom is frequently wrong, which is why we get stock bubbles and other problems. But the linking machine is the way memes are spread these days, at least at the outset before they penetrate conventional media's centralized system. I agree in part with what Dave says. Domain experts are clearly good sources for narrowly focused reporting on what they know best. Sometimes they lack perspective, however, and sometimes they're pitching a point of view. The latter is fine, as long as it's disclosed. When domain experts disagree or fill in the gaps, we can learn a great deal. One thing general-assignment reporters or non-experts can do, though, is to sift through a variety of data and present a first cut at what it all means. Yes, this is imperfect, and that's one reason I like the blog fact-checking system so much (when it works well). On some issues I would trust certain reporters who aren't part of a given profession more than I'd trust the insiders, at least to fairly present the debate in generalized terms. One thing we generalists can do more is to point to original source material. The Web lets us do just that.
Christian Crumlish (xian) Thu 14 Oct 04 19:45
So, Dan, if you project out the trends you're seeing in the news business as interactive, two-way media join the conversation, where do you see things going? Is the journalism profession going to change? Are the required skills going to evolve? Will the media outlets become more savvy about including this new middle-realm of readers who are also writers?
Michael E. Marotta (mercury) Thu 14 Oct 04 20:25
Long ago, Physics Today had to create a separate journal, Physics Letters. Physics had matured. It has been a generation now that major papers evolved their Editorial Page into the Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials) pages, which I think actually orginated as the "Opposite the Editorial Page Page." In other words, the paper had its say on one page, including its chosen syndicated colmnists -- in my youth Buckley and Lippman -- and then on the other page, the replies, retorts, and reflections, what some people today call "pushback." For all the touting, the Internet and its Worldwide Web, of necessity grew out of and replicate what went before. To me, a critical consideration here would be: what is unique to the new medium? What does blogging do that newspapers (etc., etc.) could not do before?
Michael E. Marotta (mercury) Sat 16 Oct 04 01:11
#22 of 36: Paulina Borsook (loris) "... i know -so- many folks who now say 'i dont have to read newspapers, i just read x # of blogs every day' 'no one needs to read books any more because there are blogs' I have never heard anyone say either of those things. I guess it depends on where you live and who you listen to. More to the point, I understand a double meaning in "We, the Media." The first is that "we, the people, are now the media." We can report directly to each other via our personal websites, without depending on professional journalists to do that for us. The other meaning is that "we, the professionals of the mass media, now have the Worldwide Web, which is another medium that allows us to tell everyone else what we want them to know."
Michael E. Marotta (mercury) Sat 16 Oct 04 01:49
Tonight, I visited Martha Stewart's site, www.marthatalks.com, which some trendy people might say is her "blog" but which I call "Martha Stewart's website." Stewart sets the record straight (from her point of view -- which I happen to agree with). She provides links to articles that support her defense against the criminal charges brought against her. She writes for anyone who will read it. Granted that the WWW makes that possible in a way that print (and television, radio, etc.) could not. Although I am grateful that she has the opportunity to speak from jail, her website is not different in kind from a "personal webcam site" or any other interesting use of computer network technology. She accepts email via her website. Someone else might call that "blog pushback" but I call it "email to Martha Stewart via her website."
Michael E. Marotta (mercury) Sat 16 Oct 04 08:52
I would like to know how people find these journalist "blogs." At Borders, I saw Virginia Postrel's THE ENEMIES OF THE FUTURE. I checked it out from the library. Then, I used Google to find out more. As a result, I discovered Postrel's personal website. This morning, researching Ayn Rand for a post to be placed on the Usenet newsgroup, rec.collecting.coins, I entered "Galt's Speech" into Google and found these: http://members.aol.com/johng101/festsp1b.htm "The rationale behind me being aka my claims to fame are authoring a document entitled Mininum Acceptable Marijuana Policies, which could end up being, the frame work for the legalization of Marijuana in this country. I am also trying to be the most protesting man in the country I have attended over thirty protests this year !!! I also am the founder of Web Station #19 a very popular political activist web site (complete with fluff) which ..." Benjamin Netanyahu http://www.netanyahu.org/galatshrug.html Do not struggle for profit, success or security at the price of a lien on your right to exist. Such lien is not to be paid off; the more you pay them, the more they demand; The greater the values you seek or achieve, the more vulnerably helpless you become. Theirs is the system of white blackmail devised to bleed you, not by means of your sin, but by means of your love for existence. "Galt's Speech," Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand http://www.netanyahu.org/galatshrug.html As far as I know, the only way to find these "blogs" is to chance upon them. When I do, what I find is a personal website, different in no essential way from the young woman who installed cameras in her home so that people could watch her life, via the Worldwide Web.
Dan Gillmor (dangillmor) Sat 16 Oct 04 10:33
The Stewart site is a good example of modern PR. It's certainly not a blog in any way that I'd recognize. What it does is give her a way of bypassing the media and communicating directly with her fans (and others) in her own words. I also have very little sympathy for her predicament, given how arrogantly she tried to game the system. As to the question of what blogs do that newspapers don't, there are several things. Blogs go after niches that are too small for major media. They encourage a conversation -- the letter to the editor is not my idea of a real conversation. What bloggers can't do, with rare exceptions, is devote enormous resources, financial and otherwise, to a project or investigation. Even here, though, there are collaborative journalism projects that have great potential. Still, it'll be some time before the online community can match, say, the NYT in a major project where the ability to defend the result in a courtroom may well be part of the deal.
Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Sat 16 Oct 04 15:11
>What bloggers can't do, with rare exceptions, is devote enormous resources, financial and otherwise, to a project or investigation. Or, in most cases, simple ongoing coverage of a beat. They also cannot provide comprehensiuve coverage of a local community. One thing that is usually left out of discussions like this is local news, which is really what most newspapers do -- and blogs aren't really good for that, unless they simply link to a bunch of local media, which doesn't really count as "coverage." Do you address this at all in your book, Dan? And what is your take on the future of local dailies?
Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Sat 16 Oct 04 15:21
I disagree. This blog <http://communique.portland.or.us> has more in-depth local political coverage than most of the "big media" in PDX.
Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Sat 16 Oct 04 15:29
I'll look at it, but in the meantime, does it cover the schools? Local health care? Crime? Arts? Public safety? Local sports? Local business? Local government, like zoning issues, the health board, the transportation authority? Workplace issues? OK, I looked quickly, and saw that the first several entries are all about what's being written in local papers. But beyond that, is there any actual political coverage, or is it just a lot of opinions, like most political blogs? Does the person running the blog actually talk to people, find things out, examine records, work the phones, cultivate sources, sit though city council meetings? It might be a great blog, but unless it does that stuff, it's not competition for the Oregonian. (Though it may in several ways help the Oregonian become a better newspaper.)
Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Sat 16 Oct 04 15:33
He goes to city council meetings and hearings all the time.
Christian Crumlish (xian) Sat 16 Oct 04 20:35
It's true, although he is thinking of quitting by Nov .30 if he can't figure out a break-even business plan.
William H. Dailey (whdailey) Sun 17 Oct 04 00:33
I see the word "Blog" with ever greater frequency but I have ner seen a definition of the word. Can someone Supply?
Uncle Jax (jax) Sun 17 Oct 04 06:26
weB LOG hence 'blog'
Edward Rustin (ed) Sun 17 Oct 04 07:20
If you think online journal then it would be close to what a lot of blogs are. But there are also many different types of blog.
Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Sun 17 Oct 04 09:15
On some small level, then, the Portland guy does some reporting. On about the same level as the housewife freelancing for her local weekly by going to city council meetings and taking notes. And that's fine. But it's hardly like a newspaper the size of the Oregonian, with a city desk of what -- 12, 15 reporters and several editors. Not to mention the dozens of other reporters and editors, all with years of professional experience and expertise, covering everything else. One person could conceivably cover one beat on a blog. No blog will ever compete with what a newspaper does. And the fact that he can't break even goes back to the core economic reasons blogs can't cover the news like a newspaper, even on a single beat. Reporters making 60K per year to work full-time digging for stories for a newspaper that gives them access to all kinds of resources; a team of editors; massive, entrenched distribution systems; marketing; brand name; etc., will always trump a single hobbyist with a Web site. Maybe someday the Web, with its relatively low production and distribution costs, will allow the creation of real competition for newspapers, and whole teams of people will work for them, with editors and business staffs, and professional standards, access to resources, etc. I used to think this would happen pretty quickly. I don't think so any more, but I still have hope. But crucially, in that case, such operations won't be blogs, but merely newspapers publishing online. And we already have those. We just need more of them.
Gail Williams (gail) Sun 17 Oct 04 09:18
Updating a web page each day and leaving the prior comments visible is not a new thing, obviously. However, blogging as a phenomenon has two frequent additions to being a web page that is updated. The software developments in the blog field have made both comments and syndication extremely common and easy, and those were unknown features in early web pages that were updated with daily remarks or reports. When people mention blogging in terms of a community -- which as usual is a misnomer since many groups of people who know something about one another is probably a better description -- the reason that's a phenomenon worth noting is largely due to the ability to leave comments and syndicate updates&headlines. At least, that's how it looks to me from the outskirts. Dan, what can you say about RSS and the like, and blogging as journalism? The fact that "syndication" is the operative metaphor always struck me as a hint that the idea of being journalists rather than journal-keepers has been an intrinsic desire driving blogging software development.
Members: Enter the conference to participate