inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #26 of 76: 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....
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #27 of 76: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #28 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #29 of 76: Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 13 Oct 04 08:37
    
That's mighty reductive.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #30 of 76: Uncle Jax (jax) Wed 13 Oct 04 08:50
    
I'm not sure my quantum physics blog fits that description, either!
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #31 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #32 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #33 of 76: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #34 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #35 of 76: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #36 of 76: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #37 of 76: 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."
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #38 of 76: 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."
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #39 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #40 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #41 of 76: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #42 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #43 of 76: 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.)
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #44 of 76: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Sat 16 Oct 04 15:33
    
He goes to city council meetings and hearings all the time.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #45 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #46 of 76: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #47 of 76: Uncle Jax (jax) Sun 17 Oct 04 06:26
    
weB LOG hence 'blog'
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #48 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #49 of 76: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #50 of 76: 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.    
  

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