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inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #51 of 76: Gail Williams (gail) Sun 17 Oct 04 09:19
    
(Dan Mitchell's post has slipped ahead while I was posting, I should add
that my question was posed to Dan Gilmor of course)
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #52 of 76: Christian Crumlish (xian) Sun 17 Oct 04 10:56
    
Note that we have a blog conference here on the Well too where the
concept can be explored at great length.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #53 of 76: gary (ggg) Sun 17 Oct 04 19:29
    
and while you're up, please clarify for a complete ignoramus like me, what
RSS is / ain't...
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #54 of 76: Christian Crumlish (xian) Mon 18 Oct 04 01:17
    
Dan can step in if he likes, but RSS is a file format for syndication
that is a "dialect" of XML, so it's another way to tag information in
the sense that HTML is a way to tag information, but it's more
concerned with structure (loosely: title, link, description, although
there's more to it than that) than with presentation.

It's used mainly as a way of notifying people of updates to a website
(often a blog) and of exchanging headlines and links to articles
between sites. It's become a way to read new entries from many
different sites all in one program (usually called a news aggregrator
or news reader).

(see also http://www.x-pollen.com/many/wiki/newpom.php/RSS)

Does that help or am I making things worse?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #55 of 76: David Kline (dkline) Mon 18 Oct 04 11:43
    
I'm very intrigued with the recent comments about "localization" in
blogging -- i.e., community or local journalism/information that helps
people conduct their daily lives (which are lived locally, of course).

If you find blogs wherever people are passionate about something, and if
passionate people tend to be more influential and active in their
communities (all other things being equal), then ergo might we not one day
have localized blogs serving as, in effect, "collective organizers"?

I can imagine a soccer Mom running a blog about her kids' team events, 
etc. Word comes down that City Hall plans to shut down the city-sponsored 
league because of cutbacks. Soccer Mom uses her blog to organize 100 
parents to go down to City Hall and protest.

Just one example. Does anyone know of any blogs in which ordinary people 
have managed to affect their own and their neighbors' daily lives in a 
community context?

Full disclosure: I'm writing a book that, Insh'allah, will deal 
intelligently with this and related issues.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #56 of 76: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 18 Oct 04 14:42
    
I have comments on the last few posts (though I expect Dan G. will have 
even more to say)...

<mitchell>, there's more than one way to consider blogs as potential 
competitors for traditional press. They may compete for ads, for one 
thing, but I think the real competition is for mindshare. If I read a 
dozen blogs a day, I'm less likely to read newspapers... I've channeled my 
attention elsewhere. 

Where reporting's concerned, I haven't heard many, if any, conversations 
proposing that blogs would replace newspapers for broad coverage of the 
news. They augment with different, usually personal perspectives.

Some newspapers have blogs, some journalists have blogs, and some bloggers 
post items that would qualify as reporting. That's what I *think* Dan et 
al are saying, not that blogs are somehow a replacement for established 
news sources.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #57 of 76: David Kline (dkline) Mon 18 Oct 04 14:52
    
Not to get away from my question about blogs as local "collective
organizers" -- and I really hope Dan and others have ideas on that -- but
I wanted to add two small cents to the discussion of whether blogging will
relegate traditional media to the ashcan of history.

1) Didn't we hear something like that 10 years ago re: how new online
media was turning Time Warner & Microsoft into dinosaurs who were just
"re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic?"

2) Aside from all the other ways blogging can complement and influence and
change Big Media (which is already happening), blogs may also soon enable
new kinds of media products & services (in similar fashion to how the
growing role of "voice" and "niche segmenting" helped create Fox News,
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, etc. in TV).
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #58 of 76: Dan Gillmor (dangillmor) Tue 19 Oct 04 13:59
    
Folks, apologies for my absence; I've been backed up on other work.
I'm just boarding a plane to give a talk in London and will work on
replies on the flight. Look for updates tomorrow.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #59 of 76: Jack Kessler (kessler) Tue 19 Oct 04 15:46
    
There are a lot _more_ bloggers than there are mainstream media
journalists, which is what attracts me to blogs, for both breadth and
depth. Mainstream media has become so narrow: I feel as though I am
reading the same story over and over again, cruising from one tv or
radio channel to another, or from one newspaper to another.

Blogs need "layering", though, like the mainstream media provides:
editors, and competitors, and publishers worried about the bottom line,
and all of the other discipline-sources which keep media from running
off its deep end into brainless tirades about nothing. That was Usenet,
or what it became. I like loosely-moderated lists, primarily because
they avoid the Usenet blather. Only so many hours in a day...

So yes blogs can replace mainstream media easily, for me. I'd really
enjoy the greater breadth and depth. But only if they incorporate
hardnosed editing, and careful research, and good writing: most don't,
so far -- all of that is expensive, and takes time to develop, but I
have my fingers crossed. 

An example of a good blog which I've used is Larry Lessig's --
http://www.lessig.org/blog/ -- also the Dean Campaign's blog last year,
which was well-structured and conveyed both useful information and
good discussion, I thought. An example of a bad blog has been Kerry's,
which tends to get filled with congratulatory rah-rah one-liners and
announcements -- also the Kerry econference, which got invaded by
trolls and wingnuts too much -- but then maybe that's just politics. A
blog needs a dynamic balance of open-ness and discipline to be really
useful, for me. I mostly like The WELL...

One thing you might discuss here -- perhaps you do in your book, Dan?
-- is blogging as a means of tapping into greater _international_ news,
breadth & depth. US mainstream media does a pretty poor job, IMHO, of
providing international news coverage. Also, conventional coverage
overseas is expensive: I'd think blogs would be the cheapest way to
obtain news from any overseas niche not well-covered by Murdoch &
minions -- most exciting coverage I've seen, recently, of events like
Red Square, or Manila "people power", has come from the Internet. That
plus Seymour Hersh, as always... does Hersh have a blog?...

Somebody pls sell us on the following: Seymour Hersh's blog, Robert
Kaplan's blog, James Fallows' blog, Lewis Lapham's blog... PJO'Rourke's
blog... Dave Barry already has one... I'll bet writers like this will
be able to get personal online advertising support, for their blogs,
once online advertising's recovery really gets under way: maybe they
can steal some account revenue from Yahoo's surge.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #60 of 76: Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 19 Oct 04 16:44
    
I'm enjoying James Wolcott's catty new blog.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #61 of 76: Dan Gillmor (dangillmor) Wed 20 Oct 04 05:32
    
OK, some replies:

Dan Mitchell said (post #41), 

<<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?>>

I do address this, and I think blogs have great potential for filling
a major cap. Newspapers, especially in larger markets, can't begin to
deal with all the local news that needs to be covered. We just don't
have the staff. But I'd like to see papers offer blogs to citizens,
encouraging them to cover the local news we can't do. We wouldn't
endorse what they write, or vouch for its accuracy, but I'd argue that
some coverage is better than none at all. 

My take on the future of local dailies is mixed. True local news will
always have an audience. But the business model of newspapers is under
attack. I don't know how we'll do in the end, but I would hate to see
papers disappear.


Gail (post #50),

The RSS explosion has serious disruptive potential. It's a much more
efficient way to read a number of sites. It's a better way to
distribute some kinds of information (I'd love to see PR folks only do
RSS feeds of their press releases, for example, and stop blasting out
spam-like e-mail to people like me.) 

I try not to get caught up in the "is blogging journalism" argument.
The answer is Yes in some cases, No in others. Some blogs are clearly
journalism by any measure you want to name. I see this less as a
competition issue than a symbiosis: Bloggers inform journalists and
vice versa.

Christian, thanks for that summary of what RSS stands for and does.


David (55 and 58),

We know that blogs can brilliantly serve niches, and even attract
advertising. 

Localization is another niche if you think of it that way. The soccer
mom who keeps the community informed is definitely spreading news of a
sort. Note that in this circumstance the news is something formerly
spread via other means, and this is just a more efficient way (for
other parents who have computers, anyway). 

Jeff Jarvis (buzzmachine.com) has been talking a lot about what he
calls "hyper-local news," of which this is one example. I'm pretty
jazzed by the possibilities, too, I must say.

It's essential to remember, too, that blogs are only one form of
citizens media. Niche audio and video programming are going to be an
incredible source of news and entertainment in the future. Finding it
may be the most difficult part, but the tools for creating
professional-looking movies and music are coming down fast in cost
while coming up faster in quality.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #62 of 76: Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 20 Oct 04 09:57
    
You lead to a good question. When everyone can produce original
stories and/or and remix their incoming media feeds (example:
http://monkeyvortex.com/radio/005823.html), how will we ever find the
good stuff?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #63 of 76: David Kline (dkline) Wed 20 Oct 04 10:50
    
Attention: Calling all visionary technologists!
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #64 of 76: Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 20 Oct 04 14:21
    
not to go too far off-topic, but here's another remix of the third
debate: http://zoka.com/4thdebate/
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #65 of 76: virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Wed 20 Oct 04 18:18
    
I'll bite, Christian: We find the Good Stuff by being social. We have
friends and acquaintances and online buddies and folks we read/subscribe to
and rely on. And they point us at stuff. The folks we return to are the ones
who point at Good-to-us Stuff.

(And that's where we perhaps inevitably end up with power laws and audiences
that vary orders of magnitude in size from "A Listers" down to me and
below.)
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #66 of 76: from JOHN ADAMS (tnf) Thu 21 Oct 04 06:45
    



Couple of posts from John Adams that slipped through the inkwell-hosts'
fingers inadvertently:


From: John Adams <jadams01@sprynet.com>
Date: Sun Oct 17, 2004  12:21:07 PM US/Eastern
To: inkwell-hosts@well.com
Subject: In asnwer to #38: While many disagree about the difference between a
blog and a website...

...and even though this leaves out many prominent blogs which I read (Dave
Winer [who explicitly disagrees with me on this point] at
http://www.scripting.com/, Josh Marshall at
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/, John Packzowski at
www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/business/columnists/gmsv/, and the
staff of _The American Prospect_ at http://www.prospect.org/weblog/, to name
four), I believe the key to a weblog is the comments section. If you send
Martha Stewart an e-mail, she reads it, or someone on her staff reads it, and
maybe it ends up on her "notes" page:
http://www.marthatalks.com/notes/index.html . If you could post a comment on
her weblog (which you can't), everyone who cared to read the site could read
what you said, and (if they cared to) respond to you. This is what makes some
weblogs, such as the Nielsen-Haydens' (http://nielsenhayden.com/electrolite/
and http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/) a group effort, even though
they're run by individuals (okay, in this case, run by a couple. There are
other examples, but they are such a _good_ example, and so worth reading, and
so likely to appeal to readers here, that I'll use them as the example.).

So, Dan, how is this going to scale? When Kevin Drum moved from his CalPundit
weblog to Political Animal at http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/, the size of
the comments sections seems (I should count this, y'know?) seems to have
about doubled. Are commented weblogs going to disobey the power law curve by
topping out once they get a sufficiently large number of regular, prolific
commenters? Will commenter registration make a qualitative change (aside from
reducing trolling, nudge nudge wink wink say no more), or just move the point
where the curve bends?

All the best,

        John A



From: John Adams <jadams01@sprynet.com>
Date: Sun Oct 17, 2004  11:56:08 AM US/Eastern
To: inkwell-hosts@well.com
Subject: In answer to #39: To find journalist' blogs...

...or any other sort of blog, really, try http://www.technorati.com/ or (and
this is my favorite method) ask your friends or look on other's websites,
like Dan's weblog. He's got a fair number of other journalists' weblogs in
his blogroll. Then see who _they_ have on their blogrolls, If you pull on one
thread, you'll get yourself a nice ball of yarn.

All the best,

        John A
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #67 of 76: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 21 Oct 04 20:05
    
Dan, thinking about the supposed power law distribution and this
conversation about "how to find the good stuff," I'm wondering if, while
writing the book, you gained any insight into how people interact with 
blogs? I suspect that attempts to get a handle on that question have been 
too linear in their approach, that the actual behavior of readers involves 
a lot of bouncing around, not necessarily focusing on the supposed 
a-lists. I also suspect that the blogs most linked via blogrolls are not 
necessarily the most widely read. Thoughts?
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #68 of 76: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 22 Oct 04 10:32
    

I want to say that I really appreciate the readable narrative tracing the
history of the community, technical, legal and commercial evolution of
online information sharing in your book.  The parts that covered things I
know well were simple and accurate, and the sections about things I didn't
know were full of great anecdotes.

I think this is the book I want to give to the next person who says "I
haven't been keeping up with all this newfangled stuff beyond email."
It's a wonderful way to get the big picture social context.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #69 of 76: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 22 Oct 04 14:21
    

Dan and Jon, it's already been two weeks since this discussion officially
launched. Time just zoomed by! I want to thank you, Dan, for joining us and
to tell you how much we appreciate your visit. If you can stay and continue
this conversation we'd be delighted to have you. Even though the virtual
spotlight has turned to other guests, this topic will remain open and
additional discussion is more than welcome.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #70 of 76: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 22 Oct 04 14:43
    
Thanks to Christian, too! (Heh... I know you meant "Dan and
Christian.")
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #71 of 76: Christian Crumlish (xian) Fri 22 Oct 04 15:02
    
heh... no worries. i enjoyed it.

now off to lobby dgillmor to stick around the Well for the rest of his
visitor's pass allotment!
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #72 of 76: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 22 Oct 04 15:06
    
Yeah, we could always ENFORCE his visitor's pass. 
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #73 of 76: from ROBERT WORRILL (tnf) Sun 24 Oct 04 05:39
    


Robert Worrill writes:


With regard to the question:
how will we ever find the good stuff?

Go here:

http://blogdex.net/
http://www.daypop.com/top/
http://www.popdex.com/
http://del.icio.us/
http://www.monkeyfilter.com/
http://www.metafilter.com/

for a start.
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #74 of 76: Dan Gillmor (dangillmor) Wed 27 Oct 04 13:56
    
I'm not going anywhere...this is too much fun, even though I wish I
had more time for it. More answers in a day or so (I'm under water with
work right now...)
  
inkwell.vue.226 : Dan Gillmor, _We the Media_
permalink #75 of 76: Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 27 Oct 04 13:57
    
all hail asychronicity!
  

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