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Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over

"I have been an observer and critic of the American press for 19 years. In that stretch there has never been a time so unsettled. More is up for grabs than has ever been up for grabs since I started my watch."

This is the essay I wrote for the <a href="http://cyber.law.harvard.edu:8080/webcred/index.php?p=2t.">Blogging, Journalism & Credibility </a>conference Jan. 21-22 in Cambridge, MA. <a href="http://cyber.law.harvard.edu:8080/webcred/index.php?p=4">(Participants</a>.) <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=1501">Comments</a> welcome.

Bloggers vs. journalists is over. I don't think anyone will mourn its passing. There were plenty who hated the debate in the first place, and openly ridiculed its pretensions and terms. But events are what did the thing in at the end. In the final weeks of its run, we were getting bulletins from journalists like <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/28/technology/28blogs.html?ex=1261890000&en=861d90080b50622f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland">this one</a> from John Schwartz of the New York Times, Dec. 28: "For vivid reporting from the enormous zone of tsunami disaster, it was hard to beat the blogs."

And so we know they're journalism-- sometimes. They're even capable, at times, and perhaps only in special circumstances, of beating Big Journalism at its own game. Schwartz said so. The tsunami story is the biggest humanitarian disaster ever in the lifetimes of most career journalists and the blogs were somehow right there with them.

The question now isn't whether blogs can be journalism. They can be, sometimes. It isn't whether bloggers "are" journalists. They apparently are, sometimes. We have to ask different questions now because events have moved the story forward. By "events" I mean things on the surface we can see, like the tsunami story, and things underneath that we have yet to discern.

That's why we're conferencing: to find the deeper pattern, of which blogging and journalism are a part. So that is what I give you: my best attempt at scratching out a pattern.

I have been an observer and critic of the American press for 19 years. In that stretch there has never been a time so unsettled. More is up for grabs than has ever been up for grabs since I started my watch. And so it is fortunate that we meet next week on blogging, journalists and the social dynamics of user trust. For this is an exciting time in journalism. Part of the reason is the extension of "the press" to the people we have traditionally called the public.

By the press I mean the public service franchise in journalism, where the writers and do-ers of it actually are. That press has shifted social location. Much of it is still based in The Media (a business) and will be for some time, but some is in nonprofits, and some of the franchise ("the press") is now in public hands because of the Web, the weblog and other forms of citizen media. Naturally our ideas about it are going to change. The franchise is being enlarged.

It was a sign of the times for everyone watching when on January 1, Dan Gillmor, a participant in our conference, and one of the most respected technology journalists in the country, <a href="http://english.ohmynews.com/ArticleView/article_view.asp?menu=A11100&no=201088&rel_no=1&back_url=">quit </a>the San Jose Mercury News, and quit Knight-Ridder, for a grassroots journalism <a href="http://dangillmor.typepad.com/dan_gillmor_on_grassroots/2005/01/new_year_new_ro.html">start-up</a>, funded not by any media company but two entrepreneurs in the tech biz, Mitch Kapor and Pierre Omidyar.

For years, Big Journalism had been losing great people when they ran out of room for their ideas. It was believed that these losses did not threaten the enterprise. Gillmor was gone because he had reached the limits of professional press think. The journalism he was interested in developing lay outside the capacities of a traditional media company. He left for the same reason Mark Potts, co-founder of WashingtonPost.com, is <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60249-2004Dec12.html">starting</a> a hyper-local news operation where the content is to be citizen-provided.

  <a name="more"></a>

But then it's the same reason newspaper editor John Robinson of the News & Record in Greensboro took up blogging, formed ties with the local blogging culture, and <a href="http://blog.news-record.com/jrblog/archives/2005/01/update_on_the_l.html">announced </a>a shift in direction toward open-source and participatory journalism at his newspaper, which will mean <a href="http://blog.news-record.com/lexblog/archives/2005/01/newsrecordcom_a_1.html">gambling</a> on a whole different kind of online operation. (See his <a href="http://blog.news-record.com/staff/jrblog/archives/2005/01/my_newspaper_co_2.html#more">column</a> to readers about it.)

Not sovereign

They all sense it, what Tom Curley, the man who runs the Associated Press, <a href="http://journalist.org/2004conference/archives/000079.php">called</a> "a huge shift in the 'balance of power' in our world, from the content providers to the content consumers." If there is such a shift (and Curley didn't seem to be kidding) it means that professional journalism is no longer sovereign over territory it once easily controlled. Not sovereign doesn't mean you go away. It means your influence isn't singular anymore.

Orville Schell, dean of the University of California at Berkeley's journalism school and a conference participant, <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_03/b3916001_mz001.htm">told </a> Business Week recently: "The Roman Empire that was mass media is breaking up, and we are entering an almost-feudal period where there will be many more centers of power and influence."

When 90 percent of the op-ed style writing was done on actual op-ed pages, editorial page editors had sovereignty over that region of public dialogue. With blogging and the online space generally, that rule is gone. Opinion in reaction to the news can come from anywhere, and the bloggers are frequently better at it than the sleepy op-ed page ever was. Newspaper op-ed pages can still have influence; they can still be great. But they are not sovereign in their domain, and so their ideas, which never anticipated that, are under great pressure.

When Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and a figure in the news, wants to speak to fans, players or the community, he doesn't do it through the reporters who cover the Mavs. He puts the word out at his <a href="http://www.blogmaverick.com/">weblog</a>. For the beat writers who cover the team this is a loss; Cuban hardly deals with them anymore. Here, however, the balance of power has shifted toward a figure in the news, once known as a source. A weblog helped shift it. (Blogs of a <a href="http://fastlane.gmblogs.com/">corporate executive,</a> and an <a href="http://jlthigpen.blogspot.com/">officeholder</a> who have done the same.)

If my terms make sense, and professional journalism has entered a period of declining sovereignty in news, politics and the provision of facts to public debate, this does not have to mean declining influence or reputation. It does not mean that prospects for the public service press are suddenly dim. It does, however, mean that the old political contract between news providers and news consumers will give way to something different, founded on what Curley correctly called a new "balance of power."

Others have seen the change coming. In a 2003 report, New Directions for News <a href="http://www.ojr.org/ojr/workplace/1060218311.php">said</a>, "Journalism finds itself at a rare moment in history where ... its hegemony as gatekeeper of the news is threatened by not just new technology and competitors but, potentially, by the audience it serves." The professional imagination in Big Journalism wasn't prepared for this.

Armed with easy-to-use Web publishing tools, always-on connections and increasingly powerful mobile devices, the online audience has the means to become an active participant in the creation and dissemination of news and information.

Meanwhile, the credibility of the old descriptions is falling away. People don't buy them anymore. In 1988, 58 percent of the public agreed with the self-description of the press and saw no bias in political reporting, according to the Pew Research Center. (And that was regarded as a dangerously low figure.) By 2004, agreement on "no bias" had <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64190-2005Jan10_2.html">slipped</a> to 38 percent. "The notion of a neutral, non-partisan mainstream press was, to me at least, worth holding onto," <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6813945/">wrote</a> Howard Fineman of Newsweek, Jan. 13. "Now it's pretty much dead, at least as the public sees things."

Big Notion death was a theme in journalism in 2004, coming not from the margins but the middle. Geneva Overholser of the Missouri School of Journalism, former editor of the Des Moines Register, former ombudsman of the Washington Post, <a href="http://www.ctnow.com/features/lifestyle/hc-whatsnews.artdec23,0,3240486.story">said</a> it:

This was the year when it finally became unmistakably clear that objectivity has outlived its usefulness as an ethical touchstone for journalism. The way it is currently construed, "objectivity" makes the media easily manipulable by an executive branch intent on and adept at controlling the message. It produces a rigid orthodoxy, excluding voices beyond the narrowly conventional.

If objectivity, once the "ethical touchstone for journalism," has finally collapsed, then we have conditions resembling intellectual crisis in the mainstream press. Steve Lovelady, managing editor of Campaigndesk.org, and a former editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, <a href="http://www.ctnow.com/features/lifestyle/hc-whatsnews.artdec23,0,3240486.story">agreed</a> that the press in 2004 "was hopelessly hobbled by some of its own outdated conventions and frameworks."

When people like Fineman, Overholser and Lovelady--who are elders of the tribe, and products of its recent history--are saying about a key commandment "that's over," and "our belief system has collapsed," we can assume the causes are deeper than some spectacularly blown stories or the appearance of more nimble competitors. Loss of core belief is related to loss of editorial sovereignty.

"The paper doesn't have a voice."

"I live in Winston-Salem," begins a <a href="http://practicalinc.typepad.com/jon/2005/01/my_hometown_pap.html">blog post</a> from Jan 13, which I submit as material for the conference. Jon Lowder writes:

I have the Winston-Salem Journal delivered every morning. But I don't feel like I know anyone there. The paper doesn't have a "voice," at least not one that I can hear. The closest thing to its voice is the editor's column in the op-ed section.

The problems of finding a believable voice are fundamental in Big J journalism today. Jon Lowder admitted that one reason the Journal seemed so voice-less to him was the juxtaposition with the Greensboro <a href="http://www.news-record.com/">News-Record</a>, which had begun to reach him from the next town over through weblogs he read. (There are five and he subscribes to them all.) These he received via the wire service of the blog world, known as RSS, a truly disruptive technology for the news business. (See<a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/01/tptn_cntr.html"> this</a>.)


"I get all of the N&R blogs via RSS," Lowder said. (It stands for real simple syndication.) "I don't get their paper... yet. But I still feel closer to the N&R, and in a way I feel it is my hometown paper." And this is what his post is about: not blogging, or RSS, or journalism, but a shfting sense of "hometown paper" for the user. Lowder explains how the Greensboro paper (see my reports on them <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/12/18/grns_nr.html">here</a>, then <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/12/21/grnsbr_flw.html">here</a> and <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/04/lex_report.html">here</a>) has infiltrated his world. "It would probably pain the editor at the Journal (I have no idea what his/her name is) to know that I feel like I'm on a first name basis with the editor of the Greensboro News & Record (Hi John!)."

That would be John Robinson. With his <a href="http://blog.news-record.com/jrblog/">Editors Log</a> he is talking to Winston Salem more often than the newspaper editor in Winston-Salem does. Lowder speaks of the News & Record coming to him, while the Journal site just sits there, static.

I hear from the N&R several times every day, all via their blogs. I hear from the Journal in the morning and that's it... As a result I know more about Greensboro's city council than I do about Winston-Salem's. So for now I'd say that the N&R is my hometown paper. It's not too late for the Journal, but they better act fast or it will be. I'd love to write the editor and share some ideas... anybody have a name for me?

<a href="http://dangillmor.typepad.com/dan_gillmor_on_grassroots/2005/01/distributed_jou.html">Distributed</a> journalism. <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/12/28/tptn04_opsc.html">Open Source</a> journalism. <a href="http://www.buzzmachine.com/archives/2004_04_20.html#006884">Citizens</a> media. <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6639760/">Citizen </a> journalism. <a href="http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/weblog.php">We</a> media. <a href="http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblogs_journalism.html">Participatory</a> media. <a href="http://www.ojr.org/ojr/workplace/1060218311.php">Participatory</a> journalism. These are the new names for the discussion that first grew up around blogging. <a href="http://www.poynter.org/content/content_view.asp?id=76520">Steve Outing</a> of the Poynter Institute noticed it:

The earthquake and tsunamis in South Asia and their aftermath represent a tipping point in so-called "citizen journalism." What September 11, 2001, was to setting off the growth and enhanced reputation of blogs, the December 2004 tsunamis are to the larger notion of citizen journalism (of which blogs are a part).

The cartoon dialogue

Chris Willis, co-author of a key report, <a href="http://www.hypergene.net/wemedia/weblog.php">We Media</a>, said in a recent <a href="http://www.hypergene.net/blog/weblog.php?id=P241">interview</a> with a Spanish journalist: "What is the most unsettling thing for media professionals is not change but how the change is happening and where it is coming from. Change is not coming from traditional competitors but from the audience they serve. What could be more frightening?"

And some of that fear had crept into bloggers vs. journalists, making it a cartoon dialogue. One reason I jumped at the chance to do this introductory essay is that I felt I had some hand in creating what <a href="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/palfrey/">John Palfrey</a> of the Berkman Center called (in his letter inviting me) the "totally inadequate language that is used like a blunt instrument to describe both journalism and blogging." (See <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/03/25/con_prep.html">this</a> PressThink post, and <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/04/16/con_prelude.html">this one</a>.)

Included in that is the simple, tempting and ultimately useless question: are bloggers "real" journalists? To put it that way is unnecessarily antagonistic. But it's worse than that. It's reductive, and smart people have been calling it that for years. Scott Rosenberg, managing editor of Salon and a technology-aware writer, <a href="http://www.salon.com/tech/col/rose/2002/05/10/blogs/index.html">said</a> it back in 2002:

Typically, the debate about blogs today is framed as a duel to the death between old and new journalism. Many bloggers see themselves as a Web-borne vanguard, striking blows for truth-telling authenticity against the media-monopoly empire. Many newsroom journalists see bloggers as wannabe amateurs badly in need of some skills and some editors.

This debate is stupidly reductive -- an inevitable byproduct of (I'll don my blogger-sympathizer hat here) the traditional media's insistent habit of framing all change in terms of a "who wins and who loses?" calculus. The rise of blogs does not equal the death of professional journalism. The media world is not a zero-sum game. Increasingly, in fact, the Internet is turning it into a symbiotic ecosystem -- in which the different parts feed off one another and the whole thing grows.</blockquote>

"Participatory media and journalism are different, but online they exist in a shared media space," <a href="http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/what_is_journalism.html">wrote</a> Rebecca Blood, author of the <a href="http://www.rebeccablood.net/handbook/">Weblog Handbook</a> and a careful student of the form. ("Shared media space" puts it well.) "I have no desire to conform my weblog to journalistic standards, or to remake journalism in my image. I want to find ways to leverage the strengths of both worlds to the mutual benefit of both." I think that is the right attitude for our conference to take.

In an earlier essay, Blood <a href="http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/what_is_journalism.html">showed </a> how difficult it was to identify journalism exclusively with journalists. If we focus on practices that meet a certain standard, she said, then it is easy to tell who is who:

When a blogger writes up daily accounts of an international conference, as David Steven did at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, that is journalism. When a magazine reporter repurposes a press release without checking facts or talking to additional sources, that is not. When a blogger interviews an author about their new book, that is journalism. When an opinion columnist manipulates facts in order to create a false impression, that is not. When a blogger searches the existing record of fact and discovers that a public figure's claim is untrue, that is journalism. When a reporter repeats a politician's assertions without verifying whether they are true, that is not.

Instead of wrestling with blogging's actual potential in journalism, we have tended to fight about bloggers' credentials as journalists. This is a matter of far less importance, although I would never say "credentials don't matter." Even fights about <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/07/07/blog_boston.html">credentials</a> matter, sometimes.

But that is a poor way to go about discovering what blogging means for journalists and the future of the public service franchise. Today there is every reason in the world for journalists to finally get religion about blogging while bloggers get their thing with journalism straight.

Departure points for Friday morning (<a href="http://cyber.law.harvard.edu:8080/webcred/index.php?p=3">Schedule</a>.)

I recommend the following points of departure for our discussion. There are five.

  • 1.) Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, and blogging means practically anyone can own one. That is the Number One reason why weblogs matter. It is the broadest and deepest of all factors making this conference urgent.

With blogging, an awkward term, we designate a fairly beautiful thing: the extension to many more people of a First Amendment franchise, the right to publish your thoughts to the world.

Wherever blogging spreads the dramas of free expression follow. And this will happen in journalism. There will be <a href="http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,66251,00.html">struggles</a> with freedom of speech. A blog, you see, is a little First Amendment machine. And some of the roots of blogging are in the right to speak up, the will to be heard. In some cases, heard over the din of journalism. Dave Winer, conference participant, in a 2001 <a href="http://davenet.scripting.com/2001/04/17/theWebIsAWritingEnvironment">essay</a>, "The Web is a Writing Environment," tried to get freelance interpreters interested in becoming sovereign on the Web:

What if you're a freelancer, you sold a piece on wireless computing, and that's it, but what are you supposed to do with the knowledge you've accumulated as the market you wrote about is developing? Or flipped around, what if you're an engineer and the press is covering your category without any depth, do you just sit by and watch the opportunity dissipate? What if you're a human resources manager in a large corporation, and want to publish a column for your constituents, but the internal development people are always too busy to work on your project?

In all these cases you can take the power into your own hands, start writing for the the Web, and see what comes back to you.</blockquote>

I think there's always going to be<a href="http://archive.scripting.com/2005/01/08#aNewHarvardBloggingConference"> tension</a> between bloggers and Big Journalism. It's in the DNA.

  • 2.) Instead of starting with "do blogs have credibility?" or "should blogging obey journalism ethics?" we should begin in a broader territory, which is trust. Trust as it is generated in different settings, online and off, in both blogging and in journalism-- or in life.

When a student leaves NYU's graduate program and joins, say, the St. Petersburg Times as a staff writer, she benefits on her first day at work from the accumulated trust or reputation the newspaper has in its market, in the community around Tampa Bay. The circumstances in which this asset was created have long since passed from view. The trust transaction lives for new employees mostly in the form of professional <a href="http://www.sptimes.com/INCLUDE/specials/standards/index.html">standards </a>they are to meet, which in theory maintain the brand.

This is the number one asset of the news organization: stored trust, reputational capital. Any competent journalist knows how to be benefit from that: your calls get returned... like magic! But as to how that capital is created, the transaction of trust that involves people and their connection to the news, the professional journalist is minimally involved.

We start telling students in graduate school they won't "have" credibility unless they meet professional standards and obey the rules, but this tends to be interpreted as: "if we obey the rules of journalism, and meet the standards of our peers, then we have credibility." And that is not true. (Your peers may have the wrong standards.) If it were true, having a wall of journalism prizes would be equivalent to having the public's trust.

In a 2002 essay in Microcontent News, John Hiler <a href="http://www.microcontentnews.com/articles/blogosphere.htm">observed</a>: "For bloggers, it's all about trust too: except weblogs are starting from zero, building their reputations from the ground up. Blog responsibly, and you'll build a reputation for being a trusted news source. Don't, and you won't have a reputation to worry about."

Here is one advantage bloggers have in the struggle for reputation-- for the user's trust. They are closer to the transaction where trust gets built up on the Web. There's a big difference between tapping a built-up asset, like the St. Pete Times "brand," and creating it from scratch. Bloggers are "building their reputations from the ground up," as Hiler said, and to do this they have to focus on users. They have to be in dialogue. They have to point to others and say: listen to him! The connection between what they do and whether they are trusted is much alive and apparent. In journalism that connection has been harder to find lately. Journalists don't know much about it. They do know their rules, though.

  • 3.) Look around: blogging partakes of a resurgent spirit of amateurism now showing in many fields earlier colonized by professionals. Why would journalism be immune?

We learn about it from a fascinating new study, <a href="http://www.demos.co.uk/catalogue/proameconomy/">The Pro-Am Revolution</a>, a 70-page paper from Demos in the UK. It barely mentions bloggers or journalism, and so it is perfect for sketching a larger pattern into which J-blogging fits.

The twentieth century was shaped by the rise of professionals in most walks of life. From education, science and medicine, to banking, business and sports, formerly amateur activities became more organised, and knowledge and procedures were codified and regulated. As professionalism grew, often with hierarchical organisations and formal systems for accrediting knowledge, so amateurs came to be seen as second-rate. Amateurism came to be to a term of derision. Professionalism was a mark of seriousness and high standards.

And of course this happened in journalism in the 1920s through 1940s. University training, professional societies, codes of ethics emerged. This movement created my institution, the J-school, as well as the standard of neutral, nonpartisan professionalism of which Howard Fineman spoke. Demos on the shift:

But in the last two decades a new breed of amateur has emerged: the Pro-Am, amateurs who work to professional standards. These are not the gentlemanly amateurs of old – George Orwell’s blimpocracy, the men in blazers who sustained amateur cricket and athletics clubs. The Pro-Ams are knowledgeable, educated, committed and networked, by new technology. The twentieth century was shaped by large hierarchical organisations with professionals at the top. Pro-Ams are creating new, distributed organisational models that will be innovative, adaptive and low-cost.

In other words, they cannot be dismissed. "Knowledge, once held tightly in the hands of professionals and their institutions, will start to flow into networks of dedicated amateurs," says the report. "The crude, all or nothing, categories we use to carve up society – leisure versus work, professional versus amateur – will need to be rethought." Written about other fields, these words should be read into journalism, which is being hit hard by the Pro-Am trend.

Professionals – in science and medicine, war and politics, education and welfare – shaped the twentieth century through their knowledge, authority and institutions. They will still be vital in the twenty-first century. But the new driving force, creating new streams of knowledge, new kinds of organisations, new sources of authority, will be the Pro-Ams. (p. 67)

Bloggers vs. professional journalists is over. But there's power in the revolution Pro-Am.

Professional journalists confronted with the confusions of the online world have consistently maintained that the "traditional" news criers will do fine on the new platform, even with more competition, because, the feeling goes, the bigger the onslaught of information online, the greater the need for some authoritative filter, like the daily newspaper.

William Safire, for example, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/17/opinion/17safire.html?ex=1263704400&en=7567d33428c55493&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland">wrote</a> a "nah, we'll be fine" column about it. "On national or global events," he said, "the news consumer needs trained reporters on the scene to transmit facts and trustworthy editors to judge significance." Indeed, everyone needs an intelligent filter to find what's good and make sure nothing essential is missed. Journalists reckon, "that's us."

Sound reasoning. However it doesn't tell you how the filter does the filtering for the filterees. I mean... "editors to judge significance" based on what? Big Journalism's answers have been: Knowledge of professional standards in journalism. Knowledge of our community. Knowledge of the story. The knowledge that comes from experience. In other words, the filter is reliable because it is operated by a professional editor who knows what to do.

But online a filter becomes more intelligent by people interacting with it. To judge significance, it helps to be in conversation with the people you are sifting things for. One might propose: over time a blog teaches a journalist how to become an intelligent filter by forcing interaction with the Web and its users. If the traditional press expects to survive on its filtering skills, and to be authoritative, it will have to devise a way of interacting more with the filterees. Ask not how professional or experienced the filter is, but how interactive. We need filters that learn from users. Trust, I believe, will flow from that.

  • 5.) Among bloggers there is the type "stand alone journalist," and this is why among journalists there now stands the type: blogger.

Some journalists are identified with a brand, like MSNBC. Others, as Chris Nolan figured out, <a href="http://www.chrisnolan.com/archives/000436.html">stand alone</a>. Many of the practical problems of bloggers are the problems of standing alone. If there were solutions to those, there might be better blogging all around.

Writing about the Iraq war in his blogger's manifesto (2002), Andrew Sullivan <a href="http://www.andrewsullivan.com/culture.php">explains</a> the advantages of the stand alone style in blogging:

The blog almost seemed designed for this moment. In an instant, during the crisis, the market for serious news commentary soared. But people were not just hungry for news, I realized. They were hungry for communication, for checking their gut against someone they had come to know, for emotional support and psychological bonding. In this world, the very personal nature of blogs had far more resonance than more impersonal corporate media products. Readers were more skeptical of anonymous news organizations anyway, and preferred to supplement them with individual writers they knew and liked.

It's not all about providing good information. Responding when people are "hungry for communication" also builds trust online. In certain ways, which we have yet to learn much about, the stand alone journalist may be easier to trust than a corporate provider.

Conclusion

Because bloggers vs. journalists is over, better and better comparisons can be drawn between the two. <a href="http://www.simonwaldman.net/more-on-citizens-and-journalists">Simon Waldman </a> of the Guardian said that the tsunami disaster "has shown both the greatest strengths of citizens’ journalism, and its greatest weakness."

The great strength is clearly the vividness of first person accounts. And, in this case, the sheer volume of them. Pretty much every story of everyone who experienced the tsunami is moving in someway or other - and thanks to blogs, text messages, camcorders and the overall wonderfulness of the net, there have never been so many stories recorded by so many people made so widely available to whoever who wants to find them, whenever they want to find them.

This is the revolution in supply, via self-publishing on the Web. "The great weakness, though, is the lack of shape, structure and ultimately meaning that all this amounts to. It is one thing to read hundreds of people’s stories. It is another to try and work out what the story actually is." That won't come from a revolution in supply because it's about reducing information, distilling it down, as "happens in traditional media." Waldman is clear on the advantages of professional journalism's sense of discipline:

The disciplines of traditional media--space, deadlines, the need to have a headline and an intro and a cohesive story rather than random paragraphs, the use of layout or running order to give some sense of shape and priority to the news--aren’t just awkward restrictions. They add meaning. They help understanding. Without them, it’s much, much harder to make sense of what’s happening in the world.

Xeni Jardin, co-editor of the hugely popular <a href="http://www.boingboing.net/">BoingBoing</a>, told John Schwartz of the New York Times that arguing about whether blogs would replace the major news media is like asking "will farmers' markets replace restaurants?"

"One is a place for rich raw materials," she continued. "One represents a different stage of the process."

Blogging from the tsunami, she said, is "more raw and immediate," but the postings still lack the level of trust that has been earned by more established media. "There is no ombudsman for the blogosphere," she said. "One will not replace the other, but I think the two together are good for each other." (<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/28/technology/28blogs.html?ex=1261890000&en=861d90080b50622f&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland">Link</a>.) </blockquote>

Amen to that. My closing thoughts are the peaceable ones of writer, blogger and Web philosopher <a href="http://www.ratcliffeblog.com/archives/000305.html">Mitch Ratcliffe</a>, who, like so many of us, is trying to keep track of a dizzying scene. "The point of innovation in media is to expand, not simply to displace, the voices that existed before," he writes. Politics, by contrast, is where we replace one group of voices with another.

I'm feeling more Buddhist all the time about this whole journalism v. blogging debate. The middle way in the metalogue that is emerging—the miraculous opening up of "the media" that's going on—is plenty wide for all sorts of writing, the objective, the disclosed and the personal.

The price of professionalizing journalism was the de-voicing of the journalist. The price for having mass media was the atomization of the audience, who in the broadcasting model were connected "up" to the center but not "across" to each other. Well, blogging is a re-voicing tool in journalism, and the Net's strengths in horizontal communication mean that audience atomization is being overcome.

It's an exciting time in journalism. As the great social weave from which it arises changes form, the thing itself comes up for grabs.



After Matter: Notes, reactions & links

(Draft Version: I will be revising this essay this week.)

Meanwhile, the bar is open in <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=1501">comments</a> with contributions from <a href="http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com/">Jenny D </a>(former journalist, now an education blogger) <a href="http://ratherbiased.com/news/">Matthew Sheffield</a> (RatheBiased.com) engineer and blogger <a href="http://denbeste.nu/bestof.shtml">Steven Den Beste</a>, Reason columnist <a href="http://mattwelch.com/warblog.html">Matt Welch</a>, Salon's <a href="http://blogs.salon.com/0000014/">Scott Rosenberg </a>and others.

Feel free to e-mail me your thoughts if you do not wish to put them in comments.

Conference material: <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2003/10/16/radical_ten.html">What's Radical About the Weblog Form in Journalism?</a> Which is PressThink's most popular post ever (Oct. 2003). A top ten list...quite short!

Taking via experiment to the Harvard blogging conference, David Berlind, Executive Editor of ZDNet, does a <a href="http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-5539175.html">proof-of-concept </a>for reporting transparency, sending out by podcast the full original audio files of an interview he did with Scott Young, CEO of Userland-- against which (in theory) the column he wrote could be checked for fairness. (See his additional remarks in the <a href="http://cyber.law.harvard.edu:8080/webcred/wp-trackback.php/36">comments</a> here.)

Resembles a suggestion I made on Jan. 10 in a <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/10/cbs_rept05.html">post </a>about CBS: 60 Minutes should publish on the web full transcripts and videos of all interviews conducted for a segment that airs. It's good to see the conference sparking actual experiments.

Mark Tosczak, writing for a local Business Journal, offers a very competent <a href="http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6834260/">overview</a> of the Greensboro News-Record's bold departure, which I discuss in my essay. It includes this from Phil Meyer of the University of North Carolina and author of a new book, <a href="http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=1-0826215688-0">The Vanishing Newspaper</a>:

"What's wrong with newspapers today is that because of their long history of easy money, they're very conservative, very reluctant to try new things," Meyer said. "This is a fairly radical experiment and it's exactly the kind of things newspapers need to do."

The key, Meyer said, is for the News & Record and other daily newspapers to experiment more and make more mistakes. In the process, he said, they'll discover what works and what doesn't. </blockquote>

"That's why blogging came about, as a counter-action to the corruption of the professional system." <a href="http://archive.scripting.com/2005/01/16#whyBloggingCantTrustThePros">Dave Winer</a> warms up for the Harvard conference.

Speaking of counter-actions, Andrew Sullivan, <a href="http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_01_09_dish_archive.html#110554473076539283">writing</a> about the Howard Fineman essay from which I quoted:

"His admission that the mainstream media have acted as a de facto political party for three decades strikes me as a big deal - the first crack of self-awareness in the MSM. But I truly hope the blogosphere doesn't become its replacement. Blogs are strongest when they are politically diverse, when they are committed to insurgency rather than power, when they belong to no party. I'm particularly worried that the blogosphere has become far more knee-jerk, shrill and partisan since the days when I first started blogging. Some of that's healthy and inevitable; but too much is damaging. In challenging the MSM, we should resist the temptation to become like them."

Action around my line, "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, and blogging means anyone can own one." See Scott Rosenberg's "<a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15120">not quite, Jay</a>." And then see Ernest Miller's <a href="http://www.corante.com/importance/archives/2005/01/17/freedom_of_the_press_belongs_to_those_who_own_servers.php">Freedom of the Press Belongs to Those Who Own Servers</a>. His notion of "the server in the closet" is essential to grap, so <a href="http://www.corante.com/importance/archives/2004/11/09/the_server_in_the_closet_gets_a_little_closer_to_reality.php">grasp it</a>. When everyone has a server at home, not a PC, then we'll have a free press!

Note to readers who've asked: I am coming late to the big blow up about <a href="http://zonkette.blogspot.com/2005/01/frequently-asked-questions.html">Zephyr Teachout's </a>naming names post on bloggers ethics. Frankly, I was in a cave finishing my conference essay and didn't pay attention to anything said about it. I will try to get up to speed, starting with <a href="http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/webcred/index.php?p=23">this list</a>. I may have nothing to add, by the looks of it. Lots said.

Meanwhile, I recommend Chris Nolan's skeptical read on Teachout and the Havard bash, <a href="http://www.chrisnolan.com/archives/000659.html">Not-So-Spontaneous Human Combustion</a>. I recommend it not for that, but for its take on "stand alone journalists," Big Journalism and a Web "community" that is about to split, she says. Nolan originated the term stand alone journalist for independent J-bloggers; and I used it in my piece.

I also recommend this <a href="http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2005_01_09_digbysblog_archive.html#110572405454852267">forceful statement </a>from Digby.

<a href="http://blogs.salon.com/0002007/2005/01/16.html#a1018">Dave Pollard</a> has written "The Ten Most Important Ideas of 2004: Blogs and the Internet." Comparable to PressThink's <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/12/26/tptn04_intro.html">Top Ten Ideas of 2004</a>. And of course completely different. Good conference background.

The Houston Chronicle's opinion page editor writes <a href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/editorial/2993254">Notes on blogs: Trying the hot medium</a>, wherein the writer decides to "experiment to see what it might be like to write a blog." The results are not encouraging. One small problem: no links! See Dave Pell's priceless commentary on the Chronicle editor: <a href="http://www.theblogblog.com/2005/01/elegance-wit-and-insight.html">Elegance, Wit and Insight</a>. "Question of the day: Is it possible to be a journalist and still not really have any idea what a blog is or what the personal publishing revolution is all about?" It's possible.

Not dead yet. Here's <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-gitlin17jan17,1,2275668.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions ">Todd Gitlin</a> in the Los Angeles Times:

The crowning ideal of the American news business — that there is such a thing as objective journalism — persists amid the terrible pressures to cut corners in the shortsighted lust for competitive advantage. Despite the evident frailties of mainstream journalism, even those who operate around its margins — bloggers, Op-Ed writers, even some of the more opinionated sectors of cable — are still completely dependent on it and still believe they're getting some truth there. (Where would Bill O'Reilly or Al Franken be without a daily newspaper?)

<a href="http://micah.sifry.com/">Micah Sifry</a>: "Mainstream journalism is dying in part because it has insisted on an impossible thing: objectivity. In the process, it killed the human voice (and all too often has replaced it with the paid voice, the corporate shill, the ideological hack.) Now, real human voices are back via blogging and other online communications platforms, and we are gravitating toward that 'strange attractor' (as the Cluetrain put it) of real human conversations over the web."

Just so there's no mistake, conferencers, I agree with <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12610-2005Jan15.html">this</a> from the Washington Post's ombudsman Michael Getler:

Despite some high-profile stumbles in the past year or so, the so-called mainstream media continue to routinely do their job of uncovering what others would prefer be kept quiet. That they keep doing so, that they not become intimidated by political pressure, remains crucial to an informed citizenry and our democracy. The country's major newspapers, in particular, are uniquely equipped for this work and, whatever one thinks of any of them, we will all pay an incalculable price if they falter.

Eric Pfanner, New York Times (Jan. 17): <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/17/technology/17craigslist.html?ex=1263618000&en=e8779d4dfddbfe61&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland">Craigslist Circles the Globe With Online Classifieds, One City at a Time</a>. The growth of Craigslist is a story about the number one threat to newspaper revenue out there.

  Posted by Jay Rosen at January 15, 2005 07:55 PM
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<a name="comments"></a>Comments

Oh, Thank God that bloggers vs. journalist thing is over! It was like that endless film reel in high school biology...it was dark, the room was hot, there was no way I was going to keep my eyes open one more second!

Have a great time in Cambridge.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.cadence90.com/wp/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15100">Lisa Williams</a> at January 15, 2005 08:21 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15100" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

ah, much better than rathergate.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:no@spam.org">praktike</a> at January 15, 2005 08:39 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15101" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Good essay, Jay.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.corante.com/importance/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15102">Ernest Miller</a> at January 15, 2005 09:31 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15102" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Jay, the professional thing is, to my mind, not quite right. There are much better analyses of the rise of the professonalism in the 20th century. (I'm thinking E. Krause, "The Death of Guilds," for example.) What distinguishes the professions as they moved through that century was how well they identified, codified, and then passed on the intellectual "technology" of the profession. Once the technology gets away from a profession, or once the power to control the application of the technology is outside the power of the profession, the profession is threatened.

For doctors, that means the practice of medicine in a hands-on way. How do you do a bypass? How do you diagnose high-blood pressure, and what is the treatment for it? That knowledge is specialized, scientifically based, and able to be passed on. There's a similar comparison with lawyers, nurses, engineers, architects--even chefs, psychologists, and clergy. All of which have their own professional schools.

What is the specialized knowledge and intellectual technology of journalism? I don't see any, which is why I think the profession is under fire. If it were a profession, it couldn't be duplicated so easily by bloggers. There is no intellectual technology when it comes to journalism. Just the capital of the printing press, the means to distribute, and the human resources to collect and organize the information. Oh, also selling ads.

(As an aside, I think teaching and education have the same problem. There is no intellectual technology in teaching. I'm working on a doctorate in education, and I can say with some authority that teaching practice lacks the technology just as does journalism.)

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15103">JennyD</a> at January 15, 2005 10:30 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15103" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

While Greensboro's News & Record is talking alot about new journalism, it's actuall happening here: http://www.greensboro101.com

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:sthor2001@yahoo.com">Sim Thor</a> at January 15, 2005 10:54 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15104" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Good points but I disagree with the fundamental premise. I don't think there ever was a "bloggers vs. journalism" argument except in the minds of those who a) felt threatened as gatekeepers or b) felt that "old media" had to go. Blogs do not replace journalism, they complement it.

Most professional journalists believe (correctly) that man cannot live by blog alone; the only question now is whether they will understand that professional journalism cannot survive without taking blogs into account.

Unfortunately, I don't think that we have reached the point where the majority of journalists, esp. professors of journalism (present company excepted), would agree with the above statement.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://ratherbiased.com/news/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15105">Matthew Sheffield</a> at January 15, 2005 11:11 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15105" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

The key power of a gatekeeper is the ability to keep the gate closed. When a relatively small number of reporters and editors in the legacy media were the gatekeepers regarding what was "news", their most important power was their ability to decide that certain stories were not "news" and to not report them.

That's the power they have now lost. They still have a voice, and it's a loud one. They have resources and experience in finding stories and a tall platform from which to announce those stories. But they no longer have the ability to suppress stories they feel should not be reported.

There are now tens of thousands of gatekeepers. Anyone can open the gate to let a story in, even if the legacy media refuse to do so. We've seen several major stories in the last couple of years which entered the public arena through gates other than those belonging to the legacy media, and that's going to keep happening in the future.

That doesn't deprive the legacy media of their voices. They still have them. But it means they no longer have the ability to refuse to talk about the things they don't want anyone to know about. When it comes to those kinds of stories, they're stuck with the three classic choices: lead, follow, or get out of the way.

If they refuse those three choices, they default to the fourth: get trampled under foot.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:sdenbes1@san.rr.com">Steven Den Beste</a> at January 15, 2005 11:20 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15106" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Very good essay Jay. Wish I could be in Cambridge to hear it.

I think that "traditional" media and "alt" media will need to work hand and hand to keep each other in check. I started blogging because I enjoy writing. I then had a situation, with a training fire, that posed questions about saftey. No one, including the "traditional" media, could answer my questions. I went out and contacted the fire chief responsible and got my answers and my first story. I then realized the power of blogging. Blogging can be a very powerful tool, if used correctly. I think the blogging community will weed out the good and the bad. I agree, the whole blogging vs. journalism thing is over. I also state that a new era must begin where we co-exist to help each other. That is what we are in the process of doing here in Greensboro.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.jovittore.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15107">Jay Ovittore</a> at January 15, 2005 11:26 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15107" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

So the blogging vs journalism debate is over. I bet others will disagree next week at the conference. That will be a lively debate, I am sure.

I agree with you that blogging exists, journalism exists, and sometimes blogging and journalism occur simultaneously. The two can exist peacefully, and cooperatively, as the News & Record in Greensboro is demonstrating.

The N&R stuck a toe in the water and found out it felt pretty good. Now they are knee-deep, and their product already has more value as a result. As a subscriber to their printed product and their blogs, I cannot wait to experience the many changes they are planning.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.patrickeakes.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15108">Patrick Eakes</a> at January 16, 2005 12:04 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15108" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Jay, do you have any thoughts on the serendipitous eruption of Kos-gate? I find it hugely ironic that a blogger who got turned down for a job by the objects of her ire managed to collaborate with writers at some of the institutions represented at the conference on a bad journalism and questionable ethics performance art piece just in time for the big show.

And if you get a chance, could you ask Rebecca MacKinnon why she's linking to, among others, a Slate piece by Chris Suellentrop that echoes the bungled Wall Street Journal piece?

I'm looking forward to your dispatches from the scene of the crime.

Cheers,
wb

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.btcnews.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15109">weldon berger</a> at January 16, 2005 06:27 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15109" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

my post at the conference blog:

“That’s why we’re conferencing: to find the deeper pattern, of which blogging and journalism are a part. So that is what I give you: my best attempt at scratching out a pattern.”

fascinating list of attendees in that case. it’s a bit blogger-free. and it completely lacks any liberal bloggers. why no kos? why no jerome? why no atrios? why no bob somersby?

as an observer from afar, all i see are a bunch of foxes debating how chickens should secure their coop.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:kevin@ie.suberic.net">kevin lyda</a> at January 16, 2005 11:34 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15110" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Good essay, wishful title.

While clever legacy editors and thoughtful outside critics *should* go beyond that framework (for reasons of better product and more accurate criticism, respectively), I see no reason why the basic conflict won't be (or even shouldn't be) here to stay.

23-percent profit margins are mighty powerful inertia-generators, regardless of declining audience share; and anger about the perceived unacknowledged *agenda* (let alone bias) of the still-influential "MSM" is in turn an inexhaustible wellspring of us-vs-themism.

Not all (or even most) bloggers are primarily political & adversarial, of course; just as not all (or even most) mainstream media employees are hidebound & defensive. But conflict still draws more attention and consumes more energy than cooperation, and many on both sides prefer to dig in rather than meet in some nebulous halfway zone.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://mattwelch.com/warblog" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15111">Matt Welch</a> at January 16, 2005 01:24 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15111" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Bloggers vs. Journalists is over? Curses - I hadn't chosen a side yet!

Months ago I began blogging in hopes of making myself write more, plus attract a few more eyeballs. I soon met both goals, but stumbled into a revolution in the process - a revolution with no clear sides for me.

I'm a journalist who's blogging in hopes of becoming a better writer. But I find many others out there are writer-types who blog to be journalists. That's fine by me; the Fourth Estate could use a righteous shake-down and I'm tickled burgundy to have a front row view. But exactly where I fit into this upheaval is a bit confusing, that is as long as I frequent newsrooms by day and the blogosphere by night.

It's damn entertaining, though.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://lenslinger.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15112">Lenslinger</a> at January 16, 2005 01:26 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15112" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Jay,
Another superb essay. Your clarity invites a question: Doesn't nearly everything turn on your definition of the press as a "public service franchise"?

What does "public service franchise" mean for a neo-liberal/neo-conservative vs. a Keynesian or anyone concerned with social justice not defined by profitability and the Bell Curve?

Hugh Hewitt's book, "Blog," like "Wired" magazine to some extent, imagines that neo-liberalism (if not libertarianism) is the only political philosophy relevant to the "information reformation." As "Blog" would have it, not to become a neo-liberal (and part of the Powerline to Fox "new media" news chain) is tantamount to refusing to convert to the new paradigm.

"People don't trust the old media with anything like the old level of confidence...it basically comes down to the left-leaning ideology that was always there and increasingly became so widespread, transparent, and arrogant as to repel half the country. If you want to argue this point, this book isn't for you...You don't have a clue, and you won't when the night is over. But you will be farther behind." (Hewitt, "Blog," p.xxi)

Do you see a contrast between your narrative of the changing press environment as an expanding "public service franchise" and Hewitt's implicit story of "new media" as neo-liberalism on the march? If so, are you inclined to elaborate?

I will post a better documented and more elaborated version of this question at Poor Richard's Almanac shortly:
http://poorrichardsalmanac.blogspot.com

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:benfranklin_1776@yahoo.com">Ben Franklin/Mark Anderson</a> at January 16, 2005 02:23 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15113" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

In Oswego, NY, the debate is just beginning, and the police have been summoned:

http://www.syracuse.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-6/1105781982273260.xml?syrnegosw

At last month's council meeting, Councilor William Dunsmoor asked Edward Harrington, owner of www.oswegonylion.com , not to sit at the media table. Harrington said it would take the police to remove him.


"If he's not liable for what he writes and credible, he shouldn't be sitting at that table," Dunsmoor, R-7th Ward, said last month.


When Harrington arrived at a council meeting earlier this month, Oswego police Sgt. Shawn Burridge guarded the media table. Councilors had requested the officer make sure Harrington did not sit with reporters at the table.


A sign on the table read, "Authorized Personnel Only." Press passes were handed out to three media organizations, and not to Harrington. A small barrier recently was added to keep Harrington out. It separated the benches where the public sits from the press table.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.syracuse.com/newslogs/newstracker/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15114">Brian Cubbison</a> at January 16, 2005 02:28 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15114" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Regarding John Schwartz's NYT piece "For vivid reporting from the enormous zone of tsunami disaster, it was hard to beat the blogs." This observation was a bit overhyped. When you read the column, he's really setting up blogs to for missed expectations-- and he undermined them in subsequent piece where he discussed all of the loony tsunami theories coming from "the Net" (which Jarvis noted). Here's some
<a href="http://civilities.net/OPW-Tsunami">reactions to the tsunami</a> by online political writers. I'm waiting for the evidence that readers actually turned to the blogs in much greater numbers for the Tsunami story than for other stories. What is great about the Net-- not specifically blogs-- is that it gets readers to news which they can't easily find through the handful of traditional media they regularly read.

Jon

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://civilities.net/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15115">Jon Garfunkel</a> at January 16, 2005 03:10 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15115" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Yes but who is actually paying for an op-ed? The mainstream publications and they are also the ones who hire NYU graduate students. See the difference: credibility, brand name and qualifications. I fail to see this with blogs, but it can be there.

"When a student leaves NYU's graduate program and joins, say, the St. Petersburg Times as a staff writer, she benefits on her first day at work from the accumulated trust or reputation the newspaper has in its market, in the community around Tampa Bay."

Why "she"and not they?

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 16, 2005 03:47 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15116" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

My concern has little to do with this discussion and much to with the "lessons" that MSM executives will learn from it after the fact. Will we grasp the concept that the media has expanded, that the model has moved from lecture to symposium? Or will we "reach out" to our audience in condescending, outdated ways, as we have in the past? Will we understand what "the medium is the message" meant in the first place, or will we treat networked media like just another marketing package, like Hitler's quest for secret weapons from his Berlin bunker in 1945?

On the flip side, will the blogouesie grasp the significance of preserving the MSM? For all its confusion and weak leadership, the MSM represents an information infrastructure that should be taken intact, not leveled in our revolutionary zeal. Free-thinking bloggers who celebrate the declining credibility of the MSM don't seem to consider that those poll figures are the result of a long-term ideological campaign to destroy the power of the independent press. If the MSM can be discredited, it won't be long until these same people come after the bloggers.

It's hard to see such different cultures coming to an understanding, but it must happen. Right now the discussion is more like two parallel monologues.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://conovermedia.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15117">Dan C.</a> at January 16, 2005 03:54 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15117" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

That story from Oswego is wack. Here in Portland, our Council Chambers don't even have a separate section for media. Although media people who need to record the audio of the session are usually the ones who sit near the hookups for that, there's no policy about it.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://communique.portland.or,us/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15118">The One True b!X</a> at January 16, 2005 04:39 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15118" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

The end of the THE END.

The end of the story. Back in the good old days a journalist wrote a story, hit the enter key and started with blank sheet on the next day.

Now readers could re-open it as s\he wishes. Re-read and re-write.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:pk@gmail.com">pk</a> at January 16, 2005 04:43 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15119" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Fine summary of the moment, Jay. One small issue I'd raise re your first principle: "Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one, and blogging means anyone can own one." Really it was the Web itself that made it possible for anyone to own one; that's been the case for ten years now. I. like a whole lot of other people, started a Web site for pennies in Jan. 1995 (my god, it's a decade-iversary!). But you don't really *own* a press if you're posting a blog for free using someone else's server (press).

What blogging software has done, with huge impact, is make it possible for anyone -- even without much technical skill or experience -- to *operate* a press. These distinctions are perhaps small, but they sure start to matter once legal issues start to kick in, and that is happening all around us.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://blogs.salon.com/0000014/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15120">Scott Rosenberg</a> at January 16, 2005 05:46 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15120" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

"the number one asset of the news organization: stored trust, reputational capital. Any competent journalist knows how to be benefit from that: your calls get returned..."

I'm cynical on this one; if it's trust, it's either trust that the journalist won't be too hard on the interviewee, or trust that if the call isn't returned, there will be payback.

Indirectly I think the trust is beneficial; if the readers trust the paper, then they can, if necessary, be marshalled to carry out the "payback".


"Many of the practical problems of bloggers are the problems of standing alone. If there were solutions to those, there might be better blogging all around."
Yes, please. Soon. Where's the discussion on solutions? Solo inexperienced investigative journoblogging is a recipe for timidity or disaster.

"the Pro-Am, amateurs who work to professional standards. "
Which is by definition impossible in financially supported citizen journoblogging, given that the publisher is the reporter; so only bloggers with multiple personality disorder have any chance of meeting these standards.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://ncfocus.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15121">Anna</a> at January 16, 2005 07:35 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15121" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I wonder how much of the perceived superiority of blogs over MSM has to do with the fact that reading the newspaper on the job is obvious goldbricking. Blogging fans who use computers at work can get their fix during normal working hours; has anybody calculated how many do? I find that I never read a blog once I leave the office.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.billingsnews.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15122">David Crisp</a> at January 16, 2005 07:45 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15122" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

"the Pro-Am, amateurs who work to professional standards. "
Which is by definition impossible in financially supported citizen journoblogging, given that the publisher is the reporter; so only bloggers with multiple personality disorder have any chance of meeting these standards.

I don't understand which this is saying. And I don't mean I agree or disagree -- I mean I literally don't understand what this is trying to communicate. Can you restate this so my foggy head can wrap itself around it?

Thanks, heh.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://communique.portland.or,us/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15123">The One True b!X</a> at January 16, 2005 08:15 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15123" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Grr -- "what this is saying" not "which this is saying". See? Foggy head.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://communique.portland.or,us/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15124">The One True b!X</a> at January 16, 2005 08:16 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15124" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I'm afraid it would be relative. That's always a prescription for disaster.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 16, 2005 08:29 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15125" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

thanks b!X for making it clear that I am not making myself clear (see, some bloggers need editors)

I was just restating the well known problem that you can't have the press's usual "firewall" between business and news, if business person and news person are one and the same.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 16, 2005 09:24 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15126" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I mean the beef here is without vetting by an editor blogging is vanity press work. Which means anything can be published and unfortunatey, is.

Who will enforce the stndards?

And what will they be?

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 16, 2005 09:28 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15127" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

That's right anna.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 16, 2005 09:29 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15128" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I was just restating the well known problem that you can't have the press's usual "firewall" between business and news, if business person and news person are one and the same.

This is why bloggers doing journalism who want to develop credibility over time need, at the very least, to be explicit about their own chosen guidelines, principles, standards, et cetera -- and then be transparent about things.

As an example, during the local elections here in Portland, I disclosed that I was accepting money for advertisements from Mayoral candidates on every item I posted about the Mayoral campaign.

Due to a similar thread somewhere else, I recently bumped that up to including that disclosure on my About page even though the elections are long since over.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://communique.portland.or,us/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15129">The One True b!X</a> at January 16, 2005 09:38 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15129" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

"Who will enforce the standards?"

Um, Zig, typically in the press there's nobody enforcing standards either - most papers don't have an ombudsman or public editor.
I wonder, what % of papers have a publicly available code of ethics?

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 16, 2005 11:08 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15132" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Jay... I like your tough stuff. I'm an old woman who grew up with newpapers. Wherever I lived and visited, the U.S., India, the Pacific Islands, the (then) U.S.S.R., journalism and resulting English language newspapers were sacred sources of information.
Today, I clearly delight in blogs. I read them, and now write one as well. I love the tension that has developed between traditional media and the blogging sphere. To me it clearly means people are looking seriously at a larger world, expressing opinions, sharing knowledge. We are now in a privilaged age.
As a teenager in the mid-fifties in Guam, I ached to read the weekly copy of the "Stars and Stripes," the only newspaper available to me. It fed me the news that shocked and shaped me: people of color were being denied access to classrooms in schools in the States. I wondered what it would feel like, if the parents of Guamanian kids denied me access to the school because of my pale skin.
Years later when I was a full-blown American news junkie and often visited India, newspapers that were the only conduit of information of the world outside Tamil Nadu were virtually shutdown by the Prime Minister in a show of political pique. How I missed my crinkly information fix. I saw first hand, political power trumping the media. Soon after, I learned the power of the people to demand information and communication, when the PM was sacked by the electorate.
That increased my appetite for information about my world. For years, the newspapers in the United States have been puny morsels of information.
I hope that bloggers will continue to widen the media channels. It is deeply satisfying to get on line and come to know what is out there... everywhere, anytime. Not all of the news in the bloging sphere is nutricious or delicious, but it is abundant. And, I intend to grow fat and happy as a blogger in my old age. So keep up the fight!!!

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://ginisworld.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15133">Gini</a> at January 17, 2005 12:54 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15133" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

The issue of blogger "professionalism" will be solved by the market for information. Bloggers will have many different styles, standards, skill sets, and access to sources. Blogs will be by individuals, by groups, by busineses, or generic granfalloons. A blog's success and influence is determined by its readership - both gross numbers, and the kind of readers, while its financial goals may range from none to serious money.

Over time, which blogs are suitable for what purpose will be recognized. Other mechanisms/services will organize this information to make it easier for one to find the appropriate blog (Glenn Reynolds does this already in some important areas).

In that sense, the issue of professionalism or certification is very effectively solved. Furthermore, there are different levels that customers demand. Matt Drudge uses lower standards of verification, but finds a lot of good stuff and is usually right. Steven Den Beste tends to be authoritative in a way that the MSM can't touch. Glenn Reynolds is eclectic but in many subject areas, tracks the nuances, quick developments, and alternative information sources better than the legacy media.

I disagree with those who say that journalism, unlike some other professions, has no professional knowledge. Clearly there are techniques and tricks and skills. But at diploma time, I don't think it comes anywhere close to the level of engineers or doctors in terms of knowledge requirements, and hence may be more learnable by amateurs without formal training.

A blogger who seeks to do journalism has advantages and disadvantages over a journalist working for the MSM. The MSM has resources - money that can be spent to determine information, and full time reporters with their contacts and knowledge (well, based on much of what I read, perhaps not muchc of the latter in many areas). It specializes the process of journalism, with reporters, editors, and others. The blogger is most likely to do it all himself, although the revenue to some is now big enough for them to hire resources.

As was pointed out, the legacy media has the ability to open doors (press passes, brand identity when calling sources), but that barrier will change (and already has) so that some bloggers will get the same privileges and access. First Amendment issues, if nothing else, will affect the issuance of press credentials.

There is an internet vs legacy media contest - where internet is both blogs and other web sites. There have been skirmishes, and bloggers have certainly brought a level of criticism and career danger to the careless or biased journalist, but ultimately big journalism will survive in some way, just because of economics. Bloggers are huge "op-ed pages" and "letter to the editor sections" over which the legacy media has no control.

In specialized areas, bloggers (and web sites in general) are an immediate threat. If one wants to know something technical, or something about a product or class of products, or darn near anything else, or what is happening in, for example, digital photography or the study of volcanoes, bloggers and web sites are a good first choice (often as found with a search engine). Legacy media is never even involved except in originally providing informatin to the web sites and blogs. This combination represents a research resource that makes some journalism unnecessary.

If you want to know what's happening, a few pokes at a few legacy media web sites tells you what you might want more detail on, and then it may be off to google or a favorite blog for more information.

There is one thing legacy media could do to throw a big monkey wrench into things: charge for access to contenmt. If they all did this, and the charge was big enough, the bloggers and everyone else would be robbed of source material with which to start their discussions. Most political and news blogs get their initial information from the free MSM.

It would be a sad day if this happened, because the widespread free access to MSM - especially dailies, is so valuable to anyone wanting to track world events. That one can find out about something from Drudge, then go to the Jerusalem Post, then the New York Times and then National Review Online and look at the same event is a significant advance in capabilities for the citizen or citizen publisher.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.tinyvital.com/blog/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15134">John Moore</a> at January 17, 2005 03:23 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15134" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Objectivity in journalism began it's slow torturous death when Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher and Norman Mailer opened shop in the Village 50 years ago. Blogs sped the process, but didn't cause it.

Also, I'm curious as to why these pieces never include a discussion of early BBS-based communities like The Well.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://aan.org" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15135">Roxanne Cooper</a> at January 17, 2005 09:39 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15135" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Free-thinking bloggers who celebrate the declining credibility of the MSM don't seem to consider that those poll figures are the result of a long-term ideological campaign to destroy the power of the independent press.

the mainstream media credibility is not so much the victim of an ideological campaign as it is of corporate greed.

The efforts of the far-right to discredit the mainstream media would have been far less effective had the mainstream media not devolved to the point where real journalism is only practiced on the fringes. When news coverage is determined not by what is important, but by what will increase circulation/viewership and thereby increase profits, you don't need a right-wing conspiracy to discredit the mainstream media---they are doing it themselves.

The essential flaw in Rosen's piece is that he still thinks there is a "public service franchise in journalism, where the writers and doers actually are." The "writers and doers" of mainstream journalism are not longer part of a "public service franchise", but of a profit center for a far larger corporate constituency.

Within such an environment, values such as "credibility" and "ethics" are mere window dressing. When either value comes up against profits, values lose.

For this reason, the whole conference on Journalism, Blogging, and Credibility is just one big circle jerk. Nobody who makes a difference in the quality of "journalism" will be there, or will pay any attention to it --- and the blogging community could care less about what a bunch of professional media hypocrites and ivory tower academics have to say about blog credibility.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.glcq.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15136">p.lukasiak</a> at January 17, 2005 11:21 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15136" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

"Um, Zig, typically in the press there's nobody enforcing standards either - most papers don't have an ombudsman or public editor."

This is an equivocation. If it boils down to one judge, and that's what an ombudsman is, but there are more voices involved with a real publication than one. Not so with a blogger. They're strictly opinion and reposting reported material.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 17, 2005 11:43 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15137" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

This is an example of a <a href="http://www.jeanbolduc.blogspot.com/">journo-blogger</a> but columnists are in opinion not reporting per se. For this venue it works both online and in print.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 17, 2005 01:23 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15139" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Zig, you're right of course. From the Oregonian's Public Editor <a href="http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/public_editor/index.ssf?/base/editorial/11057941999421.xml">here</a>, (via romenesko, excellent, but needs formatting...) -
"[CBS] report sets out standards for investigative journalism that should be required reading...
Use a safety net: As with any journalistic debacle, you have to ask where were the editors, the gatekeepers. If a reporter has a story idea, it's the job of layers of editors to bring large doses of skepticism. As publication or airing nears, editors support the work by challenging it, not unlike a prosecutor."

But, when the in-house standards-enforcers fail (or might have done so), there needs to be a disinterested expert, from outside the group, who can pass judgement on whether what got printed was acceptable or not - and neither blogs nor most(?) papers have this.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 17, 2005 04:04 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15141" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

To clarify previous comment -

Zig's right in that it's hard for the same head to be simultaneously skeptical and enthusiastic, so bloggers won't do so well in cases where editorial skepticism is needed.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 17, 2005 04:09 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15142" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Whether bloggers can "do journalism" has always been a silly question. Of course they can, and a few do, whether you count "original reporting," "fact-checking," "whistle-blowing" or "editorial comment" as journalism.

Other questions I hope get talked about at Harvard (and elsewhere):

Do the people know journalists when they see them? Should reporters be issued hats with "Press" in the hatband? I keep <a href="http://radio.weblogs.com/0106327/2005/01/08.html#a322"> getting reminded</a> of David Mindich's anecdote about a college student referring to David Letterman as a "journalist."

Do folks make fine distinctions between categories like "entertainers," "commentators and pundits," "flacks and promoters," "trade press hacks," "newspaper hacks," "freelance hacks" and "respected journalists"? (I use "hack" to mean something like "good enough to get paid, at least part of the time.")

Do they have different expectations along a scale from "incompetent" and "mediocre" through "uneven" to "good," "trustworthy" or even "Pulitzer-quality" practitioners?

Do they view the past year's screw-ups by 60-Minutes, USA Today and the New York Times as screw-ups, evidence of a system-wide problem, or both?

Are media conglomerates giving journalists a free hand to set their own agendas? ("Conversation instead of lecture" is one agenda -- with agenda-setting and trust-building as its goals. Self-righteous crusading and simply being a "newspaper of record" are others.)

What does it mean when CNN feels a need to put a disclaimer like this -- "The WB, Warner Books and DC Comics are sister Time Warner companies to CNN.com" -- on the bottom of a Web <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/TV/09/09/brad.meltzer/index.html">story </a>about a WB TV series' writer who also writes novels and comic books? Do viewers take that to mean CNN is running the story because of those connections, or in spite of them?

As <a href="http://radio.weblogs.com/0106327/2004/12/26.html">Phil Meyer</a> has asked, can public institutions or non-profit foundations support the more resource-intensive, social-service, watchdog functions of the press while newspapers flounder? Will some profit-making new-media model inherit the job?

For now, advertiser-supported, incestuous "big media" continues to do part of the watchdogging, but has to watched in turn... by dueling media critics, an alphabet soup of professional associations (<a href="http://spj.org">SPJ</a>, <a href="http://rtnda.org">RTNDA</a>, <a href="http://www.ire.org">IRE</a>) and independent citizens, blogging and otherwise.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://radio.weblogs.com/0106327/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15143">Bob Stepno</a> at January 17, 2005 06:04 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15143" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Could someone explain: what is doing journalism? How would I know it if I saw it? How would it look different from someone who is writing what they see but not doing journalism?

I'm looking for an answer I can see. Here's an example: I can tell when a professional violinst is playing Mozart, versus someone who is picking up a violin for the first time. Likewise, I can tell when a professional nurse puts in an IV versus someone you pulled off the street with no professional skills. So tell me, how would I know a professional journalist versus someone else?

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15144">JennyD</a> at January 17, 2005 08:09 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15144" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Oh the luxury of the western world western academics , journmalist etc those attending this conference to even decide whether to is valuable or not. The question may well be how has blogging changed how people percieve their own voice and how has it been heard.
IN Melbourne Australia Hugh Martin of the Age pointed out that Bloggers have made a significant impact on hightlighting the crisis in Sth East Asia and how people respond and donate. Whether blogging vs journalism is dead. Is simply a dull issue indeed However if it has highlighted this issue alone it has meaning

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.vitalingus.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15145">Vita</a> at January 17, 2005 10:17 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15145" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

You know when the product isn't in the tank for one side or the other by faith-based reasons only, although it could come to a conclusion by way of process of elimination or insider sources like say, Sy Hersh has. That's how you know. Bloggers just run on rumor and innuendo and not much investigation. They don't need it since the conclusion is foregone.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 17, 2005 11:48 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15146" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Zig,

You can't just generalize on bloggers. I have done a couple of pieces which involved digging up facts, taking pictures, etc. That isn't running on rumours. Normally, I just comment on the MSM.

Bloggers can operate on rumours, dreams or solid information. It is not unusual for that solid information to be not discovered, or worse suppressed by the MSM.

Please don't generalize about that which you don't understand. I know many blogs that make Hersh look like a complete idiot. Of course, that's a pretty low standard. But many also make the MSM look shallow and biased.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.tinyvital.com/blog" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15147">John Moore (Useful Fools)</a> at January 18, 2005 12:37 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15147" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Just an off-topic warning to all, virus writers/spammers are afoot - a "document.zip" was sent to my email address, ostensibly from pressthink@journalism.nyu.edu . So keep in mind that PressThink email can be sent by either a human Dr. Rosen or a software Mr. Hyde.

Open only the former...

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 18, 2005 02:10 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15148" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

One issue that the conference is ignoring is that of the way that blogging facilitates the spontaneous creation of a "research community" that is self-regulating.

(And I'm not talking about the kind of crap research found in memogate, where people made unsubstantiated and undocumented claims that "they couldn't do superscripts in 1972"---and it was trumpeted throughout the wingnut blogosphere and percolated into the SCLM. )

One recent example of this was the Ohio election debacle. People at Dailykos were not just relaying what appeared in the SCLM, they were going out and finding out the facts themselves, and reporting back to the community in "diaries".

Generally, in such communities, there are two or three informal "leaders" who become immersed in the subject, and whose work is accepted as credible as a result.

This dynamic is worthy of examination---of course, given the make-up of the "panels" no one is likely to even bring it up, let alone talk knowledgeably about it. Indeed, the panel is likely to use the crap that "powerline" put out as an avatar of collective research---when all that powerline did was provide a centralized outlet that did not differentiate between facts and unsubstantiated claims, and where intellectual dishonesty about contrary information ruled the day.

(Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia might be able to provide some insight into the process---although Wiki is a far more structured effort, it appears to be an attempt to organize and archive the results of these efforts.)

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.glcq.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15149">p.lukasiak</a> at January 18, 2005 07:11 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15149" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

In 1999 I wrote an Opinion piece titled, "The Hollywoodization of Journalism." It wasn't pretty.

Last year I attempted to contact Tom Curley, to request when reporting family murders, to include stats of men murdering their wives when relationships end. I did not hear back, and reporting, or lack of it, remains the same.

So I created, www.FamilyLawCourts.com to combat mainstream media's refusal to investigate the largest, unregulated industry in the nation, after the defense department.

The reason there are no 'beat' reporters in family court, the one court most people visit; is because of prejudice. Reporters think family court is a, "he said, she said," and miss that family court is completely, a story about Economics. Kids are the marketing tool and kudges act more like sales reps for those in the industry.

So, regarding journalism vs bloggers...my question is what kind of "journalist" would continue to ignore our most precious resources?

Why is it not reported that family court is the only court where a parent can lose their right to parent, or see, speak or touch their child; Without being charged with a crime? A Lack of journalism. The public is almost completely unaware of conditions that are now over a decade old.

San Diego Magazine - Cover story
http://www.sandiegomag.com/issues/march02/featurea0302.shtml

(After the article appeared, Susan, hired a pr firm, changed the name of her agency to, "Hannah's House" and "community partnered" herself to a more entrenched position within the city, with the blessings of former San Diego City Attorney, Casey Gwinn, at his "Family Justice Center" instead of being prosecuted for fraud.)

fyi...Abusers/Batterers who are criminally liable for their violence, nonetheless are awarded sole or joint custody in approximately 70% of challenged custody cases, according to The American Judges Foundation, Domestic Violence and the Courtroom: Understanding the Problem, Knowing the Victim.

Alameda - San Joaquin County - custody to a Convicted child molester
http://www.sfweekly.com/issues/2002-06-19/bayview.html/1/index.html

Marin County (My case featured the same attorney and shrink)
http://www.sfweekly.com/issues/2002-06-19/bayview.html/1/index.html

This case is actually, typical
http://www.msbp.com/dale.htm
(Summary...State takes two sons from mom, claiming she is making one of them sick. Child *is* sick, and dies twelve days later, due to State refusing to believe child is ill and not attending to his needs. State, does not apologize, or offer to pay funeral expenses. Amazingly the State then decides Mom was probably 'neglecting' healthy son while caring for the child with terminal illness. (Not only is there no evidence, of this, but the mother had medical training). Punitively, the State of California chooses to keep mother and her surviving healthy son apart an additional thirty months. Mother sued and was awarded $800,000.00)

I put the www.FamilyLawCourts.com site up as a warning to all, to make Family Court, (itself a pr term), the Last place parents should go to work out their uncoupling.

In 2003, LA's Judge Evina Bobb, ignored a ten year old's letter, (she wanted to speak to the judge), about her fear of her father. The judge made her go with him. After he killed her, (then himself), a courtspokesman seemed annoyed by press attention, saying, "it's not judicial policy to speak to children."

The business of government is; business. In family court that means litigation. I haven't seen my daughter in Three years. Her father is an attorney and all reports, police, teachers, therapists, indicate he's been physically and emotionally abusive to her. As a result of my bringing this to the court's attention, they shot the messenger.

So and again: in the case of journalism and bloggers...what kind of journalist would continue to ignore our most precious resources?

Most sincerely,

Bonnie Russell
www.1st-pick.com
We only work with the best. It's simpler that way.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.1st-pick.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15150">Bonnie Russell</a> at January 18, 2005 08:27 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15150" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Mr. Moore Sy Hersh is credible and you aren't, that's the difference, so please don't degrade the real professionals that don't include you among them. It tips your extreme bias hand with a giant red flag flapping in the wind.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 18, 2005 01:42 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15151" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Scratch on, in your admirable effort to "scratch out" the deeper pattern of which blogging and journalism are a part. But scratch also conversion of "conference" to use as a verb. Aarrgh!

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:janeb@gtcinternet.com">Jane Bowers</a> at January 18, 2005 02:24 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15152" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

This is an interesting essay !!

1) Blog's are a 1st amendment vehicle.
2) "News as a conversation" - New term for blogpshere.
3) Someone asks- who will set the standards and enforce them ? good question.
4) Who will police those who set (3) ??
5) Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over, only when we see that traditonal media, immerse themselves into blogpshere.

Open invite to Journalists...

You’re invited, but its our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that carmel. Don’t worry, you can still make money. That is, as long as its not the only thing on your mind. Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining then any TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate web sites we’ve been seeing. We’re both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin wall today, but they’re really just an annoyance. We know they’re coming down. We’re going to work from both sides to take them down. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.


  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://peterdawson.typepad.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15153">/pd</a> at January 18, 2005 02:56 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15153" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

To get back to JennyD's question from back up <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15144">here</a> ("Could someone explain: what is doing journalism? How would I know it if I saw it? How would it look different from someone who is writing what they see but not doing journalism?"
- Jenny, you ask good questions.)

Maybe it won't look different; yes, better presentational skills help, and better process will generally produce better results, but what's fundamental is the result - that (sbw quote) you've improved the mental map of reality that your readers use to inform their decisionmaking.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 18, 2005 04:01 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15155" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

And I answered that question but apparently nobody liked the answer or accepted it. I wonder why?

pd I searched found no credentials on your blog that according to you is at the top of the mountain looking down on print journalists in the paid salt mine trenches.

Who are you to talk? This is the problem being discussed here. What qualifies you to write news and opinion either for free or money?

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 18, 2005 04:24 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15156" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Should have used 'which' as per the AP style book. Those are part of the standards journlists have to follow.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 18, 2005 04:25 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15157" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Zig:why do I need creditentials ?? What disqualifies me to write news and opinion either for free or money ??

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://peterdawson.typepad.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15158">/pd</a> at January 18, 2005 04:34 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15158" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I'm a former journalist, grad of the Columbia School of Journalism, blah, blah, blah. I love this essay, Jay. I always thought even framing the argument as Blogging vs. journalism showed a fundamental misperception of blogging.

Journalism and blogs do complement each other.......but I confess I usually now turn to blogs as my first source of international news and national politics. For example, Instead of going through the New York Times filter on Iraq, I now go straight to Juan Cole's site. Why? In part, because the NYT lied about the WMDs and generally acted as a cheerleader to the war. (Ditto for Whitewater and the impeachment of Clinton.) So if Judith Miller, Jeff Gerth and Co. are on the payroll, how can any sane news consumer trust that outfit? I mean, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice.....


But I also now go to Juan Cole because I simply get more bang for my time. Cole has read the NYT, the Wash. Post, AP and more. Plus the Arabic and British newspapers. He sifts through it all. He filters it. He's upfront about his opinions. He writes well. And unlike the New York Times, he doesn't seem to start every story with "American officials say today......." I'd take him over the NYT any day.

Well, actually, I already do. When I cancelled my NYT subscription last spring after 20 years. I thought it would feel like going into rehab because darling, I was a Times addict. I started every day with the Gray Lady. She defined morning for me. So when I cancelled, I felt like one of those old school-Catholics who after all the scandals and lying and abuse and absurd papal statements (or in my case, Elisabeth Busmiller's White House reporting) finally decided I was through with the bullshit and left the Holy Catholic church/Times.....

And I discovered that I didn't miss Times at all. Thanks to the blogs and the Internet, I actually felt better informed. And my morning reading was way, way more fun.

I can't believe I'm the only one who's gone this way....

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:lynnell@iaxs.net">Lynnell Mickelsen</a> at January 18, 2005 04:57 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15159" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 


There is knowing but not knowing, and this is what I see.

Read this, and if you laugh, you know, if you do not understand why anyone would laugh, you do not know.

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:nowhere@flyovercountry.org">Nobody</a> at January 18, 2005 05:34 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15160" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Lynell: that was priceless testimony. Thank you.

Jenny, you do indeed ask good questions. On your first one, what technology or skill does journalism control: The first one to arise, in the mid-18th century, was transcription. Debates in Parliament went on, but no one had a record of what was said. When newspaper people began to be admitted, they would "record" the speeches by hand, (this being one thing people outside parliament wanted to read) and this skill would have been the first skill to set the reporter off from the rest of us. The reporter began as a recorder. To this day it is a highly prized asset in journalism.

I think there have been other highly developed skills--rewrite man--but few overall compared to medicine. To put it another way, there are scant means to mystify the laymen in journalism. Auto machanics have an easier time.

Your overall point is correct, Jenny. Journalists do not "own" or control any special knowledge or machinery exclusively, and so they lack the ability to keep non-professionals out. Andrew Sullivan routinely makes this point when he talks about blogging and journalism. "The skills aren't specialized."

As to what identifies a person when they are doing journalism, one answer would be: "I am not always engaged in a regime of verification, but when I am being a journalist I am." I think you get to the journalism part when you get to: how can I verify that? Or who else can I ask? It's not the first phone call, but the second and third. At least, that's one answer.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15161">Jay Rosen</a> at January 18, 2005 05:42 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15161" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

This came as an e-mail from <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/biographies/biogs/executives/richardsambrook.shtml">Richard Sambrook</a>, Director, BBC World Service and Global News Division.

Can we move on and talk about content? The proportion of comment vs, “newsgathering” in the blogging community still feels wrong to me. Let’s not confuse objectivity (based on evidence) with impartiality (elimination of bias). I think bloggers need to think as hard about objectivity as journalists do. But they can properly enjoy the luxury of discarding any attempt to be impartial.

And although we have Podcasting (although I have trouble finding content I want to listen to) we havn’t yet moved to video blogging. Is that next? Will the costs of video distribution hold that back for the foreseeable future? Or will it simply be links to clips?

I was taken with Andrew Tyndall’s comment that cable TV is just a staging post between the networks and a rich interactive video experience online. I think that’s right. The adventure has only just begun. Having cracked text, audio and video await...

Anyone have a comment on that?

I think he's saying that evidence and verification journalism is one kind. And it does not have to be impartial journalism. Bloggers take note.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15162">Jay Rosen</a> at January 18, 2005 06:55 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15162" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I think you get to the journalism part when you get to: how can I verify that? Or who else can I ask? It's not the first phone call, but the second and third. At least, that's one answer.

but unfortunately not a very realistic one.

today, what you "get to" is not "how can I verify that" but "how can I balance that?" and once "balance" is achieved, the "journalist's" job is done. And that's if we're lucky when the reporting is on what those in power have to say.

So if we are lucky, when the President says "in 2042 the Social Security System will be bankrupt" we'll get someone else saying "no it won't." What we won't get is journalism as you define it above---which would result in all of our journalists twlling us that the system can't go bankrupt as it is now constituted.

If journalists were actually doing the job as you describe it, a majority of people who voted for Bush would know that Iraq had no WMDs or WMD programs, and no working relationship with al-Qaeda. (actually, that may not be true...a majority of Bush voters would probably still remain ignorant of the facts---its just that if journalists had done their jobs there may have been a lot fewer Bush voters.)

The other thing that bothers me about journalists is that they don't acknowledge what a crappy job they are doing. So instead of admitting the obvious---that Bush won because the vast majority of the people who voted for him were blissfully ignorant of the facts and the positions of the candidates---we got a series of analyses (the youth vote didn't turn out, it was all about values, etc) that were simply untrue.

Of course, none of this is going to change, its only going to get worse because the people who sign the journalists' paychecks aren't answerable to the electorate, only to their stockholders---and bad journalism is good business.

...and that is why this whole discussion of "Journalism, Blogging, and Credibility" is so pointless. "Fact checking" now consists of "did he really say that?" and "did she really say that."

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.glcq.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15163">p.lukasiak</a> at January 18, 2005 07:29 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15163" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

"I am not always engaged in a regime of verification, but when I am being a journalist I am."

But how about false balance, aka lazy equivalence? As long as the reporter makes no specific _claim_ that X balances Y, s/he could report on both, verifying both, devoting the same space/time to each, the reader would infer that both were of equal importance.

Making the same point, but at a different level:

Is journalism a group activity, or an individual activity? If I limit my [verified]crime reporting to those committed by Libertarians, and there aren't a roughly equal-#-per-capita of reporters looking at crimes committed by other parties, won't the reader be misled by the available reporting?
- i.e. is it still journalism if I report and verify a small part of the picture, if it has the effect of giving the reader a wrong impression of the larger picture?

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 18, 2005 07:35 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15164" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

One aspect of blogging that I feel is underexplored but plays a large role in its ascendancy is: subject matter expertise. I have grown increasingly frustrated with journalism/the MSM as they try to position themselves as subject matter experts when they're clearly not. I recently tried to start a business and everytime I was interviewed by a member of The Press, my ideas were either co-opted, taken out of context or presented with a completely distorted understanding of the subject. It was during this time that I realized how much the MSM distorts reality through their processing of information. I *believe* that blogs rose in power because they focused less on self-establishment of expertise and more on an honest discussion of the facts. Obviously, there are exceptions; the political-blogs being a big one. But, I now realize how valuable facts and data are to me and I'm convinced that I can't get that from the MSM. Interestingly, you can often find it in the blogging universe (e.g. Typewriter analysis in Rathergate). And yes, I acknowledge exceptions to these generalizations.
Additionally, its clear that the MSM spends an inordinate amount of time on massaging the delivery -- time better spent finding the facts in my opinion. I think Tom Brokaw spends more time prefecting his warbly drawl than applying critical thinking to the Bush's administrations claims of WMDs in Iraq.
Both of these factors: delusion of expertise and the distraction of delivery ruined the Press' credibility at a time when the Internet created a new communication channel. I think this is a key component to understanding the rise of blogs and the upheaval in traditional journalism.
The bright side for the Press is that Blogging will suffer its own crisis of credibility and the Press would be well-served to overhaul its own procedures and wait for this to occur. (Already there is commentary about paid blogging/advocacy appearing.)

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:kaldenbaugh@yahoo.com">Jake</a> at January 18, 2005 07:54 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15165" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I have credentials. I made them myself. So how many Zig Points do I get?

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://communique.portland.or,us/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15166">The One True b!X</a> at January 18, 2005 08:02 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15166" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I think he's saying that evidence and verification journalism is one kind. And it does not have to be impartial journalism. Bloggers take note.

I beg to differ--from personal experience.

I spent a couple of months last summer pulling together all of the relevant Federal Statutes, DoD regulations, and Air Force policies and procedures that I could find pursuant to Bush's National Guard service. I not only analysed the "Bush files" from within that context (ignoring all "anecdotal evidence") I posted all of the original materials on a website (at my own expense.)

Now, my conclusions were rock solid---and in fact formed the foundation for a whole bunch of "mainstream media" (print) reporting---and had it not been for the "bulletproof" nature of my research, I seriously doubt that Mary Mapes would have used the Killian Memos without a far more thorough vetting process.

Nevertheless, despite the rock solid nature of my research, I'm described in the Thornburgh/Boccardi report as an "anti-Bush Blogger" who "operates a website where he posts disparaging analyses of President Bush's TXANG service." And despite the rock-solid proof of Bush's dereliction, the mainstream media treated the Thornburgh/Boccardi report as if it had vindicated Bush's service.

The reality is that FACTS don't matter. There is nothing to be gained by being thorough and intellectually honest---in fact, those qualities are a liability in today's media environment.

All that matters is "the sizzle" not the steak. I made a point of never speaking to any journalist on the record, because the facts (the steak) was what I considered important, not my conclusions ("the sizzle"). In essence, I demanded that mainstream journalists verify my research---and I provided them with all the necessary materials. Those that did so (after speaking with me, or talking to "experts" who were basing their conclusions on my research) wrote stories in newspapers and magazines, but those stories were ignored.

Michael Moore says "Bush is a deserter" and there is a media firestorm. Someone goes out and proves "Bush was a deserter" and nothing happens.

In today's journalistic environment, its all sizzle --- it doesn't really matter if you have your facts straight, it doesn't matter what the truth is --- ALL that matters is the sizzle.

Today was a perfect example. Jeff Jarvis posts an diatribe against a New York Times reporter who "endangered the lives" of some Iraqi bloggers by revealing their full names. With lightning speed, this irresponsible action of the New York Times spread throughout the right wing blogosphere....and is likely to find its way into the catalogue of journalistic crimes perpetrated by the Times.

Except that the bloggers themselves issued a press release with their full names when they announced they were running in the Iraqi elections....and Jeff Jarvis himself published their names in his blog.

This was horsemeat, not steak, but "the sizzle" gave it an enormous push into the consciousness of rightwingers....and you can believe that the story of how the Times endangered the lives of Iraqi bloggers who courageously supported the USA will live forever!

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.glcq.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15167">p.lukasiak</a> at January 18, 2005 08:03 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15167" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Jake said: "The bright side for the Press is that Blogging will suffer its own crisis of credibility"; in <a href="http://fafblog.blogspot.com/2005_01_09_fafblog_archive.html#110557986802586564">Blogonia Uber Alles</a>, Giblets begs to differ.

p.lukasiak: "...and you can believe that the story of how the Times endangered the lives of Iraqi bloggers who courageously supported the USA will live forever"

OK; as Zephyr Teachout puts it, we're building a culture - how do we structure that culture so it places a premium on accurately informing its readers?

" 'The adventure has only just begun. Having cracked text, audio and video await... '
Anyone have a comment on that?"

No, or at least not anything remotely resembling an informed one; I don't even think I know what it signifies for the future.

(except maybe that if we can all just sit at home making and watching videos, it won't matter if oil hits $150/barrel?)


  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 18, 2005 08:36 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15168" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I would like to offer a rebuttal to -- Richard Sambrook, Director, BBC World Service and Global News Division on his discourse.. "Will the costs of video distribution hold that back for the foreseeable future? Or will it simply be links to clips?"

Will Richard, as Director BBC's News Division, permit a videoblog of simliar content as <a href="http://www.kevinsites.net/2004_11_21_archive.html#110107420331292115">Kevinsites</a> ?? I don't see it as a clip (its first hand info cull happening on the fly!), so therefore- not a clip. Neither, do I have bandwidth constraints for such intel/news collections..

Permit me to articulate ; "Can we move on and talk about content?" Now- What says you about open content ?

Now Richard, may I have your candid remarks on directly on this comments section of this site ??

Lets begin with content directly on this site..rather then intermediate emails and offline converstations !!

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://peterDawson.typepad.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15169">/pd</a> at January 18, 2005 08:59 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15169" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

OK; as Zephyr Teachout puts it,

you just couldn't resist, could you? :)

we're building a culture - how do we structure that culture so it places a premium on accurately informing its readers?

we don't have any control over the structure of the culture, because what is evolving is not a single culture, but multiple cultures. The culture that you are referring to will be/is the "left wing media elite" culture---the culture that cares about things like "accuracy".

The larger "real world" culture is based on self-gratification and self-affirmation---and technology is evolving to the point where people will be able to live in a "real" world that is totally divorced from reality.

The right wing in America has already achieved much of that---they have their own News Network, a talk radio network, and a rightwing blogosphere that presents a view of reality that is completely at odds with the perceptions of 99% of the people on the planet. The "mainstream media" presents no threat to this unreal "reality" thanks to the emphasis on "balance" in the news---since one of the choices offered is THEIR reality, they seldom experience cognitive dissonance. And when cognitive dissonance does occur, they write it off as "media bias."

Of course, the Fox/Rush/Reynolds axis is just a crude approximation of what will evolve eventually---individually tailored realities.

Only the most intellectually masochistic will successfully break out of their individually tailored reality, and get a clue to what is really going on --- and they will wind up classified as insane, either because cognitive dissonance drives them nuts, or their attempts to break through to others will be perceived as the ravings of a madman.

We're the Borg...we just don't know it. But then again, neither did they.


  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.glcq.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15170">p.lukasiak</a> at January 18, 2005 09:23 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15170" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

It seems to me commenters here have fallen for a trial balloon. "Blogs vs. Journalists is Over" presumes there was a bloggers vs. journalists competition to begin with. I don't buy the declaration because I don't buy the competition. We're partners when we share the same goals. At other times, we're entertainment. Why make it more complex than it needs to be.

I've been away from PressThink for a time -- my job as newspaper publisher does take precedence. I was pleased to see a pet theme pop up in <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15155">Anna's comments</a> above. Earlier today, before catching up on PressThink, I had composed an <a href="http://blogs.rny.com/sbw/stories/storyReader$233">opinion</a> supporting a blogger pointed to by <a href="http://instapundit.com/archives/020535.php">Instapundit</a>. My opinion raised the same concept that Anna recalled and applied it slightly differently. I wrote: Journalists who engage in activism assume to themselves responsibilities that belong to the reader. and Ultimately, journalist isn't a title. Journalist is an earned accolade, earned after the fact and earned afresh every day.

But, you've heard this from me before.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://blogs.rny.com/sbw/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15171">sbw</a> at January 18, 2005 09:59 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15171" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

"Blogs vs. Journalists is Over" presumes there was a bloggers vs. journalists competition to begin with.

You may not believe the issue is real, but rightly or wrongly the debate certainly exists.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://communique.portland.or,us/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15172">The One True b!X</a> at January 18, 2005 10:23 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15172" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

"I think you get to the journalism part when you get to: how can I verify that? Or who else can I ask? It's not the first phone call, but the second and third. At least, that's one answer."

That's my answer too. Bloggers rarely do that. Juan Cole is excellent but look at the credentials? Historian and writer. THOSE are the qualifications: Knowledge acquired the old fashioned way.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 18, 2005 11:57 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15173" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

The issue of subject matter expertise, mentioned above, is a one where blogs have a clear advantage. I have rarely seen a news story about areas related to my professional fields that was even close to correct. Its not clear to me why those stories are so bad, but they are the rule.

There are bloggers who are deeply knowledgable in nearly every field. p.lukasiak mocked the bloggers who detected Rathergate, not realizing that some of them had deep backgrrounds in typograpy and related software. Again, someone out of his area of knowledge bested by bloggers who are actual experts in that field.

This can be a complementary relationship. After all, lots of us know how to use the web to get accurate information in arcane areas. Presumably reporters do also. If not, they are dinosaurs. .

Jay's comment about the ratio of original reporting to commentary is correct, but hardly surprising. To keep a blog, like any media outlet alive, you need regular content. The typical blogger, unlike a reporter, does not frequently seek or encounter news as it happens. Hence he produces commentary on news from other sources. Drudge is an example of this - most of his stories are links to MSM stories.

This does lead to the possibility of cooperative blogs that publish original content by opening up to those who happen to encounter news (control and standards are a non-trivial issue, of course).

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.tinyvital.com/blog/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15174">John Moore</a> at January 19, 2005 12:59 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15174" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Some months ago, AP moved a story early on a Saturday morning about a San Francisco man seen on a beheading video. Bloggers picked up on this, outraged at the barbarity. Quickly, readers wrote in that this was a hoax, a prank that had been on the Internet for weeks. An AP reporter knocked on doors and tracked the man down at his apartment, talked to him face to face and confirmed that it was a prank.

Here you have one of the most traditional of news organizations, the Associated Press, moving a story it wasn't sure of. Bloggers picked up wrong information and spread it. This time at least, the self-correcting nature of blogs kicked in quickly. But it took a traditional reporter to do the leg work and figure out what actually happened.

In some other story, it will be the blogger who is at the scene who says, "I'm looking right at it and it didn't happen that way," while traditional media are speculating away.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.syracuse.com/newslogs/newstracker/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15175">Brian Cubbison</a> at January 19, 2005 02:59 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15175" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Thanks Jay, Anna, et. al. for thinking about professions, journalism, etc.

I agree about verification. But how do I know that a reporter has verified? It is not transparent.

Now I do academic research, and part of the papers I write is about methods. I have to spell out exactly how I came to my conclusions so it is transparent. I found that most interesting when I got into a academe, and now wonder if journalism might be better off with some of this. Methods are boring, but they offer enormous credibility. It's what makes academic research "professional."

(Of course some ofwhat passes for research is dreadful, but then again, you can tell by reading the methods section of the paper.)

Jay, the other problem is that anyone who can make three phone calls is a professional journalist. That's not a great skill set for a group of professionals to need. Journalists had better get their hands on something better than that or watch their work be criticized.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15176">JennyD</a> at January 19, 2005 05:16 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15176" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

JennyD: But how do I know that a reporter has verified?

When I speak to groups I show them the 1993 NYTimes photomontage of FDR and Churchill at Yalta with Groucho replacing Stalin and Sylvester Stallone leaning on the couch in back. You usedto be able to trust photography, but now you can't. But I remind them that words have always been able to be changed more easily than pictures. Then I explain that the only thing the reliable press sells is trust. Violate trust once and you have lost it forever -- which is also true in relationships.

You don't know that a reporter has verified, but trust is built from experience corroborated with other sources.

'Check with other sources.' That's what makes one laugh to hear people prove their ignorance when they say, "I don't read news, I get mine from television."

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://blogs.rny.com/sbw/stories/storyReader$102" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15177">sbw</a> at January 19, 2005 07:54 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15177" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

The one true b!X: You may not believe the issue is real, but rightly or wrongly the debate certainly exists.

You are correct. Heh!... I forget -- How many angels do dance on the head of a pin?

---

p.lukasiak mocked the bloggers who detected Rathergate, not realizing that some of them had deep backgrrounds in typograpy and related software.

p. also didn't pay enough attention to those knowledgeable bloggers. Curious about p's 'evidence', I followed his link to look at his smoking gun: the Bush/TANG proportionally-spaced typed document from the period. After a two-second scan, one can see the difference between character-specific proportional spacing of IBM Selectrics of the time and individual kerning which is characteristic of today's word-processing. It also has a full-sized "th" as opposed to the superscript version on the Rathergate memo which an old Selectric user like me realizes is unlikely to be found among the limited options of a type ball. Both serve to make me cautious.

The caution here applies to both bloggers and the press: Deep backgrounds are often valuable, but expertise sometimes comes in the form of zealotry. And Neitzche, I once read, believed that zealotry in any form is suspect.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://blogs.rny.com/sbw/stories/storyReader$102" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15178">sbw</a> at January 19, 2005 08:13 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15178" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Well, I use phone calls as a last resort. Many times interviews come in from e-mailed questions to sources. Some are done in person and all are supplemented by researching public records both online and off. That's what reporting is and I resent the dismissive charges of simplicity and cluelessness of the methods employed by traditional journalists.

Most of these blogs are over-the-top partisan opinion diatribes. Instant experts. Typography? They know jack squat and proved it.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 19, 2005 12:08 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15179" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

I agree with sbw that zealotry can trump all evidence. Don't fall for it.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 19, 2005 12:11 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15180" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Zig :I searched. Found no credentials on or for you-that support your comments "Most of these blogs are over-the-top partisan opinion diatribes".

So that means- according to me; that you are at the top of the mountain looking down on bloggers as if they are in the trenches.

Yes, I am still awaiting for your reply to my <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15158">question.</a> !!!

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://peterdawson.typepad.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15181">/pd</a> at January 19, 2005 01:06 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15181" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

One thing I find is that blogs are much more personal feeling than print. I always feel I know a writer at Slate (comment-free online journalism) better than Time or my favorite local rag. Pictures add to that sense of kinship - I find myself much more civil toward a foe who's picture is posted than one who remains visually anonymous.
I think, along those lines, video blogging would drastically change the nature of blogalogue (blogger dialogue), likely for the better. Of course part of the attraction, for many, to the web is visual anonymity, a chance to be judged singularly by what you express (and link to).

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.bloggertown.blogspot.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15182">Mavis Beacon</a> at January 19, 2005 01:38 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15182" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

"As to what identifies a person when they are doing journalism, one answer would be: 'I am not always engaged in a regime of verification, but when I am being a journalist I am.'"

Suppose an article presents a set of (verified) facts which lead the reader (and, presumably, led the reporter) to make an inference; but the article never makes the inference explicit.

Then new evidence arises - from verifiable facts not reported in the article - that the inference is false. Does a newspaper have a responsibility to correct an error that never appeared on its pages, and was only produced in the minds of its readers?


My opinion: you can't call something journalism without reference to its effect on the reader. Thus, at least in blatant cases, you do have a responsibility to correct "errors of inference".
Of course, every complainer will view their own case as blatant; not sure how how to handle that.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:ncfocus2003@yahoo.com">Anna</a> at January 19, 2005 02:21 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15183" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

You don't know that a reporter has verified, but trust is built from experience corroborated with other sources.

And this is a good example of why the "blogging v. journalism" and "are bloggers journalists?" framings have never made much sense.

The above reflects as well precisely what bloggers-doing-journalism are going through: A process of evolving experience and corroboration over time which leads to trust and credibility.

Really, the only reason people are flipping out over whether or not blogger journalists are trustworthy or have any credibiltiy is because they have to build it from scratch, and too many defenders of the faith on the established media side have forgotten that once upon a time, their profession had to do the same thing.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://communique.portland.or,us/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15184">The One True b!X</a> at January 19, 2005 02:29 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15184" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

New evidence always adjusts the record. That's the way science works and so does journalism if done right. pd why are you qualified to report anything? I have a degree in it. That qualifies me to go to work for a paper. It's still tough to get on.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 19, 2005 04:46 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15185" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Zig:"I have a degree in it. That qualifies me to go to work for a paper."

Well, I don't have a degree in journalism and what makes you think I don't write (or rather) not written for a newspaper and Magazine ?

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://peterdawson.typepad.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15186">/pd</a> at January 19, 2005 05:11 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15186" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Bloggers vs. Journalists vs. Orators.

Don't read an essay and call it oratory. Pare down. No wordiness. Filter your thoughts. 10 word or fewer sentence-phases. Make your listener want to stand-up and cheer. They won't. So what. You made your point. Did I?

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://none" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15187">David</a> at January 19, 2005 06:08 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15187" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

After a two-second scan, one can see the difference between character-specific proportional spacing of IBM Selectrics of the time and individual kerning which is characteristic of today's word-processing. <i></i>

there was no kerning in the Killian memos.

(even newcomer acknowledges that).

The original pdf files that CBS posted were relatively high quality, in which the distinction between letters were far clearer. Subsequently, CBS replaced the original versions with lower density versions, in which the top of the "f" merged with the dot on the "i"....and thus the kerning myth was born.

in other words, before you do your "two second scan" you have to know what you are comparing it to. (i mean, its obviously not even the same font...look at he "J".)

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://www.glcq.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15188">p.lukasiak</a> at January 19, 2005 07:26 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15188" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

pd that would be the question now wouldn't it? You could have a History degree for example and write for a paper. There is certain reporting courses in the craft that are required, but I'm sure some get in without them. Credentials are necessary.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 19, 2005 07:38 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15189" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

It is a myth.

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:zig@stardust.com">Zig</a> at January 19, 2005 07:39 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15190" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Credentials are necessary.

I have credentials. I made them myself. How many Zig Points do I get?

(Yeah, ok, I won't repeat this post again. It just makes me laugh.)

Now I'm going to go to the umpteenth meeting regarding a redvelopment project in Portland that I'm following more closely than any other outlet in town. But that doesn't count, because I don't have credentials.

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://communique.portland.or,us/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15191">The One True b!X</a> at January 19, 2005 07:45 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15191" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

<a href="http://sisypheanmusings.blogspot.com/2005/01/bloggers-vs-journalists-is-not-over.html">Bloggers vs. Journalists is NOT Over</a>

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://sisypheanmusings.blogspot.com/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15204">Sisyphus</a> at January 20, 2005 04:39 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15204" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Dear colleagues:

I'm writing from Paris, where I work as a journalist in television and for the written press - Agence France Presse. I hope Jay Rosen will get this message: Hello Jay: I've tried to contact you several times, when I have passed through New York in the second half of August of most years. Great debate you have going. I would make the point that one reason that people read less of the organized print media is that they read less in general because they watch too much TV and DVDs. And who has the time to read everything out there in print or on-line. Now that of that mutiplied by two or three languages, and we are looking at 48 days. I would like to know, with all this clever debate, why has so much of the press swallowed everything the Bush administration puts out, and why has US foreign policy contributed so greatly in setting the world on fire. Perhaps people believe the blogs because they do not believe or do not understand or could not care less about what they read in the press.
As an outsider now, I have a different perspective on Americans, and their take on the Middle East, for example, as I have spent some time working in Israel. Jay, I would love to hear from you. Send at mail to Klineb@aol.com Take care, Brett

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:Klineb@aol.com">Brett Kline</a> at January 20, 2005 08:27 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15209" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Hello Jay,
Hope you got the letter i posted from Paris. I gotta work a bit now, but I would love to hear from you.
Hope you are well. Perhaps we could meet up in Tel Aviv one day, or in Bethlehem.

cheers

Brett Kline
Klineb@aol.com

  Posted by: <a href="mailto:Klineb@aol.com">Brett Kline</a> at January 20, 2005 08:31 AM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15211" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

Zig: I accept that -"Credentials are necessary".

However, my first question was "What disqualifies me to write news and opinion either for free or money ??" Your first reply was "I have a degree in it. That qualifies me to go to work for a paper."

--You see there's a big difference between what you say now and what you said then. Having a "degree" and having "Credentials" are totally two diffent things.

I only hope that you not an aspiring reporter. Well-- the less said the better, I think I made my point..I rest my case!

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://peterdawson.typepad.com" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15241">/pd</a> at January 20, 2005 03:27 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15241" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 

<a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15188">p.lukasiak</a>:

... there was no kerning in the Killian memos.

(even newcomer acknowledges that).</br></br>
<a href="http://www.flounder.com/bush2.htm">The Bush "Guard memos" are forgeries!</a>: <a href="http://www.flounder.com/bush2.htm#12-Sep-04">Kerning and pseudo-kerning. Digital signature copying</a>
Some have argued that the documents are forgeries because the characters are "kerned". Kerning is an operation which tucks characters together to compact space. However, Microsoft Word by default does not kern text. The text of the memo is not kerned. Kerning is a pairwise operation between characters, and each character pair that can be kerned has a specified kerning value. Microsoft fonts and many others come with accompanying kerning data. But kerning is complex, and computationally expensive, and therefore would have slowed down redisplay in a WYSIWYG editor. However, Times New Roman uses a characteristic of Microsoft TrueType fonts called the ABC dimensions, where the C dimension is the offset from the right edge of the bounding box of the character to the next character. If this offset is negative, the character with the negative C offset will overlap the character which follows (in some technologies, the distance from the start of one character to the start of another is called the “escapement”, so a negative C offset gives an escapement which is less than the character width). This gives the illusion of kerning, or what I sometimes call pseudo-kerning”. I discuss the ABC width mechanism in some detail in a book I wrote in 1997 (“<a href="http://www.flounder.com/books.htm">Win32 Programming</a>”, with Brent Rector, Addison-Wesley, 1997, p. 1104).

  Posted by: <a target="_blank" title="http://sisypheanmusings.blogspot.com/" href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/mt/mt-comments.cgi?__mode=red&id=15245">Sisyphus</a> at January 20, 2005 04:03 PM | <a href="http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2005/01/15/berk_pprd.html#comment15245" title="Permalink to this comment">Permalink</a> 
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