The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Friday, November 22, 2002

I think I'm going to lose my internet connection now that the conference is over, but you can get alternate takes on the conference by checking out the comments here (scroll down).
4:37:20 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |

Question for Blogging and Media Panel

Caio (the panel's moderator) asked about credibility of bloggers.

Josh: would never write anything in his blog that he wouldn't write in a magazine
Jeff: fundamental honesty; the truth will out you; weblogs and linkages are a better way to rate
John: incredible speed of responses and evaluation of his articles on Google; bloggers are better at subtleties in some topics than big media
(I couldn't hear what David said.)

Question: too little sense of building a community around a blog and too much emphasis on the individual blogger; big potential for commentary but not much for news gathering - why is that? wouldn't people try to gather news in order to contribute to the community?
Jeff: there's still something to being a real reporter
John: has built a reporter skill set; thinks more people will learn this (up until now it's been incredibly exclusive); will see better blog writing as a result; reporting is calling others when you don't know about the topic; don't need to know that when you already know the topic, so you can just blog it
Ernie: agrees, and the ego/feedback thing is incentive to break stories and gather news; blogging may become a stepping stone for writing

Henry: many bloggers have a skewed view of actual reporter skills (especially beyond magazines); daily reporters who write x number of stories a day on deadline

Question: what is happening to the underlying articles below the front page?
Jeff: Kaus and Drudge have the power to force buzzmachine to pump up their servers
Comment: worst articles are actually rising to the top because bloggers link to them and "fisk" them

Seth: looked up Slashdot story John Hiler referred to in his talk, and he knows the guy, so Seth is talking to him over IRC right now

Question: Jeff is losing his advertising dollars, but news is a commodity so what differentiates him is commentary, so what differentiates him from blogs?
Jeff: the killer app is actually local, and there's too little of that in mainstream media; can get more useful on a newspaper level by covering more of this; niche-ification of America

Question I would have asked if there'd been more time: what kinds of conventions will we need to see put in place in order for blogging to become more "respectable," especially in comparison to journalists? For example, quoting others. It's already difficult to tell quotes from commentary. What do we need to do to move this forward.

4:36:19 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Josh Micah Marshall on Blogging and Media

Works simultaneously as a journalist and doing a blog. Enjoys not having to build up an entire article around an idea or point.

Can bloggers be journalists? No. It's not original reporting; most people can't invest the necessary amount of information to do it right. So blogs will continue to be the churn of commentary, reaction, opinion.

May not be formal constraints on what he writes, but there are definitely informal ones (reputation).

Used to be able to write a piece on his blog and show it to convential media who would then pay him for it. Now they know they don't have to pay for it since it's already on his site.

Fundamental honesty with your readers - how well sourced is something

4:11:19 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Jeff Jarvis on Blogging

What excites media executives most is interactivity (comments, forums), because that's what the people are telling you is important to them. Populism matters, and the internet is the populist medium.

Weblog is the highest form of this activity. Internet gives voice, weblogs give opportunity to create voices.

Will blogs replace traditional journalism? No. In an age when Daniel Pearl died to go get a story, it's not right to say that just commenting on stories is equivalent.

Still in its infancy, webloggers haven't been "discovered" yet. Bloggers are not representative of the audience, but can still listen to them. Can get the "buzz."

Didn't see the need for blogs until September 11, 2001. Had more to say, link to, comment on, so kept blogging. Feedback and reactions were "goosebump" time. This led to a community. Haven't figured all of this out yet, but it adds something new.

So if blogs are so great, why isn't he doing more at his day job? Difficult because they already have enough content but not ads and because they're a target because they have journalistic standards.

Nick Denton is tracking this conference remotely through blog posts, so he sent sales figures for for last month via instant messaging. $5000+, which is incredible feedback!

We'll figure out the voce for old and new media together.

3:56:13 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

David Gallagher on Blogging and Media

A year ago, he wrote a NY Times story about spam in car navigation. Story hit Slashdot. Opinions took off from there and raked the story without even reading it.

It's easy to learn a little bit about a lot of things and feel like you're in the know.

Was writing a story about techbloggers (Dave Winer) and warbloggers (Glenn Reynolds), only to discover that his two sources were blogging about during the process. Those being covered by the media had their own media outlet.

Was doing a story about the introduction of the Euro. Started a blog about it with a friend, ended up with nine contributors. Peer-to-peer journalism because people posted their ordinary experiences.

3:42:06 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

John Hiler on Blogging and Media

Blogs are very addictive; compared bloggers and those who read blogs to smokers and there were way more blog hands than smoker hands (one!). Blogs hold their own against a controlled substance that's addictive!

"Flow" is addictive; you lose all sense of time and self-consciousness. It's deeply addictive. Bloggers know this, but this gets lost when we talk to other people. Feedback is incredibly addictive. Everyone that blogs remembers the first time you got an email feedback (or the first comment posted to your site).

Gambling industry is built on this same addiction to feedback. It's the unpredictability of the response that is addictive. Blogging is an addiction, but it's a good addiction. Blogging is eating into bloggers other media habits, and bloggers are reading a lot more on the web.

Blogs are different from other media because it's the first form of addictive media that closes the loop. Not just consuming content, but you're also creating it as well. First media eco-system. Engine of addiction.

Businesses don't get that blogs are addictive. They use the blog form, but don't use it to its fullest advantage.

3:34:57 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Mickey Kaus on Blogging and Media

My panel just finished at the conference, so I'll try to blog Mickey Kaus now that I got a wired connection (I can't seem to pick up the wireless one.) I'll try to go back and post my notes from Glenn Reynolds' talk.

Kaus sez:

Bloggers don't have to worry about "half-baked ideas;"
Bloggers don't have to worry about the first person to say something;
Bloggers don't worry about arbitrary topics, editors, deadlines, topics about which you don't have anything to say....

Six questions:

  1. Will blogs displace traditional media?  No.
  2. Will bloggers make any money? Don't know. Realization setting in that maybe the ad money just won't be there. Doesn't matter, though.
  3. Why are they so damn right-wing? Reaction against left-wing media bias, something inherent in blogging that makes them more libertarian, or right-wingers just more pissed off in general for the last decade. Anger on the right should start to dissipate and build up on the left - good test. Favors media bias theory.
  4. Will blogger speech require a change to the First Amendment (that also impacts traditional media)? Different definition of the press (corporate view and academic view). Corporate view was always wrong, but now it's also untenable because everyone can plausibly claim to be a reporter. Also untenable for journalists to claim they have special First Amendment rights. But, hold them to a higher standard that can't apply to ordinary conversations, which is more like blogs. "Technology of correction" is much better now, which changes the degree of "grievous" claims in lawsuits. There's a different ecology of how the truth comes out...more of a dialogue...the truth comes back via email. Doesn't call people for reaction the way he used to (or should have done); always had to make the call, and often would find out something during that call. In blogging, don't make that call; get email feedback instead. And it's all faster in the world of blogs. Can't do a blog fast enough if you have to have everything checked and lawyered.
  5. Will blogging lead to more tribal cocooning? Agrees with Glenn that blogs are the antidote to cocooning. Some blogs are wormholes through which people can go to other cocoons. In order to "fisk" somebody, you have to read them. Darwinian self-interest in being nice to each other and being civil. If you're attacking somebody, you're at least talking. Don't see this in talk radio.
  6. Is blogging a good thing - a better form of journalism or free speech? One virtue of blogging is that anonymous people in organizations can tell you what's really going on. Blogging "connects the dots." Good ideas come from bad ideas, so you should never be afraid to throw out a bad idea. The world of blogs is full of bad ideas, but they can be turned into good ideas. So answer is yes.

Professor Balkin: Can't tell anymore who's a private person versus a public person. No legal guarantee to retract.
Kaus: blogosphere is self-correcting even when original blogger doesn't retract.

Glenn Reynolds: old media has crappy publishing technologies; Google allows for disclosures of public interest because can look people up

Jeff Jarvis: the power of the NY Times is that the NY Times has to have the retraction, whereas this isn't true in the blogosphere; blogs have a surplus of opinions and a paucity of facts

Professor Balkin: worried about private censorship
Kaus: now worrying about just offending one big tuna, rather than thousands so it's a better situation

Note: The Kitchen Cabinet helpfully summarizes the legal debate that occurred at the end of Kaus' speech, because I got so caught up listening to it that I didn't really blog it.

3:07:38 PM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] | Google It!

Sorry, no bloggy. I'm off to New Haven for Revenge of the Blog. I don't know if there will be wireless access there, but I'll blogi f I can. If not, you can keep up via The Kitchen Cabinet.

4:39:39 AM  |   Permanent link here  |    |   Trackback [] |