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PressThink: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine
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Read about Jay Rosen's book, What Are Journalists For?

Excerpt from Chapter One of What Are Journalists For? "As Democracy Goes, So Goes the Press."

Essay in Columbia Journalism Review on the changing terms of authority in the press, brought on in part by the blog's individual--and interactive--style of journalism. It argues that, after Jayson Blair, authority is not the same at the New York Times, either.

"Web Users Open the Gates." My take on ten years of Internet journalism, at

Read: Q & As

Jay Rosen, interviewed about his work and ideas by journalist Richard Poynder

Achtung! Interview in German with a leading German newspaper about the future of newspapers and the Net.

Audio: Have a Listen

Listen to an audio interview with Jay Rosen conducted by journalist Christopher Lydon, October 2003. It's about the transformation of the journalism world by the Web.

Five years later, Chris Lydon interviews Jay Rosen again on "the transformation." (March 2008, 71 minutes.)

Interview with host Brooke Gladstone on NPR's "On the Media." (Dec. 2003) Listen here.

Presentation to the Berkman Center at Harvard University on open source journalism and NewAssignment.Net. Downloadable mp3, 70 minutes, with Q and A. Nov. 2006.

Video: Have A Look

Half hour video interview with Robert Mills of the American Microphone series. On blogging, journalism, NewAssignment.Net and distributed reporting.

Jay Rosen explains the Web's "ethic of the link" in this four-minute YouTube clip.

"The Web is people." Jay Rosen speaking on the origins of the World Wide Web. (2:38)

One hour video Q & A on why the press is "between business models" (June 2008)

Recommended by PressThink:

Town square for press critics, industry observers, and participants in the news machine: Romenesko, published by the Poynter Institute.

Town square for weblogs: InstaPundit from Glenn Reynolds, who is an original. Very busy. Very good. To the Right, but not in all things. A good place to find voices in diaolgue with each other and the news.

Town square for the online Left. The Daily Kos. Huge traffic. The comments section can be highly informative. One of the most successful communities on the Net.

Rants, links, blog news, and breaking wisdom from Jeff Jarvis, former editor, magazine launcher, TV critic, now a J-professor at CUNY. Always on top of new media things. Prolific, fast, frequently dead on, and a pal of mine.

Eschaton by Atrios (pen name of Duncan B;ack) is one of the most well established political weblogs, with big traffic and very active comment threads. Left-liberal.

Terry Teachout is a cultural critic coming from the Right at his weblog, About Last Night. Elegantly written and designed. Plus he has lots to say about art and culture today.

Dave Winer is the software wiz who wrote the program that created the modern weblog. He's also one of the best practicioners of the form. Scripting News is said to be the oldest living weblog. Read it over time and find out why it's one of the best.

If someone were to ask me, "what's the right way to do a weblog?" I would point them to Doc Searls, a tech writer and sage who has been doing it right for a long time.

Ed Cone writes one of the most useful weblogs by a journalist. He keeps track of the Internet's influence on politics, as well developments in his native North Carolina. Always on top of things.

Rebecca's Pocket by Rebecca Blood is a weblog by an exemplary practitioner of the form, who has also written some critically important essays on its history and development, and a handbook on how to blog.

Dan Gillmor used to be the tech columnist and blogger for the San Jose Mercury News. He now heads a center for citizen media. This is his blog about it.

A former senior editor at Pantheon, Tom Englehardt solicits and edits commentary pieces that he publishes in blog form at TomDispatches. High-quality political writing and cultural analysis.

Chris Nolan's Spot On is political writing at a high level from Nolan and her band of left-to-right contributors. Her notion of blogger as a "stand alone journalist" is a key concept; and Nolan is an exemplar of it.

Barista of Bloomfield Avenue is journalist Debbie Galant's nifty experiment in hyper-local blogging in several New Jersey towns. Hers is one to watch if there's to be a future for the weblog as news medium.

The Editor's Log, by John Robinson, is the only real life honest-to-goodness weblog by a newspaper's top editor. Robinson is the blogging boss of the Greensboro News-Record and he knows what he's doing.

Fishbowl DC is about the world of Washington journalism. Gossip, controversies, rituals, personalities-- and criticism. Good way to keep track of the press tribe in DC

PJ Net Today is written by Leonard Witt and colleagues. It's the weblog of the Public Journalisn Network (I am a founding member of that group) and it follows developments in citizen-centered journalism.

Here's Simon Waldman's blog. He's the Director of Digital Publishing for The Guardian in the UK, the world's most Web-savvy newspaper. What he says counts.

Novelist, columnist, NPR commentator, Iraq War vet, Colonel in the Army Reserve, with a PhD in literature. How many bloggers are there like that? One: Austin Bay.

Betsy Newmark's weblog she describes as "comments and Links from a history and civics teacher in Raleigh, NC." An intelligent and newsy guide to blogs on the Right side of the sphere. I go there to get links and comment, like the teacher said.

Rhetoric is language working to persuade. Professor Andrew Cline's Rhetorica shows what a good lens this is on politics and the press.

Davos Newbies is a "year-round Davos of the mind," written from London by Lance Knobel. He has a cosmopolitan sensibility and a sharp eye for things on the Web that are just... interesting. This is the hardest kind of weblog to do well. Knobel does it well.

Susan Crawford, a law professor, writes about democracy, technology, intellectual property and the law. She has an elegant weblog about those themes.

Kevin Roderick's LA Observed is everything a weblog about the local scene should be. And there's a lot to observe in Los Angeles.

Joe Gandelman's The Moderate Voice is by a political independent with an irrevant style and great journalistic instincts. A link-filled and consistently interesting group blog.

Ryan Sholin's Invisible Inkling is about the future of newspapers, online news and journalism education. He's the founder of and a self-taught Web developer and designer.

H20town by Lisa Williams is about the life and times of Watertown, Massachusetts, and it covers that town better than any local newspaper. Williams is funny, she has style, and she loves her town.

Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing at is a daily review of the best reporting and commentary on the presidency. Read it daily and you'll be extremely well informed.

Rebecca MacKinnon, former correspondent for CNN, has immersed herself in the world of new media and she's seen the light (great linker too.)

Micro Persuasion is Steve Rubel's weblog. It's about how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the business of persuasion. Rubel always has the latest study or article.

Susan Mernit's blog is "writing and news about digital media, ecommerce, social networks, blogs, search, online classifieds, publishing and pop culture from a consultant, writer, and sometime entrepeneur." Connected.

Group Blogs

CJR Daily is Columbia Journalism Review's weblog about the press and its problems, edited by Steve Lovelady, formerly of the Philadelpia Inquirer.

Lost Remote is a very newsy weblog about television and its future, founded by Cory Bergman, executive producer at KING-TV in Seattle. Truly on top of things, with many short posts a day that take an inside look at the industry.

Editors Weblog is from the World Editors Fourm, an international group of newspaper editors. It's about trends and challenges facing editors worldwide. keeps track of developments from the British side of the Atlantic. Very strong on online journalism.

Digests & Round-ups:

Memeorandum: Single best way I know of to keep track of both the news and the political blogosphere. Top news stories and posts that people are blogging about, automatically updated.

Daily Briefing: A categorized digest of press news from the Project on Excellence in Journalism.

Press Notes is a round-up of today's top press stories from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Richard Prince does a link-rich thrice-weekly digest called "Journalisms" (plural), sponsored by the Maynard Institute, which believes in pluralism in the press.

Newsblog is a daily digest from Online Journalism Review.

E-Media Tidbits from the Poynter Institute is group blog by some of the sharper writers about online journalism and publishing. A good way to keep up

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October 30, 2003

The Fox News Daily Memo: Is the Fix In?

According to a former news producer there, The Memo is the daily bible at Fox News, and it tells how stories are to be played. It's management. It's politics. It's fear, he says. Fox has already responded with: discredit the source. Next step?

Posted by Jay Rosen at 3:06 PM | Comments (15)

October 30, 2003

Has Media Bias Has Become a Dumb Debate? A Man of the Left Responds to PressThink's Questions

"Any leftist who stops to think about the matter would probably agree: the media are too liberal, indeed!" And that means a genuine left perspective is left out. Brian Dominick takes bias apart, from his side of the table.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:14 AM | Comments (6)

October 29, 2003

Case Closed: Siegal Report Online Again

This note from a Times VP came Wednesday afternoon, in response to this.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:57 PM | Comments (5)

October 28, 2003

The Siegal Report, a Triumph of Self Reflection at the New York Times

For people interested in journalism, the Times internal investigation after Jayson Blair is not only a fascinating read, it's a serious act of self-reflection at the top. And that's rare.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 6:36 PM | Comments (8)

October 25, 2003

Maybe Media Bias Has Become a Dumb Debate, part two

The charges keep flying. But often the subject--journalism--disappears. Now there's a Party of Peace in the bias wars. They favor perspective, and they're telling us something. This is part two. Part one is here.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 9:28 PM | Comments (3)

October 24, 2003

No, Media Bias Is Not a Dumb Debate, Says Bias Hunter

Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, a conservative watchdog group, decided to answer my six questions. Hmmm.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 6:15 PM | Comments (11)

October 24, 2003

Maybe Media Bias Has Become a Dumb Debate, part one

Denouncing bias in the media has become a dumb instrument. The cases keep coming. The charges keep flying. Often the subject--journalism--disappears.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 2:06 PM | Comments (45)

October 23, 2003

"Blogging is About Making and Changing Minds."

Weblogging is an inconclusive act-- which is different from having no conclusions or firm conclusions.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:55 AM | Comments (10)

October 22, 2003

Imaginary Interview File: Terry Gross and Al Franken

It's possible to do a political interview with a satirist whose politics you support. Terry Gross, host of NPR's Fresh Air, says to Al Franken...

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:46 PM | Comments (4)

October 21, 2003

Bill O'Reilly and the Paranoid Style in News

The Fox News host is a new type in the press, but an old type in politics. And O'Reilly's style--resentment news--is gaining.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 6:10 PM | Comments (24)

October 19, 2003

Easterbrook, Hollywood and the Jews

Jeff Sharlet, founder of Killing the Buddha, knows it when he sees it. And he saw it in what Gregg Easterbrook wrote.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 10:44 PM | Comments (2)

October 17, 2003

What's Conservative About the Weblog Form in Journalism?

These ten things. Got another idea? Hit the comment button.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 8:15 PM | Comments (5)

October 17, 2003

When the Learned Rant at the Times

The New York Times gets beaten up a lot by people who know a lot, but not a lot about the Times. A brief investigation. Plus: reactions to John Markoff.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 9:02 AM | Comments (4)

October 16, 2003

What's Radical About the Weblog Form in Journalism?

These ten things, for starters. Got others? Hit the comment button.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:40 AM | Comments (44)

October 14, 2003

Notes on the Creature Called Fox

A reader asks: What if we see a shift to a more riotous and partisan press? So I opened my notebook and flipped to Fox.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:10 PM | Comments (21)

October 13, 2003

LA Times Editor is Defiant: Don't Like Our Investigations? Go Elsewhere.

John Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times, tries to level with readers about the Schwarzenegger groping story. But his own press think defeats him.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:36 AM | Comments (3)

October 10, 2003

No Man's Land in Journalism Today

The LA Times intervened in the recall. But it can't say that. Terry Gross took action against Bill O'Reilly. She can't say that. Strange, what's unsayble.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:02 PM | Comments (19)

October 9, 2003

Special to PressThink: Interview With Jeff Jarvis, Part Two

It's a struggle to understand what the weblog form is capable of doing. Jeff Jarvis and I discover that in part two of my dialogue with Mr. Buzzmachine.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:37 PM | Comments (1)

October 7, 2003

Neil Postman (1931-2003): Some Recollections

The author, media critic and NYU professor Neil Postman is dead at 72. Some comments on his life and work by one of his students.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 2:46 PM | Comments (36)

October 5, 2003

Times Web Editor Goes to Harvard in Search of Something

The Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times on the Web says he may be ready to try more weblogs, if he can figure out the right ones.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:52 PM | Comments (13)

October 4, 2003

On Location Notes at Big Conference on the Weblog Surge

Notes, scenes, and a few puzzles from Day One of Blogger.con, conference of webloggers, journalists, thinkers. Harvard University Law School, Oct. 4-5.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:09 PM

October 3, 2003

Special to PressThink: Interview with Cole Campbell

"Journalists act as if the world exists in one form only, which they discover each day and duly record for others to discover," says Cole Campbell, the former editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, who often rejects standard press think.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 9:19 AM

October 1, 2003

PressThink Review: Front Line Voices Hands Over the Mike

A new site gathers first person accounts from the American military who have served in Iraq. Great Idea. One day old. So what are they thinking?

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:35 PM | Comments (7)
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