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PressThink: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine
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Like PressThink? More from the same pen:

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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May 31, 2004

PressThink Passes The Quarter Million Mark

Since September, 2003 there have been 250,000 officially recorded visits at PressThink. Plus, some other significant markers in the life of a weblog.

Some time today, PressThink will pass 250,000 recorded visits since it began in September, 2003. That’s worth at least some notice, and a word of thanks to all who have felt it worthwhile to check in here. So thanks, all PressThink readers. If you didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be doing this.

A note of gratitude to my top referers. In no special order they are: Dave Weinberger (Joho the Blog); Dan Gillmor, Andrew Cline (Rhetorica); Jim Romensko; Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit); Dave Winer (Scripting News);; Jeff Jarvis (Buzzmachine); Doc Searls; Ed Cone; Eric Alterman (Altercation); Roger Karraker (Hellsheet); Matt Welch; Mark Glaser; Tim Porter (First Draft); Bob Stepno; Terry Heaton (Pomo Blog) Tom Mangan (Prints the Chaff, now deceased); twistedchick; Design Observer; weblogg-ed; Siva Vaidhyanathan (Sivacracy); J.D. Lassica (New Media Musings); Roger L. Simon; Lost Remote; Jordon Cooper; Halley Suitt (Halley’s Comment); Jay McCarthy (Makeoutcity); Mary Hodder (Napsterization); Seth Finkelstein (InfoThought) Lance Knobel (Davos Newbies); Len Witt (PJ Net Today); Cable Newser and others I no doubt neglected to mention.

Here are a few other highlights:

Most linked to and most cited post: What’s Radical About the Weblog Form in Journalism.

Most well-trafficked posts (by number of hits):

Most bitterly criticized post: The President’s Secret Flight to Baghdad.

Posts drawing the most comments: The President’s Secret Flight to Baghdad (130); and BloggerCon: Discussion Notes for, “What is Journalism? And What Can Weblogs Do About It?” (121)

Most Googled post: The Other Bias at Fox News: Volume. (See this search.)

Most roundly misunderstood post: Brain Food for BloggerCon: Journalism and Weblogging in Their Corrected Fullness.

Post with the most staying power: PressThink Basics: The Master Narrative in Journalism.

Most consequential post (widest ripple effects): Adopt a Campaign Journalist in 2004: The Drift of a Suggestion.

Angriest posts: Die, Strategy News and A Politics that is Dumber than Spam, plus Why Karen Ryan Deserved What She Got.

Most spiritual posts: Thoughts on the Killing of a Young Correspondent and Neil Postman (1931-2003): Some Recollections.

Posts with the best discussion thread in comments: BloggerCon: Discussion Notes for, “What is Journalism?” and What’s Radical About the Weblog Form in Journalism.

Most original post (in author’s opinion): Unbuilding at Ground Zero and Rebuilding in Iraq.

Post most likely to praise journalists: Off the Grid Journalism.

Author’s personal favorites among PressThink posts:

Posted by Jay Rosen at May 31, 2004 5:34 PM   Print


Congratulations, Jay! PressThink long ago became required reading for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of journalism.

Posted by: acline at June 1, 2004 10:19 AM | Permalink

A wonderful milestone. One million by 2005?

Posted by: JD Lasica at June 1, 2004 10:16 PM | Permalink

Thanks very much, Andrew. Required reading for anyone? Well, I don't know, maybe I will get there. What I do know is that PressThink requires a lot of reading-- which is why it's particularly necessary to thank readers for the quarter mil visits.

PressThink, a blog, also requires other weblogs, with which to be in conversation. And your site, Rhetorica is a perfect example of that.

JD: thank you. I really have no idea if I will reach that, fall way short, go beyond. I do know I'm happy with the user base I have now. And that New Media Musings helped put PressThink on the map.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at June 1, 2004 11:02 PM | Permalink

And another congratulations for the milestone. It's well-earned.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at June 2, 2004 12:36 AM | Permalink

Congrats! Keep up the great reporting. Watchdog efforts are never unnecessary, but in these times, they are more important that ever. Bloggers are creating the new independent media. We may not have the money of the corporate press, but we have strength in numbers.

Again, congrats!

Posted by: Island Dave at June 2, 2004 4:24 PM | Permalink

250,000 unique visitors over nine months is actually pretty low. That's what I like about this site: small base of motivated readers.

Posted by: panopticon at June 2, 2004 10:09 PM | Permalink

Congratulations! Keep up the great work.

Posted by: Jason Thompson at June 3, 2004 3:13 PM | Permalink

Congratulations from a Spanish reader.

(My favourite post is your interview with French Scholar Rodney Benson).

Keep the momentum going!

Posted by: Francisco Seoane at June 3, 2004 3:47 PM | Permalink

I often slam the media on my site. But you and Kevin Sites have shown there are still some professionals out there.

Posted by: Mike at June 3, 2004 7:21 PM | Permalink

250,000 unique visitors over nine months is actually pretty low. That's what I like about this site: small base of motivated readers.

Heh, this almost begs the question, "Pretty low by what standard?" I mean, my site sits at about 80k unique visitors over about 18 months (as compared to Jay's larger quarter million over the shorter 9 months), and I have no complaints and don't think of either of these figures as "low."

Posted by: The One True b!X at June 4, 2004 3:23 AM | Permalink

Congratulations, Perfesser. Keep 'em coming!

Posted by: Lex at June 4, 2004 9:31 AM | Permalink

Yay. Congrats.

Posted by: Matt Stoller at June 5, 2004 6:24 PM | Permalink

"Heh, this almost begs the question, "Pretty low by what standard?" "

ooops. sorry. pretty low by the standard that I once had a site that became so popular that it became unworkable.

no insult intended to jay! this is a haven of sensible thinking. let it stay that way...

Posted by: panopticon at June 5, 2004 11:40 PM | Permalink

I didn't take panopticon's "actually pretty low" as an insult at all. Doing this weblog has made me realize all kinds of fallacies in media logic, a subject on which I had previously spent a lot of time. That you should always want more (readers, viewers, users) on general principle is a really, really dumb principle.

Panopticon, whomever you are, it interests me that you say you once had a high traffic site. What kind? Maybe you can testify on the pros and cons, as it were.

I find myself, as a weblog writer with some "motivated" readers, as someone put it, far less interested in the how many, (though I still watch the numbers and cheer when they rise) and way more interested in the who, the why and the coming from where... among the readership. That's information that helps me do my weblog, but it's hard to get... harder than it is to get "readers."

For example, every time in comments or an email or occasionally in person someone tells me how they use PressThink, how it "works" for them as one user of the intellectual contraption parked at this addresss, I learn at 50 times the rate I do when looking at numbers from 1,000 users.

Thanks for the well wishes, all of you.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at June 7, 2004 10:32 PM | Permalink

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