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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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July 30, 2004

Al Queda Also Came to the Convention.

I wrote this in Boston, Friday morning, and posted it when I got back. I wanted to get it down before the feeling faded and I was back in a base line normal environment. Anyway, it's about how the "security" situation in Boston was the great overlooked story of the convention.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 5:45 PM | Comments (27)

July 29, 2004

PressThink's Critical Viewers Guide For Tonight's Speech

Actually, you're all capable of viewing and judging John Kerry's speech for yourself. This is a guide to what anchors, pundits, experts and analysts will be telling you before and after.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 8:48 PM | Comments (25)

July 29, 2004

"There is an Orthodoxy to Our Thinking." Thomas B. Edsall of the Washington Post on How Blogs Can Enliven Journalism

"I spend the first thing in the morning and also before I go to bed sort of scanning the blogs, and in all honesty I read Wonkette because I find it amusing." Five minutes from the Washington Post's political writer Thomas B. Edsall, speaking from the convention on why political weblogs count for him as a journalist, and what they are good at-- busting up group think in the newsroom. "Pretend journalists?" Edsall doesn't think so.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 10:24 AM | Comments (17)

July 28, 2004

Convention Wisdom From the CEO: Day Two With the Democrats

I went to see Rod O'Connor, CEO of the convention. And I asked him a lot of "why" questions. (Including why he's called CEO.) He has a coherent story. That doesn't mean wholly convincing, only that it holds together what's happening this week in the Fleet Center. His view of what political conventions are? Message delivery over multiple platforms, with television yet the biggest deliverer. But that too is a convention-- of thought. It can change.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 9:49 AM | Comments (16)

July 26, 2004

For Party and Press, the Conventions Are A Memory Device: First Report From Boston

Conventions connect us backward in political time. But they especially give the two major parties a storied past. This has become more vital with the transformations of politics in the media age. Wthout this past the parties would seem even thinner and less substantial. But so too would political journalism. My first day's report....

Posted by Jay Rosen at 10:35 PM | Comments (42)

July 25, 2004

Dispatches From the Un-Journalists

Bloggers who will be filing reports from Boston don't know in advance that what they are doing is meaningless. This can be an advantage. Here's my "convention preview" piece that ran in Newsday today.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 9:12 AM | Comments (29)

July 23, 2004

Weekend Update: Blogging the DNC

Wherein the author shows he can blog like a normal person-- again. I will update this post with stuff I find until my departure for Boston Sunday afternoon. So check back from time to time. (Newest entries on top.)

Posted by Jay Rosen at 6:50 PM | Comments (25)

July 23, 2004

An American Journalist is Murdered in Russia: Paul Klebnikov, 1963-2004

Only in a highly developed and reasonably secure political system do journalists have the luxury of thinking apolitically about their work. Only when democracy and the rule of law have won is it possible to lose your political identity as a journalist and go around saying things like: we're just reporting the news. Some reflections on national greatness journalism.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 2:14 PM | Comments (46)

July 22, 2004

Convention Blogging: Manic Update, Four Days Out

In which the author shows he can blog like a normal person.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:34 AM | Comments (35)

July 21, 2004

Once There Was a New Journalism: Here's Norman Mailer Covering the 1960 Democratic Convention

Novelist, would-be hipster, and one of the most troublesome, quarrelsome, and brilliantly excessive literary characters of his time, Norman Mailer always said he hated journalism. It was 1960. The Democrats were gathered in L.A. John Kennedy was about to be nominated. And Mailer had reporter's credentials for Esquire....

Posted by Jay Rosen at 8:57 AM | Comments (34)

July 19, 2004

For Connoisseurs of High Church Condescension, Alex Jones on Bloggers at the Convention

Let's Be Clear, say Alex Jones and the Los Angeles Times, "Bloggers Are the Sizzle, Not the Steak..." My response: do your homework. Don't recycle.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 3:46 PM | Comments (62)

July 16, 2004

If Religion Writers Rode the Campaign Bus...

... what would be different? It's a question best put to journalists and writers who know something of religion. So we did that, over at The Revealer, where a forum on the "R" word is underway: "In search of religion on the campaign trail." Journalists and bloggers on the god beat--plus an atheist--turn their attention to politics and its rituals. Here's the deep background.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:27 PM | Comments (22)

July 12, 2004

After Spin: Interview with Steve Rubel for Global PR Blog Week 1.0

"Public relations should first understand that to the extent that its art is a form of 'spin'--whether it's reasonable spin, accepted spin, good spin, bad spin, terrible spin--it is selling a service for which there is less and less value, and less mind is paid to it. Spin was possible in the era of few-to-many media, and a small number of gatekeepers who could be spun...."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:58 PM | Comments (51)

July 7, 2004

Convention Coverage is a Failed Regime and Bloggers Have Their Credentials

No one knows what a political convention actually is, anymore, or why it takes 15,000 people to report on it. Two successive regimes for making sense of the event have collapsed; a third has not emerged. That's a good starting point for the webloggers credentialed in Boston. No investment in the old regime and its ironizing. The blogs come at this fresh. I'm going.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 2:03 PM | Comments (70)

July 2, 2004

"In Our Business, Seconds Count," Says Dan Rather. But is That Really So?

The story broke at 2:30 am in Washington: handover moved up, sovereignty passed to Iraqis. Surely big news for the networks. But the seconds or minutes that elapsed before the news could be broadcast... do they matter at all? Dan Rather says yes. I say: what clock is this man on? The political moment mattered a great deal. The seconds hardly at all.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 6:12 PM | Comments (68)
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