This is an archive, please visit for current posts.
PressThink: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine
Recent Entries
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

Syndicate this site:

XML Summaries

XML Full Posts

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.)

Rebecca Blood of Rebecca’s Pocket, who has written authoritatively on blogging, decided to volunteer at the convention instead of seeking bloggers credentials. But she has posted an extremely useful list of tips and strategies for bloggers, which I recommend. Among the highlights are:

  • Make friends with a DNC media liason
  • Make friends with an experienced journalist
  • Observe the pros and watch what they do
  • Choose the role you will play and play to your strengths

And more. My favorite part is this:

It may turn out that the bloggers are completely in over their heads—but even if that turns out to be true, this will by no means have been a failure. If it takes the non-professionals 2 conventions (or 12) to figure out their most effective role, so what? Political parties and the media have been symbiotically working out their dance steps for decades. The only way weblogs can fail in covering the conventions is if they fall into the same dance themselves.

On the cusp: CNN in its online report about blogging: “Just as TV coverage of the presidential race gained its power with the televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, Internet blogging seems to be coming into its own in 2004.” Markos of Daily Kos and Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit are quoted.

Talk to the Desk: As promised, although a little late, Campaign Desk, the Columbia Journalism Review product, has added a comment feature. Tom Lang and Brian Montopoli from the Desk will be reporting on the convention.

Keeping Watching on the Bloggers: The disinvited Hyperlincoln is nonetheless keeping a good updated list of speakers and invited bloggers: “dedicated to the best in blogging at the 2004 Democratic Convention… keeping you abreast of the best of the Convention blogging information as it comes in.” Also worth consulting is Feedster’s special convention aggregator. And of course there’s Technorati’s special convention page, which hasn’t started yet.

From the Ooze to the News: “Trash-mouthed, opinionated, relentless political bloggers are bound for both this week’s Democratic convention,” says Marlon Manuel in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: (July 23, reg. req.)

Political blogs have crawled from the Web’s primordial ooze, evolving into a mutant strain of journalism. In the freewheeling online world, bloggers — often partisans — can spin the news till they get vertigo, free from the clutches of (a) an editor and (b) the truth.

But at the Democratic National Convention starting Monday in Boston, bloggers won’t be crashing the party. They’re invited. They’ll breakfast with delegates in the morning and jostle with Dan Rather for news the rest of the day..

Got the Message? “During the convention, Kerry hopes to move beyond his Senate voting record to define himself as a husband, father, combat veteran, tough prosecutor, national security expert, outdoorsman and man of faith, according to a campaign message document.” Nedra Pickler, AP, July 23.

Note how that construction “define himself as…” splits the public in two: those who are reading the AP account and get the inside scoop on the Kerry machine’s self-definition plan, and those outside the scoop at whom the plan is aimed, who are supposed to conclude: “oh, so that’s who he is: husband, father, combat veteran….” The split public has become so routine in political reporting that I don’t think journalists even know they do it.

“He’s got to show that….” I was watching Washington Week Friday night, which this week was broadcast from the Institute of Politics at Harvard. Gwen Ifill, the host; Dan Balz of the Washington Post, Richard Berke of the New York Times and Susan Feeney of NPR, were giving a “convention preview.” Mostly what they meant by this is taking turns at answering the question: what does Kerry have to do at this convention to come out with a win?

I listened to each of them make their points, which basically meant naming some areas where polls showed soft support, and then turning that into something Kerry “has to do” at the convention. “He’s has to show that…” “He’s got to appeal to…” “He has to get over the hump with…” It’s a discourse anyone who follows politics will recognize.

Now if four political consultants were sitting around having a conversation about the upcoming convention, they would ask the same kind of question and give the same kind of answers, and cite the same kind of polls, and strike the same tone. To me there is something strange—and very screwed up— about that. And it was accompanied by a strange emotion: I was embarrassed for Harvard that it would host such a discussion, bring students to it, and call it “talking politics.” It isn’t politics. It is just technique.

Self-credentialed: Journalist and blogegr Adele M. Stan, who was invited and then disinvited, decided she is going to the convention anyway. Noting the 80 percent male roster of the credentialed group, she writes:

So, I’m heading to Boston with my iBook. From whence I’ll blog, who knows? You see, the great thing about blogging is, you don’t need no stinking badges. Whatever happens to you, wherever you wind up, whoever you meet, that’s what you write about. So, I’ll be writing the story that presents itself, as it happens. Stay tuned.

Global Dominance: The Boston Globe isn’t worried about expectations. Jon Friedman of CBS Marketwatch reports on editor Marty Baron’s plans to dominate the story:

Baron, in his characteristically understated and plain-speaking way, hungers for the delegates, journalists and hangers-on to leave town knowing that the Globe is a truly national paper.

“We want them to think that this is the paper they have to read — a reference point,” Baron said in a telephone interview earlier this week….

“With 15,000 journalists in town, we are on display,” conceded John Yemma, a 15-year veteran of the paper “We’ll bring our A-game,” said Yemma, the 51-year-old point editor for much of the Globe’s convention and political coverage.

Similarly, Baron shrugs off the pressure.

“Certainly these are papers with more resources — but not here. Nobody will have more resources than we will,” he said citing the more than 100 staffers who are working on the convention.

Losing the Expectations Game? Matt Stoller of BOP News, who is heroically volunteering with the DNC in the bloggers’ operation, says he is “getting deluged with calls and emails wanting to know about the Convention and what bloggers are going to be doing there.” It’s getting a little crazy, he says:

Bloggers know how to levitate. Bloggers can see through walls. Bloggers can talk to the unicorns that are observing and protecting humanity at all times, unseen. Bloggers are also invariably prone to spin, lies, rumor, and innuendo, hapless against the wily ways of campaign consultants and PR people. Bloggers are real journalists, unconstrained by the normal rules of fashion. Bloggers are not real journalists, but they look great in blue. All of them. Bloggers are editors plus sprinkles and whipped cream. All bloggers want is to be loved by the establishment. Bloggers hate you.

Matt points to Kos, who agrees: “I know the conventions are stage-managed snoozers and all, but really, the media hype over bloggers covering the convention is getting ridiculous.”

Given the number of reporters I’ve spoken to the last two weeks, expect a crush of stories over the next few days about bloggers at the convention. And really, it’s not that big of a deal….Now, it turns out that Technorati will be feeding blogger commentary to CNN. I suppose that means the pressure is up. And I have to admit that I’m getting nervous about the expectations game. We bloggers are losing it. We’re expected to turn a stage-managed four-day infomercial into compelling theater. That’s a tough assignment for anyone to fill.

Atrios is on the case too, but English has no punctuation mark for the opposite of an exclamation point!

Not sure how interesting it’ll be, really, to people who read blogs. For an event like this, the role of the mainstream press is mostly to serve as a filter for people who don’t really watch it themselves or who want someone to tell them what they’re supposed to think about the whole thing. While bloggers can potentially provide an alternative filter, in this case I’m not sure what additional value it provides….I suppose this is one of those “dimishing expectations” posts. I hope I can provide some exciting inside scoop coverage of the convention. I’m glad bloggers are invited, but given the fact that there will be 15,000 media people there, I find the presence of 35 odd bloggers to be not all that much of a story, at least before the event.

I’m getting concerned about this, too. I have mentioned the same ratio— 15,000:35—to every reporter I have talked to (lots of ‘em, to be truthful) but I have a feeling that, after this weekend, when a bunch of pieces are going to appear, everyone is going to be tired of hearing about those upstart bloggers.

Then we’ll see a round of news stories and weblog posts about the hype, and how ridiculous all that is. I’ve even mentioned this predictable cycle to reporters and they just laugh. But I won’t be able to claim innocence. Anyone who says, “just make sure they spell your name right,” doesn’t understand the perils of publicity.

Wanna Keep Up? Dave Winer has created a great resource at— a live list of latests posts by those blogging the convention. “It’s got the freshest posts from bloggers who will be on-site at the DNC next week, not just the credentialed bloggers, we include delegates with blogs.”

Journalist to DNC bloggers: I’ll be right there with ya. Tommy Stevenson, associate editor of the The Tuscaloosa News, sent me a preview of his column to run Sunday. It’s not online yet.

When I discovered that select bloggers will be covering the political party conventions this summer I silently cheered. Silently because there was no one around to hear me and I discovered the news online on, well, a blog site….

On my own personal favorites list I have more than 180 such blogs, divided roughly into six groups: leftwing, rightwing, Iraq, polls, story, and media and newspapers….

But if you think blogs are just vain exercises in self-expression, think again. Often stories that the conventional media has missed or played little attention to are forced into the mainstream from the blogosphere….

The decision to include these new media mavens in the press corps at the conventions has been met with resistance in some traditional press circles (“They’re not real journalists!”), but as for myself, once I get focused in on the convention I plan to be right there with them, television on and computer in lap.

Posted by Jay Rosen at July 23, 2004 6:50 PM   Print


Thanks for the link-love Jay.

This is what it's about, people working together to create new stuff.

I know some people think it's dorky, but I actually believe it.

See you in Boston!

Posted by: Dave Winer at July 23, 2004 7:02 PM | Permalink


You're not allowed to blog like a normal person. Just an fyi.

Also, I heard bloggers cannot be killed by woman-borne.

Posted by: Matt Stoller at July 23, 2004 7:03 PM | Permalink


You're not allowed to blog like a normal person. Just an fyi.

Also, I heard bloggers cannot be killed by woman-borne.

Posted by: Matt Stoller at July 23, 2004 7:03 PM | Permalink


What did I tell you? I know I'm one of the Eeyores, but that's because sometimes I'm *depressingly* right.

There is is NO NEWS in the convention. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

So the Beast Which Must Be Fed, the ravenous need for something, anything, to hype, turns on to the merest smidgen of novelty - *B*L*O*G*G*E*R*S*!*!*!*

To quote the BlogGod: "It's even worse than it appears".

P.S.: Sure, blog like a normal person. Get a cat.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at July 23, 2004 7:44 PM | Permalink

Jay: I may have used the phrase, spell my name right, but I well know the perils of publicity. It may backfire. Kerry may not get the "bounce" he wants out of the convention and the hype about it ahead of time may make it harder to do so. But he will be reaching down to a new generation (Y?) through a new medium. As well as to us old fogies who have become enamored of seeing ourselves in print on this electronic device. Even if they do not say anything different than traditional columnists (not reporters), they will reach people who may not be reachable by traditional media. With the increasing merging of electronic devices into one hand-held connection and computer, I think this may be the political wave of the future. Could it mean that we get away from sound bites and have some healthy dialogue again?

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at July 23, 2004 10:33 PM | Permalink

Global Dominance: The Boston Globe isn't worried about expectations.

I wonder if they've thought about the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

I'm sure the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wasn't worried either. Hate to see another Jewell episode because the local paper felt pressured to stay ahead of everyone else.

Posted by: Tim at July 24, 2004 1:18 PM | Permalink

I think part of what is so surreal about the Harvard discussion you describe is not just that it presents political advertising strategy as politics, but that it is so unselfconscious concerning its own place in the story. They are on TV talking about competing narratives that the campaigns want to get played on TV.
It is eerily parallel to the "poll effect." Polls are supposed to measure what the public thinks about policies. But the effect frequently gets reversed. Polls tell the people what they should think about the policies because some are winners and some are losers, so decisions are often made before we even get to hear what the policies were.
Similarly, here, the event is turned upside down from an occasion which might inform us, to an advertising logic based refusal to engage any of the issues and policy alternatives at stake.
For all the talk about what the effect of the campaigns on TV might be, what we get on TV is this false-reflexivity in a journalistic vacuum. If the conventions are empty, the "discussions" are consistently even more so.
Why is it that policies are assumed to go without saying, but the color of a tie or haircut just can't be remarked upon enough? Is it a question of not having policy visuals? Or is it that advertising has proven itself to be the story and the media is just not very good at covering advertising and marketing?

Posted by: Ben Franklin at July 24, 2004 3:57 PM | Permalink

Just to make sure everyone understands, Jewell was NEVER arrested for the 1996 Olympic Park bombing. By anyone.

There is a case study online for anyone unfamiliar with what happened.

Posted by: Tim at July 24, 2004 5:48 PM | Permalink

Boston E-party (reg. req.)
Trash-mouthed, opinionated, relentless political bloggers are bound for both this week's Democratic convention and the GOP's in August

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/23/04

"Political blogs have crawled from the Web's primordial ooze, evolving into a mutant strain of journalism. In the freewheeling online world, bloggers — often partisans — can spin the news till they get vertigo, free from the clutches of (a) an editor and (b) the truth."

Posted by: Tim at July 24, 2004 6:04 PM | Permalink

1865 play texas hold em online here.

Posted by: texas hold em at October 12, 2004 10:18 AM | Permalink


texas holdem

Posted by: texas holdem at October 13, 2004 1:31 PM | Permalink


texas hold em

Posted by: texas hold em at October 14, 2004 7:39 PM | Permalink

2282 http://video-poker.uni.cccheck it out! Video Poker yabba dabba doo
online Video Poker

Posted by: Online Video Poker at October 16, 2004 7:39 PM | Permalink

5481 You know anti wrinkle cream
can work Did you know online degree gets you jobs? online degrees

Posted by: wrinkle cream at October 21, 2004 6:24 PM | Permalink

1369 online casino games

Posted by: casino games online at October 22, 2004 9:07 AM | Permalink

PlLAY the best
debt consolidation only.

Posted by: free blackjack games at October 26, 2004 9:28 PM | Permalink

Offering Cialis with overnight delivery. Also, If your looking for generic cialis this is a good site to visit.

Posted by: Cialis at October 27, 2004 1:17 AM | Permalink

4617 .Way to poker online.

Posted by: online poker at October 27, 2004 1:07 PM | Permalink

543 slots click here to play
online slots

Posted by: online slots at October 30, 2004 8:37 PM | Permalink

i'm looking for

Posted by: steel buildings at November 1, 2004 12:04 PM | Permalink

440 Ttry playing online pokeronline.

Posted by: online poker at November 2, 2004 5:22 PM | Permalink

From the Intro