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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 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.

Boston, July 29: A few things to keep in mind and watch for…

Dialect of the Pros: The most common dialect in discussing election contests is message-speak. Here’s Juan Williams of NPR showing his fluency in it:

The point is to send a winning message to loyal democrats, and the roughly 20 percent of voters whose presidential vote might still be influenced… The bottom line for the success of the convention is whether a clear message gets through… The message is crafted to reach the ears of voters in critical swing states, such as Ohio and Florida, where the presidential election is likely to be decided… To clear the way for a positive message, this convention must also be an exercise in political restraint…

Message speak is reductive— therefore easy. It invites citizens into politics as amateur tacticians. And in the discussion of a speech it confuses intention—which might indeed be to “send” this or that signal—with communication, a more complicated, fluid and human thing.

The pundit or analyst who talks about message-sending on the politician’s end ultimately has to talk about message-receiving on the public’s end. That is why message-speak goes hand in hand with polling results. Thus Juan Williams in that same report asserted: “One measure of the convention’s success will be the so called bounce in the national polls that Kerry gets after the convention.”

What to do? After the contribution of any pundit or expert ask yourself: what is it that I am supposed to do with that information just given? If you actually try to answer it—instead of assuming there’s nothing you can do—it will shed some light on what you were just told.

The Only Voters: Watch for how the swing voters become the only voters in the election-year calculus.

Transition Tunes: I always pay attention to the music the networks use in their lead-ins and lead-outs. Where does this music come from and what does it say?

The split public. One of the odder features of election “analysis” on television is that it talks to one part of the public—you, if you’re listening—about what another part of the public, presumably the ones not watching, might be influenced by or react to. This split public invites the viewer into the booth as member of the cognoscenti, a subject with a mind, and treats others as “masses,” the object of political technique— masses are the target. And technique is overwhelming the political language of choice on television. In fact, very few discussions are allowed that are not about technique. So watch for the split public. It’s one of the ways television tries to get you on its side, and convince you that you are smart for watching it.

UPDATE, 1:11 AM. Well, it’s a good thing bloggers don’t have bosses because then I would have to explain to mine how I got locked out on the job. I mean locked out of the Fleet Center, with the Secret Service at the door, saying: no way. Fire Marshalls closed the place down after it got too crowded and no one could return until almost midnight. I went to visit the media tent (free, wretched food, if you know where to look) and found I could not get back in.

So I watched the speech on television with the press.

It was very crowded in the arena, but the reason was politics: “getting passes” is politics, and the Democratic Party had a lot of politcs to do, so it gave out a lot of passes. One could sense in the crowds that about 10,000 political chips were being cashed in one night. The danger wasn’t fire; it was sweat.

Not only is the Fleet Center not designed for that many people, it’s not really designed for people, period. It’s an example of concrete giving instructions to men. The Fleet Center got an F, even before the chip cashing. The Fleet Center has no rhyme. The Fleet Center has no reason. The Fleet center—unbelievably—has no food. A Fleet Center is a terrible thing to inflict on a proud city. But I have to say: it rocked for politics and it was rockin for Kerry when I left it, and my pass went dead.

Anyway, I hope those who made it here found my viewers’ tips helpful in some way. There was to be more, but the Fire Marshalls said no.

Posted by Jay Rosen at July 29, 2004 8:48 PM   Print


Jay: I hate pundits. One reason I seldom keep them turned on to find out what was said. I think I can figure that out better myself. And I think, maybe, in a nutshell, that's what your were saying? But I do think you spelled masses wrong; in your context it doesn't have an m.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at July 29, 2004 9:06 PM | Permalink

Perfect job Jay

Posted by: Mazie at July 29, 2004 9:07 PM | Permalink

I'm impressed. Whether you watch the pundits or not, there's no denying the influence they have. And, if you are going to turn cable news coverage on, it's important to note the way pundits will try and influence you, since the need to appear "impartial" won't allow them to be outright in it.

Good job.

Posted by: Toby at July 30, 2004 12:13 AM | Permalink

The DEMS are on FIRE!!!!!

Time to take it to 1600 PA Ave!

check out the new website:

Go Kerry!

Posted by: LITD at July 30, 2004 1:36 AM | Permalink

Glad you used Juan and coined it "media-speak". I agree. On Dan Gillmor's blog on July 20, 2004, I commented:

"So which national news organization [npr] might be willing [npr] to hire me [npr] as a consultant [npr] for a week [npr] to highlight [npr] the phrasing [npr] in its coverage [npr] that really doesn't [npr] belong. I think they'd [npr] be surprised [npr] and embarrassed [npr] at the undoubtedly [npr] inadvertent [npr] editorializing.

"Gosh. I'd probably do it for free."

Posted by: sbw at July 30, 2004 10:50 AM | Permalink

"Evil thought experiment: I wonder how the coverage would have been different if the Democrats had said they intended to run a savage and negative convention and then delivered exactly the same addresses? Hmmmmm...and what would that say about journalistic practice and the role of journalism in a democracy?" - Andrew R. Cline, Ph.D.

Posted by: Tim at July 30, 2004 1:13 PM | Permalink

Isn't message speak just another form of spin alley?

Is it one of, perhaps, three categories of spin: setting expectations (Cline above), damage control and meta-spin (the latter being the punditry's spin about the spin)?

Or is the meta-message, the message about the message, or message speak different from spin?

Posted by: Tim at July 30, 2004 3:52 PM | Permalink

Wikipedia is not a valid source ...


Posted by: Tim at July 30, 2004 5:48 PM | Permalink

I finally managed to finagle a purple pass to the Convention about 5 p.m. But I decided to go home and change and like everyone else got locked out of the convention. With a purple pass I would have be regulated to watching the speech on a TV in the hallway, and for whatever reason those TVs don't have very good sound. Like a lot of other people, I ended up heading over to the bars to watch Kerry's speech. I deliberately headed for Quincy Market because I thought it would be a lively crowd, and I was right. I ordered a Pina Colada and enjoyed watching the speech on a big-screen projection TV with the bar crowd clapping and cheering like they were on the floor of the convention. Although being "inside" might have been cool, I think being "outside" I had a much better perspective than if I had gotten inside. Jay I would think watching the speech with the PRESS would have given you an altogether different experience as well. I'm guessing the press didnt' clap or cheer. But they probably mumbled comments throughout.

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