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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.

LEAVING BOSTON, July 30. Thanks to all who left comments during this fascinating ordeal of “covering” the convention. I really appreciated them. I’m not sure why, but there was something very powerful about reading comments at your weblog when you are away— on assignment, as it were. Even if the words are completely impersonal and abstract, it’s a more intimate feeling to read ‘em. I will have to investigate it more.

Tim, a loyal PressThink reader, said in one comment: Tell us about the parties. Fair enough. I attended one, the o-fficial bloggers bash put on by the DCCC, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, at a pretty hip place in Charlestown. I got the sense it was a coveted invitation. Big joint, crowded, lots of scene-making that had nothing to do with bloggers; it was people who had shitty jobs at the convention trying to redeem their trip by having a great time at the reasonably IN party.

On the other hand, lots of comrades in arms were meeting each other as the worlds of tech, blogging, Dean style politics, publishing, and so on came together. The bloggers were the special guests, and maybe 65 percent of the crowd couldn’t have cared less what the excuse for the Bash was. All had a good time. Fancy but modernist bar, restaurant. Ended at 2.

The bloggers got this special wristband, green, when they came in. I wasn’t paying attention when someone put it on me, because it was just another security check, number 1,227 of the trip.

Anyway, I am enjoying my first chance to even have a drink, and so consume a few Vodka and somethings, lose a few to roaming drink pickers, and then I notice everyone else is paying for their alcohol. The wristband had been communicating to the bartender and the whole free drink thing—which made it a Bloggers Bash, you see—was going on “above” me, which is unfortunate, because I could have enjoyed this little status marker and would have bought more drinks for more people, had I known. That was a wasted opportunity.

On wasted opportunities: No one asked me about the “security” drama in Boston.

I think it is the great overlooked story in all the reporting done from the DNC— and for the obvious reason. It was in your face, nonstop, in thousands of ways inside what was called, in military terms, The Perimeter. Who could “see” it? It came lunging at you as you approached the site and enveloped all when you were on site. You could have your credentials checked twenty times on a single trip from the ground floor to your seats.

Security. It was all about insecurity, really. It was telling us that we live in a different world than the last time there was a poltiical convention. If there needed to be something “new” to report, it was not, by god, the bloggers. It was this: the reason we needed all this security. This subject not only spoke of politics, but world politics, and not in any abstract way, but in every way a person can experience life. What was all this security about? And who authored it? Ultimately, Al Queda did. So things had to stop short of ultimately.

That was a story I think we missed. The unbelievably out-in-force Security—double searches, forced to walk through pens made of wire, and much, much more—was like a stream of data telling us a lot about the state of the nation, the state of the world, and, yes, the seriousness of this election, and of the convention itself.

But conventions aren’t built to handle all this psychic traffic; the security perimeter militarizes your mind and sets you on edge. Once you are “through” it you want to be through with it, and you have loads of work to do. Normalcy takes over, life before 09/11 regains itself.

I think all 30,000 of us missed the story of what the security invasion was telling us about the national condition, which is bound up with other nations on the globe we live on, and actors beyond that category, too. But that would lend an out-of-control and unintentional gravity to proceedings that are supposed to be fun and rah-rah.

The security situation, which dominated the event (but the event had to suppress it) was trying to tell us a story, which it is the job of politics and political leaders to articulate. Journalists and bloggers too. It internationalized an event that needed it, and if Kerry were a creative leader, now, on his way to power, he would have had a bit of the outside world piped into convention hall. Outside the United States, that is— a little more of it than usual (since the usual is none) just to make a point. We live in a different world, and a President has to tell the people that.

Had any orator, even someone’s governor, dared to touch it—by calling attention to our surroundings, especially the brutally ugly Free Speech Zone, but also the endless checks and “high alert” atmosphere—pointed it out, and reflected on the obvious, then we would have been thrown immediately into a situation where words are deeds, and the right ones re-make the situation, and right there one’s case for leadership might have been put.

But it didn’t happen, and it couldn’t. For it would have required us to admit it: Al Queda also came to the convention.

After Matter: Notes, reactions and links…

Chris Lydon did an audio interview with me about the convention, the bloggers and what it all meant— over at BOP News.

Liz Halloran, Slogging Through Convention Blogs, Hartford Courant (July 29)

“Bloggers have written their way into the mainstream and the media may never be the same,” The Wall Street Journal enthused in an article Tuesday.

Not so fast.

For readers of the 30-plus individual weblogs represented at the convention, the bloggers’ promise of fresh convention views, irreverent analysis and a commitment to tell smaller, personal stories has fallen short. Way short.

Instead, a reader slogging through the blogs for convention news not in their daily newspaper will find breathless reports of television-personality sightings (Tim Russert! Wolf Blitzer! Judy Woodruff!), awed accounts along the lines of I-can’t-believe-I’m-actually-here, and obsessive self-analysis. Not to mention observations like this, from “Bill Clinton looks really small from the upper tiers of the FleetCenter.”

One of the ironies Halloran does not appreciate is that her article reviewing the performance of blogs contains no links, so readers cannot check her reading against their own. (No email address for Halloran, either.) However, a reader does find a link at the bottom to the Courant’s archives, which of course are a pay service: “All users of the service may search through the archives, but if you want to view the full text of any articles, charges will apply.”

Jeff Greenfield of CNN grasps the point— the one about linking. He e-mails TV Newser (formerly Cable Newser) about why blogging is a new stage in political dialogue:

“I’ve been hanging out in the blogosphere for quite awhile,” Greenfield says. “I started with Kaufiles out of Slate, and followed his links to a whole bunch of sites, including Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, Buzzmachine, Dailykos, Talking Points, and, of course, Wonkette. I think the real-time quality to the opinions, corrections, and other voices is terrific; when someone makes a reference to another voice, says ‘read the whole thing’ and lets you link to the other voice, it’s a breakthrough in political dialogue. Unlike some of my colleagues, I don’t fear the lack of editorial control, because there’s a self-correcting mechanism at work, and if peopel don’t like the tone of the blogs, there’s still plenty of traditional media around. My big complaint is that it’s forced me to get up earlier to read all this stuff—including yours.”

Matt Stoller in comments here: “I heard from numerous reporters that the security was no more intense than it was in 2000.” Matt Welch in comments at Jeff Jarvis’s Buzzzmachine: “One reason why that story wasn’t reported much, was that the overt signs of security — length of time getting into the convention, cops running maneuvers on the street, clashes between protesters and police — were significantly less hard-ass than they were in L.A. in 2000. No doubt Al Qaeda changed the security picture, especially in terms of stuff you couldn’t see overhead or in the harbor, but as for day-to-day security hassles there were so much less so as to be almost unrecognizable.”

Alex Williams in the New York Times (Aug. 1): Blogged in Boston: Politics Gets an Unruly Spin:

…Meanwhile, the traditional news media chewed over what the arrival of online commentators — mostly untrained journalists whose stock in trade is the sharp opinion, often quippy — meant to the political process. “Obviously, the official media don’t quite know how to deport themselves in relation to the blogs,” said Orville Schell, dean of the graduate journalism program at the University of California, Berkeley. “If they adopt them, it’s like having a spastic arm — they can’t control it. But if they don’t adopt it, they’re missing out on the newest, edgiest trend in the media.”

…Perhaps the greatest achievement of the bloggers was to create what the Democrats would like to see come November — a Blue State nation. On television the party depicted itself as moving toward the center. But to follow the proceedings online was to burrow, link by link, deeper beneath the blankets of ideological fellowship. On LiberalOasis, for example, one found dozens of links to like-minded warriors, among them The American Prospect and a Web site called Class Struggle. In cyberspace, left-leaning bloggers have managed to create an America where Republicans simply don’t exist, at least as anything more than useful abstractions — like Eurasia and Eastasia in “1984.”

No wonder, then, that even the Democratic heavyweights are trying to sneak inside. The Kerry-Edwards campaign now has a blog of its own. Barack Obama, the Senate candidate from Illinois, has a blog. In fact, he even showed up at a blogger’s breakfast on Monday and asked for tips. He got what he asked for from Jay Rosen, chairman of the journalism department at New York University, who runs the PressThink blog. The advice, shouted out, could not have been more blog, or less Washington:

“Write it yourself!”

By the way, Obama’s reply was: “As soon as I find 10-12 free hours in a day, I will.”

Danah Boyd in Salon, July 28:

Blogging will not replace traditional journalism, but it presents a threat to the normative press culture and an opportunity for radical reporting. Bloggers do place the issue of professionalism under attack, not by being unprofessional, but by exposing the ways in which the media operates. As blogging reaches the masses, people are introduced to information that was not reported because it did not suit the party line. Bloggers will happily document the power games that they witness in the press room and will expose future Jayson Blairs. Bloggers also capture information that the mainstream press does not yet realize is valuable, which means that ambitious and digitally minded journalists are constantly scanning the blogs for information. More and more, journalists are thanking bloggers for new slants. The competition between journalists and bloggers for readers’ attention results in more diverse and compelling coverage.

Bloggers at the Democratic National Convention signify a shift in media, but not a replacement for mainstream coverage. Their role will be to fill in the gaps, expose the underlying magic, and keep everyone on their toes. What they are doing cannot be compared to journalism; it can only be described as blogging.

Jessica Bram, writing at Westport Now, July 29:

The Fleet Center convention site is a fortress surrounded by concrete barricades, check points, and eagle-eyed screeners…

It all comes off as somewhat unreal to someone raised during the complacent post-World War II years of safety and comfort. The “It-could-never-happen-here” notion that I grew up with was as familiar and certain as the Pledge of Allegiance and the yellow school bus that stopped at the corner, rain or shine…

It drives home the point that this extreme level of security in place at the Democratic National Convention is happening to us back home in Westport just as much as it is here in Boston. This is a dead-serious proposition. Because what’s being protected here this week, first and foremost, is our nation’s most fundamental and cherished ritual: the peaceful and orderly transition of government.

This process that we undergo every four years, which is the foundation of our democracy, is a rare thing in this unmanageable world. And we know it. We can endure the loss of buildings, and even the loss of lives. But never that.

Posted by Jay Rosen at July 30, 2004 5:45 PM   Print


Security was the overlooked web site? I don't think so, Jay. I guess you did not read my essay on Take a look for a deeper look at security and the meeting behind it. P.S. I will be reading it on my local NPR station next week.

Posted by: Jessica Bram at July 30, 2004 7:29 PM | Permalink

Link to Jessica's Essay: The Meaning of Security in a Post 9/11 World

Jay, thank you for the unique insight and interaction.

Please, carry your perspective and thoughts on security at the DNCC over to the RNCC. While al-Q's presence in the world was felt in Boston, it was thankfully not a harmfully disruptive party-crasher. Neither was domestic terror or the protestors. Security in New York will in many ways be similar, and in many others different.

Your perception of security, and the threat, in New York and in contrast to Boston would be interesting.

It is a material change in the ritual, and it is a shame it is not being discussed in contrast to 2000 - when domestic terrorism might have been security's raison d'être.

Posted by: Tim at July 30, 2004 7:43 PM | Permalink

Jay: I saw some reaction to this the first or second night on KOS post out of Boston with a scream of comments following. I heard, however, that the protestors may actually have been more effective by spreading out into the city so delegates saw them wherever they went. What are your thoughts on this? I also heard there were not the number expected. One observation: We might not have been so quick to pull out of Vietnam had they had those cages at the 1968 convention and police riot.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at July 30, 2004 9:22 PM | Permalink

As a Bostonian, I'd say that yes, security was definitely the big story - but outside the FleetCenter. The city, the DNC and the feds scared large numbers of people away from downtown - to the point on Thursday that when some protesters tried to shut down Boylston Street, they basically couldn't because there was no traffic. Downtown was roamed by granted, polite and often even friendly) squads of heavily armed police and National Guardsmen. Squadrons of motorcycle cops roared through downtown street. Faneuil Hall, an enduring symbol of freedom, was surrounded by metal barriers. Anybody who took the Orange Line subway north of Haymarket had to wait for SWAT-team cops and TSA agents to go through their belongings. Even my remote neighborhood, nowhere near downtown, had at least one flyover by Army helicopters.

Now, granted, the Boston cops seemed to have a far better grasp of the First Amendment than police in some other cities - protesters quickly abandoned the cage and found other places to make their case without police harassment (except for the helicopter that repeatedly circled a Black Tea Society bazaar on the Boston Common one day). But if the price of hosting a national political convention is turning downtown into an armed camp, please, next time, hold it somewhere else.

Posted by: adamg at July 30, 2004 10:02 PM | Permalink

I heard from numerous reporters that the security was no more intense than it was in 2000.

Posted by: Matt Stoller at July 30, 2004 10:06 PM | Permalink

I did a photo essay with pictures on the security:

Posted by: Matt Stoller at July 30, 2004 10:09 PM | Permalink

August 10, 1996 -- ENN GOP National Convention Security Plan - Part 1

July 31, 2000 -- Unconventional Convention NewsHour media correspondent Terence Smith looks at the emergence of a new dot-com presence at the convention.

July 31, 2000 -- Outside the Convention Hall Kwame Holman looks at the groups and activities that, while not part of the official program, have a message to send.

July 31, 2000 -- REPUBLICAN PLATFORM 2000

Aug. 01, 2000 -- Army Battle-Ready for Convention The Federal Emergency Management Agency is prepared for just about any kind of disruption at this week's Republican National Convention. The agency says it won't hesitate to unleash its controversial "Project Garden Plot."

August 5, 2000 -- ERRI Authorities Get Tough With So-Called "Activists"; Battle Now Moves To the Court Room

August 10, 2000 -- Setting the Stage With the Democratic convention less than one week away, Los Angeles is preparing for the arrival of thousands of delegates, journalists and protesters. Jeffrey Kaye of KCET Los Angeles reports.

August 15, 2000 -- DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM 2000

24 August 2000 -- WSWS There were two notable police attacks during the convention, each supposedly provoked by a spattering of “anarchists” throwing refuse at squads of heavily armed, riot-clad police.

23 July 2004 -- Voice of America News Boston Police Brace for Protesters Ahead of Democratic National Convention

Posted by: Tim at July 30, 2004 10:22 PM | Permalink

Cybertourists in Boston - link to "cyberhayseeds in the big city".

Memeorandum links.

Wizbang remarks.

Charles (not Chris) will come around.

Posted by: Tim at July 31, 2004 12:06 AM | Permalink

This was was written in a rush and I didn't have time to do my normally obsessive self-editing. (Bloggers do have editors: themselves!) And so it is not as precisely worded as it could have been.

But when I say the security story was "missed," I don't mean that no one wrote about it, or no bloggers posted about it. I mean this: "The security situation, which dominated the event (but the event had to suppress it) was trying to tell us a story, which it is the job of politics and political leaders to articulate."

That's the one that was missed.

Matt: numerous journalists told you security was no different than in 2000? First, I don't believe it. But let's say they're right. Then that would have been a story, since we were certainly told that it was going to be far more intense this year, and the government issued warnings that have no parallel to 2000. But in the end nothing special was done? As I said, I don't believe it.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at July 31, 2004 3:15 AM | Permalink

Air America Radio's Randi Rhodes complained about the security so incessantly I eventually turned her off. She made the statement that Americans are no longer free, but she seemed to see it as already a victory for the terrorists that US authorities capitulated to such hysterical overkill. She didn't explicitly discuss it in international terms, however, in part I think because she didn't see it as proportional or rational vis-a-vis actual foreign threats. I understood her to interpret it as a symptom of dysfunction in the US more than as a symptom of international issues. In other words, she seems to reject your premise that it is most centrally a sign of a real international concern.

Posted by: Ben Franklin at July 31, 2004 4:54 AM | Permalink

There is pretty much close to nothing on the German news about the "Free Speech Zone". As if it weren't happening.

Posted by: Moe at July 31, 2004 8:28 AM | Permalink

I think a story that has been missed is how the 2004 Democratic National Convention demarked an important point in the life-cycle of the party.

Two years ago, especially post-2002 mid-term elections, the chattering class was debating the prognosis of the Democratic party. Proponents of the two-party system on both sides of the aisle were diagnosing the symptoms and ailments of a party that had lost both houses of Congress, the White House, a majority of Governorships and suffered an historical disadvantage of having fewer contributors that were having to give in larger amounts to compete with a better funded Republican party (with Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform threatening to further constrict that source of sustenance).

Along came Howard Dean, who injected adrenaline directly into the heart of the party and -- along with McCauliffe's primary season strategy, an Internet campaign, and some big individual soft money contributions -- shocked the party back to life. Dean made the war cause célèbre and the left-of-DLC wing of the party breathed.

The primary season became a rehabilitation program for the party and, in a risk-averse scare from the Strangelovian Dean Scream, the party decided to nominate the lackluster Kerry.

The convention was that moment when the patient re-enters normal life (although I seriously considered the extreme makeover analogy just for this part). Kerry did not exude at the convention the carpe diem spirit of a party that just survived a near-death experience -- and he also no longer seems to fill the need for a crutch, or an antiarrhythmic that had been clutched with clenched fist by a party consumed by doubt and their own mortality.

The party had a pulse at the convention. It was almost lively, and there were moments of real connection; when Obama took the stage, for example.

Win or lose, there is a sense of re-birth. Kerry no longer seems to fit, but he may yet prove the underwhelming hero - like Lance Armstrong.

Posted by: Tim at July 31, 2004 12:50 PM | Permalink

McCauliffe -> McAuliffe , apologies Terry.

Posted by: Tim at July 31, 2004 1:25 PM | Permalink

The convention was unadulterated kitsch, as Milas Kundera defined it: a message in denial of the reality behind it, and therefore quite creepy, maybe even dangerous. What were all those barriers and dogs and soldiers there for anyway? Kerry & Company chose not to say -- or was all that security there to protect us from the reelection of Bush, tagged by Ted Kennedy as the only real threat to America today.

It will be interesting to see what the Republications do with all of it.

Posted by: PJ at July 31, 2004 11:04 PM | Permalink

Liz Halloran repeated the cheap shot that Charles Cooper threw by quoting a selection of my post out of context. I guess that's what you do when you write a daily column and need material quick. Here is the full context:

Posted by: Rick Heller at August 1, 2004 12:19 AM | Permalink

Congrats bloggers!! You have earned your creds.

Yes, you deserve the criticism you're receiving for underperforming the expectations of the media spin machine established before the election.

But when thousands of establishment journalists take time from reporting the non-news story of the political convention, and dedicate valuable print space to criticizing you, you know you're a threat. So many keystrokes, just to let you know they took notice, and felt you needed to be knocked down a few pegs.

At first they thought they could ignore your criticisms of their factual errors and non-neutral voice. Then they thought they could use you as, at most, the information age bottom feeders of contemporary journalism. But we've now come full circle, and you are being critiqued by the self-appointed gatekeepers.

Todd Gitlin: [Ashcroft] knows that TV reporters can be relied upon not to show solidarity with their repelled print colleagues. Just as reporters at Bush's last press conference refused to bridle when he acknowledged--take that, minions!--that he was calling on them from a script, he knows that the press corps is no corps at all, but a band of competitors more committed to seeking advantage over rivals than protecting the public's right to know.

"I am Spartacus!", and the generals of journalism are afraid.

Posted by: Tim at August 1, 2004 1:06 AM | Permalink

I think Liz Halloran's comments on blogs effectively repeat the problems of print journalism's agnostic approach to information in the very pretense of opening itself to something else. Every blog reader knows, some blogs suck and other blogs rock. This is often a function of ideology. It is also a function of talent. Anyone who surveyed daily newspapers randomly could hardly avoid the same conclusion: US newspapers generally suck. With a random survey, she misses the whole point of the blog world's choices. Skip the crap, go to the quality.
One of the central points of the blog world is that we don't read every blog on earth. We find out which ones we trust and keep tabs on them. Halloran's startled tsk-tsk regarding the bloggers SHOULD be a startled recognition that what she describes is a near perfect rendering of the consistently superficial, snitty nonsense featured in most of the live television and broadcast media coverage (when it wasn't otherwise occupied staging RNC hacks presenting RNC talking points and tossing in a few gratuitous ad hominems of their own). What media world does Halloran live in?

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 1, 2004 3:22 AM | Permalink

David Edwards has an interesting essay on the bias of "balanced" journalism over on Z net. Part of the argument is that the pretense of "objective" journalism coincided with rise in newspaper reliance upon advertising revenue and that this effectively wiped out a previously flourishing radical press.

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 1, 2004 7:11 AM | Permalink

Ben Franklin: "Every blog reader knows, some blogs suck and other blogs rock. This is often a function of ideology. It is also a function of talent."

Eric Schnure: "The vast majority of applications came from left-leaning or progressive bloggers. Therefore, the vast majority of credentialed bloggers are left-leaning and progressive."

Liz Halloran: "For readers of the 30-plus individual weblogs represented at the convention, the bloggers' promise of fresh convention views, irreverent analysis and a commitment to tell smaller, personal stories has fallen short. Way short."

Charles Cooper: "With a few exceptions, most of the credentialed bloggers came off like cyberhayseeds in the big city. Many dared for the painfully obvious as they updated their posts. Most of the blogging entries I have read ranged from the insufferably pedantic to the sublimely mediocre. There were exceptions, of course, but the see-me, hear-me tenor of their reporting was only exceeded by the vapidity of the banal commentaries peddled as analyses."

Co-Inky-Dink? I guess the ideology, talent and product of bloggers, and potentially a very different side of the blogosphere, will be on display at the RNCC.

Posted by: Tim at August 1, 2004 10:57 AM | Permalink

Richard Silverstein: "Does McPhail think that blog readers will be confused--when they read a tendentious, partisan blog--into thinking that the blog is objective? If so, he gives our readers so little credit for intelligence."

Can Richards question be rephrased this way: Anti-bias crusading as an elitist practice by someone who worships, and is invested in, the dogma of Objective Journalism?

Posted by: Tim at August 1, 2004 11:33 AM | Permalink

Maybe I'm a little slow, but I read your "co-inky-dink?" post twice and I'll be damned if I can tell what you're talking about. One quote says all bloggers are radical leftists, another says they're all narcissists, a third says they're all newbies out of their league.
It looks to me like they were reading three different sets of blogs. Where's the coincidence? Coincidence that these loser journalists are so out of touch they can't even agree on basic points about the blogs they are presuming to review?
For myself, I consistently read Atrios, Kos, and Jay Rosen. NONE of the nonsense these journalistic commentaters wrote about the genre bears even passing resemblance to what these three bloggers were writing. Atrios and Kos are progressive democrats, but hardly leftists.
We clearly have no shortage of Republican, social conservative, far right, far far right, or even fascist blogs. Who will the RNC deign to align themselves with? What does that have to do with the consistently uninformative and mutually contradictory quotes you have arrayed here?
From my perspective, the burden of proof is on the journalists who start below zero to prove that THEY have the insight, intelligence, or credibility that would give them the authority to have their opinion about ANYTHING taken seriously. So far, THEY fall VERY VERY short.
But what was your point?

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 1, 2004 9:05 PM | Permalink

Well, my point in publishing the interview with Thomas Edsall was to say in a more oblique way what Ben is saying: why not take the strongest of the blogs (however one defines such) and take what they did as "representative" of blogging? It's a valid measure, though not "the" valid measure.

After, most of these news stories were about blogging's potential, no? My post with Edsall's comments in it was about the last line: "They have the potential and actually do open a lot of doors," otherwise kept shut by various newsroom orthodoxies and rigidites. "There's a lot of junk, but there's an awful lot of good stuff too."

Posted by: Jay Rosen at August 1, 2004 11:01 PM | Permalink

That point did come through in your Edsall piece to some degree. You stand in a very interesting position in that you have a foot in both worlds. I read you because you "get it" and yet you have professional and personal ties to this strange group of people called "journalists."
My personal relation to journalists is nearly anthropological (in a different sense than we discussed regarding ritual at the convention). Their culture is clearly NOT my culture and it is difficult for me to understand what they think they are doing, why they do it, and why anyone would think much of it was a good idea to begin with. To say nothing of editors, owners, etc.
I have an issue I'd like to hear your comments on. It strikes me that much of what the bloggers I most enjoy bring to their work is media criticism in relation to coverage affecting their personal concerns. In a sense, getting involved in the events as credentialed bloggers undermines the very distance and independence that has been their strength up to this point. I'm sure some of them will become important investigators in their own right, but to the degree that some others are most interesting as media critics, four days during which they can't watch television are four days during which they aren't in a position to work to their strength. Isn't getting credentialed in some sense becoming something other than a blogger for those who specialize in media criticism? It surely holds out the danger of becoming "embedded" in the very medium they have usefully challenged up to this point. On the other hand, I'm sure familiarity breeds contempt in many cases as well.

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 2, 2004 12:04 AM | Permalink

Friend Ben,

One quote says all bloggers are radical leftists, ...

I didn't read that in any of the quotes. Are you are referring to the quote by Eric Schnure, the DNCC blog host? I actually erred in c/p'ing Eric's hyperlink. If that caused confusion, my apologies.

... another says they're all narcissists, ...

Charles Cooper (the see-me, hear-me tenor) right?

... a third says they're all newbies out of their league.

That sounds like Charles Cooper again (cyberhayseeds in the big city) or could also be Liz Halloran, but from the article, not the quote.

I think the point of Liz Halloran's quote was that bloggers did not meet expectations, which she refers to as the bloggers' promise -- although I'm not sure which blogger(s) made a promise to her, or which blogger(s) made that promise publicly, or whether it was her take from the media spin which set the bar and made the promise on behalf of "the bloggers" (which now has group identity like "the press", "the media", "the MSM", ...).

What does that have to do with the consistently uninformative and mutually contradictory quotes you have arrayed here?

I'm not sure I understand what you see as mutually contradictory. Is a narcissistic leftist, or narcissistic progressive, an oxymoron? Narcissists/leftists/progressives can never be newbies at something?

Which still doesn't really answer your question: Where's the coincidence?

Well, my friend Glen Livet and I came up with this analogy:

The puppy breeders' consortium invite a bunch of puppy lovers, that have been critical of pet judges, to the puppy olympics and give them honorary "puppy judge" badges.

The "real" pet judges trumpet the breath of fresh air that the enthusiasm and "edginess" of these aficionados will bring to the judging.

The members of the pet judging union then criticize "armchair pet judges" based on the puppy gushing prose and "hi mom" hand waving by the honorary puppy judges, who were heard to be in awe, or even inspired, during the puppy olympics.

It's a way for the "real" judges to say, "Look at how they didn't do what we do as well as we do it."

Well, that's fine, but the puppy breeders' consortium didn't invite the puppy blenders, or kitten lovers, or whatever, that might have written with a different, or less puppy sympathetic, perspective.

Of course, it could also just be a coincidence that leftist and progressive blogs suck and sucked even more when writing about the sucky Democratic convention.

But I was trying NOT to actually write that.

Posted by: Tim at August 2, 2004 12:05 AM | Permalink

Finding Biases on the Bus

"They say that journalists' liberal bias has colored the reviews of the Democratic convention and his speech."

"But do journalists really want John Kerry to defeat George W. Bush?"

Posted by: Tim at August 2, 2004 12:45 AM | Permalink

Reflection on media reflections at the Democratic National Convention are a useful opportunity to recalibrate the campaign and our reporting of it.

We certainly need recalibration. Reporting has been off base for months.

See: Bring them on.

Posted by: sbw at August 4, 2004 10:20 AM | Permalink

Duncan Black, AKA Frank J

"After reading Atrios' latest attack on Instapundit, I'm convinced that Frank J. of IMAO is the same person."

Posted by: Tim at August 7, 2004 9:26 PM | Permalink

From the Intro