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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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August 31, 2004

Down at the Tick Tock Diner, I Caught Up With CNN

In which the demise of the network sky box is confirmed, a conceit of Americana (the typical diner) is indulged, and subtle differences appear in how the protests are to be weighed against events at the convention.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 2:15 AM | Comments (26)

August 30, 2004

RNC Drops the Battleship-Style Stage; Goes Lighter, More Flexible

And after the big march went by--saying what it came to say--I went to look at what the Republicans did to transform the Garden, a space I know well. They went for a smaller, more flexible stage, a cleaner look, a far more modest setting, almost classical. (Okay, faux classical.) Plus a magic carpet: red. There's a certain confidence in Bush reflected in this design.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:54 AM | Comments (5)

August 27, 2004

From a Small Circular Stage in a Sea of Thousands

Today's announcement had ideas in it. Bush will speak from a theatre in the round, addressing the nation by standing among citizens. It's a switch to a more vertical image of authority. CNN announced a similar move. They will speak from a diner. MSNBC will come to us from Herald Square. Why?

Posted by Jay Rosen at 8:14 PM | Comments (34)

August 27, 2004

"None of us knows what this is going to turn into. By everyone’s hope, it won’t be Chicago 1968."

For TV news, the concern is not how to cover all the possible protests around town. It's "inciting disruptive behavior by showing up with cameras." And it's losing control of the convention telecast to events outside. There are jittery people in the networks, trying not to be the cause of anything.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:59 AM | Comments (34)

August 26, 2004

The Convention in Section View

I may try it next week, just to see what response I get. I may slip into an elevator at Madison Square Garden and catch the eye of someone who looks to be in charge. "Excuse me, but could you perhaps tell me: What floor is the convention on?" Some notes on the vertical logic of the event.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:06 AM | Comments (11)

August 24, 2004

Late For the Sky: My New Convention Blog

I have a new convention blog. It's called Sky Box. During the Republican National Convention, I will be a contributing writer for Knight-Ridder's Washington bureau, credentialed to cover the event for them, working out of their space. Here, some reflections on the network sky box and the iconography of conventions.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:53 PM | Comments (11)

August 23, 2004

Swift Boat Story a Sad Chord

That we are still fighting about the Vietnam War is sad. Watching an old political fight try to finish itself thirty years later in either the wreckage of the Kerry campaign or its triumph over the attempt to wreck-- that's sad. William B. Rood of the Chicago Tribune spoke out Sunday; he was a commander of a swift boat who had first hand knowledge. Rood thought it was sad that we're still fighting about this.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:07 PM | Comments (178)

August 19, 2004

Reactions to "What if Everything Changed for American Journalists on September 11th?"

Here's my exchange with Washington Post reporter Michael Powell about his own re-thinking after 09/11, plus other reactions. Like: "I find myself a little disturbed by this talk. Are you arguing for censorship?" (I wasn't.) "Don't let 9-11 re-invent journalism," said one. No Rupture after 9/11, said others.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:58 PM | Comments (81)

August 13, 2004

What if Everything Changed for American Journalists on September 11th? My Speculations.

What individual exceptions there are I don't know--I am sure they exist, and I would love to hear from them--but on the whole the American press has not seen fit to start its own story over after the attacks of 2001, just to see if "journalism" comes out in the same place, if "ethics" are the ones that were adequate before, if duty to nation looks the same, if observerhood still fits.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 3:23 PM | Comments (101)

August 12, 2004

Guest Critic Juan Gonzalez, Unity Board Member: Our 2008 Convention Must Go Beyond Journalists of Color

The New York Daily News Columnist, Unity principal, and former head of the NAHJ: "As our alliance has moved from the fringes to the center stage of American journalism, I believe we have a responsibility not only to advocate for more hiring and promotion of journalists of color but to press for raising the general standards of our industry and profession." His agenda for Unity: "head in a more inclusive direction."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:34 PM | Comments (33)

August 11, 2004

Guest Critic: Former TV News Director Terry Heaton Says Diversity Falls Apart in the Workplace

A television news director with 28 years in the biz--now a writer--tells PressThink: "I can recall instances where coverage actually was influenced and reporters with the courage to step forward actually did. The vast majority of times, however, efforts to involve minorities in 'their' stories erupted into arguments about type-casting." Critique of the diversity project from an ex-newsroom boss.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 5:06 PM | Comments (5)

August 10, 2004

Guest Critic: The President of Unity Says Don't Blame Us for the "Liberal Media" Charge

Ernest Sotomayor: "The downslide in the credibility of the media began long before this convention was held, and it began when nearly every publisher, nearly ever executive editor and nearly ever TV and radio news director and station manager in the business was a white male."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:55 PM | Comments (30)

August 9, 2004

Unity and the Ovation for John Kerry: Letters to the Debate, 1-3

Here's my letter to Romenesko and one from a journalist, Linda Picone, former Star Tribune. Me: "Diversity hiring assumes that minority journalists will exert and express themselves within the profession." Picone: "I wonder why anyone can support the idea that journalistic 'credibility' rests on keeping things secret from the public." And other reactions.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 3:15 PM | Comments (5)

August 8, 2004

"The Crowd's Reaction Made Some Unity Delegates Uncomfortable."

Last week's convention of minority journalists was the largest ever-- 7,000 strong. Kerry spoke: standing ovation. Bush spoke: no ovation. Traditionalists in the press said: unprofessional! Critics on the right cried foul. Unity, coalition of minority voices, didn't know what to say. And group think appealed to all. Here's my critique of that. Plus (scroll down) reactions from the press and the blogs. A debate simmers.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:22 AM | Comments (90)

August 5, 2004

Convention De-Briefing Rolls On: August 4-5

Wherein a reader asks: what is good event blogging and how is it done? Author responds: "So if you bring local knowledge, which is always people-based, into an event, the blog will produce local knowledge about the event-- and that's what you want." Plus: The Manchurian Candidate and the Kerry convention. And the post I wanted to write, but didn't: the song list.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:45 AM | Comments (31)

August 3, 2004

Bias Critics: Meet Newsroom Joe, Apolitical Man

Journalists who call themselves "moderates" in surveys are trying to agree with conservatives by declaring: "My political attachments should be irrelevant." And yet this self-report is jeered at, as if it had no significance. I think it does have significance, especially because there's another theory out there: political leanings shoud be transparent. This column ran in Editor & Publisher last week.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:13 AM | Comments (38)

August 2, 2004

Convention De-Briefing Begins: August 2-3

Background is here: Post Convention De-Briefing: You Ask the Questions. It's an open air press conference for a returning blogger.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 2:03 AM | Comments (37)

August 2, 2004

Post Convention De-Briefing: You Ask the Questions

Readers, your blog is ready to be de-briefed. I went to Boston for my own reasons (to improve PressThink) and as your correspondent. Now I'm back. I saw a lot, and tried to make sense of it. Shoot me a question and I will try to answer over the next week or so. The blogging of Boston goes on because the campaign does. We're all participants in making sense of it. So help me out. Debrief a blog today and clarify the convention.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:02 AM | Comments (26)
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