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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 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.

TV has failed to involve people in the conventions. The energy felt by the people in the hall is cooled by the small screen. Blogging is a warm medium. You know the writer. I find I’m drawn to the convention via some of my usual day’s diet of blogs, and then link to other coverage from them.
Ed Cone at his weblog, July 27.

This post is an experiment. But so was credential-the-bloggers an experiment, and I tried to approach my “job” in Boston that way. Test some ideas. Try things: for me, audio blogging was one.

Being thrown into a new situation—and every blogger there was in a new situation, historically speaking—should be a chance for “firsts” of some kind. So this is a PressThink first. A public de-briefing. Sure, it’s kind of a gimmick. It’s also a frank attempt to involve you in my version of “convention coverage”— the reflection part after.

It works like this. I went to Boston for my own reasons (to advance PressThink’s fortunes) but also as your correspondent— “you” being anyone who happens by this address and especially those who linger. The mini-public of a weblog. Now I’m back, public. I saw a lot and tried to make sense of it.

This is your chance to de-brief the author, who can report back under his own power—and will, in other posts—but who thinks it wise, and rather in the spirit of what we’re doing, to let others into the act, especially this one, Boston in 2004, with the whole credentialing drama attached. Some things that could happen on their own don’t happen unless you set aside a public space for them. This is the space.

So… shoot me a good question (with commentary attached, or without) and I will try to answer here, over the next week or longer. Thus: it unrolls. For me, the blogging of the convention goes on, just as the campaign for president goes on.

Got a question for your roving correspondent back from Boston? Does it concern PressThink, the weblog but also the think itself? Then hit the comment button and you have the floor. It’s an open air press conference— intended as further extension of my reporting. I got the image from the open air talk radio section at the Fleet Center. (Described in this audio interview Chris Lydon did with me on the morning after the event, over eggs and coffee at the Logan Hilton.)

If you want, you can participate via comments. Or you can email PressThink, and I will work it into the post somehow. Don’t wait for me to call on you. (Real names and email addresses are always better.)

Background: PressThink’s Reporting From the Convention

Go here for my first report, on the conventions pointing backwards in political time, here for the second, an interview with the event’s “CEO,” and here for a third, which includes an audio interview with Thomas Edsall of the Washington Post, and this is the fourth, arguing that Al Queda also came to the convention.

In Boston, I also wrote a quick viewer’s guide for the Kerry speech, but that I could have done from home. Still, it was part of PressThink’s convention coverage because it was part of blogging an event live, which means writing into or “at” people’s experience of the event as it unfolds.

I am going to be reporting from Toronto for the next week, as a participant in the annual journalism professor’s shindig, which has traveled to Canada this year after recent stops in Miami and Kansas City. (Very excited about the pre-convention worshop on Public and Participatory Journalism.) But blogging is portable. Some say relentless. Answering from Canada should have it own advantages.

I realized after the big publicity blitz that the interesting part of story in Boston, and the intellectually challenging part, wasn’t the blogg-ers at the convention; it was the trickier problem of bringing your weblog, which also means your style of doing one, “into” the convention and its confusing swirl of events. It was relatively easy to get me there. The hard part was having PressThink there: operating the blog in the wild, so to speak.

Ed Cone: “While bloggers in Boston were feeling their way toward a new role in politics — I’ve been saying all along that the value of that experience will show up in the weeks and months ahead, it didn’t end with the convention…” He’s right.

Readers, your blog is ready to be de-briefed.

Posted by Jay Rosen at August 2, 2004 1:02 AM   Print


Q: Do you think there's been any significant shift in any minds of professional journalists (especially Big Media) regarding their view of blogging in general or bloggers in specific? That is, can something meaningful be said approximating a result, from the mass of pontification which issued forth on the topic?

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at August 2, 2004 1:35 AM | Permalink

You went to the convention with a hypothesis that political conventions potentially invoke ritual, religion or faith in a way that the current regime of journalistic pseudo-objectivity seems to consistently crush.
How did your experience at the convention affect this theory? Was it confirmed, qualified, challenged? Any further insight into how TV, newspapers, talk radio, or bloggers (or specific representatives thereof) may relate to this issue?

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 2, 2004 1:54 AM | Permalink


Thousands of journalists from organizations suffering a legitimacy crisis attended an event whose legitimacy had been questioned by these journalists. You were going to ask of these journalists, "Why are you here?" Did you, and what did you learn from that?

Were you able to watch the press think while you were there and how did that thinking manifest itself?

What, of the third regime in convention reporting and commentary, were you able to glimpse at the convention?

Were blogs another medium for the message? How did credentialing blogs coopt the medium, making it a part of the message?

Was the ghost of the Dean candidacy, that seemed to take several steps away from command and control, exorcised from the convention - or was it there, on the floor or in the hotel rooms, but hidden from the public? If hidden, how was it hidden and who were the conspirators?

Posted by: Tim at August 2, 2004 1:57 AM | Permalink

Jay, this is more of a comment than a question. I spent 30 years in the news business before retiring and getting into new media consulting years ago. I've seen my share of conventions and convention coverage and was eager to see what the "sphere of blog" would provide. David Weinberger was my favorite, and here's what I wrote to him afterwards:

This new journalism we practice is very much like surrogate eyes and ears offering vicarious experiences for those of us who can't be everywhere, and it works because — in the Postmodern model of tribes — I feel comfortable allowing myself inside your thoughts and emotions. You generally think the things I would and feel the things I feel, so you ask the questions I would, see the things I want to see, and float the ideas and reactions that are so much a part of me. The result is a very satisfying and knowledgeable conversation that takes place in my mind, and it goes way beyond the simple and detached who, what, why, where, etc. Shared experiences is the most powerful dynamic of the whole tribes concept, and I think it's the real value of blogs and blogging. It's neither vertical nor horizontal. In a mystical sense, it's more like an internal connection that transcends the logic of the senses. It's quite intimate, I think, and you've got to be a part of it in order to understand.

So in that sense, I think blogging and bloggers did wonderfully, yourself included. What I fear is that the ongoing comparisons with institutional news outlets will do nothing except help people miss the point.

Finally, the bloggers consistently pulled the curtains back to reveal the bullshit of both the convention and convention coverage. That was significant in terms of journalism, and enlightening for one and all. Blogging, therefore, brought a level of honesty to the overall convention coverage that was fresh and engaging.

Posted by: Terry Heaton at August 2, 2004 7:49 AM | Permalink

Q: When are bloggers gonna look at how ridiculous they are, are what a superiority complex does to nullify any attempt at objective thinking?

"in the Postmodern model of tribes"

I'm not entirely sure what the Postmodern model of a tribe is. I take it that it's "you make up a fantasy about forming tribes". While I agree that "Shared experiences is ['a', rather than 'the most'] powerful dynamic of the whole tribes concept", reading the same tripe is not much of a shared experience.

That is, if you are capable of thinking independently, which most bloggers try to pretend to be.

"In a mystical sense, it's more like an internal connection that transcends the logic of the senses. It's quite intimate, I think, and you've got to be a part of it in order to understand."

The supposed value, but which is actually it's primary detriment, is that anybody can be credentialed to say anything about anything, at the University of Blogaria. It's for people with big mouths, and the need to hear people tell them how smart they are. It's a way for people to hear they 'get it' SO MUCH BETTER than everybody else.

Well, I apologize: But you clearly have no actual experience whatsoever in "mysticism", Mr. or Ms. Heaton. And you might wanna stear clear of the subject of transcendence as well.

Btw, thinking would be the element least involved in true intimacy. Iow, intimacy is not primarily an intellectual activity, no matter how much time you wanna spend on a computer.

You know how many times I've heard variations of "you've got to be a part of it in order to understand".

Iow, "unless you agree with me, you cannot understand".. "Unless you agree with me, that bloggers get it and non-bloggers are just turds, you CANNOT have the experience to comment on the subject."

Q: Well maybe some of you can explain Dave Winer's comment that bloggers are not really self-absorbed and largely irrelevant...? I mean in the context of his own blog... Read the posts directly before and after that comment and note how much of his convention blog is "this is what I'm doing", "this is ME GETTING INTERVIEWED", "this is me pretending to DO an interview", "this is what I believe", "this is what the convention SHOULD be like".

(This last being typical of bloggers, "words of wisdom" on a subject they know nothing about. As pointed out SO frequently, these jokers don't have any experience that an ACTUAL journalist has, to bring to bear. Their blogging of the convention showed that pretty clearly.

And it's the first time being under scrutiny by people OTHER than those who've taken the electric kool-aid cluetrain test... But they bring their big mouths and their PC, and notice that's all that's required.)

Q: Can any of you bonehead (but very literate) NON-journalists explain for me, if bloggers are not basically the "cream of the crop" when it comes to self-absorbtion and self-indulgence and wasted thoughtlessness..

..well how is it then that BLOGS WERE THE STORY OF THE CONVENTION?????? ???

Q: I can see print journalists becoming infatuated with blogs, because they share the value of the written word. But the entire convention being so OVERLY focused on blogs?

One obvious A: Mebbe it was so attention could be focused ON the bloggers...? Mebbe has something to do with bloggers' incessant need for attention, but I s'pose icbw.

But, to me, seems like just what you'd expect from bloggers. Which would be the near-opposite of what I'd expect from a journalist. I do NOT expect, nor want, journalism to be taken entirely over by an attitude that THE WRITER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, NOT THE SUBJECT MATTER.

I don't agree with a lot Dr. Weinberger writes, but at least he didn't put up the sham that his writing is SO much ABOVE journalists, nor the lie that he IS a journalist, like some tried to do.

Q: In light of the above facts, then how long is the meme gonna stay around: "Blogging, therefore, brought a level of honesty to the overall convention coverage that was fresh and engaging."

Blogging is vanity press, and what it brought to the convention was vanity. "Look how good the bloggers are." Iow, MORE bullshit rather than less.

Q: All that to say: So how is adding MORE bullshit (and CALLING it less bullshit, which is obviously just another vain lie, founded in vanity, rooted in vanity, and strengthened through a continual process of mutual vanity) an improvement whatsoever, is my question in simplest terms...?

I mean, how is it an improvement for those who aren't being showered with the attention they got...?

Posted by: JamesJayTrouble at August 2, 2004 10:46 AM | Permalink

Blogs by candidates and delegates are the next big thing in convention blogging. Discuss.

Posted by: ed cone at August 2, 2004 10:58 AM | Permalink

Probably some will, which is the victory of style over substance. Those politicians with more style than substance will pronounce blogs "a superior medium", and sell their snake-oil to the naive.

The sophisticated politicians will do otherwise.

That'd be because they learnt a long time ago that you can get hung out to dry by what can be recorded. Politicians learned that with the advent of radio and TV.

Some say you should, and MUST, absolutely NOT be cautious with what you say and what you do, either one. That makes it less "authentic".

That's freetarded, (meaning only partly true,) but it sells blogs to bloggers (and apparently some print journalists).

Mr. Dean found out this is "a mirage" which he got trapped in, is my understanding. Look at the ACTUAL results of the Dean Campaign, rather than all the hype about how superior blogs are in promoting a candidate.

What do you see??? (What ya wanna see, most-times.)

Posted by: JamesJayTrouble at August 2, 2004 12:16 PM | Permalink

Blogs are hard to classify, because it's a multi-purpose tool. That's been overly exaggerated to mean that a blog can be "everything and anything"...

Here's an example of incautious words, imo/o, from the right of this blog:

"I think it's a bankrupt form. It serves no clear purpose, has no sensible rationale. The [writers] who offer us strategy news do not know what public service they are providing, why they are providing it, for whom it is intended, or how we are supposed to use this strange variety of news."

The title is "Die, strategy news", but I've not ever seen a more succinct definition of a blog before.

"Vanity press" is a slightly over-simplified definition of a blog, but not by much. Useful to politicians...?? Possibly.. depends how it's used.

Blog's are a panacea to bloggers.

Posted by: JamesJayTrouble at August 2, 2004 12:25 PM | Permalink

First, I think I said after the first or second day of the convention pretty much what David Cone said in your first quotation. Second, I think it is necessary when talking about blogs as vanity press that there have been, with the concentration of publishing in recent years, some books of merit that have been vanity published and then picked up by publishing firms because they did so well. Third, we talk a great deal about participatory democracy in this country but the primaries, the feelings of powerlessness to impact events, the views we have a politicians seem to limit that. Now, I realize that I was born long, long ago in a universe that's now far, far away, but it does seem to me that blogging is providing more of a feeling of participating in the process than I've seen in recent years. I hesitate to ask, but what's your take on this?

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 2, 2004 5:43 PM | Permalink

James Jay T.,
Self-publishing is what you make of it. The idea that the value of writing is strictly a function of the amount of investment it attracts is a pretty perfect summation of much that is wrong with American neo-liberalism in its Republican and Democratic party forms. It supposes that capital is the source of all value in spite of religious pretense to the contrary. My sympathy goes out to you and our democracy to the degree that your feelings are shared.

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 3, 2004 2:47 AM | Permalink

"some books of merit that have been vanity published and then picked up by publishing firms because they did so well."

I've heard of bloggers with the same result. This would be the advantage of vanity presses (for the lucky, which I'm not.. mebbe poor choice of pseudonyms and words.. dunno...;-)

I recall John Patrick being interviewed saying that'd be the advantage of using a blog in business. "Here the views of somebody you wouldn't ever have heard from otherwise", approx.

"Third, we talk a great deal about participatory democracy in this country but the primaries, the feelings of powerlessness to impact events,

But that's where bloggers go haywire, and the value of blogs goes south.

Blogs have become, not what they could be, but a form of therapy. Mainly by the young and spoiled.

Lemme explain the facts of life to a few of you idiots:

I'm real sorry that you aren't the center of the Universe, and that you are powerless to impact events.

Yes, it would be convenient if we were all the center of the Universe, and could control it the way we controlled our parents.

I say "we", but I was of a generation where the kids didn't control the parents, or mebbe that was just how it was in my weird family. There are 600,000,000 people on the internet, and everybody can't be at the top of this heap.

I'm sorry. But keep trying, if that's your Field of Dreams. But even if you get to be an A-list blogger, you still can't control the other 599,999,999 people.. not all the time.

And that's only about 10% of the population on the globe anyway.

"the views we have a politicians seem to limit that."

Yes, this is largely the problem... Not entirely.

But it'd be the stereotypical view of politicians that bloggers incessantly sell like Tide, that would the biggest impediment to participatory politics.

But it's easier to write your diary about how much you get it, and how much non-bloggers and politicians and all the other lamers don't get it... That'd be easier than participating, any day-a the week.

it does seem to me that blogging is providing more of a feeling of participating in the process"

And that's where my repugnance of blogging, and I drank the cool-aid m'self long ago, comes from.

Blogging is primarily a PR vehicle to sell lies to people, and this is one-a the most unfortunate ones. Just sell people the feeling that there participating.

Blogs are the opiate of the self-indulgent. Funny that hasn't been noticed, not even by semi-intelligent people like Dan Bricklin.

"Ben Franklin", your sympathies are obvious, and as obviously false as your pseudonym.

Probably a spoiled Libertarian/contrarian, but you ain't no Ben Franklin. No matter how much self-publishing you do, that don't make you a Ben Franklin, chump.

Sorry if that bursts your thought-bubble, pseudo-friend-of-Democracy.

Posted by: JamesJayTrouble at August 3, 2004 10:02 AM | Permalink

Another interesting phenomenon of the blog form, and observable via the comments section of blogs that permit them, is the blogthink of interaction - or communication - with readers. And it seems distinguishable from the cross-communication of bloggers/journalists, whose online/broadcasted posts/articles/columns avoid the proximity of co-located comments and therefore the difficulty of tainting the host's blog.

The comments section brings greater transparency to the writer-reader interaction that a letters editor, or reader's advocate/ombudsman, necessarily filters and therefore obscures. We might be told that the number of letters published for or against is representative of the total numbers received, but the letters editor selects and publishes what is deemed a representative few while applying rules that filter the prolific writers (one letter published in a 30 day period, as an example), the uncivil, and the verbose, vapid & banal.

But letters to Rosen's personal magazine, PressThink, are (semi-)transparent. We can watch the interaction between letter writers and the magazine's author/editor. We can watch to see who is participating, who is being interacted with, and what they said. We can watch how the final field of the "style sheet" gets filled in and explore a different kind of writing by the author/editor in the dialogue.

What is especially intriguing about the latest PressThink posts is that they were a call for dialogue, a reversal in the order of the style sheet, an open thread with a stated request, a self-imposed challenge with apparently an equally limited self-imposed obligation.

One might say, a Tripping point.

Posted by: Tim at August 3, 2004 11:07 AM | Permalink

JJT: Are you an earl, or a duke, or a king, perhaps? I get the feeling you don't care for the common man. I agree that there are a lot of self-indulgent, possibly young bloggers our there with a wish to be the center of the universe. But there are, on the other hand, a lot of very reflective thinkers who look deeper into the mirror than most and deal with themselves and others with open minds. As a liberal (and proud of it) I find many right wing bloggers out there who are thoughtful and have something to say. I may not always agree with them but their comments will always enable me to look at my own thinking and check my wilder impulses. Unfortunately, from the language and the tone of your post, I don't count you among them. I would suggest that even among the adult in this world there are a lot of the self-indulgent among the adults as well and some of them wield a lot of power: Enron executives up until recently; Cheney and Halliburton; Touch America executives in my own state. While I have little truck with self publishing, I have been paid too much over the years for things under my byline to want to do it, I have read some very well done writing that did not fit into today's limited publishing and was self published.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 3, 2004 12:46 PM | Permalink


I am who I am. I'm waiting to write my autobiography until I do something worth reading an autobiography of. At present, I'm not planning to write an autoblogography.

After I hit submit, I realized that I'd way overly singled-out the young bloggers, when it's their "elders" they imitate, these "leaders" that are following these youth they lead, that I hold most repugnant. Do you think it's a coincidence that Blogaria is so heavily infested with the well-to-do, the Libertarians, the independent contractor-types (many of whom can tell others how organizations SHOULD run, but cannot work for an organization other than one they themselves run)?? Why is Blogaria over-run by people who plainly just have too much time on their hands, and too much time with their hands on a keyboard??

These are not rhetorical questions, btw, and open to Chuck or anybody.

Bloggers are the definition of an elitist group of cult-self-worshippers. Created their own vocabulary to be exclusionist, and divide the world every day into bloggers and non-bloggers...

Have I read good things self-published?? Tons.

Have I read tripe that I paid money for?? Tons..

..Written by "the common man"...? There are (according to WOE) 600,000,000 people on the Net. Twenty-five were invited to the DNC. I "heard" 80% were men, but Blogaria couldn't be just a variation on "the good-ole boys club with token females, could it? And btw, bloggers are what percentage of these 600,000,000?? Less than 1?? But bloggers just could NOT be elitist, right, because they say and imply they're not elitist practically all the time?

When Dan Bricklin wrote "Cooper's comments are ones to examine" I would ask, why then are Dan Bricklin's comments not to be examined?? And when Dan Bricklin wrote "This was not a contest between the best of 15,000 traditional journalists and the total output of a few dozen Web loggers."...? Well, then why intro the piece with the typical "little-guys" vs. Goliath, as is the usual blogger "crap-wisdom" (ie, meme)?? And why the BUILD-UP OF HUGE EXPECTATIONS prior?? (I'll research links, if necessary.) Don't get me started on Dan Bricklin's piece of yellow journalism, please.

But what I find most repulsive is "the comman man".. like all the independently wealthy, and the 19 to 24 year-olds that are not in school nor have a job.. pretending they are standing up FOR "the common man".

When what they are doing, and succeeding in doing btw, is building up a cult that is composed of a blind faith in blogging (ie, the bloggers).

When they are standing up for themselves, FOR themselves.

This standing up for "the common man" is just ONE of the bigger myths of the Blogdom. It's about power, as it always has been, and these A-listers are just as prone to giving up their power as much as anyone in power is.

Not much... I have plenty of personal experience in this regard, if that isn't obvious... And this standing up for "the common man" is plenty easier to do if you're well-to-do or living off somebody else's dime.. at least in words... Most people don't have the time to parade themselves around all day in Blogaria, righting wrongs playing the KISS-A (knight in shinging silver armor) with all their other wealthy or destitute blogger-buddies.


Just another clerisy trying to take over, and these bloggers are almost entirely responsible for overturning 2 or 3 decades of Democratic Party policy to have their Presidential candidate funded by public funds...

Without even a moment's thought.

There was a "vote".. it was all democratic and FOR THE LITTLE GUY, you see.. over on the Dean blog and Kerry went along with it.

The result? The 2004 campaign is projected to run ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

Score one for the little guys?

Me, probably more representive of "the common man" than most-ALL of those pathetic losers.. Well, I was disenfranchised yet again. But I'm getting used to it.


1) I'm not royalty and you provide my tone of voice, Chuck.

2) The ratio of well-done writing, compared to useless, thoughtless crap...? What is your estimate, between the blah, blaher's and the journalists??

One is accountable.

One proclaims that accountability is a liability. (Crap, I DID have a link for that one, but can't find it.)

When you wrote over on Quark, "I think you've missed the point. What I saw on KOS when ever I went in was something that I haven't seen in a long time in the coverage of conventions: it was unscripted excitement..."

Well, you missed several points, Chuck. Right prior to your comment:

"Weblogs are all about individual experience. Take that away and there's less value in the form."

That depends if you are looking for unsubstantiated and UN-FACT-CHECKED (despite the claims) EXTREMIST primarily-Libertarian-FRINGE loud-mouthed opinions, or journalism, to base your opinions on. (Because EXTREMES is what gets noticed, these days, and bloggers are almost exclusively about getting attention, and being told "YES!! YOU GET IT!!! THE NON-BLOGGERS ARE IDIOTS, AREN'T THEY!! !!")

When I'm looking for op-ed, I read blogs when I have the spare time. I, frankly, read little of the blogs during the period because I didn't have the time to get past the "empty chatter and look-at-me going on among the convention blogs, ... [and] look hard enough for the gems."

Now, if the bloggers had gone in like Dr. Weinberger and said "I'm writing a travelogue of the convention" I might-a spent more time. (Bloggers would be naturals at the "fluff journalism", the human-interest stories and such, if they weren't so cottin-pickin' SELF-CENTERED..) But bloggers have claimed SO loud and SO wide and for so, So, SO LONG that blogging is SO SUPERIOR to journalism, that it doesn't surprise me that few took that approach.

The blogs of the DNC demonstrated there still is a difference, pretty clearly, for those with eyes to "hear".

Another point you missed, Chuck, is that excitement translates into entertainment-value, not fact-value... Two different things entirely, for the most part. (Kidz and adultz both seem to prefer excitement over facts, fer sum funny reasonings...;-)


"Loved" the meme spread around, "if you aren't seeing any news at the convention, then MAKE some news". Another way of interpreting that is "if you aren't the center of attention, then MAKE YOURSELF the center of attention", and that remark got some play but doubt my interpretation will get muchuva mention in Blogaria.

Btw Mr. Dean, also purportedly FOR the common man:

"Dean said the group shouldn't worry about the reception it gets from 'traditional' journalists. 'If I were you, I would not be insulted if someone refused to acknowledge you as a real journalist,' he said. He said the 'mainstream' media is far more biased than it will admit."

(That's called preachin' to the choir. And imo, it sure appears that the naive bloggers were being played, but I didn't read enough to say that is much more than my opinion.) Again, the meme raises it's head that if you can type a sentence into a computer, you're a journalist. No other qualifications needed other than time on your hands and no plans, like a job, to get in the way. But my point is that SO MANY bloggers are on record as saying that biased "reporting" is the BEST kind of reporting and, to some, the ONLY kind of "authentic reporting".

That's a lie for one purpose only.

And not much of a subtle hypocricy, except to a deaf, dumb and blind kid playing pinball...;-D

But I don't much cotton to kidz playing pinball, experimenting with public financing of presidential elections and such, but then I'd actually BE FOR the common man.

I stand against those rich and those power-crazed who are pretending to be for "the common man". And I don't take a person's word for it when they say they're NOT pretending and they're NOT self-centered... I'm not going to say I'm for EVERY opinion of EVERY common man, like most bloggers try to say, nor that I believe "the common man" is even a useful data point for anything other than accumulating popularity.

Hope that answers at least some questions, Chuck.

@Tim, I don't know if many have the attention span to read this entire (cough) "essay".. but you're joking aren't you?? This "transparency" thing is one of the lamest to dredge up and the easiest of the buzzwords to see through!! See, depending on the editor, your post wouldn't be published because it's just a rehash of memes, and that riles you a bit doesn't it??

Posted by: JamesJayTrouble at August 3, 2004 7:24 PM | Permalink

JJT: I hear you and, don't wait for your ceiling to fall, I would even be inclined to agree in many things you say if your language was milder. But that's me. And, yes, on my own post not long after I started doing this sort of thing back in May, I wrote that there are a lot of scary places out there in blogland. And there are a lot of things out there that don't deserve being publicized.

But from my world, where a lot of people who vote, don't look at anything but listen to the sound bites and the jingoists and then cast their ballots for the people who govern me, picking up some kind of debate on line give them some exposure to the issues and some is better than nothing at all but a stomach ache. There are some good ones, I think (see (I think that's right.) We may talk crap at times, but it's about issues and we seem to know enough about them to have a point (even those who are status quo.

I also get the feeling that you don't like Libertarians and since I know some I wouldn't go that far, but I would say that their politics are as utopian as communism (notice the lower case c) and as far out of reach given what humanity is.

With that said, I also get the feeling that to see so clearly that the web belongs to the elite, you must be among that elite. I'm not. My website is free for my blog. There are a huge number of others using that engine. When you can pick up a computer for less than a good sound system and tie into the internet for $15 a month almost anyone who wants to can blog.

I repeat, there are a lot of blogs out there that I wonder why they bother. But then there are a lot of stories in the national magazines and my local newspaper that I wonder why they are there. You say that there are no editors out there. But don't make an error in the blogs I post on and expect to get away with it. In debates, and other issues (probably excepting straight memory pieces and if you say eggs were 50 cents a dozen in ought 3, you had better be right) you will be knocked on the head if you are wrong.

As far as crap, I might add that some professional newspapers I have seen (including my local 50,000(?) circulation daily, carries a lot of crap, including feel-good features taking up half of page one. If you don't have a crap filter on when you're reading journalistic works, then you really don't have a chance in the blogwold. That statement about journalists has to do with the fact of being a paid journalist or on the fringes for about 40 years.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 3, 2004 9:08 PM | Permalink

You are insulted and even annoyed by the idea that someone might try to change the world. "Don't you dare have the temerity to think your opinion might matter to anyone for any reason." That's your message. Your message is "Shut up, you are nothing."
That's the Bill O'Reilly line. Anyone who insults the rich must be rich so shut up, stop whining and let the rich get on with their business. Your message is: Change--Don't do it!
No thank you. You have written the most self-indulgent post on this website in several weeks. If you want the self-indulgence to stop, then stop.

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 4, 2004 7:40 AM | Permalink

Thankfully you have Fox, so it isn't necessary for you to publish anywhere.

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 5, 2004 1:29 AM | Permalink

JTT and Bernard,
Posting on a blog shares a lot socially with having a conversation on a street corner. Both of you have just walked up and said,"Almost everyone who talks on a street corner is stupid, self-deceived and should shut up." It is obviously nonsense to even have an opinion about every conversation on every street corner so it is equally hard to be insulted by it. But it is just as obviously a taunting, bullying tactic that would lead to a fight on a street corner. It relects bad manners and a poor upbringing. Do you at least have the character of Merle Haggard to say, "Mama Tried"?
If you want to hang out on this street corner, I recommend you find a way of posting that doesn't obviously involve picking fights.

Posted by: Ben Franklin at August 5, 2004 2:28 AM | Permalink

Bernard: I think I said that up above in my answer to JTT. But it doesn't hurt to explore new sites and get new ideas. News from only one source, or three, in this day is probably not enough to get a really good picture. One needs to real all one can find worthwhile, right or left, and then filter it through the crap filter.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 5, 2004 5:51 PM | Permalink

Bernard: My byline credits are mostly working both as reporter and editor for small newspapers. I also (hate to admit it) did some public relations work. And there is a difference, I admit, between vanity publishing where a publisher takes you for a ride and where you publish and promote your own book. But the basis for them may be the same: you believe your book should be printed. I have only a few bylines in my life for which I did not get paid.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 6, 2004 11:08 PM | Permalink

And, Bernard, I should have added that I agree that vanity publishing is not worth much and I don't think I would do it myself for fiction or non-fiction. But I think it may be that blogging is more akin to letters to editors without limits.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 6, 2004 11:10 PM | Permalink

I've been meaning to get back to this discussion, as I believe this is the one I lost my reply to Chuck on. Almost...:-)

"It's currently known as the print-on-demand no return instant overpriced book never found on a shelf. They're only found online."

I also believe that you can find these books on shelves, and that people are gaining not only social capital but cash-dollar-exchange value, if not cash in blogs.

Not disagreeing with point that the proportions are astounding:

The quantity of worthless crap on that stays on actual shelves gets totally and completely dwarfed by the quantity of time and monies involved. Some make some money, and all lose a lotta time.

Leisuretainment on the cheap, which is what I'd expect in a war-time economy.

Not all bad, all this meta-blogging and "hijynx"...

Posted by: JamesJayTrouble at August 7, 2004 5:01 PM | Permalink

I have to say for some of us blogging is a way to get feedback on our ideas and test them in a forum where people can point out our fallacies and where we can see our ideas and find out just how silly they are. So much of the chatter here seems to be how self-absorbed bloggers are and how ridiculous they are. But many of those I read would fall into the category something like exposing oneself on a street corner. Testing ideas and getting feedback is a way of developing the thinking process. And that's a plus.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 9, 2004 12:44 AM | Permalink

And I have to add, it also means that we get to be red-faced and shame-faced in private.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 9, 2004 12:44 AM | Permalink

And some people do it as anony mice.

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 9, 2004 12:45 AM | Permalink

Or is that anony mouses?

Posted by: Chuck Rightmire at August 9, 2004 12:45 AM | Permalink

From the Intro