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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 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.

Madison Square Garden, Aug. 29: Credentials and work space had to be secured, so I missed most of the march. But I did see something that instantly moved me as it passed by on Seventh Avenue: four or five people balancing a big globe, with the continents and oceans of the earth painted on. There was imagination in that. It was a sign without specific message. There’s the globe, it said. And we all live on it!

Sometimes politics is about getting your people to turn out. You simply parade as many as you can, speaking freely and against Bush, past a hypothetical midpoint on 7th Avenue, which is Madison Square Garden’s front door— and the Republican Party’s home for the week.

After the march, I went to look at what the Republicans had done with the Garden. How the planners handled the space might, I thought, contain signals about the Party and even W., as the President is playfully called on some of the message boards in the arena.

My last post was about the decision to create a separate stage for Bush—a theatre in the round—on the convention’s final night, and what that particular move “said” politically.

To me it was interesting that Bush would abandon the podium from which he was to be praised, and give his speech surrounded by delegates— not by all the convention apparatus. It was an attempt, I thought, to recall his most iconic moment, with the bullhorn among the workers at ground zero on September 14, 2001.

When you enter the arena this week and take in the space the Republicans have built, you notice something. The proportions are not the familar ones from when you attend a game or concert at Madison Square Garden. This is because the Republicans changed them. They brought the floor of the arena up almost fifteen feet, creating a shelf on top of the bastketball court and enclosing it from above.

Then they buried the bureaucracy, waiting areas and some of the equipment needed for running the stage. The “back stage” area moved underneath, to the new basement. Burying the bureacracy—a satisfying motion in itself—also reduced the footprint of the stage.

“When Mr. Bush accepted the party’s nomination in Philadelphia in 2000, he stepped up to a typical battleship-style stage, with multiple video screens and a sweep of stairs leading up to a lectern,” wrote Michael Slackman in the New York Times. “But the Bush campaign team has had four years to think about their next convention, and from the beginning it signaled a desire to do something different.”

Last month, the stage at the Fleet Center was the old battleship-style. It meant to impress you with its size and the vistas it claimed, with three separate stations from which speakers could address the crowd and cameras. Commander Kerry was the only one allowed to speak from the center lecturn. It was big because it had room for many dozens of people (Democrats!) working “backstage,” but of course out in public. They were visible in the darkened wings answering phones, and enaging in other forms of electronic busyness.

That style had long since devolved into a visual cliche. We could say it was part of television’s fascination with itself. This year, the Republicans have gone toward small and flexible, like the military is supposed to become under Bush.

The stage is simpler, with just a single microphone. It stands alone, with zero bureaucracy attached. It is a more modest setting for speakers than the Fleet Center’s podium— significantly so. The look goes toward spare, vaguely classical. On the other hand it is more intimate, less grandiose.

This reflects the confidence that conventions planners have in their man’s comfort with himself, one of Bush’s clearer advantages.

Raising the floor had another advantage. It allowed for installation of a thick, and remarkably soft, bright red carpet— I mean red state red, the same red as this site and that one. Thus the floor of the arena seems luxurious and new, even a bit bouncy. And that’s what delegates will tred over. I would say it’s a very optimistic floor and the Fleet Center floor was not.

Here the network sky boxes are further away, higher up. In fact they are becoming outmoded. What you find in the Garden are many more camera positions and miniature broadcast points, as the networks try to fan out around the arena. CNN has the biggest presence in the sky overhead, followed by NBC and MSNBC combined, and Fox’s two spaces. ABC and CBS are distinctly smaller operations. Al Jazeera has a skybox. Bush will also be speaking to them.

But I think the point of today’s events was: a whole lot of people have spoken to Bush, and to the country, by walking past the Garden in a mood of angry determination. They started the convention a day early, and now the GOP has four days to do its own thing.

When I took PressThink to Boston and interviewed the CEO of the convention, Rod O’Connor, he said something that still intrigues me about the event as political theatre:

“On Thursday night when John Kerry stands up there and gives his speech, you know that’s our Super Bowl, that’s it, that’s what this whole thing is about. And it’s my job to make sure we get to that point, the air is clear and everything’s focused on him that night.”

That phrase, “the air is clear” shows that communication is sometimes achieved in what you take away: distractions, for example. The Republicans have this approach in 2004. They are paring away to improve Bush’s chances of coming through clearly. The stage is getting more modest, that the man will loom large.

No matter how clear the air is then, what the President says from the Garden Thursday will be a reply to what 200,000 demonstrators said to the Garden on Sunday afternoon. Now it’s a conversation, much more than it would have been without the march. And maybe that, Jeff Jarvis, is why you have demonstrations.

After Matter: Notes, Reactions & Links…

I plan to interview the CEO of the Republican Convention, William D. Harris, and find out more. Upates when I have them.

Do see Jeff Jarvis, Demonstrations are so last century.

Demonstrations aren’t the way to get your message across anymore. Because now, you can own your own newspaper.

Yes, you know I’m going to say that you can get your message across on a blog. But, of course, that goes only so far.

You can also make a movie like F9/11 and get your message across — and make a helluva lot of money as a bonus! F9/11 has not much more intellectual content than a demonstration full of hand-scrawled signs — but it’s more effective.

And as media continues to blow apart, you will have more and more ways to get your message across.

Posted by Jay Rosen at August 30, 2004 1:54 AM   Print


When I enter the arena today and take in the space the Republicans have built, I notice something have changed.But I don't know why.

Posted by: 小说 at August 30, 2004 5:56 AM | Permalink

I love your analysis, Jay - so original, so un-MSM.

Posted by: paladin at August 30, 2004 3:09 PM | Permalink

James Morrow: Sloganeers revisit Nixon's silent majority campaign

FOR all the received wisdom about American right-wingers and their feelings about free speech, the Republican national convention in New York City has so far been the scene of an absolute orgy of expression. At the same moment Vice-President Dick Cheney was rallying his troops to "make certain that George W. Bush is president for the next four years", a 1600m-long stream of mostly peaceful protesters, flanked by an army of reporters and camera crews, made their way through the city and past Madison Square Garden to make it clear they want anything but.
(In contrast, American Democrats were not so tolerant at their own meeting in Boston a few weeks ago. There, organisers worked in concert with authorities to virtually cage up dissenters lest they cause a replay of their own disastrous 1968 Chicago convention, when police and anti-war protesters rioted for five days in the city's downtown.)
(H/T: Instapundit?)

Posted by: Tim at August 30, 2004 3:19 PM | Permalink

From outside the Sky box - inside blogger's corner (

Koch interview at Capt. Ed's.

Posted by: Tim at August 30, 2004 3:46 PM | Permalink

In discussing the stage, you're missing the biggest metaphor of the Republicans: televangelism. The stage design had the pulpit, font, lectern. The spareness also speaks to the evangelical church. Calvary Chapel is a good example of the megachurches the convention is modeled after.

Here's a page of of a pulpit designer:

Posted by: Brad Johnson at September 4, 2004 10:01 AM | Permalink

From the Intro