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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

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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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September 2, 2004

"Turn to Fox News for Exclusive Coverage of the Republican National Convention."

By 2008 we may see something different emerge: The Republican and Democratic parties negotiate deals with a single network to carry exclusive coverage of the event-- like the Academy Awards, or the Olympics.

Madison Square Garden, Sep. 2. First, there’s the news that Fox beat all networks—not just its cable competitors—in the ratings race at the Republican convention.

Then there’s this story, from the newspaper The Hill:

The love-in between Republican delegates and Fox News Channel continued on Tuesday night, as a group of delegates seated directly facing CNN’s broadcast booth began taunting the CNN cast and crew.

“Watch Fox News” chanted the delegates and other convention-goers in Section 223, likely broadcasting the message to millions of homes tuned in to CNN

Then there’s the item I reported earlier this week: the deal CNN negotiated with the Democratic Party for a special broadcast platform on the arena floor. No other network had it.

Then there’s the decision by the major broadcast networks to devote only three hours over four nights to both conventions, due to declining news value and flagging interest. David Westin, president of ABC News, wrote about it:

If we broadcast extended convention coverage when most Americans would rather be watching something else, our audiences will flock to the alternative programming. If the conventions themselves were as interesting as they were in 1948 or 1956 — or even 1968 — then we wouldn’t have this problem. But as we all know too well, they aren’t. As much as we might like to coerce people into watching what we think to be good for them, we simply don’t have that power.

Then there’s the long but now complete transformation of the conventions into news-less message festivals, which are also entertainment events.

All of which leads me to think that by 2008 we may see something different emerge: The Republican and Democratic parties negotiate deals with a single network to carry exclusive live coverage of the event— as with the Academy Awards, or the Olympics.

Obviously it makes the most sense for the Republicans to sell their convention to Fox exclusively, and for the Democrats to go with CNN, which led the ratings among cable channels for the Democratic convention in Boston, or possibly MSNBC.

I’m not promoting the idea, and don’t favor it myself. I’m saying things may go that way.

Why not? The ratings would be far higher for a single network. Promotion would be simpler. Cooperation between the party and the network carrier would suddenly be “okay,” since both would want to put on the best event possible. The suits at ABC, NBC and CBS would not to have to answer questions about the meager hours they plan to broadcast the thing. And the party bosses would like dealing with a single partner, I think.

The arguments against it? “This is a news event and all broadcasters should have the right to cover it.” But the answer to that is simple: anyone can cover the convention. Only one network has the right to televise it. This is the arrangement at the Olympics and the Academy Awards— thousands of journalists cover the event, but only one company has the right to broadcast it to Americans. The other argument against is harder to counter. Not all Americans have cable; the ones who don’t will be deprived of the convention.

But not all Americans live in swing states either. Most don’t. And they’re deprived of the campaign ads that are far more critical to the outcome than the conventions. But somehow we tolerate that and the system goes on.

In Boston, the word among insiders was: this is the last year of the four-night convention. Next time, 2008, the parties will slim down to three nights— and the standard will be one hour of live coverage a night from the broadcast networks. Maybe that will happen.

But I think there are more radical changes afoot. The very premise of a “news event” is so strained it may just collapse. By 2008, the conventions could be very different creatures because at bottom almost no one believes in the ritual as it stands.

“Turn to Fox News for Exclusive Coverage of the Republican National Convention.” Now doesn’t that make more sense?

After Matter: Notes, reactions and links…

Media Drop hates the idea: “My response: Why would they do such a thing— and who does it benefit, other than the ‘exclusive’ network?” More:

Placing FOX with the Republicans and CNN with the Democrats is on one hand kind of funny, and another hand kind of unfortunate. For one, you’ll have much more accusation of bias in the coverage of the events. People will be claiming “home” coverage left and right, as the “between speech” commentary would only be coming from one station.

Posted by Jay Rosen at September 2, 2004 9:52 PM   Print


Nah. People would have to *want* to watch it, for such a deal to be worthwhile. The current way, the pain is shared.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at September 3, 2004 4:13 AM | Permalink

I don't know, this seems like a rather top-down framework.

In 2008, the 'channel' model will itself be competitive with TIVO-like services where you just grab the content you want and watch it when you want. For my money, the best coverage was Indymedia, but who knows whether delegatations will have video cameras to create shows for their states? Why wouldn't want their own version of the Convention? The line between television and the internet (re: print) isn't going to be nearly as clear in 2008 as it is now.

The other thing is that with the rapid growth of political machines (DFA, Club for Growth, Moveon, etc), it's not clear that Conventions will be coronations and bereft of real political meaning in four years.

Anyway, this is just to say that your idea is interesting, and hopefully will spark some rethinking of Conventioneering in general.

Posted by: Matt Stoller at September 3, 2004 1:39 PM | Permalink

I think Matt and Seth are both right, or will be at some moment in time. Mostly, though, I just wanted to mention that James Wolcott now has his own blog. Yippie-ki-yay.

The idea of singular convention coverage strikes me as a horrible one if only because I think it'd be nice to avoid a completely reductionist approach to the events. It'd be okay if, say, Fox's coverage of the RNC was balanced by Comedy Central's, but then you'd have to have Comedy Central being the partisan anchor at the DNC because CNN isn't exactly the lefty equivalent of Fox. No one is, for that matter.

I hope Matt's right about the technology changing, if nothing else, the dynamics of the reporting. I thought maybe the bloggers would add some spice to the reporting this time around, but instead the reporters just seemed to go the bloggers one worse.

Seth, I noticed a week or two ago that some time back, when you were having a discussion about the insularity of bloggers, you somehow included me on your list of those participating in the self-referencing A list (I think as a result of the first-ever conversation I got into on Jay's blog). I just wanted to let you know I was and am on the outside scratching plaintively at the window, but I freely confess to wanting someday to utter the phrase, "When I was talking with Atrios the other day ..."

Posted by: weldon berger at September 3, 2004 9:37 PM | Permalink

I was perfectly happy to watch the conventions on C-Span. No talking heads, no spin, just televised coverage. I really don't need anyone to tell me what to think.

Posted by: Mike Drummond at September 4, 2004 7:15 PM | Permalink

I am also perfectly happy watching events on C-Span for just the reasons you mention. We still need to face the fact, however, that elections are won on spin. If that doesn't happen on C-Span, that means elections are ultimately won and lost somewhere else. When you listen to the callers on C-span, they repeat disinformed party talking points disseminated through the other media as reliably as anyone else. C-span helps on the information end, but it doesn't effectively address the psy-ops/propaganda wars that modern US politics have become.

Posted by: Ben Franklin at September 6, 2004 3:32 AM | Permalink

It goes without saying that mainstream TV media coverage of Presidential conventions is changing to a more concise form of presentation. That allows for inter-net reporting of these events to diversify and increase the number of independent media groups (blogs included) that will fill the gap all day news coverage left behind.
A variety of news approaches may better serve the public. While it may be true that your average American has a short attention span, it doesn't mean events like these and their underlying propositions will not be covered. I think we are looking at a different type of media. One that is inter-net driven and leaves no country behind on the news.

Posted by: D.D. Harrington at September 6, 2004 10:09 PM | Permalink

Nobody would watch it... unless the Comedy Network bid and won, and Jon Stewart hosted. Now THAT would be cool.

Posted by: Debbie Galant at September 9, 2004 7:42 PM | Permalink

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