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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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October 31, 2004

The Coming Apart of An Ordered World: Bloggers Notebook, Election Eve

"About the performance of journalists in 2004 it will be asked, post-election: How good a job did the press do? But Big Journalism was in a different situation in politics and the world during this campaign. The post-mortems should be about that. Also: will the press even have this job in 08?"

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:22 AM | Comments (83)

October 29, 2004

"Our Code is Falling to Pieces." Doug McGill on the Fading Mystique of an Objective Press

Guest writer and ex-Timesman Doug McGill: "Some reporters actually wear their ignorance as a badge of honor. 'Give me any subject and I can write a story within minutes.' But of course that just means they can paint-by-numbers. They can take a bunch of facts and press them into the daily journalism mold that makes a story, really fast. But as for truth?"

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:31 AM | Comments (38)

October 23, 2004

Too Much Reality: Is There Such a Thing?

Yesterday I was interviewed by a reporter from BBC television about everything happening in politics and the media these days, the closing days of the 2004 campaign. I had to apologize several times for being so inarticulate, letting my sentences run on and on without coming to a clear point-- despite his polite request for short answers....

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:04 PM | Comments (167)

October 21, 2004

Sinclair Goes to Air Friday Night: Notes and Comment on "A POW Story"

Sinclair wanted to play Mike Wallace. It imagined grilling Kerry about his actions against the war. The goal was never to air Stolen Honor, though the furor has been about Stolen Honor. The play they were making was: Get Kerry on video so we can edit his words (and splice in the POWs). Friday's show will be a much diluted version of that idea.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:25 PM | Comments (67)

October 19, 2004

"Call it Commentary, Call it Editorial, Call it Programming, but Don't Call it News." Sinclair Fires Jonathan Leiberman

By interfering from above ("you will interrupt your schedule, you will run this program, you will call it news..."), and by coloring the news to match the Right's view of the world, Sinclair hopes to flush out employees who cannot get with its agenda. "All liberals leave" is the message. Leiberman is now Sinclair's poster boy for it; and any publicity his firing gets is good.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:11 PM | Comments (59)

October 16, 2004

Sinclair Broadcast Group: What Are They Doing in the Middle of Our Election?

"What Mark Hyman has been saying to the point of braying it is-- let's negotiate. John Kerry can keep Stolen Honor off the air by replacing it with himself. Sinclair has no other invitations out. So I say send Mike McCurry and Richard Holbrooke to Baltimore. They negotiate. Five minutes of film, 55 minutes of Kerry answering questions sounds about right to me..."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:49 PM | Comments (110)

October 13, 2004

Agnew with TV Stations: Sinclair Broadcasting Takes On John Kerry and The Liberal Media

In a commercial empire it makes no sense to invite a storm like "Stolen Honor." But imagine a firm built for that sort of storm. Is Sinclair Broadcasting a media company with a political interest, or a political interest that's gotten hold of a media company and intends to use it? There are plenty of signs that a different animal is emerging.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 2:00 PM | Comments (115)

October 9, 2004

John Kerry Should Accept Sinclair Broadcasting's Offer

"A final confrontation with the Right. Isn't that what the Right wants too? A chance, indeed, to clear the air about Vietnam, and a lot of other things. Will America watch? America will watch. And if he can't win that broadcast, he does not deserve to win the prize."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:17 PM | Comments (77)

October 8, 2004

Authorized Knower: Farnaz Fassihi's Accidental Baghdad Dispatch

"The e-mail, which has no title, conveyed something elusive: not 'new' information about Iraq (there was none) or a new emotion, but a sense of the situation there that had not come through in other kinds of accounts, at least those by journalists."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 5:25 PM | Comments (29)

October 8, 2004

Satullo Responds: "Bloggers, Journalists, Can't We All Just Get Along?"

Chris Satullo, editorial page editor of the Philly Inquirer, responds to the big discussion at PressThink about his op-ed on bloggers and journalists. "Public life goes well when elections are about the issues most on the mind of the electorate, when the voters voice helps frame the choices and the debate, and the candidates are required to respond to that voice."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 8:59 AM | Comments (43)

October 4, 2004

Political Jihad and the American Blog: Chris Satullo Raises the Stakes

On September 26, in 668 precision words, Chris Satullo, editorial page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, significantly advanced a debate that Nick Coleman, Dan Rather, Alex Jones and others have trivialized by dumping on the bloggers from a "higher" position. Satullo abandons that, in favor of widening the circle. He says journalists should pay serious attention to bloggers. And he has a warning: Orwellians in the mist.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:28 PM | Comments (157)

October 2, 2004

Newsroom Joe Hates Bloggers: Nick Coleman's Classic Hit

"A stupid piece of writing cannot become a genre classic unless it is aggressively stupid, or stupid with great purpose, high flourish, true style. I think everyone who clicked a link and read Coleman's hit piece on bloggers saw it as a potential classic right away. I mean the ending alone, in which the writer says he is baffled..."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:33 AM | Comments (42)

October 1, 2004

You Watched. Tell Me What You Saw in Jim Lehrer's Performance.

Let other blogs brave the Interpretive Jungle and reach the candidates. PressThink sticks to Jim Lehrer, journalist and moderator. How well did he do last night? And why do we entrust presidential debates to Jim Lehrer? Post links. Post thoughts. I'm collecting intelligent comment.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:27 AM | Comments (47)
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