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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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November 29, 2004

Writer Says Media is Election's Big Loser: 21 Times

Mega bloggers and syndicated columnists said it. College students and ranting professors said it. Bob Dole said it. The real loser, the big loser in '04 was The Media-- "the famous MSM." I isolate the maneuver and show it to you 21 times, without comment. Well, not totally without comment.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:19 AM | Comments (66)

November 23, 2004

Dan Rather: Park Avenue Ordinary

"Rather's sins were the sins of a celebrity journalist, a star, also known as a bigfoot, to whom no one in CBS could tell the truth until it was too late, and the network had been put on the wrong side of the story by Bigfoot's recklessness (plus his ignorance of the Web.)"

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:13 PM | Comments (50)

November 23, 2004

Reaching for Moral Values in the Post Election Debris

Guest writer (and blogger) Weldon Berger: "The press have missed a lot of big stories in recent years. In this instance, though, the herd stampeded itself into thinking they'd missed a story when in fact they hadn't." On the brief life of "moral values" as the big decider the press overlooked.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:42 PM | Comments (22)

November 17, 2004

Two Replies to David Shaw of the Los Angeles Times

"Both the American in me and the journalist in me hope Rosen is dead wrong." Shaw argues against having a liberal news network that would compete with Fox. He says my suggestions to that effect would be terrible for journalism and democracy. MSNBC and CNN agree: terrible! I reply to that, plus: Reason columnist Matt Welch on David Shaw.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:48 PM | Comments (97)

November 16, 2004

Off the Charts: Sinclair Broadcast Group's Political Vision

"Sinclair got here by flying under the radar, the preferred method of winning regulatory relief. But that phase is clearly over. Some might say the system worked: Sinclair got the message, and retreated. I say the system jerked, and Sinclair realized how little there is to stop it."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:49 AM | Comments (41)

November 13, 2004

How Do You Blog Ideas into Events? PressThink Tries to Find Out

Event blogging-- "live." We have only scratched the surface of what it's about. For example, here I am, blogger at an event: the Online News Association. It's meeting in Hollywood all day today. At 2:00 I will be part of a panel called I Robot. How to leverage automation to your advantage.... (read more)

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:02 PM | Comments (3)

November 11, 2004

What Does a Great Newspaper Want From its Critics? Accountability Committee at the Times

New York Times assistant managing editor and head standards guy Allan M. Siegal lays out plans for a special committee to improve "accuracy and accountability." I give you the memo, and my read on it. You hit the comment button and give yours.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:40 PM | Comments (36)

November 9, 2004

Matt Welch on Shifting Terms of Authority in the Newspaper Press

The bemused political writer Matt Welch is one of my favorite bloggers because he is one of blogging's most independent thinkers-- and he has an eye. After absorbing my last post, Not Up to It, he wrote in with some things newspapers can do as they "react to a world that increasingly ignores them."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:51 PM | Comments (19)

November 8, 2004

Not Up to It

"Not mainstream journalism the practice, but the contraption it has for explaining, situating and defending itself has in 2004 finally broken down, given out after 40 years of heavy, reliable use." And an update: Matt Welch replies.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:31 PM | Comments (25)

November 7, 2004

BloggerCon III: Notes and Observations on the People of Moore's Law

"The people of Moore's law are not necessarily optimistic about events in the world, but it's so normal to them they don't realize how optimistic is their casual assumption that platforms change, and new, more powerful, progressively smarter ones will get built."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:21 PM | Comments (9)

November 6, 2004

PressThink is Looking for a Second Author (Maybe) and a Donor (Definitely)

"Odds are the right person is a journalist or ex-journalist, or has a background in media studies. But who knows? It could be someone young. Or retired. It would help broaden PressThink's sensibility to have someone female. It could be an inspired amateur with no background at all who's great with the Web."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:21 AM | Comments (10)

November 3, 2004

Are We Headed for an Opposition Press?

"Big Journalism cannot respond as it would in previous years: with bland vows to cover the Administration fairly and a firm intention to make no changes whatsoever in its basic approach to politics and news. The situation is too unstable, the world is changing too rapidly, and the press has been pretending for too long that its old operating system will last forever. It won't."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:27 PM | Comments (54)

November 2, 2004

People, Nation, Republic: Reflections for Election Night

As election night traffic heats up on the Net, and the hunt for the latest data begins, PressThink counter-programs. Three philosophical passages about The People, The Nation and The Republic. From books that inform this blog, and could inform your viewing tonight.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 8:29 PM | Comments (27)

November 1, 2004

No Longer Do the Newsies Decide: Daniel Weintraub on the De-centering of the Press

Daniel Weintraub, political columnist and blogger for the Sacramento Bee: "If our world is changing, we simply have to change with it. We have to engage more with our readers, become more a part of the conversation and less of a lecturer. We have to reconsider the way we think about scoops and competition, and think more about "open-source" journalism..."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 10:22 PM | Comments (28)
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