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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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December 29, 2004

Top Ten Ideas of '04: News Turns from a Lecture to a Conversation

"People who have lots of choices, who can 'roll their own' (as Dan Gillmor says) don't care to be lectured to. Just by staying the same news sounds today more like a lecture because it gets compared to stuff that doesn't sound that way at all. You know sometimes a crisis in authority is tonal..."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 5:51 PM | Comments (31)

December 28, 2004

Zack Rosen: My Advice for the News & Record

"Look to Kos. He has a real community. 10,000+ active particpants regularly participate in his space. They converse, peer-moderate, scheme, and organize day in and day out on his site. They come up with incredible ideas, rally their fellow 'kossacks' around them, and galvanize them into action..."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:03 PM | Comments (8)

December 28, 2004

Top Ten Ideas of '04: Open Source Journalism, Or "My Readers Know More Than I Do."

The audience always knew more, but it didn't have a network for pulling its scattered self together. An atomized public needed the journalist to know for it. That's how we got a professionalized press. Now Gillmor says his readers know more than he does. Open Source journalism builds on that insight.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 12:58 AM | Comments (2)

December 26, 2004

PressThink's Top Ten Ideas for 2004: Introduction

These are my top ten ideas for the year 2004. The year in press think, as it were. I chose not the "best" ideas, but the ones most useful to me in figuring out what's going on. They weren't necessarily born in '04, either. But they emerged this year. Some have authors; usually it is many authors. Ready?

Posted by Jay Rosen at 10:21 AM | Comments (46)

December 21, 2004

Greensboro Newspaper Goes Open Source: A Follow Up

"Why aren't more people who think citizen's media important willing to advise a newspaper company that is willing to gamble its site on a citizens media strategy? You tell me. Maybe the prospects for this industry (daily newspapers) are considered so bleak by most that 're-invention' is almost a dead letter." And: interview with founder of

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:53 PM | Comments (23)

December 18, 2004

More Undercurrent: Action in Greensboro on Open Source Journalism

With the local blogging scene rapidy coalescing on its own, the local newspaper, led by a blogging boss, decides to act. He wants to remake the site as "an online community or public square." E-mail from the Greensboro newsroom " many ways we've waited 10 years to do this and aren't going to wait any longer. My report is due next Friday."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 6:37 AM | Comments (33)

December 15, 2004

Undercurrent: Nation, Region, Weblog, Home

There are hundreds of political traditions among the 193 sovereign nations of the world. There can be just as many press traditions. Just as every country has its literature, its poetry, its song, every nation has a press that carries the national imprint in some way. Now blogging will do that: it will carry the imprint of nation. What we're curious about is the imprint of "globe."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:02 PM | Comments (10)

December 10, 2004

The Big Listen Option for CBS News After Rather

Peter Johnson, who writes about media for USA Today, sent me a note, with a question. With Dan Rather leaving the anchor's desk is there an opportunity for CBS to break away, and do something different? I answered him. There's an opportunity, I said.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:13 AM | Comments (26)

December 9, 2004

Guest Writer Lisa Stone: Kind of a Drag-- A Short History of Spin Alley and the Press

Stone, a journalist, on the life and times of Spin Alley, one of the strangest places ever founded in American politics. It required the cooperation of journalists who were also the intended victims. Linda Wertheimer in 02: "If a clever reinterpretation of an event can wriggle its way into a reporter’s story, why not keep doing it?" Stone has the answer.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:32 AM | Comments (16)

December 7, 2004

What is the Internet Doing to Political Journalism and its Public?

"Participants: about 20-50 informed people, interested in politics and technology, most of them wired to the Net, spread out in a law school classroom that has what is called in the theatre a 'high rake,' trying to figure it out."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:34 AM | Comments (12)

December 2, 2004

Notes and Comment on The Media Company I Want to Work For

"But something else surfaced-- better in a way than the launch of another business. Substantial readiness to get going. Talent waiting for action. A mood of expectation." Plus: "I asked two entrepreneurs about their press think and this is what they told me."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 10:02 AM | Comments (20)

December 1, 2004

Mark Glaser: The Media Company I Want to Work For-- Not Someday, But Now

Guest writer Glaser is a columnist for OJR: "Time for someone to do it, to make the case for a new way of doing journalism, to stop talking about change in decades and start thinking about change in months and days. To stop complaining about the way things are, and the way things don't work, and to start doing it differently..."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 3:18 AM | Comments (40)
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