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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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January 29, 2005

A Jack Shafer Problem

Let me ask you something...

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:48 PM | Comments (47)

January 28, 2005

Will the Greensboro Newspaper Open Its Archive?

Bill Mitchell of Poynter: "I don't know what your chances are of winning this one, but it sure is worth exploring." Editor in Greensboro: "As the decision makers see the traffic and better understand the potential, the argument over free archives will be easier to win."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 11:30 PM | Comments (10)

January 26, 2005

Big Wigs From the Blogging & Journalism Conference Say What They Found

Request from a blogger to the people who were at the Harvard conference on journalists, bloggers and trust. "Send me one thing you changed your mind about." Or at least learned. "You have 24 hours," I said. This is what they told me. (Broken into three posts.)

Posted by Jay Rosen at 3:50 PM | Comments (10)

January 26, 2005

Big Wigs Confer, Part Two

John Palfrey: "I left thinking that the change is truly historic; its direction is not yet set; and shame on us (all of us) if we don't get into the fray and make the most of it, for the public interest. I didn't learn much about credibility online."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 3:44 PM | Comments (5)

January 26, 2005

Big Wigs Confer, Part Three

At the Blogging, Journalism and Credibility conference, the highest buzz was about Wiki. How it worked. That it worked. What it could be. Charles Nesson had a word for it: WOW. That was how I felt. Read what others said.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 3:40 PM | Comments (1)

January 23, 2005

A Few Key Moments at the Blogging, Journalism & Credibility Conference

The podcasting era dawns for Powerline. How public involvement leads to information hunger. Blogging may be profitable for some media owners but not others. A passion for neutrality and Wiki News. Keep your eye on the open archive. And more.....

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:15 PM | Comments (30)

January 22, 2005

Keystone Crisis Management at Ketchum: Check the Home Page

There it sits,, witlessly pumping out to the Web, 24 hours a day, the cocky evasions of a CEO, for which the firm apologized this week, on orders of that same CEO. So this is world class public relations?

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:30 PM | Comments (3)

January 21, 2005

Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over

"I have been an observer and critic of the American press for 19 years. In that stretch there has never been a time so unsettled. More is up for grabs than has ever been up for grabs since I started my watch."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 5:43 PM

January 20, 2005

Ketchum and Bloggers: Who Said What? What Remains? Lisa Stone Reports.

I expected more response. First, because this was the second time Ketchum was implicated in the possible misuse of taxpayer dollars for propaganda. Second, because USA Today tossed the blogosphere a bone by posting a PDF file of Ketchum's contract. Third, because pushing the PR industry is necessary work.

Posted by Lisa Stone at 11:34 AM | Comments (20)

January 19, 2005

Bloggers Are Missing in Action as Ketchum Tests the Conscience of PR

"Maybe this is the way things are done all the time in PR today. It's one of the most plausible explanations we have for the Ketchum contract, the apparent fraudulence of which is roughly parallel to the memos in the Dan Rather case."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 7:17 PM | Comments (70)

January 12, 2005

A Short Letter to Dan Rather

"So I kind of resent your attitude toward your numerous critics who operate their own self-published sites on the Web. They were being more accurate than you were, much of the time. I don't speak for them, but I know my own archive." Plus: Lose the spokeswoman, Dan. Hire a blogger.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 2:59 PM | Comments (57)

January 10, 2005

After Trust Me Journalism Comes Openness: Rather Report Released

"...I hope that broken contraption "trust us, we're CBS," forces the network into the clear skies of a new idea: We used to do our reporting in a way that required the public to trust us, their professional journalists. It worked for a while, but times change. Now we have to do our reporting in a way that persuades the public to trust us. CBS News: are you up to it?

Posted by Jay Rosen at 5:08 PM | Comments (37)

January 7, 2005

Guest Writer Simon Waldman: The Importance of Being Permanent

The Guardian's Web guy: "Without permanence you slip off the search engines. Without permanence, bold ideas like 'news as conversation' fall away, because you're shutting down the conversation before it has barely started. Without permanence, you might be on the web, but you're certainly not part of it."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:08 PM | Comments (13)

January 4, 2005

Open Source Journalism Comes a Step Closer in Greensboro: A Plan is Shown

Open and free archive. Bloggers at editorial meetings. Long tail ad network. New "always link" policy. Obits as a blog. Those are some of Lex Alexander's ideas for the Greensboro News & Record as it moves a step further into blogging, citizen journalism and the site as public square. The highlights...

Posted by Jay Rosen at 6:07 PM | Comments (26)

January 4, 2005

Top Ten Ideas of '04: "What Once Was Good--or Good Enough--No Longer Is."

"Decline in quality caused by staying the same: In the commentary and opinion category, standards have gone up because of competition from the blogs and other venues, especially the political mags. Compare 10 minutes of scrolling with Atrios to 10 minutes with a Richard Cohen column."

Posted by Jay Rosen at 1:02 AM | Comments (10)

January 1, 2005

Top Ten Ideas of '04: "Content Will be More Important than its Container"

Tom Curley, head of the AP: "We thought it was about replicating our news and information franchises online." That sums up Big Journalism's Web thinking for the era, 19995-2005. The American newsroom never went to school about the Web. Instead, it took what it was doing and "moved" it online.

Posted by Jay Rosen at 4:35 PM | Comments (22)
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