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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 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."

Snowbound in Boston, I wrote a “request from a blogger,” and sent it to all the participants in the Blogging, Journalism & Credibility conference, asking for “one thing you changed your mind about” or just learned.

(AP report, for those catching up. Technorati tag is webcred. Part One of this post, “Big Wigs From the Blogging & Journalism Conference Say What They Found,” is here. It has my intro. Part three on the Wikki buzz is here.)

I changed my mind about how expansive this transition — from the historical mode of production and dissemination of news to a more distributed, multi-channel, multi-lingual, at once global and local, interactive mode or series of modes — could be. I came in thinking that it was a big and important and emerging shift, one that we’re studying closely. I came out with my mind hurting from the implications.

Why? It was the energy of the thing, raw and divisive at times, collaborative and productive at others. It was Rick Kaplan, President of MSNBC, saying that he didn’t think anyone in MSM was getting it yet but that his organization saw it (whatever it is) and is working hard at making it happen.

It was Jill Abramson, managing editor of the New York Times, looking for ways to extend the reach and mode of operations of one of the world’s papers of record — and getting a copy of David Weinberger’s Small Pieces Loosely Joined (the intro about linking alone will change anyone’s mind, if it’s not changed yet).

It was Jimbo Wales and the sheer magnitude and reach of the wikipedia experiment; and Brendan Greeeley and Dave Winer on the podcasting implications. It was Jeff Jarvis and many others suggesting that there is a business model in there somewhere that there are serious spoils — of many sorts — to the victor.

It was the BusinessWeek duo who made plain that they were starting to blog and that the cost of personnel at a big news organization is possibly less than 25% of the cost of running such a publication.

It was rethinking for myself, in the context of what everyone was saying and not saying, the implications of RSS, of syndication and aggregation, of micro publishing, of micro-production — fundamentally, of sorting out how to make the most of those many people out there with something to say and how to make the most of the 15 minutes those same people give to considering news and ideas each day.

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.

  • Faye M. Anderson (blogger, former national correspondent for, former vice chairman of the Republican National Committee’s New Majority Council.)

Though new to the Blogosphere, for many years I have been a news source for the mainstream media on blacks and the Republican Party, and black politics in general. I expect to have the same credibility with my online community of readers.

The discussion about vetting and credentialing missed the point. Credibility will not be conferred by the imprimatur of a new elite or a group of self-appointed gatekeepers. Instead, bloggers’ credibility will be established by the market. If readers find us credible, they will come. If not, we’ll be left with a community of fifteen people.

Bloggers define themselves as the antidote to journalism in some ways. I think they have more in common with old media than they realize. I don’t know of any journalists looking seriously at journalism’s or the Web’s future who think of blogs as a threat. They are a complement to journalism, to the conversation among citizens, to consideration of the public square.

Apathy, poor education, triviality, banality, commercialism, the culture of spin, phony astro-turf groups that pose as grass roots, conglomeration—all these in different ways pose more of a risk to democratic society, to bloggers and to journalism. I suspect bloggers are some of journalism’s best customers, and vice versa, and I suspect in a few years we will see ourselves much more as allies (strange bedfellows. perhaps) than bloggers sense now.”

  • Judith Donath (Professor at the MIT Media Lab; director, Sociable Media research group)

I came out thinking that the essential difference between bloggers and the mainstream media will be their role in determining what is the news.

The New York Times seeks to be credible not only in its individual articles, but in its choices of what to print— and as importantly, what not to print. At the conference Jack Shafer pointed out that the National Enquirer is rigorously fact checked. While its stories may be true, its choice of what to cover makes it a very different source of information about what you need to know. (Frank Rich has an interesting and related piece about this topic this week)

Bloggers tell their readers what they think is interesting or important, but there is no attempt at comprehensiveness. I’m not sure you could have a newspaper of bloggers. Even if you figured out the governance issues (a collective editorship?) who wants to cover the story about sewer contracts in New Jersey? Bloggers are independent because they want to write about what they see as important; the mainstream media needs to hire reporters because there is a larger definition of what is important. Not everyone gets to write about Iraq, the tsunami or the inauguration.

As the number of information sources proliferates and attention becomes an ever more sought-after resource, the role of being the guide to what is news is changing— but remains as important as ever, even if fewer and fewer people follow it. The key role of what we now call mainstream media will be in the determination of what is news.

One point that was really underscored is what a huge challenge still remains for many mainstream newsrooms in understanding the journalistic and economic value of blogging. Good news companies have learned to embrace radio, TV, and the Internet generally. Blogging is the next step, and the dire economic situation of many news organizations (not so much from blogs as from eBay, Craigs List, a post-literate customer base) should underscore the mandate to evolve.

  • Hossein Derakhshan—aka Hoder (blogger, global activist, Iranian blog pioneer, who participated by webcast and e-mail list)

I realized that journalists are more unaware (than they are unwilling to accept) how the open and decentralized concept of blogs can contribute to their primary goals. Therefore, we, as bridges between the new and the old media, should spend more time explaining to and teaching—without attitude— the public and the world of old media that our common causes, free speech and democracy, would benefit from the more open and decentralized style.

  • Bob Giles (Curator, Nieman Foundation for Journalism, Harvard; former editor, Detroit News; former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.)

The conference didn’t change my mind about blogging, it simply opened it to things I hadn’t been thinking about or hadn’t been aware of.

To me, the gift of the meeting was enabling mainstream journalists and bloggers to share their passions for what they do and to consider together the possibilities for how the creative nature of the blogosphere presents new opportunities for the traditionalists that will extend the lifelines of old media enterprises.

The traditional media has always been slow to catch on and adapt, but it eventually does, enabling it to preserve dominance in its markets and to sustain a business model that serves shareholder value through high margins and stock prices.

  • David Weinberger (blogger, writer, Berkman Center fellow, co-author ClueTrain Manifesto, author, Small Pieces Loosely Joined.)

I was surprised at how warmly the media folks are embracing weblogs. I came away less certain than ever about what’s going to happen to the institution of journalism.

I’m concerned that blogs still look to the mainstream media mainly like a source of journalistic content, when I think they actually betoken a fundamental change in the notion of ‘readership.’ Reading is becoming a social activity.

I came in thinking that anything like a “blogger code of ethics” could not be useful because blogs are so varied. I left convinced more than ever that it’s good for bloggers explicitly to discuss our values and how we instantiate them. If I say that I support transparency and accuracy, what do I mean by that and how do I achieve it? (Journalists have worked through many these.) I can see a site that gives bloggers an easy short-hand way of announcing their policies, as does for content rights: “This blog supports BlogEthics R1V2N0…

  • Jane Singer (professor, University of Iowa, School of Journalism and Mass Communication; former product manager, content development for Prodigy.)

One area of common ground that struck me was that both bloggers and journalists have obligations to the wider world. As bloggers come of age, so to speak, their increased visibility and viability means they are taking on more and more of the power to significantly affect all sorts of other people — particularly others outside their own core community — that journalists have long had. (And not just on the high-profile things, such as Trent Lott or Rathergate, but on a day-to-day basis with routine posts and commentaries.)

So far, bloggers are dealing with this responsibility primarily by emphasizing transparency, at least as I understand it; journalists deal with it primarily be emphasizing objectivity (which I agree is problematic, at least as typically enacted) and veracity or verification. Both are fundamentally important, and it will be interesting to see the ways in which these two different cultural approaches to exercising the power of information can continue to converge, evolve and ultimately strengthen both forms.”

  • Orville Schell (Dean, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley, writer, author, correspondent for Frontline.)

Whatever his other manifold failures as an analytical thinker may have been, Mao Zedong was right when ruminating upon what he called “the untity of opposites.” He believed that there is a certain yin-yang unity to any contradiction.

What became more evident than ever to me in the short time I spent at the Blogging potlatch in Cambridge is that we are truly at something of a tipping point moment right now. To date, the mainstream media and the blogosphere have been two relatively parallel universes. (Although the blogosphere has fed off of the mainstream media, while the media has paid insufficient heed to the blogosphere.)

But the truth is that neither side constitutes the answer. The challenge for us is how to integrate the best virtues from each side of this currently rather yawning abyss.

After Matter: Notes, reactions & links

Part One of this post, “Big Wigs From the Blogging & Journalism Conference Say What They Found.”

Part Three of this post on the Wikki buzz.

Online Journalism Review now has a blog, which somehow had escaped my notice. Also worth following is Morph, the blog of the Media Center at American Press Institute.

Posted by Jay Rosen at January 26, 2005 3:44 PM   Print


"Credibility will not be conferred by the imprimatur of a new elite or a group of self-appointed gatekeepers."

Bleh. Sure it will, that's the A-list phenomena. Note CBS is a success in the market. The New York Times is a success in the market. Nobody is forced to listen, like in the old Communist countries where there was a political officer who lectured people. If people didn't watch CBS, or read the New York Times, they wouldn't survive. Of course, overall the situation is complex. But meet the new boos, same as the old boss, is not thrilling to those of us who know we will never be a media boss (as it is thrilling to those who think they have a chance at being the new bosses!)

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at January 26, 2005 6:35 PM | Permalink

Of course they will.

Posted by: Jack Tagger at January 26, 2005 11:46 PM | Permalink

Looks like the "we must triumph over blog triumphalism" crowd is going to have a fine time with this material. Have at it, boys. You have an inspired leader now in Jack Shafer, also known as Mister Web. Personally I think all the excitement about blogger triumphalism in Cambridge is so much hype.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at January 27, 2005 1:20 AM | Permalink

I'm with Shafer on this. I just think his stance is a better reflection of reality from a historical context than the delusions of mob-blogger triumphalists.

Posted by: Jack Tagger at January 27, 2005 2:43 PM | Permalink

""Credibility will not be conferred by the imprimatur of a new elite or a group of self-appointed gatekeepers."

well, if that happens, it won't be for lack of effort on the part of the participants in the conference.

Note how Jay asks only those who participated what they took away from it? Yet there was an IRC feed (and chat line) and an audio feed as well---and although I suspect that most sensible people (note--I'm not sensible) assiduously avoided taking advantage of the feeds, there are probably dozens of people who "participated" remotely. But of course, their opinions don't matter.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at January 28, 2005 6:50 PM | Permalink

From the Intro