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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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April 5, 2005

What's in PressThink's Pocket? Citizen Journalism!

Al Gore's network; CanWest's new hunt for the young; Merrill Brown's truthtelling; Roch Smith, Jr.'s 101 sites; BluffingtonToday's debut; and the Greensboro clan thrashes things out.

The title of Rebecca Blood’s weblog I have always loved: What’s in Rebecca’s Pocket?

“Jay, you are back,” her blog says to me. “Look, these are some things I have carried around or found just today. Let’s spread them out and examine each. They tell us some story, I suppose. Take this one for example…” It’s an effective and charming invite.

So here are some things in PressThink’s pocket, all related to “citzen journalism.” They tell a story, I suppose.

1. Al Gore’s new network will air the work of citizen journalists, youth division. The Wall Street Journal reported on it Monday: “A cable channel recently acquired by an investment group led by Al Gore is to relaunch Aug. 1 under the name Current TV, hoping to generate much of its content from viewers.” (See the Current Studio page.) There are the outlines of a plan to pay contributors:

Its Web site will be a key part of its service, listing topics on which it wants material, such as reviews of movies, CDs or videogames; items on social trends; and advocacy journalism. Current will pay $250 for videos it airs.

Now $250 is not a lot—it’s a little—but something to start with. At a minimum it says: citizen journalism has costs, and needs staff support. (See the FAQ page for producers. And here’s something they call the Assignment Desk.) Bringing the people formerly known as the audience into a new role as video content providers is a big deal, and not like running a traditional network at all.

Do the Current people understand this? It seems so, but we will have to see. Here’s co-founder Joel Hyatt in a letter to supporters. I think it’s fair to say the right talk is there. The walk begins August 1, 2005:

All around us there has been a shift in power from companies to the consumer. This “bottoms-up” trend has been transforming the way we live our lives. Innovative companies from amazon to ebay, are leading the way in personalization and consumer-created content. In the TV industry, technology is helping to keep up with viewers’ desire for on-demand scheduling in the forms of VOD and PVRs. But on the creation and programming front, no one yet is allowing their viewers to participate in a meaningful way in the creation of Television.

Current will be the first TV network to do this. We are building an
on-line production studio that empowers our audience to be a part of
our staff. We will be turning to you to create real-life video
stories. We will count on you to watch what’s being submitted and, by
ranking what you watch, help us program the line-up that you want to
see. And we will rely on you to get the word out about what we’re up

I wonder if Current be flooded with good-but-not-great material, with junk, with well-intentioned but unworkable pieces, with too much that’s worth airing, or what… I will also be watching the kind of relationships that evolve among the network staff, the huge community of potential contributors, and the users. (“Let’s redefine what’s considered ‘news’ and how it’s told. Shoot a story that traditional news media won’t touch because it’s too big, too small, or too something. We’re looking for honesty, humor, and, of course, the facts.”)

There’s another feature to Current: a partnership with Google to harvest the “information” in popular search terms to provide up-to-the-minute relevance in journalism. Interesting idea. Easy to overdo too. Read about it.

2. Merrill Brown tells his business the truth. Brown, the founding editor of and now a consultant, has published a truthtelling report, based on a study (hard data) commissioned by the Carnegie Corporation, Abandoning the News. I strongly recommend it.

What I mean by truthtelling is passages like this: “the future of the U.S. news industry is seriously threatened by the seemingly irrevocable move by young people away from traditional sources of news.” And: “Newspapers have no clear strengths and are the least preferred choice for local, national and international news.”

The report says that change in journalism is way too incremental because the world has changed a lot. “Active consumers are unlikely any longer to rely on single sources for coverage of issues that matter to them. And they’ll never be consuming news without clear chunks of opinion as part of the mix.” That’s two assumptions that held in mainstream journalism for a long time— now overturned.

Brown echoes my post from last week, Laying the Newspaper Gently Down to Die in calling for “a substantial commitment to new product development,” the kind of investment “that news companies—even in their triumphant days of dominance and vast profitability—were reluctant to make.” It says, bluntly: “American journalism institutions face risks of extraordinary magnitude.”

The threats are not only economic; they’re political. “Even the accepted, historic premise of how a free press and the skills of journalism bind together democratic institutions similarly merits a certain reassessment and reality check,” writes Brown. (Similar to the the “de-certification” theme developed here.) “There is little evidence that today’s politicians accept the notion that it’s mandatory to connect to the population via a ‘national press corps,’ often choosing to go around the press and communicate through their own Internet sites, through friendly talk shows and blog forums.”

In a world where national leaders are turning away from the news media, citizens have an increasing lack of confidence in the press and young people are moving perhaps permanently away from traditional newsgathering organizations, a radical rethinking of how news is delivered seems necessary—- even overdue.

From an industry leader like Brown, phrases like “radical rethinking” are rarely heard. He gives this example to suggest that some in the industry are catching on. It comes from Sandra Rowe, editor of the Oregonian:

Though frustrated at the industry’s slow pace, Rowe sees a day ahead when newspaper editors will have more products and ways to leverage their expertise. In this model, she says, her paper would be reaching different sensibilities with, for example, an alternative weekly, community papers, the leading regional portal and a network of sites. By managing multiple products and building a stronger economic base, Rowe thinks that such an organization would have the resources to put “the interest back in public interest reporting. If you can be the primary information source in the community,” she adds, “and do so because it’s your responsibility, the commercial argument would work and would be designed to support that.”

The view that the traditional news organization, whether it’s a daily newspaper or television network news operation, is effectively a “mother ship” feeding material to multiple products on multiple platforms isn’t necessarily a brand-new one. But the scale of what Rowe is proposing is a start at rethinking fading traditions.

A start, yes. Merrill Brown’s conclusions can be summed up in three words: get with it.

News executives need to quickly mobilize around what are today their secondary platforms, at least measured in terms of where, currently, their largest revenue opportunities exist. In other words, even if the daily newspaper industry’s advertising revenue dwarfs its Internet business, the future of the American newspaper will be defined online… the news industry should recognize the importance of what’s going on in places like Bakersfield and work hand-in-hand with bloggers and other independent journalists and citizens to experiment with the formation of new alliances and the development of new products

I said it in January: “The forces of denial are in retreat.” Brown, I think, wanted to make sure of that with this report. It’s called Abandoning the News, but there’s an ambiguity in that title. Young people are abandoning the news. But so is Big Media if it cannot invent a better connection to a live, twenty-first century public.

3. Dose magazine debuts in Canada, more mobile but no better. Another search party for the lost tribe of young readers has been sent out by a Big Media company. In Canada, a new entity called Dose magazine launched Monday in five big cities: VancouverCalgaryEdmontonToronto… and Ottawa. Dose—billed as a daily newsmagazine and web portal for the young—is a project of CanWest, the Canadian media giant with a strategy in the Vancouver market of owning everything.

Since this one is said to have certain citizen journalism features, I bring it to your attention. Here are the three slogans by which Dose wants to be understood (from an about page.)

  • Not everything, just everything that matters. (Responding to newspapers jammed with unwanted information.)
  • We’ll help you do more. (“Including an amazing local search.”)
  • Don’t worry about finding us, we’ll find you. (That’s the pledge to be mobile. Of course the problem is if you make good on the pledge and move mediocre content fantastically well to your on-the-go young person, you’re worse off when your model works than if you never tried it in the first place.)

The press release says, “To ensure that Dose reflects the attitudes and interests of its target audience, we have entrusted its content, format and approach to a group of fun and clever young Canadians.”

Clever? Not according to Brad Badelt and Richard Warnica in Thunderbird, an online magazine out of the University of British Columbia’s J-School. They addressed an open letter to the publisher CanWest chose: Noah Godfrey, 27, a graduate of Harvard Business School who worked in corporate strategy at AOL Time Warner and as an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney. (Scroll down to see my Q & A with him, in the “After” section.) Here’s the heart of their letter:

From what we understand, Dose is to be of the youth, for the youth and by the youth. But we wonder, Noah, how much you really have in common, beyond age, with other young Canadians. Readership interests are more complex than age breakdowns allow. For instance, how representative is your background, which includes an Ivy League education, of the experience of the average Canadian?

And do young people even want to hear exclusively from the young? The hippest media figure among the urban, intelligent and fun – your target market – is Jon Stewart, a middle-aged white guy in a suit.

But as much as we mock, we know Dose is no joke. What worries us, beyond the title and hyper-charged marketing, is the implicit admission that mainstream daily newspapers are giving up on youth.

Canada is a country of far more than two solitudes. Newspapers should bridge those divides, not pander to them. If every demographic gets its own news, from its own source, with its own spin, what kind of consensus or democracy can we hope to create? The 18-34 year-old age group lives in the same cities, works at the same jobs and votes in the same elections as every other adult Canadian. Youth should participate in the same debates about how the country is run. And that won’t happen if mainstream news culls them from the herd.

Thunderbird added a reported piece, Why is it suddenly hot for news to be cool? that is also well done. It asks, for example, “how a news outlet can function on the basis of a cool-hunting philosophy?”

In Laying the Newspaper Gently Down to Die I said we’re not seeing major investment from Big Media in the next model for online journalism. Thunderbird reports: “Leonard Asper, CanWest’s president and chief executive, recently told the National Post that he expected Dose to lose $5 million to $6 million in its first year.” What would you do with that much to spend? Would it look like this?

There are a few parts of Dose that will be interesting to follow. The design is admirably minimalist, the opposite of the “busy” look that afflicts and other commercial sites. The creators of Dose have different ideas about how a printed sheet and web site should work together. (Which is definitely part of any future solution.) From a fact sheet put out by CanWest, asking: “How does Dose work together in print, online and mobile?”

  • Many news stories will break online and then once in the magazine, will drive back to for deeper content, photo galleries, discussion boards, and polls.
  • solicits feedback and monitors in real-time what content is most popular on the site, then passes this information to the editorial staff so that the next day’s magazine covers information that is of immediate interest.
  • Dose encourages dialogue between users online and will often showcase parts of that communication in the magazine. For example, Sex advice from strangers is a forum for users to discuss sex-related issues and appears daily on the Overdose page.
  • Hey is a daily feature where local Dose reporters hit the pavement with a question or comment of the day. For each person interviewed, will create a discussion board hosted by the interviewee.
    Some content found in the magazine, including the visuals, are available to download as a screensaver, wallpaper, or to a cell phone.

Here’s the Hey they’re talking about. It’s “young person in the street” interviews about inane topics— comically thin stuff. My headline: More Old Think About the Young from Big Media. Dose is mostly focus group wisdom spread over new platforms.

4. The 101 sites spread. Will there soon be a network of local switchboards? First there was Greensboro 101, a local blog directory that became a local portal site, a natural competitor, and possible partner to the local newspaper site. Then there was Charlotte 101, kind of a franchise deal with Charlotte bloggers Dave Beckwith and Darryl Parker to do a similar thing. Now, cleverly timed to BlogNashville, there is Nashville 101, the third operation from Roch Smith, Jr., founder of See my earlier interview with him. (“I’ve been contacted by media people wanting to replicate the Greensboro101 concept in other cities.”) He e-mailed me with his expanded strategy:

Our plan is to provide turn-key 101s for individuals or groups who wish to operate one in their city. We have over 200 [cityname]101 domain names registered and plan to promote them as local citizen media cites through (not up yet).

In addition to gearing up to roll out more cities, we are in the process of developing an ad system that will not only coordinate the placement of advertising on the 101s (the revenue from which will be shared with the participating operators ), but that will also allow participation by local bloggers who will also share in the revenue. The idea is to create geographically targeted online advertising opportunities that can sustain localized citizens media to the very end of the long tail.

And so we can squint and see a local infrastructure in place, nationally. Not that Smith is going to corner the market any time soon. There are many similar sites going in other cities, and each one may be considered a potential contender with the local newspaper in the race for a Journalism 2.0 approach that works. See PhillyFuture for one example. SanDiegoBlog for another. Here’s one in Urban Vancouver.

In Journalism 2.0 (the way I explain it to myself) the People Formerly Known as the Audience, safely considered “consumers” during one era, are more involved in production. Interactivity makes daily journalism into a better, faster learning machine, which means it can improve its accuracy many times over. And in the 2.0 era new ways to pay for good work emerge from a variety of directions— the media industry is only one, and not the most likely solution.

Civic entrepreneurs like Roch Smith, Jr.—who are paid in influence, and the satisfaction of seeing your creation thrive—are equally likely to have good answers to the puzzles presented by Journalism 2.0. With most in the industry unwilling to spend, the need for experiment and innovation is being met from outside.

5. inverts the old model. Steve Yelvington read Dan Gillmor’s book, We the Media. Now he explains an experiment in citizen journalism based on some of the ideas in that book: Bluffton Today, a hyper local site in the Bluffton and Beaufort areas of South Carolina. (About page.) “Here’s a short list of what we’re doing,” Yelvington says at his weblog:

  • Everyone gets a blog. Not just staffers, but everyone in the community. LeMonde (France) and the Mail and Guardian (South Africa) are doing this, too. I don’t know of others but would appreciate pointers.
  • Everyone gets a photo gallery.
  • Everyone can contribute events to a shared public community calendar.
  • Everyone can contribute recipes to a community cookbook.
  • RSS feeds are everywhere — all the blogs collectively, all the blogs individually, classified ad search results and so forth.
  • For people with Windows XP, we’re giving away BT Reader, a branded, customized RSS application that fully supports podcasting. It comes preloaded with RSS feeds from and

“User generated material from the get-go, including free classifieds,” says Gillmor. “It comes from an established media company, and the site looks terrific.” (The company would be Morris Digital Works.) He even calls it a “citizen journalism breakthrough.” Steve Outing of Poynter: “This is exactly how the newspaper industry should be experimenting with citizen journalism.” I will be interested to hear other reviews.

6. The Greensboro Clan Thrashes Out the Ethics of the Economics. Local GSO blogger The Shu e-mails PressThink. “Folks have been so enamored with the Greensboro News-Record’s Public Square concept since it was announced,” he says. “I have been a lonely voice in the wilderness when it comes to seeing this as a case where the MSM regains its dominance over a market it has been losing, virtually steals from the bloggers and offers very little to nothing in return.”

What his post inspired is a sight to behold: Greensboro Bloggers—Shu, Ed Cone, Roch Smith, Billy the Poet, Patrick Eakes, Mr. Sun, with Lex Alexander and John Robinson of the News & Record—wrestling with themselves, estimates of value and their local newspaper’s intentions. I recommend it. But more than that, I commend the spirit of this clan when they barbeque an idea.

Alright, those are six scenes. You tell me: What is the story?

After Matter: Notes, reactions & links

Noah Godfrey, the 27 year-old publisher of CanWest’s Dose, e-mails with answers to my questions:

1. What are the convictions and conclusions you have about young Canadians, behind which you launch Dose?

We believe the following about young Canadians:

  • They are not easily stereotyped
  • They hate to be pandered to
  • They are avid consumers, especially of media
  • They seamlessly glide between various forms media and the Internet is essential to their lives
  • They feel underserved by traditional media
  • News is important to them
  • The web has taught them to expect free information and convenient
  • They value leisure and social time and easily blend work and play

2. If you’ve followed debates and developments surrounding citizen journalism, blogging and the online press, you must have seen some lessons for Dose. What were they?

We have learned:

  • Our audience has a strong desire to have a voice - a mechanism that allows them to interact
  • Our audience has a strong desire to have choice
  • User-generated content can be quite compelling

3. Wouldn’t you agree that young people in Canada are very likely to be concerned about the power and influence of corporations like CanWest, your firm? How do you plan to handle that?

In today’s democratic world, consumers have more choices and sources of information than ever (e.g., citizen journalism, blogging, online press) and they take advantage of it. The public refuses to accept information from only one source. It’s the beauty of twenty first century media. As a result, it is impossible for any one organization to have any significant power and influence.

According to Macleans, Noah is the son of former Toronto Sun publisher and current CanWest director Paul Godfrey.

Rebecca Blood E-Mails with the origins of her weblog’s name:

Back before there was an Internet, there were BBS’s (Bulletin Board Systems)—individual computers that hosted discussion forums. When I wanted to pass one of my screenplays to a friend, I created a new area on a BBS where I had sysop privileges. On a whim I called it “Rebecca’s Pocket”, since it was just a temporary container. Before I could put the file up, the BBS owner posted a note in the room that said, “What’s in Rebecca’s Pocket?” Years later, when I created my weblog, I adopted the title and tagline, and I think they fit. My site is an ongoing collection of things I find interesting, on a wide variety of subjects. I like to think it’s the kind of place people can come and poke around in for hours.

“Journalism 1.0: we have the best stuff and we’ll give it to you when we are good and ready.” Roland Tanglao replies to this post. (I fixed the name.)

Roland Tanglao created a blog on Vancouver Dose to test them out.

Jude Nagurney Camwel reminds me that Greensboro 101 has a pretty fair editorial board. (That’s another feature of Roch Smith’s stealth model.)

“We are seeing grassroots journalism gaining a foothold.” Roch Smith, Jr. in comments says “what these six stories have in common is that grassroots journalism is coming into its own. In some cases, it is encouraged by traditional media; in some it is a sort of hybrid; and in others, it is completely independent of MSM. But in all cases, the citizen journalist is gaining more control, better tools and more exposure.”

Tim Porter on the American Society of Newspaper Editors, who are meeting this week:

The death of newspapering as a viable economic and social medium is increasingly being foretold even by its practitioners. What do the gatekeepers of the journalism’s largest platform offer at their annual convention in the face of this bleak future? Bromides, blinders and an oddly self-abusing submission to speeches from politicians who disdain, abuse and manipulate the very press these editors are charged with preserving.

Ex CNN-er Rebecca MacKinnon in Nieman Reports (it’s a pdf) on the pitiful state of television news:

Early last year, my CNN boss told me that my expertise on Northeast Asia (China, Japan and Korea) was “getting in the way” of doing the kind of stories that its U.S. network wants to put on air. I was told to cover my region more from the perspective of a tourist, rather than from the perspective of somebody who has spent her entire adult life living and working in that region. I was told my stories would be better if I wrote my scripts before I did my interviews.

From a Reuters account of the Current announcement:

Google did not disclose the terms of the deal. [Google co-founder Sergey] Brin said the company is providing specialized data from its Zeitgeist service, which tracks search patterns and trends.

Gore, who lost the 2000 election in a bitter contest with current President Bush, seemed to have put politics behind him, insisting the channel would not be a liberal pulpit.

“We have no intention of being a Democratic channel, a liberal channel, or a TV version of Air America, that’s not what we’re all about,” he said, referring to the liberal radio network.


From the San Francisco Chronicle’s coverage:

“Those who are using the Internet are often watching TV at the same time, ” said the former vice president, who’s chairman of the board of Current, the new independent cable venture pitched at audiences advertisers covet — people 18 to 34 years old. “Part of our objective is to connect those two experiences.”

See also CNET’s Richard Shim on the Google portion.

Mark on Media, another Canadian blog I recommend, has a fine analysis of CanWest’s strategy. If I understand where he’s going, it’s that CanWest in Vancouver is just interested in occupying all platforms for delivery of “stuff” to the young, trendy and spendy classes because it figures that the current period of confusion will not last, the smoke will clear. And when the new model emerges Can West can simply shift investment to some semi-established brand, ramp it up, rake it in. The point is to occupy news and listing delivery space, move things across platforms to get the hang of it, take whatever advertising dribbles in, and wait….Who else can afford to do that? No one. Ergo: CanWest wins, despite the crack-up of its previous model. Here’s Mark, replying to my write up of Dose magazine’s launch:

I’m more and more convinced that CanWest’s efforts to sew up the market (two paid dailies, all or part of two free dailies, internet, TV and urban and suburban community newspapers) is about securing platform. The immediate benefit is a solid grasp on a huge portion of the advertising opportunities in the region….

Longer-term, the ubiquity of platform makes it much more difficult for a Bluffton Today or Greensboro 101 type of citizen journalism endeavour to launch and threaten. The combination of platform and brand (whether it’s the Sun, the new Dose, or a community newspaper), the development of new media models (Dose’s interactive web site) and deep pockets mean CanWest can move quickly to ensure dominance in the market.

I agree with this part: “Given the huge amount of experimentation going on, we’re starting to see some vague shapes emerging from the fog of the future.”

Posted by Jay Rosen at April 5, 2005 1:03 AM   Print


It seems that many hotels are able to print a "home paper", essentially on-demand.

I would hope that a changing front page can result in numerous, slightly different editions -- time stamped (with older front pages archived separately from the archives of each article.)

It might even evolve into a semi-interactive front page, where you choose from the RSS feed the articles you want (of limited choice), and then a paper is printed for you.

At Kinko's, or the local copy shop/ library/ airport book store.

Paper is nicer to read and transport than even the likely eBooks coming. Especially for those who grew up reading a book with Bilbo's question, that Gollum couldn't answer, "What have I got in my pocket?"

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at April 5, 2005 6:25 AM | Permalink

This entry is like the Swiss army knife - it has a dose of creatures great and small; virtual and real ...

I just came across the following stories in the context of What kind of future there might be inside Rebecca's pocket?

I am certainly pleased with the developments inside the pockets of Do-it-Yourself Digital Revolution...

'Jonathan Caouette was a 28-year-old computer illiterate living a Bohemian lifestyle in New York City until a friend gave him an Apple iMac computer,' writes Robert Hanashiro for USA Today.

“Caouette quickly mastered iMovie, the consumer-level video editing software that comes free with Apple computers...He next used iMovie’s editing and special effects tools to transform two decades of mementos into a bio-documentary, Tarnation, revolving around his troubled mother. The movie got rave reviews at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals, then played in art house theaters across the country.”
Tech turns average Joes into mini-Spielbergs: Powerful art on the cheap

Blogs, Everyone? Weblogs Are Here to Stay, but Where Are They Headed?

Posted by: Jozef Imrich [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 5, 2005 7:56 AM | Permalink

It's hard to think of anything at all that CanWest has done to advance journalism in Canada, except perhaps make it more commercial and therefore, one imagines, more profitable to shareholders.

Since buying up the lion's share of Canadian big-city newspapers, their overriding philosophy has been: "How can we extract the most money from this, and use our media holdings to augment each other?" CanWest newspapers regularly feature promotional articles about TV shows appearing on CanWest stations. Front pages of their newspapers have, at various times, contained stories which read like press releases for major companies like General Motors or the local cable company.

Given how much advertisers covet the 18-34 "market", the appearance of Dose is unsurprising, but I would drop dead from shock if it proved to be anything more than a vehicle to "repurpose content" and sell more ads masquerading as reporting.

Why, they practically admit it in their "Welcome to DOSE" introduction:


From AC/DC to K-OS DOSE has information on over 700,000 artists and producers. Plus with a simple search on an artist you'll have access to concert tickets, ringtones, merchandise and CDs all at DOSE Music.

It's hard not to be cynical when CanWest has already done so much to make the media less relevant to Canadians. Newspapers rarely publish in-depth reporting. Columnists have been cut back. It's all wire stories and puff pieces.

Providing yet another insight-less publication which panders towards consumers rather than thinkers won't help anyone, and I'd be surprised if DOSE sees it's fifth birthday.

Posted by: Luke at April 5, 2005 8:05 AM | Permalink

...and if I may continue my verbal attack on CanWest, I just looked at the DOSE "Breaking News" page for Vancouver (my hometown).

There are three major stories presented in a nice layout, with nine more stories in smaller print. Not one of the twelve stories has any local connection to Vancouver in any way.

Let's see. Why don't young people read the news? Could it be because they don't find it relevant to their lives? And yet on one of the first days of publication, DOSE has nothing at all whatsoever to say to its local readers.

Posted by: Luke at April 5, 2005 8:11 AM | Permalink

Something else that belongs in your pocket, if we are discussing "citizen's journalism" and how "old media is responding to it....

The National Press Club "Gannon Panel" controversy.

It started with an announcement of the panel on the NPC website (which has since been extensively revised, but here is the relevant excerpt from the original...)

Both journalists and bloggers will debate whether there's a difference between them, on Fri., Apr. 8, at 9:30 a.m. The panel includes Jeff Gannon, whose question at a presidential press conference focused attention on the issue; Ana Marie Cox, editor of, and Congress Daily's John Stanton.

Editor and Publisher covered this story, raising questions about the NPC's choice of Gannon to discuss the question of journalism...

and the director of the National Press Club responded by misrepresenting both Gannon, and the stated purpose of the panel...

What we appear to be looking at is a perfect example of the "old boys network" of beltway journalism in action. "Jeff Gannon" was "one of us" --- part of the DC press corp, unlike Jayson Blair, and thus Howard Kurtz and other mainstream mediawhores have consistently misrepresented the nature of the investigation of "Gannon", trying to present it as an effort to "out" Gannon as gay.

Now, the NPC is claiming that "Gannon" will be asked "tough questions", like "how he wound up covering the Bush White House with no prior journalism experience." But there is no one on the panel who is familiar with "Gannon's" record as a serial liar. Instead, Mike Madden, another member of the Beltway press, says "I don't think John Aravosis is the only person in the world who's capable of criticizing Jeff Gannon."

Of course Madden has done no reporting on the story, and is a reporter with Gannett News, which provided no coverage whatsoever of the Guckert/Gannon controversy, so he is the last person who can claim that the people on the panel are capable of knowing when Gannon is lying. In fact, the only person on the panel who wrote about the Gannon story is someone who, like Kurtz, went out of his way to misrepresent the Guckert/Gannon story, and trash Aravosis himself.

The Gannon/Guckert controversy, and the issue of how the media has handled it, provides a case study in how "old media" goes about delegitimizing the grassroots efforts of ordinary people to expose the rot in the heart of mainstream journalism. This is an important story about "citizens' journalism" and its relationship to mainstream media--- and really deserves some attention here.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at April 5, 2005 10:48 AM | Permalink

I'd say that what Noah Godfrey says about "young Canadians" applies to "old Americans", to wit: We want more choice for free, we don't want to be stereotyped, and we hate pandering. Also, don't lie to us---we have long memories, and we don't forget.

Posted by: kilgore trout at April 5, 2005 2:05 PM | Permalink

If anyone needs proof that the dead Guckert/Gannon horse has jumped the shark (think about this mixed metaphor, people), consider this item, courtesy of Romenesko, about moonbat conspiracy theories linking kidnapped Des Moines paper boy, Johnny Gosch, to Guckert/Gannon. Let the moonbattery begin!

Posted by: kilgore trout at April 5, 2005 2:15 PM | Permalink

What I want to know, users, is: what threads do you find across all these stories, or four of six, or here and there? What's the pattern? Where does it say citizen journalism "is." Anywhere?


Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 5, 2005 3:35 PM | Permalink

Jay, could you please translate your last comment into English?

Posted by: kilgore trout at April 5, 2005 4:09 PM | Permalink

Noah Godfrey is just a weasely frontman for CanWest, chosen for the job because his father, Paul Godfrey--a long-time Toronto power broker in politics, media and sports--is on their board of directors. Makes sense, given how the middle-aged exec who hatched this plan would probably seem perverted as the spokesperson, so a young energetic "publisher" does the trick. But don't get carried away with thinking young Godfrey's background led to this position. How these things end up happening may be worth more of your time, Jay--or maybe not.

Posted by: mw at April 5, 2005 4:52 PM | Permalink

Luke's comment is most important -- citizen journalism is another way to sell stuff. Of course, he forgets that ALL journalism, like ALL TV, is based on selling stuff.

The "news" product is to allow news junkies to feel that they have "information superiority" over the folks who are busy living lives (or watching sit-coms?) and doing things. What decisions are you making differently because the Pope died, or Bush was re-elected? For most of us, none. Therefore the value of knowing that news is pretty much 0, nada, null, nich.

At least with blogs & comments a news junkie can "act" -- by blogging/ commmenting! Like me, here. Much like if we were on the phone, gabbing away -- but more convenient for both of us (a bit slower for me, typing is work).

Where are blogs going? Wherever conversations go. To sports, to cars, to wars, to babes; to movies, to movie stars, to teen-age heart throbs, to steaming Highlander Scot romances; even to the revolutions in Iraq, Lebanon, Ukraine, maybe Kirgyzstan; and of course the blog/newspaper revolution itself.

Support that Lebanon revolution with non-partisan Spirit of America!

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at April 5, 2005 8:36 PM | Permalink

Since this is kind of grab bag...let me add. I tried to join the Education Writers of America, as a journalist. They wouldn't let me. Said I had to employed by a news organization to be a journalist. Of course, my masters in education research methods, my weblog, and my dazzling personality didn't do a thing for them. I joined as an associate. I did so as a way to agitate for change. Cost me $65.

There's a lot of ostriches out there.

Posted by: JennyD at April 5, 2005 9:19 PM | Permalink

[off-topic] Happy blogging anniversary" to me.

Posted by: sbw at April 5, 2005 9:40 PM | Permalink

mw... thanks for that bit about young Godfrey. I am usually not that interested in the "inside" corporate dealing behind Dose or any similar move. It's good to know about the father, though. (Got a link about the connection?) I like looking from the outside at what a CanWest actually does, however; and I pay attention to what they say publicly. Especially the assumptions about users they have built into their projects.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 6, 2005 1:21 AM | Permalink

“There's something inherently like the "Odd Couple" about the pairing of citizen media with a traditional newsroom. If citizen media is about being all-inclusive, with news as a conversation, old-line media has been about news coming from the mouths and pens of journalists, with the readers left to fend for themselves in the ‘Letters to the Editor’”
- Mark Glaser

Ach, Jay - seeds of any citizen blogger/journalist are usually located in a culture peppered with robust round table discussions and movements - where leaders are the followers ...

Some of the threads seem to be asking is this the 'end of big media monopoly?' Is this the 'end of objectivity?'

In my opinion the key thread is reflected in places like China, Iran and Iraq, where people are publishing on the web and the authorities are doing everything in their power to silence the virtual and real dissent.

While in democratic countries people are losing jobs in oppresive regimes people are being thrown into jail because of weblogs; In many ways, the weblog, by the true citizen journalist, is a testimony to the power of the powerless ... (Just like in the essay by Vaclav Havel)

As Scott Hanselman noted: The power of blogging isn't citizen journalism, it's the power to start a movement.

Posted by: Jozef Imrich at April 6, 2005 4:06 AM | Permalink

Andrew Bartlett, an Australian Senator who blogs, posts about politicians who blog ...
Politics & the Power of Blogs – Potent or Pissweak?

Posted by: Jozef Imrich at April 6, 2005 4:54 AM | Permalink

Jay, you ask, "Where is the pattern?" I'm inclined to agree with Jozef, that we are seeing the cultivation of power for the powerless -- or perhaps more accurately, exposure for previously unheard voices (the "power" not being a given, yet.)

I think what these six stories have in common is that grassroots journalism is coming into its own. In some cases, it is encouraged by traditional media; in some it is a sort of hybrid; and in others, it is completely independent of MSM. But in all cases, the citizen journalist is gaining more control, better tools and more exposure.

Where are we? We are seeing grassroots journalism gaining a foothold.

Posted by: Roch101 at April 6, 2005 6:27 AM | Permalink

So what is it about the powerless that should be heard?

And how shall one sort through what is said?

Recalling Waters' First Law: A good idea can come from anywhere. And it's corollary: A bad idea can come from anywhere.

The thread is streamlining community to better our own understanding. That means reducing costly artificial perturbations, and bettering how we process what we receive.

Posted by: sbw at April 6, 2005 8:22 AM | Permalink

To the RH Josef Imrich and Blog:
Will Blogs and the information they convey at a moment's notice have a more powerful effect in other countries(not to denigrate ours in any way)?
I ask this simply because of the over-abundance of media in our country(not bad) and the complete under-abundance or control by the few of the media in other countries.
In this country it seems more "normal" what is occurring because of the Blogs ie we see the evolution and maybe it's impact. But in other countries without our traditions.....

Posted by: gobears at April 6, 2005 10:09 PM | Permalink

Where are blogs going? Why to poetry of course, as evidenced here.

And your links to so many of us in the Greensboro Gang prove yet again that to be the subject of the big conversation, you must be a part of the conversation. Thanks again.

Posted by: Billy The Blogging Poet at April 6, 2005 11:00 PM | Permalink

For those who may be interested:

Outgoing Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler and I have an online forum at the PBS site up. Here are some of the questions we answer:

Have past administrations used pseudo-journalists, like Jeff Gannon, to help improve media coverage?

Should reporters stick to reporting and leave the commentary to experts and analysts?

Are journalists less aggressive than they should be with the Bush administration?

Did the 'real story' get lost in the fallout from the flawed 60 Minutes report on President Bush's National Guard Service?

Are there conflicts of interest for federal employees who become reporters?

Could the Fairness Doctrine become law and what impact it would have on the news?

Does corporate ownership of a news provider taint coverage?

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 7, 2005 2:42 AM | Permalink

Past admin folk, and many Pew like money people, use reporters to help improve media coverage. (Why no look at Pew's avoidance of their funding for McCain-Feingold?)
Reporters can NOT stick to "mere reporting", because what they think affects what they see. More complete facts which are related to different views, positive and negative, would be welcome. It's prolly too late for this.
Reporters are too aggressive about anti-Bush dirt, not thoughtful enough on advantages & disadvantages of his policy, and especially the disadvantages of the most likely alternative. Reporters too easy on the Dems, and especially on the UN and its (implicit) Leftist media supported child rapists and bribe takers.
There should be no conflict of interest in any Federal or other gov't agency becoming a reporter -- more actions should be recorded on the web and available to all.
[don't know Fairness Doc]
Corporate ownership taints coverage, but PC group think, anti-Christian, is the dominant bias.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at April 7, 2005 6:45 AM | Permalink

IMHO GoBears citizens/consumers/bloggers are the biggest threat to mono/duo/polies everywhere. Citizen Journalism is not a silver bullet to one and all dilemmas in the world, in or outside America. Recently Joe Stiglitz questioned whether Bush can spread democracy abroad when he undermines it at home. When all is said and done, George Kennan was right: America’s most powerful tool in international affairs is our example Democracy Starts At Home

The new brave sunlight of the e-world makes it very clear that no one has a monopoly on truth ... objectivity ...

Jay Rosen, Dan Gillmor, Tim Porter, Bill Ives are some of the best examples of people who have opened a new universe where the art of possibilities is endless.

Global Voices Online – Building Blog Bridges

Since anyone can write a Weblog, why is the blogosphere dominated by white males? Blogging Beyond the Men's Club

Can quotas rule the ultimate meritocracy? Diversity Mongers Target the Web

Posted by: Jozef Imrich at April 7, 2005 7:23 AM | Permalink

Jay, is there room in your pocket for this? Teaching done right...

Posted by: Sisyphus [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 7, 2005 3:17 PM | Permalink

I think Cline states it well. Particularly this: "Students need to understand that they must reproduce the privileged discourse of journalism in order to get a job, but they also must challenge that discourse as one choice among many in order to practice ethically."

And make no mistake about it, it is a structure and a privilege. You can't toss the rules and ehtical considerations and expect to have a good product, or anything that remotely attempts to be fair in order to obtain the truest picture available.

Posted by: Andrew Yole at April 7, 2005 9:33 PM | Permalink

Well, one story could be that citizen journalism is seeing a lot more 'ink' as a story than actual citizen reportage. I keep looking ever day but the source are few and far between. I'm guilty to, as a reporter my blog has more journalism comment than journalism (my excuse is that I broke my leg when my blog went up and have been off the journo-job for 8 weeks. But hey, I can still use the phone, do research etc so the excuse holds not so much water).

Another story to be found in these six pieces of pocket lint is that the MSM is better at procuring eyeballs for citizen journalism than citizens are. I find myself looking for a certain amount of 'editor presence' in the news that I read... an adherence to journalistic ethics, and b/c I am used to finding this (and have become reasonably adept at judging the covert subjectivity) in the MSM I am still more comfortable reading hard news and background from these sources. Maybe this will change but not quickly... a concentrated source of CJ that is professionally edited (I like OhMyNews) and marketed doesn't seem like a sellout to me.

Thanks for linking to my blog, MovableHype in this post Jay. My host thanks you as well, b/c I finally recieved a comment on my blog, and the first one was from Jay Rosen, I bit the bullet and went from trial user to paid subscriber.

Posted by: Christopher Zylstra at April 7, 2005 10:03 PM | Permalink

ok, to clarify where I stand with citizen journalism...
The popular criticism with wikinews as a cj source is timeliness... right now it takes longer for the current crop of interested cj's to publicly vett a story and 'fill it out' than a paid reporter with fact-checkers and an editor at hand. and if the trick is managed, it's done in bits and pieces all over the web and I have to use sophisticated tools to track it down. The general public is not so persevering.

This can and will change as bloggers see the potential of pooling their efforts. But this group effort is required for me to really use a wikinews as source of info. Timeliness will be covered in the meantime by the MSM while background: on the ground experiential fat-checking is where cj can and does shine. I see a professioanlly edited cj site like ohmynews filling the gap until cj's hit the tipping point with a purely wiki-like product. Timeliness should be abandonned as a primary goal (and criticism) of cj projects as North American media are so obviously caught up in this race (by even prewriting stories that go to press without even having actually come to pass as real events) that we should let them burn themselves out in this sadomasochistic market-share gobbling gluttony. I want background, I want direct experience reports on what is already reported in the MSM, I want to work with other cj's on projects and allocate resources (cj's) where needed. I want cj organization. It's happening, I'm just impatient. And for some reason I need to say all of this -- here. Thanks Jay.

Posted by: Christopher Zylstra at April 8, 2005 6:20 AM | Permalink

By all means, say it here. Thanks, Christopher. I'm not as impatient as you are, although I think citizen journalism needs lots of impatient people doing things no one gave them permission to do.

For example, your list:

I want background, I want direct experience reports on what is already reported in the MSM, I want to work with other citizen journalists on projects and allocate resources (journalists) where needed. I want citizen journalism organization.

People should just start doing some of this stuff. There is no central institution. No one's in charge.

As much as anything we need one site--a weblog called something like Citizen Journalism Today--that simply keeps everyone updated on the latest, whether that's the latest on Greensboro, or Google, or some blogger doing it alone.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 8, 2005 11:24 AM | Permalink

Hi, thanks for mentioning us among the other efforts here that I look to for example and inspiration.

Our part time, all volunteer labor-of-love has, I think, achieved a milestone this week - we have a press pass empowered writer covering the Philadelphia Film Festival.

The hard part, for me, is convincing bloggers of that potential Christopher - to pool their efforts together.

Roch - I continue to think what's going with the 101s is awesome in particular. If I had more time available, more resources, I would be attempting something along those same lines. Alas, I need to keep my day job to pay the bills :)

Posted by: Karl at April 8, 2005 12:04 PM | Permalink

That is a milestone. Thanks, Karl. Your site is an inspiration, I think.

Here's another milestone, from PressThink-er Weldon Berger and his BTC News.

Has anyone ever seen a comprehensive and kept-up-to-date page with all these local aggregator sites--the Philly Future's and 101s--in one place? It might be interesting to see that data as a list with links or even plotted on a map.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at April 8, 2005 10:25 PM | Permalink

Congratulations Jay on being nominated for the Freedom Fighter's prize by Reporters Without (Iron Curtains) (sic) ;-D

As usual, I could not resist the temptation to share this earth-shattering snippet:

Most people who write blogs just do it for kicks--as a way to vent, be creative and connect to a community News network to pay 'citizen journalists'

Posted by: Jozef Imrich at April 9, 2005 1:56 AM | Permalink

Here's an article from 1998 describing Noah Godfrey's dad, Paul. The senior Godfrey is now President of the Toronto Blue Jays. While former mayor Mel Lastman was in office, Godfrey was one of the chief rainmakers in Toronto. Now that the lefties have taken over (Mayor David Miller), Godfrey catches flies, so to speak. Still, as connected as is Godfrey pere, it's hard to believe that the youngun' just submitted his resume in an open call, especially after a couple of short stints in a then-plumetting multi-media company.

Dose, the magazine, has a webiness about it - it's as quirky as reading a newsaggregator from LiveJournal or Xanga, and that is, I suppose, the nominal appeal to the 18-35 demographic. So far, we have yet to see the true consumer-as-producer shift that Noah Godfrey promises; I'm willing to bet that he, himself, has little understanding, aside from a cynical "let's get them to buy our ringtones" attitude, dressed up in citizen journalism.

Posted by: Mark Federman at April 9, 2005 4:29 PM | Permalink

Hi -- I'm a citizen journalism practicioner; I run a site,, for Watertown, MA. It's set up so that anybody can sign up for an account and send in news reports or add things to the events calendar.

The big surprise to me is as I've started covering things that our local paper doesn't cover is that I'm starting to see national and international stories play out on the very small stage of our four square mile, 35,000 resident town. I see the company that shipped metal detectors to Iraq for use in the recent election. I see the units of childcare and eldercare companies who are publically traded hiring like crazy and stock going through the roof as work and family life changes in the US.

We're a small, dense suburb of Boston. A chain, Community News Corp (CNC) bought in the neighborhood of 80 local weeklies in a 50 mile radius of Boston and consolidated their operations. The end result is a town of 35,000 with one reporter, and lots of neighboring towns in the same situation.

I don't have any problems with the paper on quality -- I think the reporter they have now is actually really good. I have problems with quantity and variety of coverage.

I don't see H2otown as competition to or a replacement for our local paper. It's more and different, and it's an experiment; I don't know what's going to happen, and that's the best part.

Posted by: Lisa Williams at April 9, 2005 6:10 PM | Permalink

I don't know if I like the term "citizen journalism." It sounds a little comrade-ish to me. What we are is a blog-format local paper -- combination wire service, snarkiness and a chorus of online yentas. People feel part of it by sending us tips, pictures and joining in threads.

We don't open authorship to everybody because we want to keep the writing standards high. We do invite a few to write. The different between us and your typical local weekly is the point of view (we have one) and the quality of the writing (she said modestly).

People look to us when they need things fast (like the time a car went into a local pond) or to get instant snow cancellations (as in the radio model.)

I think the success of each venture will depend on how well the tone matches the audience. Here, 12 miles west of Manhattan, we're full of very wired opinion leaders. They're quick to jump on new sources of info, and they like playing the game: they send us tips from their Blackberries. It's been a little slower to enlist the local pizza joints to sign up as advertisers -- but it's coming. We get ad inquiries almost every day. Our readers are our best sales force, spreading the word to their favorite local establishments.

But there are days when our server is slow or my router's on the fritz that I wish computers had never been invented.

Posted by: Debbie Galant at April 10, 2005 1:00 AM | Permalink

Does this mean I can make silly comrade journalist t-shirts? Score!!

Posted by: Lisa Williams at April 10, 2005 1:16 AM | Permalink

From the Intro