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Like PressThink? More from the same pen:

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 1, 2007

Check out It's About All Those Hyperlocal News Sites Springing Up...

Lisa Wiliams--the ace local news blogger from Watertown, MA, an occasional PressThink contributor and one of the sharpest people I know about all things Net--has launched a new site,, which lets you "discover, browse, and subscribe to local blogs," over 700 of them.

Lisa Wiliams—the ace local news blogger from Watertown, MA, an occasional PressThink contributor and one of the sharpest people I know about all things Net—has launched a new site,, which lets you “discover, browse, and subscribe to local blogs,” over 700 of them. It’s also about the art and science—and people—of placeblogging.

The site debuted New Year’s Day. I hope you will check it out.

Dan Gillmor’s Center for Citizens Media, PressThink and Lisa’s H20Town are the three “presenters” of placeblogger. Dan and I, along with Susan Mernit, are advisers to the site. It was built on Drupal technology by the team at Bryght. (Here’s a video of Lisa discussing the site and its purpose at the Berkman Center.)

In What’s a Placeblog? Lisa writes:

Placeblogs are sometimes called “hyperlocal sites” because some of them focus on news events and items that cover a particular neighborhood in great detail — and in particular, places that might be too physically small or sparsely populated to attract much traditional media coverage. Because of this, many people have associated them with the term “citizen journalism,” or journalism done by non-journalists.

Placeblogs, however, are about something broader than news alone. They’re about the lived experience of a place. That experience may be news, or it may simply be about that part of our lives that isn’t news but creates the texture of our daily lives: our commute, where we eat, conversations with our neighbors, the irritations and delights of living in a particular place among particular people. However, when news happens in a community, placeblogs often cover those events in unique and nontraditional ways…

The launch package includes a top ten list of the best placeblogs in the US…

1. Baristanet, Montclair, NJ
2. Edhat, Santa Barbara, CA
3. Fresno Famous, Fresno, CA
4. Westport Now, Westport, CT
5. ChiTown Daily News, Chicago, IL
6. New Haven Independent, New Haven, CT
7. Gotham Gazette, New York, NY
8. Philly Future, Philadelphia, PA
9. MNSpeak, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
10. Duke City Fix, Albuquerque, NM

…and a directory organized by state so you can see if there’s one near you.

One of those select ten, Fresno Famous, has been so successful that McClatchy, owners of the local daily, the Fresno Bee, recently bought it. Fresno Famous is thus the first featured placeblog at the new site.

PressThink has long had an interest in placeblogs and their production. In November of 2005 Lisa Williams wrote about doing H20Town. Debbie Galant explained Baristanet in January of 2006, and Paul Bass reflected on the birth of his site, New Haven Independent, last August.

When Lisa first raised the idea for placeblogger, the exciting thing to me was that the hundreds of people doing these kinds of sites could discover each other, learn from peers, and become a kind of online community of local news pioneers. Placebloggers, unite! in other words. Looked at individually, the sites are interesting. Together, they could be a force. (And possibly an advertising force.)

But the first step is for them to find each other, and for you to find them. So visit Placeblogger and let us know what you think in the comments here. One of the points of comparison is Steven Johnson’s brainchild,, which he introduced in October. And if you know of placeblogs that should be listed, submit your suggestions here.

From a journalism professor’s point of view, the significance of placeblogs is the intimacy factor— neighbor-to-neighbor rather than professional-to-public communication. A placeblog about the Rittenhouse Square area by a pro who lives in Overbrook Park wouldn’t make any sense. That and the fact that every prescription for survival in the newspaper biz says: go local, that’s your niche without typically noting that others may be better at that niche.

Now I wish someone would start a placeblog for Greenwich Village so I can find out when the renovation of Washington Square Park is actually going to begin. My metropolitan newspapers (the New York Times, Daily News) wouldn’t dream of telling me.

After Matter: Notes, reactions & links…

Dan Kennedy at Media Nation on Placeblogger: The “Romenesko of citizen journalism.”

I think it should be carnival of the placebloggers, first. Don’t miss Kennedy’s profile of Lisa Williams for Commonwealth Magazine. From a year ago.

The First Buzzword Of 2007: Placeblogs. Mitch Wagner of Information Week enlarges the picture. “There’s a bunch of other companies tackling local information on the Internet in different ways, attempting to improve an area the net has never been really good at. The Internet today is mostly location-neutral—it doesn’t know or care where you live.”

Placeblogger cuts against all that. As Irina Slutsky says it’s “MySpace for your town.”

Dan Rubin at Blinq: “Think of Placeblogger as a social police scanner.”

Also, if you have the strength read Dan’s mournful post on the people leaving the Philly Inquirer because of cutbacks that have gone father than anyone ever imagined. “It’s a generation of young talent from desks across the paper. Many of them are of color.”

Amy Gahran at Poynter’s E-Media blog: “I think Philly might be a perfect place for someone to pilot a norg project before too much news talent flees the region.”

Steven Johnson on Placeblogger: “It’s another endorsement of the hyperlocal model, and it complements what we’re up to at very nicely: Placeblogger is more focused on the bloggers themselves, while we’re more concerned with the local information, whether it comes from bloggers or some other source.”

Debbie Galant of Baristanet in the comments: “I think ‘placeblog’ is better than citizen journalism as a way to describe what we do.” Lisa Williams replies: “Yeah, the word ‘placeblog’ came out of my dissatisfaction with the phrase ‘citizen journalism’ when it was applied to sites like ours. It encouraged people to look at the site and judge them based on how good they were at competing with the newspaper — which misses the point…Placeblogs represent the lived experience of a place; newspapers reflect the tiny slice of that experience that is news.”

Tish Grier in the comments: “Many folks still consider blogging to be the province of navel-gazing adolescents (yes, tis’ true) Placeblogs then become then next step into a more grown-up kind of blogging about the things that matter to us in adulthood—good coffee, property taxes, who called whom on the school board a so-and-so…”

Also see Grier on McClatchy buying Fresno Famous and shedding the Star-Tribune: “Maybe it’s not really the decline of journalism inasmuch as a re-ordering of the way journalism is done—who writes it, who comments on it, who owns it—and maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world in the long run.” Exactly.

Scott Gilbertson at the Wired News blog, Monkey Bites: “Placeblogger appears to have a fairly liberal definition of what a blog is, the site’s top ten list of placeblogs includes the Gotham Gazette and the New Haven Independent, both of which are considerably more professional than the average blog, but I suppose Placeblogger is entitled to define things however they choose.”

Josier Faser at SocialTech: “If someone entertaining enough started blogging about my area, I’d certainly be a regular reader.” Bingo.

Dan Gillmor on Williams: “She’s a natural at this stuff, and when she decided to give Placeblogger a try — long before the name came to anyone — she was the obviously best person to do it.”

Micah Sifry: Seven Ways to Find Local Political Blogs, including Placeblogger,, others. Later, Micah corrects something in his post: “So it turns out I was wrong to say yesterday that Lisa Williams’ plan for her useful new site included ‘selling ads across its whole network of sites.’” More About

Karl Martino of Philly Future in the comments: “There’s a major controversy brewing in our State House having to do with Philadelphia Rep. John Perzel refusing to stand down from his
post. Using Google Co-Op, filtering it by an older version of Philly Future’s OPML of trusted bloggers, you get to hear what the region is thinking about this. Pretty cool.

Lexblog (“Real Lawyers Have Blogs”) says that Placeblogger could be good for business: “Used wisely by lawyers as a place to meet local people, many of them of them influencers, and network just as you would through Kiwanis meetings and the like, there are significant opportunities here.” (And for a grammarian that sentence is a target-rich environment.)

Maura Welch of the Boston Globe on Placeblogger. Maura Welch in July 2006: Women are a blogging powerhouse… featuring Lisa Williams, Beth Kanter, Tish Grier and others.

Interview with a placeblogger: Q & A With K. Paul Mallasch Of Muncie Free Press by wanderindiana at ePluribus Media.

PBS NewsHour examined“the largest media stories of 2006, including the rise of YouTube and the ongoing struggles in the newspaper business,” with Nicholas Lemann, Mary Hodder, Mark Jurkowitz and Adam Clayton Powell III.

I use discussions like that to keep track of what the establishment is thinking as it continues to confront the shock of the new. The very able Mary Hodder is the only new media thinker of the five, including correspondent Jeffrey Brown. But look at the headline the NewsHour chose: New Media Develops Rapidly. For the hardcore press wonk, these insider roundtables about the ruckus caused by outside forces are valuable. They tell you what old media thinks is happening to its world.

Richard Fernandez of Pajamas Media on the corrupting influence of “access journalism” in the AP’s reporting from Iraq manages to quote from Lisa Williams and from my June, 2006 post, The People Formerly Known as the Audience.

Posted by Jay Rosen at January 1, 2007 10:15 AM   Print


Happy New Year, Jay! (a break from blogging might do you good also...) D.

Posted by: Delia at January 1, 2007 2:03 PM | Permalink

Congratulations to all involved in the new venture, and I like the name. I think "placeblog" is better than citizen journalism as a way to describe what we do.

Posted by: Debbie Galant at January 1, 2007 11:03 PM | Permalink

"Placeblog" is a better name :)

Congrats on the launch! I'm very excited to see this get up and running. There is so much of what Philly Future is here, scaled up to a national effort, that it is inspiring.

Posted by: Karl at January 2, 2007 7:59 AM | Permalink

Yeah, the word "placeblog" came out of my dissatisfaction with the phrase "citizen journalism" when it was applied to sites like ours. It encouraged people to look at the site and judge them based on how good they were at competing with the newspaper -- which misses the point.

The bread and butter placeblog item goes something like this: "I used to go to X for pizza, but since it changed hands the crust is soggy. Now I go to Y. Where are you going in the wake of the Great Pizza Downturn?"

Now, let's phrase that in newspaperese: "Disgusted With Crust, Man Changes Pizza Choice."

Sounds stupid, doesn't it? Yeah.

The thing is, placeblogs represent the lived experience of a place; newspapers reflect the tiny slice of that experience that is news.

Placeblogs *do* contain news -- often what I call "random acts of journalism" -- but as part of a much broader spectrum of lived experience than a newspaper. And to take away those pizza posts would deprive a placeblog of much of its vitality and utility to people who hang out there.

(I should post this at Placeblogger, but I'm continuing my tradition of doing my best thinking in the PressThink comments section). Maybe I'll do it over there with pictures.

Posted by: Lisa Williams at January 2, 2007 9:15 AM | Permalink

Lisa, thanks for coining a fine name for these hyperlocal sites. The Top Ten list is a great start. Looking forward to your future discoveries. An Army of Davids!

Posted by: Travelina at January 2, 2007 10:29 AM | Permalink

I love the concept -- not so sure about the name. I suspect that 2007 is the year that we start figuring out that while the transparency and ease of blogs are great for engaging communities, "blogs" per se, may not be the best medium to deliver hyperlocal information, especially data.

Still, a great site. Kudos.

Posted by: Mike Orren at January 2, 2007 12:56 PM | Permalink

Lisa: good luck with your project! (sounds impressive)

Mike: I agree... (re:"blogs" per se, may not be the best medium to deliver hyperlocal information, especially data")

-- let's just take Lisa's example above (pizza places): some sort of a ranking or comparison would convey the info much more efficiently; I like Fabrice Florin's idea (he applied it to news but it could be applied here too: get more variables in the rating process and convey more info...)

I think innovators need to keep in mind that most people have a limited time and willingness to spend gathering info.

And for those who *want* more... in a *narrative* form? why not?


Posted by: Delia at January 2, 2007 1:19 PM | Permalink

Indeed Delia, take the pizza example, and if you've encouraged a set of shared tags or even microformats being used by participating blogs - and you could do quite a bit.

Services like Placeblogger,, and on a smaller scale, services like Pittsburg Bloggers, Urban Vancouver, and Philly Future, can serve to coalesce, provide focus to, and help discover what folks in a region think about their town.

Shoot, with unsophisticated methods, like those employed by us (lack of resources and time on our part), you can build high quality local search by picking and choosing the most trusted sources in your area.

Example: There's a major controversy brewing in our State House having to do with Philadelphia Rep. John Perzel refusing to stand down from his

Using Google Co-Op, filtering it by an older version of Philly Future's OPML of trusted bloggers, you get to hear what the region is thinking about this: link.

You can do the same using a basic full-text seach I've built into Drupal's aggregator: link.

The quality of both can be improved a great deal. And as it stands, the quality of both are *better* than Google alone to do that particular, Place-related search.

Placeblogger has potential to provide powerful similar services down the line that will be exciting to see.

Posted by: Karl at January 2, 2007 3:27 PM | Permalink

The site looks great. I've been wondering if there were sites out there that could be used to get more ideas about how to develop mine. This looks like the place to find them.

Great job!

Posted by: Andre at January 2, 2007 5:44 PM | Permalink

Nice to see philly up there

Posted by: Sean Blanda at January 2, 2007 11:42 PM | Permalink

Excellent idea and name, Lisa... I signed on intending to list KnoxViews and KnoxBlab, but I see you already have them. Well done... Happy new year!

Posted by: Bob Stepno at January 3, 2007 11:38 AM | Permalink

Looks great! I'm not sure about the name either, though. (Sorry!) It's just that I *do* (believe it or not) have journalism training. That is, I consider myself a journalist still rather than "just a blogger." (One of the labels given to me by the editor at the local Gannett paper...) I don't think I should have to lose that label simply because I'm not part of the corporate media machine anymore.

Also, wanted to let you know I wasn't trying to compete with you by launching Local Journalism Dot Net. (Honest!) I think we're going after two different audiences maybe? I want an in-depth, technical look at the sites that are sprouting up everywhere, while I see your site geared more toward people who are interested in finding/reading 'local news' sites.

In any case, the site looks great and it appears it's making the rounds through the blogosphere. Congrats and best of luck. (I'll try to send something soon if you're still interested, Lisa. ;)

Happy New(s) Year to everyone.


Posted by: kpaul mallasch at January 3, 2007 2:42 PM | Permalink

I think some of the things that Lisa said in the Boston Globe's Business Filter blog are quite significant re the impetus to do something such as placeblog--

while I'm one who believes your community is where you make it, there is something to be said about bridging our virtual and physical neighborhoods. The stories in placeblogs are a way, as Lisa says, we knit ourselves into our communities...

Think about it: many folks still consider blogging to be the province of navel-gazing adolescents (yes, tis' true) Placeblogs then become then next step into a more grown-up kind of blogging about the things that matter to us in adulthood--good coffee, property taxes, who called whom on the school board a so-and-so...

gossip? maybe. But, for better or worse, these are the things we think about and want to hear about once we settle into a community--esp. if, like me, you're not in the community you were born into (this, too, is a fact of modern life--people move, sometimes far away from their points of origin.) It's also the way we learn about the color and shape of where we live--the nitty gritty humanity that reflects who we are within a community (oh, let's face it, we're *all* characters of some kind in one way or another ;-) )

I like too that Lisa acknowledges that she might not have started this were she not home. For her, it was children who kept her home. But for others, it may be something different that grounds them and turns them into citizen journalists/placebloggers. Our world has focused for some time on men and women having identities contingent on work outside of the home--but when the home is the basecamp for a more wider view of the community, then a whole new sense of identity can be born from that.

Call it a renewal of civic-mindedness, I we have a little help tracking it and getting some exposure

Posted by: tish grier at January 3, 2007 2:55 PM | Permalink

Not to belabor, but I just re-stumbled across my blog post on why we were eliminating all but one blog on Pegasus News and thought it was germane:

We run lots of content from placebloggers on our site, who are content partners same as our mainstream media content partners. But we think that the correlation of topic and place is more useful to most readers than author and place. So, while we have mechanisms for people to follow particular authors, our news story mechanism works far better for helping people find their interests on a broader local site. And in some cases, like a listing of area sales, a database is far more useful than narrative (although narrative can always be tied to data).

I'm not demeaning blogs at all -- they're a medium, just like books, newspapers, television broadcasts or magazines. BUT, like kpaul, I do see our uncles in traditional media using "blog" as a term of minimization and derision. We've already seen it: When we uncover a story that people are excited about, we're "an online newspaper." When you don't like what we have to say, we're a blog.

Posted by: Mike Orren at January 4, 2007 9:00 AM | Permalink

Thanks to all for these comments.

Mike: Congrats to you on the launch of Pegasus News. It's a long haul but you did it! The reason I wrote Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over two years ago--well, one of the reasons--is that even then one could see the day when the term "blogger" would drop out of discourse and we'd stop using it. We don't say, "the noted e-mailer James Fallows once argued that..." Even though Fallows uses e-mail, the tool is not a differentiator. Eventually there won't be blogs, just sites. We're headed that way now. But there may still be placeblogs.

K.Paul: My sense is that initially the heaviest users of, and the joiners of its forum, will be the placebloggers themselves. Along the lines of what Andre wrote here: "I've been wondering if there were sites out there that could be used to get more ideas about how to develop mine."

Posted by: Jay Rosen at January 4, 2007 9:54 AM | Permalink

Way to go, Lisa. You keep cooking up great ideas...

Re: citizen journalism. I agree that our sites, while incorporating some citizen journalism, are a different animal and need a different name. In some cases, even "blogging" isn't accurate, I would argue, although the sites incorporate blogging. I can't say I have the right word; "placeblogging" is definitely a step forward!

Posted by: Paul Bass at January 4, 2007 12:21 PM | Permalink

I had expected to see you on that NewsHour piece, Jay.

It was yet another reminder that oldmedia folks are apparently incapable of understanding newmedia, except as an adjunct to oldmedia.

Posted by: Richard B. Simon at January 4, 2007 2:38 PM | Permalink

It's kind of a running joke with me and the producers of the NewsHour about how they've "pre-interviewed" me 15-20 times for segments like that one. Once they actually had me on. (It was about Eason Jordon, and I wasn't very enlightening.) I think they realize now that they actually don't want me on, which is a better state-of-affairs all around.

What's funny about it is that they don't know why they kept trying me and then dropping the idea after I told them what I would say. Whereas I do know. Eventually I told them: listen, you don't want me on the NewsHour.

We don't?... Well, why not?

Usually, I said, it's because my views are out of alignment with expected lines of division, so I screw up the framing of the segment and don't match up well the other guests.

Also I am not a "neutral" expert like some academics or pollsters, say. I have strong views on most things but if they try to place me where they thought the clash would be (bloggers vs. journalists...) the producer finds he can't explain the segment to bosses and co-workers.

Oh yeah, said one producer. "You know that did happen once... when was it, the Democratic convention?"

Yes and fifteen other times as well, I said. It's also possible that I'm not very good at the televised roundtable.

Right, they said. That could be it too.

You have to admit that's an amusing situation.

Lisa can correct me if I am off here, Paul, but we didn't feel we had captured the different feel and form with the term placeblogger, but we got closer with that term than we had with others. Now I kind of like it.

...Not related...or is it? Under what theory of newsroom value creation can this piece be said to have any value at all? It has no reporting, no research, no originality, no currency, no sympathy, no wit, there isn't any serendipity possible. There is nothing of value in it, not even a link though it's about the online world. And yet a "paid" content producer thought he should produce it. Weird. It's like some artifact of a lost editorial economy.

Finally, this is worth reading: The First Buzzword Of 2007: Placeblogs by Mitch Wagner of Information Week. He puts things in broader context: local search is getting big.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at January 4, 2007 5:15 PM | Permalink


I think I would have gone with "localBlogger" (the name came to me half way through reading your last post, Mitch Wagner's "local search is getting big" just confirmed it).

But... it's just a name! I don't think it's that big a deal, especially if you can get it out there (and Lisa, with your help and others' certainly did that).

It's just that I don't see very well how it will develop -- that's why I'm not saying too much at this point.


Posted by: Delia at January 4, 2007 6:29 PM | Permalink

Well, here's one simple way it will develop. Lisa's Thursday round-up from the placebloggers.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at January 4, 2007 11:20 PM | Permalink


so Lisa is going to do a clickable daily outline of what she finds interesting?(not bad) but... what's the long term plan? aside from getting this network together (which *is* a big thing in itself), being able to search for things -- it's unclear to me how searching on placeblogger compares with searching for the same things through other alternatives -- and getting Lisa's picks of the day (which are all good things)


Posted by: Delia at January 5, 2007 12:41 AM | Permalink

We don't have some big long term plan. We think placeblogging is an important form and we're trying to do something to advance it. We do things and see how they work. Then we add what they seem to need next.

If it's unclear to you what the site is for, then check in a week from now, or give it a few months. Might be more evident then.

Check into Lisa's email to Micah Sifry. If you don't see why an "open, widely adopted geotagging standard," and a site that makes it easy to discover local bloggers and send interested people to them might be important, then... give if a few more months.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at January 5, 2007 1:49 AM | Permalink

Jay, I'd put that stuff (together with an explanation that *anybody* can understand -- not merely guess at) somewhere on the placeblogger site (I think it would help people see what's the fuss all about and keep them there). And yes! as always, I could be wrong... D.

Posted by: Delia at January 5, 2007 2:23 AM | Permalink

Maybe I just don't understand how these things are done: I had no clue why you didn't use the great publicity you were having when NAN started out to build a volunteer base, I have no clue why Lisa isn't making it very clear to people what's unique about her project and why people should use it now and keep it in mind for the future...


But it's no big deal... (it just means I can't help much) D.

Posted by: Delia at January 5, 2007 8:13 AM | Permalink

A user at nowpublic comments:

Testing the sites motivation to let the surfer, "discover, browse and subscribe to local blogs," I found the site well organized and easy to use. I was happy to see that my area had blogs I hadn't ever heard of and resources I can use locally.

I connected with a couple of bloggers locally, and we all seem to agree that layering a geography on the Net has amazing potential: networking, collaborating, activism, organizing. Blogging allows us to think globally, and Placeblogger helps us act locally.

Posted by: Jay Rosen at January 5, 2007 10:55 AM | Permalink

Well... at least at this point, the search experience seems to depend a lot on the area -- that's why I still think that spelling things out would help, especially those that are just considering using the site (for now or in the future) and may not be inclined to read a lot of "web literature" about it... as well as those who don't particularly care for "placeblogging" as an abstract concept (and I would expect there are plenty of those).


P.S. But it may be perfectly fine as it is (I may be just talking too happens...) D.

Posted by: Delia at January 6, 2007 10:50 AM | Permalink

Right, because "placeblogger" is such a concept-heavy abstraction, a thick impenetrable term that no one can make sense of without a PhD, or a Rand Corporation consultant to explain it, or several hours in the MIT library stacks. And that big bright blue button, "What's a Placeblog?" ... the one that takes you right to the definition, why, that's no help. You have to click on it! Sure, people who spend 13 hours a day online might know that--to find out what a placeblog is click here--but honestly, who else would figure it out?

Posted by: Jay Rosen at January 6, 2007 1:07 PM | Permalink

From today's SF Chronicle:

Clicking on community / Online newsgroups move coffee klatch to cyberspace

Posted by: Richard B. Simon at January 6, 2007 3:37 PM | Permalink

Jay, I really didn't mean it that way...

Although they are somehow intuitive, things like geotagging, for instance, are not exactly common-knowledge.

Since there is no mentioning of such things on the site, you have to read about that stuff *elsewhere* on the net -- meaning do a search on "placeblogger" and see what others are saying about it --(you can't assume everybody would want to do that) and imagine how it would evolve in the future (and what, if any, comparative advantage placeblogger would maintain when geotagging became widespread as is apparently hoped for).

If you are not already familiar with such things (and plenty of people aren't) it gets "esoteric"... not that there is anything wrong with abstract things in general...

*that* was my point... not that it matters much...

have a nice weekend!


Posted by: Delia at January 6, 2007 4:02 PM | Permalink

You should check out Nashville is Talking, the local blog aggregator for the Middle Tennessee area. It is run by the local ABC affiliate, and is written and edited by me. I blog full-time from the newsroom five days a week. On the weekends we employ a different local blogger to take the reigns of Nashville is Talking.

Posted by: brittney at January 9, 2007 10:45 AM | Permalink

I endorse Brittany's suggestion that everybody check out When we're talking about regional, human-edited aggregators that try to give us the "feel" of a place and the people who live there and blog about it -- it's one of the best of its kind. Check out Universal Hub, too.

Posted by: Lisa Williams at January 12, 2007 12:42 AM | Permalink

From the Intro