Posts from September 2003

BBC’s nevermind

BBC’s nevermind
: Well, it seemed to good to be true. Now it appears it’s not true. Remember when the BBC was going to open up all its archives online? Well, Rafat Ali reports that they’re not doing that.

Firstly, right now the process is going through a jumble of lawyers, mainly due to copyright issues. It is likely to be in that stage for some time. Secondly, BBC will not open up all of its archives online…it says it will only open up content which is deemed to be otherwise unprofitable or non-commercial. Now who’s to decide that? Well presumably, another battery of lawyers and supposed independent firms like KPMG, for sure. For all you know, it might end up just being educational programs.

On another front, DRM issues will be a big hurdle…I asked Gambino about whether users outside of UK will be able to access Creative Archives, and she said they won’t.

The People’s Network

The People’s Network
: We keep looking at the impact of the Internet, weblogs, and audience content [does anybody have a better term for that, by the way?] on print media. But Terry Heaton [via Lost Remote] writes that all this will have huge impact on TV as more people get the tools of big media in their hands (See also Jay Rosen’s reference to Michael Rosenblum of TVDojo, a service that teaches people how to create high-quality video.)

column“>Heaton writes:

And for broadcasters to succeed, I believe we need to reinvent ourselves as multimedia distribution and production companies. The creation and transmission of video, formerly the sole purview of TV, is now spread over a wide variety of technologies. (Even television production itself has changed – what used to require many people can now be done by one.) …

And the biggest online competition a TV station faces downstream is not the other guy across town with the antenna. It’s the local newspaper. Incoming Associated Press chief, Tom Curley, says the A.P. will be working hard to turn newspapers into broadcasters by providing video for them to use online….

Video News On Demand (VNOD) will be the way people get their video news in a Postmodern world. The news wars of the 21st century will be online…

By denying the reality of the Internet, TV stations are abdicating their position as the purveyors of video news in the community. This is a death sentence for local television, because local news is the only video niche that cannot be filled from afar. And disruptive technologies may even change that! In some big markets, cable companies have had success doing local news, and I think the next player in this game will be satellite TV. The economics make sense, for video journalism is a lot less expensive to create these days than many think.

Right. Anybody will be able to create video, just as anybody can write online. (See also vlogs.)

Blogs, good for the grass

Blogs, good for the grass
: Scott Moore, head of, lauds blogs:

I think online weblogs actually help the online news business quite a bit. Weblogs are just another factor in the constantly increasing pace of the news cycle. Weblogs by their nature are referential; they certainly almost always point out a new development, the blogger is riffing on something that

Compare and contrast

Compare and contrast
: When the Observer’s man in America left, he wrote a simplistic screed against the country he allegedly covered.

Now compare that with the farewell piece from Telegraph D.C. bureau chief Toby Harnden [via Andrew Sullivan]:

Despite their many differences, and the divisions over the 2000 election that still linger, they believe in the idea, the ideal, almost the emotion, that is the United States.

This patriotism is based not on blind nationalism but on the embrace of universal values – freedom and democracy – that bind together a disparate people…

Americans had little choice but to rise to the challenge September 11 presented. But acting decisively has stirred the embers of anti-Americanism – among other governments and elites at least. Even more dangerous is the rise of “counter-Americanism”, the doctrine that the United States has to be stopped, its goals frustrated and a counter-balance created.

Yet it is worth recognising the self-evident truth that America is a force for tremendous good in the world. Opposing it means opposing the universal values that Europeans first exported.


: Too much news is useless. I don’t mean it’s not important, but it’s useless in our daily lives.

News is rarely judged on that scale: useful vs. important. I think it’s a scale we should use more — a scale that will matter more as more people come online and reshape their definition of news.

Too often, useful news is belittled as “service,” a perjorative in some halls of journalism. But the truth is, when I’m looking for a new cell phone — and I am — Gizmodo is filled with useful — and thus, to me, important — news. In the community sites I work with, when a local ballet school announces that the tutus are in, that’s news; it’s both useful and important to a bunch of little ballerinas.

So now judge the debate about whether bloggers and community bloggers will create news. They will. But it will often be news of a different definition. When somebody gets that new Treo 600 phone I’ve been panting after and tells me what they really think of it, that will be terribly important news to me. When a blogger in my town tells me something stupid happening on the planning board that’s going to affect my property, that’s news to me (and I heard that news the other night from a guy I then convinced to blog — for the paper had not reported this news).

: So now look at the good questions Jay Rosen asks in his Merrill Brown interview (see post below):

Is journalism as a profession ready to open itself to ideas coming at it from the new horizon? Is it open to the people who are not journalists and who suddenly have more information power? Does journalism value its own intellectual capital?…

But the radically new thing is that the people at home can be producers of content. This seems to me a different puzzle, and trickier. You could have your eye on new competitors in the industry, and overlook entirely that the industry itself has competitors: the great volunteer army of content providers emerging on the Web. You can tell yourself,

Q & A & Q

Q & A & Q
: Jay Rosen has another blog interview up, this with Merrill Brown, founding editor of, late of, and a good guy.

One minor but important observation about Jay’s email interview technique: Most times when I get email questions, they all come in one lump and my answers return in a lump. Jay is asking one question, waiting for the answer, and then following up with appropriate questions. That may be more laborious and time-consuming, but it’s clearly a better way to interview when you want to get more than simple answers to simple questions. In fact, I’d say that can be a better method for interviews than face-to-face over a notebook or tape recorder, for this Q & A & Q via email allows both participants to actually think about what they’re saying and to respond to each other with more probing questions and answers. It’s no way to trip somebody up, if that’s your interview goal, but it is a way to get depth.

More on anger

More on anger
: Marcus on Harry’s site sticks a pin in the balloon of hot air coming from quisling MP Clare Short’s mouth. She said:

I am sure that wherever he (bin Laden) is, down there or up here, he is saying it has all gone according to his plan,


: Chris Hedges interviews psychoanalyst Charles B. Strozier about 9/11 and rage and comes out of it with a maddening New York Times story.

The doctor, who also teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, “which lost 70 alumni in the attacks,” says he sees differences in the people’s reaction to 9/11 depending on whether they were there or whether they watched the horror on TV. What’s that difference? Strozier doesn’t seem to answer the question and Hedges doesn’t seem to push him.

“Those who viewed the event through the repeated images on television alone became numb,” he said. “The constant repetition of the image served to cut the disaster from reality. The images on televisions were more disorienting, more confusing and maybe more seductive. I knew from past studies that numbness leads not to anger but to rage, to anti-empathy, to undirected anger. The confusion of rage often pushes people towards violence. Numbing leads to a diminished capacity to feel.”

And, so?

So what’s the line between “anger” and “rage” and “undirected anger”? This pushes viewers to violence — where; where have you seen that happen? Isn’t “numbing” defined as a “dimished capacity to feel?” But Hedges doesn’t push the points because, as it turns out, he wants to sneak in his own agenda. Hedges wrote the book “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” He wants somebody to say that war is bad. And the shrink says it in the last graph:

You cannot underestimate the difference between the experience and the image of the experience,” Dr. Strozier said.

“Those who lived in Lower Manhattan breathed in the smell of the dead for weeks, like those at Auschwitz. We all knew what the smell was even if we did not speak about it. The dust settled over huge sections of the city, from Brooklyn to the Upper West Side.

“The chaos and fear were real to New Yorkers. This made the experience authentic. New Yorkers were much closer to the suffering. It was harder to become numb to it. And while they may have been angry, they were less filled with rage,” the professor said. “It was much harder to get those of us who were there to believe in the notion that killing others would somehow make us safer.”

Crap. So they seem to be arguing that we went to war because most of the country watched 9/11 on TV, which caused some strange form of numb rage. They seem to be arguing that if it were up to the witnesses of 9/11, we wouldn’t be going to war.

Speaking as only one witness, I’d say that logic and experience say just the opposite. As I’ve written here over the last two years, it’s people on the other coast, far away from the horror, who have been more likely to say, “Get over it.” It’s people who witnessed the event who have clear cause for anger.

Hedges and Strozier want to belittle that anger by calling it “rage” and acting as if it’s out of control and irrational.

Well, we have a right to rage. And it has nothing to do with whether we were there or whether we watched what happened on TV. We know what happened: We were attacked that day and we are threatened every day since and we have to protect ourselves. We go to war out of rational need, not rage.

Right now, doc, I’m feeling rage and it’s directed at you and Hedges.