Posts from November 2003

Georgia on his mind

Georgia on his mind
: Pedram wonders whether the velvet revolution in Georgia provides an example for Iran. He fears religions would get in the way.

So an ayatollah, an imam, and a rabbi walk into a bar cafe…

So an ayatollah, an imam, and a rabbi walk into a bar cafe…
: Here’s a good story promoting the talents of Arab-American comics — better yet, it comes from Steven I. Weiss in Jewsweek: “If you want to turn an average Arab-American into a comedian, give one a plane ticket and then wait to see what happens.”

Michael Jackson blogs

Michael Jackson blogs
: … well, not quite. But like everyone else today, he comes to the web to tell his story.

For the dead

For the dead
: Ays tells us that obituaries for those Saddam executed were prohibited. Now that he is gone, the dead get their day.

Feeling left behind?

Feeling left behind?
: Rafat Ali is posting to PaidContent.org from a small town in India, where he gets broad Internet access thanks to his 3G phone (giving him faster access than I get off my Sprint Treo). If he were here, he’d be sniffing out the nearest Starbucks. Good for India. Bad for us.

Stop the presses: NY Times editor reads blogs

Stop the presses: NY Times editor reads blogs
: NY Times Executive Editor Bill Keller tells Howard Kurtz that, yes, he reads weblogs:

One striking thing about Keller’s style is that he doesn’t dismiss criticism of the paper out of hand. “I look at the blogs. . . . Sometimes I read something on a blog that makes me feel we screwed up. A lot of times I read things that strike me as ill-tempered and ill-informed.”

Perhaps the best example of Keller’s open-mindedness toward outside critics is his choice for the Times’s first public editor. He picked former Life managing editor Daniel Okrent, whom he had never met, rather than a Times veteran.

“Maybe we were a little too closed off to how the world sees us. . . . The more I interviewed people, the more I realized it would be more interesting to listen to someone who hadn’t grown up in our culture,” Keller says. Over time, he admits, “I may want to eat those words, or the staff may want to shove them down my throat.”

We’ll see that excerpt all over weblogs today. But there shouldn’t be anything surprising about this. A good reporter or editor should want to know what’s happening out there and should want to find new sources of information and read criticism.

The big news would be if he did not read blogs.

Now what would be more impressive is if you saw Keller et al leaving a comment or two on weblogs to enter into a dialogue. Because — repeat after me — news is a conversation.

Tough times

Tough times
: Blogger Gary Farber is living Murphy’s Law right now. Go here to give him a helping hand. [Note: The direct link is hosed so go to the top and scroll down.]

The new and true essence of media

The new and true essence of media
: I ended my psychotic blatherings at the Online News confab with a kicker Hugh McLeod left in the comments here because he said something smarter and more forward-thinking than I could:

Perhaps online newspapers should stop seeing themselves as “things”, rather a point on the map where wonderful people cluster together to do wonderful things. A Joi-Ito-like [Joi being a central weblogger] brain trust, held cohesive by good editor. Some of the cluster will be paid (the journalists), others won’t (the audience). But everybody is welcome to contribute, and is kinda working together with the same goal: to create the most vibrant intellectual collective that they can.

I agree enthusiastically. When I read that quote, I changed “collective” to “community” — felt better. But it was damned well said.

Hugh keeps refining his view and he just left this comment below:

Media is not “entertainment” or “information”. Media is an interface. Interface implies action. I leave Buzzmachine more switched on than when I entered. So for me, there’s an actual kinetic quality about visiting here. The same should be true (but mostly isn’t) for ABC, CBS, The NYT, Nickelodeon, MTV etc etc. I want the benefit of interacting with any given media brand I use to be more flamingly obvious, less vague and elitist.

Well-said again. I’ll blush at the too-kind reference to this humble site. And I’ll change the word “interface” to “relationship” because it, too, feels better. But hear the theme:

This medium is about relationships and the audience wants (desperately) to relate to media (or at least news media) as more than just an audience. They want a conversation. They want influence. They want power. No, we want all those things.

That is the real guiding principle for the future of media: relationships.