Surprise

Surprise
: New York’s amazing. I ran into Jay Rosen on the street today as I headed to an MBA conference, where I was blathering on a panel. Then he emailed me to let me know that he and Anil Dash were speaking at noon at the Information Law Institute about how weblogs are changing the world. In the lobby on the way in, I met the famous Zach Rosen, Jay’s nephew, who built much of DeanSpace (along with Jay’s mother). In the room, there’s David Isenberg, expert in stupid networks (whom I just saw at ETech and who’s holding his own confab in April… update in a minute). So I’m here and I’ll blog.

: Anil is taking the crowd — many PhD candidates, a journalism teacher from Moscow, Red Burns of NYU’s ITP, a stellar crew — on the basics of weblogs.

He shows Glenn Reynolds blog and links from there to mine and says this page is a triumph of content over presentation. Anil truly hates this undesign. And he’s right.

: Anil shows the top story on Blodex for the Grey Tuesday music protest. A prof asks whether there has been major-media coverage. None.

: Michael Weiksner, a founder of e-the-people, is talking now. His blog.

E-thepeople sounded like a good idea when it started (I tried to do a business deal with them) but it never quite took off. It was a one-size-fits-all space for any cause, any grassroots effort to start a petition or a movement. Deanspace, on the other hand, exploded, as did MoveOn.org. That tells me that the tool is just a tool; it’s the movement that draws the people.

: Now Jay Rosen is up. “I called it Pressthink because that’s what I do… I didn’t want to do it until I had the perfect title and this is the perfect title.” That is how Nick Denton thinks, too; he won’t start a site until he has the ideal name.

Jay says that when he asked people advice on starting a weblog, everyone said the same thing: Make it short. And that’s why he didn’t.

Jay says he has his own magazine in his weblog, but “it has an outlet to the sea.”

He says the weblog lets him to be an online equal to, say CJR.org.

Jay’s saying many smart things that I’d dilute if I tried to summarize them. Just go reread his seminal post on what’s radical about the weblog form in journalism; that’s what he’s going through now.

  • AST

    Do you think anybody would buy a magazine or paper that consisted only of weblog posts? This post got me wondering if newspapers could be produced cheaper by paying for blog entries than paying salaries to reporters. Isn’t that what stringers are, essentially, the original bloggers?
    Has anybody tried to sign up a group of bloggers and charge a fee for access? I think I’d pay $5 or $6 a month if I had to to have access to, say, Instapundit, BuzzMachine, Lileks, and several others. It probably wouldn’t make any of them rich, but it would probably cover their costs and then some.
    As I checked Instapundit today I noticed the ad for TNR with Peter Beinart’s column about how John Kerry isn’t a hypocrite for campaigning against special interests. I wondered whether Glenn would comment on that piece, or feel obligated to do so just to demonstrate that he isn’t tainted by advertising. If his blog were syndicated, so to speak, by a blogportal that charged and also ran some ads, it would isolate the bloggers from the advertisers, no?

  • http://site-essential.com MommaBear

    Don’t let Anil give you any guff…your page loads fast, its legible, and full of content. If MB goes to a site for content, she does NOT want to wait half the day for all the glitz, flash, and bang to finally crawl in and drive her crazy wit distractions while trying to read what someone wrote !!

  • http://site-essential.com MommaBear

    oooops……. i t ‘ s

  • http://www.anildash.com/ Anil

    I was just poking at Jeff in a friendly way. Obviously I love his site or I wouldn’t read it every day, and I probably comment more frequently on his site than any other I read.
    My site’s certainly no less ugly, so I hope nobody misreads my joke as anything intentionally negative.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    and, of course, jeff knows it.

  • kobekko

    Anil truly hates this undesign. And he’s right.
    Naaaah. MB nailed it: presentation is a sideshow barker … content is where it’s at.
    … and, AST; there’s an interesting online paper in Korea doing exactly that. OhMyNews has survived 4 years with citizen-reporters (and paid staff). Only wish I could find who linked me to them to give credit (a briefly-commented link is on one of the “biggies” today [Insta, BuzzMachine, or somebody]).

  • kobekko

    AIIYEEEEE!! The Ohmynews story is 4 stories up from this one.
    Oh, the ignominy!
    … too much to bear …
    <bang!&#62