Posts from October 2005

I don’t wear PJs

I never fully understood what Pajamas Media wanted to be and I understand it even less now that they are holding a gala, four-and-a-half-hour intro in New York at the Rainbow Room on Nov. 16 with Judy Miller as their keynote. Judy Miller? Judy Miller!

Pajamas, as I understand it, wanted to be an ad network. I don’t see huge advertiser demand for a bunch of mostly conservative political bloggers. At one time, they wanted to be some sort of syndicate but I said nobody would buy content. It seems they now want to be some sort of blog central thing — antimatter to the Huffingtonpost‘s matter, I suppose — but the difference is that most of her people don’t blog while most of these people already do blog so I don’t know why I need to see a collection of them. And they keep saying they’re going to change their name but they have their gala introduction still using the silly name they have. The invite to the gala intro I just got says:

On November 16th, 2005 Pajamas Media will launch a new publishing medium that brings together some of the top online influencers and personalities, under one banner, to help evolve and expand journalism. In essence, this new media company will create a network hub for bloggers around the world in what will be one of the world’s first online forums for citizen journalism and commentary.

I thought all that was what we call blogs.

I like lots of the guys involved. But I’m sorry, guys, I still don’t get it. And I especially don’t launching under Judy Miller’s name.

Whither the biz

So I moderated — or tried to moderate — a panel at the Online News Association this weekend. Here‘s a story about it at the ONA site:

Try as he might, Jeff Jarvis couldn’t quite keep what he called the “dinosaur-bashing” and the “blogger-bashing” from rearing their respectively ugly heads at Saturday afternoon’s “Journalism 2010: Who’s leading the way?” panel discussion.

Though the former mainstream journalist-turned-blogger had hoped the discussion would focus on what online journalism has to look forward to in five years, some in attendance – including panelist Robert Cauthorn, who is president of CityTools – couldn’t help but take a few swipes at the established media – the dinosaur.

Cauthorn wouldn’t get off the snark express regarding the NY Times (which went on to win lots o’ awards at the banquet that followed). Others snarked at his snarking. As threatened, I read Rafat Ali’s scold of the ONA’s first day for their lack of passion. Somebody got up and argued back at “the blogger” that they have lots of passion. I got Rafat up — if at first reluctantly — not to fight back — Crossfire is dead — but instead to give his suggestions for what the ONA should do next year. He was quite the mensch, and the crowd recognized that with applause. But the snark express rode on. The editor of Projo emotionally said that she, too, is a citizen even if she’s also a journalist. No argument…. so long as the contrary is also accepted: Citizens can be journalists, too. A guy from the Scotsman issued the old saw as if he’d just thought of it that second: Who would you want to perform brain surgery on you, a surgeon or a citizen? I said I knew who I sure as hell didn’t want to perform surgery on me: a medical reporter. The bloggers were tired of being bashed for so long they bashed back; the dinosaurs were tired of being bashed in turn, so they bashed.

You get the smelly drift. There were good moments as well but it’s sad to see this destructive nya-nyaing from both sides, as if there are sides. We’re all supposed to be headed in the same direction and if we don’t recognize that then others who don’t give a fuck will just take over while the professionals piss on each other.

: To my amazement, I got email from a thin-skinned Gawkerite (an oxymoron, I would have thought) because of the last link above. Let me be clear then: I’m saying that while the bashers bash each other, people who are smarter and have a more authentic voice and are more nimble and less encumbered by old rules and egos will come in and take audience and advertising because they don’t give a fuck about the old rules of the old world. So I come not to bury Gawker but to praise Gawker.

The podcast of the crowd

One of my favorite podcasts, Schlaflos in München (Sleepless in Munich), just turned 200 (episodes, that is) and so Annik Rubens turned her show over to her audience. It’s pretty amazing: On a day’s notice, all sorts of German podcast fans recorded MP3s and phone messages and they made up the show: the podcast of the crowd. It’s also amusing to note that all the contributors is male. Annik is the podcast queen.

: A listener of hers also found this podcasting cartoon (don’t worry: it’s in English).


It’s great news that Digg got venture funding: $2.8 million from Omidyar Network, Marc Andreessen, and Greylock partners. The wisdom-of-the-crowd news site is rivaling /. in buzz and traffic-spiking. They’ve redesigned smartly. And I’m a fan of their spin-off podcast, Diggnation (they’re soon to go to Japan to make a show). I told the Online News Association that they should have invited these guys to their confab to learn what the future of news is really about.

: And by the way, Digg cofounder Kevin Rose is a nice guy. I was supposed to meet up with him at Web 2.0 because I wanted to and because my son is a fan; he’s the one who turned me onto Digg (see Jake’s Diggs on his sidebar). My son couldn’t care less about any of the celebs I met during my career. He wanted me to meet Kevin and I blew it. So Kevin just sent Jake an autograph. Thanks, dude.

: While we’re digging, here’s one more relevant tidbit: The Diggnation guys said that as soon as iTunes started promoting vlogs, the video version of Diggnation immediately racked up more downloads than the audio version.

There is a ton of pent-up video demand out there online.

If you can believe it….

…they have me preach once a year at my Congregational church. Here’s this year’s effort. Nothing new to anyone who commits the sin of reading this blog. It’s very internetty — not a good theological effort — so I could make some specific points about our congregation. But I was glad to be able to quote a few blog friends (the latter from the VC monastary).

: I asked my sister for relevant scripture (handy having a Rev in the family) and she gave me Galatians 5:1-6, which is about not being enslaved to the law. The law under discussion happens to be one about circumcision. The associate pastor called rather confused: Uh… was I preaching about circumcision? No, I explained. She deftly desexed the verse.

: Here’s an earlier, better effort.