The blogroom

I’m woefully behind in my blogging thanks to doing things like organizing my networked journalism conference at CUNY — so I’m doubly behind blogging about the conference. But I wanted to point to Dave Winer’s post with a suggestion I, too, have been talking about for sometime: opening up a newsroom to bloggers. I’ve talked about the need to turn newsrooms into classrooms (where both tribes learn). Looking forward to exploring that.

By the way, the conference is way oversubscribed already (and I was nervous we wouldn’t get enough people with experience and interest in the field).

: While I’m linking to Dave, he argues that the social network is the same as the social graph and so we should keep calling it a network because it’s a much clearer description and less geeky and annoying. I agree.

  • Jeff,

    have you stopped to think for a moment that maybe it’s best for bloggers to NOT be absorbed into the “newsroom”? Why must we be gobbled up by newspapers to be legit? Perhaps the voice of bloggers is best outside the standard newsroom– that those voices outside the newsroom provide vital alternatives to established newspapers and can perform watchdog functions?

    And that alternatives should be there as kind of clarion calls for and end to the intertia that dominates some local newspapers…

    When you write like this, Jeff, I sometimes think you are going against everything you’ve preached in your own blog. What happened to the jeff who believed that it was good for bloggers to be doing their own thing…that it was these independent stories, told on their own little spaces out here on the Internet, that made the 9/11 experience so much more vital…

    Further, why *should* bloggers feel any sort of need to “teach” newsrooms anything about blogging in exchange for “learning” about journalism? Newspapers can do what every other business out there that wants to understand blogging does: hire experienced bloggers as consultants, pay them a fair wage to be teachers.

    Stop advocating for cheating bloggers who have worked very hard for their expertise out of earning a living from that expertise.

    Still, the whole idea of “newsroom as classrom” kind of begs the question–if newsrooms can be used as classrooms, then why do so many young people have to study journalism in college before going into a newsroom? Someone who desires to write for a local paper shouldn’t have to incurr a whole bunch of college debit just to get into the newsroom. And saying they should become bloggers first isn’t the answer either.

    Journalism can’t be saved through free labor or the kindness of strangers.

  • Once again, Tish, you misinterpret and mischaracterize what I say and you do so with a built-in hostility that is as insulting as it is disturbing.

    I am not saying that newsrooms should subsume bloggers and do so for free. I am not saying that bloggers should give up their independence.

    I am saying that there are things we can do collaboratively and that we should explore that, for we can do more together than we can apart.

    I am also working to try to get newspapers to establish ad networks and other means to help support bloggers financially on a far larger scale than just once perhaps paying one to consult about blogging (when one wonders why anyone would need such services, blogging being that self-evident).

    Can you stop for a minute and try to think positively about a discussion before entering with the knives you so enjoy throwing at me? Your tone is condescending and insulting and, frankly, hurtful, and not productive. Why not try asking a question before assuming your own answer and going on the attack on the basis of your faulty assumption? We could have a productive discussion. But not like this.

  • “we should keep calling it a network because it’s a much clearer description and less geeky and annoying.”

    I didn’t think I had an opinion about this but your use of the word “geeky” made me realize I do.

    It’s annoying to me, too, but not because it is geeky, but because the people who say it are trying to sound geeky and with it. I’m not thinking so much of Scoble as the more MBA and marketing and consulting types who you’d hear in a meeting tossing out phrases like “Going forward, this piece… [blah blah].”

  • Agree, Amy. It’s about trying to overcomplicate, to create a priesthood again. Simpler is better. Jargon is an enemy of simplicity.

  • Jeff…

    My response isn’t meant to be insulting–I am trying to ask you to clarify what you mean when you advocate certain positions–such as the one in your post…because often you throw out tidbits that have the potential to go awry.

    And, no, I don’t “enjoy” throwing knives at you. That’s your false perception of me based on the fact that we are not talking f2f, that we are not engaging in a conversation where you might hear my voice, see my body language, etc. We are trying to have a conversation in a limited and one-dimensional medium….

    We perhaps have false perceptions of one another because there is no way to transcend this medium’s limitations. And even if we could, I might still disagree with you–but you may take it differently because of the vocal/body cues of f2f interaction..

    Yet I don’t really know if you believe there’s something lacking in a form of communication that doesn’t have voice and body language components. But I digress…

    I wanted you to clarify because I believe–from what I’ve seen with my own eyes–that sometimes the positions you advocate aren’t carried out with the same spirit of collaboration that you may indeed be advocating. I’ve known a number of bloggers who were asked to be part of newspaper efforts and paid very little for their hard work (and not even given good editorial guidance to improve their work. Or given editorial guidance that would have made their blogging into full-time jobs.) I’ve heard newspaper execs (even been parts of conversations) where all sorts of questions have been asked of bloggers in very insincere efforts to “understand” blogging.

    I’ve perhaps seen a side of this dialogue that you haven’t–because we come at this from different worlds. I’ve seen where journalists (and other businesses) go into blogging believing all one could learn was self-evident and have seen them get hung (or just not get any traction.) I’ve had my own experiences with helping some folks get the best from their blogs–and even helped a few jump-start flagging blogging efforts. So, there is something to this blogging thing that isn’t self-evident.

    Still, I’m not sure that collaboration between bloggers and journalists can, to any large extent, emerge at this time in this climate. When I see/hear, still, an attitude towards bloggers that they are the ones in need of an education about journalism, how can we collaborate? Collaboration happens when there’s respect for knowledge on both sides. And while there are *some* pockets where there is respect (I had a great meeting with a young prof at the University of No. Carolina that left me quite hopeful), I still hear–and even see on my home turf– far too much rhetoric to the opposite.

  • No, Tish, I’m pretty darned good at speaking and understanding the language. Made a living at it for sometime.

    You start off: “have you stopped to think for a moment . . . ”

    Which is you accusing me of not thinking. Pretty damned clear, your use of the language, I’d say. Nothing to do with the medium. Means the same thing in any medium. It’s an insult.

    You continue: “When you write like this, Jeff, I sometimes think you are going against everything you’ve preached in your own blog.” So now you accuse me of hypocrisy or stupidity or forgetfulness. But, in fact, you merely read something into what I wrote — nay, linked to — without getting it right. You are the one who got it wrong.

    And more: “Stop advocating for cheating bloggers . . . ” I’m advocating no such thing. You are mischaracterizing me unfairly and incorrectly.

    I’ve had such exchanges with you once too often. Perhaps it’s time for you to look at your own writing. And don’t blame the medium. A poor craftsman blames the tools.

  • Jeff, we are apparently always going to disagree on certain subjects, no matter how they are expressed. This is one of them.

    Then again, you’ve never acknowledge the number of times I’ve given you props–even linked and driven traffic (however meager) to you, your efforts, and things you’ve said that I’ve commented on that were quite important.

    I guess when I like what you say doesn’t really matter as much as when I criticize something you’re saying. Oh, well. So much for the adage of getting more with honey than with vinegar (and, no, I’m not asking for links…please don’t interpret it that way. I do well enough in that respect.)

    My very strong feelings on the matter remain: bloggers will always need to look twice at any venture that advocates collaboration, no matter who advocates it. And, the person who advocates will have to make very clear the different moving parts of the venture. Bloggers should know what they might lose in order to gain. IMHO, sitting in a “blogroom,” might (and I say *might* because we don’t know) cause them to lose something more than gain. Just a caution that will need details to ally. that’s all.