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« Letting Them Eat Cake, and Bullets | Main | Pointing to the Original »

January 18, 2005



I always thought the argument was blogs versus big publishers.

I am not sure I ever even heard of blogs versus journalists..

Good essay, none


the less.


Thanks for the linkin. This is a good essay. I had to posted my 2 cents too the journalists to immerse themselves into blogsphere... :)-

Open invite to Journalists...

You’re invited, but its our world. Take your shoes off at the door. If you want to barter with us, get down off that carmel. Don’t worry, you can still make money. That is, as long as its not the only thing on your mind. Even at its worst, our newfound conversation is more interesting than most trade shows, more entertaining then any TV sitcom, and certainly more true-to-life than the corporate web sites we’ve been seeing. We’re both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our conversations look like the Berlin wall today, but they’re really just an annoyance. We know they’re coming down. We’re going to work from both sides to take them down. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.


We should call this grassroots publishing.

People have to stop thinking the war is against journalists. It never was.

It has always been a way with the so called fat cats in power who they control the flow of information - the publishers.

To 'invite' journalists is not only pure arrogance, it's completely missing the point.

It's Journalists who we should be begging, down on our knees pleading with, and paying $$ to post their thoughts, ideas and opinions.

They are the creators of original content. They are the people who are in the trenches, doing the research.

The people we are at war with are the publishers and the editors. The ones who sit in their ivory towers and say "this article makes it, this one doesn't".

They are the enemy. We, the people, should be the real publishers.


Blaze: What happens to people like KevinSites. He blogs and is also is a professional journalists too !!

Secondly, I was just "told off" Here....

"Who are you to talk? This is the problem being discussed here. What qualifies you to write news and opinion either for free or money?"

Now what was that about ?? What disqualifies me from saying whats on MY mind ?? Just because I am not a journalist, does not mean that I can't speak my thoughts.. and if I can't blog my thoughts, would this not infringe the 1st amendment rights ?

Am I reading this wrong or misunderstanding the essence of the discourse ??


Sorry, came on a bit strong. My bad.

I am just getting a bit concerned, because there are too many people thinking that we're trying "creatively destroy" the people who make up the very fabric of society - the originators of ideas.

I'm arguing this on Lessig's CC blog as well. We have to stop thinking of this as a battle against creators. Journalists, people who do the research and write the news, are creators and were never our enemy.

They are the people who we need to be find ways for them to profitably join the world of blogging. We need to free them from the shackles of top-down editing and publishing and give them opportunities to publish content in a free market way.

The war is not over because there never was a war.

Websites and blogs and new media give us an opportunity to control which journalists get 'published' and which get barely mentioned. This is democratically filtered through the trust networks of the 'blogosphere'.

This is what blogging has always been about. It's about cutting out the middlemen and the managers and the distributors.

It has never ever been about trying to do away with Journalists. Journalists should be gods to us. We should be wooing them away, not scaring the heck out of them with all this crazy talk.

Jozef Imrich

I could not disagree less ... A thoughtful essay, indeed.

Believe those who are seeking truth. Doubt those who find it. And whoever said that did not care whether one is represented by a bunch of jouggers or bloggers or fockers ...

Jozef Imrich

In this context, Defining Participatory Journalism by Jay Rosen might be of interest:


I just re-read this essay and I can only say that I can not disagree more. It is a very unfortunate document.

I really can't believe that Dan Gillmor is supporting this kind of illogic which is not only completely missing the point, but dragging the blogosphere through his mental mud.

Jay quotes: "open-source and participatory journalism"

Hobby citizens do not make journalists. They might get a pic from their cellphone, but beyond that they rarely have the rigorous discpline to do primary source research and not get caught up in all the easy logical fallacies that good journalists do not.

Hobby citizens DO make great publishers. They democratically help develop demand for the kind of content that our society needs. They subvert the corporate control over our media and their trust networks gets the right information from the RIGHT PEOPLE (real journalists) appropiately into the lime light.

I *do not* have average Joe on my blog list. I doubt many of you people do and for those who do, you probably rarely read them closely.

I do have Dan Gillmor / Mitch Kapor / Lawrence Lessig .. Important creators and originators of modern thoughtful content. People who have strong logical minds and strong research capabilities which have been proven time again time again.

I glance through comment postings for rare gems, but until a Slashdot like scoring system is created for all blogs, it is hard for me to seperate the signal from the noise.

The point being, stop with this terrible talk that the average person can be a journalist. That's utter foolishness. That's like saying the average person can be a software developer, a musician, or a scientist.

This type of mentality and talk is painfully slowing the progress of grassroots journalism.

For example, it's a simple matter of trust. We will never trust some unknown to write about the next watergate, locally or nationally.

We would trust a Bob Woodward blog, though, or someone who has developed a great reputation for reporting in our local area.

"professional journalism is no longer sovereign over territory it once easily controlled"

Again - Journalists never really controlled the territory before. Publishers and editors did.

Unless you wrote a book and were already famous, you could not get published without providing content that a publisher / editor entrusted you to write.

"Newspaper op-ed pages can still have influence; they can still be great. But they are not sovereign in their domain, and so their ideas, which never anticipated that, are under great pressure"

Yes. Op-ed journalists need to watch out! I could not agree more with this statement. Personally, they long ago deserved to be creatively destroyed. I will not mourn their creative destruction.

"Here, however, the balance of power has shifted toward a figure in the news, once known as a source."

I don't think this is true at all. Is everyone going to subscribe to every blog in the world? Some reduction will occur, yes, but you still want a journalist's research and take on corporate propoganda.

True, simply rewriting press releases won't get you very far in the future. I can't see that any of us were confusing such copy writers as Journalists, however.

"and professional journalism has entered a period of declining sovereignty"

I could not disagree MORE. The power of the Journalist is just beginning! The power of the PUBLISHER / EDITOR is waning.

"Journalism finds itself at a rare moment in history where ... its hegemony as gatekeeper of the news is threatened"

Give me a break! Find me a journalist who thought he was a gatekeeper and I'll find you a poor, deluded fool.

Journalists have always had two constraints - sell newspapers or make the editor/publisher happy.

Writing intelligently about something that interests you was never an option unless you were a pretty senior guy.

"I have no desire to conform my weblog to journalistic standards" .. I think that is the right attitude for our conference to take

How can anyone take Jay Rosen seriously? Standards such as accuracy, integrity, and fairness should be ignored?

This type of claptrap is not progress, please do not confuse it as so.


Would somebody please tell Dave Winer that there's a "ceasefire" in the battle?
He's arming for war at I know dave's opinionated and just
wants his ideas to be heard but I think Dave needs to become a professional journalist for a few weeks to gain some perspective. He would be subjected
to editing and the business of media.

I believe there is a profession to journalism. There are standards of conduct
and they could well apply to blogging but the reality is that most bloggers
just break all the rules a journalist is held to. And the freedom that offers
is also attractive to the professional that believes the rules are misapplied
in an effort to manage the truth. But the rules exist for some serious reasons
and effectively, we, the readers must apply them to the blogs we read and
do our own editing... "Don't believe everything you read in the [news-source-here]".

Blogging allows every "letter to the editor" to be printed. It doesn't mean
we have to read them all.


McDTracy: Why do you say Dave W is aiming for war ?? is it because of this post ?

I am seeking what is a "professional journalist" ?? Is there someplace I can read what a professional journalist is supposed to study to be called a professional or follow a code of ethics ??

I'll have to second your comments on "there is a profession to journalism" -Nothing wrong with that.

Daniel Conover

first, i loved the blaze post that connected the dots back to the actual reporters in the field and made the distinction between the news generators and the news packagers. One is an enemy, the other isn't, and everyone in the conversation should know the difference.

re: /pd's question about what makes a professional journalist, there are all sorts of J-Schools and texts and institutes and ivory tower answers out there. enough to choke a goat. when you cut through the clutter, most of the traits that get listed are available to anyone who wants to be credible and accurate. It's not rocket surgery.

which is why i'm talking more these days about the practical difference between bloggers and journalists. bloggers CAN do source journalism, but the divide is large, economic and institutional. you gotta pay the bills. if you get threatened with a lawsuit, you gotta hire a lawyer. you gotta have phones and copiers, press badges and expense accounts.

you can't afford to take a week off from your job to fly to indonesia on your own dime (if you CAN afford that, let's talk).

For a lot of practical reasons, professional journalists are going to create most of the source info we digest for the foreseeable future, and bloggers are going to talk about it. that's the basic relationship ... except with local-local information and niche publishing on the web, which i believe is going to explode within the next 12 months.

that said, i think the power of the blog to provide real-time oversight and comment to professional news organizations is stunning, welcome and potentially transformative. it can still be perverted and manipulated, though, so our optimism ought to be tempered with an informed cynicism.


Daniel: I can't agree with you more !!! Yes, Blaze has also cut thru a lot of clutter on source journalism too. There will be divide between Source Journalists and the blogshere and there will be those "perverted and manipulated" opinions which will be part of the sphere. Yes, the divide which I see, (as a blogger) is that the journalist are treating the blogsphere with too much "cynicism". They have this ivory tower attitude, which indicates- just because they studied Journalism and are engaged with source reporting- means whatever they say or do is 24K gold status !!

I think thats where the main divide is... a bridge needs to be build between blogs and media.. Nothing should stop the MSM to allow their source journalist to publish directly to blogs.. the catch here is a scoop !! Do publishers want the information directly placed for instanst consumption or not ?? The business model needs review. Secondly, like with all business models, there is the revenue stream which needs to be harverested. Thus vested interests become prevalent. What I am trying to say is - lets keep those in prospective too. Ensure that quality source journalism takes place and empower's the consumer to TRUST, once again, these Main Stream Media and Publishers.
The only vehcile for doing this is a Blog- is there any other mechanism available right now ?? Added to this the creation of "news as a conversation" - which currently does not exisit..

Ok I'll 'fess up- I am not journalist, neither do I have any interest in becoming one- BUT I do know that TRUST, TRUTH and INTERGRITY is lacking within the Main stream Media and I dont trust them.

Discliamer - I speak for myself only !! -So there


pd: Yes... that post and dozens of others reflect Dave Winer's opinions on the distance and difference between Bloggers and Journalists.

I read both with a high degree of skepticism and try to absorb input for both
gain balance and insight.

As you indicate... It's all boils down to trust. Trust is built over time through a series of actions and can be unraveled very easily.

There are journalists I have come to trust or at least understand their
frame of reference.

I'm most offended by anyone that believes they have the ability to document
the TRUTH... consistently. That is a target most only aim for and rarely
achieve... there just isn't enough precision in the printed word to hit
the bulls eye on every outing. Getting close or at least communicating the
effort expended to be "fair and balanced" is the core of journalistic professionalism.... and it's a point that everyone may agree with...
even if they believe the "opposition" (if they hold that view) fails
consistently to target truth.


Journalists, people who do the research and write the news, are creators and were never our enemy.

Perhaps in general this is true, but there are lots and lots of "fifth column" journalists who are on the "other side" -- and even more who care more about their own careers than journalistic standards.

To me, the vast majority of the White House press corp is just as much "the enemy" as Sumner Redstone and Rupert Murdoch. They report the way that the White House wants them to report because "White House Correspondent" is a prestigeous gig that pays well, and provides the kind of visibility that can be turned into cold hard cash on the lecture circuit. If they report the way the White House wants, they get access---if they don't report the way the White House wants, not only the reporter in question, but the entire news organization, can loose access.

(Does anyone really believe the Post's excuse that was given for taking Dana Milibank out of the White House?)

Publishers may be the cause of the problem, but the problem has been around for so long that the "journalists" that we rely upon are just as likely to be "go along to get along" types as they are to be the mythical "crusading reporters".


Agreed. But the new publishers (us) will have little taste, I suspect, for what they submit for our approval.


The White House Press Corp and the fifth column journalists are a part of
the political world. Some have the economic freedom and the reputation to
confront power and some just don't.

We used to think of the press as the leveler between warring political factions.
Now the press is a tool of political factions. It makes our job that much more
difficult. We have to gather information and intrepret it based upon limited

Polictics, like modern warfare, has turned the press into an insurgency of
misinformation but there are still heroes in the mix... and most often
we are attracted to the voices that tell us what we most want to hear.
That's human nature and why nwes has come to seem like institutionalized
creators of "urban legends".

Popularity matters more than credibility, integrity or truth. Even most bloggers
care about the size of their audience... Building an audience is an a tactic
in the overall game of influence.

For me the discussion goes past "credibility, integrity or truth" and I care
passionately about effectiveness... I want more banner carriers in the political game and in the press that can help make the world better. The Republicans
have mastered effective communications and pointing out the manipulations
of their words is the key to influencing voters to reject their leadership.
Damn... it has all come down to institutionalized "Public Relations".

OK... how about the press as historian? analyst?

Mark Devlin

I am a news publisher in print and on the web and I think most of these comments are plain hubris, sprinkled with a little envy and, dare I say it, fear.

>Blaze: It's Journalists who we should be begging, down on our knees pleading with, and paying $$ to post their thoughts, ideas and opinions.

>Blaze: The people we are at war with are the publishers and the editors. The ones who sit in their ivory towers and say "this article makes it, this one doesn't".

This is a circular argument. If you pay journalists, you will then become a publisher, who then decides which journalists to hire. I suggest you read Animal Farm :)

Casting the debate in terms of publishers vs journalists is yet another mistake bloggers are making.

Bloggers' strengths are in commentary and fact checking. As journalists, they are very poor at news gathering and basic analysis. As publishers, bloggers cannot pay the bills required for mass media.

BTW, I wish people would stop trotting out the line that the Internet = free distribution. As anyone who has tried to improve their Google position will tell you it takes a lot of effort to improve the numbers of people coming to a site. Most bloggers simply don't have the skills.

Why so much emphasis on defining an "enemy" and "war"? It seems very defensive to me. Could it be that you are scared? Well perhaps you should be.

Bloggers are missing the inevitable fact that their technology and their skills will be, for the most part, co-opted by MSM. The technology can be added to any news site (see my site Japan Today as an example) and anyone who is a good writer will be snapped up as a columnist (on a steady wage).

It will also be interesting to see the extent to which news-based blogs will be co-opted by MSM when those sites go to paid subscription (think iNews, the iTunes of music, backed with RIAA-like copyright enforcement from the newsgathering companies) I suspect that they will become, through affiliate programs, the biggest paid sales promoters of MSM.

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