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« Your Assistance Requested (Linux Gurus), Please | Main | Press 'Hits" and How (Paul Graham Believes) They Happen »

April 21, 2005


The One True b!X

Well, but she defines what she means by the term in that very piece: "For me, the stand alone journalist succeeds in getting stories told in an honest and forthright manner without benefit of working for a larger news outlet."

Dan Gillmor

Right, she does. I just think the term can say one thing to a casual reader even though it means much more.


It's more like self-organizing journalism. Find a need and fill it...


But what's so lovely about the term, Dan, is its emotional impact. Right now, when the idea of the press as an institution is under attack, having term that emphasizes the indpendence of journalists just what the doctor ordered.

I don't know that's why she picked the term--I'd bet it never crossed her mind--but I think that's part of why it's sticking.


We're just seeing the journalism industry segment itself in new ways. Just like there is Costco and Nordstrom or US News and the Enquirer. One thing that stands out is the personal nature of journalists: they seem to care about the overlap. Whereas, the Costco's and Nordstrom's overlap in many ways and they deal with it, any overlap in the segments to journalists is anathema to them.

It boils down to brand. As blogging et. al. commoditizes "journalism", brand and marketing become most important. Dan has developed a brand. I don't know much about Jeff Jarvis, but Dan refers to him enough that my perception of Dan's brandfield (a new word?) envelopes Jeff to a point.

Jozef Imrich

Business Week found a need and it filling it it with 'Blogspotting'. In fact it links to Grassroots and it Gives Blogs The Cover Treatment :-)
Blogs Will Change Your Business

Jay Rosen

Dan: I agree with your basic point that "solo" providers are only going to succeed if they are well connected to users and other sources of knowledge; and it's true that the image of the stand alone journalist leaves this out, giving an incomplete picture, or you could even say a deceptive one, since it's connectivity, and not solitude, that will make the difference.

But it seems to me that we do want to differentiate solo providers from the workers at firms; they're different animals. Stand alone journalist is kinda like "independent filmmaker." It's the quality of not being aligned with a big organization. We don't want to pass over how liberating that "moment" is.

Dan Gillmor

Jay, I agree completely.

As I said, I'm not arguing with what Chris wrote. I just fret, in a not-too-big way, about the gunslinger image that some folks might see without the context.

The One True b!X

I just fret, in a not-too-big way, about the gunslinger image that some folks might see without the context.

Of course, that would entirely be the fault of people not bothering to read her piece. So it's more of a question of the media literacy and/or laziness of the hypothetical reader than anything else.

Chris Nolan

Thanks very much for the link and the kind words, Dan, but let me chime in and make a point about stand alone v. "regular" journalism.

All journalism is networked. We, as reporters, are no better than our sources of information. It's impossible to do any kind of reporting without some kind of connection -- good or bad -- with someone else.

I have always thought that when journalists win awards they should thank editors or their spouses, they should thank -- as effusively as possible -- their sources. Without them, we are nothing.

Jon Garfunkel

I've taken from Chris's promotion of this term that she's trying to impress upon people that they don't have to identify with the occupation "blogger," given the many different flavors of that term.

And agreed with Chris-- every reporter is networked.

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