Saturday, October 04, 2003
Finding this cool little tool--a feed of BloggerCon posts--makes me think even more of him.
This is cool.
(Via Heath's Media Diet)
And, if Dean gets the nomination, will the Dean site become one of the largest on the web? And if so, how can they manage all the input they'll need to handle?
Scale and centralization for political blogs during the 2004 campaig...how best to address in the blogging world?
Susan says: Time to start planning some solutions. Using my Netscape and AOL experience, I'd say its time to start evaluating CRM software and also using something Tacoda-like to track and segment users. Also implement search at the XML level, perhaps through working with Feedster.
Doc Searls: we need more blogers among the troops, part of the collective wisdom."
Jim Moore: "We need a system that allows for a deeper and deeper pragmatism and a deeper and deeper truth." (Not sure I know what that means.)
Adam Curry: People are tired of the dishonesty of television. That's just not the way real life works." (See The Zen TV Experiment)
Esther Dyson (audience): "What happens when blogging genuinely gets democratic and its being done by the PTA and people in local towns, people in Iraq, not the elite."
Liz Spiers: "One of the related problems is filtering and developing better tools. One some extent you can rely on specific people, but there needs to be a better way to identify news sources and master the technical problem. "
Amy Wohl: Getting all this worked out is not as hard as you think it is.
Susan Mernit's thoughts: This panel had terrific people, but the discussion seemed a little all over the place.
Next week, the WSJ will debut a paid email newsletter called "Political Diary': they are still trying how to figure out how to make money from Opinion Journal, their free political site.
Len Apcar and NYTimes Digital is thinking about how blogs might fit with the Times; they haven't done anything like blogging, but he has some ideas about blogging and the campaign.
Nicholas Kristoff has a blog as an adjunct to his Times columns and opinion pieces; the blog is an experiment and has minimal editing; Kristoff is the only one who can post, but producers see the copy, and Apcar occasionally reviews.
Scott Rosenberg: What if the powers that be said you could have NYTimes or WSJ-branded blogs by any staffers who wanted on?
Taranto, WSJ: The Best of the Web column became more and more of an opinion piece, like a blog, so eventually it made sense to out my name on it.
Apcar, NYT: We have a couple of hard slides to take to get to that point, but I can see it, particularly among those in the newsroom and on the op ed page who are critics, because it would naturally begin there." Apcar keeps looking at Dallas Morning News editorial board blog to see what might be an adaption o that for the Times.
Apcar says that the NYTimes would NOT cover any internal proprietary information, such as front page make-up or reporting decisions--internal issues would remain proprietary. Adds Apcar, "You need to remember that there has always been a feed system of local newspapers and trade journals feeding information, but now it is so around us, with 24-hour chat rooms, news, talk radio, etc. that you see the relentless power of the information."
Taranto: "You see how things have changed with the NYTimes and the Jason Blair incidents because people used the Romenesko web site to air their grievances and disclose more of the internal process."
Jarvis: How much do you think people in the newsroom are reading weblogs, and what impact that does that have? Apcar said the medium is understood and blogs are read. "There is a fair level of information about blogs."
Apcar's final words: Kraus' The Boys on the Bus is a natural for a blog...that book was done out of a Rolling Stone series for the campaign of 1972.
WHAT NO ONE IS SAYING: The odds that institutions like the NYTimes are going to anoint existing bloggers and accredit them by hiring them to write blogs is extremely slim, based on past precedent--the odds are MUCH higher that these organizations will be much more comfortable--and understandably so--when they are using authors who are both edited and who reflect the voice of the institution and are known and trusted by the institution.
Prediction: NYTimes gets into blogging, but does it in a way different than what the blogging community might expect. There is GREAT opportunity for them to do wonderful things that fit their model and exploit this new fast and flexible form.
This was a terrific short panel--thanks, guys.
Ever get the feeling that some people just aren't stable? Courtney Love seems to have been de-evolving over the past few years, becoming a bizarre plastic surgery Hollywood anorectic. She got arrested last night, apparently stoned out of her gourd. More stories here.
Panelists: Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit Scott Rosenberg, Salon; Josh Marshall, Talking Points
(Note: All dialogue is paraphrased.)
Dave:Winer's introduction: Let's not debate whether blogs are journalism. Think of it as an instrument.
However, the question of what is a Weblog is very much on topic.
Some of the questions that interest me are--
-- -- How much editing for a blog?
-- -- What's a Weblog?
-- -- How do conferences and blogs share philosophies?
-- -- Can blog style influence conference style?
-- -- How did the Dean/Internet synergy evolve? Will the political system change? How?
Ed Cone: What are some of the places that web logs are going to take journalism that traditional journalism cannot go--
Josh Marshall : Blogging can allow more Hunter Thompson-esque tagging along. Also the issue of what's on the record and what's not.
Glenn Reynolds: Sociologist Irving Goffman wrote about the 'backstage' where you can say thing you can't say. The next stage in the trend is that closing things to the pres sis meaningless.
Scott Rosenberg: Blog are bring out the backstage of journalism itself ThatÂs where its had a most destructive impactÂ Jim RomanesqueÂ focal point for media coverageÂ just having one place for a spectrum of coverage concentrated and opening up a letters page., that simple little opening of a window made a huge difference and how we have a whole Blogosphere of people writing about what's happening inside their newspapers and magazines.
Ed Cone's asks--
"If your best stuff goes to your weblog, how do you get paid? How do you marshal your time and intellectual resources?
"The first big blogger lawsuit is going to be very interestingÂ . A lot of people donÂt have any safety net.Â
"What is the ethical requirement of a weblog journalist? What is the responsibility?Â
What's your vision of the future?
Josh Marshall: It's hard to imagine any sort of job opportunity that would entail giving up the blog. I want to run things my way.
Scott Rosenberg: What I'm hearing from the world of online journalism is that the Dan Gillmor case is more of the exception than the rule...I don't see the mindset is changing to quickly. In a year or two years we should no longer be asking how will weblog make money or fit into business? For the last 8 years I have been trying to turn a web magazine into a successful business...my view about making money is don't even try...it's not big business and its not the business of journalism , that's what makes it special.
Glenn Reynolds: "Local blogs can have an impact; there is a huge market impact for local.
Audience member: " A bunch of people used to having monologues trying to have a dialogue."
Jeff Jarvis: "Newspapers cannot afford to cover all the local information; Bloggers can do an excellent job of covering that"
Scott Rosenberg: "Newspaper editors spend a lot of time sitting around saying who is our audience? Online you know who your audience is because they are talking back to you."
Ed Cone: "Webloggers who act as journalists should have the legal protections afforded to journalists."
Audience member: How about the role of commentors on your site?
Glenn: It's become a troll-fest for me. I am much less inclined to link to some blogs because the comments can be off-putting. I don't really put the time into comments.
Kevin Marks: The question here is who gets to speak when? With weblogs everyone can speak in parallel. With a blog, you have an identify, a history, and a future. You're more careful about what you post than just posting a comment on a site and running away. There's a serial identify, we can each pick up bits.
Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism Dept: The audience as we know it does not exist anymore. Readers and the people we have called readers for almost 500 years are now writers, that is the radical thing. I got this very strange sensation when I clicked on the people in the comments section in my blog and everyone is a writer.
Friday, October 03, 2003
Here's what I think:
If I were the chief blogger for the New York Times, the first question we;'d address would be how to position blogs at the Times.
I'd roll out three distinctive types of blogs:
1) Adjuncts or complements to columnists and critics
2) Event based blogs
3) Expert/community blogs
Here's what this would look like:
1) Adjuncts or complements to columnists and critics
These blogs would be written by columnists or critics and edited by Times news staff according to an agreed-upon editorial policy. Merc columnist Dan Gillmor's blog is a good example of this type.
2) Event based blogs
If I was chief blogger at the NY Times, I'd work with the assigning editors so that they could have the means to invite participants in events to blog about those events and related ideas and concepts. Examples: Bernadette Peters blogging as she performs in a Broadway show that's been a hit for 3 months. Art critic Steven Madoff blogging from his visit to the Venice Biennale. A HS principal blogging about life under Joel Klein.
These blogs would exist as web exclusives, but could be edited and related to articles in the paper as well.
3) Expert/community blogs
This is where group blogs, linking blogs, and blogs by readers would come together.
The Times could support blogs on topics of interest to readers, such as finance & investing, a current sports team or competition, fashion and style. Each blog would have an editor/expert assigned by the Times, who would post items and link, but readers could also contribute or submit post--think of Boing Boing as a potential model.
The editor of this blog would also be responsible for linking out to blogs on related topics and issues, and ideally would be able to even link at the XML/message level by using Feedster/Technorati like search technologies.
4) My NYTimes blogs
The Times could go one step further--I would--and set up My Times with a blog interface delivering RSS feeds of the above blogs as well as selected partner feeds (AP, Reuters, selected blogger, etc.)
5) NY Times blogspace
Would readers want to blog in NYTimes space? A question well worth piloting for the 2004 elections when tons of readers will want to comment on stories and events.
A great way for a news site to distinguish themselves online.
resources that will clearly distinguished their sites from Google News,
online news editors are thinking about the best ways to package their
coverage for 2004.
With the success of the Internet as a fund-raising and volunteer tool for
political campaigns, analysts and media pundits have been quick to predict
that online paid political advertising takes off in 2004. After all, they
say, the groundwork is being laid right now.
See two stories I wrote for the NAA's The Digital Edge
Online Election Coverage: Looking Ahead to 2004
Online Political Advertising: How to Make the Sale in 2004
Erik writes aout how there are topics he knows he can talk about with specific people and those topics and people can be mapped out. Then,
" I know you saw this from a million miles away, but what if this could be captured in software? Either as part of an email or IM client, or as a way to group people with similar interfaces regarding similar topics? How important is the person behind the interface, in other words. The only reason I don't talk to strangers about some of the things that I talk to friends about is because the interface hasn't been established... but if we explicitly accepted incoming conversations through a public conversation interface, we wouldn't have to go through the trouble of being introduced, meeting at a bar, testing the breadth and depth of allowed conversation jumps, establishing permissions contracts, etc, before we could talk about, say, "the purpose of life" or something else that is sensitive and generally requires a lot of trust on both sides.
This weblog, for instance, offers me a much broader conversation interface than I have with any actual person."
Erik raises some good points--if one value of product development is problem-solving, this post should be required reading for blogging tecnologists looking for ways to make tools more useful and intutitive(once we grant them permission to be so on our individual behalf.)
The Hotel at MIT is a hgh tech heaven, with chip boards as decorative elements on the armoire, and as fast a T-1 as I've seen (they take their high-speed as seriously as their coffee, I can tell.
Saw a bevvy of blogger in the lobby as I was checking in and made myself come up to the room--I am going to be immersed in bloggers all weekend; this is my chance to actually blog in private (three words I've never used together before, believe me), make some calls, answer emails, and hope I feel like my grown-up confident calm self once I hit the conference, not the other Susan who can veer between wild excitement and intense shyness (two words most people do not associate with me.)
Anyway, I am here, I am going to the party tonight, and I am psyched!
If you are reading this and you are at the conference, please say hi.
And Dave Winer, you rock for pulling this off and inviting me.
Thursday, October 02, 2003
God, it feels good!
When I am in California, I love California.
When I am in New York, I wonder if any place else is more interesting and exciting.
Of course, I am not as effortless here as I would like to be. Running out of a meeting on 57th and Lex, I leapt onto the subway to take the N to Soho, only to discover I was on the Queens-bound R, going express to Queens Plaza. Oops.
"There are two reasons why I decided to abandon Gawker for New York Magazine: office supplies and Lexis-Nexis. The latter came in handy today when I saw the much-overanalyzed New York Daily News gossip Lloyd Grove's column this morning."
"I'm sure you're all wondering why New York Magazine decided to start a blog. The answer is very simple: we needed a place to put the $XX million "for sale" price tag and there was no space left in the print mag. The rumor du jour: an administrative assistant at Conde Nast inadvertently acquired the magazine and submitted it to the accounting department as a petty cash expense. As usual, no one noticed."
Anil Dash's Six Log Interview with Paul Bausch: PB is one of my blogging heroes, Onfocus.com, his personal site, is quiet but smart, and I really like his work with Amazon and books.
Great Anil quote from his other blog:
"So, since I'm not involved hands-on in building tools and tech anymore, I wanted to help build an outlet for those who are. It's a good way to share new ideas, but it's also hopefully a good way to remind the other geniuses out there that others are interested in the great ideas behind their unassuming demeanors.
There's other kinds of geeks, of course. There's combatative, angry testosterone-powered geeks, and there's artsy geeks and a thousand other kinds. But the ones who are busy spending their free time building new things on the Internet and connecting them together should do justice to their work by helping others to connect with them as individuals."
Oliver Wrede's got a list of useful blog tools.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Now Rafat Ali reports that Time Inc is having layoffs at the magazine sites, and that the editorial, IT, biz dev, etc are all moving back into a centralized structure at Time Interactive, under Ned Desmond.
Some key points:
--The often harsh sacrifices executives have to make to success make them vulnerable to the “heady effects of power’s rewards.”
--The trapping of power and the perks fuel the overly positive self-assessments we all have, resulting on “potentially fatal overconfidence.”
Looking back I was often terribly wrong,” said one young entrepreneur who had burned through more than $20MM trying to launch a Web-based business. : Unfortunately, I was never in doubt.”
How to avoid these pitfalls? Kramer says that leaders who manage to stay on course share the traits of cultivating humility, acknowledging mistakes, remaining hands-on, and staying reflective.
MSBC.com publisher Scott Moore, interviewed at MediaBistro: " The extent that weblogs continue to grow in popularity means more people are interested in the news and engaged in getting their news online."
Personally, I am getting a little tired of talking about what blogs as form--kind of feels like talking about CDs or digital music or vinyl vs talking about the music. Of course, it is after midnight in NY, so I have switched into cranky mode.
Here's an example of a community blog from Connecticut, and a link to a demo.
I see Google AdSense words raising money for a candidate across all these sites...with personalize search from Kaltiz kicking in soon.,..
To be fair, so many people have ripped off Guy Bourdin's work in the last two years. one wonders if Bourdin JR just waited for someone really rich to sue, or if there is a special case here.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
If you are going to BloggerCon, I am looking forward to meeting you...if you are considering it, come--at least for the free day if you can'r swing more.
Grigoriadis resurfaced at The New York Times Style Section a few weeks ago and resumed filing the artful fluff she'd done so eleganrly at New York.
Now WWD says the girl is moving on to give some tone to Rolling Stone.
The reason? According to the Times, she wants to write "Long form journalism.:
Translation: Articles over 5,000 words.
Believe it? Nah, not with the Maxim guys in charge.
Top towns for time spent online?
Tampa/St. Petersburg Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Chicago. San Francisco and Boston.
August 11, 2003: ZDNet runs a story about "stealth start-up Kaltix," founded by three members of the PageRank Group at Stanford University to provide large-scale personalized and context-sensitive search, opening the way for highly targeted--and opportunistic--personalized advertising on all those personalized search pages.
On September 30, 2003: Google announces the acquisition of Kaltix. The Kaltix home page now defaults to Google. .
That's 45 days or less from first mention to sold...
However, there is NO INFORMATION about the company. The Kaltix home page defaults to Google. The names of the founders are NEVER mentioned. The Stanford Page Rank Group home page is now also restricted.
Who are these guys What is this technology? I don't think Google wants us to know.
However, I have some ideas about who the members of Kaltix are and I think two of them are members of the Stanford WebBase Project-
My guess is the the three are
1) Taher H. Haveliwala
2) Sependar Kamvar, who has coauthored several recent papers related to PageRank with Haveliwala.
And Glen Jeh, whose recent research has focused on personalized web search.
Am I right?
Whomever they are, they are very rich geeks, right now, I suspect...Probably having exchanged their company for a shitload of options on that eventual Google IPO and fat salaries and bonuses.
More blogosphere comments at Googler.blogs.com., Jeff Heer and Doc Bug.
Technorati links here.
After all, blogs are personas. We emphasize particular aspects of ourselves, allow things we want to share to be revealed, and try to obscure those we consider private, want to hide, or are not aware of.
Reading Cadence 90: "What happened when your family found out about your weblog? and Halley's Comment: Family stories--what I share and what I don't highlights those questions of voice and persona.
Who are you , how do you present yourself is an essential question for all writers, and it seems equally relevant to bloggers.
Monday, September 29, 2003
Curried acorn squash (This was a Wayne Nish recipe from Starchefs.com and it did NOT turn out well
Los Helgados Mexican ices, including a flavor calledf Arroz, that--suprise-- that tasted like rosewater, cinnamon and rice (pudding)
In addition to Glaser's sensible tips, I'd offer the following top ten tips for newspaper thinking about blogs:
1) Whose blog is it anyway?
There's a profound difference between a blog published as the equivalent of an online column, as many MNSBC.com blogs are, and a blog that's a community outpost, as some of the blogs on Advance Internet sites.
They deserve different rules and different expectations.
2) Voice-and opinion-- rule the blog format
While Dan Gillmor is revered because the quality of the information in his blog is so good, blogging is an personality-driven format where voice-and opinion--rule.
3) Remember, blogs are timely and interactive
It's not just a web page. Blog power comes from an author's ability to quickly post in reaction to an event or an idea--and readers' ability to respond, both in a comments section and in their own blog.
4) Set standards and publish them
Just as workplace blogs need to have specific guidelines and frameworks, so should online news blogs. Whether your blogs are by columnists or community members, there should be guidelines and ground rules that everyone is aware of.
5) Be a glorious mosaic
Online news sites are often determined not to publish anything that will deviate from the official voice of the news outlet.
Remember that blogs not only provide an outlet for reporters' additional notes and commentary, they can be features in and of themselves, offering ideas and opinion from a wider sphere. This makes for an invigorating--and empowering--experience.
6) Be flexible--Allow blogs to be temporary
It's a blog, not the OED--a blog is able to live for a short time frame and then be retired. Unlike a column, which might need several months to find an audience, a blog is a short form by its very nature, and as such, can be deployed for a few weeks and retired.
7) Permit the personal
BBC reporter Ivan Noble's blog about his battle with a brain tumor is one of many health-related blogs news outlets have published in the past two years.
8) Blog up and down the hierarchy
How many times do we have to hear that people want human faces and human voices online before we act on that knowledge?
The new blog from the Editorial Board of the SacBee was a terrific response to the editing flap. Jeff Jarvis' blogging invigorated an entire company (disclaimer: I used to work for Jeff). . Reporter's blogs have man on the street credibility, authority and value: viz the Seattle Spokesman Review's transportation blog by Amy Cannata.
9) Just do it--be consistent
If you're going to blog, blog. That means posting a pre-determined minimum number of times per week and letting your audience know what that is. Don't embarrass your paper and yourself with "blogs" that update maybe once a month. Why did you bother?
10) Break new ground--try out this disruptive technology
The first online news sites launched on the web 10-11 years ago. Few of them had feeds, let alone integration with the newsroom. Since then we've seen 56% of the population go online, and experienced increasing percentages of Americans get their news on the Internet, especially during the day, when they're at work.
Remember, this medium is still new, and still experimenting.
Let your site be a part of the experiment--label the experiment as such--but don't be afraid to try something new.
Sunday, September 28, 2003
In this local news story, the politicos of New Jersey say the web has launched them into a new phase in campaigning.
"Political Web sites have become a real tool for democracy because they allow even not-so-well funded candidates to communicate their message with a vast number of voters."
"This is becoming a new way to contact the voters. It's relatively inexpensive as compared to other types of advertising It's a new phase in campaigning."
"Classical pianist Eric Huebner, as adept at his computer keyboard as he is at the ivories, is trying to turn Howard Dean's vaunted Internet presence against the former Vermont governor.
He helped to create an Internet site called www.wafflepoweredhoward.com to question the credentials of the front-running Democratic presidential candidate, who has seized computer technology to vault to the front of the 10-person pack."
(Via Scripting News)