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Permanent link to archive for Saturday, June 08, 2002. Saturday, June 08, 2002

NY Times: The Boom Was Real But So Were Its Mirages

NY Times: "In the casino stock market of 1999 and 2000, Lenk recognized only two categories of players: greed hogs and builders. Bad people and good people. By their actions, they declared themselves. His black-and-white view allowed for no fence straddling." 

Simon Fell, The .NET Guy and Sam Gentile all speak highly of a new blogger named Drew. Triangulation. Gotta love it. Welcome to the neighborhood Drew.  

Glenn Fleishman: The Night the Lights Went out in WiFi.  

Ben Hammersley: "With some work, I think it may be possible to even re-unify the RSS standard, and still preserve the valuable bits that RDF gives us." 

Today's work notes on My Weblog Outline tool. I'm using the tool to log my work.  

David McOwen: "During my case there was no news coverage within the State of Georgia because as I was told by friends that the Governor specifically told people to 'hush up' on the subject." 

BBC: "The next time you install software on your computer at work, you could be facing criminal charges. This is what happened to computer technician David McOwen, when he installed a program on the PCs at DeKalb Technical College in Atlanta, Georgia, US, without first asking permission." 

I asked Glenn Reynolds where the term warblogger came from. He said: "I don't know where it started. I was blogging before there was a war, but I think it refers to blogging about war, rather than a general love of war. Steven Chapman has a good post on this." 

Scott Loftesness: "Links to both New York Times and Washington Post stories are designed specifically not to rot and to be permanently in place. Just checked an old Boston Globe link (owned by the NY Times) -- they apparently rot their links using the archive revenue generating strategy of Knight Ridder." 

NY Times: "My experience with students' computers tells me that the vast majority of them have at least a few spyware applications on their computers, and they're usually shocked when I point them out," he said. "College students, of course, aren't particularly choosy about the software they install." 

Jonathon Delacour: "Macromedia's Site of the Day -- the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's World Cup Game Tracker -- is the first well-designed, useful Flash site I've encountered." 

Dan Gillmor's comments 

Dan Gillmor: "I have taken on my company in public, on a matter that went to the core of journalistic principles."

Received, and I'll think about his comments. To assume that the discussion is over would be parallel to assuming that once Microsoft responded superficially and dismissively to a Gillmor challenge that he would never write about Microsoft again. It doesn't work that way.

Next. It's quite possible that other people said that Dan doesn't take on Knight Ridder advertisers, but I surely did not say that. I asked where the line was.

The word "journalist" is treated casually by people who practice it, and Dan does it here, talking about the core of his journalistic principles. What, exactly are those principles? Software developers have to routinely endure integrity challenges at the hand of people, like Gillmor, who wear the J-badge; but they take offense if we ask crucial questions that help us understand who they are and what kinds of constraints they accept.

It's even worse for bloggers. Only now, after much pushback, are the pros getting the idea that we take what we do seriously. I think bloggers are doing more to bring integrity back to journalism than the pros are. Emphatically, that's what my piece was about. We're helping them, but most of what we get back is dismissive. Dan says "Life is too short, and I have work to do." If a pro asked the questions I did, would Dan be so dismissive? Doubtful.

It's worth noting that after Gillmor's comments, we are no more enlightened as to the cause of the outage, nor do we have an idea if the outage will clear at any time in the future. I did not say he should beat up Knight Ridder. I don't even know what happened. For all I know they deserve sympathy. I don't have the facts. It's possible that Dan does. If he doesn't he certainly knows who to ask.

I am also disappointed that he chose to characterize my comments as scathing attacks and broadsides. I wonder how he would respond if one of his targets characterized his comments that way.

Further, there's been some really ugly mud slung at me on a weblog run by a Knight Ridder employee. It's perhaps predictable, but unfair. It seems they, like some of the companies they cover, have to get clear on what they do, get a philosophy, and learn how to communicate with the world around them. It's not cool to recklessly challenge the integrity of people who challenge you.

Net net, the reign of the pros as gatekeepers is ending. Dan is the most visible and open of the pros. For that he deserves our admiration. To his credit, most pros, challenged in this manner, would probably ignore it, or worse, plot revenge. I'm doing the best I can to ask a much broader question, and I haven't managed to connect on that basis. When the employers of professional reporters try to grab something that's not theirs, can we trust the pros to dig in and tell us what's going on. Dan has responded to a much smaller set of questions, and responded defensively and dismissively. I would have preferred if he had embraced the larger questions, and worked with us to not only get the answers, but to help figure out where we go from here.

Morning coffee notes 

Based on emails I'd say that many professional journalists, maybe even most, got into journalism for the same reason people start weblogs. Hoping to make a difference. To have an intellectual life. To be where the action is. Idealism.

For many, becoming a reporter was a very positive thing -- but being a reporter meant understanding that the publisher must make money. Compromise. Conflicts. In the heart of such a reporter, the Web was a rallying point, it was a return to their beginning, it called up their inner true believer. But the Web created a conundrum. Try as hard as you can, it's very hard to make a buck selling the written word. Try to skirt the issue. It's in your face.

As a software developer turned public writer, it's hard not to be sympathetic, even though many of the same people wrote us off, either because we were Mac developers when that was presumed to be a lost cause; or a Mac-Windows developer when Java was presumed to rule the world; or a commercial developer during the open source mania. To have been ignored in our struggle, brings up bitterness -- these people didn't help us when our basic business model was (unfairly) undermined. Regardless, I am sympathetic. I want the pros to stay in business, and keep publishing to the Web, creating a trail of knowledge, so we can learn from our mistakes, and point to them, so perhaps we don't have to make them again.

On the Poynter discussion board, one of the Knight Ridder people asks that we be gentle with their new content management system. Oh does that ring a bell. Of course I understand that. I make software for a living. A new software product is a fragile thing. If not properly cared for, it dies. When something new comes along, truly new, it should be cared for, not undermined. It's no surprise to me that a hard-working engineer wants his or her product to become something. That's natural, sensible, and right.

Back in the early 90s, before the Web became the thing, the talk of the industry was a concept called convergence. The media industry and the tech industry would become one and the same. Today that's been realized, and what a mess it is. Now they know what it feels like to be on our side of the fence, and we're getting a taste what it's like from their point of view. The hope is that this increases understanding. Perhaps we can find new ways to work together, don't just believe and repeat the hype, think, evaluate, take a different course this time. Remember the Golden Rule and practice it.

There's a new frankness and humility on all sides. Let's make the most of that.

Is Glenn a warblogger? 

OK, I admit it -- I'm clueless.

What exactly is a warblogger?

I've been reading Glenn's site every time it updates for the last few days. I don't see a warrior. I see a mediator.

He links to differing points of view. He cuts through the rage and says "That's not anti-Semitism, Jason. It's just opposition to Israel's policies."

Is Glenn a warblogger?

If so -- where's the war?


Last update: Saturday, June 08, 2002 at 6:27 PM Eastern.

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