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Scripting News, the weblog started in 1997 that bootstrapped the blogging revolution.

Death of Journalism, part 3 Permanent link to this item in the archive.

I think I've boiled down what I've been predicting would happen for 15 years, in a single phrase.

When you get it so distilled it's worth repeating.

Why journalism is dead 3.0: The sources got blogs.

Or they're using Twitter...

I read a piece by Karl Rove in the WSJ that said Obama is doing something Rove and the Republicos do all-too-well -- according to Rove he invented someone to disagree with. Here's how you do it:

1. Talk about how there are "those who say" and then say what they say.

2. Explain how you considered the possibility that they were right, but decided in the end, they weren't.

3. So you come off as entirely reasonable and they come off as the loutish pricks you always intended them to be. ;->

A picture named kreme.jpgI didn't think Obama was actually doing what Rove accused him of. So I said to Rove, in a tweet: "Obama's 'straw man' has a name, it's spelled R-E-A-G-A-N." A few hours later Rove responded with a DM, saying that Obama didn't understand Reagan, or was deliberately misrepresenting him. I got the last word, reminding Rove that Obama is a politician, so -- BFD.

Is this news or journalism? No, it's not either. If it's anything it's meta-news, news about news. But it's still interesting, imho. We've arrived at a place where a political spinmeister, former adviser to the President can get fact-checked by a random blogger, and get a confusing response. That seems a lot like the job that George Stephanopoulos or Bob Schieffer has. Decide for yourself if what they do is news or not.

A tweet I received, one among many, from a reporter who thinks I need to be reminded again that we will miss them when they're gone. It seems like the last final days of journalism in the US are going to be filled with this bile. Instead, we could be booting up the next version of journalism.

Yes we will miss you when you're gone. Now what?

No, we're not going to ask the government to pay your salaries. I'd like the govt to pay me a salary for what I do. I don't see you rushing to my defense. Oh please pay Dave for writing Scripting News. Everyone would like to be paid for their labor of love.

A picture named skittles.gifThe reporters rush right by the readers in their pleas. Our only job is to miss or not miss them. This, imho, is the fatal bug in the old way of doing journalism, it's wrong, it never was that way. We were always active participants in news, either by creating it or being effected by it. Before they rush around us to take our money from the government, how about a conversation first, ask us what we want from journalism, what we like and don't like -- and don't assume you know the answer. (The journalists' answer is that we want sports, movie stars, bosoms, car crashes. You know that because that's most of what they give us. Maybe that's why no one is rushing to their defense. Just a thought.)


Isn't that the obvious take-away from the downward spiral of the news industry? Isn't it amazing that the last people they think to blame for their problem is themselves? (Totally understandable of course.)

In any case, please consider the possibility that this point of view is valid. Thanks, big hugs, Dave.

Investigative journalism Permanent link to this item in the archive.

The last interview I did with a reporter from MSM was in 2006, pretty sure of that, just before Chris and Ponzi's wedding. It so ridiculous that it was almost a comedic (not the wedding, the interview).

I only did the interview as a favor to Ponzi, otherwise I never would have talked with the reporter. She was doing a story on weird uses of electronic gadgets, or at least that's what I was told. I was to talk with her about the gadgetry that Chris and Ponzi were going to use at their wedding.

I spoke with the reporter for about 45 minutes, most of which she spent grilling me about my conflicts of interest. That what was so funny. I was an unemployed wandering programmer-pundit. I didn't have a job or a company. I owned a bit of Apple stock (which I told her about) and some government bonds. Otherwise I had absolutely no business interests whatsoever. But somehow she thought that, by repeating questions, she'd get me to reveal some secret scandal that would uncover a nest of whatever relating to Ponzi's wedding? You're kidding, I kept saying. This is the biggest joke I've ever seen (and at one point I asked her if this was a prank call, something Ponzi dreamed up to "get" me, in which case I thought she was doing a great job).

I kept saying that I don't care if you quote me. I don't have a product to promote. I'm only doing this interview because my friends are getting married and they asked me to do it as a favor, and how could you say no when they're getting married? Oy.

I wasn't quoted in the piece. Basically the story was that Chris and Ponzi exchanged vows in text messages in front of family and friends. That's basically all they said in the story. I don't know who else they talked to but no one was quoted in the story, so all the investigation apparently turned up nothing.

So what do I think of investigative journalism? Well, they had zero chance of uncovering a scandal. If I were doing something unethical, I wouldn't tell the reporter, no matter how many times she asked. And that was the last time I put up with this nonsense. What they do is a joke. Maybe they believe they get stories this way, but I don't.

How will we get our news? Permanent link to this item in the archive.

It looks like journalism is dying.

On Twitter, there are a lot of people arguing, and I wonder why.

A picture named obama.jpgMuch of the arguing goes like this: We need journalism. How will we do X, Y and Z if there's no journalism? The assumption seems to be that if I, Dave Winer, can't answer that question, then journalism is saved. The papers that are on the brink somehow just need me to be proven incapable of doing what they do, and that's it, crisis averted. It's ridiculously illogical. It makes absolutely no sense. Yet that is what comes back every damned time I approach subject which is -- How are we going to get our news after the newspapers go away?

It's a serious question.

Not an intellectual exercise.

There's nothing really to argue about, is there? If so, I'm missing it.

Dispassionately, please...

1. The Rocky Mountain News, one of two papers in Denver, went under last week.

2. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, one of two papers in Seattle, is on the edge.

3. The San Francisco Chronicle, the only remaining paper in SF is on the edge.

4. At least seven other papers are in the same place.

5. The NY Times was just bailed out by a shady billionaire from Mexico.

6. If you're thinking the government will bail out the papers, think about what we'd be left with. We'd have to come up with something else.

So -- under what scenario do we have newspapers in, say, a year? I don't see one.

How will we get our news? -- It's not an idle question to be debated after dinner with cigars. It's a critical question.

At some point we will have to have this discussion. Imho, the sooner the better.


Last update: Monday, March 02, 2009 at 9:14 PM Pacific.

A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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