Dave Winer, 56, is a visiting scholar at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and editor of the Scripting News weblog. He 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 New York City.
"The protoblogger." - NY Times.
"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.
"Dave was in a hurry. He had big ideas." -- Harvard.
"Dave Winer is one of the most important figures in the evolution of online media." -- Nieman Journalism Lab.
10 inventors of Internet technologies you may not have heard of. -- Royal Pingdom.
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.
8/2/11: Who I Am.
My 40 most-recent links, ranked by number of clicks.
FYI: You're soaking in it. :-)
After reading the NYT magazine piece by Virginia Heffernan about the plight of the science bloggers, I'm left wondering...
Virginia Heffernan: The Uses and Abuses of Science Blogging.
You could fisk the article line by line, and ask the questions it raises, but instead I'd rather ask just a couple.
1. To me, it seems it totally matters who you're blogging alongside. She says journalists deal with this all the time, if so -- there must be reporters at the NY Times who are on the payroll of corporations whose work they're writing about. If true, is this adequately disclosed?
I'm pretty sure she's wrong, and that what happened at scienceblogs.com has never happened at the Times. If it has, that's a front page story.
It seems more likely, however, that she simply doesn't understand what happened with Pepsico and the science bloggers.
The science bloggers were very right to be concerned with how much disclosure there was going to be about the Pepsico bloggers. And of course if they want to resign and find a new place to blog, in what way isn't that their right? If Ms. Heffernan thought the NY Times was no longer a good place for her to write, who could blame her for moving on? Does anyone need a better reason?
What Seed Media did is very much like the way conference promoters, these days, deal with sponsorship. I've run four conferences in the last few years, and each time when I sought sponsorship I was told that I'd have to accept speakers from the sponsor companies, and I would not be allowed to tell the participants these were paid-for speakers. I would never do that, though I'm sure I've been to a number of conferences that do.
I was an advisor to a conference that did it. When I found out, I did what the science bloggers did -- I quietly left. You can't keep your integrity while standing with people who would do this. You're lending your name to something disreputable. In this piece Ms. Heffernan damaged the reputation of the Times, every reporter there, and also other pubs and their reporters. It seems the Times needs to explain what she is saying.
However, based on past experience, I don't expect the Times to take a question from Scripting News seriously. So if you're a reporter at a publication the Times does respect, I hope you'll raise the question. It deserves an answer.
2. She provides a few out-of-context quotes from blogs that I, and I assume most of her readers, are not familiar with. What are we to think these quotes mean? We should believe that science blogging is a sham, has little to do with science, and is mostly people who are making it up. Okay. However beyond the quotes, she doesn't provide any evidence.
Probably the most disturbing thing about the Heffernan piece is the lack of respect for her readers. Why should I believe what she says if she isn't prepared to offer anything serious to back it up?
The Times is at its best when it gets us to think. If we're to think, we need a respectful presentation of facts that when, taken together, are puzzling or interesting or important. Heffernan's piece only gets us to think about her and her editors and why this piece is in the Times. I don't have a clue about that.
For the record, I am not a science blogger. I've only started reading their blogs recently. To help me understand what they're doing I wrote an aggregator which I'm sharing with anyone else who wants a look. I wrote a couple of pieces about their plight. That's the extent of my involvement with science blogging. I would love to read a similar disclosure from the Times and their reporter.