Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Sunday, January 23, 2005
Blogging, Journalism & Credibility
I was only able to tune in for an hour or two on Saturday morning, but the conference was interesting to say the least. Transcripts, podcasts, and links to people commenting and live blogging the event are on the website, but I haven't had the time to sift through them all.

David Weinberger's comments were very good:

As Weinberger says, the interests of the people communicating on the web will drive the evolution. But if this "interest" largely represents the interest of middle-class, white, affluent, early adopters, we are in danger of creating a feedback loop that would become less and less inclusive of people who were not in on the conversation at the beginning.

The "echo chamber" idea has garnered a lot of press and interest both in mainstream media and in blogging, and it was played out well in the conference.

The issue I was probably most fascinated by, and the one that Jeff Jarvis was right to describe as "the elephant sitting in the room" during the discussion, was the business, or economic model, of blogging. (A) is there a successful business model to be built? - Dan Gillmor is obviously betting this is true, as are the venture capitalists backing his Grassroots Citizen Media venture, and (B) can current mainstream media like the NYT survive and compete with the blogosphere if they don't adapt their current business model to meet these challenges? Also, issues with this new economic model bleed quite readily into legal models as they relate to intellectual property rights. Is a license from Creative Commons enough to protect people's ideas and opinions?

I also enjoyed the discussion on the notion that perhaps mainstream media should use the blogosphere to their advantage by linking to blogs and blog posts that they have vetted out journalistically. Again, the business issues of paying bloggers for links, and the ethical issues related to that one can go round and round (and did).

I learned a lot about Wikinews, and Wikipedia that I didn't know before - even though I use these sites a lot. I also learned a lot about Podcasting.

All in all - without having thoroughly read all the transcripts and opinions, I think the conference raised a lot of good issues and ideas, and certainly generated a lot of buzz. I'm sure there will be a lot more said about it, and I'm sure it generated a lot of follow up discussions and research issues.

Stay tuned. The future is now, and I think it's pretty damn cool.
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:07 PM  
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