Sunday, January 30, 2005


I don't actually know what was said or how accurate his views of the conference was, but I lean towards agreeing with Jack Shafer's perspective here:

Memories of the video guerrillas percolated to my forebrain last Friday while I attended the "Blogging, Journalism, and Credibility" conference at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Many of the speakers, such as New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen and tech wizard/Ur blogger Dave Winer, echoed Shamberg's fervor as they testified to the socially transformative power of blogs. A blogswarm of amateurs, they proclaimed, is breaking the professionals' hold on the press. There's a major power shift going on, Rosen stated, tilting toward users and away from the established media.

In language only slightly less fervent than Shamberg's, conference participants declared blogs the destroyers of mainstream media. (See this page and this page for a real-time transcription of the conference.) Others prescribed blogs as the medicine the newspaper industry should take to reclaim its lost readers: Publishers should support reader blogs and encourage their reporters to blog in addition to writing stories. Podcasts would undermine the radio network empires. "Open source" journalism, in which readers and bloggers help set the news agenda for newspapers, was promoted as a tonic for what ails the press. Reporters were encouraged to regain the lost trust of readers by blogging drafts of their stories, their notes, and even their taped interviews so other bloggers could dissect and analyze them for fairness.

Winer discounted any chance that the clueless media would adapt to the blogofuture, saying publishers were as blind as the mainframe computer manufacturers of early 1980s who refused to believe PCs would replace their big iron.

I hadn't witnessed such public expressions of high self-esteem since the last time I attended a journalism awards ceremony.
(full article)

MORE FROM Jay Rosen, "A Jack Shafer Problem," and Anil Dash here.

UPDATE... Comment posted from Jay Rosen:

"What Shafer said happened did not happen. He needed someone to de-bunk, and we were the likely suspects. So he rounded us up.

David Weinberger, who was there: "Jack Shafer's piece in Slate misrepresents what went on at the WebCred conference."

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