A slide from Jean Min, deputy chief, international division of Ohmynews.com [Enlarge]

Print media is dying and online news will have to support the whole journalistic enterprise - only nobody knows how, or what it should look like. That was the vibe I took away from the completely wonderful International Symposium on Online Journalism in Austin, Texas last weekend.

In my mind, the rock stars of the whole affair were OhMyNews (English version). They're a distributed citizen journalism news organization in Korea with an editorial staff and staff reporters. They're hugely popular and make the news into an unprecedented conversation between newsmakers, news reporters and news readers – all in one place. Compare that to the (mostly) one-way, top-down, trying-to-keep-up approach of New York Times Digital. I poked a bit of fun at the NYTimes in my presentation as well, saying how they should be helping bridge the gap between news and conversation about the news, as exemplified by The Annotated New York Times and their jaw-dropping RSS Feeds. Really, this is the shining clear path NYTimes.com would be smart to follow.

Len Apcar, Editor-in-Chief of NYTimes.com, must be credited with closely watching emerging social internet technologies. He attended BloggerCon 2003 and talked to JD Lasica about his interest in social software.

My conversation with Len, unfortunately, left a bad taste in my mouth. I asked what he thought about a particular web site from my presentation. He told me that, and much much more - I was silently aghast. I think he realized he'd spoken a bit too freely and insisted it was "off the record." This happens at conferences a lot, and I'm still getting used to it. Again he said "You know that's off the record right?" And I said uhh, I guess. "Whaddya mean 'you guess'? You'll keep that off the record, yes or no?" He was getting all worked up, so I said "yes." Then he kind of went off on bloggers. "You bloggers, you all think you're journalists now. You want a front row seat and you don't know what your doing." Buh?

Then he went off on my getting into a John Edwards press conference as a credentialled blogger. I showed a humorous video excerpt of this as part of my presentation. "Why didn't you ask John Edwards a question? Why were you there then? Who were you representing? Why weren't you representing your readers?" Suddenly I was on the hot seat, representing the entirety of citizen bloggerdom. If Len had paid a little closer attention to my presentation, he'd have heard me call myself a "hobby journalist" and admit to being a complete amateur. Part of the point of my Edwards video is that, indeed, bloggers are new at this game and have a ways to go figuring out our proper role. But also: I was providing a first-person account of the event; my perspective. And that's important.


I've always advocated bloggers building bridges with the MSM. Bloggers have such a combatitive relationship with the MSM right now, but we'd all be better off with a symbiotic relationship. My presentation (which I'll put up) detailed some possible stepping stones to making that happen. Bridge the gap between the static news and the dynamic news conversation.

But after this conversation with Len, I found myself in the uncomfortable company of Power Line's John Hinderaker. Not because of the content, of course, but because the Gray Lady is sneering at us from her journalistic throne. A jewel-encrusted throne, too – I'm told NYTimes.com clears $40 million a year.

Well listen up, Gray Lady. You'd do well to change your attitude toward the peasants, because we're building houses, villages and cities throughout the kingdom - and we don't need permits.

Blogumentary: Why the Maintream media is Fucked
Business Week: The Future Of The New York Times
NPR: An Age of Transitional Chaos for Media?
PressThink: Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over

April 11, 2005 at 07:38 AM in Media, Symposium on Online Journalism, Weblogs | Permalink


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Tracked on Apr 11, 2005 1:19:34 PM


“Print media is dying and online news will have to support the whole journalistic enterprise”

Except, print media will always have a presence. Alos, there is still the issue of access for most people when it comes to online media, and standard newspapers are still winning with the general public. I'm just saying :) .

Posted by: Juiah at Apr 11, 2005 11:00:26 AM

Oh, I know.

But print readership and subscriptions are plummeting, and that trend is not going to reverse as younger folks are getting news online. (Television is still popular.)

This is not me saying, this, or bloggers. This is the big media organizations themselves realizing it, trying to figure out what to do.

Posted by: Chuck at Apr 11, 2005 4:32:34 PM

See also this quote from the State of the News Media 2005 report:

"The problem is that the traditional media are leaving it to technology companies - like Google - and to individuals and entrepreneurs - like bloggers - to explore and innovate on the Internet. The risk is that traditional journalism will cede to such competitors both the new technology and the audience that is building there."

Posted by: Chuck at Apr 11, 2005 6:30:49 PM