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Friday, March 22, 2002

Dave Winer responds

Over at Scripting News, Dave Winer has answered some of the questions I posed earlier today. Given that he's on California time and I'm on East Coast time, I'd say his response time is a proven fact. He explains a little more about where he's coming from:

I am solidly a blogger, and an amateur, but I do want to help ease them [the Times] into the new practice of journalism...

And he shows a willingness to engage, up to a point. However, when one wears so many hats, the ensemble effect can be a little disorienting. In the same virtual breath, Dave speaks with vision of helping architect the future of journalism, a synthesis of amateurs and professionals, and voila - change of hats - he declines to address a few basic questions about his company's business model.

Tom asks some other questions that I don't think, as the CEO of a private company, I have to or want to answer.

I respect the right of corporations not to disclose all their strategies and tactics. I respect architects who share their visions of a better, more open tomorrow. I get confused when both stories are being spoken, nearly simultaneously, by the same person. I start to wonder if such a person is able to hold in view all sides of all the roles he/she is playing.

And to clarify one item: I was never "for" Third Voice, as Dave seems to suggest. I was intrigued by the issues of property and propriety it raised. As always.

Thanks to Dave for the mensch-like discussion.

2:20:16 PM    

***This is a test.*** For regularly scheduled programming, please go here.

9:46:01 AM    

Dave Winer speaks about why the NY Times now ''flows'' through ''Radio's news aggregator.'' (More on Radio, Winer's blog tool, here.)

it's a first step down a road that will inevitably lead to, imho, an integration of amateur and professional journalism. The practices of each should be adopted by the other.

Glad he's open to talking about it. Among the unexamined assumptions here: What is meant by ''amateur'' and ''professional''? What does ''integration'' mean? When was it determined that it's desireable? How is it supposed to occur? Who decided for us that there are only two kinds of journalism, and that their ''practices of each should be adopted by the other''?

Those would be some of the preliminary issues ripe for clarification. Then there's the matter of the form it has taken, the selection process of this enterprise, and its business dimension.

Business: Has money changed hands between the Times and Winer's company? Was it discussed? Was the prospect of it contemplated? It might be worthwhile to disclose these things in the interest of openness, given Mr. Winer's stated objectives and that the NY Times has one of the more insatiable marketing mechanisms in the world of news publishing (<;-)We Sell You the World(-;> etc.)

Form: Perhaps Mr. Winer would disclose whether he and the Times discussed having bloggers appear on the Times site. I.e., some mutuality of exchange, instead of this unidirectional feed from the ''professional'' bastion of hoary old news. Was there any openness to some interaction between Radio users and the Times? A feature that would allow Radio users who receive the feeds to comment, develop new threads, that would appear to Radio users with the stories?

Selection: Did the community of Radio users or bloggers in general clamor to be fed Times rubbish? How is the foregrounding of the Times unlike choosing to have the Disney Channel on cable channel 1 or 2? Could it be that Mr. Winer wishes to program ''content'' on the model of cable TV? Are radio users expected to assume the position of the media consumer?

The open ethos of blogging is encountering the corporate world of news. A test case, then, of the capability of business as usual to do anything other than business as usual. I'm all ears.

(Disclosure statement: I'm (1) currently a trial customer of Radio 8, produced by Winer's company, (2) a former serf of a newspaper owned by the NY Times (does that make me ''biased'' or ''informed''?), and (3) not inclined to believe the Times can innocently pretend it's about news anymore.)


9:11:10 AM    

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