Friday, August 20, 2004

A few people have asked if the blog conference is for them if they aren't really into politics.


Politics is in the news as we head into the homestretch of an election year, and it's a blogging hotspot, too. So there's a lively narrative to be built around campaigning and organizing and servicing constituents online, but that conversation should have plenty of interest for the apoliitcal and the candidate alike.

And that's just one session, anyway.

On the way to lunch Dave opined that neither session, the political one or the more general one, needs a panel up front. I said I want to make sure that the people with real expertise can lead the conversation. His philosophy is that the intelligence is distributed in the audience, and that the "experts" should just sit where they want and let a single facilitator keep things moving from the front.

This is the model that worked so successfully at the first BloggerCon, when the preternaturally energetic Jeff Jarvis led a successful Sunday morning conversation. That one did have a panel up front -- Dan Gillmor, Scott Heiferman, and me -- but Jeff let the action unfold in the crowd.

I like that model, and it's what I have in mind for the general session. I could facilitate that one, having had the benefit of going to school on Jarvis. Maybe it's the way to go on the other session, too? I just really want to make sure that the wisdom of a Matt Gross or the fresh experience of a Jeff Thigpen doesn't get lost in the mix.

Notes: we are almost certainly using the auditorium at the Weatherspoon, not the conference room. Wi-fi is looking doubtful, I will try to import my own router to enable a handful of connections, but just don't know how that will play out.

2:39:07 PM    comment []

Dave Winer's wandering road led him to Greensboro for lunch today. We ate at Stamey's, had a good long talk about all kinds of stuff, then he hit the road for points south. Luna sat with Dave on the couch in my office, and Luna doesn't cotton to everyone.

2:13:20 PM    comment []

Willem de Kooning
oil on canvas
Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro

11:24:22 AM    comment []

A report from the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf by the Christian Science Monitor's Scott Baldauf:

The mood inside is ebullient, and the demonstrators seem determined to keep up the spirits of the unarmed fighters resting inside. We take pictures, interview people, and question whether our appointed departure time, 4:30 p.m., will be soon enough. Will the Americans be patient? Will the Mahdi Army?

A tall man in a white dishdasha grabs me by the shoulders. "We hated Saddam, why? Because Saddam Hussein didn't give freedom," says the man, who gives his name only as Mohammad. "Now [Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad] Allawi and the Americans are like Saddam. They describe us as uneducated, but I am an engineer, he is a doctor, he is businessman. We want peace, not war, but if they want to kill our leader, Sayid Moqtada al-Sadr, we will either die, or gain victory."

Those are some badass reporters, by the way.

11:09:47 AM    comment []

Mark Pilgrim is now blogging on the job.

8:46:22 AM    comment []

Jay Rosen follows up his post on what changed for journalists after 9/11. Lots of chewy stuff, as usual (including takes from Cori Dauber, who will join us for the Piedmont Blog Conference next Saturday.)

My position that not much changed is rooted in my own outlook and experience. I have never been a pacifist, much as I want to be; as a Jew raised by a brilliantly pessimistic father, I have always been taught that good times have historically been caesuras between expulsions and pogroms; as a financial journalist I was taught to be skeptical, to look behind the curtain and read the footnotes; as a child of the '70s I learned that my government lies, but not always.

In short, 9/11 didn't change me, because 9/11 didn't surprise me. The specifics -- method, scale, site, perps, victims -- these things of course I was unprepared for. But the fact of catastrophe and the end of easy times -- right on schedule.

Before 9/11, journalists had an obligation to be fearless and tell the truth and not screw up national security. Those obligations only deepened in the aftermath. What changed was perhaps the complacency of the profession. We need to be careful -- not to get our soldiers and civilians killed, but also not to allow our government to act without accountability in the name of security. Critical thinking is more important than ever.

8:08:20 AM    comment []

Dave Winer: "Why am I, a person who plans to vote Democratic, running an aggregator for Republicans?" He's right (althought Hamilton predated the GOP, and TR left it).

7:51:46 AM    comment []

Malkin meltdown continues...this time on MSNBC, reports Oliver Willis...Malkin's response, as usual, spends a lot of time on the atmospherics and not much on the facts.

Update: the complete Muller-Robinson debunkation of Malkin's book.

7:47:08 AM    comment []