Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Evan Zimmerman has posted audio files of the Piedmont Blog Conference.

They are big honking MP3 files, zipped and ready for you to download over a fast connection. Evan can't support them forever, so get 'em while they last.

6:59:39 PM    comment []

The editor of a good-sized regional daily newspaper hears a speech by the mayor of the city in which the paper is based. He doesn't think much of the speech.

Used to be -- say, last week -- the editor would have had to wait until his Sunday column, or next Sunday's column, to respond.

Now he writes about it at his weblog while it's fresh in his mind, and in the minds of those who attended the event. Here's John Robinson on the remarks of Greensboro mayor Keith Holliday: "He encouraged the 800-or-so business and community leaders there to think for themselves, advice, I suspect, the audience had already learned by themselves many, many years ago."

Note that JR may still write about the speech in his print column. But if he does, his thinking will be further evolved and there may even have been a reaction from the mayor or others to consider in the dead-tree version. The blog moves the public discussion along in real time, and might improve the print edition, too.

6:39:31 PM    comment []

My ten year old daughter found out that the head of her school is retiring. She suggested I take the job. I reminded her that I am in no way qualified for it. She said, "C'mon dad -- you could break out the Zeppelin and declare recess all day."

What have I done to my children?

Which reminds me that I heard "Jet" by Paul McCartney and Wings on the way to work this morning on Oldies 92.3, and I thought as I will every time I hear a song from that album until I die of my sixth grade trip to Umstead State Park, and I thanked Paul McCartney yet again for teaching me the word "suffragette," if not how to pronounce it correctly, and I wondered, still, what the hell is that song about, anyway?

3:52:18 PM    comment []

Todd Morman says the News & Record "is the leading newspaper in the state when it comes to experimenting with today's most promising online trend." Weblogs, that is, "With comments enabled, thank you."

He challenges his own hometown paper to get with the program. "Can you imagine the N&O attempting something like that? I couldn't, but figured I'd be fair and ask them tomorrow morning."

Newspapers have entered a new era of reader interaction and press criticism. Allen Johnson compared blogs to letters to the editor, and that's a good frame of reference to start with. But the paper can't edit these letters or choose not to publish them.

I think local papers should get better (not a knock on current quality, but a recognition of this new tool's possible effectiveness) and the whole local media scene much more interesting.

Update: Anton Zuiker sez: "Maybe newspapers can serve us by standing at the back of the gallery and telling us what’s going on all around us when we’re so busy peering at infinity."

2:09:00 PM    comment []

Lore, an online journal for grad students and adjunct professors who teach writing, is seeking submissions about blogging from writing teachers. More info here from blogging prof Nels Highberg.

9:21:29 AM    comment []

"This is Erskine's seventh event today." Blue North Carolina's Matt Compton blogs a Bowles appearance at UNC.

9:05:37 AM    comment []

The Mike Barber campaign site (unveiled at the conference) is a nice, neat, conventional web site with a discussion forum attached.

Maybe the forum will make a difference. Accessibility is a good thing, and a lively forum can generate lots of interest and excitement. But unless the candidate can somehow use the forum to drive discussion, it's a Q&A mechanism when it comes to presenting his voice -- not as passive as a standard static site, but limited in its ability to present Barber and his ideas in anything but a reactive context.

I respect the fact that Barber has a family and a law career in addition to his political job and campaign, and I think it's wise to avoid launching a blog if you can't keep it up. I'll link to the forum and hope it heats up. Certainly the Barber site is better than the current offering from opponent Mike Winstead -- but Mike W's is supposed to be updated soon. Stay tuned.

8:52:32 AM    comment []