I started reading blogs back in 2002 I think. At least thats the year I remember I started reading what seemed to be blogs at the time, people like Camworld and Rebecca Blood. Haven’t said those names in years. Around that same time, I believe I started reading Press Think… Jay Rosen.
Rosen focused his writing on the media, and how the media was or was not adjusting to the world of not only the internet, but the world of personal publishing and what today gets that annoying cliché label web2.0. As a young fledgling journalist and internet publisher, I liked what he had to say sometimes, and disagreed with him vehemently other times. At some point, after 2 good years or more, I think I stopped reading him altogether. But sure enough his name would once again come up in my masters thesis research on the sociology of alternative journalists… why they do what they do and what do they think of their own work; Jay Rosen’s What are Journalists For was at the top of my reading list.
Perhaps one of my big problems with Rosen, that would often cause me to stop reading him for a period of time (I needed a break apparently) was that he was so focused on the mainstream. I can appreciate the unique and important contribution of mainstream media at times, as well as a few mainstream type bloggers.. often referred to as the A list for their dominance in terms of audience and the nature of their fairly conventional issue selection. I felt, as I still feel, that the world of alternative reporting, alternative in style, values, topic, and operational norms, was where the real change making, system challenging journalism was going to come from. As it so often did in the hayday of the Village Voice, The Nation and others. (very American centric today, hang with me)
So when I heard that Jay Rosen was a guest on Radio Open Source, I knew there would be alot of talk of those same old blog names, the ones that cover the same topics as the major media; I can easily count those tired old names on one hand. And I admit, I didn’t want to like the interview. But the truth is, now more than ever, Rosen has seen the evolution of all this and been in the blog trenches since early on. He may not say everything that I like or talk about all the issues I want him to, but this interview that Chris did with him, is excellent. From what is happening and will happen to newspapers, to why certain big blogs had success and what makes them so great… Jay is great to listen to.
As I board my train to Berlin in a few hours, preparing my talk for the Re:publica conference, I strongly recommend you give this interview a listen if you’re at all concerned about how we get our information online, and just what is happening to blogs and our relationships with them.