Scripting News for 3/22/2006

Can you come up with a creative caption for this picture? 

Wired: How France is saving civilization. Amen. 

Jon Udell explores Amazon’s S3 network storage system. 

And Matt Croydon is backing up his Flickr pics to S3. People ask why. Because it’s interop. It’s a blade of grass popping through the ground, certain to be followed by many more. The next blades will be more useful. 

David Berlind expands on the possible connection between OPML and wikis. 

Phil Jones found an XML-RPC interface for a wiki, not the MetaWeblog API, though. 

Steve Rubel notes that the Kremlin supports RSS

Sometimes, rarely, Valleywag has me in stitches. 🙂 

Scott Rosenberg explains how he followed yesterday’s story of the Windows Vista delay, through Digg, the NY Times, Scripting News and Mini-Microsoft, and what this means for professional news organizations. The challenge for professional news organizations is to find a way to deliver all that through their web presence, with the trust and authority of their brand added to the breadth and instant responsiveness of citizen media. I’m ready to help news organizations make this transition, when they’re really ready to do it. Who Microsoft invites to a “conversation” 

Three years ago today: “Microsoft doesn’t really exist to give customers what they want, the harsh truth is that they exist to keep employing more Microsoft people.” 

Thoughts from Sunday’s CyberSalon 

I’m having lunch today with Sylvia to talk about Sunday’s CyberSalon. Here are some of my notes.

I sat in the front row, an unusual place for me to sit, but it allowed me to pass a note to John Markoff, technology reporter for the NY Times, who was one of the panelists. My note said “It doesn’t have to be adversarial.” He wrote a response, which wasn’t public, so I won’t include it here, but a productive discussion followed, and a handshake, and we’re having lunch next week in San Francisco.

If I had a chance to rewrite the note, I might have said — It mustn’t be adversarial, between us, because we already have a mutual adversary, the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, who would, if they could, completely disempower the press, and control the flow of information to the populace. Anyone who’s paying attention in 2006 needs to be concerned about this. I think our concern has morphed to ambivalence, because we all feel so powerless to do anything about it.

But what if we combined resources, saw ourselves as part of the same effort, with the same goal, to improve the flow of information to the citizens, to counter the negative efforts of the government. I have a sneaky feeling that money would start flowing again, while our attention was focused on our mission, and if we looked at each other, pro and amateur, less like adversaries, and more like allies.

I’ve given guest talks at two Markoff journalism classes, one at UC-Berkeley and one at Stanford. At the Stanford one we talked about coverage of City Hall, which he pointed out was a problem, as professional journalism was retracting, it was leaving civic politics uncovered. I may have pointed out, probably did, that the people can fill in and increase coverage of civic politics. I vaguely recall that Markoff was unconvinced. But as time has passed I’ve become more sure this is the answer, and that the respective role of professional and amateur is that of editor and reporter, teacher and student, coach and player. There is a relationship, but it’s a new one, and newness is always hard (but often fun).

We’re not going to get anywhere by calling each other wrong, there’s been finger-pointing both ways, and I’ve done it myself at times, and I’ve got to remind myself that it’s not constructive. The pros have often erred by being dismissive of the bloggers, but maybe we’re getting past that. They now tend to see the problem as economic — that Craig’s List is eating into their revenue. But there’s a balancing opportunity. Some, perhaps not many, of the people reading Craig’s List, share the passion for informaiton and democracy that a good idealistic reporter does, and will do it for love, not money. I believe the vast amount of editorial writing will be done for no money. This isn’t really new, after all, the publications don’t pay their sources — and that’s ultimately where the information comes from, right?

I envision an offsite, off the record, not for quoting or attribution, no grandstanding, no blogging, with five thoughtful reporters and five thoughtful bloggers. We set up in Big Sur for a week, go for hikes, sit around campfires, and do the bonding things that human resource consultants have Silicon Valley management teams do. During working hours our job is to figure out how we can help each other. I have no doubts that if we can relax and approach this creatively, we can solve a lot of problems that way, very quickly, because there’s a lot of potential locked up in the connection between amateur and professional media.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Dave,

    Thanks for the Scott Rosenberg link; oddly I’d just been reading an opinion piece in the Financial Times about – The fallacy that bloggers have replaced real news hounds


  2. […] Anyway, whilst passing the time I came across Valleywag via Dave Winer. I’d heard this mentioned a few times but hadn’t ventured over to check it out. […]


  3. Posted by Marcelo Lopez on March 23, 2006 at 7:30 am

    Sorry Dave, but I’m with OM on this one….

    It’s just another kneejerk reaction on the part of the government that doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going. Care to comment on the efficacy and intelligence of setting up a 2 year probationary period for younger workers who can get fired with NO REASON being cited for the dismissal ? This is a government who’s reasoning you want to back ? Dave. C’mon.


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