Colorful Berkeley living room on a rainy day.
60 Minutes podcast, useful format, broken into segments.
It pains me to watch the traffic on the UserLand support lists, because it looks like there’s no one but Lawrence at the company these days. The person we hired to be CEO, Scott Young, now has a job at another company, PostPath, and it looks like a full-time job. But he hasn’t resigned, and doesn’t respond to requests for information about how the company is doing. It’s bizarre because I am the founder of the company, one of only two board members, and own the majority of stock in the company. It seems he has moved on, but doesn’t want to let those of us who continue to have an interest in the company take care of it.
It seems to me that this is unfair to the users of the Manila, Radio and Frontier. I watch them ask questions on the mail list, and help each other, but what hope is there for the future? Will there ever be a new release of the products? I see small fixes come sporadically, but I don’t know where they’re coming from.
So I wonder what the users think– what kind of future should UserLand have? Do you think we should try to revive the company and products, or perhaps it would be better if we GPL’d the remaining software, and let the community try to take care of itself? (Note that I am in the community myself, I continue to use the products.)
Post a comment here if you have some thoughts about this.
Doc Searls pays for Radio. He says: “I have great appreciation for Lawrence’s reliable and tireless help over the years.”
Aside from delivering serious flow (thanks!) it’s great to have these ideas heard, esp since they’re about combining the power of amateur and professional media.
In this case, the link itself is a sign of hope.
PS: I have a column in the pipe for the BBC. Hope they run it soon, it’s mostly about archiving for posterity, so I guess in this case, it’ll keep.
I’ve been writing about ways to integrate blogging and news for many years. I keep coming back to it, hoping “now’s the time” — only to find out that it isn’t.
Well it appears now is the time. Maybe blogging has matured to the point where it’s earned the respect of mainstream press, or maybe they’ve fallen far enough into the hole created by the Internet that they’re giving up some of their assumptions about how news is reported. No matter, people are listening and listening is good.
So I’m going to keep pumping ideas out, and hoping they help bridge the gap.
Here’s a piece I wrote in the summer of 2005, from somewhere in the mountains of Montana. I’ll add a little context from 2007.
By now it should be obvious that bloggers are part of the landscape of investigative journalism. If you doubt this, do a little investigation yourself into how the story about Alberto Gonzalez and the US Attorneys is being managed. You’ll find that this time it’s a group of bloggers playing the role of Woodward and Bernstein — the Talking Point Memo people, doing really kickass work. I’ve been reading Josh Marshall every day as the scandal has been developing. And he’s getting credit from some of the professional reporters I respect. Paul Kiel from TPM was a guest on this week’s On The Media, and Josh was a guest on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
I was proud of the Powerline guys when they brought down Dan Rather, not because I agree with their politics (I don’t!) or because I dislike Rather (ditto!) but because the pros had gotten sloppy and careless, and they need the help we bloggers get from the communities we’re part of, they need someone watching over their shoulders asking how they know this or that, or if maybe this reporter has a conflict of some sort. They often do.
The Times has invented The People’s Editor, in response to the Jayson Blair scandal, a job that’s supposed to perform this oversite function, but it doesn’t. So far, they’ve only chosen from their own ranks, people with careers to protect, that keep them from looking deeply into things people don’t want looked into. Further, I can’t send an email to this person and have it taken seriously. He or she doesn’t read the blogs to see what we’re learning about their reporting.
I want them to have a blogger on their editorial page, two or three times a week, someone who comes from our world, someone who will hear what we learn. I know that even if they don’t agree with my politics and vice versa, I will get a respectful hearing from most bloggers. That’s a great first step for any publication to begin the integration with the blogging world. I suppose it seems risky, but you’re going to have to take some risks, big ones, to turn this corner and survive.