Monday, March 28, 2005

RE-IMAGINING THE NEWSPAPER. Today's Globe carries an AP article on the experiment under way at the Greensboro News & Record, in North Carolina. The idea is to use blogs and interactivity to re-invent the paper as an ongoing conversation with its readers rather than the traditional one-way street.

Jay Rosen has written voluminously about Greensboro on his PressThink blog. You'll find a reasonably good introduction here. You might even stumble across a skeptical comment or two from me. It strikes me that one potentially huge stumbling block to all this is that it presupposes intense participation on the part of readers - and one of the biggest problems the news business faces is that so many people are pressed for time.

Still, this is obviously a worthwhile experiment and bears watching.

APPLE V. BLOGGERS. John Mello quotes me in this TechNewsWorld piece on Apple's lawsuit against bloggers.

THE WRONG TEST. Los Angeles Times media columnist David Shaw argues that shield laws protecting journalists from having to give up their sources should not include bloggers. To which I say, of course, not all bloggers. The test should be not who's a journalist, but who's engaged in journalism. Shaw writes:

Given the explosive growth of the blogosphere, some judge is bound to rule on the question one day soon, and when he does, I hope he says the nation's estimated 8 million bloggers are not entitled to the same constitutional protection as traditional journalists - essentially newspaper, magazine, radio and television reporters and editors.

Shaw's use of the semi-phony eight million figure is the giveaway. Yes, by some counts, there are eight million or more people with weblogs out there. But surely there are only a few dozen to a few hundred trying to engage in anything even remotely resembling journalism. A judge well-versed in media law should be able to figure out who's doing journalism and who isn't.

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