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Session 2- Best of Both Worlds- (Part 5) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.

Rebecca MacKinnon – to Dan Gillmore: You’ve written a guide for bloggers. What is your take on this? observations?

Dan Gillmore – Global Voices has to make its own decision about what it would be. If there’s an aim to be more journalistic in some way, there’s going to be a need for greater transparency of who are the people writing. Where are they from, motivation…? Transparency illuminates a lot; you can’t illuminate bias or point of view, and in blogging you may not want to try, but you may have a better shot of getting through the speedbump you’re going to hit too, that someone games the system in a way that will discredit the whole thing…

Dean Wright – following up on Dan’s point about transparency…This is also a lesson the main stream media can learn – in being more transparent about their research and sources. Why do people in particular main stream media tend do be suspicious of (content especially) blogs? A: we use sources, go to thinktanks and politicians; go to people who have a title, maybe an academic. We’re comfortable with that level of authority. Now online we have people establishing authority through lots of different methods; compelling stories to tell, good writers; a lot of main stream media folks aren’t comfortable with thee alternate methods of establishing authority. I work for a global discussion program; it’s my job to be subjective. I don’t care if you’re subjective, I want your view on things. We have discussions about the death penalty, elections, free speech; it isn’t whether you are objective or not – but what I ask my colleagues to do is, “take out ‘blogger’ and put in ‘first-person eyewitness’…”and they’re a lot more comfortable with that. Tthese are just some of the discussions we have…

Rebecca MacKinnon – when you read blogs from Egypt, e.g., it ‘s just linked going down to a cafe, listening to conversations, finding out what the buzz is.

Onnik Krikorian – I’ve gone into journalism. I don’t see this as making me different from any other blogger… as someone else said, as long as the content is good, if you like the way it’s presented; you will choose whether to respect it or not. Just one other story. I suspect, and others may as well, that some media feel very threatened by blogs. I just want to tell a story re: elections an Azerbaijan . I’m based in Armenia, but looking into Azerbaijan. and someone posted a photoblog; they also said on the page “you’re free to reuse… as long as proper attribution? is given”. Ironically, I’d just started writing for these people as well. They sent me a warning… asking me to remove the photos. I sent back a note, and said, on your disclaimer page, it says…and they wrote back and said, no no, we don’t want it…I personally think they highlighted me, and didn’t want a blog to use their material…. maybe they’re worried b/c we can update more interesting info than this site can. During the Azerbaijan thing, maryam’s ost about ? info was some of the best info out there. I want to ask Jeremy a question — he also has an online publication dealing with former soviet space; he is also one of the reasons I considered blogging in the first place. I want to know as the editor in chief of an online publication, why is he considering blogs?

Jeremy Druker – I was going to [speak] anyway, I think all this talk about the mainstream… was framed improperly from the beginning. It was really a good story that this new medium could threaten conventional journalism. But it gets to the point, really what people have said — it’s a great complement to traditional media. Our mission : we’re about freedom of expression and getting local voices out. so we’re main stream media but we have a mission. We’re interested in getting local-language blogs, and promote them; and to promote freedom of speech locally. As an editor of a net publication, I see it as an incredible complement to our content. We have rather heavy analytical articles not often ‘slice-of-life’ and I see blogs as an incredible way to tell our readers something we’re not telling them in our normal content. In that, very heavy political articles about transformation, transition, where things are going; once we get these blogs [set up] — someone in … Ireland, Iceland, Asia — we’ll have an idea of what [these people] are doing. Then we [can] have a great amt of commentary and a great amt of slice-of-life. People will still want analysis, and will want it from people in those countries, not from journalists that parachute in…

Onnik Krikorian – One of the things about Azerbaijan is there are [basically] no local reporters. Bloggers are just a source; journalists have always worked with sources; you’ve always worked with local people, and attendees at some protest meeting giving their very opinionated view. I’m lucy from the bbc; getting schizophrenic here, trying to describe why that is I’ve been a main stream journalist and a reporter; I’m not sure what I will be in the future. Will I be a ms reporter again, I’m not sure; will I be a blogger in the future, certainly. We’re certainly very interested in being in contact with bloggers; and we want to know from bloggers, and from Global Voices — what do you want from main stream media? What idea would you like to see in your next phase of development as paper retreat from? on the ground for various reasons, like it or not; there are many reasons why working together will be fantastic. atm, the resources are weighted on the main stream media side; but whether this will continue who can say? [a couple more questions, then sj with a quick wiki-demo; then steinberg talking about pledgebank]

Dan Gillmore – it’s not a journalistic competition; at least it shouldn’t be. The more the merrier, the competition that worries mass journalists is financial. That has relatively little to do with bloggers; it’s the swarm of companies tracking the main media revenue base So just keep doing this… don’t worry that it’s scaring journalists from a journalist point of view. They’ll respond in a good way to this (kind of competition) re Asia blogging (newyouasia.net): What do you make of all this? just quickly, we have a local girl who started writing for our blog… there are quite a few English-speaking posters in Central Asia, and they are some of the more active people and regard blogs as proper journalism; this is what I take from the discussion: I’m not really interested in what we’re doing, if we’re in competition with normal news sources; but what do people in the Caucasus and Central Asia think; how can we make them blog more?

Rebecca MacKinnonack – that’s a great segue into the next session, since we’re talking about how to bring people more into the conversation. I’d like to thank Dean again…many more thoughts before we say goodbye?

Dean Wright – these are thee kinds of conversations we need to be having. I think the reporting Global Voices is doing a round the world, is in line with what Reuters needs to do more of in the future…

Rebecca MacKinnon – I’m hoping we can continue to discuss precisely how we move forward… on the email lists, on irc, on the blog[s]…

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)



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