Comments: Legacy Media Gloats About Fake Steve Jobs Outing

Some interesting ideas, but you're off on a bunch too.

One, Brad lives works from San Francisco, although he does have contacts in publishing.

Two, Brad didn't gloat about beating out bloggers. Lyons did take a dig at Vallywag in his post.

Three, Moreover, "old media" vs "new media" is irrelevant here. There is a very interesting phenomenon as amateur media (people who don't earn their living from content) competes (often quite well) with professional media. But in this split Valleywag and the New York Times are on the same side--we work full time to find out interesting stuff and present it to readers through one or more distribution formats. To do this well we need to have relationships with sources, and those relationships often help and sometimes hurt our mission.

There was a fun game going on among pros and amateurs to answer the implicit challenge of FSJ's anonymity. Brad, the folks at Gawker Media, and anyone else who wanted to join in were on a largely level playing field.

Four, One job that general media has performed forever is to monitor more specialized outlets for items of broader interest. This is good, and indeed, much of what blogs do. Whether attribution is needed depends on the case. But the Internet allows mass publications to offer links to source material and other commentary more easily and the blog culture is helping encourage that.


Posted by Saul Hansell at August 8, 2007 07:56 AM

Hi Saul,
I actually never said that Brad gloated. I didn't mean to imply everyone I discussed in my post did.

Sorry for that confusion. I mean that the article embedded under the phrase "there's been a lot of gloating" was the one doing the gloating.

It's located here:

and if you read it, all the way through it's gloating about how it was traditional media that figured out that a traditional media person wrote the blog:

"Now for the really good part: Both the blogger and the guy who outed him are from staunch bastions of Old Media, Forbes magazine and The New York Times."

and then this a little further down:

"Reached by cell phone in Maine, where he had just begun a family vacation, Lyons said he has heard from several friends who found it ironic that someone from a "dead-tree" media outlet, and not a fellow blogger, had succeeded in solving the puzzle."

"'They said the blogosphere is so nearsighted that they only know the world they inhabit,' Lyons said, noting that several bloggers were trying to use high-tech tricks such as tracing the electronic signatures of e-mails to figure out who Fake Steve was."

"Meanwhile the Times reporter did some shoe-leather reporting by contacting people in the publishing world to gather hints from a proposal for a book that Fake Steve is coming out with in the fall."

My issue with this article is that the author (not stated, just AP.. why do they do that?) does make it sound like a battle, when I think it's a symbiotic relationship, that between bloggers and reporters/Legacy media. And I think it's not good, so my post is in response to this article. I linked to it, thinking that would be clear. I'll modify my post above to make it more so.

I'll also correct that Brad doesn't live in Manhattan, but working for the Times, he must go there, and have contacts in other related businesses. (My other NYTimes reporter friends that live here got to NYC regularly to check in and work back there.) My point is, that's access, that many other bloggers living in Iowa or SF don't have. I also don't think the whole blogosphere can be characterized in one fell swoop, and neither can legacy media, but the writer did it, and I continued the generalization, which actually isn't really good. But my overall point was that the larger conversation that happens daily is more important, and those are personal, that no group is "nearsighted" as a group, or better than another.

I appreciate that Brad did the work to find out who FSJ was; I don't appreciate the AP person telling us legacy media is better than those of us who don't have access and that because the clue was about finding out through publishing circles that somehow bloggers writers aren't as clever.

That framing by AP does make it sound like a battle, and Legacy media won. It's the tone of that article that bothers me. Since it's inside baseball in terms of the contest or game that went on, I can't tell that. I can only read that article, sent to me by someone, and I react, thinking -- why is this an either or for the author, instead of really about conversations between new and old media that go on daily online? Because it doesn't sell newspapers. And it feels distorted. So that's why I said something.


Posted by mary hodder at August 8, 2007 08:51 AM