March 31, 2004
Extension on CFP Early Registration
Last Day to Register on the Cheap for CFP...
Computers, Freedom and Privacy that is, Ap 20-23, 2004. The major tech policy conference of the year gets more expensive if you register after today. Act now! And with a program like this, you can't justify *not* going to some of this (It's at the Clairmont Hotel in Berkeley).
Air America on the Internet
Trying to listen to Al Franken's new show on Air America. Live now if you live in three states or can listen through the internet. Real keeps cutting in and out with it. Or their server does. How 'bout another format guys? So far I've heard commercials for the show itself, AmEx, and the show again. But no show.
Just wait til Howard Stern does this. They need to better anticipate the loads and untapped desire for content....
Dang it, the sound is gone again.
Back... "Farther to the Left Than The John Birch Society..." lots of commericals, and it's gone again. Well, maybe another day.
Got it back at the end, where they went back to "Ann" who was screaming mad. "I can't believe how incompetent you are!" Al: "Well, I can'd disagree with you there, Ann." Ann: "I'm a lawyer, Al, and I can tell you this: this is actionable! Let me outta here." Then Al said let's just do the interview now, and he asked her what was wrong with liberals, which she started to answer, then started screaming again. Pretty good. Damned Liberals!
However, unless they keep Bebe coming (she's sassy), this will get boring. I think three hours is too much Al. How bout a very tight hour of comedy?
Rip Mix Burn The Election
The Sloganator appeared a few weeks ago when Bush Cheney '04 decided to put a slogan/poster maker online. Oh thank you we said! Of course, we immediately made posters and then they took it down. No sense of humor at all. Until they threatened to give us popups! I think they know exactly what they are doing with that offer. Links via Freedom To Tinker.
Can't wait to see those remixed political ads.
March 30, 2004
Update on News and Use of Headlines and Snippets by Bloggers
- Infringements of our copyright does not include where bloggers quote from and link back to our original story, or where sites display a headline and link back to reuters.com.
Nice to know they see this kind of blogging of news stories as fair use.
Technorati Hits 2 Million Blogs
Exciting news. (I'm working with Technorati on two projects; I love playing with this stuff!)
March 29, 2004
Why News and Technical DRM Don't Mix: Linking and Linking Expression are Key
Nonfiction media, the news, has 24 hours of high value, and then the content turns into something else. It's a swift transition news content makes into the status of history, an archive of facts and information, a social accounting, that has a different meaning and use after it stops being news. The production of it relies on various institutions and practices, as well as political, social and economic forces that change over time and shift it's place in society. The press is privileged, as it has constitutional protections for freedom of the press, libel protections, and other legal protections, not to mention access to governments, records and situations that the rest of the public doesn't have. There is a reason why we don't force the press to be licensed or pay a tax, and grant some level of immunity for search and subpoena or prior restraint. These privileges are there in exchange for certain responsibilities the press accepts in a kind of social agreement with users to serve the public with useful, trustworthy information, or find itself irrelevant and disdained.
At the Mediamorphosis (API) conference two weeks ago, one of the three workgroups of participants proposed using Digital Rights Management tools (DRM) to help insure secure content. These weren't technologists but I don't think they meant a firewall to make their content secure in archives, but rather DRM that would prevent the content from being opened by anyone anywhere outside their firewall that they didn't authorize. The subject then came up in the blog where it was noted that Michael Silberman (MSNBC) said: I think DRM could be used to keep people from stealing, and get them to pay for content. And it could be used to facilitate the making of content.
I think some of this desire for DRM on the part of creators of news content has to do with thinking that when users access free news content online, it means to creators that users don't value the content because they don't pay for it. Under the old model, paying for a newspaper meant to users and creators alike, that they were paying for the paper and the delivery, and to the creators, that their content was valued because it was bought. The newspaper's business department knows the real story, which is that those subscriptions don't cover the cost of content, ads and classifieds do. Subscriber zipcodes helped sell the ads so subscriptions attracted revenues and defrayed the cost of paper and delivery. But perhaps they also said something more about the need by those who report the news to feel like their work is valued. Corresponding with this is the desire to protect what they see as the "free" accessing of their sweat and hard work, with little regard by the user for that work.
What some reporters don't see is that online the content's value is expressed through users linking, thereby expresssing their own attention as well as referring other users, under an ad model, or clicking through RSS feeds to the content websites as well as the general authority generated by past good work. Users value good work and they show it by coming back and by linking or following other's links. (I understand that the current biz model relies heavily on paper business models paying for content generation, followed by the repurposing of that content under a licensing fee to their websites that use the ads to generate revenue. But I do think that eventually content creators will figure out how to leverage ads to pay for that content generation online.)
DRM the way Silberman describes using it is something each content maker would define, where they would decide what sort of restrictions to make on users accessing and distributing the content. Ordinary users, if they have trouble opening the article, sending it to friends and family or saving it indefinitely, all of which is annoying, will abandon the information because using it doesn't reflect the social norms they understand with fair usage of news content, and it confuses them, but hackers will figure out how to get around it. And imagine the chaos for users as they access different content makers' work, each with different settings and restrictions.
DRM is a different technology than a firewall in that DRM is wrapped around the media and goes to the user's machine, whereas the firewall resides at the servers of the content provider and is a barrier to entry. DRM as both the technology solution, as well as a legal structure, is not a sound way to go with this content most valuable for 24 hours, versus say a work valuable for many, many years, something like a novel or movie or music might constitute, which is a different issue and argument for the social, copyright and technical issues. News content has the potential, if you share it, to keep you in front of users as an authority and make users happy to be a part of your information community. Users will go elsewhere if they meet technical difficulty, and if the information is not available under less complicated circumstances, they will abandon their search for that content in favor of some other topic or content they can get more easily. But this is a use and technology argument against DRM for news and I don't think that is the most important issue here, though it is important.
There is also the issue that there has never been DRM that has not been cracked eventually. That being the case, technical news DRM would eventually be cracked by those who want access (as opposed to legal DRM which might make cracking illegal, like the DMCA, which I don't want to get into here, but it has been discussed quite a bit in other posts if you want more information.) Practically speaking, it is unlikely that news DRM would work any better to achieve the goals of the news makers, than it has for record companies, movie makers or gaming companies. But this is also not the most important reason not to implement DRM in news content.
There is a point to consider in the case Ernie Miller wrote up a while ago about the copyright case on newspaper headlines in Japan. I think though that something similar here in the US would not win because the title of an article would fall under the "names, titles and short phrases" that don't get copyright protection, partly because they are factual, even if they are a kind of expression (tends to fall more in the trademark area of IP for names and phrases). Therefore, using DRM to completely restrict an article, to the extent that it denies the user access to the title, author, publisher and date as unprotected metadata, might keep users from seeing this metadata. This metadata is also content in a way, and contains some factual information around the event that isn't really copyrightable at all. Also, the amount of effort needed to create and publish the work significantly affects the value of the work and the way the law treats using bits of it under fair use, even if our copyright laws are too obtuse and out of date to recognize these as well as the specific digital vs. analog media differences. But users instinctively see this, as the use the media, and therefore expect different things from digital news media than from analog articles, expect to share articles they see with people in email, quote from them in blogs and repost headlines; they have more expectations with digital news media.
The most important reasons news media companies and creators should not implement DRM is because of fair use considerations of the content itself, as well as the maintenance of their positions as reporters of news, and authorities of information.
Online, bloggers and other web content makers use and depend on traditional journalism by discussing news within their writing, as well as by linking, making traditional journalism a kind of authority. These users are filtering for audiences, pointing to things, saying to their readers: look at this for some reason, and here, I'm telling you what I think about it, and here's the link to the article itself, to some other backup to do with the subject, to someone else talking about the same thing. Snippets of content, used because of fair use, commented and fisked, are key to this as well, to show what is being discussed. Imagine Roger Ebert having to review a movie without the clips, describing the whole thing. It's possible, but not nearly as powerful as being able to cut and paste something that needs to be shown.
So Reuters announces plans to use FAST ESP or Fast Search to scan for copyright violations across thousands of feeds. Tom Curley at AP announced last Fall that he wanted to wrap AP content in DRM. Both are misguided attempts to control their business models as they are disintermediated by digital media (and like every other industry facing the paradigm shift due to the information age, it means sorting out a new business model and changing, not holding on to what you've got -- or you'll find yourself in the company of buggy producers). It's not that they shouldn't police unauthorized commercial use of their products. But for anything but those problems which could be solved by search systems like FastESP, they should abandon DRM and other technical self-help methods to keep people from their content. Using any technology that gets in the way of users interacting with the content annoys people and lessens their overly-informed and highly mobile audiences. This is not a way to win friends or be an authority. And, if a company is using a Reuters or AP feed in an unauthorized manner, it would seem to me they could contact them directly. If the corporate user wasn't willing to comply, and are outside of any legal bounds, what is to stop that same illicit feed user from just hacking the DRM? In the end, those who want the feed will hack it, and all the folks who are just readers with a lot of choices will move on to other sources when they can't open or talk about the content online.
Here's what you want: users who, every time something in the world happens, think, hey, I need this media company's content, this writer, this site's take. If you use DRM or make barriers, you will reduce your standing as an authority for news both as content and as linking expression because invariably some won't be able to open it or link to it. If you make yourself unlinkable, you will cause yourself to be irrelevant across the influencers on the internet that point to the sources, filter them, for other users. Who links to the Wall Street Journal? In Technorati, they have 354 links compared with the NYTimes at 39,412 and the Washington Post at 21,319. Who do you think has more authority online? The paper with premiere content in its niche and 600,000 online subscribers, and a lovely firewall? Or the paper of record. Now imagine losing that authority with the DRM you wrap around your articles.
You're nothing online if you're not linkable.
March 28, 2004
I had to Put Something Else At the Top of This
Okay, this is not a napsterization post either. Well, maybe it is. But I had to do something else after the last rant, and my longer essay is too long to read now, as I'm hungover... last night about 11 people came over for sashimi and champagne, and rolls and rolls of sushi, Japanese pastries and oranges in cointreau, and many sakatinis, lots of Riesling, and coindreaus and viogniers from Eric Texier, my favorite coindreau guy. And at the end, well, what could have been the end, they all asked sweetly for the homemade lemoncello. This has become a habit at midnight, after a decadent dinner party. It started last fall at another one where I offered it after dinner with Vin Santo from Siena, and now, 10 or so dinner parties later, they demand it. I'm going to have to go into full production right away, because I'm down to my last two bottles from the last batch. And, being 27 or 29 and a few years younger than me, they can all handle this so much better than I can, at least the next day. But this isn't why I'm writing this.
The real reason is that after, we went around the corner at say 2am, to my friend Bill's for an 80's vinyl dance party. Thankfully, his upstairs neighbor was also attending the dinner party, so we danced til around 4am. Go Go's "Automatic," Cheap Trick, Loverboy, Devo, MJackson (the wall), Madonna "Get into the Groove," etc. Does it matter that they were in the 8th grade when I was at clubs in NY and at college dancing with this stuff? No. We had a blast, though I have certain regrets as I write this right at this moment. But anyway, the topic at hand is just that vinyl, playing records (they have about 1000 of them) is so great, and you know, so much nicer to listen than mp3s, though I love the convenience and portability. Anyway, I'm sure we were violating some digital copyright of late, though we were doing analog, dancing to loud music blasting around Bill and L's place, up to S's and out to the streets. Mmmm, but semi-public performances are fun.
March 26, 2004
I Am So Pissed!
This has nothing to do with Napsterization. I just need to vent.
What the fuck is going on? On Monday, on the way up to Tahoe, I paid $2.29 a gallon for regular gas in Berkeley. When I got to Tahoe, in the most trafficy tourist area, I drove by the gas station at North Shore where it's usually way more than anywhere else in the state, and it was $2.11.
Today, I bought gas for $2.39 a gallon and then heard on the radio that while the average price in the US is $1.74, in CA the average is $2.14. Fucking hell.
This isn't about gas (we use too much, my next car will be a Prius, I swear). It's about California. Remind me. Why is this the most expensive place on earth besides London and Tokyo? I mean, I gave up CA wine 5 years ago for two reasons: it was not very subtle in the flavor department (McInerney calls our reds "Arnold Schwarzeneggers" and our whites "Pamela Andersons"), but there was no subtly at all regarding price, which for the same brands had tripled over three years. We were paying for the real estate. I already buy toiletries in NY because they are so much cheaper, as are clothes and shoes, even less in Europe. And eating is less everywhere else, as is the subway compared to BART, and did I mention coffee? Or housing? Or cable? Or the price of cars? A friend told me at a meeting early this morning that she's buying a mini, but the premium on buying one in the Bay Area is $1500 more than everywhere else in the country. She's calling Nevada and Utah right now.
Dang, this is fucking ridiculous. Why can't we pay what everyone else in the country pays? (Oh, and I'll be swearing over this until the FCC regulates my speech too.) Why is this happening? Do they think everyone is a Microsoft millionaire? I know Prop 13 is behind this, because no one will sell their property (they want to keep the low tax basis), driving up demand, and causing massive overbidding of properties on the few sales that occur. Yeah, it may be a bubble, but now even new owners have incentive not to burst it by reforming that law. And the prices are reflected in everything else we do, buy, everyone hired, everything we touch. Way to go NY. You're off the most expensive list. I swear, I love being there partly because it's so reasonable.
This sucks wind out of an exhaust pipe.
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming now. I'm done with this rant for now.
Jeff Jarvis Proposes a Citizen's Mediacenter
Read about it here. It's an interesting idea. Of course, I totally would love to attend the Rosen/Shirky/Jarvis class.
March 25, 2004
When Your Users Give You Feedback: Conferences with Lawyers and Technologists
Got back into town yesterday after a couple days with friends skiing (yes, you can parallel and go straight down the black diamond runs after 6 years off the hill -- shocking -- I thought I would be lookin bad after all that time...). Anyway, had an email from David Opderbeck at Seton Hall Law about their latest conference on P2P on April 16, 2004 (check it out, if you can go).
Anyway, there were some others on the email, and I responded to the conference which appears to mainly be by lawyers directed at lawyers with this:
- Interesting seminar and there is a chance I'll be in NY that day and might be able to attend.
- Regarding the content, as a non-lawyer, technologist type, Iíd really like to hear about the legal aspects of broadcatching, or RSS + bitorrent. Iíve been using bitorrent for P2P filesharing for around 10 months, and really like it, and as an RSS user for the past two years, love the idea of getting updates or subscriptions to software, media and the like via this combination. Ernie Miller who understands both the legal and engineering aspects deeply has been writing on this topic, but I havenít seen anything else anywhere.
- One comment I get all the time about bIPlog is that users and technologists who arenít lawyers really want to get a sense of the impact the law has on technology development and the barriers IP creates for them, but when they read most blogs, they know lawyers, not users are writing, and they canít figure it out. Your thing may just be for lawyers (and those of us who follow it more closely) but I really think there is a space somewhere there between lawyers talking, and then the confused technologists who donít know how to map the law onto their stuff. Many bIPlog readers tell me they heave a huge sigh of relief when they see something explained in common terms they can understand, about law and technology and the social impacts, because while they are highly educated, they arenít lawyers, and just want a more practical and social take. I realize the law isnít so simple, but it maybe that getting lawyers and technologists talking together about the legal effects on the practical use of P2P serves a community you hadnít thought of as needing help in this way. Not sure. And maybe this isnít the day to do it, but I do think you ought to think about it.
- Also, I often attend conferences where one group talks and is the focus, often leaving out others. Your thing is the lawyerís take, but I wonder where are the users, the builders and protypers of tech, the people who see technology and the internet as air we breath for dear life. I know thatís a bit impassioned, but the gulf between people who are 40 and people who are 20 is so huge, it is nearly incomprehensible to those who donít see the network in everything they touch, everyone they see. For those who operate/socialize that way, the place where they breath and eat the networks, they cannot comprehend why the law reflects what it does, with P2P or any other tech, because those are just tools that better integrate the network they live within. Law is just a set of barriers, sometimes to their activities, and so they think the law and technology should reflect social norms, be mapped to technology and what we do with it. When it doesnít, they think itís stupid, like Friendster which is a system that cannot reflect the complicated and messy ways we socialize, any more than copyright law reflects the messy ways we consume and alter technology. (I do realize the age thing doesnít quite work, because there are 40 year olds breathing the internet and 20 year olds who donít use any technology, but you know what I mean more generally.)
- Anyway, this may seem too frank, but if you really want to think about your topic, I think, it all comes down to how we socialize with the law and technology, because frankly, they are supposed to work for the people, not against them (though people could mean a minority Ė artists and creators Ė over a majority Ė users). And so if it were up to me, I would want to know what is now in the law, how technology differs, what is now in technology and how the law differs (I think these are asymmetrical), what do people do verses how the law is, what do creators do verses what the law is, and how do all four map (could be four transparencies), and then tell me whatís out of sync and letís think about why. Does it need to change (tech, creators, people or the law) or what? Where is the conflict? What are the mechanisms that are causing that conflict? Maybe itís not at all what we think now. It might be something no one has yet thought about.
- This may not have been too helpful since you already have things planned out, but maybe itís something to think about in future. But I will blog your event nonetheless, and look forward to attending if I can do so.
Frank Field pointed out (he was on the email too) that Ed Felten has blogged on this same issue here (though I'm behind on site visits and my aggregator still):
- Now I have nothing against lawyers. Some lawyers really understand technology. A few even understand it deeply. But if I were running a conference on law and technology, and I invited only technologists to speak, this would be seen, rightly, as a big problem. It wouldn't be much of an excuse for me to say that those technologists know a lot about the law. If I'm inviting ten speakers for a conference on technology and the law, surely I have one slot for somebody whose primary expertise is in the law.
- Yet the same argument, running in the other direction, seems not to apply
sometimes. Why not?
Well, I guess Ed and I were on the same meme there without realizing it. Anyway, I hope David isn't offended by our questioning of the logic of his conference, and that these discussions lead to conferences which try to map multiple disciplines across the same space, translating the various languages we speak within our disciplines. These problems are so difficult to solve, there is no way we can do this within a single discipline or from a single point of view, because they cross so many areas and expertises.
Free Culture is Free For Download
Larry Lessig's Free Culture is available here for download under a Creative Common's license. Today, it's No 2 under Technorati's most linked to book list with 14 links (No 1 is Richard Clark's Against All Enemies with 61 links and Al Franken's Lies has 11 links at No 3 but since I just linked to them all, I guess they will each jump by one...).
Anyway, while I'm unlikely to read the thing on say my Treo 600, not to mention the "big" screen (wo -- 21 inches of Free Culture!), but it's still fun to have it on my pda.
March 21, 2004
Anonymous Sources? Used Less or More Since the New Policy?
Jay Rosen reminds me with his Die, Strategy News piece on strategy journalism, at the end, that the article he's discussing uses anonymous sources from camp Bush to characterize how they see camp Kerry. We now have a comparable period of time post-Anonymous Sources Policy Change to revisit this issue since last month, where 2 weeks, as well as 2 days, of "anonymous" or "anonymity" search results were compared. 16 news organizations, including the NYTimes and AP, signed off on this policy which includes:
- The use of unidentified sources is reserved for situations in which the newspaper could not otherwise print information it considers reliable and newsworthy.
But it appears that when anonymous sources are used, besides for those international political situations or for people who fear for their jobs or are under threat of prosecution, those requesting anonymity are still doing it for the same reasons: they want to hide, not be accountable, to plant information with the public in the marketplace of ideas, without having their biases exposed, or having their ideas accounted for over time and across articles. It also means that reporters can continue to use the same sources over and over, with no tracking because we don't know the names of these sources. It appears to be a particularly bad habit with Bush Administration officials, though Democratic strategists and others are doing it as well.
My conclusion: this is just as much a problem as before, though in some ways the NYTimes is doing a little better now than a month ago, because they are explaining a little more often and more thoroughly why this is done. Three of the NYTimes articles are clearly using anonymous sources for good reasons, but the other five do not, and are therefore not following the new policy. AP seems to be using anonymous sources just as much as before in articles on domestic issues, but far more with international stories. 4 of the AP articles are domestic, and they use anonymous sources in ways that do not comply with their new policy.
JD Lasica in the comments of the first post notes: I've never met a reporter who didn't wince (at least a little) when someone asks to go on background. I understand what he is saying, but I also think that it's too easily accepted, even if people do wince. It's up to reporters to stand up for the public, and the public record, to say that their paper's policy is not to accept these comments off the record. Part of the reason the press is protected in the Constitution is because of the important role they play in the public discourse, and the trade off, morally, is that they must protect the public by forcing people to speak honestly. I believe that once people get used to seeing frank remarks on the record they will still speak out but won't ask for their words to be anonymous, and won't manipulate reporters this way.
Search terms: anonymous or anonymity
Date range post-policy: March 6 to March 21, 2004
NYTimes.com results: 1002 articles
AP results from WDC Post with AP only selected: 607 (many of these are reposted articles, with either no alterations or altered slightly, so the same articles show up numerous times, and I'm not sure how to count them and don't have the time to really get it right, so I won't try to characterize what the real number is.)
Compare this to the search for the two week period before the policy change:
For the two day searches, which I did go through to find and include only articles using anonymous sources and so removed any cites that were not about anon sources but that used these words:
Date range post policy: Feb 26 and 27
NYTimes.com results: 9
AP results: 15 distinct articles, with only 4 not on international politics.
March 20 and 21:
NYTimes.com results: 8
AP results: 28 distinct articles total, with only 4 not on international politics.
Note: the AP search was done on the WashingtonPost.com site, where AP can be isolated in the advanced search function.
See below under more for a comparison of the articles and text that use these sources.
Examples of usage from articles over the last two days, March 20/21:
We've Got Algorithm, but How About Soul? (or here) By BILL WERDE Published: March 21, 2004
- Whether the technology was used for this particular single or not, sources at several labels, both major and indie, confirmed that the product was being used. But their requested anonymity and the vehemence of protest from Anastacia's camp are telling. Since Hit Song Science was announced publicly a little more than a year ago, it has been decried as everything from snake oil to the death of innovation in music - largely because, like the Dia art project, it seems to reduce both the creative process and popular tastes to mere equations.
This article actually includes context and let's the reader know why sources don't want to be on the record.
Airlines Told to Supply Data on Loan Panel By MICHELINE MAYNARD Published: March 20, 2004
- Word of the subpoenas had circulated in aviation circles since late February. But some officials expressed surprise at the inclusion of Mr. Montgomery, who they said is known as a straight arrow. "He wouldn't even take a Coke from anyone," said an executive at one airline, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
No clue as to why this quote and person need to be anonymous.
Clinton Aides Plan to Tell Panel of Warning Bush Team on Qaeda By PHILIP SHENON Published: March 20, 2004
- "Until 9/11, counterterrorism was a very secondary issue at the Bush White House," said a senior Clinton official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "Remember those first months? The White House was focused on tax cuts, not terrorism. We saw the budgets for counterterrorism programs being cut."
If these Clinton officials are going to testify, and put this information into the press' hands, why not be quoted directly?
Knicks Have Little Time and Much to Prove By CHRIS BROUSSARD Published: March 20, 2004
"Stephon is an absolute enigma," one general manager said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "He's a brilliant talent, he can score points in bunches and he has assists numbers that, quite frankly, match Jason Kidd's over his career. But he has this stigma that he's not a team player, that he's a guy that can't win."
Why the reporter would allow this when the information could either be gotten another way, and other managers are quoted directly, is unclear. Also, the manager's motives are not explained.
Recruiting of Parents Lags for Some School Councils By ELISSA GOOTMAN Published: March 20, 2004
- One parent coordinator at a Manhattan school, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing her job, said that in recent weeks she had received two or three messages on her cellphone from officials at the regional office, urging her to come up with candidates. "But you can't force people to do things that they really don't want to do," she said.
90-Day Media Strategy by Bush's Aides to Define Kerry By JIM RUTENBERG Published: March 20, 2004
- "The goal is right now," said a Bush adviser, "while he's weak, while they're financially struggling, to strip him of all the good that somehow in my opinion erroneously got attached to him."
- "He peels like an onion," said an associate of Mr. Bush. "People aren't like, `I really believe in this guy and I'm not willing to accept that information.' They accept it very easily."
As Jay Rosen says: But none of them (the new anon policy exceptions) applies to Bush advisors taking swipes--anonymously--at John Kerry.
Online Poker: Hold 'Em and Hide 'Em By IAN URBINA Published: March 19, 2004
- Ben and Jimmy would only speak to a reporter if their last names stayed out of the newspaper. That's not surprising, because they are the human faces on the wrong end of Mr. Spitzer's public campaign to shut down the hugely profitable online gambling industry.
- Although they asked for anonymity, the two men say they are not hugely worried about Mr. Spitzer's campaign, despite the attorney general's relative success.
AP: of the 28 distinct articles, 4 were not on international politics:
GOP Looks to Retain Control of House By DAVID ESPO Pub: Sunday, March 21, 2004; 2:05 PM
- Despite predictions of victory, a half-dozen Democratic strategists, all with significant experience in congressional races, said in interviews that the GOP is likely to retain control.
- "Taking the House back is not realistic," said one, who, refused to speak except on condition of anonymity.
This is ridiculous. Why is this person's information being used, why is this quote necessary to the story. The information could be obtained elsewhere.
Bush Holds First Campaign Event in Fla. By PETE YOST Pub: Saturday, March 20, 2004; 12:24 PM
- At the first official campaign rally of his re-election bid, Bush was making the case that the Massachusetts senator has not given an adequate explanation of how to pay for his spending plans, said a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Scientist Lauded After Gov't Fires Her By PAUL ELIAS Pub: Saturday, March 20, 2004; 11:14 AM
- One member of the committee, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Blackburn failed to attend a number of council meetings after disagreeing with other members on policy.
Review Finds Rowland Rejected Gifts By MATT APUZZO and JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN Pub: Saturday, March 20, 2004; 8:26 AM
- Two sources close to case who spoke on condition of anonymity told the AP that Claywell contends he met with Rowland's former co-chief of staff, Peter Ellef, after initially being turned down for a subcontract on a school. Claywell was then awarded the subcontract, the source said.
??? If this guy rejected gifts, why can't someone be found who can put forth the idea that one guy says he met with another guy? Who would get into trouble?
March 20, 2004
The Sacred and The Profane
Profane: indecent, vulgar, crass, inconsiderate, disrespectful, blasphemous.
Sacred: respectable, venerable, holy, religious, devotional, sanctified.
March 18, 2004
Mark Cuban Blogs... A Win for the Commons
Who's blogging? I'd never heard of him before the past couple of days because while I really love going to see the giants or the warriors, I don't follow TV sports. But DanG and JeffJ both pointed to him in the past two days, and so I read yesterday, and just now again. Dan even sent him 5 questions that he answered, for blogposting.
The guy is hilarious, owns the Dallas Mavericks, and wants to deal directly with readers because he feels misquoted by the traditional media, who are btw, a bit non-plussed by this maneuver. Anyway, he got a 10k fine for supposedly talking to the media about something (I'm not really up on nba rules so I don't really get why). He feels he was misquoted, and so has this to say about answering questions of media reporters:
- It was then I told them that rather than providing any commentary or quotes to them on this matter, or on any upcoming matters, I would be posting whatever I had to say on my blog. They were not happy.
- "How are we going to ask you follow up questions?" I explained that he could email me directly or from the site, but that I would most likely post his question and my response. "Is the league sending a message that they didn't want you talking to reporters?" Ding ding ding. Give him a lollipop.
- I went on to explain that this was the best way for all of us. They could get all the quotes and information they needed. "Will this be just you writing it, or will you dictate it to someone else?"
- The satisfaction of knowing that each will have to explain to their editors what a blog is ó and argue for who knows how long about whether or not BlogMaverick.com is an attributable source ó crept over me and that jaunt on the gauntlet flew by.
- Time for the game: GO MAVS!
I realize there is a potenial for abuse for this sort of thing. Public figures who need to be directly asked a question can avoid it by simply blogging all their responses, turning off comments and not reading other blogger's responses. But I can also see that this signals another turn in the direct connection and conversation between the public and public figures, cutting out the media middle man. While good media coverage will lend perspective, there is something to be said for letting people make up their own minds.
March 17, 2004
Oh My God, Like, I'm in Vanity Fair as A Pop Journalist
Okay, it's miniscule. Okay, it's just the name, napsterization.org. Okay. Vanity Fair is barely online and not linkable. But still, I know it's there. Page 144 of the April issue is about blogs, The Laptop Brigade by James Wolcott, with screenshots of Kos and Ryan's Lair and Bartcop and Easterblogg and andrewsullivan and Juan Cole. And in the Blogging of the President, where under the sidebar listing of "transformational" (no, this isn't some new age category) they list Buzzmachine, Jay Rosen, Daniel Drezner and ME! In teeny tiny letters. Who knew getting linked to from BopNews could get you into Vanity Fair.
Anyway, the article goes on to say that we are not a bunch of nose-picking narcissists, but instead are vivifying, talent-swapping, socializing pop-journalists. And he says we are conversing! And we're multifaceted linkers and thinkers. They have a photo of Markos Moulitsas Zuniga at his desk, and focus on him quite a bit, saying that liberal blogs are where the bonfires occur. Wolcott obviously reads Jay Rosen, because he's got Jay's concepts all over the place, including the Adopt a Journalist program (which isn't really a program in the top down sense of program, but rather just something some people decided to do.)
So, the upshot? They aren't linkable, so I can't show you. Oh well. Does it still exist if it's not linkable? Only on airplanes and in spas, I guess.
Calpundit and Washington Monthly
- Not only has Kevin Drumm moved his popular Calpundit blog to Washington Monthly magazine (now that he has begun writing for the magazine), but WashingtonMonthly.com has turned over the front page of its publication to Kevin's new blog.
- That's right. Not a link to an inside page -- the entire middle real estate of
the main front page. Today was his first day there, and it looks he has brought
thousands of his readers along with him. Of course, Calpundit was probably
drawing more readers than Washington Monthly's web site was.
CNN: RSS Is the Next Big Thing
Yes, RSS is cool. But it's been cool for quite some time, and this story is old.
- The point of entry into this efficient and focused style of surfing does not involve search engines. Instead, many users, learning from bloggers, are setting aside their browsers at certain times to use news feed readers, sometimes called "news aggregators," instead.
News aggregators. I think I've heard that somewhere before....
- If you are still attached to your daily newspaper or CNN Headline News fix, don't worry. News feed readers are less about "news" as they are an alternative on-ramp to the Web.
Whew. Good thing Christine Boese gave me that context. I was really worried there for a minute about CNN's business model.
March 15, 2004
Online News Relies on and Disrupts Traditional News
This morning first thing, this State of the Media report was posted on a few blogs. I started reading through the sections, which cover newspapers, online, local/cable/network TV, magazines, radio and ethnic/alternative media. It was put together by Columbia's JSchool (and a few other folks) and funded by Pew. NPR was on it by around 11am, with Talk of the Nation. One caller noted his experience with news, where he goes to blogs first, because he feels they filter traditional news better, and then follows their links to those articles recommended. Audio link here.
Imagine a business that is steadily losing customers, shrinking its work force, cutting back on services and mistrusted by much of the public.
That is a snapshot of the news business in 2004.
The report is pretty dismal, but it does hold some hope for online media, where 2/3 of the 150 million people in the US go for news. Though you should note that online news sites are heavily dependent on paper papers for content.
If people increasingly substitute the Web for their old media before a robust economic model for the Web evolves, the economic effect could be devastating for journalism. Companies might begin to cut back significantly on their newsgathering abilities, as audiences abandon profitable old platforms in favor of less profitable new ones. The net in this case might weaken, not strengthen, the economic vitality of news organizations and the quality of American journalism.
Robin Sloan at Poytner also blogged it here.
March 14, 2004
The Mediamorphosis conference flashblog started on February 26th, then a few more posts dribbled, until the conference was just beginning, and then it exploded. Lots of other bloggers and readers outside the conference started paying attention to the blog, which had posts from some invited bloggers as well as lots of audience members. At the end of the Conference, Susan Mernit noted that she wished she'd fought more to just get everyone on the blog in advance, instead of waiting for those in the room to ask for a login.
People who hadn't seen blog conversations before got to see it happen in front of them. Some walked up late in the conference and noted that they were surprised by what was happening around them, online, on the screen. Disconcerting, but they saw it. It's something I've been watching and participating in for a while, sometimes around an event like this, but often just day to day, as people converse online, each on their own blogs, in each other's comments, in email and with IM, in real time, about a topic or news event. These conversations are alive, but hard to see if you aren't in them (tools are in the works to see them, as demoed by Feedster and Technorati at the conference), though you can follow them somewhat because many blog posts link to other posts in the conversation. But not always, and of course, comments can't be linked or verified, but they are part of this discussion too and so there is more evaluating of trust with them, but still, they are considered. Sometimes, you can go to a site like Technorati to look up a URL of say, an article to see who is talking about it, to find the common conversation, though comments aren't linked to here either.
Anyway, the great thing about the Mediamorphosis conference was that it was an opportunity to show these conversations, show how and who and where people are in the middle of them. The room was set up UN style, and the vast majority had laptops, occasionally reading the blog, which was commenting often on the panel in front, the moderator walking in the middle, and what was on screen. As these posts went out on the blog, other bloggers not at the conference would take quotes and comment, riff, either on their blogs or the conference blog. At the conference, we would see them, and post them up on the screen behind the speakers, and at one point, Dale Peskin stopped the discussion to note JD Lasica's comments (he was not there but was reading our posts hot off the grill) about a current panelist's remarks. While this may be steered the conference into the blog or no blog discussion even further, it did make the point (and certainly seemed to take things further than the ONA conference last November). Other times, the blog was put up on screen by the AV guys (who by the way, did an outstanding job of juggling all that hardware, and coordinating lots of interesting stuff, though the hotel wifi left a lot to be desiredÖ) and panelists would turn around to look at comments about what was happening in the room.
It was a demonstration of these conversations, of multiple channels of dialog, all on the same topic, more orderly in the sense that not everyone was talking at once. Except in a way, the conversations were happening all around rapidly, we were engulfed in lots of silent talking, while one actual speaker at a time spoke up front. It may sound confusing, but it was a reflection of what happens on the internet everyday, across blogs, about a million different topics and news articles, people and events. It's live and it's happening, and it is apart of the media business, whether big media wants it or not, is offended or embraces it. There is no squelching it.
Instead of talking about citizen media, we showed it, no matter how crude the tools for tracking and making this media. A lot of those attending are busy people; they may not have time to spend finding these blog conversations, though as tools evolve, they will be able to find them faster and more explicitly, but the key is, it was shown (not told) for those who had little or no experience with it. And the fact that a flashblog got the job done, that people outside the conference dove in was great. It may have been unstructured, messy, in need of editing, disagreeable, not always understandable if you weren't in the room, occasionally wrong though iterated to correction, but it was authentic, it reflected what people thought, it was a discussion with opposing views and ideas, and was reflective of this new kind of bottom up media.
March 12, 2004
The Metaphor Isn't Hierarchy, It's Chaos
He doesn't get it, though he is a great speaker in a way, polished, professional, at home in front of all these people. But he showed us slides that were so boring none of us at the blogging table watched, though I did look up to see the slide of hierarchy as part of his half hour presentation this afternoon.
And he doesn't see that it's obsolete, hierarchy. The internet is horizontal. Ditch the hierarchy. What if the metaphor is chaos, the chaos of all your users in the future, breathing the internet for dear life, it's air, experiencing media as wearable, livable, be-able, recombinable. What if my eyeglasses are my newsaggregator, designed by Armani, as Dan Gillmor heard at a conference recently. How do you sell that news? It's one possible path, and it's an extreme metaphor to contemplate, but the point is, the metaphor he's working from is old media. And it's stagnant. Get one that reflects what is happening, and one that is not just a reaction to one that no longer works, cause reactionary metaphors don't cut it.
I'm sure he's a lovely person, but he doesn't get that this is not about an incremental upgrade. This isn't the addition of sound to what was formerly the silent picture biz. This is 40 years earlier, where the second industrial revolution was hitting hand made crafts people and manufactures with interchangeable parts. This is a paradigm shift. This is everything you know, changing, upside down, bouleversement. I have this friend who is a senior VP at IBM, and at dinner last week, he talked about the folding into IBM of Price Waterhouse employees. He told this story of how people from Price Waterhouse are destroyed by the old way that company treated them. One guy he described, because of PW socialization, though he had to be away from home, from his wife and kids, to be on some annual audit, and while there, his wife died of cancer. And from my friend's point of view, this person cannon be folded into IBM. He is too damaged, and cannot deal in this new IBM culture. I was appalled, because I hate the idea that people would be shut down like that, discarded, especially when it's not their fault, because they were treated so badly for so long by PW, and I feel that IBM as purchaser of PW has a responsibility to help them, make them productive, rehabilitate them. But in light of this situation with media and the digital disintermediation, I look at the hierarchy presentation and wonder if the IBM example doesn't apply in one sense: that if old media cannot grasp what is happening, then maybe the can't be brought into the fold of the new paradigm. Maybe that's too harsh, but really, this presentation was so out of touch. I'm sorry to say it, because API invited me here to blog this, paid for me to come, but I cannot in good conscience not say anything about this. I know journalism is a religion, and the practitioners are hardcore, but your friend is openness and a willingness to go to the next step. Right now old media is working with homemade hammers and were talking air compressor nail guns.
Frankly, yesterday, we could have stuffed the whole day into the first two hours to get everyone up to speed, and then gotten on to the real deal which is, your metaphors only work in analog media, and you aren't in the analog biz anymore, so lets brainstorm what the new metaphors are, which lead to the new questions, which lead to new answers. Instead, we sat in the binary morass (as Howard Rheingold stated doesn't work) they still think it is: either traditional media or new, either edited or blog, either paper or online, either either either, argue argue argue, blah blah blogs. They're a crude tool anyway. Who cares. Let's get down to it chaotic, horizontal, citizen, not organized, not controllable media. That's what we should be forging ahead on.
Does it matter that I say this? No. Does it matter that big media doesn't have a clue? No. Because the reality is, this paradigm is here. Whether we like it or not. It's what is, and we can talk or not, get a clue or not. But it will keep rolling along. With or without us.
March 11, 2004
Are We Talking About the Wrong Metaphors Here?
So the last session was about brainstorming and asking questions. The questions in the previous session (Media Minds Meld) are logical, if you are reacting to what's happened to media because of the internet. But I wonder, are we asking the wrong questions here? The metaphors we use to understand media now are based on the metaphors that are based on reporting, editing and distributing news in the old analog system. So, lot's of discussion reliant on these metaphors: "top down vs. bottom up" or "one-to-many" and "many-to-many" (many-to-many is an extrapolation of one-to-many and while it may expand the notion to include the many to be part of distribution, it's still the old distribution model where the many are sending to the many one-way) or "trust of edited or traditional news vs. lack of trust of unedited or non-traditional news" or "the newspaper (even if it's an online newspaper)."
Maybe it's not a top or bottom, a distribution format like the ones we've known, and maybe trust is really a matter of context, awareness of biases and reporting process. What if we go back to the question of what is information? Start there, in the context of the internet, and the ways people can get and use and reuse news and information.
Here is the information piece from Michael Buckland who describes information as:
- "Information-as-process"; "information-as-knowledge"; and "information-as-thing"; ... things regarded as informative ... include data, text, documents, objects, and events. On this view "information" includes but extends beyond communication. Whatever information storage and retrieval systems store and retrieve is necessarily "information-as-thing".
- These three meanings of "information", along with "information processing", offer a basis for classifying disparate information-related activities (e.g. rhetoric, bibliographic retrieval, statistical analysis) and, thereby, suggest a topography for "information science".
If information is as much about the process as the knowledge or thing, and I think with the internet, and technology, it is central, then the metaphors we use must originate with the internet, with digital media, not with "newspapers" that in our minds is the 300-year-old model we know. Smart mobs, conversations, readers as editors and fact checkers and testers, feedback loops, linking, and maybe chaos is a metaphor we should look at, just because right now, with the possibility of a million voices, it is chaos, in a way. These may be where we originate from now, but we need to converse first about the metaphor we’re using here before we can frame the questions. That is the real question.
Blogs. What are they? What do they mean?
Per Kos. Blogging is about communities of people who get to determine what they talk about, how, where.
Open The Network, Don't try to Control It. Reputation. Sandy Close: Gossip? Not everything on paper is a newspaper, and not everything on a blog is gossip? The discussion is flying. Howard Rheingold: blogs have capital, but you risk that when you go with the rumor. How does the coverage come, top down from traditional sources or bottom up from blogs?
I think what is key here, for internet based media, is linking. It affects every one of these ideas above. It is what truly differentiates the web from any other information delivery system.
Reputation? Capital? Gossip? Link to your sources, support what you say, and if you make a mistake, link to your commenters and fellow bloggers who correct you, so that you can iterate something that's right. Your readers are your editors and fact checkers.
Open Networks vs. Control? If you aren't linkable, as a traditional news outlet, you lose your authority on the web. You won't be cited. And if you are not open, letting people come and go as they please, following the links in and out of your site, people will find you as a dead end. Maybe with good content. But still, a dead end.
Blogs build community by linking. News sites can too. But they have to link to other news sites, let people know where the stories come from, when they riff on another news site's story. Show the community they are in, because by not showing it now, they appear inauthentic in the ways people build community online. Link to that community. And converse with their audience. It happens by linking and speaking directly. As Jeff Jarvis says, news is a conversation. But linking only works with an open network. Look at the Wall Street Journal. Closed. No one links to them, though my trick is to send an article to Dave Farber, have him post it, and then link to his post, when it's really important. But how often does that happen? Once every three months? (Dow Jones isn't even here at this conference.) They may have premiere content in their niche, but they are not linkable, and in the end, in the minds of those on the internet (500 million, verses the 600,000 WSJ subscribers) they are not in the conversation. It's like they don't exist. But the news sites we are talking about here are only partly in the game, with story links that die after 7 - 14 days, with stories that don't link out anywhere, where they still think about this as a one way model, as least as they demonstrate their activity online.
Earning the Right to Filter Your News?
Ed Horowitz wants to know if he can earn the right to be the place people go to filter all our news, cause it's a lot of work to go to all those sites.
Ed, meet NewsGator. Or any of the other RSS feed aggregators. Cause it's not about going to a million sites. It's about going to your computer and seeing it all come to you.
March 09, 2004
Two Birds With One Stone
Check out this Leander Kahney/Wired piece: Pocket PCs Masquerade as IPods. Apparently, there are pPods running around with iPod-like interfaces (made by Starbrite) that cost $20. Remember boys and girls, imitation/innovation is not the sincerest form of flattery when it comes to intellectual property.
Here's where the two birds come in, first, bird no1:
- Naturally, the pPod's interface is also just like the iPod's. Songs are arranged by a series of nested menus, which can be browsed by artist, album, genre, etc.
- "It works exactly the same way, except it's software and it costs $20," said a spokesman for the company, who wished to remain anonymous. (emphasis mine)
So later in the article, they discuss patents, but what is described above sounds like an interface idea, and so while the pPod may be infringing on a patent, just the idea of nested menus isn't probably patentable or copyrightable at this point, though it might be trademarked, though I would have to see both of them to see what they are talking about, how the interaction and design are. Not sure. However, the expression of the menu could be copyrighted. Not sure there either. Anyway, considering that iPods go for hundreds depending on physical and storage sizes, there is a absurdly big difference in price, which is a serious market issue here as well for Apple, regardless of how the p's and i's work out their IP issues.
But bird no2 here, for napsterization, is the use of anonymous sources, as we've previously discussed. What's with the "anonymous spokesperson" for company? Wired obviously didn't get the memo, or the other memo. Guys, anonymous sources should only be used for the spokespersons of international spy organizations and terrorists. Otherwise, you lose all cred and your readers think you, this anon-guy and his company are "absurdly tragic", in the words of my colleague, PT.
Two birds, innovation/copyright and anon sources, all in one article, for your brain teasing pleasure. What more could you want? Thanks, Wired.
Going Behind the Orange Curtain
Spring Fever: Who Needs to Go Away when It's 85...I'm fighting it off anyway. Spring Fever, that is. Been posting minimally as my big project (master's, plus more) is taking up about 85 hours a week. Sorry about that. I could really use two and half more months of rain to finish it... or actually to finish the master's program. This project could seriously take ten years. Who knew the intersection of computers, information flow and interaction, traditional and non-traditional journalism, and intellectual property could be so all consuming. Not to mention trying to make something constructive out of it.
But the good news is I've been invited by the American Press Institute to blog their MediaMorphosis Conference Wednesday through Friday in Newport Beach. I'll be blogging about it here. And it's in Newport Beach at the lovely Four Seasons. They are taking this blog thing seriously, with three of us brought in and set up just to give unedited non-traditional commentary. I';m feeling orange already.
March 08, 2004
Book Making on Blogs: Readers as Editors
There are so many now. Dan Gillmor was the first that I know of to use his blog to help write his book. Then JD Lasica began writing more and more on digital media and copyright in preparation for his book, and he's posted asking for feedback. John Battelle started his search blog as content management and discussion for his book. And now Jay Rosen has posted a chapter for an O'Reilly book he is contributing.
I believe this is a reflection of the way people work in person, where when writing something, especially non-fiction, they interview and discuss the ideas with knowledgeable people in their topic focus. But blogging to discuss the book and ideas is a new manifestation, as it works to collapse the space and time that restrict discussions in physical space.
Now, if four respected and knowledgeable people do it, is it a trend? I'd say it's at least a very constructive use of blogs, and certainly it is a variation of my contention that blogs are like a conference (which was the basis for this panel I put together) without the requirements of same-time and same-space, for the sharing and iterating of knowledge.
Offshoring, Education and New Technologies
Lots of talk in the last 24 hours about the outsourcing articles in SF gate (they were spread throughout two sections of the chron yesterday). A friend of mine from here is interviewing for a job in India in software development and telecommunications. The company has a bad reputation there as it went bankrupt, and the new buyers can't get people there to work for them. An interesting turn of events. Though I would say that with expectations of higher pay (average pay in India for an engineer is $7800, verses the US at $70,000) means we have to be more innovative, and concentrate on prototyping and development here in the US, and working closely with users to create these things.
But one thing to note, especially in CA where we love to make things like Prop 13 which limit taxes, is that we have disabled our educational system because we don't want to pay, and in years to come that will haunt us more than it does now, 25 years after it passed. India has a good educational system, and as one person noted,
- if you look at the number of college-educated students that China graduates every year, it's close to 40 million. The law of large numbers is fairly compelling.
It's both about educating people and having a populace that is up to the minute on using new technologies, because if you use them, you'll think of more new uses, and these will in turn spawn new technologies and innovations. And the socialization that occurs with using these new communication methods is key, because it's not just one user using one technology. It's many people interacting with the technology and each other, and the network effects, which users can't see and innovate on unless they use and play with them.
This combination of overly-protectionist intellectual property law where we inhibit innovation in the long-term for short term profits, lack of use of interesting new communication methods and technologies and spending less and less on education is deadly.
March 05, 2004
Friendster (and by Implication, Orkut) is a Gateway Drug to Blogging, Which According to Wired May Lead to Massive Borrowing Without Attribution
Blogging Off, Your blog's great -- nice dirt on Graydon Carter -- but can it buy me a beer? by Whitney Pastorek in the Village Voice (link from JD), a non-blogger, surrounded by addicted bloggers.
Now, once you've taken the drug, Amit Asaravala in Wired proclaims Warning: Blogs Can Be Infectious, talking about how memes spread across blogs and:
- The most-read webloggers aren't necessarily the ones with the most original ideas, say researchers at Hewlett-Packard Labs. Using newly developed techniques for graphing the flow of information between blogs, the researchers have discovered that authors of popular blog sites regularly borrow topics from lesser-known bloggers -- and they often do so without attribution.
I would say that good blogging etiquette is to link to the blog who pointed you to the link, however, sometimes, with many windows open, this reference gets disconnected from that referred, so credit is not given. However, passing on exact text without attribution? While that's the definition of digital media, it's also disingenuous, and tacky.
BTW, Parker Thompson mentioned the wired article today in person this morning.
In addition, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government has published a case study (pdf) entitled "Big Media" Meets the "Bloggers" Coverage of Trent Lott's Remarks at Strom Thurmand's Birthday Party (link via Rob at Smartmobs).
March 01, 2004
Really Bad News...
Sorry guys. According to AP, no one is blogging. Oh my God. I must have had one too many cosmo's the night before when I read the Pew Study yesterday,
- 44% of Internet users have created content for the online world through building or posting to Web sites, creating blogs, and sharing files ... more than 53 million American adults ....
- 2% maintain Web diaries or Web blogs, according to respondents to this phone survey. In other phone surveys prior to this one, and one more recently fielded in early 2004, we have heard that between 2% and 7% of adult Internet users have created diaries or blogs. In this survey we found that 11% of Internet users have read the blogs or diaries of other Internet users. About a third of these blog visitors have posted material to the blog.
From around the world: "Study: Blogging still infrequent," "Very few bloggers on Net," "Small number choose to blog," "Web users slow to post journals," and my favorite, "Blog hype belies use."
- From AP: Even though only a small number of Internet users are writing blogs, a slightly larger number of Net users are visiting them. Eleven percent of Internet users report visiting blogs written by others. And of these blog readers, a third report posting to or commenting on the blog entries that they have read.
To which Roger Cadenhead oh so cattily points out: 2% is 2.7 million, suspiciously larger than any American newpaper's circulation. But I guess AP is right. That is puny by any standard. Roger, be nice to your poor old, old media friends. They have to have something to live for. Even if they can't do the math. I bet you in a year AP is proclaiming that blogging is the next BIG thing, all shiny and brand spanking new! Right after they figure out how to get that darned RSS feed working!