Tuesday, March 22, 2005

An embarrassment of bloggers

Hard-boiled city desk reporters in the days prior to professional political correctness sometimes derided sportswriters as “people who can’t write, who write about people who can’t talk, who have nothing to say.”

The put-down came to mind as I scanned the efforts of the several high-profile bloggers who were invited to “live blog” a webcast today at the Brookings Institution in which several other high-profile bloggers and a few "real" journalists discussed -- you guessed it -- the blogging phenomenon.

Among the valuable tidbits gleaned from the real-time blurbs, we learned that moderator E.J. Dionne wore a nice tie; that Wonkette Ana Marie Cox was wearing a green, not teal, T-shirt, and that blogger Andrew Sullivan raised $80k in donations when he was promoting the Iraq war but only $20k when he took issue with the botched occupation, thus proving empirically that it pays to be Right.

There also was this observation, which I trust was intended as irony, from Ruy Teixeria, author of the Emerging Democratic Majority Blog:

Do bloggers sometimes get it wrong? The consensus seems to be that that sometimes does happen. I am learning a lot!

For all the intellectual firepower brought to bear at the Brookings be-in, so far as I can tell, everyone seemed to miss the obesely pregnant elephant in the room: The Agence France Presse suit that threatens to throttle the whole shooting match.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alan, I'm a soon-to-retire college journalism prof and tech journalist and I enjoy your site a great deal.

I agree with you that AFP's suit is important and potentially hazardous, at least to the Google's that just shovel art, heds and ledes unedited.

I'm not so sure the AFP suit is as big a thing for any blogger who has some journalistic training. It's pretty easy to paraphrase and excerpt and copyright only extends to specific non-fair-use expression. I don't think you or I would have any difficulty creating non-infringing blog items, even including short quotes or excerpts, from ANY source, AFP etc.

Of course, bloggers not trained in paraphrasing, excerpting, crediting might well get appendages into wringers. But we (the blogging community) could teach 'em soon enough.

4:47 PM  

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