Monday, December 11, 2006

"unique signature" + "down the middle" = ?

Jay: great article, again!

I like a lot of what he's saying (much more than I would have anticipated...): the idea of a unique signature, for instance, I think it's right on! (information alone, however great, doesn't seem to be the complete formula for success online... you need something *else* -- something unique that people would respond to, something that would make a lot of people choose to read *your stuff* as opposed to that of oodles of others that are all trying to do pretty much the same thing). But this quality seems to be not easy to ascertain ahead of time and it can also be ephemeral (so I'd expect quite a bit of movement in an organization of this kind).

As to the 'meat' of their future business, I don't know if it's a regrouping or not but it sounds different from the 'exposing other peoples' sources' thing. IF they want to do *actual reporting* -- just focus on the prequel to the 'hit stories' -- there may be redeemable value to that. If his observation (that it is this kind of stories that linger for longer on the internet) is correct... he maybe on to something... But I'd want to know what KIND of stories are they? I mean, my gut feeling tells me that... they are basically gossip... And then we are back to the 'inside tabloid' idea... (some things at the end of the interview seem to point in that direction)

Re: 'down the middle'

I wouldn't come down too hard on them for having that as a *goal*: I think that it's definitely what we should STRIVE for -- it's just naive to think that you are ever going to quite GET there whenever you go past easily demonstrable facts (and he doesn't seem to not get that). Best we can do is to move asymptotically in that direction (and turning away from even attempting that seems to be like throwing in the towel). Yeah, it's not perfect -- just much closer to perfection than the other alternatives can get you...

Best of Harris (from this article -- according to *me*, of course):

'Increasingly, we live in a time when there are no shared facts and therefore no authentic debate. Instead, every news story is greeted by partisans as either weapon or shield in a nonstop ideological war. There is simply no way you can convince me this trend has lead to a more civilized or constructive politics that is more likely to illuminate real issues or solve genuine problems.'


P.S. I'm considering starting a blog, not sure what's going to turn-out to be in the long run (if I don't end-up giving up on the idea altogether...) but I'm thinking to just start with a 'comments blog' (every time I post a comment on a blog also have it as an entry on my own blog)... is that ok?

I mean, it's not one of those things you are not *supposed* to do ... right? I would of course provide the link to whatever prompted my comment so... everybody should be happy... or not?
This would save me the time of describing things that are already there (such as this interview of yours) and aside from responses to my comments on the 'prompter blog,' I might also get some comments on my own blog (I could also post a link to such comments on the prompter blog if desired).

P.P.S. It would be mostly about 'online journalism' and such (at least at this point), although I'm contemplating a craigslist criticism blog of some sort -- I just think there are a lot of good questions about craigslist that are just not being asked or are merely alluded to (BTW, I'd love it if YOU did an article on craigslist... might even change my mind about this 'specialty blog' idea ...).

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