Wednesday, July 26, 2006

David Weinberger buries the Old Regime

This from David Weinberger's JOHO newsletter that arrived in my inbox this morning.


The Encyclopedia Britannica has refused my request to interview an editor for 15 minutes about the process by which it chooses authors.

I explained that this is for a book.

But, the head of the Britannica's communications group decided -- based on -- what? -- that they don't want to support people who are "cheerleading for the downfall of businesses that they deem to be part of an old regime".

All part of the command-and-control mentality at some of our great institutions of knowledge.

Go team! Sis boom bah!


If you've ever been part of a story covered by a newspaper, it's a near certainty that you didn't think the story got it exactly right.

Even if there were no outright mistakes, you read it thinking that the emphasis was wrong, that it didn't quite capture all sides, that there was more to it than that, that a turn of phrase was prejudicial.

You would have written it slightly differently. At least.

This is not because reporters aren't good at their job. By and large they are, and it is hard job requiring skill, experience and persistence. It also generally doesn't pay that well. The problem is not with the reporters.


Yeah the Blog Pioneers are still harsh, abrasive, knockabout arguing Charlies trouncing the undead Old Regime of embittered hacks and losers.

Newer bloggers are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses:

Dave Weinberger, Rebecca Blood, Heather Armstrong, Doc Searls, Evan Williams, Chris Locke, Dave Winer, Tom Peters, Paul Woodhouse, Cory Doctorow, John C. Dvorak, Laura Ries, Katherine Stone, Dave Taylor, Jeffrey Veen, Peter Merholz, John Battelle, Perry DeHavilland, Yvonne Devita, Toby Bloomberg, Hugh Mcleod, Jason Kottke, Joi Ito, Roblimo, Constantin Basturea, Jeffrey Zeldman, Dave Sifry, Matt Mullenweg, Mark Cuban, Richard Edelman, Glenn Reynolds, Tim B-L, Laura Ries, NevOn, John Hagel III, Biz Stone, Debbie Weil, Lawrence Lessing, Chris Ritke, Jeremy Wright, Robert Scoble, Shel Israel, Dean Esmay, Jason Calacanis, Jorn Barger, Seth Godin...

...and many other brilliant minds...

...all defending The Blogos, the Beginning of the We-O-Sphere.

So freaking die already, Old Regime!

Long Live the We-O-Sphere!


Paul Woodhouse said...

Whilst I wouldn't be a big enough wanker to claim I'm some kind of media darling, I will categorically state that the MSM train their minions to start and finish a piece with maybe a nod and a wink to feedback via the usual avenues that may or may not get published much later.

Without fail I've had problems with old media types.

Blogging/bloggers, on the other hand, are far more interested in listening to what you have to say and allow you to tell your own story. Hell, if comments are enabled the story can sprawl ad infinitum.

I wish I had the bollocks to turn down the next 'major' outlet that wants to drive their existing agenda (that's if it ever happens again!), but it's great for the old bragging rights down the pub.

shel israel said...

I was not always as you see me now. In 1979 or 80, for a brief unfortunate stint, I did marketing for the very same Encyclopedia Britannica. My downfall was after I wrote a memo suggesting that Brittanica publish a version on floppy disks. I got laughed out of the room and out of the job. I went back to taxi driving where I collaborated with a smarter, kinder group of co-workers.