Articles

Rebooting the News #81

In Podcast on February 7, 2011 by Jay Rosen

We used to do this show using Blog Talk Radio’s services. That appears to be ending.

The big rebooting-the-news event today is that AOL bought Huffington Post. Equally important, Arianna Huffington becomes editor-in-chief for all of AOL’s editorial properties, including Patch.com. Here’s Arianna’s explanation of the deal.

Jeff Jarvis: “One wonders why big, old media companies didn’t buy Huffington Post. The better question is why they never started their own HuffPos. Only one did: The Guardian.”

Also of interest to both Dave and I: Bill Keller, the New York Times and Wikileaks. It’s good that Keller sees the threat to him and his tribe in prosecuting Assange. But he’s also been focused on separating himself and his newspaper from Assange as an undesirable.

Dave at Scripting.com: “Along comes WikiLeaks to prove that even investigative journalism works differently with the advent of the Internet. But that’s okay, because finally — the mainstream guys, instead of fighting Internet-inspired change, see the opportunity and are embracing it! The Times, Guardian, Spiegel et al, have been working with WikiLeaks to establish a publishing workflow that protects sources and gets readers the information we need. Before judging the Times as wholly ineffective and dishonest, let’s acknowledge that someone down there is doing their job. They may not like Julian Assange, but that’s life. We all have to do things we don’t like. Or you could just sit it out.

But equally big has been the uprising in Egypt and the superior performance of Al Jazeera, along with the continuing debate over how to credit (without overstating) the role of social media in such events.

Dave: The Internet is for revolution. “We must make it so that a country, if it wants to turn off Internet-enabled revolution, must turn off the Internet itself.”

What Jay told Jose Antonio Vargas of the Huffington Post:

“Wildly overdrawn claims about social media, often made with weaselly question marks (like: ‘Tunisia’s Twitter revolution?’) and the derisive debunking that follows from those claims (‘It’s not that simple!’) only appear to be opposite perspectives. In fact, they are two modes in which the same weightless discourse is conducted. Revolutionary hype is social change analysis on the cheap. Debunking is techno-realism on the cheap. Neither one tells us much about our world.

“Almost everyone knows it’s not as simple as saying Twitter or Facebook ’cause’ revolutions. Almost everyone knows it’s foolish to discount social media and peer to peer communication as new and potentially disruptive forces. Grown-ups trying to puzzle through what is actually happening will have to leave the sandbox in which the debunkers and their straw man playmates throw headlines at each other.”

Here’s the show; we hope you like it. Please comment if you are so moved, or if you have a solution for us to replace Blog Talk Radio. Thanks.

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot11Feb07.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #80

In Podcast on January 31, 2011 by Dave Winer

Jay  is on the road, and I just got back — but the news keeps on rebooting — so we got Doc Searls to fill us in on what’s going on with cable and how Al Jazeera is covering the events in Egypt. He calls it the Sputnik Moment for cable. Doc weaves a wonderful story.

We had nothing but technical glitches starting up the podcast, but we found a rhythm. We talked about WikiLeaks, educating the journo-programmer, and whether the US will flip the Kill Switch if there ever is such a thing. Doc thinks not, but I think hmmm…

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot11Jan31.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #79

In Podcast on January 10, 2011 by Jay Rosen

A few minutes on the Arizona shootings and the “both sides do it” attitude about political discourse that seems to be mandatory for the political class and Washington journalists. Some, like Dave Weigel, broke free of that. Others, like Matt Bai, were trapped within it.

As Jay said on Twitter, the rhetorical extremes are a feature of the “he said, she said” style in reporting on public controversy, not a bug that he said/she said corrects for.

Twitter and the court order it received to hand over information about Wikileaks and its supporters. The most impressive part:

far more interesting than the government request for wikileaks related info, is the fact that Twitter has gone out of its way to fight for its users’ privacy. The company went to court, and was successful in asking the judge to unseal the order (something it is not required to do), and then promptly notified its users, so that they could seek to quash the order. Twitter could have quite easily complied with the order, and would have had zero legal liability for doing so. In fact, many other Internet companies routinely hand over their users’ data in response to government requests, and never take steps to either have the orders unsealed, or give their users notice and thus an opportunity to fight the order.

The unbundling of Twitter: loosely-coupled tools for a new blogging ecosystem. Also called the re-invention of RSS. To understand what we’re talking about, see Dave’s sketch of how the parts all work together.

The View from Nowhere has definitely crossed over into the mainstream of journalistic thought. Jay’s ideas about it were featured on NPR last week.

Dave’s ideas about future safe archives found a home in the New York Times Magazine this week. And pretty respectfully, too.

Here’s the show; please comment if you feel so moved. Thanks!

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot11Jan10.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #78

In Podcast on January 3, 2011 by Jay Rosen

Why Wikileaks continues to fascinate us…

Why EL PAÍS chose to publish the leaks: “Editor Javier Moreno explains the decision to publish the State Department cables, which expose on an unprecedented scale the extent to which Western leaders lie to their electorates.”

Dave’s blogger of the year: “Julian Assange is the tank guy” from Tiananmen Square, 1989. “We all hold our breath to see if we go all the way.”

Pathetic performance by CNN: Glenn Greenwald vs Francis Townsend on Wikileaks, interviewed by Jessica Yellin, who seemed to know nothing.

The life and times of Wikiriver.org, Dave’s aggregator for Wikileaks news. How it works and why he did it.

Dave: The connection between RSS and Twitter.

Magazines on the i-Pad and why they are not working.

The Journal Register Company (JRC) gave Jay an i-Pad. He’s an advisor to their Digital First overhaul. If you want to watch the unbuilding of “fortress journalism” just follow what JRC’s Connecticut newspaper, the Register Citizen, is doing with its open newsroom project.

Here’s the show (45 mins); please comment if so moved:

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot11Jan03.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #77

In Podcast on December 20, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Our guest for RBTN #77 is Net thinker, author, blogger and project VRM pioneer. Doc Searls. His blog. His bio.

A few items we discussed:

Dave drafted a statement: Tech Without Borders.

We are people of tech.

We live and work everywhere.

We value our own freedom, the freedom of people who use our technology and freedom in general.

We think there is no meaningful distinction between WikiLeaks and the news organizations covering the stories in cooperation with WikiLeaks.

We urge all governments to respect freedom of the press, whether the news originates online or offline.

We apply these principles in our work and they are embodied in our technology.

Dave’s http://wikiriver.org/ an aggregator for Wikileaks news.

The lie that Wikileaks has been “indiscriminately dumping” documents.

Yahoo is shutting down Delicious. What is to be done?

Dave: How Twitter and Delicious are alike.

Here’s the show; we hope you like it. See you after the holidays!

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Dec20.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #76

In Podcast on December 15, 2010 by Jay Rosen

It’s been said that Dave sounds like the actor Jeff Bridges and that Jay sounds like Wallace Shawn.

Wikileaks, continued. “This is not a drill.”

Reflections on the Personal Democracy Forum “flash” conference on Wikileaks and Internet freedom. (Video highlights.)

Dave: Wikileaks has put into bold relief things we have been talking about for a long time without getting people’s attention. Like: We need a Web Trust to publish and store our creative work.

1. It must be long-lived, like a university — probably with an endowment, and a board of trustees, and operations limited to what’s described below. It can’t operate any other kind of business.

2. It must create a least-common-denominator storage system that is accessible through HTTP. Everything must be done with open formats and protocols, meaning all components of its system are replaceable.

3. It must cost money, so the user is a customer and is treated as one. This also allows the vendor to assume its own independence from the interests of the publisher who uses the system. The same way the operator of a printing press was not responsible for the words he or she printed on the paper.

4. Simplicity of the user experience is primary so it can be accessible to as many as possible, and so that technical people don’t provide yet another filter for the free flow of ideas. Factor and re-factor for simplicity.

5. The trust must serve the bits exactly as they were published. No advertising.

Dave: “You can’t host journalism on Amazon anymore.”

Jay: I shouldn’t be, but I am a little shocked that the leaders of companies like Amazon and PayPal didn’t explain their actions. PayPal Vice President of Platform, Mobile and New Ventures Osama Bedier came out at the LeWeb conference and either lied or demonstrated total incompetence in explaining why his company cut off Wikileaks.

Dave: the tech industry has done this over and over. They don’t understand how much scrutiny they they are under.

The French newspaper Liberation decided to host a mirror site for Wikileaks. That was inspiring too.

The EasyDNS story is kind of inspiring, though.

The five key points Jay made at the PDF symposium (in 140 characters or less.)

1. It takes "the world's first stateless news organization" http://jr.ly/5jnk to show our news organizations how statist they really are.

2. The sources are voting with their leaks. That they chose to go to Wikileaks rather than the newspapers says something about the newspapers.

3. The watchdog press died. What's possible today is a distributed "eye on power" system that includes the old press as one component part.

4. It's said the state has a monopoly on the legal use of force. But the state cannot have a monopoly on the legitimate use of digital "force.&quot.

5. Everything a journalist learns that he cannot tell the public alienates him from the public. Wikileaks is built to prevent this alienation.

You can watch the archived livestream of the symposium here.

There was a lot of dispute at the PDF symposium over whether the denial of service attacks on, say, Amazon, were a legitimate form of civil disobedience.

Jay’s post: From Judith Miller to Julian Assange. “Our press somehow got itself on the wrong side of secrecy after September 11th.”

Here’s the show…

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Dec13.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #75

In Podcast on December 6, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Scroll to the bottom of this post for the mp3.

As Dave said Dec. 3rd, “We’re having a Rebooting The News moment here with WikiLeaks.” Indeed. Now we know how the open Net comes crashing down.

* First came the denial of service attacks. (Dave: “How do we know that?”)
* Next, Amazon Web Services kicked Wikileaks off its cloud servers.
* Then it was EveryDNS.net., which stopped serving the domain wikileaks.org
* Then Tableau Software removed data visualizations Wikileaks had running there.
* Then PayPal started choking off the air supply: donations.
* The U.S. Library of Congress even got into the act, shutting down access to Wikileaks at its terminals.

Look who is not on this list: Twitter. That’s important!

Dave at Scripting News: “When does the situation reach equilibrium? What’s the best outcome for the people of the planet? It seems to me that at the end of this chain is BitTorrent…. when WikiLeaks wants to publish the next archive, they can get their best practice from eztv.it, and have 20 people scattered around the globe at the ends of various big pipes ready to seed it. Once the distribution is underway the only way to shut it down will be to shut down the Internet itself.”

@xenijardin writes on Twitter: Great idea “@hrana: surprised @wikileaks hasn’t set up utorrent compatible RSS feed to automatically distribute updated #cablegate archives” (Dave: that’s what the two technologies were made for.)

Wired in July:

“In the wake of strong U.S. government statements condemning WikiLeaks’ recent publishing of 77,000 Afghan War documents, the secret-spilling site has posted a mysterious encrypted file labeled ‘insurance.’ The huge file, posted on the Afghan War page at the WikiLeaks site, is 1.4 GB and is encrypted with AES256. The file’s size dwarfs the size of all the other files on the page combined. The file has also been posted on a torrent download site.”

Assange is quoted as follows: ““We have over a long period of time distributed encrypted backups of material we have yet to release. All we have to do is release the password to that material, and it is instantly available.”

Dave: We need new institutions, that is what it comes down to. One he looks to is the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard: “Is it time to ‘do something’ to create a haven for the free web?”

Dave took some heat for this at Scripting News: Boycott of Amazon? Not doing it.

Stowe Boyd, commenting to Cloud Computing Journal, looks to the Greenpeace model:

“I think ultimately WikiLeaks should become a global non-profit like Greenpeace, specifically organized to accomplish certain goals for the sake of the world, like exposing who is funding political action when laws allow it to be concealed (as in the US), or exposing the inner workings of unregulated or barely regulated industries… It should be organized like Greenpeace, as a federation of non-profits in the various countries, supported by activists in the member countries. Wikileaks is not organized in that fashion today, and it should be.”

Time’s Joe Klein: “If a single foreign national is rounded up and put in jail because of a leaked cable, this entire, anarchic exercise in ‘freedom’ stands as a human disaster. Assange is a criminal. He’s the one who should be in jail.”

New York Times public editor: Assange is scum, and the Times did a great job publishing the documents he gave to the press.

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian: “Disclosure is messy and tests moral and legal boundaries. It is often irresponsible and usually embarrassing. But it is all that is left when regulation does nothing, politicians are cowed, lawyers fall silent and audit is polluted. Accountability can only default to disclosure.”

Jay: A journalist I know wrote to me today: “I’ve thinking about your wikileaks posts – the project I’m working on now concerns a large government database that was leaked to us. We’ve been doing months of reporting to find the personal stories, connect the dots and get photos. A dilemma we face is how to release as much of the information as possible, and allow users to add to what we have, without putting the source or the newspaper in greater legal risk. It’s not a new problem, but wikileaks — and the imperative of getting as much of the info out as possible – is on everyone’s mind.”

Reporters Without Borders statement on Wikileaks: “This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency. We are shocked to find countries such as France and the United States suddenly bringing their policies on freedom of expression into line with those of China. We point out that in France and the United States, it is up to the courts, not politicians, to decide whether or not a website should be closed.”

Jay: The big divide we can see opening up is between those who are statist, who look out for the interests of the state and identify with it, and civil society. Journalists who don’t understand that their fortunes are bound up with civil society are not competent to practice their craft.

Jay: still the best thing I have read for understanding Assange. Alan Bady (zunguzungu) Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy; “To destroy this invisible government”.

At Jay’s Posterous, Dec. 4: Julian Assange Ducks the Question A Lot of Us Have About Wikileaks. 12,000 views and 130 comments as of showtime.

Jay’s video, Dec. 2: The watchdog press failed; what we have is Wikileaks instead.

Jay’s PressThink post from July: The world’s first stateless news organization.

Here’s the show; hope you like it.

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Dec06.mp3