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

Articles

Pre-show notes for Rebooting the News Dec. 6, 2010

In Podcast on December 6, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Rebooting the News #75 will be recorded today at noon ET. (UPDATE: The show is now available for download here.)

I am publishing some of the notes I made for the show as a kind of preview. Who knows where the discussion will go?

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

* First came the denial of service attacks.
* 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 got into the act.
* You know who’s not on this list? Twitter.

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.”

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”

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 looks to the Berkman Center: “Is it time to ‘do something’ to create a haven for the free web?”

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.”

Hal Roberts at the Berkman Center site on Distributed Denial of Service (ddos) attacks:

“Independent media sites are not capable of independently defending themselves of large, network based ddos attacks. There are many things an independent site can do to protect itself against smaller ddos attacks that target specific application vulnerabilities (including simply serving static content), but the problem with a large, network based attack is that it will flood the link between the targeted site and the rest of the Internet, usually causing the hosting ISP to take the targeted site down entirely to protect the rest of its network. Defending against these large network attacks requires massive amounts of bandwidth, specific and deep technical experience, and often connections to the folks running the networks where the attacks are originating from…”

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.”

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.

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.”

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

Dave at Scripting News: Boycott of Amazon? Not doing it.

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.

Articles

Rebooting the News #74

In Podcast on November 29, 2010 by Jay Rosen

More Wikileaks. How do we interpret this?

Scripting News: What should Twitter’s vision be?

Do we need a project VRM (Vendor Relationship Management, a “terrible term,” according to Dave) for news? What would that look like?

Jay’s experiments with video continue. They yielded a surprising discovery: YouTube doesn’t actually work.

The TSA madness, continued. Journalists tell us to just grow up.

The New York Times revealed something strange about Google’s search business: negative reviews help unscrupulous businesses. Google’s press strategy seems odd…

A call to Google was returned by a member of its publicity team, who agreed to speak only if his ideas would be paraphrased and not directly quoted. He said that he would send a follow-up e-mail that could be quoted, but that e-mail never arrived… Can’t Google separate catcalls from huzzahs? For competitive reasons, Google won’t disclose whether its algorithm includes “sentiment analysis,” which would give points for praise and subtract for denunciations. Ultimately, the spokesman sidestepped the question of whether utterly noxious retail could yield profits. The best he could do was decline to call Mr. Borker a liar for saying that it did. Then he recommended talking to Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of the blog Search Engine Land.

How do we explain this?

The Hamster Dance (warning: plays loud music)… prelude to the hamster cage?

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Nov29.mp3

Articles

A note about the podcast feed

In Podcast on November 23, 2010 by Dave Winer

A picture named lost.gifThis is a heads-up to people who subscribe to the podcast. There is a problem with the feed that will cause some subscribers to not get every episode. (It could be a majority of subscribers not getting any episodes, depending on how their clients are programmed.)

Until this problem is fixed, you should manually visit the site periodically to see if there’s a new MP3 available and download it to to your listening device.

This is a repeat of a problem that hit our podcast in the beginning of the year. It was fixed, the feed was working properly for a few months, but it’s broken again. The Automattic people are aware of the problem, and hopefully will have a fix soon. As I understand it, all podcast feeds on wordpress.com are broken, btw — so if you’re hosting a podcast there, you should be aware of the problem.

We continue to use WordPress because Jay is very comfortable with it. We checked out Tumblr, and it’s not any better at podcast support than WordPress is.

A personal note, none of these programs work as well as the tools we had when podcasting was booting up in 2001-2004. Had our tools been this bad, there would be no podcasting, I’m sure of it. As these services have scaled, important features are breaking. This of course totally sucks.

Articles

Rebooting the News #73

In Podcast on November 22, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Robert Scoble: Is the tech press needed anymore? A revealing post. He writes…

“So, what’s up with the headline I picked for this blog? I’m noticing that lots of app developers are seeing HUGE adoptions without being pushed ANYWHERE but on Apple’s iTunes app store. That’s how MyTown got so big. It’s also how Instagram got so popular so fast. FastMall’s CEO told me that’s where almost all of its users came from.

“Do app developers need the press anymore? They tell me yes, but not for the reason you might think. What’s the reason? Well, they suspect that Apple’s team is watching the press for which apps get discussed and hyped up.”

Sure enough, the TSA story (introducing “patdowns,” and “don’t touch my junk” to the vernacular) went viral, as we predicted in RBTN #72. So did one of Jay’s tweets on it.

Jay returned to video for Resentment News (and More Blondes Per Square Foot): Explaining What Fox News Channel Is. Should this experiment continue?

Scripting News: The Design Challenge. How to make the river-of-news style aggregator more attractive to the eye. Any takers?

Tumblr’s $25 million, the “freemium” model, and the competition for engineering talent.

Dave’s got a love affair going with Hacker News. What’s that about?

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Nov22.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #72

In Podcast on November 15, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Jay took to video–a new YouTube channel–to express himself on the extraordinary interview Jon Stewart did with Rachel Maddow last week. Background (including the original interview on MSNBC) and a place to comment at PressThink.

Uh, Dave: do you mind if I ask you something? … Did you invent RSS? “…Every step in that chain was necessary to get to the point where the Times could get on board, and there was enough software and users that it mattered. But looking back, the moment when RSS 2.0 came out, followed by the NY Times stories flowing through it, that was the point when the fighting stopped and mass-scale deployment began. That was the moment of standardization. And my contribution was that I marshalled the users, software, content and yes, the tech industry so they were all marching in the same direction. This, imho, was a lot harder than merely having an idea!”

Dave had an experience with a new service and the result was: The tech industry is a virus.

Terry Heaton: Online advertising’s missing link: “The only thing the industry knows is mass or direct marketing — the pushing of a message or, as Doc Searls calls it, ‘signaling’ to an individual or a crowd. Put the right signal with the right crowd, and the magic of commerce happens. But what happens when people are fed up with all the relentless pushing and use technology to protect themselves from the bombardment? This notion is unpalatable to the marketing world, so it is ignored.”

Jay: This post by an irate flyer is quite an example of the sources going direct! It leads my 40 twits page by a mile. The background was in the New York Times last week. Flier Patience Wears Thin at Checkpoints. But this puts an exclamation point on that story. The press should be hopping on it. Gawker did. And here’s USA Today, with a piece that mentions the blog post that went viral, getting homeland security security Janet Napolitano on the record too. See? The rebooted system of news works.

Extraordinary posting on Tumblr from Newsweek.com staffers. They are fighting back against plans to fold their operation into the Daily Beast site after the merger that brought Tina Brown to the editor’s chair at Newsweek, the magazine. Listen to these quotes:

“…It would only be fitting that its Website would be the first to go. Like most print publications, Newsweek magazine has been led by people who deep down don’t understand the Web, and because they don’t understand it, they fear it and don’t value it… Newsweek.com may have always remained an ugly stepchild to its print grandparents, who were too busy burning money to notice….”

A little example of view from nowhere fundamentalism.

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Nov15.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #71

In Podcast on November 8, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Dave was part of a two-day discussion at the Library of Congress about how to preserve the writing we do online in the blogosphere. We talked about that. (Dan Gillmor in Salon: saving our digital heritage.)

The new MacBook Air was released: a few remarks on technology and the manipulation of geek desire.

Dave on what the White House blogger should be: “The White House blogger should be as independent as the Federal Reserve chairman or the head of the FDA. His or her job is to start small and build a network of information on how Americans can help America. Not fluff, not fear, but what’s really going on. And to be controversial. Newt and Karl will say it’s run by left-wing biased limp-wrist sissies. Let em say it. Link to them saying it.”

The View from Nowhere! It keeps getting bigger as the controversies roll on. It was a factor in the absurd suspension of Keith Olbermann from MSNBC. It’s there in Jay’s post on Andrew Breitbart and ABC News. (Jay’s 2003 post on it.)

Brooke Gladstone on On the Media stands up for the right thing in a little segment on the View from Nowhere. The noise about “bias” does not matter much, she says. “It’s the reporting that matters. Reporting that is undistorted by attempts to appear objective. Reporting that calls a lie a lie right after the lie, not in a box labeled analysis. Reporting that doesn’t distort truth by treating unequal arguments equally.”

A new browser debuted this week: Rockmelt. We kicked that around a bit.

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Nov08.mp3

Articles

New MP3 for RBTN #70

In Podcast on November 2, 2010 by Dave Winer

Here’s a new MP3 for RBTN #70, a live podcast at the Online News Association meeting in Washington, on Oct 30.

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Oct30b.mp3

Thanks to Greg Linch for sticking with us. The first MP3 was largely inaudible — we had no setup time, no time to check the hardware. Next time we’re going to make sure we take enough time to get everything working before we go live.

But — that said, it was a great group of people, and a lively RBTN discussion. Makes me want to do some live sessions at NYU in the coming months.

Articles

Rebooting the News #70: Special Live Edition at Online News Association

In Podcast on October 30, 2010 by Jay Rosen

Dave and I are at the Online News Association annual convention in Washington DC today for a special live edition of our show. Unbelievably, we are counter-programmed against the Jon Stewart rally for sanity on the National Mall.

But we’re an official part of the program at ONA and the show must go on. What we plan to do is summarize some of the major themes or master narratives that have emerged over 70 weeks of Rebooting the News, and then include in the discussion whomever shows up.

Some of those major themes are…

We’re already using the rebooted system of news.

Every node in the network is a participant in the system.

Today the sources go direct. (And journalists have to adjust.)

It’s easier to trust “Here’s where I’m coming from” than the View From Nowhere.

(As King Kaufman said: “Objectivity and impartiality are journalism’s version of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.'”)

It’s dangerous for the news industry to rely on the tech industry for its next generation of tools.

There’s a cycle in tech: problems in openness build up, leading to closed systems, which then get disrupted by the next level openness.

We’re still serving the updates without the background knowledge needed to make sense of the updates; we need to fix that.

People come back to places that send them away.

Blogging is about owning–independently–the means of production; when we rely on companies for that we inevitably lose.

The enemy of progress is complexity.

Efficiency is creativity. The more efficient we can learn to be, the more we can do in the rebooted system of news.

We should have Checkbox News by now.

The 100 percent solution is a good path to innovation.

If you hear fire trucks in the night, in the morning you should be able to find out where the fire was.

Narrate your work.

We make shitty software.

Later… Well, we didn’t get to all those themes. But those are the themes. Here’s my post on the citizen’s agenda in campaign coverage, which was referred to.

And here’s the show– with audience participation. We hope you like it.

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Oct30.mp3

Articles

Rebooting the News #69

In Podcast on October 25, 2010 by Jay Rosen

PressThink’s new design and the little design feature some call “Winerlinks.”

Online News Association: what are the master narratives of Rebooting the News? For that is what we are going to discuss with the people who come to see the live taping of our show in Washington.

Dave participates in Jay’s class and reads eight news executives grappling with the rebooted system of news, followed by ten bloggers and new media thinkers doing the same thing.

Juan Williams and NPR: I believe Brian Stelter’s piece is the first time “view from nowhere” made the New York Times. Or the first without quotes, at least. Pressthink on it. Jay was on NPR’s On Point about it.

The fun of blogging and the sources going direct: Virgin America, power plugs, and Jim Fallows.

Intelligent. Elegant. And mature. New blogging and commenting guidelines for The Guardian’s journalists/

http://mp3.morningcoffeenotes.com/reboot10Oct25.mp3