Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Boy, talk about not getting it.

High-tech publisher tries 'blogozine'

The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After Red Herring sank into the dot-com morass last year, Tony Perkins considered resurrecting the magazine that helped establish him as a Silicon Valley sage. He changed his mind when his college-age daughter scoffed and told him "Red Herring is so 1990s."

So Perkins' return to the high-tech publishing scene will be more narrow and perhaps more risky for that. The new venture, AlwaysOn, will bring one of the Internet's hottest trends — Web logging, or "blogging" — to print.

The quarterly magazine, scheduled to debut early next year, will draw heavily from material that has already appeared online at www.alwayson-network.com — a technology-focused blogging community that Perkins created after Red Herring's collapse.

About half the so-called "blogozine" will be devoted to the most provocative posts on his Web site, like a recent debate about whether a new computer video game re-creating the assassination of John Kennedy should be rated more obscene than online pornography.

The rest of the magazine will feature longer articles about technology's future and interviews with the likes of Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive Carly Fiorina.

Perkins, 46, hopes to make money through a combination of advertising and an annual $49 subscription that delivers copies of the blogozine and special privileges at the AlwaysOn Web site. [...]

Well, bless his heart for wanting to try, but 50 bucks is an awful lot to pay to read about Carly Fiorina. Or anything else, for that matter. Why not just subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, or you know, steal them from the front desk when no one's looking? But, again, good on him for trying to make a go of something.

BUT THEN, we get to this little gem from one of his former co-workers:

[...] Jason Pontin, Red Herring's editor during the San Francisco-based magazine's heyday, is among the skeptics, although he still praises his former boss as "a very brilliant man, a beloved figure in Silicon Valley and an extraordinary self-promoter."

Pontin has serious doubts about whether the raw, openly biased observations that attract loyal followings to the online "blogosphere" will fare as well in the more circumspect realm of magazines, where full-time reporters routinely spend weeks researching stories and then submit their findings to rigorous fact checking.

"The blogosphere doesn't have the capacity to produce analytical, well-researched journalism," said Pontin, now editor in chief of Technology Review, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's monthly magazine. "If you believe there are enough people interested in reading a magazine devoted to bunch of insiders writing with great jubilation about the importance of their own community, then Tony's approach could be quite effective."[...]

What a sad little ignorant fellow. How many times must this be said--certainly the blogosphere does have a significant number of know-nothings and idjits, and if that's all you look at, it might be easy enough to think that's all there is. But it also includes a wide swath of some exceedingly bright, analytical, intelligent people, who can bring tremendous brainpower to bear on a variety of subjects. And who can check facts. And write cogently. And who do not see the imprimatur of Journalism as being that big of a deal.

I'm not trying to be mean to journalists in general, because I think they are valuable and most do a fine job. But I would like to point out to Mr. Pontin, at least, that being an editor is not something that requires sitting for a test in order to practice. Remember that when you read a blog written by a doctor, lawyer, accountant, or nurse. Nor does it require that your work involve keeping the public safe from harm. Remember that the next time you read a blog written by a cop, or a paramedic, or a soldier, or a fireman. Nor does it require actually knowing a whole lot about the ins-and-outs of just plain old making a living. Remember that the next time you read a blog written by a mechanic, or a mom with three kids, or some guy who loads trucks.

And I think it's a bit ironic that we have someone spouting off about a "bunch of insiders writing with great jubilation about the importance of their own community," especially when he's DOING THE EXACT SAME THING.

Mr. Pontin, you need to get out a bit more, and it shows.

(Bless your heart, too, by the way.)

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