Let me tell …

Let me tell ya, there’s nothing sillier (or cuter) than Alison Headley drunk at 3:00 AM at the Omni Hotel atrium bar. Alison, we love ya.

Lisa Rein just walked up to me and handed me a Starbucks iced mocha. She rocks.

I must have been on crack the day I made my SXSW hotel reservations. Two years ago I stayed at the La Qunita Capitol hotel and it sucked. Why I decided to stay there again, I don’t know. Sadly, it still sucks. If I come to SXSW next year, I’m staying at the Omni.

Blogging the Weblog Panel (Live): The panelists are Meg Hourihan, Rusty Foster, Doc Searls and Cameron Marlow.

12:34 PM: Meg is speaking, doing the introductions. Wants the panel to be interactive, not just a presentation. Does everyone know what a weblog is? Does anyone not? Audience laughs.

12:36 PM: Meg says weblogs bring together a breadth of knowledge that is unmateched in traditional journalism. We are “domain experts” and provide a more accurate story. Wants to explore the collective of this group. How does this balance against the media conglomerates?

12: 38 PM: Rusty introduces himself. The Internet is fundamentially a two-way medium. It is different from all the other mass media we have. K5 is not about journalism. But the site and the ideas behind it are about journalism. The collaborative model behind K5 is about bringing people together.

12:40 PM: Doc introduces himself. “I am in fact a media whore.” Asks how many of the audience are webloggers. 90% of the audience raises their hands.

12:42 PM: Cameron is speaking. He is focused on the research aspect behind weblogs. There are a huge number of weblogs, but they are connected. It is a personal connection. They are conencted socially in and informationally. Talks about Blogdex and how it displays the network/connection behind weblogs.

12:44 PM: Meg asks “What is a journalist?” What is the difference between a professional and an amateur? Doc says being a professional is being paid to write. “I use my blog to drive traffic to Linux Journal.”

12:48 PM: Cameron says that being professional means providing the responsibility for being factual and reporting the facts.

12:49 PM: An audience member talks about a woman in Houston who is in jail for refusing to give up her sources. She was not protected as a normal professional journalist is.

12:50 PM: Audience member, from IndyMedia, talks about how their reporters are seen as part of a protest instead of as real/professional journalists or part of the professional media.

12:53 PM: Doc says that companies require proof that you are a professional journalist before issuing a press pass.

12:55 PM: Companies have a limited amount of resources, so they naturally want the best coverage. Doc says “Bloggers are going to give great coverage, so companies will soon recognize that.”

12:57 PM: Meg asks “If a weblogger writes something that isn’t true, how does that all work itself out?” How does the good stuff filter up and out? Cameron says “The stuff that populates is the stuff that most people think is interesting/”

1:00 PM: Doc says “One of us is going to get sued at some point. This is America, we sue each otehre here.”

1:01 PM: Anil Dash (in the audience) mentions that he was threatened with a lawsuit threat by Walter Mossberg. “There is a resentment towards improving the credibility of weblogs.”

1:03 PM: Rusty is talking about how weblogs are inherently personal. You can get the credibility you need, but it takes time.

1:04 PM: Rusty, “If you want pundity, go to weblogs. You’ll get it.”

1:05 PM: Jason Kottke (in the audience), “Hard news is expensive. In general, it takes time, research and money.”

1:08 PM: A member of the K5 team in the audience talks about people reporting events live as they happen from the field, via their weblogs. His example is the earthquake in Seattle last year.

1:10 PM: Anil Dash says “We would all do better if we thought of our weblogs as journalism.”

1:11 PM: Jesse James Garrett (in the audience) says “If amateur journalists are going to be afforded the same rights as professional journalists, then they need to have the same responsibilities.”

1:14 PM: Rusty says “People I know who get most of their news from the Internet do not trust the news thst is on television.”

1:16 PM: Doc points out that the top story on Blogdex is the news that AOL is going to use the Gecko rendering engine in their next AOL client. An audience member disputes, and Doc tells him to blog his opinion. The audience claps.

1:18 PM: Cameron says that in the wake of September 11 the people on Metafilter were doing a better job of reporting the news than the mainstream media sources.

1:20 PM: Meg says that businesses are starting to recognize the importance of weblogs and we are on the verge of being corrupted by free movie passes, books, CDs, etc. in exchange for favorable reviews. An audience member says that this is what happened to zines, and it destroyed them.

1:23 PM: Audience member asks “Have you ever been to a fake blog that was manufactured by a company to promote a product?” The audience laughs and agrees they’ve seen this. Manipulative?

1:31 PM: Doc says that he likes weblogs because they are not like the flame-y nature of Usenet.

1:34 PM: Rusty says “I don’t think you can hijack the popular voice.”

1:38 PM: The weblogger community will route around hate speech and bigotry online.

1:43 PM: Doc says that television initially did a great job of reporting the Sptember 11 events, but shortly afterward defaulted to crap headlines and stories like “American Under Attack” and “Attack on America.” How is that different from weblogs?

1:45 PM: What we have with weblogs is a group of people who are absessive about specific things. They are the experts on x and y. You will get an informed opinion and not manufactured sensationalistic news.

1:46 PM: Wes Felter (in the audience) says that webloggers are domain experts. Anil Dash says that it’s a question about finding that one weblog that caters to your specific news need.

1:47 PM: The panel is wrapping up. It’s getting too hot in the room and peole are antsy. And hungry.

1:50 PM: Doc says “I have only a 24-hour attention span and I don’t scale. I’m astonished at how much I miss.”

1:52 PM: Doc asks the audience how many have political opinions that are left of center. Most of the audience raises their hands. He then asks how many people are afraid to talk about it on their weblogs. He mentions that he got a lot of scary email from fundamentalists. He no longer talks about his family on his weblog, out of fear.

1:57 PM: Meg says that this fear is silencing a lot of people. Doc says that we have to be careful. Cameron says that we’re not writing for an audience, we’re writing for our friends.

Posted by Cameron Barrett at March 12, 2002 06:00 PM

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