Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Click, Clack, Moo... Cows That Type...

My wife had this children's book out yesterday and it caught my (kindergarten-level, LOL) attention. It'll someday be considered a classic among new-paradigm children... subtly but humorously learning about the power of publishing.

Here's the same theme, "The Blogging Phenomenon: Who? How? Why?"... expressed by the Digital Divide Network. [hat-tip, Bill Bean, "The Unnecessary Pastor"]

And finally, from the monied perspective... here's Fortune magazine's "Why You Can't Ignore Bloggers".

Now, for those of you who might be urban pastors & leaders -- I'm offering private help, over a cup of coffee, to help you start a personal or ministry website such as these articles describe that will be free & easy to post to... without having to rely on your webmaster. The suggested donation of $25 will go toward urban technology. It's win-win. Call 317-490-1255 or email for an appt.

"Click, Clack, Amen -- Pastors That Type".


blogger in the wilderness said...

RE "Why You Can't Ignore Bloggers".

I'd like to add a couple of articles I collected last year that are excellent discussions to help folks understand the massive changes in the media industry.

Read below ...

As Rather goes, so goes network news
Upward Blog Mobility

As Rather goes, so goes network news
James P. Pinkerton
September 21, 2004

These are the final days for Dan Rather. But the story of the fake documents aired on "60 Minutes" is deeper than just one man's fall. It is the story of technology's transition-and that's a tale that will never end.
By any fair reckoning, Rather should resign. As a big shot at CBS News-in addition to being anchorman-in-chief, he has been the managing editor of the CBS Evening News since March 1981-he deserves to be held to the same standard as Howell Raines, the executive editor of The New York Times, who was forced to resign last year in the wake of a news-fabrication scandal.
Some might argue that Rather was just a duped news reader, that he was simply following orders. In which case, following the precedent established in the 1998 "Tailwind" scandal-in which CNN's Peter Arnett was forced to quit after he read phony copy about Americans using poison gas in Laos-Rather should still be forced to take his leave.
But even if he limps along at CBS till the expiration of his contract in 2006, Rather is done for. He will be remembered as a reporter-crusader who went chasing after the Big Story both courageously and recklessly. Whatever the subject - hurricanes, Watergate, Afghanistan, George W. Bush - he was always on a quest. And like Captain Ahab, the obsessive anti-hero of Moby-Dick, Rather had many successes, but then he went harpooning after one too many a whale.
But if whaling provided drama in the 19th century, the big events of that era were elsewhere. The major purpose of whaling was to bring home
lubricants and fuel. But whales as the source were soon displaced by petroleum; the modern industrial economy was born.
And so today, when Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, speaks of "the end of the era of network news," his reference is far more broad than just one man, or one scandal. He is speaking of the rise of cable news; Fox, actually beat out the broadcast networks during the Republican convention earlier this month.
In fact, cable of all kinds has been eating away at the traditional oligopoly of VHF channels 2-13 for a couple decades now. Whereas once the
few UHF channels were a hard-to-reach province of snowy re-runs, today hundreds of cable channels are as clear and reachable as anything on broadcast.
So the "de-massification" of the media has been ongoing-and will keep going. In the '90s, Internet-based news-most notably the Drudge Report, which burst on the scene in 1998 by breaking the Monica Lewinsky story-proved that the "new media" could blow past older media. And now we have even newer media: the bloggers, the folks at home in their pajamas who collectively broke the "Rathergate" story.
The two key concepts in this never-ending techno-saga are the increasing ubiquity of Internet-based technology and the decreasing barriers to entry into a public forum. That is, anybody with a computer and a modem can be a blogger, and any blogger can be a media-player.
So what comes next? The past tells us that techno-change is tectonic change. Prior to the 15th century, the Catholic Church maintained its monopoly in part by controlling Bible production. Bibles were not only scarce but were hand-scribed in Latin, which only priests could read.
Then came Johannes Gutenberg, who used movable type to mass-print Bibles, eventually in local languages. Soon ordinary folk were reading the Bible for themselves and thinking for themselves. Protestantism was born. What followed was a century of religious war, but the world was transformed. One of those transformations was the radical new reality that technology would continue shaping events.
So today, Rathergate is just so much foam on the surface. The deep current of our time is that the old networks have lost their power to a bunch of scruffy no-names. Techno-change is shaping history yet again. 
Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

Upward Blog Mobility
By Bruce Bartlett
Washington Times
Published December 29, 2004

Two years ago, I wrote a column about "blogs" (Web logs) because they were the most interesting new Internet phenomenon I had come across.
    Essentially, they are personal Web sites that offer people daily (even hourly) commentary on current events or whatever they feel like writing about. Last year at this time, I wrote another column on this topic. So I guess it has become something of a tradition. This is my latest blog discussion.
    In my first commentary, I noted that journalists like Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus and Matt Drudge, as well as publications such as National Review, The American Prospect and Reason magazine had established blogs.
    Last year, I noted the growing number of academics commenting regularly in this form, including Brad Delong (University of California-Berkeley), Eugene Volokh and Steve Bainbridge (both of University of California-Los Angeles), Glenn Reynolds (University of Tennessee), Steve Antler (Roosevelt University), and Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University.
    I have found in the last year that bloggers increasingly specialize, with more staking out narrow areas of commentary. Since my main interests are economics and tax policy, I have singled out a few blogs in these areas I have found to be valuable resources.
    In the tax area, the most prolific blogger is tax professor Paul Caron of the University of Cincinnati. I find him useful because he really keeps on top of the scholarly research among other tax professors. In most cases, this research is available on the Internet as working papers that may be available months or even years before they appear in inaccessible law reviews. This is extremely valuable in keeping ahead on tax research.
    Other tax professor bloggers are James Maule of Villanova University and Daniel Shaviro of New York University. They tend to talk more about current tax policy issues from an academic viewpoint. I like it that both are highly opinionated. Neither pulls any punches on what they think is stupid about recent or proposed tax legislation. I don't always agree with them, but they always make me think.
    Another tax perspective comes from Kerry Kerstetter, a certified public accountant. His commentary is less academic and more practical. He offers advice on real-world tax problems, especially those facing small businessmen. And he seems to find every tax cartoon that appears anywhere.
    On economics, I have become a regular reader of the blog jointly produced by George Mason University professors Don Boudreaux and Russell Roberts. They are particularly good on free trade, an area where even some free marketeers have been seduced by the siren song of protectionism. Mr. Boudreaux and Mr. Roberts also are good job at making technical issues accessible to a general audience.
    On international trade, an indispensable blogger is political scientist Daniel Drezner of the University of Chicago. He has been especially outstanding on the so-called outsourcing issue and excels in staying on top of the research in this area. Unfortunately, even though every serious article or paper on this subject has shown it is a nonissue, it continues to excite xenophobes and others who lie awake nights worrying about the trade deficit.
    Blogger professor Andrew Samwick of Dartmouth College may become must reading in the coming year because of his expertise on Social Security privatization. Although favorable to the idea in principle, he is skeptical of free-lunch solutions, which could make his commentary particularly timely.
    I lean right, politically, but continue finding value in the commentary from friends on the left. The best is Kevin Drum of Washington Monthly magazine. The magazine itself has gone downhill, in my opinion, having become more doctrinaire and less iconoclastic since the retirement of its founder, Charlie Peters. But Kevin remains independent enough to keep me reading.
    Another lefty Web site I read regularly is someone known only as "Angry Bear." I don't know who he is, but he offers sophisticated commentary by an economist with a left-wing perspective. He is very good at poking holes in weak conservative arguments for policies I support, helping me strengthen those arguments and get them enacted.
    One disappointment this year has been the weakness of some institutional blogs, those sponsored by newspapers and think tanks. They are often unreadable and seldom linked to. It confirms my view that blogs are necessarily idiosyncratic and need to be pretty independent to succeed.
    I believe the Internet has barely scratched the surface in using blogs to analyze and disseminate information. I look forward to their continued evolution.
    Bruce Bartlett is senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis and a nationally syndicated columnist.
Copyright © 2004 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
- Herman Melville

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