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[personal profile] jddunn13
Man, was that surreal.

Me on Nightline, apparently. What's the deal with the facehand? Ugh. At least I sounded ok.


So, some context. In the wake of all the weblog takedowns of media figures, Nightline decided to do a show on weblogs and how they relate to the media. I go to weekly weblogger meetings at the Berkman Center at Harvard, where we discuss these sorts of issues, and we were scheduled to have a discussion about "On the Record and Off the Record in Weblogging," and someone at Berkman had connections with Nightline, so they decided to tape our meeting for the upcoming show.

So, it finally aired tonight, and I was in there quite a bit, including being quoted as follows: "Everyone who writes a blog is putting other people, maybe without them knowing, into a public record."

That was from pretty much the only time I spoke up in the meeting, and it led the show. Weird. And it wasn't really the substantiative part of what I was saying. The discussion was about on the record vs off the record and weblogs, and we were bogged down in discussing the few, unrepresentative cases where weblogs actually approach being traditional media(and the Gannon/Guckert and Eason Jordan things, and what have you), and Dave Weinberger said as much. So, taking off from him, I suggested that we redefine on vs off the record in normal weblogger terms, in that Google is basically a public record, and anyone around you could basically put anything you say online, and what are the implications of that for us socially, what do we make of that in our own conduct, and so on.

But, one sentence from it happened to be able to be taken out of context to make a good lede, so there you go. It's so random though, what they choose to keep and what not out of 1.5 hours of footage, and how they go about constructing a slickly edited show from tiny bits and pieces of the real, rich context. It definitely works as narrative, but I'm not sure it works as good information or as an accurate reflection of what they're supposedly covering. For example, Steve Garfield made a longer video of the meeting, and what I had to say didn't even merit inclusion in his more comprehensive version of events(and probably shouldn't have, as it ended up being tangential to the thrust of the discussion.) I've got even more of an idea of the poverty of the current TV news formats when it comes to really capturing complex phenomena and presenting them well.

Also, I wrote an entry with extensive impressions on what it was like to have Nightline covering the meeting, how it changed things, why it was significant, and so on, in which I also just happened to refer to the host, John Donvan as coming off as "pompous and incurious." That part was of course what got quoted onscreen, although it was kindly not attributed to me personally. Otherwise, I came off ok... my verbal quote was reasonably articulate, and I didn't look like an asshole mugging for the camera or anything, though I could have stood to quite playing with my beard and being tense and such.

The story itself wasn't too bad. It didn't get too much terribly wrong, but it had the usual condescension and big-media scaremongering about how webloggers are doing journalism without a license and where will it all lead and so on and so forth. Still, better and fairer than probably 90% of the mass media coverage I've seen of weblogging, so I'll give credit where due on that.
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jddunn13

December 2009

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