The State of Online Journalism presentation

Tonight I attended The State of Online Journalism event hosted by the Online News Association and held at CNET headquarters. I recorded each presentation and took a few pictures. The audience was a mixed crowd of technical knowledge. Jeff Veen made a comment about DRM and a few audience members were not sure what that term meant. I uploaded my pictures of the speakers to Flickr. The first presenter was Jeff Veen of Adaptive Path. Jeff talked about weblogs and personal publishing as a distributed and real-time news source. He used an example of his personal investigation into the source of some smoke over downtown San Francisco that was not covered by traditional media outlets. He used good examples of companies still around today (radio, travel agents) that had to adapt to the way technology changed their business. I recorded Jeff’s speech (23:35, MP3). Next Mary Hodder of Technorati talked about how bloggers affect journalism. Jackson West of talked about collaborative journalism on his site and the process involved with getting SFist started. Jackson referred to blogging as seventy-five percent white males, because those are the people who can afford computers, know how to read, and who can spend some time writing. Definitely not politically correct and he did not provide any data to back up his claim. I recorded Mary’s speech (10:32, MP3). The last session covered the role and impact of news aggregators. Jeff Pelline, editor of, mentioned that is currently working on restructuring its story pages because they are the first point of entry for so many visits due to linking and RSS feeds. has incorporated what it calls “swarming features” influenced by Slashdot. Bill Gannon, editorial director of Yahoo! News, mentioned that the birth of Yahoo! News was when Jerry Garcia died (August 9, 1995) and they felt a need to feature such news prominently on Yahoo’s home page and provide a way for visitors to learn more. Bill embraces Yahoo’s pop culture news status and dismisses Google News as a direct competitor. Scott Rosenberg of Salon thinks the terms “aggregator” and “RSS” are terms of confusion and the industry is in need of new ways of referring to this technology. He thinks aggregation is at the same point now as the Web was in 1994. Tim Olsen, director of KQED Interactive, mentioned some of the ways his organization works with local businesses to produce content in ways that are mutually beneficial. I recorded the entire panel session complete with questions and answers (39:25, MP3).
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Commentary on "The State of Online Journalism presentation":

  1. Jackson West on wrote:

    Yeah, that wasn’t so PC, but then I gave up trying to be PC a long time ago. I meant to simply call out that like anything internet there is a deep digital divide between genders, races and classes. And the divide favors the same folks that generally have it easier in our society. Hope I didn’t offend.

  2. bill gannon on wrote:

    Just for the record, I did not “dismiss” Google News as a competitor. I actually praised Google News but pointed out that in terms of size of audience Google News does not have as many users as Yahoo! News. That’s just a fact. And when it comes to a key metric of journalism – time sensitivity – Google News is slower – a lot slower – than Yahoo! News and our mix of automated feeds and Full Coverage editors. Next time a big story breaks, see for yourself how long it takes Google News to get the story out vs Yahoo! News and other leading news sites.

  3. Niall Kennedy on wrote:

    I agree that there is a digital divide, I just do not see it drawn by race and gender. If you take a look at the Technorati Top 100 you will see some foreign weblog sources and a mix of men and women. Xeni at BoingBoing is a good example of a high profile woman blogger. Michael Powell has a weblog.
    I think what you were trying to get at was the need for diverse opinions.

  4. Niall Kennedy on wrote:

    I adjusted my entry text to Yahoo! News and Google News being not in direct competition. You reiterated your point in your comment that Yahoo! and Google take different approaches to the news.
    Google News was a side project that was pushed into the spotlight and is still in beta. Yahoo! has an editorial process to determine which stories receive more full coverage attention and which stories will be featured prominently on the site’s front page. Google uses algorithms.
    I use Yahoo! News to let the masses filter the big news stories for me. It is interesting to see what are the top stories users are e-mailing to one another. I would not be able to follow the latest revealing fashion trends if not for the most popular photographs on Yahoo! News. I currently use Google News to search for news by keyword. I use Yahoo! News to search for recent news pictures by keyword.
    After hearing you speak about Yahoo! News I was more inclined to click around and see what you have to offer.