Wednesday, November 23, 2005


CONCEPT: Comparing today's blog-driven media to America's colonial press

Prof. Norm Sims, of the journalism faculty at UMass-Amherst, offers this

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 12:26:48 -0500
From: Norman Sims <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: UPDATE: Craig Newman still talking about journalism


Verrryy interesting. I'm increasingly comparing these developments to the rise
of the press in colonial America. There are several parallels. In colonial
America and the early Republic, there were many newspapers, a multitude of
voices in the marketplace, often representing differing political or mercantile
perspectives. Want ads started to form an economic foundation before display
ads were really available under the printing technologies of the time. Content
was dominated by community interests in such things as arriving cargoes, news
that was not common knowledge in the community (such as the latest happenings
from London), and a variety of entertaining and enlightening stuff such as
literature and poems. They tended to NOT carry local news, which everyone knew,
and that runs counter to the current media changes. Subscriptions weren't
free, but the newspapers were often posted in taverns and coffee houses, where
people would often read them aloud for the benefit of community members who
couldn't subscribe or who couldn't read. Very democratic in their purpose and
focus, and if you think about the shaping of the First Amendment in that
environment, you can see how I believe the new MGP environment is in keeping
with the traditions of American history.


On Nov 23, 2005, at 6:58 AM, Bill Densmore wrote:
> Craigslist founder launching online journalism project
> Craig Newmark has already revolutionised classified advertising in the US
> with his hugely successful website, Now he is planning to
> shake up journalism, which he says has "lost the trust" of the public. The
> founder of the free classifieds site - the seventh most popular website in
> the US in terms of page views - is to launch a major online journalism
> project within three months that will copy his "wisdom of the masses"
> approach to advertising and apply it to journalism. "Things do need to
> change," Mr Newmark said. "The big issue in the US is that newspapers are
> afraid to talk truth to power. The White House press corps don't speak the
> truth to power - they are frightened to lose access they don't have anyway."
> ... He said that newspapers, which originally provided a local service to its
> readers, had lost their trust. "The American public has lost a lot of trust
> in conventional newspaper mechanisms. Mechanisms are now being developed
> online to correct that." Mr Newmark would not reveal any specific projects,
> which will run separately from Craigslist, but implied that they would
> involve using web technology to let readers decide what the major news
> stories would be. "We have seen a genuine wisdom-of-crowds effect at work at
> times on our website," he said.
> Source: Stephen Brook, The Guardian

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