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September 23, 2006

Designing for Blogs, Part 1: A Brief Manifesto

I'm an unabashed fan of working smarter, not harder.

In 1999, before I first happened on blog software or even the precursor called "EditThisPage," I was working with a few student programmers on a similar system in PHP, for classroom uses, collaborative projects, and portfolio-based active learning. What I really wanted to do was get away from the limitations of WebCT and Blackboard for more student-centered learning, instead of reproducing traditional classroom structures online. And I didn't want to have to keep teaching students HTML in classes that had other work to do.

When I saw that EditThisPage, Radio Userland and other applications were already doing what I was attempting to build from scratch in my dining room, I realized that the idea was so simple and such a logical next step, hundreds of people were probably doing exactly what I was doing, in different arenas, to make publishing accessible to more people. I saw that I could use blog tools for just about anything I could imagine with HTML and Flash, and save myself a whole lot of work.

And why did the blog idea catch fire as the killer app, when content management systems on the corporate side were plentiful? I strongly believe the answer is a timely combination of the rise of Google along with RSS.

Even though feed readers are having difficulty reaching non-tech users, feeds and tags are becoming an intrinsic structure in nearly everything we build. Quite simply, I won't build another freelance/contract web site that is not RSS/Atom-enabled. It's a no-brainer. Blogs are the display and feeds give the display legs. Technorati.com would not exist without feeds. And the massive social movement that is the blogosphere would not exist at all without RSS behind it.

So these days, rather than endlessly re-inventing the wheel, I'm primarily designing for CSS and the content-management shell blog software provides, a shell I can pour nearly anything into. Do I ever wish for the old blank-slate, starting fresh with a new audience/user interaction model every time?

Sometimes, but Web functionality is so crucial to interactive communities and a public commons that solo work in Flash feels empty to me, like an essential piece is missing. I think we'll end up one day defining "interactivity" as something that essentially must have more than one author, perhaps even many authors.

And lately, when I want to push on the limits of what interactivity can do, I find myself reaching for an even more robust system, pmachine's Expression Engine, where I can situate multiple blog modules in different contexts on the same page, and still retain my permalink archives and flexible CSS designs.

My only complaint so far is that I want some of the features I find in Scoop, features of audience-driven, "self-organizing" sites.

Not too long ago, someone asked me to predict where interactive media and the Internet would be five years from now. I refused to give an answer, because I don't get to decide. The beauty of a grassroots, bottom-up social movement like in the blogosphere is that the social structures provide an organic kind of direction and structure, and the social structure is the authority, not "industry leaders" or "futurists" or any other professional prognosticators striving for control or a first-mover advantage.

Interactivity is about giving up control.

What I strive to do as a designer and a participant in this grassroots social movement is to create tools that empower the most people with enough freedom to set their own directions. I'm not interested in herding cats. I am interested in watching and learning inductively from where cats go.

That's what Web 2.0 is about. That's why it rose from the ashes of the top-down corporate- and VC-driven creations that crashed and burned after all the money turned to vapor. What we valued most was what remained. Communities, interactions, strong ties, weak ties. Rich relationships over time. Rabid flame wars. Not endlessly pitching widgets while dropping names to bugger your Google/Technorati rank.

That's also why, in what some are calling a Web boomlet, I see business people desperately trying to appropriate blogs for various business models, proclaiming themselves authorities on their blog content niche as if they were following a stock professional copywriting formula, many diluting content in search engine-optimized blog sites that literally suck all the life out of the real reasons for blogging, the real reasons for writing and communicating online.

They claim they are dispensing value in a kind of knowledge-log "how-to" format, but as this genre of blogging multiplies, the sites look to me like little more than human-written, SEO-focused link farms, one step away from machine-generated link farms. Where is the real value in that?

Where I will stand in this new wash-out is with the commons, the spaces where real people talk, where conversations are alive with an energy of their own. The interfaces I will build for these communities and cybercultures will be interfaces that allow patterns of use to co-create the interface structures themselves.

The most creative, edgy projects I want to work on compulsively on my own time will not just employ user-centered design. They will allow social network structures to literally create their own designs.

In part two on this topic, I offer a visual snapshot into the kinds of blog-based sites I design, build, and often, host. One got 2,500 hits in its first 48 hours online. Others get very little traffic, because they are e-books I'm committed to maintaining as part of our common online library. Others are simply labors of love, my own contribution to the "real."

September 23, 2006 in Portfolio, Projects, Web Design, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Designing for Blogs, Part Two: Screenshots


Atlanta Media Bloggers (launched 2006)
Link: www.serendipit-e.com/mediabloggers
Custom advanced CSS on the Typepad platform. Original artwork by Denny Lester.


Serendipit-e, Inc. Communities and Tools for Active Learners
(launched 2000 in HTML, relaunched Typepad 2003)
Link: www.serendipit-e.com


Spinning and Being Spun: The idea of journalism in a postmodern age (launched 2005)
Link: www.serendipit-e.com/spinning


Weston Productions News site (launched 2004, now dormant)
Link: www.serendipit-e.com/weston


Hilltown Farmland Preservation: A Gathering Place for Information and Discussion about Farmland Preservation in Hilltown Township, Pennsylvania  (launched 2006)
Link: www.hilltownfarmlandpreservation.org

Continue reading "Designing for Blogs, Part Two: Screenshots"

September 23, 2006 in Web Design | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisboese
Professional Portfolio: www.serendipit-e.com/boeseportfolio
Personal/Professional Weblog: www.serendipit-e.com/blog

Experienced Interaction Designer and Community Manager offering:

  • Proven interactive media production and marketing skills honed since the birth of the Web in 1993.
  • Experienced blog designer, author, and community manager. My serendipit-e.com domain of 28 individual and group blogs (12 are my personal blogs) currently ranks 42,000 on Technorati.com. One private listserv I manage has been in existence more than 5 years.
  • Web 2.0 technology research into social media and the grassroots citizen media movement, including a detailed method on how to integrate blogs and interactivity into PR, marketing, and workplace cultures.
  • An enthusiastic speaking and leadership style that motivates and inspires collaborative groups to exceed project goals and creatively push beyond existing limits.
  • An adept multi-tasker and quick learner, able to facilitate projects through rapid prototyping and thorough usability testing.
  • Advanced writing and communication skills, adaptable to short and long form media genres and a wide range of publishing venues, from technical writing to journalism and PR, blogs, and literary and scholarly journals.


Writer; Researcher/Associate Writer: (Aug 2001 to present) CNN Headline News, Atlanta, GA.
Started one month before 9/11 and wrote the on-screen headline ticker from 2001-2003, through some of the most incredible breaking news in history. Cyberculture/cult media columnist for HLN on CNN.com: "Buzz Factor" and "Hot Wired." Freelance writer, CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360.” Developed RSS feed/intranet HLN blog on spec, 2003. Successfully completed copy editor training, 2005.

T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor: (Fall Semester 2005) University of Montana School of Journalism, Missoula, MT.  Took leave from CNN Headline News for a one-semester endowed visiting professorship, teaching a seminar on weblogs and citizen journalism. Co-advisor to student newspaper for RSS-based redesign of its online edition. 300+ attended public lecture delivered for the endowment.

Assistant Professor: (1998-2002) Department of English, MA Professional Communication Program (MAPC), Clemson University, Clemson, SC.  In addition to teaching and research, received a grant to create and direct the PSA Interactive Resources Studio for Clemson Public Service Activities (1998-2001). Implemented a redesign of the PSA web site portal and about a dozen PSA client sites with 4 grad assistants and 2 student programmers. Approximately $100,000 funded over 3 years. nutball.com/archive/psaportal/ie/index.htm

Web/Computer Contractor/Consultant: Sample Clients: (1998) Cisco Systems, Albany, NY branch. Created database for the NYS government contract to access through a local node of the Cisco Intranet. (July 1995) UNISYS Transportation Sector Marketing Group, Bluebell, PA.

Design & Marketing Assistant: (1997-98) Rensselaer Office of Continuing & Distance Education. Handled design & production for all print and Web publications.

Graphic Designer: (1996-97) Lighting Research Center, School of Architecture. Rensselaer Polytechnic. DTP for research publications & large posters. Technical schematics, photo-editing, illustration. Poster designs won Society of Technical Communication award.

Marketing & Recruitment Grad Assistant: (1995-96) Electronic Media, Arts, & Communication (new program). Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. EMAC inaugural web site received Best of RPInfo award, 1996. Won the Rensselaer Founder's Award (highest award given at RPI) for work with EMAC.

Continue reading "Resume'"

September 23, 2006 in Resume | Permalink | TrackBack

September 22, 2006

Montana Journalism Review: Ethical issues between blogging and journalism

I just heard a terrific NPR "All Things Considered" piece on George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language," and since that essay and Orwell's other writings influenced my piece in the Summer 2006 Montana Journalism Review below, it seemed like a good time to post this up here. The odd numbers floating in the text are references to the Endnotes at the very end of the document.

Here's the full bib citation:

Boese, C. (2006) "Challenging the Power Structure." Montana Journalism Review. Summer 2006, Number 35. pp. 8-10.


Challenging the Power Structure

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. George Orwell

By Christine Boese

Picture the prototypical American "town square," the idealistic vision of Jeffersonian democracy: gathering places that people used to pass through almost every day, places that were the center of community life. Announcements and ideas were disseminated in these spaces. Anyone could set up a soapbox and start talking, although, as Clem Work has found in his research into the enforcement of the Alien and Sedition Act in Missoula in the early 20th century, there were very real attempts to squelch certain kinds of talk in some public squares.

Where do people gather to participate in their communities now? Aside from street festivals and parades, the few civic gatherings that remain take place in restricted or private spaces, in schools, churches, shopping malls, sports arenas. We have protections in the Constitution not only for speech, but also for the right to assemble. Activists of many stripes are bemoaning the loss of the true "commons," spaces that are set aside as the public domain, shared spaces that belong to all.

Journalists often have an explicit goal to cover community activities, and as such, they monitor and report on what happens in the "commons." But as the commons disappear, more often than not, journalists seek entry into the private spaces where decisions that affect communities are made. One unintended result of this shift is that journalists focus less on their communities and instead become willing satellites circling a class of power brokers, somewhat like the courtiers during Shakespeare's time.

A journalist has an ethical obligation to go where people are exercising their right to assemble, to monitor and cover the community, even if that community is a "global village." While face-to-face commons are disappearing, there still are places where people gather, discussing the events that affect their lives, participating in democracy in a most direct way.

And in the online "blogosphere," people are gathering. They're writing and editing their own customized interactive "newspapers" with headline readers and research they've done on their own, weighing and analyzing, making up their own minds instead of letting some editor they never voted for in the employ of some mass media conglomerate tell them what to think.

While the term "blog" was accepted into the Merriam Webster dictionary in 2004,1 few people profess to know very much about weblogs or the blog movement. If they do have an impression, it's often of self-obsessed teenagers putting too much private information online, or of anonymous and irresponsible talk radio-style ranting of the far right and left.

The problem is that blog software and the blog movement are two very different things. Blog software is a tool that can be used for a wide range of purposes. The "blog movement" is a social phenomenon having a very real impact at this moment in history.

The vast majority of what's being put online using blog software has very little to do with the "blog movement" per se. There are cooking recipe group blogs. About.com was converted to blog software several years ago. The University of Minnesota library is giving students blog space for learning, a project called UThink.2 Harvard Law School is using blogs to supplement teaching and discussions on legal issues.3 I have a poetry blog, my own idiosyncratic Norton Anthology, if you will.4

I often tell people that blog software is a poor person's content management system. It's like an empty coffee cup. What you pour into the cup is only bound by the limits of your imagination.

The database behind blog software is a terrific tool to hold all kinds of information for collaborative interactive access. I believe blog software will gobble up the entire Web because of the power of syndication (RSS) and headline feed readers.5

The "blog movement" is another thing altogether, and it's having considerable impact on journalism and journalistic ethics.

Continue reading "Montana Journalism Review: Ethical issues between blogging and journalism"

September 22, 2006 in Published Research, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 01, 2006

Academic Vita



Ph.D. Rhetoric and Communication: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, 1998. GPA 4.0. Dissertation Chair: David Porush. Readers: James Zappen, Tamar Gordon, Audrey Steinhauer. Outside Reader: Cynthia Selfe.

Dissertation: The Ballad of the Internet Nutball. www.nutball.com/dissertation
Online ethnography & rhetorical analysis was first Web-based hypertext dissertation accepted at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in 1998. Since then the permanent site has received international recognition and is required reading in graduate seminars both within & outside the USA, receiving international trAce award (UK), Dec 2000. Author interviewed in New York Times article on cult TV in 2000. Research was subject of a visual rhetoric study by Mary E. Hocks in June 2003 issue of the Journal of College Composition and Communication.

Master of Fine Arts, Creative Writing, Poetry: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 1990 (sixty credit terminal degree). Thesis: Darkroom Glories poetry manuscript.

Bachelor of Arts: University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, 1985.
Major: Journalism. Minor: English.


Weblogs & Micropublishing, Cyberculture & VR, Social Network Computing, Interface Design & Usability, Interaction Design, Hypermedia & Multimedia Communication Theory, Visual Communication, Graphic Design, Computers & Composition, Rhetorical Theory and Analysis, Feminist Theory, Cultural Studies, Ethnographic Research Methods, Professional/Technical Communication, Electronic Journalism, Public Relations, Literary Journalism, Photojournalism, Poetry, Nonfiction, & Fiction Workshops


Proficiency (able to teach): Movable Type, TypePad, Avstar & iNews; Director, Flash, & Dreamweaver; Photoshop; Illustrator & Freehand; PageMaker & Quark; Excel; FileMaker Pro; HTML & CSS.
Basic Knowledge: UNIX, JavaScript, XHTML, XML, MySQL, PHP

Continue reading "Academic Vita"

September 1, 2006 in Vita | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2006

A whirlwind tour of selected web sites I've designed and built since 1994

The last time I worked with these web thumbnails was with my old Flash portfolio. As much as I've enjoyed Flash and Director over the years, they aren't the easiest end-products to update over time (unless I want to integrate a database).

So now this is my web portfolio. Some are solo design projects; some have artwork that was subcontracted out or provided by the client or ad agency. On some of the larger, more comprehensive sites, I directed the web design, programming, and usability teams as project manager. With such big sites, the team members' contributions were essential, and I am deeply grateful for their work.

Each thumbnail listed will include a short case description of the project. This is not a complete archive of all the sites I've worked on, but each one is representative of its period in the evolution of the web.

Here's a teaser... from my most recent launch...


to an oldie but goodie...


The Continue link will go from the present, backward in time, to the early days of Mosaic and the beginnings of the World Wide Web (I'm still trying to recreate my first 1994 home page, if I can just find that old Mosaic gray background [grin]). I'll keep updating this permanent link, to preserve a bit of my own web history. You'll also find below a piece I did for one of the longest continuously publishing online magazines from the earliest days of the web (CMC Magazine), still available at all its original links.

Continue reading "A whirlwind tour of selected web sites I've designed and built since 1994"

July 16, 2006 in Web Design | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2006

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend... - Google Book Search

Link: The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend... - Google Book Search.

Google Print: Hey! I found myself in Ray Kurzweil's new book, "The Singularity is Near." That's cool, to  show up in the book of an author I really enjoy reading.

Might as well record the entire citation. However, I have a bone to pick here. Dude!  That's a section where I quoted a bit from Sherry Turkle's book "Life on the Screen." But the quotation uses elipses so you can't tell which are my words and which come from Turkle.

I used to make all my first-year composition students read the first two chapters of "Life on the Screen" (this quotation comes from the beginning of the book).

It's my favorite line in Turkle's book (copied it here below as well, if anyone wants to discuss it, my version, and Kurzweil's with the elipses).  In the CNN.com column, I couldn't record the page number of the Turkle quotation, but I can put it in here. You can find that bit in "Life on the Screen" at the bottom of page 13.

I also value Turkle's assessment of two dichotomies of competing cultures (aesthetics?) in computer science (and engineering, and many other fields) of "tinkering" vs. "top-down planning," as well as what she calls in her introduction "a culture of calculation" vs "a culture of simulation."

Those ideas are valuable as a heuristic mainly, as overly simplistic dichotomies maybe, like Robert Pirsig talks about in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," the "classic" and "romantic" understanding of motorcycles, surface romance vs. the guts of a finely tuned engine. But it gives a person something to think about. One of these days I'm going to insert that Pirsig quotation into this blog as a "Seminal Text." I used to copy it up as a handout for the gifted and talented students when I taught critical thinking at Arkansas Governor's School.

The other essential Turkle book I own is "The Second Self."

Here's the bit from my CNN.com column Kurzweil uses:


How young people live

A student may have a textbook open. The television is on with sound off (perhaps with the CNN Headline News modular screen). They've got music on headphones. On a laptop hooked in to the Internet there's a homework window, along with e-mail and instant messaging in the background. The Web has become an essential part of checking facts and figures for the homework (not to mention plagiarizing with copy and paste). On top of that, the student may field phone calls or talk with a roommate.

One of the most striking observations in Turkle's findings was a quote from one multi-tasking student who preferred the online world to the face-to-face world. "Real life," he said, "is just one more window."

College students are the leading edge in adapting to this new goldfish bowl, these new multi-tasking sense ratios. Some of us will hold on to the old ways by our fingernails, afraid of losing a coherent self. Others will plunge into the new collective nerve center, our various selves loosely joined in a partial free-fall at all times.


Kurzweil's bib citation in the book:

Christine Boese, "The Screen-Age: Our Brains in our Laptops," CNN.com, August 2, 2004.  http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/01/26/hln.hot.buzz.silicon.brain/index.html.

Link: The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend... - Google Book Search.

Now part of [my consciousness] lives on the Internet and seems to stay there all the time.... A student may have a textbook open. The television is on with the sound off.... They've got music on headphones... there's a homework window, along with email and instant messaging.... One multi-tasking student prefers the online world to the face-to-face world. "Real life," he said, "is just one more window.
---Christine Boese, reporting on findings by MIT Professor Sherry Turkle.

And here's the bib for Kurzweil's book:

Kurzweil, R. (2005) The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Viking.

May 3, 2006 in Citations, CNN.com Columns, Journalism, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2006

Xena Dissertation featured in the The Chronicle of Higher Education: Digital Dissertation Dust-Up

This still lives behind the firewall (and may well live there forever, I think). So here's some excerpts from it, with some bib information. It is a topic near and dear to my heart, so I have some comments to throw in before you get to the part that mentions my dissertation.

Full Citation:

Monaghan, P. (2006). Dissertation Dust-Up: Film clips and hyperlinks in graduate theses raise tough copyright and open-source issues.The Chronicle of Higher Education. 52: 34. A41. Retrieved on May 2, 2006 from http://chronicle.com/weekly/v52/i34/34a04101.htm.

Link: The Chronicle: 4/28/2006: Digital Dissertation Dust-Up.

From the issue dated April 28, 2006

Digital Dissertation Dust-Up

Film clips and hyperlinks in graduate theses raise tough copyright and open-source issues


Virginia A. Kuhn, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, was having dissertation trouble.

Nothing unusual about that.

But it wasn't that Ms. Kuhn was struggling to finish her thesis. The trouble was that officials at the institution could not figure out whether to accept it.

Her thesis is not a printed document. It was born digital, in a multimedia format full of film clips, hyperlinks to other parts of the work, and other uses of electronic media.

There was no way to measure the margins to make sure they met the university's specifications, which are notoriously strict at many institutions. But that was a minor concern. The biggest issue was copyright. Citing a snippet of text in a printed thesis is standard procedure, but including a piece of video or a still picture, which Ms. Kuhn says is critical to explain her points, can raise the ire of copyright holders, and sound the alarm among university attorneys.

Although Ms. Kuhn lists detailed citations for all multimedia works in her thesis, she refused to ask permission to include them, because she insists that she should be able to cite them in the same way that print sources have long been cited. She says: "If you ask for permission, you're screwed because you imply that you legally need it."

Instead, she says, "I'm doing all that's incumbent on me legally to establish fair use."


[At the time I was working on my multi-media, native hypertext dissertation (The Ballad of the Internet Nutball: The Xenaverse in Cyberspace), I had to deal with a similar issue with fair use and the rights to material, as it relates to fandom and "textual poaching" (Jenkins). During my data-gathering period, Xena fans who also had web sites in X-Files fandom had two very different experiences with their fannish bastardizations of screenshots and artwork, and of course, fan fiction. Several of my informants with X-Files sites received "cease and desist" orders from Fox, basically forcing them to take down their sites (I have a bit on this skirmish in my diss, here).

Xena fans had a very different kind of relationship with the producers of that show, Renaissance Pictures, and Universal Studios. Because it was a more marginal show, the producers (TPTB) were regarded as friendly parts of the online community for the most part, and Universal saw the fan sites more as free publicity that the show wouldn't have gotten otherwise. All fan sites in the Xenaverse carried standard disclaimers about fair use, and as I wove my dissertation into that community, I used many of the same materials, and did not hesitate to use the same kind of disclaimers as the fans used.

If I had any doubt on the question, I had also researched and attended academic conference sessions and workshops on the evolving nature of intellectual property (it didn't hurt that my dissertation adviser, David Porush, was an outspoken "copyleftist") , and I was well aware of the protections I had under law for non-profit academic "fair use."

Now if I had a book contract, most of those materials could not be used. But the bigger challenge in converting my nonlinear dissertation into a book was "unweaving" it, which isn't exactly impossible, but the more I worked on it, the more I felt it was a betrayal of the original thought patterns I was advocating.]

An Enhanced Book

The form of Ms. Kuhn's dissertation is based on that of a regular book, but with many nonstandard features. Its online pages are heavy with text, like a printed book, but when a user moves the cursor over the pages, hyperlinks pop up, leading to embedded information. And images, when clicked on, open windows containing more-detailed captions, or a film clip, or citations. An electronic "sticky note" feature lets users record comments and reactions for their own later reference.

"I made it look traditional so it wouldn't be completely alienating for a university user," says Ms. Kuhn.

To produce the electronic work, she used TK3, a software platform designed by Robert Stein, research director at USC's Institute for the Future of the Book. An acclaimed figure in new-media circles, Mr. Stein is the founder of Night Kitchen, a seven-year-old company that develops writing tools for electronic publishing.

Ms. Kuhn first secured the approval of her dissertation committee, whose members became enthusiastic after initially hesitating. When her doctorate was put on hold, committee members went to bat for her.

She assured University of Wisconsin officials she was willing to convert the document from the TK3 platform to an open-source program that Mr. Stein and colleagues have developed, called Sophie, which Mr. Stein says is specifically designed to "be alive for a long time." The Sophie project is part of his work with the Institute for the Future of the Book, a collaboration between USC's Annenberg Center for Communication and Columbia University. The software allows writers and readers to have conversations within books — both live "chats" and exchanges through comments and annotations.

The software does not answer the thorny copyright questions, though.

In her dissertation Ms. Kuhn discusses such subjects as what it means in the era of digitized media to reproduce images. That and, as she puts it, "why should you pay copyright fees to cite an image but not a word?"

She argues that citing works, the way one cites texts, should be enough. Copyright laws, as currently enforced, she says, "limit what can be put out there," and discriminate against people without a lot of money. "The rich can afford to pay Hollywood for those clips.


Continue reading "Xena Dissertation featured in the The Chronicle of Higher Education: Digital Dissertation Dust-Up"

May 2, 2006 in Citations, Projects | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 30, 2006

The Spirit of Paulo Freire in Blogland: Struggling for a Knowledge-Log Revolution

Originally published in the 2004 University of Minnesota edited collection: Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs.

Download FreireBlogland04.pdf

Reprinted here with permission.

Full Citation:

Boese, C. (2004). The Spirit of Paulo Freire in Blogland: Struggling for a Knowledge-Log Revolution. In L.J. Gurak, S. Antonijevic, L. Johnson, C. Ratliff, & J. Reyman (Eds.), Into the blogosphere: Rhetoric, community, and culture of weblogs. Retrieved April 30, 2006, from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/the_spirit_of_paulo_freire.html.

By Christine Boese, Independent researcher

Weblogs and knowledge-logs, or “blogs” and “klogs,” have emerged into the post-dot.com bubble online world as a notable (and often non-commercial) social phenomenon. While some hear echoes of Web homepage voices from the mid-1990s, the blogging phenomenon during the Iraq war may have taken Web cybercultures in new directions. This qualitative and exploratory research considers the viability and social effects of the altered web page phenomenon of blogs and klogs as they affect the lives of information workers, in public Internet spaces, and with implications for private intranets. It combines ethnographic observations from a single case within the Iraq warblog phenomenon with the   standpoints and personal observations from the author’s professional experience launching a klog inside CNN Headline News shortly after the war. It seeks to gain insight into the utopian and often unnecessarily technologically deterministic promise of a knowledge-log revolution and find points where the movement falls far short of that promise. While knowledge-logs can appear as efficient groupware   tools for organizations, klog interface features allow political openings to change corporate cultures in ways most groupware never intended, with a goal of a dialogic, critical pedagogy through workers helping and teaching other workers outside the realm of “official policy.” Personal blog sites   of journalists in the employ of large, knowledge-commodity organizations such as Time Warner release this same tension into public spaces and reveal the very real disruption on a large scale that klogs can create on a small scale. Ideas and models presented by Paulo Freire and Michel de Certeau are used as a lens   for one possible interpretation of the events studied from March to November   2003.

The Other Side: Josh Kucera
March 09, 2003

An introduction

Welcome to my blog, all. First, to introduce myself and The Other Side. I am a freelance journalist based in Erbil, in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. I am new to the world of blogging, and I heartily thank Chris Boese, a friend of a friend whom I’ve never even met, for suggesting this to me and for setting up all the technical stuff.

I chose to call the blog The Other Side for a couple of reasons. One, I want to show the other side of the news. I don’t intend for this site to be a substitute for the ordinary media, but as a complement to it. You can get good information from the New York Times, BBC and Associated Press. But you won’t hear unvarnished opinion from a guy on the ground, or what ordinary days are like for the people here: about pornographic movie theaters,     tragic love stories or the sunset over Erbil.

Secondly, “the other side” refers to the land outside America’s borders, a big place that most Americans, even well educated ones, are not very familiar with. Reading the news about the Middle East or Indonesia or Venezuela is as about as meaningful as watching a game of Risk if you don’ know what the streets smell like there or what people eat. I hope this blog can be a small substitute for that sort of experience. . . .

That’ll be it for today … soon to come will be more reports, focusing on particular issues, relating particular incidents, etc. Stay tuned.  

Posted by Josh at 10:39 PM |Comments (16) |TrackBack (1)

Weblogs, or “blogs,” like the excerpt above, are a site of online communication that has sprung up in the margins around several forms of mainstream public discourses and professional communication practices, and in some cases become a deceptively powerful and somewhat erosive force in mainstream journalism--erosive in the sense that blogs have a dialogic and unobtrusive way of nibbling at established   mass media power bases, sometimes without institutional awareness.

As blogs enter mainstream public consciousness from the margins of the Internet where they originated, they bring a hidden and newly awakened army of interactive participants who may be experiencing the kinds of unsettling (to the powers that be) critical consciousness that is within the goals of an increasingly democratized culture such as Paulo Freire as an educator sought to foster. While blogs are now part and parcel of presidential campaigns, they really came into their own with the warblogs of the Iraq war in 2003.

For the purposes of this paper, a blog is defined as a regularly updated webpage using blogging software which functions as a database-driven, dynamic, content-focused shell (Carl, 2003, p 1, 3). Into that space, single authors or groups can take   any number of rhetorical stances and post creative and analytical source material and links, published with a reverse chronological order of most recent postings at the top, linked to a permanent archive through “permalinks.” While web pages are static, blogs are intended as part of an ongoing conversation through contextual “comments” bulletin boards attached to each post. Once installed, blogs require next to no technical knowledge to update and maintain. In addition, a social movement has sprung up around blogs, giving the technical   artifact meaning in a larger context, in what some call “neighborhoods” or “blog ecosystems.”

Klogs are simply blog software interfaces appropriated for company knowledge-management tools as a quick and easy, and participatory, content management system. Some firms may have IT departments build content management tools from scratch, often with uneven results due to usability difficulty. The sheer number of blog users online testifies to the ease of use for blog software, which may speak for their adoption for in-house klogs.

This qualitative and exploratory research considers the viability and social effects of the web page phenomenon of blogs and klogs as they affect the lives of information workers, in public Internet spaces with implications for private intranets. It combines ethnographic observations from a single case within the Iraq warblog phenomenon with the personal standpoints and observations from my professional experience launching a klog inside CNN Headline News shortly   after the war. It seeks to gain insight into the utopian and often unnecessarily technologically deterministic promise of a knowledge-log revolution and find   points where the movement falls far short of that promise.

The ethnographic methods employed in this qualitative study are informed by insider access to two separate sites. In each case, I participated on some level as a web designer and host and was an interested party in the blogs launched. While this may be seen as compromising the data gathered (in the case of the first site) or the personal observations (in the case of the second site), there is no other way that this information could have been obtained without being   one of the parties involved. The stories here would have remained invisible. But my standpoint must be claimed and foregrounded, from the perspective of   feminist standpoint theory as it affects scholarship (Rich, 1984), even while   distancing myself from the essentialism of identity politics to embrace a role more as a shifting cyborg hybrid from within the larger Time Warner organization (Haraway, 1991). According to Haraway, cyborgs are invisible and ubiquitous, "illegitimate offspring of militarism and patriarchal capitalism, not to   mention state socialism" (153), without loyalties or origins, "committed to partiality, irony, intimacy, and perversity, it is oppositional, utopian, and completely without innocence" (151). In adopting such a role, my perspective becomes part of the story.

The two sites studied will be described in terms of ideas of “critical consciousness” (Freire, 1973) and “textual poaching” (de Certeau, 1984) in an effort to unpack the complex interplay of events through an Iraq war blog on a large scale and the launch of an intranet klog on a small scale.

Continue reading "The Spirit of Paulo Freire in Blogland: Struggling for a Knowledge-Log Revolution"

April 30, 2006 in Books, Journalism, Published Research, Television, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 26, 2006

Cyberprof reflects on Pollner semester

Link: University of Montana School of Journalism: Cyberprof reflects on Pollner semester.

News & Events • February 2006

Cyberprof reflects on Pollner semester

By Christine Boese
2005 Pollner Distinguished Professor

photo by Teresa Tamura

2005 Pollner prof Chris Boese gets tricky with computer screens.

To say that I was a bit of a fish out of water when I came to Missoula might be an understatement.

True, I'd grown up in Alaska and traveled and camped extensively throughout the Midwest and West. I am no tenderfoot. But since the early 1990s, I became obsessed with the study of cyberspace, cybercultures, radical democracy, independent media and voices that weren't necessarily backed by the power of a major corporation. I'm the kind of person who has found the work she loves, and that's about the worst thing, because I'm my own workaholic.

Somewhere along the way I started seeing myself as a citizen of cyberspace first, and in the walking-around-world second. I was happy, but people often worried about me. They sent emissaries to try to get me to come out and play. "What was I missing?" I wondered.

In coming to Missoula, I knew I'd have a good opportunity to give the walking-around-world another chance, because here was a place as idyllic as anything I could imagine, a college town, a tranquil yet interesting campus populated with deer the way squirrels run around on most campuses. A river runs through a downtown haunted with hundred-year-old structures. Bike trails are everywhere. It's surely a paradise for dogs, and I take my mutt with me everywhere I travel. Not to mention the fact that I was hoping for snow and a chance to hit the ski slopes. Montana did not disappoint.

photo courtesy of Chris Boese

Boese skiing at Big Mountain, with Glacier National Park in the distance.

People here care about where their food comes from, and the farmers' markets promise abundant feasts on healthy, living things. I'm told Missoula is in a region that could sustain itself with locally-grown food if something bad and apocalyptic were to happen, and I believe it. In some ways, Missoula is like an island tucked over here on the other side of the Continental Divide.

Continue reading "Cyberprof reflects on Pollner semester"

April 26, 2006 in Citations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 25, 2006

Past Syllabi: JOUR 494 Pollner Seminar Syllabus

University of Montana, Missoula:

Who controls a free press? Blogging and the citizen journalists' challenge to Mainstream Media

Fall 2005 Syllabus

Instructor:  Dr. Christine Boese
Meetings:  11 am to 1 pm Mondays in 2nd Floor Journalism Library & Honors Computer Lab
Class Blog:  www.serendipit-e.com/494private 
Office Phone:  406-243-2934
Office:  208 Journalism Building
Office Hours:  1-3 pm Weds., Tues., Thurs. unless I'm meeting with other classes. I'll also be available M-F during the day most days

Texts and Electronic Tools:

Available in the campus bookstore. The Gillmor text can also be downloaded free online at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/wemedia/book/index.csp, but I want you to bring the book to class, so you'll need to print the whole thing out somewhere. Also, the two optional texts are usually available with two-for-one discount pricing as a package deal at Amazon.com.


We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, For the People. Dan Gillmor. O'Reilly Media Books, 2004. See also http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/wemedia/book/index.csp.


The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog. Rebecca Blood. Perseus Publishing, 2002.

We've Got Blog: How Weblogs are Changing Our Culture. Perseus Publishers ed. Introduction by Rebecca Blood. Perseus Publishing, 2002.

Blog Software:

Each student will be setting up at least two (if not more) individual blogs as a course requirement. One will be a blog publishing forum and the other will be a professional journalism portfolio you can use to archive your clips and career achievements and show to potential employers (also part of your final grade). DO NOT jump ahead, as I will walk you through the process if you don't have a blog already. There are certain advantages to pre-planning and I want to make sure you understand the features and options before you plunge in.

The software I hope all will use (unless you are already a web-tech whiz-bang) can be found at Typepad.com. There is a low monthly fee, but I want to make sure you set up the account that will best fit your needs. I know that free blog accounts can be set up at places like Blogger.com (and even LiveJournal, egad!), but ultimately you will find future options limited at the free sites, and this is an investment in your professional credibility. Whiz-bangs may consider excellent products such as WordPress or Drupal, but prepare to be technically challenged by the installation and maintenance (and onerous comment spam, something Typepad has cured).

Finally, I'm hoping some adventurous students will take a stab at podcasting this semester, and Typepad just set up the easiest on-ramp to podcasting I've seen so far, to go along with its streamlined interface for photoblogging and mo-blogging. Typepad has also indicated that video-blogging will also be supported with the new podcast features.

Course Description

New Yorker press critic A.J. Liebling wrote in 1960, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." In this course we will examine and participate in one of the most radical restructurings of media ownership since moveable type displaced monks copying manuscripts by hand. Now the price of owning a "press" has fallen to nearly zero. In this time of great social change, the media landscape and its "powers that be" seem thrown into chaos. Some (like RIAA) are fighting the changes while others embrace them. The stress of change also releases great creative energy. These are exciting times for journalists! We will compare the social structures and technologies of broadcast and interactive media, and discuss the idea of a coming "convergence." We will also launch our own blogs and join the larger blogging "ecosystem." Along the way, we'll conduct online research into the bloggers' challenge to mainstream media (or MSM, as they call it), in an attempt to discover what is giving this grassroots journalism movement its power.

No specialized technical knowledge or web-building skills are required to take this course. We will learn to maintain web templates and style sheets with blog software. We will also learn practical writing strategies and media management skills for interactive journalism. By the end of the course, each student will have created a polished professional portfolio blog as well.

Continue reading "Past Syllabi: JOUR 494 Pollner Seminar Syllabus"

April 25, 2006 in Course Syllabi | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2006

Past Syllabus: The Rhetoric of Web Publishing

Fall 1999 Syllabus

Instructor: Dr. Christine Boese
Meetings:4:00 pm to 6:30 pm Weds. in 413 Daniel
Bulletin Board: WebPub
Class Web: Ginger
E-mail: cboese@clemson.edu
Phone: 656-5416
Office:605 Strode Tower Office Hours2-4 pm Weds., Tues., Thurs.
Department: English
ProgramMasters of Arts in Professional Communication
Institution: Clemson University

Table of Contents

Required Texts:

Available in the off-campus Student Bookstore, corner of College and Sloan, and at www.bigwords.com, access code B-UBR9. This is a new service, so if they give you any trouble, there is always AMAZON. You might also look into a new online college bookstore, www.varsitybooks.com, which is giving away $10 gift certificates to new users.

Creating Killer Web Sites: The Art of Third Generation Site Design. 2nd ed. David Siegel. Hayden Books, 1997. See also http://www.killersites.com.

The Secrets of Successful Web Sites: Project Management on the World Wide Web. David Siegel. Hayden Books, 1997. See also http://www.secretsites.com.

Other Readings provided on Electronic Reserve and in a box in the MATRF Lab.

Optional texts recommended but not required:

Deconstructing Web Graphics 2: Web Design Case Studies and Tutorials. Lynda Weinman, Jon Warren Lentz, 1998.

Snow Crash. Neal Stephenson. Bantam paperback.1993.

You will also be REQUIRED to subscribe to the World Wide Web Artists Coalition (WWWAC) listserv during the time that you are enrolled in this class. It is part of the weekly assigned course readings. I recommend you subscribe in digest form, and refrain from posting to the list itself. This is a very active professional listserv based in New York City, and its members work in the heart of Silicon Alley. Naive newbies are often flamed if they say the wrong thing. Instead, if you want to discuss topics from the WWWAC list, lets take them to our class listserv, WebPub, instead, where we don't have to worry about sophisticated web professionals flaming us.

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Course Description

This course is a graduate seminar in the theory and practice of communicating effectively on the World Wide Web.

Prerequisites: Visual Communication Seminar 860.

Objectives: This course examines the evolving cultures of the World Wide Web in a proactive fashion, taking a rhetorical approach to interactivity and hypertextual structuring. Students will also study methods of professional conduct in the burgeoning field of new media, preparing them to enter a workplace where their skills are in high demand. Students will learn to plan, produce, and launch comprehensive "third generation" Web sites with a high degree of sophistication. They will also develop (on their own) personal project sites that will serve as their online portfolios to show future employers and freelance clients. By using a rhetorical framework and considering the effects on online audiences and cultures, students will be able to apply what they have learned to other situations as new media evolve online.

We will be using the collaborative electronic learning forum on the CLE. I will also introduce you to other leading edge forms of electronic communication, as we explore what it may mean to communicate effectively in the future. The most important goal for me is that the computers do not obstruct human interactions, but rather, that they become a tool for accessing people, images, and ideas, and thinking and writing about them.

This course will take both a theoretical and hands-on approach to web publishing and will include topics such as "real" and "pseudo" interactivity, hypertext theory, privacy and ethics, the rhetorics of online social movements, as well as issues in technology and social theory. This course will help you improve your ability to adapt to fast-changing web cultures and design trends, as well as to critically examine the social effects of those trends. It will not be organized around creating a list of "RULES" for web design, because the web is in a constant state of flux. Rather, we will learn to ride the chaos as the fragmented and socially constructed subjects we are. My goal is to give you critical tools to grow and thrive with the web as it continues to evolve as a significant force in our culture.

Four types of activities will take place in this class, and you are expected to actively participate in all of them.

We will have active discussions of assigned scholarly and professional readings (both paper and electronic texts). You are expected to come to class prepared to contribute to the seminar discussions at a graduate level.

We will also have public viewing of our case study presentations and projects, called "Crit Sessions" or "Crits," in which everyone will contribute positive and constructive comments, articulating the principles we have developed and learned. As part of this activity, you are expected to collaboratively author a class "textbook" for the course, as we creatively archive our collective knowledge-making in a class web site, called "Ginger" (named for the movie star in Gilligan's Island).

We will have minimal lecture and instruction in various software packages, as needed. You are expected to follow along in any tutorials, and to come to the aid of any nearby classmates who might be struggling. This class operates under the principle that learning is a collaborative experience. We will cover a lot of ground very quickly. You will have to stay sharp and help each other in order to keep up. If we all work together, we will be able to move past html fundamentals in order to have sophisticated discussions and third generation projects by the end of the semester.

Finally, a good portion of this class will involve hands-on workshop time, as you work on your projects and get help in process. Even with this in-class workshop time, you are expected to put in considerable hours outside of class on your projects.

Academic honesty is expected. Due to the interactive nature of the class, there will be many opportunities for collaboration on projects. However, it is not acceptable to turn in pieces professionally designed by someone else as your own work. I will enforce this rule most strictly. 

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Continue reading "Past Syllabus: The Rhetoric of Web Publishing"

April 24, 2006 in Course Syllabi | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2005

Wisconsin Public Radio interview: "'Netted: Life Online"

Link: Netted Index - Wisconsin Public Radio News.

Link: Blogs -- Wisconsin Public Radio News.

Download 102105BlogsMJW.mp3

`Netted: Life Online

A 10-Part Feature Series Produced by WPR News

Many people regard the Internet as a new development, along with CD players and microwave ovens. Yet the history of the Internet actually spans back to the 1960s, when it was first conceived as an elaborate communications network for the military. The goal was to relay messages across vast distances, even in the midst of a nuclear attack.

But today, the Internet is best known for e-mail, blogs, websites, chatrooms, and media downloads. Its features have jacked up demand for personal computers, and has proven a virtual goldmine for certain businesses and communication systems.

`Netted: Life Online looks at the cultural and societal influence of the Internet, upon everyday aspects such as shopping, romance, therapy, alternative media, and crime.

Click on any link below to hear the topics covered in this ten-part series. Note that audio will only be available on the listed airdate of each segment:

Feature producers are Brian Bull, Gil Halsted, Sandra Harris, Shawn Johnson, Shamane Mills, Patty Murray, Micah Schweizer, Mike Simonson, and Mary Jo Wagner. Series Producer is Brian Bull.


Surveying the Blogosphere


By Mary Jo Wagner, WPR

If you have an opinion to share with the masses -- you could get on the phone, copy off a stack of leaflets, blast out a barrage of emails....or you could start a weblog on the Internet. Because it’s so easy to do, blogging is one of the fastest growing tools for people to share what they’re up to with anyone who cares to know. The concept has caught on with many in the user community, and blogs are now commonly cited in politics, media, and mainstream society. In today's installment of our series Netted: Life Online, Mary Jo Wagner explores the "blogosphere".

running time 4:44
Listen to this story now using RealPlayer

Christine Boese spoke with Mary Jo Wagner about the particulars of blogging. She is a journalism professor at the University of Montana, a reporter with the CNN Headline Newsdesk, and an intrepid blogger.

running time 26:00
Listen to this interview now using RealPlayer

Download blogmaryjo.rm.ram


November 3, 2005 in Citations, Interviews, Radio | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2005

Fifth annual Pollner lecture draws big crowd

Link: Fifth Annual Pollner Lecture.

News & Events • October 2005

Fifth annual Pollner lecture draws big crowd

J-School Web Reporter

photo by Ryan Brennecke
Blogs have power because they are interactive and more personal, Boese said.

A visiting journalism professor who kept prominent war blogs from the Iraq war says she often feels trapped between two worlds: one of traditional media and one in the blogosphere.

Christine Boese’s Oct. 10 lecture, “Big Media and Little Bloggers: How corporate media responded to war-blogging journalists,” addressed tensions that arise when mainstream media and bloggers go after the same story but in different ways.

“What does little David have in his slingshot that is making Goliath sit up and take notice?” Boese asked

This year's T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor, Boese delivered the annual Pollner lecture to a group of about 150 people in the University Center Theater.

Boese was writing for the “ticker” at CNN Headline News when the war in Iraq began. She said she had felt uncomfortable ever since the events of Sept. 11. “The thing that shook me up the worst was the uncertainty,” she said.

That uncertainty was magnified by her placement in two different journalism traditions: one in the mainstream media she was exposed to at CNN, and one in the blogosphere, where stories would break but often weren’t regarded as credible by the mainstream media.

“I didn’t know, or trust, whether or not the military would allow accurate reporting,” Boese said. “Most of the time I doubted what the so-called official sources were telling us.”

A long-time blogger herself, Boese wanted information when the war began from journalists who were in Iraq but not embedded with the military.

“I wanted to know I had sources on the ground in Iraq who were independent of the U.S. military,” she said. “I wanted to build their blogs so I could read their blogs.”

Boese met two journalists online and eventually became the keeper of their blogs. Carolina Podesta, an Argentinean journalist, wrote a blog that was featured on Argentinean television early in the war. At its most popular, her site was getting nearly 1,000 hits per day.

photo by Ryan Brennecke
Members of the Pollner family visited Boese's seminar on Oct. 10

Josh Kucera’s blog also grew popular. Eventually, after the Boston Globe wrote an article about Kucera’s blog, Time magazine, Kucera’s employer, demanded that he stop posting to his site.

For Boese, that demand raised important questions about the ownership of ideas. “Can employers lay claim to what Josh [and others] do when they’re off the clock?” she asked.

Stifling intellectual freedom in that way is a disservice to readers, she said, because blogs offer strengths that differ from the strengths of traditional media. A major strength of blogs is that they encourage readers to interact with what they read, rather than simply providing facts, which encourages readers to remain childlike, Boese said.

Mainstream journalists often cite credibility as a reason for following traditional journalism guidelines. But, Boese asked, “what if credibility is casting readers into the role of perpetual children?” News should be a conversation, not a lecture, she added.

Blogs are also noted for being more personal than traditional media and often seem more like letters home than a news story. “It is incidental, off-hand observations that I think give blogs their power,” she said.

But despite their strengths, blogs don’t signal the end of traditional media, she said.

“Blogs couldn’t survive without newspapers,” she said during a question-and-answer session following the lecture.

Boese is the School of Journalism’s fifth T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor, a position made possible by family and friends of Anthony Pollner, a graduate of the School of Journalism who died in 2001. The Pollner professor spends the fall semester at the Journalism School, teaches a seminar and mentors the staff of the Montana Kaimin.

Previous Pollner professors were Jonathan Weber, a former reporter at the Los Angeles Times and editor of the Industry Standard, the fastest-growing magazine in American history; Tom Cheatham, a former UPI war correspondent and Emmy-award-winning producer and bureau chief for NBC News; Maurice Possley, a criminal justice investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune; and Nancy Szokan, an editor at the Washington Post.

October 17, 2005 in Citations, Journalism, Portfolio, Television, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

Professor talks war blogging - Kaimin

Link: Professor talks war blogging - Kaimin.

Professor talks war blogging

Story by Daniel Person/Montana Kaimin 10.11.05

With the recent 9/11 terrorist attack, imminent war and widespread fear
that another terrorist attack was soon to come, journalist Christine
Boese said she was shrouded in uncertainty.

Boese, this year’s Distinguished Pollner professor at the UM School of Journalism, gave a lecture Monday night about blogging and her personal experiences with the Internet phenomenon.

One of the writers for the ticker that scrolled at the bottom of CNN Headline News, Boese was at the front line of breaking news, and what she heard scared her.

When the United States began bombing Afghanistan, she told her friends and family to stay at home, for fear that terrorists would retaliate.

And when the first news of an anthrax attack reached CNN, she said she vomited after work because of the uncertainty of what she might wake up to.The anthrax attack was not widespread, but Boese was determined to stop the uncertainty. So when the Iraq war loomed, she sought to find avenues for information other than the mainstream media, that would likely be influenced by military spin.

“I didn’t know or trust whether or not the military would allow accurate reporting,” Boese said in a lecture she gave Monday night.

Boese had an extensive background in blogging, and as a blogger herself saw it as a way to get the information she needed.

She began managing two blogs by journalists in Iraq. What they sent back was, according to Boese, revolutionary.

Both blogs, one written by Josh Kucera, a freelancer for Time Magazine and the other by Carolina Podesta, an Argentinean journalist, were very successful. At the peak of the war, Podesta’s site got 1,000 hits and her blog has been published in its entirety in Argentina.

But Boese, who continued to work at CNN while managing the blogs, said the blogs and mainstream media have not worked together, but rather clashed like a modern “David and the giant Goliath.”

Because Kucera’s blog was the subject of a Boston Globe article that said it was better than his Time articles, Time made him shut it down.

This was also the fate of Kevin Sites, a CNN reporter who ran a blog until it began getting popular. Sites later moved to MSNBC which was more accommodating to blogging reporters, and has since become a full time blogger on his website The Hot Zone.

But Boese said mainstream media had much to learn from these journalists who write personally and interact with their readers.

“News should be a conversation, not a lecture,” Boese said.

Boese said blogs offer information that would not find its way into the pages of major magazines and newspapers.

“It’s the incidental, off-hand observations that give blogs their power,” she said.

Boese even suggested that blogs may be more accurate than mainstream media outlets.

It is common, she said, for bloggers to tell their readers that they have only a limited scope, a reality that exists for all journalists whether they admit to it or not.

“Bloggers like to pull away the curtain and expose the man, the wizard,” she said. “Blogs are more honest and perhaps more true than I was on the ticker.”

Boese said media outlets stomping out their journalists’ blogs disturbed her, and possibly went against the first amendment.

Also, she said the relationship between blogs and mainstream media need not be one of conflict, but of mutual gains. Bloggers need the information gathered by mainstream journalists, but mainstream journalists in turn can learn much from bloggers.

“A relationship is actually more symbiotic than oppositional,” Boese said.

Boese is the fifth Pollner professor, and teaches a class on blogging in the School of Journalism.

Last Updated ( 10.11.05 )

October 13, 2005 in Citations | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack