How I Hated Missing Them Both
In the last couple of weeks, the midwest played host to a pair of interesting conferences, both of which I tried to break free to attend, but neither of which worked out. A bummer, that. Last weekend was the Online News Association's annual awards conference, in Chicago. ONA is slowly becoming a powerful advocate for all things online, and this year blogging had a featured place, since Andrew Sullivan was the keynote speaker. I couldn't make it, but you can catch up on some of the conversation at the event by checking out the conference blog. And Working With Words will soon have an additional update, after I've talked to my SPJ colleague, JCU prof Dick Hendrickson, who was able to attend. The week before that, progressives who are alarmed about media concentration had a gathering in Madison, Wisconsin, a center for all things progressive. Judging by the keynote talk, by heroic Bill Moyers, it was a thoughtful event. And the tremendous turnout (about 1,700) gives the lie to any suggestion that this is just a narrow issue for the overcaffeinated.
Issue 1 Again. After Issue 1 went down to defeat at the polls, Ohio will go back to the well in thinking about how to again try to raise money for technology development. But this good piece in Tony Perkins's Always On Network rightly notes that such state slush funds to pick technology winners are generally more problematic than they're worth. The most important point: "In the end, it's not the state's role to pick winners and losers through venture investment, it's to provide an infrastructure and environment in which entrepreneurship can flourish." Amen. But venture caps are increasingly taking note of the blogging phenomenon. In part, it's because of the efforts of a few smart & sober pros who have become good spokespersons/poster boys for it, like Nick Denton, profiled in today's NYT. The Brit ex-pat, a one-time reporter for the Financial Times, made several million cashing out just before the crash with his Moreover.com and a couple of other sites, and now he's the money and brains behind Gawker.com. This piece suggests that VC's are looking at blogging as the next big thing, and that Technorati could soon receive a venture round.
Tobin Drops Out of Listing. The PD's Mike Tobin, who covers Cleveland City Hall and related beats, enjoys a growing reputation that, in certain cases, even includes some non-locals. In fact, the excellent Civic Strategies newsletter rated Tobin in the top 10 of enlightened urban reporters in an informal late-September ranking. Alas, he's since fallen out of the pack. Go here for the latest rankings.