Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Well Said: Ana Marie Cox on Bloggers Then and Now

The more things change, the more they actually do change.

At least, according to this excerpt from a 10-questions interview former Wonkette blogger Ana Marie Cox, who now contributes to Time magazine’s Swampland blog, did with Stop Smiling magazine recently.

Cox (pictured here) was on a blogger panel at our third D: All Things Digital conference in 2005, where she talked about the changes in the media industry due to the rise of blogs.

At the time, there was a lot of controversy about the rise of bloggers.

But now, in questions No. 7 and 8 here, Cox discusses the huge differences in the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, in terms of blogs, and how the image of bloggers has shifted dramatically with mainstream media.

From Cox’s lips to traditional journalists’ ears.

Here are the excerpts:

Q7: You’ve been around long enough to see the differences between the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns. Do you have any strong feelings about how this year differs from the Kerry-Bush election, in terms of the role that blogs play?

AMC: In 2004, MTV hired me to cover the Democratic convention, and I swear I did two or three interviews just on the fact that I was a blogger covering the convention. I doubt that would happen today. In 2004, people would be highly suspicious of me, because at any moment I could break out my computer and blog about them. I went to YearlyKos in 2006, as one of my first assignments for Time, and I was hanging out with the real reporters, and there was this running joke: As soon as someone said something off-color or impolitic, you’d say, “Hey, I’m gonna blog that.” Like a taunt. In 2008, I was at a Republican debate during the primaries, and I looked around the filing center and everyone was blogging. Everyone has that force propelling them to publish whatever they can. Anything that happens to them is now fodder for a Washington Post blog.

Q8: Do you think more traditional reporters still frown on blogging as if it were not a serious form of journalism?

AMC: The whole “are bloggers journalists?” question, which was always stupid, is finally fading, especially thanks to people like Josh Marshall [of Talking Points Memo], who have shown you don’t have to have a big organization behind you to be a journalist. The defining characteristic of a journalist is what you produce. I think it’s changed the question from “are bloggers journalists?” to “what is journalism?” And that is a perfectly acceptable debate to have. There’s never going to be an answer, but it starts us at a better place than simply talking about delivery systems.”

Ana


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus