Thursday, February 21, 2019

If Dave Winer Were CEO of the NYT

Dave Winer:

I would start a blog hosting service, with NYT branding, it would be carefully designed so that people knew this was blog space and not editorial space. The Times editorial people do not control what’s said here. These are our sources. Maybe the site would be called

I would offer a blog to every person who was quoted in a NYT story. This would give people an extra reason to work with our reporters. It would also serve as vetting. If their ideas or experiences are valuable enough to be quoted in our news flow, we want to stay in touch, and this is a great way to do that.


News will be made on this system. That's good. After all, that's the business we're in -- news. More news? Make my day. 😄

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If they did this, it might risk keeping the NYT honest.

Years ago, when I was in my twenties and shortly before blogging was a thing, I was interviewed by a New York Times reporter. I spent around twenty minutes talking to the reporter about how terrific someone and something were. Despite the reporter's assurances before and during the interview about only wanting to tell an accurate story, it turned out that the article was a hit piece. They quoted only one sentence of mine from the interview, but they put it in a context where it could only be interpreted as the exact opposite of everything I said in the interview. That one wildly out-of-context sentence effectively derailed the promising career of a good person who was an innocent bystander and tarnished the image of an institution I loved. I wrote a letter to the Times demanding a retraction or clarification, but it never was published, and I felt I had no recourse. My colleague never forgave me, and, decades later, I still haven't forgiven myself.

They wouldn't be able to get away with that if Winer's proposal were in place.

So Dave Winer's proposed solution to a problem is "moar blogs". In other news, water is wet. :-)

This would be a huge mistake, giving the nytimes imprimateur to any idiot. Would the NYTimes give an op-ed column to David Duke or Jenny McCarthy? Of course not. But letting anyone blog at would effectively do that, and no amount of disclaimers would prevent it. It’d be “Today the Times published a screed agsinst non-whites by David Duke” and that would be correct because it would be published on their site by their system with their permission. does something similar, which for me has mainly had the effect of reducing the credibility of the brand and site.

Why the heck do I need the NYT to blog? So they can stuff the filtering genie back in the bottle and return to their role of treasured gatekeeper?

No thanks!

Also you think there are problems with Russian bots on Facebook - ha!

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