Great journalists call

It's interesting. Om Malik was the first one to call me up when the news started breaking. I never returned the call and I owe him one on that score. Om, though, is a great journalist. He called.

So did AP, Reuters, (Eric did one of the best news stories) and many other news organizations.

Dan Farber from CNET did more than call. He came to VLoggerCon and talked with me and John before writing his story.

Bloggers rarely call before writing. It's something I hope we can change. Call before running the story. It's what great journalists do.

Oh, and there's a rumor going around about Om. I haven't talked with him yet about that rumor so I'm not going to repeat that story until I see him post a confirmation.

Update: Kevin Murphy wonders if that'll do more harm than good. He has visions of having hundreds, or thousands of bloggers calling. Oh, no, that's not what I'm saying. Only people who are breaking stories need to call. In my case that would have been only a handful of people. 

Comments

  1. Robert, you have a really good point. I have your cell … could have called, but I didn’t even think about it. Goes to show that if bloggers really want to be taken as credible, we need to start acting credible.

  2. Robert, you have a really good point. I have your cell … could have called, but I didn’t even think about it. Goes to show that if bloggers really want to be taken as credible, we need to start acting credible.

  3. well, it’s not always so easy with trying to call – as you maybe know I was trying to call certain blogger once – just on one day – but he then published libel about me that I am stalking him by a phone – although it was just once on one day.

    It’s good however that you are open for phone calls, unlike some other bloggers.

    If I may suggest something: get yourself Skype ID and publish “call me” button – the phone calls over Skype are of such high quality that many people don’t even bother using regular phone lines ;-)

  4. well, it’s not always so easy with trying to call – as you maybe know I was trying to call certain blogger once – just on one day – but he then published libel about me that I am stalking him by a phone – although it was just once on one day.

    It’s good however that you are open for phone calls, unlike some other bloggers.

    If I may suggest something: get yourself Skype ID and publish “call me” button – the phone calls over Skype are of such high quality that many people don’t even bother using regular phone lines ;-)

  5. [...] This industry is beginning to pull some strings when it comes to unseating talent from high places. People seem to be leaving their offices to go do their thing from a different one. Based upon a hint on Robert’s blog I’d be curious to dig deeper and see who might be next. [...]

  6. Robert Who?

    I must confess, I was only peripherally aware of the existence of Robert Scoble before this morning, when his name started cropping up at virtually every web page I visited. What he did to deserve this level of celebrity, other than work for Microsoft,…

  7. Robert:

    When the media storm dies down, I would be greatly interested to hear your comments about what it is like to be the subject of one these things.

    ie: Are the journalists obnoxious?
    Did a meme (i think that’s the word) get established early that you weren’t able to get corrected
    Did you get a sense that the people contacting you actualyl understood anything about technology
    Was it overwhelming
    etc.

  8. Robert:

    When the media storm dies down, I would be greatly interested to hear your comments about what it is like to be the subject of one these things.

    ie: Are the journalists obnoxious?
    Did a meme (i think that’s the word) get established early that you weren’t able to get corrected
    Did you get a sense that the people contacting you actualyl understood anything about technology
    Was it overwhelming
    etc.

  9. Eric did one of the best news stories

    You just like that Eric called you the “world’s most famous corporate blogger.”

  10. Eric did one of the best news stories

    You just like that Eric called you the “world’s most famous corporate blogger.”

  11. Nick: a little sensitive on this point? You should be. You regularly print stuff about people and you don’t even call them first for their point of view. That’s not journalism. It’s attackism and I’m sick of it.

    The guy who first wrote about me didn’t bother trying to call to get my point of view. That sucks. Sorry.

  12. Nick: a little sensitive on this point? You should be. You regularly print stuff about people and you don’t even call them first for their point of view. That’s not journalism. It’s attackism and I’m sick of it.

    The guy who first wrote about me didn’t bother trying to call to get my point of view. That sucks. Sorry.

  13. Bloggers also apparently blog without doing any thinking. This whole thing is just ridiculously insane and goes to show how much bloggers actually reflect and are really no different than the local news media. “Report” what sells (in this case generates traffic) There is no story here. Sure you did some very cool customer facing things with Channel 9. Nothing wrong with that. But in the grand scheme of things your impact on Microsoft was trivial at best. (based on impact to the bottom line). Yes your blogging perhaps put some sort of “human face” on Microsoft, but those that pay LOTS of money to Microsoft likely already have a pretty good relationship with the company. I question how much that blogging influence turned into actual software sales that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, and/or resulted in people switching to the MS platform.

    The level of noise this has created indicates that there are still problems with tech journalism and that blogging has a long way to go to be any sort of threat to MSM. Tech bloggers obviously wouldn’t know a real story if it bit them in the ass. And the fact that MSM tech journalism picked up and echo’d what the bloggers were “reporting” calls their credibility into question even more. I know this is not your doing. All you did was announce you were leaving MS. Something that I’m sure quite a few of your fellow employees do every week. Some likely with the same job title as yours. Nothing you were responsible for at Microsoft had any impact on MS’s strategy or upcoming software releases. So, where’s the impact on Microsoft? Sure, some people will feel less connected, but unless they were buying boatloads of software as a result, I think Microsoft will get over it.

    The real story is how bloggers and mainstream tech journalism are over-reacting to a story that will have little overall impact on Microsoft or the blogging or tech world.

  14. Bloggers also apparently blog without doing any thinking. This whole thing is just ridiculously insane and goes to show how much bloggers actually reflect and are really no different than the local news media. “Report” what sells (in this case generates traffic) There is no story here. Sure you did some very cool customer facing things with Channel 9. Nothing wrong with that. But in the grand scheme of things your impact on Microsoft was trivial at best. (based on impact to the bottom line). Yes your blogging perhaps put some sort of “human face” on Microsoft, but those that pay LOTS of money to Microsoft likely already have a pretty good relationship with the company. I question how much that blogging influence turned into actual software sales that otherwise wouldn’t have happened, and/or resulted in people switching to the MS platform.

    The level of noise this has created indicates that there are still problems with tech journalism and that blogging has a long way to go to be any sort of threat to MSM. Tech bloggers obviously wouldn’t know a real story if it bit them in the ass. And the fact that MSM tech journalism picked up and echo’d what the bloggers were “reporting” calls their credibility into question even more. I know this is not your doing. All you did was announce you were leaving MS. Something that I’m sure quite a few of your fellow employees do every week. Some likely with the same job title as yours. Nothing you were responsible for at Microsoft had any impact on MS’s strategy or upcoming software releases. So, where’s the impact on Microsoft? Sure, some people will feel less connected, but unless they were buying boatloads of software as a result, I think Microsoft will get over it.

    The real story is how bloggers and mainstream tech journalism are over-reacting to a story that will have little overall impact on Microsoft or the blogging or tech world.

  15. I never claimed to have impact on the bottom line. The only thing that will improve that is to build better products. But, I agree with you, my leaving won’t hurt Microsoft as much as some are predicting it will.

  16. I never claimed to have impact on the bottom line. The only thing that will improve that is to build better products. But, I agree with you, my leaving won’t hurt Microsoft as much as some are predicting it will.

  17. [...] This means actually talking to people. It means getting on the phone or meeting face to face. An email exchange or some frankenquote doesn’t work. As Robert Scoble has discovered (see: ‘Great journalists call‘), this is what good journalists do. [...]

  18. You say, “Call before running the story. It’s what great journalists do.” But can we really afford to get to a stage where every blogger in the world calls the source for a quote?
    Imagine this after an event like 9/11. There were thousands of blogs written about it, but New York’s mayor, fire service, paramedics and hospitals would not have wanted thousands of calls (or indeed on-site visits) from every blogger writing about it, even if they were the ones who considered themselves to be “breaking stories”, as you put it.
    If we put it in the heads of every blogger out there (of which I am one, as well as being a journo) that they should act like a journalist, we could get to the stage where we put such a strain on the sources we seek to interview that they end up having to turn everyone down – both journalists and bloggers – which would be something of an own-goal.
    Ironically, I am of the opinion that in many cases there is no difference between a blogger and a journalist – a blog is just a different publishing mechanism. However when it comes to the process of researching stories, I would advocate that as a self-confessed blogging cheerleader yourself, you should not be encouraging every blogger to call sources. Referencing other news sources with proper accreditation is ample – the role of the blog then is to add the bloggers’ thoughts on and interpretation of the news, which is what – combined with the blog as a medium’s advantages, such as speed, network effects and all that good stuff – is what separates a blog from more traditional media.
    In the case of you leaving Microsoft, that’s a unique situation, because you are one of the more famous bloggers and many of the other bloggorati would have wanted to talk to you about the implications. Fair enough – direct interviews in areas where the traditional media wouldn’t want or be able to stray. But across the board bloggers seeking direct quotes? Bad idea mate.

    Anyway, hope the new job goes well.

  19. You say, “Call before running the story. It’s what great journalists do.” But can we really afford to get to a stage where every blogger in the world calls the source for a quote?
    Imagine this after an event like 9/11. There were thousands of blogs written about it, but New York’s mayor, fire service, paramedics and hospitals would not have wanted thousands of calls (or indeed on-site visits) from every blogger writing about it, even if they were the ones who considered themselves to be “breaking stories”, as you put it.
    If we put it in the heads of every blogger out there (of which I am one, as well as being a journo) that they should act like a journalist, we could get to the stage where we put such a strain on the sources we seek to interview that they end up having to turn everyone down – both journalists and bloggers – which would be something of an own-goal.
    Ironically, I am of the opinion that in many cases there is no difference between a blogger and a journalist – a blog is just a different publishing mechanism. However when it comes to the process of researching stories, I would advocate that as a self-confessed blogging cheerleader yourself, you should not be encouraging every blogger to call sources. Referencing other news sources with proper accreditation is ample – the role of the blog then is to add the bloggers’ thoughts on and interpretation of the news, which is what – combined with the blog as a medium’s advantages, such as speed, network effects and all that good stuff – is what separates a blog from more traditional media.
    In the case of you leaving Microsoft, that’s a unique situation, because you are one of the more famous bloggers and many of the other bloggorati would have wanted to talk to you about the implications. Fair enough – direct interviews in areas where the traditional media wouldn’t want or be able to stray. But across the board bloggers seeking direct quotes? Bad idea mate.

    Anyway, hope the new job goes well.

  20. Confirmed: Om Malik leaving Business 2.0…

    While the blogosphere continues to buzz over Robert Scoble’s recently announced departure from Microsoft, today we saw new reports of yet another high-profile move in the publishing world……

  21. @14 But from the outside looking in I don’t see you having had any impact on building better software, despite your many rants on some of MS’s practices.

  22. @14 But from the outside looking in I don’t see you having had any impact on building better software, despite your many rants on some of MS’s practices.

  23. [...] Are bloggers journalists? While a recent California court ruling extended the state’s shield law to journalists, with the judge saying that “we can see no sustainable basis to distinguish petitioners [the online journalists] from the reporters, editors, and publishers who provide news to the public through traditional print and broadcast media,” many bloggers still don’t do a lot of primary reporting, relying mainly on information they get from other web sites and blogs. That’s not surprising, given the nature of blogs (after all, the very first web logs were exactly what the name implies: logs of the poster’s journeys around the web, consisting of little more than links with some explanatory text). However, as Robert Scoble points out, in commenting on the coverage of his impending departure from Microsoft, “bloggers rarely call before writing. It’s something I hope we can change. Call before running the story. It’s what great journalists do.” It’s actually something even mediocre journalists do. I agree with Scoble on this, but there’s also a flip side: many sources aren’t as receptive as he is to calls from bloggers. However, the California ruling provides some hope that this is changing. Now it’s up to the bloggers to respond to that change and start picking up the phone (or at least sending a quick email), before clicking the “Publish” button. [...]

  24. How do you feel to be to the talk to the world? You have taken blog to the next level and now many bloggers like me would be able to say that my profession is blogging. Thanks to you now millions of people know what is blogging.

  25. How do you feel to be to the talk to the world? You have taken blog to the next level and now many bloggers like me would be able to say that my profession is blogging. Thanks to you now millions of people know what is blogging.

  26. [...] First there was Scoble, then Om, then Gates and now my good friend David Beach is leaving Yahoo! to work for social search startup Wink. I heard a rumor that he was leaving, so I called Beach on his cell phone to confirm the news (as Scoble recommends, always call first before blogging) and Beach told me that he in fact gave notice last week at Yahoo! and will be taking on the position of Director of Product Management at Wink. Congratulations to Beach and to Wink founder/CEO Michael Tanne, who is quite fortunate to be able to add Beach to his team. [...]