SFGate.com Features Story on Spot.us

SFGate.com Features Story on Spot.us

March 17, 2009

My oldest friends and readers will be most amused by today’s column in SFGate.com (yes, my old publisher) about David Cohn’s Spot.us, which is a project of our Center for Media Change, Inc. Here is my favorite part:

In thinking about how to make the editorial model more “dynamic,” Cohn circled around one idea: pitching to the public, rather than to publishers.

“Traditionally .001 percent of the population gets to set the news agenda, and they were called editors. They were the ones with freelance budgets, they could hire people and tell them what was important to cover.

“What I’m trying to do is increase the number of people who set the editorial agenda,” Cohn says.

What a pleasure it is to work with David. Most experts think professional journalism is hitting a brick wall. But like me, David also sees what’s happening as a hurdle that will leave us in a better place when we get over it in the only way we can, by building deeper and more authentic relationships between journalists, readers and the communities we cover. It’s a tough path. And some days it feels like a bar-room brawl. But it is pretty terrific to look over my shoulder from time to time and see David standing there, slugging away.

About the Author /


My published work since 1985 has focused mostly on public policy, technology, science, education and business. I’ve written more than 600 articles for a variety of magazines, journals and newspapers on these often interrelated subjects. The topics I have covered include analysis of progressive approaches to higher education, entrepreneurial trends, e-learning strategies, business management, open source software, alternative energy research and development, voting technologies, streaming media platforms, online electioneering, biotech research, patent and tax law reform, federal nanotechnology policies and tech stocks.

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