By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Railing against the tubes

Weekly chat with Reader Rep Ted Diadiun

If you haven’t seen this yet, stop what you’re doing and watch. It’s 15 minutes long, but it’s well worth your time.

Ted Diadiun, the reader representative — i.e., the ombudsman — for the Cleveland Plain Dealer has some things to say about bloggers, and he’s not a damn bit happy about what’s going on in them there tubes. The video has become an instant classic — the talk of Twitter and of posts like this one, by Salon’s King Kaufman.

I’ve e-mailed Diadiun some questions that I hope he’ll respond to, either in his column, on another webcast or to Media Nation. I’ll keep you posted.

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  1. Ellen Steinbaum

    As I've written in my blog, a food fight between old and new media does the reading public no favors. Maybe we should take a cue from William Carlos Williams and get our news from poems.

  2. Robert David Sullivan

    I'm glad I watched the whole thing. Otherwise, I would have missed the twist two-thirds through, when Diadiun decides not to respond to reader questions and instead runs out the clock with a filibuster about obituaries. Kind of like a bad newspaper columnist trying to fill his word count without saying anything.

  3. Michael Pahre

    Not just that Diadiun won't respond to the only reader question submitted, but that he won't respond to a very well-posed question by blogger Tim Russo: "Please name one instance in which the [Cleveland Plain Dealer's] content was grabbed and put on some else's website for free, in its entirety, outside of fair use."Of course Diadiun can't name an example, because he earlier either deliberately or ignorantly mischaracterized the situation of bloggers (and others) grabbing the PD's content when it is put online — ignoring the issue of what bloggers really do (in general), which is using excerpts, which may or may not constitute fair use.These more subtle issues are discussed at Media Nation all the time; might Diadiun take a break from read the obituaries in order to educate himself on media law issues here?And is his interviewer, who is presumably a journalist working at the paper, really unaware (as he claims) of the issues of fair use? Ugh. If the Plain Dealer collapses it will be due to its employees' incompetence about the news business, rather than external forces…

  4. Aaron Read

    Hey Dan, Freudian slip? Your post calls it the "Cleveland Plain DEADER", not DEALER.LOL!

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Aaron: Whoops. Now fixed. More accurate, less true. Thanks.

  6. michael

    The man has simply yet to be educated. It wasn't that long ago that Dan's colleagues on Beat the Press were raving about how bloggers have, in Emily Rooney's words, "no credibility," and now John Carroll has his own (though Emily doesn't, at least not yet, to my knowledge, which is just as well–God knows, the world doesn't need more of her.)

  7. aml

    On Monday night, Connie Schutz was on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and briefly discussed her column. On the show she kept on talking about theft by bloggers and I was a bit surprised. Then when I found the article she put the blame solely on news aggregators instead. (Which may be valid to a point. Its the Gatehouse/ thing over again.) I didn't know if she mispoke on TV or was too narrow in her blame in the article. Now that Ted Diadiun is talking about bloggers in the more general sense, I'm even more confused at the target.By the way, if you want to find outright plagiarism on the web, its pretty simple. Search for her byline as printed on and then omit itself (or any other legit site.) There are a few false positives in the list, but there are plenty of sites there with full articles there that they could try to take action on under current copyright law (not some future restriction of copyright law) if they chose.

  8. Outraged Liberal

    As someone who cut his journalistic teeth delivering the Plain Dealer and today is a pipsqueak blogger, let me say there wasn't a lot of content to "steal." And if perhaps Diadiun understood that many bloggers link back to the stuff he might not be so upset.

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