Me and Aunt Mary.

Dave Winer writes:

John and I have a theory about all these Aunt Mary's cookie recipe stories. The reporters talk to Evan first. He tells them about Aunt Mary and her cookie recipes. Bing. Instant story.

Heh. I'm not quite sure what that means, but like anyone who's dealt with the press much, I do know this: It's seldom I talk to a reporter who doesn't already have a good idea of what the angle of their story is. This is perhaps even more true in the web arena—because the story is on the web, journalists can quickly do a lot of research and make up their mind about a trend/technology/area. They do this, in fact, when they're deciding if they're going to write (or pitch) the piece, and it's coming together in their head when they do so. When they call me it's usually for back story, sound bites, and numbers.

Perhaps it's my fault I don't sell them on the bigger, more profound aspects of the matter; I just naively answer their questions honestly and figure it'll come out well. Sometimes they ask where I think all this is going and why it matters, and I tell them it's about the democratization of media, personal journalism, the web coming into its own as a medium, and lots of other cool, big, profound shit. Which I believe. But they probably write it off as marketing speak. Or their not interested. Or they are interested, and their editor cuts that part out. (I've been told of this happening.) Or maybe it complicates the story and they don't have time to dig into it all by deadline. Or maybe I'm just not convincing enough (hell, I've edited this post 20 times, articulating things well off the top of my head is not my strong suit). Sometimes they don't ask any non-surface-level questions at all.

Whatever the case, I actually think it's getting better. I remember I used to be really annoyed by most of the weblogs stories. Lately, I've seen several that are pretty good. And, in general, I think the journalists covering the blog thing today are telling a broader, more interesting story then they were two years ago (although, at the same time, I feel more secure now, so I've stopped being so concerned when they get parts of it wrong). And it will inevitabely get better still. Because what they write, while sometimes influential, isn't going to change what's happening that much.

One more thing: I usually decline to name names when reporters ask me for my favorite blogs. It seems like a silly question. I can't name a couple when the dozens I read serve completely different purposes—education, entertainment, news—"favorite" is meaningless. So I tell them to look at my link list on Evhead and Blogs of Note on the Blogger home page, for a few examples. So the blogs you see in articles hardly ever come from me. However, just earlier today, coincidentally enough, I sent a list of my "Top 5 Favorite Blogs" to TechTV, at their request, as a companion piece for the show I'm going to be on Wednesday. There's not an Aunt Mary in the bunch (but there is an Uncle Dave).