Jim Louderback and I attended The Wall Street Journals “D: All Things Digital” conference this week. Jim left Tuesday to attend the Future in Review conference, while I stuck around for the second day of “D,” hosted by the Journals Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.
The conference actually started Sunday night with a discussion with Apples Steve Jobs, who showed Podcasting and Apples Tiger operating system. But he also set the tone for much of the discussion at the conference by talking about how technology vendors have to “pass through the orifices” of the major wireless carriers in order to get their technology to consumers on mobile phones.
This theme was picked up by many of the speakers over the next few days, with some such as Microsofts Bill Gates and Motorolas Ed Zander talking about good relations with the carriers, and others talking about the difficulty in dealing with them.
Tuesdays sessions began with a discussion of the role of traditional media in a world of blogs with two panels that were, for the most part, surprisingly restrained.
Six Aparts Mena Trott, Dan Gillmor of Grassroots Media (and formerly a reporter for the old-media San Jose Mercury News) and Wonkettes Ana Marie Cox started out by explaining the world of blogs and new emerging news sources.
The panelists picked up on the theme of the “long tail,” talking about how there are more sources for information available than ever, and about how blogging has led to a proliferation of voices.
But there was widespread agreement with Gillmors claim that these new forms are not a replacement for traditional media. “Its not blogging versus journalism,” Gillmor said. “Blogging is just a part of journalism.” He added that blogging is merely another tool and that it would be a tragedy if traditional journalism were to become extinct.
Several members of the panel took offense at a suggestion from the audience that bloggers dont take the truth seriously, and they responded by pointing to errors in the mainstream press.