TechCrunch gets eaten alive at the ONA

Apparently, I missed all the fun when I decided to skip the Online News Association conference in DC last week.

TechCrunch author/editor/owner Mike Arrington showed up for a panel talk with Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine, Mike Davidson of Newsvine, and Adam Yamaguchi of Current.

Sounds like a good plan, right? A tech blogger, a media blogger, and two professionals from the growing world of social media.

Except that Arrington appears to have come loaded for the wrong conference.

I don’t know if he thought he was at the Newspaper Association of America shindig, where some holdouts and refugees from the blogs vs. journalism battles of 2004 might hang out and wring their hands together in worry and despair. I’m not sure why he felt he had to attack the New York Times, or what his personal issues with a paper on the West Coast have to do with it, but he seems to have forgotten where he was.

He was at a conference full of people who get it.

The people getting paid to make online news better understand that there are problems, and there is a future, and they are working on the solutions.

Mike, if you don’t believe that, just read their blogs.

Read Mindy McAdams for what’s going on in multimedia. Read Khoi Vinh for what’s going on in online news design. Read Steve Yelvington for the latest in empowering your readers.

They get it, and you can start with the Online News blogroll in my sidebar if you’re interested in more practical approaches to the problems most print-edition pros spend too much time wringing their hands over.

Jeff Jarvis’ take on the panel:

“The stinky-cheese irony of this is, of course, that even as he tried to cast aspersions on The Times, he only succeeded in shooting his own credibility — and with it, likely, the credibility of fellow bloggers — in the foot.”

Speaking of fellow bloggers, Steve Gillmor picks up the echo of Arrington’s post, and does the sort of high-level analysis that usually entertains me when I haven’t got a clue what exactly he’s talking about. But in this case, he’s just playing the same Us vs. Them card as Arrington, ignorant of who was in the room.

Dave Winer knows who was in the room:

“Sounds like things have changed quite a bit since I spoke there a couple of years ago. Back then they were quite interested in blogging, and I didn’t hold back on my opinions.”

Hmm. Not sure the conversation was about blogging, from what I’ve read, but if they didn’t bite Dave’s head off back then…


  • Know your audience, and don’t pretend they’re people they aren’t.
  • Don’t talk down to people if you don’t know who’s listening.

Hey online news friends — if you want to read blogs with advice for the news business, Arrington’s not the guy. Instead, start reading what Doc Searls has been saying about newspapers for years, and move on from there.