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  • "Kesher" means "connection" in Hebrew. The banner image is the mosaic floor of a 6th c. synagogue in Jericho, showing a menorah flanked by a shofar and lulav; the inscription reads "Shalom Al Yisrael." (This synagogue was destroyed by Arab vandals a few years ago. The condition of the mosaic floor is unknown.)
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July 22, 2006

Pajamas Media: An Army of Davids

It's a mixed blessing, but wars often stimulate technological advancement and social change. Just last week I quoted a news story from 2003:

Reporters across the Gulf - including hundreds "embedded" with American troops -- planned to file stories using laptops hooked up wirelessly to the Internet. . . . . It's probably too early to tell whether the second Gulf War will turn into an "Internet war" in the same way that radio shaped perceptions of World War II, television shaped views of Vietnam and cable TV dominated coverage of the 1991 Gulf War.
As it turned out, the Iraq War was the first internet war, and now the Israeli-Lebanon War is the first war in which blogs are an accepted source of breaking news. (Below I list many mainstream media stories fascinated by this phenomenon, and especially by the comment threads and IM conversations between the Israeli and Arab bloggers which continue uninterrupted despite the war.)

Pajamas Media, formed just last year, is justly proud of its role in providing a platform for an army of Davids to change the face of the news.

With full-time editors in Sydney, Barcelona and Los Angeles working with contributing bloggers worldwide in such places as Tel Aviv, Haifa, Baghdad and Washington, Pajamas Media has been offering round-the-clock battlefield reporting in tandem with the most thoughtful commentary from the global blogosphere and traditional sources. Under the guidance of Editor-in-Chief Gerard Van der Leun in Seattle, Pajamas Media mixes the best news and views from on-the-scene citizen journalists with seasoned professionals in an unprecedented manner.
We at Kesher Talk are excited to be part of that effort.

At the big launch in November of the Pajamas Media enterprise (which we blogged about here, here, and here), we had a lot of fun schmoozing with our fellow bloggers, while wondering if this thing was going to fly (especially after a confusing and embarrassing name change soon after the launch).

New technologies for instant communication, and an ugly and uncertain war, provided the opportunity for Pajamas Media to become a primary mouthpiece through which bloggers all over the world could tell their stories to an international audience. However, its most enduring contribution to social change may be showcasing conversations within the multi-ethnic and politically diverse Middle East blogging community which includes Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran and Iraq.

Pajamas Media's Politics Central is now planning other podcasts from the Middle East to appear in the next few days. Some of these will feature Arab bloggers talking with Israeli bloggers.
Global Voices Online, and in particular Israeli journalist Lisa Goldman in the Middle East, have been facilitating blogger conversation across national borders for several years now. But the eruption of armed conflict in the region has put a spotlight on these interactions, and Pajamas has the infrastructure to bring them to the attention of a global audience which ordinarily wouldn't know about a grassroots nonprofit like Global Voices Online.

Just as radio did during WWII, television during Vietnam, cable news during the Persian Gulf war, and the internet during the Iraq war, the "army of Davids" passionately discussing personal stories and local news links will shape the way news is created and spread from now on.

Some news stories about blogging in the Israeli-Hizbullah War:

Dallas Morning News.
CBS News.
Aussie Dave says that either or both CNN and MSNBC mentioned his liveblogging in a news story.
UK Times.
The Age, in Australia.
Frankfurter Rundschau Online.
Westchester Journal News.
Jerusalem Post.

UPDATE: Lisa Goldman lists many more news stories including several link roundups at Global Voices Online: Check out Russian-speakers in Israel and Israeli and Lebanese bloggers.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal.

Judith | 07/22/06 at 03:19 PM | Categories: - Around the blogosphere

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Tracked on July 23, 2006 01:11 PM


An exclusive army of davids and considering the size/profile of some of the blogs in question I hardly think they qualify as Davids.

The exclusivity to Northern American bloggers is particularily of concern.

Andrew Ian Dodge | July 23, 2006 05:28 PM

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