Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.


What options to refer to bloggers quoted in the International Herald Tribune blog-based technology page column?

- Shorter references make it easier on the reader
- Longer references make it easier for readers to track the person making comments and encourage the conversational-style that will hopefully develop

BUT Hyperlinks are not yet possible in the printed edition (sadly).

So options include:

- Use only the first name of the blogger (as many comments appear)
- Use the Blog/web address
- Include first name and blog address
- First name, blog address and a qualifying reference (author of XX book, etc)

What would make people more likely to participate? Concrete examples preferred.

PS: In preparing for the blog-based column for the International Herald Tribune I have spent vastly more time brainstorming and discussing issues here in Joi's blog than inside the newsroom. Thanks!


Nice little challenge if you are in the business of putting ink on dead trees. Next best after a link is a reference that would work very well in the major search engines. In my case that would be rather easy, since I do not share my combination of first and second name with many other people online. The name of my weblog is doing equally well. Perhaps not a standard, but a reference that is easy searchable in a search engine would be best, although that would mean extra work on your part.

Links to the webpages of many of the people referenced in this article can be found at

And then just the first names would concisely identify commenters and give people interested a route to find them.


I love that idea!

The printed version would include names, but the hyperlinks would be online.

Nobody needs the links in the printed version anyways. Once they are online and check out the column, they can find all the links.

Can anyone improve on that?

Thomas, I agree with the link @

What's important is that you jus do something and do it fast. We (bloggers) will review and continue feeding ideas and suggestions.

Yes, /pd, and another advantage to the solution is that our readers who do not use the web (yes, there are some) will not need to read through the html coding.

Agree on need for speed and flexibility.

Internally at the IHT we still need to wrestle with a number of other issues that I will post when I get time.

Right now, however, am on deadline to write a story about Morocco's biggest rock band.

In the printed version, it might be a good idea to include the full name of the person making the comment along with their blog/website address (if they have one) or a brief mention of notable accomplishments (if they have any) as you've suggested.

In print or on TV, if I see that "Bob of Norfolk, Virginia said such and such" I question why he (or the media featuring him) was reluctant to give us his full name.

Unless the person requests anonymity for some reason, why be obscure?

No disrespect to Thomas Crampton, but I think it's time for this guy to get his own blog. I'm tired of clicking on a Joi Ito story in my rss reader and finding out that it's written by Crampton. I read this site for Joi's views, if this is now a boing boing kinda blog, why not just create a new blog without a personal name? Cramp, get your own blog, we come here for Joi content, not Cramps. Thanks.

Michael, speak for yourself. I come here in part to read what 'Cramps' says and think it a very good idea for Joi to encourage a professional reporter to post topics on his blog, a reporter with a mind that is more open than most. It's an interesting experiment that you are free to participate in or ignore.

I think it is still useful to have the weblinks in the newspapers, especially when there is a mobile version of the blog or the article.
And if the International Herald Tribune would start using QR Codes that would even be cooler;)

Micheal, the conversations and postings here are good. The meta level experiments are deep. This is joi's blog and he can invite whomever he choices to guest blog- I for one will respect that. There are many blogs out there that have multiple bloggers. E.g, My initial reaction-frankly was just like yours. I take an rss feed expecting to hear joi, liz and tom speak. Hoever that need not be the case always!!

Like good all Jon postel sez ,"be liberal in what you receive and conservative in what you said" - its the very premise that internet is built on. Like Noel said your welcome too join in or jus ignore. Nevertheless, your opinion and thoughts are important to you and to us.

Joi, how come you're promoting the HT so much? Do they pay you for it?

I had a feeling this would happen--kneejerk defense of Crampton like someone is attacking him. I don't have anything specific against Crampton, it's just that if this is going to suddenly become a BoingBoing like blog, then it would nice if either 1)the name of the blog was changed, or 2)each post in the RSS was clearly flagged as by someone OTHER than Joi.

I use RSS 'precisely' to filter in only voices I'm interested in. Crampton seems okay, but his posts have so far not engaged me in any meaningful way beyond posts I get on other blogs. Joi on the other hand is why I keep coming back to the site.

Before telling me "hey, you're free to read or not read it..." when I'm one of the 'long time' visitors who helped promote this site to its current popularity; Perhaps the question you 'should' be asking is 1)Why can't Crampton just start his own blog? 2)To follow Sharon's question: "Joi, how come you're promoting the HT so much? Do they pay you for it?"

Good question...

Hey folks. Thanks for the feedback on "The Cramp." ;-)

First of all I'm not promoting the IHT, but I think their willingness to experiment and Thomas Crampton's enthusiasm to "try blogging" is insightful and interesting. So much of the blog vs Main Stream Media debate has been between professional journalists who don't blog and bloggers who aren't journalists... And the journalists who do blog have been the exception. Thomas is young, but he's a pretty straight old-school newpaper journalist and I encouraged him to give blogging a try. As most of you who are commenting here know, the comments on the blog are as interesting, if not often more interesting, than the posts themselves. I think this has influenced the direction Thomas has taken: IE featuring the voice of people commenting.

I apologize for dragging you all into this against your will, but if you're reading this, that I assume you're at least slightly interested... but if it weren't for my audience here, I think it would have taken longer for Thomas to conduct the experiment and to get the volume and quality of feedback that he has gotten here. I think we will all benefit from it.

I have talked to Thomas about starting his own blog and I think he might at some point, but assume he's a fixture here for awhile longer. ;-) I will work with Boris on trying to figure out a better way to format stuff so that it's clear what he's writing and what I'm writing.

I suppose the other thing I can do is actually post more of my own stuff. ;-P

Michael, you're entitled to your opinion. Personally, I like it that Tom blogs here and I think other people do as well.

Your first suggestion - that a blogger who allows a guest blogger onto their site should change the name of their blog - is not reasonable. Your second suggestion, that the RSS feed should detail the name of the poster, is. Maybe Joi will consider it. And maybe you will consider getting your own blog too.

Sorry, Joi. I posted before I reloaded. Didn't see you'd come in.

To Noel,
go f-ck yourself, and blog That.

To Joi,
Great answer, thanks! Knowing that what you are doing is in fact mentoring Tom makes the whole thing go down easier. Hopefully he'll learn well the blog lessons you impart.

Michael, was it something I said or are you always this charming?

Kare kare...
I'll kindly ask "michael" too cool it, even though I agree Mr. Crampton should get his own durn blog. ;)

So I just noticed with great dismay that indeed the RSS 2.0 feed of this site does not specify per item authors. I will immediatly see to it that this is remedied. Both the RSS 1.0 ("RDF, your number 1 choice, always!") and the Atom feeds however DO, so readers clever enough to use these far superior feeds have seen entries properly labeled with their authors.

My bad for assuming the default RSS 2.0 templates provided this info. Apologies for inconveniences caused. ;)

In response to "The Cramp"'s original post, one possibility to look at would be
In case you don't know, this enables you to use a short, unique url which redirects to the actual page.

James: Shrinkster is a nifty site. Thanks for that!

On the topic of my guest blogging, I will do a separate posting.

"Michael, was it something I said or are you always this charming?"

Naw, but if you have more to say about it, how about getting your own blog. ;^)

We're building ours as we speak, Michael. Should be up in a couple of weeks to coancide with the release of our book. Thanks for your suggestion, though I can't honestly say you're going to be a topic of conversation.

"Should be up in a couple of weeks to coancide with the release of our book."

hopefully the spelling and subject matter will be better there. good luck and godspeed!

1. I have not been reading, or writing much into blogs lately, so I did not get to this a bit late.
2. Since I seem not be able to live without both print and electronic media, I do want to add my bit about having a print version reference a blog if mentioning it. Now bloggers are odd folks inventing themselves along the way, some use their real names, others have pen (keyboard) names, and others have cute little handles like DJ's. If you cite a blog in the print media, for the sake of those like me that then later like to go read the "original" on the web, the very least we would need is the URL for the blog. In all respect to the blogger, do use whatever name, he or she uses when signing the posts.
3. If you do get your own blog - and yes please do - then it would be very good if you would cross reference the print piece in your blog somehow. Given that you already have your own personal page, I think that your employer and you need to get talking on how to combine your personal blog as a journalist, host it on your own webpage, and have it crossreferenced, hyperlinked, and happily married to your professional IHT persona. That said, it sounds like a wonderful challenge. After all, how many Michael Cramptons are there? The reporter is exactly the same guy who forgets his best friends birthday, or not?
4. Great response from Joi, and hurray to the IHT for willing to experiment in the media.

I tend to hit the publish button much too quickly!

My apologies to Thomas Crampton! (I do not even know a Michael Crampton)

Thanks Michael! We're working on godspeed though we haven't achieved it yet. You'll have to settle for fibre optic speed. ;-)

Cairo Otaibi said,
"Given that you already have your own personal page, I think that your employer and you need to get talking on how to combine your personal blog as a journalist, host it on your own webpage, and have it crossreferenced, hyperlinked, and happily married to your professional IHT persona."

Great post, I totally agree!

Thinking about it, if a person mails in a lettter to a newspaper editor, they tend to give their full name and address. Many newspapers won't print your letter unless you provide these details. While blogging is different in that you wouldn't want your full details published online, I personally give more creedence to people when they also provide a link to their own website or blog.

While all comments should be welcome, I would guess the ones you'd consider for print would be those where the authors do not hide behind a couple of initials or a false name and a bogus email address.

In a printed, space limited environment like a newspaper, I think this is actually a fairly challenging problem for a few reasons:
1) Typesetting URLs in a newspaper format is an information design challenge. While informed people can make use of the information, "human readable" is not quite accurate.
2) A blog's name may be enough to successfully complete a search for a blog, just because not all blog names are terribly unique. I suppose that's partly the blogger's problem, though.
3) Once I've read a printed version of an article, I'm rarely inclined to go search for the same article in a web format unless I'm trying to send a note about it to friends or colleagues.

Personally, in a printed context I'd like to see the blogger's name and their blog title, and ideally, a small sidebar with the Titles and URLs for referenced blogs. It's reasonably compact, but not visually distracting to the article's flow. This may not be feasible in very traditional newspaper layouts, however, and certainly not for every article; sidebars are a fairly expensive layout decision for a newspaper.


You said:

"Once I've read a printed version of an article, I'm rarely inclined to go search for the same article in a web format unless I'm trying to send a note about it to friends or colleagues."

Reality contradicts your impression (which I share with you) on that topic.

In fact, we considerably increase the readership of our website by making even simple references to it in the printed paper.

Readers of the printed paper will notice that as a result of that we have increased the number of website references in the paper.

We try to make as many of these references added value (more photos, virtual visits, slide shows) as possible.

Thomas is right. Although synergy between a media property's print and online channel is often questioned, there's no doubt that using print to point reader to the online companion is effective. What's interesting is that more media channels that began online, don't migrate to print in a reverse bid to garner readers. I guess after the debacle (a mag I loved btw), many are scared to try going from online to print.

I don't mean to suggest that I will not use the web site if I am a customer of the printed edition, but I rarely search for an article online that I've seen in print already.

In fact, I'm far more likely to read online sources than print sources, now, and I'm even willing to pay for some of that convenience (I was an early subscriber to, for example).

If I thought I'd receive more information online after reading an article of interest in print, I would likely follow a reference to an online information repository in that article, but I'm not sure I'd do it just to track down an URL.

Although it's changed slightly with the advent of desktop publishing software, most newspapers still use essentially a scissors-based content organization model: the least interesting, important, or dramatic content falls toward the bottom of most articles so that such content could be snipped off if space is tight. If a link in the printed edition gives me a more exploratory view of a topic, so that I can decide what's interesting or relevant, I'm all over that.