THE BLOG
11/16/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

All the News That's Fit to Link

Colorado GOP politicians have been moving in the last week to block followers on Twitter whom they suspect aren't fans or fellow travelers but merely liberals fishing for right-wing tweets to mock.

Of course they won't succeed in being exclusive on Twitter because Twitter doesn't care what you think about the people on the other end; it just wants more of them. It wants to indiscriminately cast your bon mots (and your mal mots) far and wide, and then farther and wider, and so on. It's not a list-serve. It's the Twitter. You're either on it or you're off it. You can use it and you can enjoy it, you can hate it too, but you can't stop it from being what it wants it to be!

It's the kind of thing news organizations are still (still!) learning about the web.

As local conservatives try to rein the Twitter, newspapers are contemplating exiting the digital dance floor to sit in the paid balcony booths. New media journalism analyst Michael Massing reports in the New York Review of Books that in the next year, news publishers plan to erect pay walls for access to web content. They have to stop the bleeding somehow of course and someone, somewhere soon has got to figure out a replicable way to make the web pay journalists to do real reporting. Pay walls, though, seem a stop gap, a half measure that goes against the grain of the medium.

The publishers know, because they surf the web, that the link is more valuable than the words. At least, the link is a new kind of powerful fundamental vocabulary that all journalists have to utterly master. The workable free link as footnote, aside, commentary, road trip or some combination of all of the above is the digital thing itself. We have to keep greasing that skid not seek to hobble it.

In other words, welcome Huffington Post Denver edition!

Like media consumers across the state, the Colorado Independent (of which I am the editor and the Center for Independent Media network of which it is a part) has eagerly anticipated the launch of Arianna's mile-high vertical, captained by editor Ethan Axelrod, and we look forward to a long, prosperous and influential relationship.

The biggest news in Colorado media in the last decade perhaps remains the shuttering with a whimper last February of the storied Rocky Mountain News. The state has since seen a host of small and innovative news / journalism web-based experiments. The Huffington Post's presence here will encourage more such experiments, as a smart platform and major distribution center for daring journalism and sharp criticism. (To say nothing of almost-nude photos and celebrity gossip!)

During the election season last year, I worked for the Huffington Post, as one of the editors of its OffTheBus citizen journalism project. It was a wild ride, the center of a political and new-media journalism storm, an experience from which I sometimes feel I am still recovering and for which I will remain forever grateful. OffTheBus reached out to citizens and bloggers across the nation and around the world, including bloggers at Colorado Confidential, an earlier version of the Colorado Independent, and saw their contributions take flight, stirring debate in all corners and prodding old-school journalists to new highs and lows.

Would that the Huffington Post were here in Denver this spring and summer, when the Colorado Independent played a key role in prying open the secrecy-shrouded and otherwise controversial chancellor selection process at Colorado State University. Or when we threw a spotlight on the repeated open meetings violations committed by the state's Independent Ethics Commission, formed by the voters through the initiative process to increase government transparency! Or when we drew aside the green-wash veil covering the less-than environmentally friendly practices of electric power-generating co-ops in the state.

The Huffington Post is here now, though, a major Denver hub in the global digital-information economy. It will purvey far and wide all the news that's fit to link.