Newsweek interviewed Jason Calacanis, “the man” who founded Weblogs, Inc. and quickly sold it to AOL for upwards of $25 million.
Does Time Warner have any concerns about your content and the unfiltered nature of blogs?
When the magazine industry or the newspaper industry looks at blogging, they say over and over again, “Where’s your fact-checking process?” AOL looked at us and said, “You’re like a message board or a chat room, except you pick the bloggers!”
But you don’t think of your top blogger, Engadget’s Peter Rojas, as a guy in a chat room. You claim he’s a top journalist.
I look at [mainstream] journalism as like Carnegie Hall. It is very regimented. There are strict rules—a symphony plays there, and they get everything perfect. You can have one of those symphony members go somewhere and play jazz piano or folk guitar, and it’s just as compelling an experience. I think Peter’s a top journalist who went acoustic. Now he has the freedom to say that [a company] sucks. Mainstream journalists, with very few exceptions, don’t have the ability to use that word. Journalists are rebels—they’re supposed to be fighting against the Empire and getting the truth.
But, Jason, you’re part of Time Warner. You are The Man.
I work for a big company, but they don’t tell me what to do or what to blog. I say to my bloggers that the day [AOL] tells me what to do is the day I leave, and the day I tell you what to blog should be the day you leave. I don’t think I’m The Man at all. And I think we’ve changed the culture of AOL a little bit. I think you’re going to see AOL become a very transparent company.