An interview with Groklaw: the future of news?

"PJ" at Groklaw has brought down SCO. In this interview, we learn a bit more about how.

As an avid reader of Groklaw, it was great to see this interview with Pamela Jones, founder and editor of the service on She has been blamed for bringing down SCO's house of cards (sometimes known as "lies"), which is testimony enough to the power the site has come to hold.

Groklaw is more than a place to pick on SCO, however fun that might be. Groklaw does an excellent job of parsing complex legal proceedings and distilling them into language the lay person can understand. It's also a great place to see one aspect of the future of journalism:

Q: Groklaw's coverage of OpenXML/ODF affairs has become symbolic of the powers of collaboration in an Internet era. It showed that stories can explored at a level of detail that is overlooked or unexplored by traditional media. Do you think that journalism can be improved by pooling the knowledge of more people?...

PJ: I do believe that people want more information than they get from the traditional media. Groklaw is Exhibit A for that proposition, and with no space constraints, why not give it to them? You don't have to have reduced editorial control just because a lot of people are contributing. The Linux kernel, for example, is like a pyramid, with Linus and Andrew Morton at the top of the point. Anyone can contribute, but nothing goes into the kernel ultimately unless they approve it, so there is a filtration system. Groklaw is the same.

And Groklaw isn't just journalism. That is part of it, but it's not all of it. I'm not trying to be the New York Times. It's a collaborative site, where we research together.

The open-source world is indebted to Pamela Jones. She demonstrates the positive work that those of us who can't code can contribute. She also shows just how mighty the pen can be, as her paralegalmusings on the law are much more incisive than my JD has ever produced.

I'd encourage you to read the full interview.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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