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DRAFT… DRAFT… DARFT… Kauffman Foundation 2013 Economic Webloggers' Forum: Opening Remarks

Kauffman Foundation 2013 Webloggers' Forum: Final Schedule

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Friday, April 12, 2013

8:00 AM: Networking Breakfast

8:30 AM: Welcome

  • Brad DeLong, Professor of Economics at U.C. Berkeley and weblogger at “Grasping Reality with Both Invisible Hands”

8:35 AM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future

  • Hal Varian, speaker
  • Joshua Gans, discussant
  • Mayor Sly James, moderator

9:35 AM: Break

9:50 AM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging, and New Modes and Orders in Education

  • Clay Shirky, speaker
  • Ben Wildavsky, discussant
  • R. Crosby Kemper III, moderator

10:40 AM: Break

10:55 AM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future and Sustainability of Financial Journalism

  • Cardiff Garcia, Allison Schrager, and Joe Weisenthal, panelists
  • George Kahn, moderator

11:45 AM: Networking Lunch

12:45 PM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging and the Future and Sustainability of Mainstream Journalism

  • Josh Barro, Bruce Bartlett, and Megan McArdle, panelists
  • Felix Salmon, moderator

1:35 PM: Break

1:50 PM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging, Thinktanks and Policy Advocacy, and the Public Sphere

  • Stan Collender, Sarah Kliff, and Robert Litan, panelists
  • Corey Dillon, moderator

2:40 PM: Break

2:55 PM: Panel Discussion—Economic and Financial Weblogging and Standard Ivy-Covered Academia

  • Mark Thoma, speaker
  • Stephanie Kelton, discussant
  • Bob Strom, moderator

3:45 PM: Closing Remarks

  • Brad DeLong

Brad DeLong: Introductory Remarks:

I would very much like to thank the Kauffman Foundation--President McDonnell and Research Director Stangler for giving me the keys and letting me drive this; Shelley Wertz, Bob Strom, Mette Kramer, and the entire Kauffman communications and support teams that have made this possible. This year, I want to go meta. I want to focus not quite so much on what economic and financial webloggers should say but rather a bit more on how they should say it. All forum attendees here at the conference has gotten into the weblogging business in large part out of idealism; to some, but varying, degrees out of frustration; out of entrepreneurship; and out of overoptimism: idealism that a great deal could be done to raise the level of debate and discussion in the public sphere on issues of economics; frustration that the channels and filters of communication and discussion as we have inherited them are not ideal; entrepreneurship in a demonstrated willingness to try new ways to place themselves between those who have information and those who need information; and overoptimism that doing good work outside of normal channels will somehow be rewarded by a benevolent universe.

Thus all six of the Forum's panels are about "opportunities and challenges for webloggers" in or provided by, respectively:

  • evolving internet technologies,
  • evolving educational technologies,
  • financial news--where people are actually willing to pay,
  • mainstream news--where figuring out how to get people to pay is quite a puzzle,
  • organizations outside the media that wish to figure out how to use the internet megaphone, and
  • our universities.

Everybody here has something to say--face-to-face here, addressing the world via livestreamed and archived video, via twitter, via their respective weblogs, and over whatever other modes of communication they can imagine. We seek as much speech as possible. Our hope is that by bringing this group together in one place for one day, we can supercharge the related distributed dialogues that these forum participants engage in every day in the moveable feast that is the global weblogging community. We hope not for consensus but for interesting disagreement. And we enthusiastically welcome additional during- and post-forum virtual participation from both those here in Kansas City on April 12, 2013, and those who are not.

A final word: In a fit of conference organizer over-optimism, I have crammed much more into this day than can possibly fit if there is even a jot or tittle of deviation from programmed schedules. Therefore: chairs will rule their panels with rods of iron affecting those who do not keep to time limits, those questioners who begin to make speeches, and those answers that begin to wander. Moderators are encouraged to, in the words of King Reheboam, chastise those who fail to respect the discourse not with whips, but with scorpions.

In the 19th Century Kansas City could claim to be the best place to be (outside of California) in the trans-Mississippi, as transport was best where the railroad bridge crossed the Missouri. Thanks to Google Fiber, in the 21st Century Kansas City can make a similar claim as the place where the bridge crosses between meatspace and the Cloud. Opportunities and challenges unique in America. All of us at Kauffman are very proud to have here, as moderator for our first session, the Mayor of Kansas City, MO, the Honorable Sylvester "Sly" James.

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