Dan Gillmor’s eJournal archives

In 1999, Dan Gillmor was one of the very first journalists to start a weblog (Winer, 1999). He got his employer, the San Jose Mercury News, to fix him up with a weblog [correction] as a complement to his regular columns and launched it under the name eJournal (Gillmor, 22 Oct 1999) as an experiment in “open-source journalism” (Gillmor, 2001). The eJournal ran for more than five years, until Gillmor decided to leave his newspaper (Gillmor, 9 Dec 1994) and work on the ill-fated Bayosphere citizen journalism project.

In his new book, Scott Rosenberg discusses the eJournal as a predecessor of Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo, and probably would have written a great deal more about Gillmor’s blog had he found any copies of it in the Internet Archive. Rosenberg failed to locate any such copies, however, and concluded that “Gillmor’s blog has been entirely effaced from the web” (2009, 121). Has it? Sometimes it’s easy to overlook something in an archive, but no: the eJournal has not been effaced from the web.

Here’s the eJournal by month:

Oct 1999,
Nov 1999,
Dec 1999,
Jan 2000
[alt. Jan 2000],
Feb 2000,
Mar 2000,
Apr 2000,
Mar 2000,
Jun 2000,
Jul 2000
[alt. Jul 2000],
Aug 2000,
Sep 2000,
Oct 2000,
Nov 2000,
Dec 2000,
Jan 2001 [alt. Jan 2001],
Feb 2001,

Apr 2001,
May 2001,
Jun 2001,
Jul 2001,
Aug 2001,
Sep 2001,
Oct 2001,
Nov 2001,
Dec 2001,

Dec 2002,
Jan 2003,
Feb 2003,
Mar 2003,
Apr 2003,
May 2003,
Jun 2003,
Jul 2003,
Aug 2003,
Sep 2003,
Oct 2003,
Nov 2003,
Dec 2003,

Jan 2004,
Feb 2004,
Mar 2004,
Apr 2004,
Mar 2004,
Jun 2004,
Jul 2004,
Aug 2004,
Sep 2004,
Oct 2004,
Nov 2004,
Dec 2004,

The archives were hard to find because the eJournal‘s history is fraught with discontinuities. Originally built in UserLand’s Manila software (Winer, 1999), it was transferred in February 2002 to a new platform that broke existing links and failed to provide permanent archiving (Winer 2002; Searls 2002). In December 2002 the site moved to a Movable Type setup (Gillmor, 2002; Choate, 2002): some but not all of the of the back archives were imported to the new platform at that time. During much of the year 2002 there were no archives by month, but a bit of effort should turn up most if not all individual posts of the period.

In fact, the eJournal might be preserved in its entirety; getting all of it into a WordPress install would make for a worthwhile digital restoration project. Or maybe we’ll get an extra book chapter out of Scott.

•  •  •

Correction: UserLand partnered with the San Jose Mercury News to set up Gillmor’s eJournal and offered their services free of charge.


3 thoughts on “Dan Gillmor’s eJournal archives

  1. I can’t thank you enough. I
    I can’t thank you enough. I thought I was pretty good with archive.org but you’ve shown my weakness there. I do want to move it all to WordPress before it disappears again.

    1. Good piece, and thanks as
      Good piece, and thanks as always for your efforts to track this stuff.

      I’d take issue with the statement that the Mercury-News “fixed up” Dan with his blog. We did the work at UserLand, they didn’t pay us to do it.

      We felt it was important to have a guy like Dan showing other journalists how to blog, and maybe get us a bit more respect from them in the process.

      1. My pleasure, Dan.
        Dave —

        My pleasure, Dan.

        Dave — sorry for drawing unwarranted inferences. I inserted a correction.

        Here’s some more data:

        • 24 May 1999: “Good Morning Silicon Valley is a weblog. I met the editor of this site, Pat Sullivan, this morning. We had a lot in common!” (Winer)
        • 24 May 1999: “Edit this Page” (Winer)
        • 24 May 1999: “We’ve been working with Dan on this project since May 24, which is not coincidentally the same day I published Edit this Page, the piece that defined Manila” (Winer)
        • 24 May 1999: “I’m planning to create my own version of a Weblog soon.” (Gillmor)
        • 8 June 1999: “UserLand’s founder and president, Dave Winer, stopped by our offices recently to demonstrate Manila, […] I hope to use Manila to produce a so-called ‘Web-log,’ an online exploration of how I see the world (or at least the Web portion of it), in the relatively near future.” (Gillmor)

        So let’s see: Dan announces he’s going to do a weblog, and he makes the announcement the same day he attended a Manila demo. Did he fall or was he pushed?

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