Adrian Holovaty, Web Developer, Publisher & Blogger:
7th July 2003
How did you get your break?
let me start by saying that it's an honor to share
interview space with Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
I don't think I've ever gotten a "break."
does a typical working day involve for you?
10% listening to Arnold prank calls with my coworkers.
are your aims and objectives?
aims are to be a mover-and-shaker in the online-journalism
industry and to inject some sense into the online
media world, which largely doesn't "get it."
On a larger scale, I want to help give the public
the information it needs. On a smaller scale, I'd
like to end up in the Chicago area, where I was born
and why did you develop your website: www.holovaty.com
I started it just about a year ago, although I'd had
various personal sites/blog-like things for a couple
of years before. I decided to start Holovaty.com
because I wanted to make a place for folks in the
online-news business to read (and comment) about technical
issues that affect them directly. Seems like there
are a lot of people in this industry who do a lot
of pontificating on what news sites should be but
don't actually *produce* anything; I intended my site
to be an antidote to that, by giving real examples
based on my experience. The site also has had the
side-effect of being an outstanding self-marketing
tool. That's the best thing you can accomplish with
a weblog, really: reputation. Forget all this "blogs
are journalism" banter that's been trendy as
many submissions per day do you receive (and publish)?
I don't receive or publish submissions. I'm the only
content producer on my site.
and why did you start reporting on the technology
and internet business?
wouldn't call myself a reporter -- moreso a commentator.
else do you like to write about, or wish you had time
to report on?
unrelated things. The Beatles. The future of copyright
and music distribution. My life. Short fiction.
other websites do you manage or have responsibilities
the lead developer for World
Online in Lawrence, Kansas. Our sites are LJWorld.com,
All three have won major industry awards and seem
to have a great reputation in the industry press.
I think one of the keys to our success is our mobility:
We'll have an idea one morning and implement it soon
afterward. As a side project last year, I did the
backend development for trodo.com,
a barter site that's sort of a socialist eBay.
have been the highlights of your career thus far?
I worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
one of the special-projects reporters and I put together
an online database of hard-to-find information about
every nursing home in the state. Response was tremendous.
Looking through the piles and piles of positive reader
feedback reminded me why I got into this business
in the first place: To give people information that
makes their lives better.
are your mentors?
parents, my coworkers/supervisors over the years and
need to be the best.
are the biggest dangers of the internet?
content walls. I see the Internet as a giant library
holding all the world's knowledge. That goal becomes
unattainable when content providers are too selfish
to contribute. (I don't mean to sound like a communist,
of course -- I believe in capitalism, competition,
etc.) There is a place for making money online, but
closed content walls aren't the way to do it. Oh,
and privacy is a danger, too.
is the ideal solution to stop spamming?
is the worst internet crime you know of?
is the most famous case of plagiarism?
Well, I'm no historian. I dunno.
has the NY Times sage been good for the business?
mean the Jayson Blair episode? It hasn't.
has the internet been an advantage and disadvantage
advantage: The Web allows journalists to provide mass
amounts of searchable, useful data that's accessible
to people around the world at the click of a button.
That's amazing. One disadvantage: Web publishing is
so easy that it's tempting for news producers to publish
information that isn't necessarily accurate.
are the most important aspects of a website?
goals are pretty simple: Show me what I expect you
to provide. And surprise me with things I didn't know
I expected you to provide.
do you like and dislike about www.mediaman.com.au
You've got a lot of content, which I've spent quite
a bit of time reading. * On my machine, the fonts
are unbearably small. * The left-rail navigation has
way too many choices. * The ads are unattractive and
decrease your site's credibility, in my mind. * The
site doesn't effectively communicate its purpose.
I'm still unclear about what "a news media portal
to bring together Australian and International media"
news media websites do you most often visit?
many. I read the Lawrence Journal-World [ljworld.com]
daily, because it's purely local news that has to
do with my life. When I need national and international
news, I check washingtonpost.com
because I respect its news judgment, and the BBC
or the Guardian
because I respect that they're not American publications.
My main source of news, though, is the weblog community,
which points me to articles I know I'd be interested
in. (Articles related to Web development, for the
did the dead dot commer 2000s affect you?
was still in college at that time, but it did affect
me in one way: My internship with washingtonpost.com
do you stay ahead of the pack?
read lots of O'Reilly books.
journalists be savvy in all platforms of media, or
be content being an expert at one?
There's a place for specialists, and there's a place
media coverage have you received over the years?
blogs and Web publications have linked to my site
and written about my writings, and I'm tickled pink
every time it happens, no matter how small the publication.
In the print world, I received media coverage several
years ago in the Chicago Tribune,
York Times and the late Brill's
Content magazine when an article I helped write
as editor of my high-school newspaper was censored
by the principal.
are your current projects?
got a lot of cool stuff up our sleeves at LJWorld.com,
But I'm not at liberty to give details. :)
note: This young developer has attitude and loads
of talent. Adrian do make some good points. He is
a straight shooter, and like that. You will be hearing
more from Adrian Holovaty.