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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   October 1998  issue

Unwired   

After three years of invoking media rants and raves in cyberspace, columnist Jon Katz signs off from HotWired.


By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      

After three years of invoking media rants and raves in cyberspace, columnist Jon Katz signs off from HotWired (www.hotwired.com). While his departure was "more their decision than mine," Katz, who worked for many print newspapers in his pre-online life, says it was mutually agreed upon. His column didn't fit the Web site's redesign and redirection – a move toward becoming more of a business tool for the Web than a site of "culture, commentary, media," he says. Katz, 50, has already found a new home for his column on the Freedom Forum Web site (www.freedomforum.org); he will serve as a Freedom Forum First Amendment scholar. He says the humbling feedback experience of the Web "completely transformed me as a journalist." HotWired, at the beginning, was a "very freewheeling provocation..a laboratory of free activity," Katz says. He calls the new direction of the site smart from a business sense. Unfortunately, it's "hard to make money off of editorial content" online, he says, with so much available in more traditional forms. Katz's book, the memoir "Running To The Mountain," is scheduled to be published in March. Meanwhile, he's working on another book: "The Rise of the Geeks."