ALISON STEWART, host:
Thank you for checking out THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News.
We are always available on satellite FM, AM, iTunes and, of course, online at npr.org/bryantpark. Alison Stewart here, wishing you a very Happy New Years. And our show today is full of staff picks, including an unusual choice by a band to remake another band's entire album 17 years later.
The Dirty Projectors are coming up. But first, if you're a frequent listener to this show, you know how important the blog is and how it's a big part of the whole program.
Our guest newscaster Laura Conaway does double duty. We got her out of the news booth, back to her normal job as our - editing our Web site and our blog. I'm not sure it's exactly the most normal of jobs. But it's a pretty good one.
LAURA CONAWAY: It's working so far. How are you?
STEWART: I'm doing well. You had a busy, busy time since we went on the air.
CONAWAY: Yes, that's right. And I think that, actually, one of the very first things that I saw when I first got here is I still didn't know really where my own desk was.
Luke Burbank and Wyn Rosenfeld disappeared into the studios to record an interview on video and audio, both of the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. And they were in there for, I think, really, about seven-and-a-half minutes, and Wyn Rosenfeld came out and said, oh my God.
STEWART: I do remember.
CONAWAY: And it's - well, let's just - first of all, let's just get first hand evidence of this thing. We'll just play a little bit of this incredibly painful, painful interview.
LUKE BURBANK: Sigur Ros is Jon Birgisson on guitars and vocals, Kjartan Sveinsson on keyboards, Agust Evar Gunnarsson on drums and Georg Holm on bass. How did I do with those names, guys?
Mr. KJARTAN SVEINSSON (Keyboards, Sigur Ros): It's pretty good.
Mr. SVEINSSON: Yeah. All right.
BURBANK: Okay. Did you start out playing this kind of music, or did you start out as a more, people might think, regular sounding band and then did you kind of go here as you experimented?
Mr. SVEINSSON: I don't know. I don't think…
STEWART: That is seven seconds of silence.
CONAWAY: Yeah, and it's (unintelligible)…
BURBANK: And what was the first time that you guys sat down, for instance, and started playing…
CONAWAY: I can't take it anymore. I'm sorry. Yeah, yeah, I just want to go.
CONAWAY: So anyway, we decided in our infinite wisdom that we'd go ahead and post that for the world to see. And, well, the people of Iceland flooded in to tell us how terrible we were.
STEWART: Yeah, and also a couple of different Web sites picked it up like, BuzzFeed and a coupled of (unintelligible)…
CONAWAY: It was huge. It was our first big success, and it's one of my topics of the year, I have to say. Another is the day that I opened, naively opened the Ron Paul thread, asking who his supporters were. Little did I know there would turn out to be thousands and thousands of them, almost 4,000, before I finally called my friend blogging guru, Anil Dash, to ask for a little bit of help. Can I turn it off?
Mr. ANIL DASH (Blogger): …space you control. It's just one things I'm a huge advocate of. A lot of - especially, I think, companies and organizations that blog, not so much individuals, though. When it is a group of people that have a blog, they feel like, oh, you can't ever turn this off, and if I delete somebody's comments as off topic, that's censorship. And, I mean, there's a lot fear. And the reality is, this is a space you control.
CONAWAY: So I can go in there, and I can turn it off, right? I can get up from this chair and go say…
Mr. DASH: You own that site. I wouldn't let somebody into the lobby of a building, you know, where I work, without them saying who they are and then saying, you know what? I think your time is done here. It's time to go.
CONAWAY: So, that's a Anil Dash giving us permission to turn off the Ron Paul thread. And I have to say, Alison, that it was really sad for me to do, because first of all, I like it for people to come in and comment on the blog…
STEWART: Of course.
CONAWAY: …and second, they're really wonderful visitors to the blog.
STEWART: Yeah, they were all very, very polite, and very, you know - especially when we asked who they were. Some of the ones, when we got into the issues with Ron Paul got a little bit…
CONAWAY: But who…
STEWART: …they got a little bit saucy. But, yeah, folks were just very direct to that and they were and just wanted us to know who they were. I'm going to say this you. You are one person running our Web site, overseeing all of us and coordinating. I don't think you could physically keep that up. It wouldn't…
CONAWAY: I really…
STEWART: …it's not even responsible for you to try, because other things would have…
CONAWAY: …would have suffered and were suffering…
CONAWAY: …so I had to let that go. And my last and actually really probably very favorite thing is an ongoing feature that Tricia McKinney and Matt Martinez do, when they do a video rundown. It's produced by Wyn Rosenfeld.
STEWART: I love this.
CONAWAY: And you guys, TV, come get them. I mean, these people are just genius. Here we go.
(Soundbite of music)
MATT MARTINEZ: Hi there. I'm Cheech. This is Chong. This is coming up in the show tomorrow.
TRICIA McKINNEY: We're going to talk to the writer of the Homicide Report. It's a blog on the L.A. Times. They're trying to chronicle every homicide committed in L.A. County over the course of the year. We'll talk to the woman who's got that horrible job.
MARTINEZ: And we've got the new music releases for Tuesday. Andy Langer is along. He's Esquire's music critic.
CONAWAY: Speaking of music, tomorrow I'll be bringing you the Best Song in the World today. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but here's a little hint.
(Soundbite of music)
STEWART: And the best thing about it, in the video of it, both Tricia and Matt, dead-pan faces.
CONAWAY: Yeah, you'd never know. I think they break NPR in the best, most loving way, every day.
STEWART: It's so good. Today, I have a couple of friends who were at the "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," and one of them - this has become daily viewing. He's obsessed with our video rundowns on our blog, as am I. They're so great.
CONAWAY: Yeah. Personas have been born. I mean, Trish McKinney, Matt Martinez, thank you and get on doing today's, okay?
STEWART: I assume they're concocting it right now. And the other thing is they do it right in the middle of news. You hear - all that noise you hear is the rest of us working around them. So you can…
CONAWAY: Yeah. That's real. It's a battlefield for them. They do it every day.
STEWART: Well, Laura Conaway, you put together an awesome blog every day. Thanks so much for sharing the best of the blog. Here's to more on '08.
CONAWAY: To more on '08.
STEWART: BPP's online editor, Laura Conaway.
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