Sunday, October 31, 2004

To view all the news on the net

MSNBC has a nifty little site that has all the top news of the day on its Internet site. To see what the top news is on all the sites around the country visit MSNBC.

Media plays big role in election

Newspapermen say they can't remember an election when the media has played a big role. But they forget that bloggers would get the job done if they didn't. Bloggers have been making the traditional journalists work twice as hard, so it shouldn't be any surprise that the media is working hard. if not, they won't sell papers and everyone will be on the Internet reading and seeing what's going on.

What a slam

The newspaper editor in Busdh's hometown has endorsed John Kerry. Talk about a slam against the president. Geez, I wonder what Bush's parents think about that. I guess, it's the freedom of the speech, though. It didn't take a blogger to tell Mr. Bush he wasn't liked in his hometown.

What kind of reaction

With the media's reporting and airing the Osama Bin Laden tape, it will be interesting to see how this will influence the election if it does at all. Many believe on the Sunday talk shows that it won't. But you have to admit that it was a pretty good move for Bin Laden to put it out on the airwaves. That was the whole idea as he is trying to disrupt the election anyw ay he can. But putting it out over the satellite, Internet and whatever else he was able to do to get it out there to the people was very creative.

Blogs are "The New Tool of The Century"

Web logs, or "blogs," can be the most tedious of cyberfare — often no more than online diaries of people whose lives weren't nearly as interesting as they thought. But as the blogging fraternity exploded in the past several years its membership diversified to include respected businesses and a range of opinions gaining prominence in the media world.An eclectic mix of voices now dot a blogging universe that tackles subjects ranging from politics to literature to pop culture. Blogs are being used as a new millennium version of protest, a cyber soapbox gaining a loyal following in a world no longer anxious to stage sit-ins. And businesses are using them as a resourceful way to speak to customers. For the bloggers themselves, a simple passion for writing has turned many into semi-celebrities, a new brand of writers and entrepreneurs using cheap Web space to forge unusual careers. But can they expect to carve out a living solely on their blogs?

Fairness is a question

We're so worried about why young people, or anyone for that matter isn't reading a newspaper, but a couple of articles recently published explain all of that. It seems some of the newspapers are filtering stories to the liberal candidates before they are known to anyone else. That isn't fair, but gives the bloggers and Internet networks plenty of ammo in saying that American readers of the traditional media are not getting the story and are being spoon-fed to how much they want you to know. Little by little we are being told what to read, when to read it, how much to know and how much is enough. This is what is getting the amateur journalists upset and they have a right to their anger because of stunts the New York Times pulls.A lot of people thought bin Laden was dead. He’s alive now, and we know it for sure.

The tape shows us that Bin Laden's well enough to do this tape. Some people may find problems with his left arm, but he’s alive and we have not caught him. He escaped at Tora Bora, and he’s still a free man.His tape raises the issue of 9/11 again in very vivid terms. He’s talking about Manhattan, about the people killed, about that terrible day for Americans. This turn of events is a plus for the president because it raises Bush’s concern, one he’s raised throughout the campaign—which is terrorism, and how we fight it. It shifts attention away dramatically from the war in Iraq (which hurts the president, based upon all the assessments so far).Bush’s handling of 9/11 was universally applauded. He's not as successful with the waging and justifying of the war in Iraq.It’s a stupid show in a sense: If you read it literally, he’s calling for the defeat of President Bush, but he's not doing John Kerry a favor. Anyone with a brain in this planet knows that’s a way for President Bush to get support in this country. It’s impossible for us to know if he’s being ironic, clever, shrewd or stupid. In the cold war, Kruschev very much liked John F. Kennedy. He said to Kennedy, “I was rooting for you in the campaign against Nixon, but I did you a favor of never saying so.” The tape also makes fun of the president for being an "inherited monarch." He’s saying the Middle East is run by sons of kings, and by generals and their sons. He says it’s easy for him to deal with Bush because he’s dealt with those monarchs.It’s a trashing of a president. He's treating Bush as one of the “idiot sons of a monarchy” who got their job because of heredity. The tape is also an appeal to the Arab community in the world, using our pro-Israeli alliance and using our support for at-times corrupt dictatorships in the world. We’re talking about a shrewd politician, he knows the sensitive points in the history of the Arab-America relationship and he’s playing on Arab sensitivities very brilliantly. But remember, bin Laden tried to kill 50,000 people on 9/11. He killed only about a tenth that number—thanks to the bravery of our men and women, our firefighters. He’s playing some sick game with the American people. That won’t work with the American people, not any of this will.

Making a point

Osama Bin Laden is doing what the traditional media can't do, use the Internet and blogging network to get his message across that President Bush or John Kerry won't be able able to stop the terrorism until the United States absolves itself of all contact, including giving aid, to the Arab nations. He doesn't give interviews and can't be fouind. But Bin Laden shows what can be done when someone just has the means to transmit over the Internet as well as being able to get the message for broadcast to the traditional media. He proves that when you want to get a message out bad enough, you can and don't need the help of the broadcast networks to do so. That's the entire point of using the Internet and blogging. Getting your message out there to an audience that wants it.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Chance to be citizen reporter

MSNBC is giving "Average Joes" the opportunity to be reporters on Tuesday, Nov. 2nd....Election Day. They're asking citizens to send information including pictures and reorts to them. This is the perfect opportunity to see a major news organization take advantage of the bloggers and Internet reporters around the country. it also gives citizens the chance to see what traditional journalists put up with when going after a story.

Crazy about blogging

It seems I get into a lot of Rah! Rah!- type blogging sites where everyone talks about the positive virtues of blogging and reporting the news. very rarely do I find sites discuss the negative aspects. Everyone has their own meanings on what blogging is all about or what it should be. A new technology that seems to have quite a few takers can't bve all wrong..,.or all right. As I venture into the world of blogs, though, I am finding the new technology interesting, refreshing and very consuming. One can spend hours on a computer and not realize it. The minutes fly by. I am becoming more and more convinced that the class I most feared becaue of a lack of technological know-how can be one of the most interesting.

Google called a "Parasite"

Internet search firms are 'parasites' that will eventually kill growth in the online publishing industry, according to http://www.anm.co.uk Associated New Media managing director Andrew Hart. Speaking at the http://www.ukaop.org.uk Association of Online Publishers (AOP) conference in London last week, Mr Hart told delegates that the internet is a truly global community and the first information democracy. The web provides billions of pages of information, instantaneous breaking news, and a free, fast competitive marketplace. "Everyone from billion dollar conglomerates to penniless bloggers all have the freedom to publish and exchange information and ideas." said Mr Hart."And from the user point of view, search is the start of online journey. It's as if all the knowledge in the world is just one click away."But he said that search has now become a tool that can be exploited, with specialist agencies paid big bucks by big business to improve their position in search results."This kind of complex distortion is only made available to the big players and will make business in the long term impossible for small firms," said Mr Hart."Spend on search is the fastest growing sector in online advertising spend, so money is flowing to just a handful of online web search brands - and to those with only the biggest marketing budgets."

Friday, October 29, 2004

War bloggers

Web logs are feeding the public's increasing appetite for news and information about the war with Iraq, with a new breed known as 'war blogs' operating from within the war arena. One of the most popular web logs since the start of the war is dear_raed.blogspot.com, apparently written by an Iraqi man based in Baghdad under the pseudonym Salam Pax. His site until recently provided a first-hand account of events in Iraq. "There are no waving masses of people welcoming the Americans, nor are they surrendering by the thousands. People are doing what all of us are, sitting in their homes and hoping that a bomb doesn't fall on them," Salam wrote March 23, 2003. His first entry was recorded in September last year (2003) during the build-up to war and was last updated on Monday (24 March 2003). At that point, he described how internet access had temporarily been lost in the capital. As there have been no further updates since then, it would appear that he has again lost his online access.The increasing popularity of war blogs lies in their distinctiveness from the traditional media. War bloggers are not obliged to record the opinion representative of their country, and are not edited in any way.Some media outlets have been less than impressed by their correspondents' use of blogs, though.CNN told their correspondent Kevin Sites to end his personal log of the war this week (24 March 2003) after he posted audio reports, photographs and accounts of his experiences in Iraq. The BBC has been more lenient, allowing reporters such as Stuart Hughes to write personal war blogs. It has also gone live with its own blog where correspondents are free to contribute their personal accounts. "The BBC has cashed in on the blogging trend by running what is essentially a political diary alongside its news site and calling it a web log," said e-publishing course director at London's City University, Neil Thurman."Blogs are unique as they offer a diversity of voices and opinions and war blogs seem more immediate and real to readers than traditional news sites."Soldiers from the war zone are also setting up war blogs to communicate with their families and relay the events in Iraq to their own countries. "Not only reporters, but people on the battle front can communicate with the world," said Jeff Jarvis, the president of Advance Publications Inc.'s Internet Operations.





Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bloggers wouldn't have that problem

A story in one of the Chicago papers had to be physically pulkled from the section of the newspaper after a vulgar word was printed describing a woman's body part. The editor demanded the action be taken and the section was pulled. Had the word been printed in a section of the Internet edition, all that had to be done was to push a button and the word would have been eliminated. Not only was the task a manual one for the paper, but it wasted time in employee salaries and also in wasted newsprint that will now be thrown into the recycle bin.

What is online journalism all about

What is online journalism all about. Here are some top sites that detail some of the important contributions in online journalism over the past five years. More and more people are also turning to the Internet and the web for their news. News organizations are finally starting to realize that online technology can save money, but at the same time they have to define the audience for which they want to reach out, too, which is difficult because everyone's tastes for news is different. Some want hard news, others are happy with the gossip types. Knowing the audience will be the key. Right now, this is where the Internet and bloggers have the upperhand. Readers are going to the bloggers who have the most impact on them. MSNBC is one of the nation's top Internet news sites, because they deliver the style and type of news readers want. Another very good reason for the Internet's success is that online journalism allows a reporter to do much more than a newspaper can. A newspaper's blood is built around column inches, while the Internet can be indefinite in being able to put a story, including important links. A newspaper story can only be told in a limited amount of space, the same with a feature, and can not answer the questions readers have while reading it or after finishing with it. An Internet story can answer almost every question a reader can ask, plus offer a multitude of graphs or pictures to illustrate the story without the fear of cost or using too much newspaper ink. Another factor in blogging versus journalism is the way the stories are being reported. Bloggers seem to have a no-fear style of being challenge, while traditional journalists fear being booted out of the "good old boy" society because they wrote something that didn't flow with the rest of the mainstream. Journalists will have to repoort all the news if their field desires to remain competitive with the blogging society.

Perfect Red Sox blogging network

This isn't for me, but for the ideal Red Sox fan and blogger who will be celebrating for the next 86 years, because that will be how long it takes to get to the next World Series. Yes, the Red Sox eliminated the Cardinals, 3-0, and won the series with a 4-0 sweep last night. Oh, boy! I haven't seen such a sad series in a long time. I'm glad it's over and the seaosn is finished.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Trust is low

With the CBS scandal, as well as voices telling Americans the media is too this or that, it's not surprising trust in the media is at an all-time low. Which means, readers may be looking at the Internet and blogging for their news they can rust. With this question of trust, is it any surprise that our young people don't want to pick up a nespaper to read it. Afterall, how can we get them to read if they don't believe in what they're reading?

Anyone can write online

More and more of the Average Joes are becoming budding journalists.Where will online journalism be in five or 10 years? In the hands of more and more regular folks, who may not even think of themselves as journalists.The Internet seems to be the ideal of Everyman as publisher — ordinary citizens who take back journalism from the professional class. As the Web matures, we're starting to see a flourishing of community journalism, a tool that has both distant roots and a promising future. The news consumer is turning into a news provider. "t's not that these news consumers will compete with the New York Times, but the consumer becomes part of the process of telling stories in a way that enriches the public discourse.Through the Net, readers have been interacting with writers and editors. But in the next stage of Web journalism, citizens actually are becoming writers and editors. We've already seen the glimmerings of this trend with magazines (special-interest electronic magazines) and with individuals' own Web pages in online communities such as GeoCities or Tripod. Most of these enterprises have been lone wolf affairs. Enlisting people with shared interests to connect with each other and the outside world in new and powerful ways seems to be the thing that attracts people. It's not clear whether this kind of community publishing will take place through online communities like GeoCities, online city guides like AOL's Digital Cities or online newspapers. But online papers are missing a good bet if they overlook this rich source of community content.According to reports, MIT's Media Lab isn't waiting around to see who'll pick up the ball. Its News in the Future program has set up community publishing projects among seniors groups in the United States and Finland, in a high school outside Atlanta and in several villages in Thailand. "We're getting both youngsters and 60-, 70- and 80-year-olds to publish online newspapers, and the results are absolutely extraordinary. They're publishing some of the best stuff on the Web. One of the projects, Silver Stringers, began in mid-1996 with 10 volunteers from a seniors center in Melrose, Massachusetts. They agreed to participate in a community-oriented approach to news. MIT supplied three computers, a laptop, a digital camera, a scanner, a color printer and software to produce an online publication. None of the seniors had been on the Net before. "Most of us did not even have a computer when we first started," recalls Virginia Hanley, 72, a founding editor. In the early days, those who couldn't type were encouraged to write in longhand, and we found volunteers to transcribe those stories onto the computer," adds Jim Driscoll, 74, an editor. At the outset, MIT advisers helped edit articles and insert photos. In time, the seniors took over those tasks. The result was the Melrose Mirror, a monthly online newspaper that runs features, recipes, essays and news. Today, a handful of editors meets weekly to kick around story ideas and edit copy, while about 20 staffers contribute stories, reviews, photos and poems.The Web publication draws readers from around the world, but its most loyal readers are current and former residents of Melrose. Says Driscoll, "The most popular articles seem to be stories describing experiences during the Great Depression and World War II" — material that most professional journalists wouldn't define as news.

"We don't see this replacing newspapers," says Kay McCarte, 69, one of the editors. "But it lets us be involved in the creative process. It gives us a voice."Jack Driscoll, the Media Lab's editor in residence (and Jim's brother), says online news organizations should follow suit and put Web publishing tools in the hands of community groups. "We're empowering readers to become journalists," he says. "They've got talent, and they've got things to say. It's amazing to watch them develop their own sets of publishing values."This is where we're heading: news not as a commodity dispensed by a professional class, but as a service in which the consumer is engaged as an active participant. In the future, journalism will become a catalyst for creating communities of interest and for building links and relationships between news providers and consumers. That's a win for everyone.


Let's build a bomb

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission removed its massive public reading room from the Internet Monday after nuclear safety activists and media organizations found several documents on it containing sensitive information they said could help terrorists.The information included floor plans for nuclear laboratories at several universities, specifying the types and locations of nuclear materials they use.The NRC said the removal of the online document library is temporary and that documents will be posted again after they are scrubbed of sensitive information.Critics said the action was too late -- coming three weeks after the problem was first publicized -- and too drastic, involving the removal of thousands of non-sensitive documents. All you have to do is to look on the Internet, follow the blog's instructions and you can build your bomb. You'd never find a sensitive issue like that in the Bemidji pioneer or Washington Post.

Is it a real shortage or marketing ploy

The word is out on the Internet and newspapers that there's going to be a shortage of tomatoes in the future. That means spaghetti sauce, tomato paste, catsup and anything else with the ruby-colored veggie in it will be a valuable commodity. Wendy's said they'll leave tomatoes off the burgers unless asked for by customers. Other restaurants will have signs posted as to the availability. Geez, is this a scare, or just a reason to raise the prce of the veggie. It's a ploy sometimes used to ratonalize price increases and it may be a ploy to do it this time. Weather, bugs, viruses and other problems are blamed for the increases or reason for price-gouging.

British snubbers

The British are proving they're not our friends, but only tolerate us as evident with thei recent articles in the nespaper television guide. Columnists are showing their dislike for us by slamming President Bush. Now, if it weren't for the Internet, bloggers and having no ethical standards for which to work in, we would never know that the British are corrupted rag-writers.

Campaign rhetoric becoming tiring

It seems all the Presidential candidates are doing are attacking each other on the issues and offering any solutions to resolution. It makes one really tired of the campaign trail and very pleased Election Tuesday is just six days away. We're forgetting what the issues are and and just attacking what the candidates are sayinf. John Kerry seems to offer little in the way of solutions right now and it's making a hard-line Democrat upset and leaning to the Republican side. Now, it seems we're better off to go with the man and not the party. The Democratic party is not what is at stake, here, but the country. Stick with the issues, offer hope with resolution and may the best man win. Get rid of this name-calling anf finger-wiggling crap. You know, the bloggers may be doing the best campaign reporting of this campaign. At least you don't get bullshit with the as-a-matter-of-fact hype.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Best political blogs named

The Washington Post has named the best political blogs for this year. There's some interesting sites and political junkies may get their fix by venturing to them. The National Review's The Corner was the big winner.

Some good information for researchers

One more good article on wikipedia.

Define before teaching

It's great that journalism departments and schools are beginning to teach the essentials of online journalism. But the question is, should they teach about software or writing online. Well, you have to learn to crawl before you walk. Baby steps are necessary, because people won't be so intimidated if they know something about computers before they start to use them. You just can't throw someone into a fire and expect them to not burn themself. Teach what a computer is all about and the positive aspects one can derive. It's like a blogs and wiki class. Some of us are scared to do anything without the fear of something bad happening. If we had some knowledge of what a computer and the Internet are all about, the rest is easy. It's fun and easy once you have some basics. You can also learn as you go along, but ypu have to have an understanding about the media you're going into. Then, comes the learning to write fot he Internet is all about. Once you have a working knowledge, one doesn't want to stop and get off.

Geez, this is old news

Now reporters are starting to write there's all kinds of stolen explosives which are being used by the enemy. This is the same stuff the bloggers and Internet have been telling us for months were being used. Why all of a sudden are the traditional media and journalists writing about it. Something is not right, here.

It's a possibility

Maybe we're going to see the end of spam. The reality is, though, we may be seeing less of it if this court battle is any indication that war is being waged on these spammer characters.

The only way to make an impact

Big shot Sinclair Media Company thought it had all the answers when it showed its anti-John Kerry movie Friday night. The media giant thought it knew best and it was going to show it because they could. The arrogant bastards were given a little taste of its own medicine Monday in the stock market as its stock took a little tumble. I guess the only way to show a company what it's doing is wrong, is to hit it in the pocketbook. At least some Americans have some ethics, despite the fact that it's a political year. What Sinclair did was wrong, and lacked everything politics stands for. There was no fair and balanced acting in putting on the airwaves a film to which there was no comeback by the other side possible.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Democrats taking advantage of the Internet

The Democratic Party is using online journalism and blogging to their advantage, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury newspaper. The Democrats are using the grassroots effort to get a stronghold of the California political scene.

Creating an image

Sometimes it's tough to break in as a new singer or band. A lot of newspapers don't have the time of day to help promote by doing a story or taking a picture. Sometimes one never knows what drives a journalistic critic to do a story or not to do a story. Thanks to thr Internet and blogging, anyone can promote themselves if they're trying to hit the road as a new entertainer.

Coach is fired, thanks to bloggers

University if Florida Gator football bloggers got their wish. Head Football Coach Ron Zook was fired Monday, but will be able to finish the football season. There was a website, www.fireronzook.com, but it was out of service Monday afternoon after the University announced the firing of its coach. It's just one of many tools people use when they want to get coaches fired. If administrations are smart they listen because almost every Gator fan, or any fan, will write if they are un happy about the team. Alumni mean so much to a football team, especialy the financial end of support.

Cell phone voters getting into act

Pollsters don't know whether or not President George Bush's lead over John Kery is valid or not because some of the pollsters are using cell phone owners to get their numbers. There's an FCC law that prohibits pollsters from using cell phone owners to tabulate a candidate's popularity. Which goes to show you how fast technology is spreading in even how we want to get a quick poll for our candidates.

People can turn against idols fast

Singer Ashley Simpson found out the hard way what happens when you screw up on live TV. The pop idol was on Saturday Night Live Saturday when she went on stage to close the show by signing her hit for the second time that evening. Unfortunately her mike didn't work and all fans could hear was a taped version. Seemed Ashley was lip-synching to begin with and was caught in the act. Immediately, fans started blogging nasty messages, some in support as well, to her phoniness. She received 194 messages immediately after the show. I guess, bloggers got away with something newspaper Letters to The Editor writers couldn't do immediately.

British bloggers don't like Bush, or do they?

Scanning through some of the British newspapers and tabloids it's evident of their dislike for American politics, especially George Bush. If Americans want to get a good feel for the British bloggers and journalists, it wouldn't take long reading some of the reams of blogs I have over the weekend. It's a good way to see what they think of our presidents, whether they like them or not.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Electoral college website

The calculator at Grayraven is fantastic for its wealth of fantastic historical information. The site allows you to look at the elctoral map for every election since George Washington. Minnesota's first presidential election was 1860, when the state's four electoral votes went to Abraham Lincoln. This is a case where blogging/journalism benefits everyone. The information is solid and helps readers/voters understand the Electoral College process.

Does it make a difference

Does the endorsements of the Presidential candidates by newspapers make a difeerence no. Not nowadays. Because of the Internet and political bloggers, voters don't need the opinion or endorsement to say who the best president will be. By the time the election rolls around, voters seem to know everything about the people who want to be the president. Newspapers don't need to put a stamp of approval on a person. The voters are as dumb as the papers or mass media leads us to believes. Thanks to the Internet and bloggers, voters are probably more up on the canddiates than the average newspaper reader. People who do the blogs aren't the average third grade readers newspapers are designed to help understand. We're talking about a voter today that is technological savvy and knows what's up before some of the people in the media are.

Trust is the key of a journalist's career

One of my more popular journalistic reference books when I moved between journalism jobs back in the 1970s was a tattered copy of the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics. It was an account of some of the conflicts of interest journalists should avoid, from getting all sides of the story to not covering stories where you had a personal stake.I always tacked it up on whatever wall space or bulletin board came with my desk and typewriter. (Ah, yes, those were the days!)My first newspaper jobs were at very small newspapers, which did not have their own ethical codes of conduct and really didn't have editors who had a lot of time to talk about ethics.Readers wanted to know if I could be trusted. They insisted I give them reasons to trust me, and they did challenge me when they felt that I was showing bias, or failed to tell their side of an issue, or participated in the community in a way that made them weary and bewildered about my motives for stories.

I learned the most valuable asset a newspaper had is its credibility, the trust of its readers. If they didn't trust us, they wouldn't read us. That trustwas in my hands and those of every journalist at a newspaper 24/7.When I was a reporter, I found myself drawing lines on what I could do to avoid conflicts of interest. I didn't make political contributions, I didn't cover organizations I participated in, I didn't pay for information, I didn't let sources buy things for me, give me tickets, shirts...nothing), I made sure my stories presented different perspectives, I tried to be clear about my sourcing and was careful to label content as news stories, analyses or columns.It was nothing earth-shattering that I did. It was simply how conscientious and serious journalists were supposed to do their job.I don't work in newspapers anymore because of health issues and have found a new career, one where codes of ethical conduct is still desired.

Last week a story about one of the Twin Cities newspapers made me think. It was about reporters being scolded for attending a concert that was deemed political. Some thought the action was taken because the concert was anti-Bush and that didn't sit well with the owners and operators of the newspaper. Others were surprised to learn that any workplace could dictate what its employees did on their own time and worried about a return to a McCarthy era.I don't think it was a new policy. It's a choice we make when we become journalists. In some professions, to do it well, to do it right, you have to agree to live by certain standards. Fact is, many of our decisions about what's acceptable or unacceptable ethical behavior is situational, meaning it depends on the journalist and what role he or she plays in the newsroom. I make those calls along with a group of top editors. Journalists who cover politics and government are diligent about potential conflicts of interest and avoid making political contributions or displaying yard signs or bumper stickers. Journalists who cover business take care not to invest in companies they write about. Why? They know their coverage could potentially cause a swing in stock price and they want to avoid an appearance that they gained financially from a positive story.

Yes, journalists vote, and join churches, and get involved in their schools and neighborhood organizations. But they take care about the roles they play and about disclosing to their editors the extent of their activities.It's simply easier for readers to have trust that a reporter is open-minded and trained to tell the whole story, to have multiple sources, to look for documents and records to back up statements, to check the background of sources if they don't see the journalist in a conflict of interest. The election season brings a heightened awareness of what's fair, particularly in a close election as we are having this fall. Credibility — the trust of readers — is the most important asset.

Iraqi bloggers

Don't take sides, and read what Iraqi bloggers have to say about the war as they blog from their country and risk their lives to tell the story. Some Iraqi's are covering the war for their country in a unique way. A way that enables them to stay out of harm's way. Read how the United States reporters were caught in an almost tragic web, too.

Anti-American sentiment on the Internet

If this is participitatory journalism, I don't want anything to do with it. In Britain, which has the most liberal and obnoxious mass media in the world, it keeps using the Internet to post anti-Bush and American stories. They're encouraging assassination of George Bush. I mean, I may not care for his politics, but would never wish death on someone. And besides, don't they realize they could create a problem that would run rabid as now the president has to even be more careful with his security force than he is now. Geez, talk about crazy people. Now, this is not the way to use the Internet nor your blogging ability. Why do they speak such poppycock on the Internet, because they have a weird sense of what freedom of the press means. None of the London papers seem to like our President.

Bloggers speak out

Keith Ollbermann, who was one of ESPN's top sports people before he was fired for being too funny, has a nightly show on MSNBC. He allows people to blog comments to the show, who otherwise wouldn't be able to speak up and voice their opinions. Some of the bloggers who write in have some interesting opinions.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Use common sense

At least bloggers and journalists, as well as the papers they work for, should consider the ramifications to family members and to soem of the public when considering to publish anything offensive. The Boston Herald ran an apology in Friday's edition because they ran pictures of the dead Boston Red Sox fan who was accidentally killed by a projectile from a policeperson's gun. It's bad enough the tragedy happened, but to see a bloodied 20-something woman laying in the street is something no one should have to wake up to....especially the woman's parents. We have to use "good judgement" when putting things out on the Internet, paper or television for people to read or view.

Embrace bloggers

Bloggers in Pennsylvania said newspapers should embrace them...not fear them. "I consider myself to be a media filter," Daily Kos's Moulitsas told the audience in Bethlehem. He doesn't do reporting, and he's adament that he's not a journalist. He needs newspapers and their staffs to do what they've always done -- report, write, produce articles -- that he can use raw masterial for his blog."I think of blogging as throwing spitballs from the back of the class," said Cox, aka Wonkette. And she knows she needs the journalists at the front of the room, as targets for her spitballs.At its best, the relationship between traditional newspaper reporters and bloggers is a very successful and effective feedback loop. Reporters learn something and write an interesting article about it.Bloggers use that article as the basis for commentary or comedy or whatever, and, in so doing, direct readers to the reporter's article, getting his or her work more attention. Then, using what Power Line's Hinderaker called the "incredible power of the Internet to bring together thousands of bits of information from people around the country," more information relevant to the original article comes back to the reporter, helping his or her understanding of the topic covered become even more accurate and nuanced. It's the same understanding newspapers must have for the new wave of advertising.

Jon Stewart blasts TV news reporting

True, Jon Stewart does some pretty funny spoof's as host of the "Daily Show", but he wasn't kidding around last week when he took a swipe at CNN's Crossfire news show. In fact, Stewart went into a rant saying all the TV journalists were interested in was conflict. "Conflict, baby" he said is what sells in this country.

Sinclair takes lumps

The Sinclair Broacasting Co. is taking its lumps for broadcasting its anti-John Kerry special around the country Friday night. But the Internet has taken another role on as bloggers and other protestors have put together a campaign against Sinclair....stopsinclair.org is a Internet site where anit-Bush people, as well as those who oppose the Sinclair Broadcasting company can go to read the latest news on what's happening in the grassroots efforts to protest against the media giant. Bloggers are asking readers and those against what the network did to boycott the company.The special aired parts of a documentary, "Stolen Honor," which was critical of Kerry's activities during Vietnam.Numerous Democratic lawmakers have asked the FCC (search) to halt the broadcast, calling it an unpaid campaign ad for President Bush. The FCC declined. Sinclair invited John Kerry to be part of the broadcast, so he could respond to criticisms of him. Kerry declined.It was "A POW Story: Politics, Pressure and the Media," and that it included allegations raised by former POWs about Senator Kerry's antiwar activities.

John Kerry's camp said it would like to have some equal time after the film was shown. Even the Democratic Party wants some answers.


Friday, October 22, 2004

Riding in the driver's seat

Participatory journalism is the wave of the future and bloggers are being asked to come along for the ride. According to reports, the best thing that can happen to people covering the news is to take part. Readers are more apt to read news reports from those who participate in the news themselves.

The mood of war

An Iraqi citizen told a British online news service what life has been life during the bombardments and how citizens are evacutating the citizens in an effort to move into safety.

Google saved life

A very beautiful story about technology, human rights and terrorism revealed by BBC news: An Australian journalist kidnapped in Iraq was freed after his captors checked the popular internet search engine Google to confirm his identity. John Martinkus was seized in Baghdad last Saturday, the first Australian held hostage in Iraq since the US-led invasion. But his captors agreed to release him after they were convinced he was not working for the CIA or a US contractor. His executive producer at Australia's SBS network, Mike Carey, said Google probably saved freelance journalist Martinkus. They Googled him and then went onto a web site - either his own or his book publisher's web site, I don't know which one - and saw that he was who he was, and that was instrumental in letting him go, I think, or swinging their decision, he told AP news agency."

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What will the bloggers spew now

Ask the bloggers how long we'll be in the war. They'll know. Because America sure doesn't. It doesn't depend on who wins election to America's presidency.
The answer may depend on whether Americans are willing to stomach what many military analysts believe will be a guerrilla war for years to come.
That's true no matter who wins the presidency in November, and whether or not an Iraqi election takes place in January, a cross section of foreign policy experts said. Iraq's increasingly lethal insurgency has stymied reconstruction and turned large swaths of the country into no-go zones for U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces. No major power has hinted that it's willing to send more troops. Germany has ruled that out, and two members of the U.S.-led coalition, Italy and Poland, have talked of withdrawing their soldiers, though neither has yet decided to do so.
With little prospect of a decisive military victory and even less chance of recruiting significant international help, that leaves the next president with the same unpleasant option - continue fighting the insurgency and trying to rebuild the country with roughly the same number of American troops, in the hope that elections in January will turn the political tide against the insurgents and that newly trained Iraqi police and security forces can learn to defeat them. Send thousands more American troops to Iraq in hopes of defeating the insurgency, sealing the country's borders and buying time for a new Iraqi government to get on its feet. Escalation, however, would further strain America's active, National Guard and reserve forces and risk turning even more Iraqis against the U.S.-led coalition. Begin withdrawing American troops and handing the country over to a new government and its newly trained police and security forces. Iraq's defense minister, however, recently told Knight Ridder that American troops could be needed for as many as 15 more years, and a precipitous withdrawal could plunge the country into chaos or even civil war.

Bloggers will fun with this

The Sinclair Media Group was told to pull the plug on the anti-John Kerry TV special that is supposed to be aired before the election. This will play right into the hands of the bloggers, who are blogging because the mass media refuses to air the truth on certain subjects. In this case, the bloggers may be right when it comes to battling traditional journalism. Freedom of speech is our guaranteed right. I don't like horrible messages printed about me anywhere, or films that question my values and thoughts. But it is a guaranteed right. Play the film, but also play Michael Moore's new movie, too. That's all we need to do is to set off the bloggers and pro-Bush activists. We say we're tired of all the political messages on the Internet. Well, do the right thing and air the message. But do the right thing, too, and play an anti-Bush message also.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

What is news

Bloggers are setting the standards to what is news and what isn't. What the traditional journalists believe not to be news, the online bloggers and readers believe it is. Which means the traditional media is going to have to re-evaluate its news standards and find out what their readers are interested in or perish. It's get with the game or get out. Bloggers are churning out what readers want to read, while journalists are looking at the work and calling it everything but revolutonary.

Beat reporters could be the secret weapon of newspaper Web sites.Their potential is unrealized as long as they're working only in the print world -- and the online world needs their wisdom.After all, covering a beat isn't just about producing an endless stream of incremental stories, punctuated by the occasional six-part series. It's about a deep, full-bodied understanding of the subject or area at hand.But at most newspapers, readers don't get nearly enough exposure to that expertise.Meanwhile, on the Web, we've long realized the value of FAQs, primers and timelines. They work well in newspapers, but they perform even better on the Web, where they can be enhanced with images, be made multi-dimensional with links, can be expanded, collapsed and augmented by readers and -- most importantly -- where they don't get thrown in the recycling bin after one short day of life.Primers, FAQs and timelines may not be the newest or fanciest tools in our toolbox, but readers love them. One big reason: Deprived by these formats of the ability to hide behind incremental news pegs, anecdotal leads or flowery prose, their authors have no choice but to explain themselves forthrightly and with authority.We just don't do them very often, because they're really hard to do. Or at least, they're really hard for online producers and editors to do.

Enter: The Beat Reporter Only beat reporters can produce primers, FAQs and timelines with relative ease.There are, of course, plenty of reasons why this doesn't happen more frequently. Primers, FAQs and timelines are time-consuming, even for the most knowledgeable beat reporter. They can frustrate the flow of daily, incremental copy. Lacking a news peg, they are less likely to get a front-page byline. And there are still some newsroom managers -- and some newsroom union leaders -- who frown on doing anything that is considered primarily for online's benefit.
ut there's something in this for newspaper reporters, editors, and readers, too.Primers, FAQs and timelines offer beat reporters a great way to share the breadth of their knowledge with their readers -- while at the same time demonstrating their authority to their sources.Say you're writing a primer about the town you cover -- or about a topic on a beat like the environment. A good primer is sweeping in scope. It identifies and describes the big challenges in your chosen area. It offers you a chance to share your hard-won expertise in a more effective and expressive way than the daily, reactive, incremental story -- or even the occasional trend story.Primers also force reporters to state the obvious -- which is often left strikingly unstated in the hurly-burly of daily journalism. For instance, how often does your newspaper describe the social, economic and racial stratification that is, inevitably, one of the most defining aspects of daily life in your communities?Timelines, for their part, require us to know how we got to where we are. Beat reporters should know that -- and if they aren't sure, or if there are large gaps in their knowledge, well, then, building a timeline is just what the doctor ordered.FAQs require reporters to identify and ponder the important questions -- and ideally ask readers what they are curious or worried about. FAQs can even force reporters to acknowledge that there are questions for which they don't have the answers.(In fact, I think we should not just be doing FAQs, but Frequently Unanswered Questions -- or maybe even Frequently Unasked Questions. But the acronym is ... problematic.)

Next Steps for Newsrooms
As I wrote in my last essay for OJR, in many newsrooms, newspaper reporters are now filing on our clock, and that's a huge victory. But they're still not filing on our terms.A lot of the things I would like folks in print newsrooms to start doing for online -- narrating photo essays, adding Web links, shooting video, creating blogs -- don't necessarily provide a lot of obvious, immediate return to the newspaper itself. Maybe they are a bit too risky for some managers out there.So it seems to me that primers, FAQs and timelines -- written by beat reporters and edited by their regular editors -- are the obvious next step for newsrooms to take, because they are perfectly adapted to the new medium while still serving the newspaper.

Some Connections

I have a theory about why newspaper circulation is down. It's not so much the Internet or demographics -- at least not in and of themselves.I think it's at least in part because newspapers have failed to give readers evidence that reporters really know the community, least of all care about it. That used to be a given, decades ago.Similarly, newspapers have failed to showcase how deeply knowledgeable and caring their reporters are about the issues they cover.And in the absence of evidence of that sort of connection, readers feel free to drift away, either to ignorance or to commoditized news on the likes of Yahoo.Primers, FAQs and timelines -- particularly if they are produced in a way that encourages and responds to reader input -- can reestablish the bond that once existed between newspapers and their readers. And it was that bond, I believe, that made newspapers essential, more even than the news.

Here is an idea that will make newspapers better, make Web sites stronger and maybe even be an antidote to declining circulation. What's wrong with that? Stop hiding your secret weapons. Deploy them!


Reporters lurk in chat rooms

I never thought of this one until I read an article on it. But what's to prevent a journalist from taking part in online chatlines to get information or find out what's going on? They don't have to take part, just read the messages in an attempt to pick up a news tip or find out information on what's going on in other parts of the world. Should this be okay? I say, yes, because bloggers don't mind putting craploads of information out on the Internet, and treporters are only helping themselves find out what some readers are talking about. they're looking for any news or gossip to write about.

An example lurking or ethical behavior

In 1999, journalist and author Jennifer Egan was developing a story for The New York Times Magazine about gay and lesbian teenagers who were using the Internet to meet and interact with other homosexual teens. As part of her research, Egan spent several weeks visiting Web sites geared to the gay community and lurking in several chat rooms that were restricted to gay and lesbian teens.Though Egan was in her 30s, she easily gained access to the chat rooms by entering a fake identity and age on the site's registration form. After a period of observing communication among chat room participants, Egan posted a message identifying herself as a reporter.She also asked if anyone would like to participate in interviews about gay life online. Egan's initial request did not elicit much response, but in time she began receiving e-mail messages from teens who agreed to be interviewed for her story.Egan gradually learned that many of the teens were still living "straight'' lives offline and that the Internet had become a kind of refuge for them -- the only environment in which they could openly discuss their sexuality and interact with other gay teens. Some of these closeted kids were terrified that a family member or friend might uncover their online activities, so they created separate screen names and instant messaging services specifically for visiting gay chat rooms.

Eager to move beyond e-mail and Web chats, Egan began making telephone contact with some of her sources. In particular, she began having regular conversations with a 15-year-old boy who would become the primary subject of her story. During one conversation, Egan proposed the idea of traveling to his hometown in the rural South to conduct a face-to-face interview.The teenager agreed but warned Egan that they must be very careful to avoid being seen together. He feared that family or friends in his close-knit community would get suspicious if they saw him talking to an older stranger. After the interview, Egan and the teen continued to communicate online, exchanging numerous e-mail messages.Egan also continued her correspondence with other gay and lesbian teens she had met in chat rooms. As the teens became more comfortable with her, they began to discuss not just the loneliness of being a gay teen but also sexual activities they had engaged in, with both online and actual physical partners. Through these frank discussions, Egan learned that many of her sources had been pursued by much older adults who had been posing as teens in the chat rooms.After more than a year of research and writing, Egan's story, "Lonely Gay Teen Seeking Same,'' appeared as the cover story in the December 10, 2001, issue of The New York Times Magazine. The 8,000-word article stressed the value of the Internet for early exploration of sexual identity, especially for teens who are isolated and worried about their parents' and classmates' reactions.The piece also mentioned the danger posed by adult sexual predators and the lack of security surrounding chat rooms and Web sites that claim to be only for teens. Egan brought many of these points to life by quoting at length from e-mail and instant messaging interviews with her sources. In several passages, she quoted teens discussing their emotional and sexual relationships with boyfriends and girlfriends, some of whom they had met or had sex with online. Egan did not reveal the identity of her subjects, referring to them only by their first names or the first letter of their first name.

Aly Colón, ethics faculty member at the Poynter Institute, suggests that each reporter ask the four following questions before attempting to gather information from restricted Web sites and chat rooms:
• How do I plan to access the chat room or Web site?
• Will I identify myself as a reporter and state my intentions?
• Will I ask permission to quote participants or even to monitor their discussions?
• How will I authenticate what I read in the discussions?

In searching for answers to these questions Colón advises journalists to consider what they might do if they were in a comparable situation offline. Analogies from one medium to another can be difficult, but the exercise may be helpful in getting journalists to think more deeply about the privacy of others.No matter what form the medium takes, Colón argues, journalists should address newsgathering challenges with respect for their "core values.'' Put another way, the settings in the online world might be different -- virtual rather than physical -- and the identities might not always be authentic, but behind those identities in those virtual spaces are real human beings.Decisions about how to observe and communicate with them ought to be guided by basic ethical principles, as should decisions about how much information about them will be revealed to a public they might be hiding from.

The media is fair game

Mark Cuban is the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, founder of high-definition TV startup HDNet, and star of ABC's reality series "The Benefactor." Now he's using his Weblog to strike back at a sports columnist, Donald Trump and people who don't understand his TV show.

We The People Book

At its core, We the Media is a book about people. People like Glenn Reynolds, a law professor whose blog postings on the intersection of technology and liberty garnered him enough readers and influence that he became a source for professional journalists. Or Ben Chandler, whose upset Congressional victory was fueled by contributions that came in response to ads on a handful of political blogs. Or Iraqi blogger Zayed, whose Healing Irag blog (healingiraq.blogspot.com) scooped Big Media. Or acridrabbit, who inspired an online community to become investigative reporters and discover that the dying Kaycee Nichols sad tale was a hoax. Give the people tools to make the news, We the Media asserts, and they will. Journalism in the 21st century will be fundamentally different from the Big Media that prevails today. We the Media casts light on the future of journalism, and invites us all to be part of it.

Journalism is an imperfect art. Take away the reporter's personal bias, political ideology, geographical orientation, upbringing, mood, and hangover -- and you still have potential problems. Like the recording of an interview. Record it on tape? Take notes only? Get it via e-mail? Despite all these efforts, journalists still get quotes wrong, editors sometimes chop them up into mincemeat, and interviewees get angry.Not to worry. We are now ushering in the era of the Internet in general -- and blogosphere in particular -- as quote checkers and quote debaters. A recent abridged quote of President Bush by Maureen Dowd of The New York Times got her into hot water, as Weblogs and conservative pundits piled on. Her Bush quote: "Al Qaeda is on the run. That group of terrorists who attacked our country is slowly but surely being decimated. . . .They're not a problem anymore." The full quote included these lines where the ellipsis was: "Right now, about half of all the top Al Qaeda operatives are either jailed or dead. In either case, they're not a problem anymore."

Wikis and Journalism

Journalism relies on collaboration to build trust. If these words were simply typed on my computer and posted to this page, how much would you trust them? Most readers trust the journalism they read in newspapers, see on TV or check out online because they assume there are editors, fact-checkers and some unseen apparatus making sure everything is correct. And the sources journalists rely on also play a key role in determining authority.Weblogs turned that notion on its head by gaining trust through a community of readers, commenters and links to source material. And now comes wide-open wikis, Web pages that are easily edited, changed or erased by a public or private group of people. At first blush, most journalists would consider this idea heretical to journalistic integrity. If anyone can change the page at any time, how can you trust it? But consider the Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia with hundreds of thousands of entries created by thousands of people since just January 2001. Originally, it was supposed to be a trusted encyclopedia called Nupedia written only by people with PhD's. Wikipedia was an adjunct project that eventually became the main event, a sprawling public site that covers everything from Bayesian probability to cultural imperialism -- with versions in dozens of languages.For journalists enthralled by Wikipedia, there's still one drawback: lack of accountability. The Boston Globe's Hiawatha Bray recently spelled out the problem in a story on Wikipedia. "Old-school reference books hire expert scholars to write their articles, and employ skilled editors to check and double-check their work," Bray wrote. "Wikipedia's articles are written by anyone who fancies himself an expert."

Bloggers, Google and Journalism

Just what the heck is "comment spam" and how did it get so many prominent bloggers up in arms? Basically, spammers have been using blogs to help boost their standings in Google searches by posting massive numbers of comments that include links to their pornography sites, scams and get-rich-quick sites. If your site is linked by a top-ranked site or blog, then Google will often raise your site's ranking -- at least that's the thinking of spammers.In fall of 2003, spammers flooded blog comments, using automated schemes to infiltrate comments on high-ranked blogs such as Dan Gillmor's eJournal, David Weinberger's Joho the Blog and Rafat Ali's PaidContent.org, among others. What followed were a series of measures, counter-measures, tactical warfare and the usual gnashing of rhetorical teeth in the blogosphere. All three of these bloggers had to turn off comments for a period of time and are only tentatively trying out new solutions to keep the comments alive.
Now, Google's Blogger software puts links in comments through a redirected URL, taking away any PageRank boost. And Six Apart's latest TypePad service and Movable Type software include multiple ways to stem comment spam, including Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist and the TypeKey registration system.For mainstream news outlets just getting into the blogging game, this battle is instructive. While most big-media blogs contain no comments and only run a select list of reader e-mails, others might want to retain the interactivity of comments and the real-time feedback that flows from them. PaidContent's Ali considers the comments part of his site's "ecosystem," and wants people to be able to comment on his more opinionated blog posts.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Weather blogger

Television zealots, especially those who love to keep track of the weather, can use the WGN Weather Blog to ask questions or keep a 24/7 update on the weather. Weather buffs can also ask the meteorologist questions or just blog what they think of the Chicago weather. Travellers to the Windy City can use this as a barometer on the weather and get a feel for what the Windy City is all about.

Online predators

Blogging versus journalism is also vital when talking about online predators. You never know what kind of person you're dealing with when you're reading a blogger's thoughts. There;'s no way of knowing if this sweet-talker knows his stuff or if he's enticing you to get much more. At least with a journalist you know what kind of person you're dealing with because he's gone through a screening process by his employer. yes, even those people slip through the craps. But nine times out of ten you at least know the name of the person does exist and it's not some baloney moniker to get you to contact him because you like what he reads. Bloggers, like journalists need to have a filter in place so they operate on ethical standards.

On-line advertising killing traditional journalism

One of the things that readers don't think about very much is online advertising. But newspapers are fighting for survival when it comes to battling the ad dollars. If people are reading on-line, that means they aren't reading a particular newspaper, which means no ad avenue...the basis of the lifeblood for every newspaper. The journalists, and newspapers, are going to have to find their niche online so they can also use online advertising to their benefit. Evertime one turns on the Internet they are flooded with pop-ups and other types of advertising. And it can be changed constantly. Something a nespaper can not do. Online ads can go from cameras to grocery ads within seconds, while a newspaper can only do this on a daily basis and do it through a ton of stuffers. What would you rather do, have an online source such as a computer to look at ads or go through an eight pound newspaper on Sundays? Would you rather just go on the Internet on Wednesdays to view the grocery ads or make sure you buy a Wednesday newspaper to get the ads. And wonder if you don't make it to the newsstand to get the paper. You don't get the ads for the week and oyu miss out on the specials.

Can't keep secrets

There is too much in the way of communication tools to keep things secretive in a war. People can go to the Internet, television or government officials to make their complaints known. Is this a good thing. I don't know, but it could create problems. About 20 soldiers were told to standdown recently after refusing to take their convoy on a delivery mission in Iraq. The soldiers said their equipment wasn't "good enough" to keep them safe and they were carrying contaiminated fuel. Now, it's all well and good to make complaints, but do it through the proper channels in time of wars. It shows a lack of discipline to do so otherwise. In times of war it is also considered mutiny to go through other channels to make a complaint. The soldiers were wrong in notifying their parents or going to the Internet to tell people their was concern for their safety in transporting material. They may have had a valid complaint, but tell it to their superiors. The complaints do show that materials and proper materials are in short supply in our war effort in Iraq. In World War II, people would have been shot for not following orders. But in this day and time, there are too many variables to do this. And with the new communication technology being what it is, nothing is being able to be kept secretive.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Not everyone upbeat about blogging

One report believes there won't be a blogging Gold Rush as some experts believe. They believe this because some professors who have blogging classes at universities say their students complain there is nothing to write about. Where are people going to blog from, one professor said. I believe there is nothing to worry about as far as blogging being the media of the future.

Superblogging versus the big media

Blogging is probably going to be the new technology of journalism in a few years. That means no one will probably have to buy a Sunday paper. All they'll do is call up the Internet to read their favority paper. Even covering the news as we know it today will change drastically. If the media is to survive, though, they will have to learn to know their customers inside and out. Bloggers will have the advantage because there seems to be a blogger for everyone. The newspaper's job will certainly be a big one to not only attract readers but to maintain advertising revenue. To lose revenue would be ceertain death to the print media as we know it.

Hiding behind the first amendment

There are a lot of argument's for and against the Sinclair company putting an anti-Kerry ad in a few days before the election. One argument is, the bloggers and the Internet will put it on if television companies refuse to. Secondly, like the argument spewed by bloggers and the Internet, Sinclair's freedom of speech rights will eb violated. never mind the act of fair play, as well as fair and balanced coverage, throw everything out when it comes to politcs. But allow Michael Moore's new movie to air that shows President bush at his worse during a crisis and blocking freedom of speech in this instance is all right. Where's the fair play in this. Let's hear the bloggers answer this one!

Truth finally coming out.......slowly

It's taken a while, but reporters are finally starting to uncover the manure that's been covering the bottom of the heap where the real story is in Iraq. For the longest time, the story has been Iraq is being rebuilt into the good citizen the United States wants it to be. But more and more, reporters are discovering that the United States is slowly losing its propaganda war. It's coming through the Internet, the government and everywhere else. Like the little Dutch boy, not even his thumb is beig enough to stop the dam of this lie from bursting.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Anyone can do it

Bloggers are going toe-to-toe with newspapers and other mass media outlets. It's getting to the point where all you need is a computer, a blog and a willingness to search for information and then have an opinion. There's no real experience most publishers say and that could help or hinder the profession succeed. Even AOL is getting into the act by providing new blogging software for people. It seems to be encouraging competition with the mass media.

Total control is possible

A special report in Newsweek Magazine claims that is a few years corporations and government will control the Internet in all aspects. Experts think the Internet can be manipulated for only a few to enjoy.

Not everyone loves bloggers

Especially the Iranian government as they are cracking down bloggers who continue to call for government reform. Hey, maybe the United States should take this road. That's the trouble when you live in a Democratic society, you fall back on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, where you can say and do anything you want, no matter who you hurt or affect. A little government control wouldn't hurt these bloggers in the U.S. Certainly, the death penalty or prison is harsh. But have a watchdog on these guys. Afterall, they have government watchdogs making sure no one uses the Internet for terroristic purposes or for mercenary work. Why not weeding out trouble-making bloggers. There's got to be some fair and balanced behavior. No body likes a trouble maker, but I don't think too many bloggers would get away with the crapload of stuff they write in Iran, like they do in the United States. Americans are gluttons for punishment.

Maybe URLs are the way to go

When Rebecca Blood talks about bloggers struggling with Intellectual Dishonesty, she may not be too far off in the respect that's where journalists should go to. Everyone who is involved in journalism should use URLs to link readers with other sites. It would be good journalism and create a lot more readership not only in the blogshere but also mass media. People would know they're getting as much of the news as possible.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Participatory journalism

So what is participatory journalism?

When small independent online publications and collaborative news sites with an amateur staff perform original reporting on community affairs, few would contest that they're engaged in journalism.When citizens contribute photos, video and news updates to mainstream news outlets, many would argue they're doing journalism.

But when bloggers comment on and link to news stories, is that journalism? Usually no -- but it depends. When the blogger adds personal commentary that relies on original research, or if it is done by someone considered an authority on the subject, some would consider it journalism. When a blogger conducts a phone interview with a newsworthy subject and posts it to his Weblog -- or does some research to turn up the address, phone number and e-mail of an alleged rape victim, as a number of bloggers did in July -- some would consider those acts of journalism, too.

The same questions are raised when news organizations open up the channels of interactivity with their audiences. Voting in an online poll surely isn't journalism, but giving a first-hand report of one's travels in a foreign country may -- or may not be.Whatever the yardstick one uses -- a strict definition that says journalism must involve original reporting and an editorial filter, or a broader one that considers travelogues, op-ed commentary and analysis journalism -- it's certain that audience participation in the news equation is on the upswing.And it's likely that forms of audience participation will become more widespread once mobile devices such as video-enabled phones -- which allow you to transmit text, photos and video directly over the phone -- become commonplace.

Participatory journalism generally falls into these broad categories:

(1) Audience participation at mainstream news outlets.

Examples include:

*Staff Weblogs, such as those written by Gillmor, Projo's Sheila Lennon or The Dallas Morning News' editorial board. All incorporate reader comments in their blogs, either through e-mails or direct postings.
*Newsroom-sanctioned Weblogs written by outsiders, such as ABCnews.com's The Note giving presidential candidates their own blog.
*Discussion forums, such as The New York Times' reader forum on the Supreme Court.
*Articles written by readers. Many online newspapers in the United States and Europe ask high school students, parents and fans to contribute to reporting about their schools' football, wrestling and other sporting events.
*Photos, video and reports sent in by readers. The Dallas Morning News published readers' photos in its coverage of the space shuttle tragedy. BBC has a standing page that uses photos e-mailed in by readers around the globe. The Santa Fe New Mexican publishes photos submitted by readers. The Providence (R.I.) Journal created a slide show of 130 images sent by readers of a spring blizzard. Australia's ABC News Online published reader write-ups and photos of devastating brushfires in Canberra. A news station in Japan recently aired live coverage of a massive fatal accident from a citizen-reporter with a video-enabled cell phone. The witness also called in a report from the scene.
*Other reader contributions. Many sites, including the Hampton Roads (Va.) News Press, The New York Times on the Web and Tribune Interactive, ask readers to review everything from travel destinations to restaurants.

(2) Independent news and information Web sites.

These run the gamut from individual Weblogs (Soundbitten) to niche-news publications geared to community or city news (Gawker, Benicia News, OpinionPleasanton), consumer news (ThemeParkInsider, The Car Place, Consumer World), politics (Workingforchange.com, Drudge Report) or a niche topic (Biased BBC, Gizmodo). In some cases, publications rely on gifted amateurs or independent writers (only rarely on a paid staff) to provide original interviews, research and reporting. In other cases, the sites primarily generate editorial digests with varying degrees of commentary (Poynter.org's e-media tidbits and Romenesko). Some of these sites do journalism only fleetingly, while for others citizen reporting is their primary purpose.

(3) Full-fledged participatory news sites.

At such sites, citizen-reporters contribute a significant amount of material. South Korea's OhmyNews is the crown jewel of this breed. A similar citizen-reported news site called JanJan in Japan is modeling itself after OhmyNews. Indymedia offers first-person reporting of political news with a subjective slant.

(4) Collaborative and contributory media sites.

At sites such as Slashdot, Kuro5hin and Metafilter, which mesh the interface of Weblogs and discussion boards, users contribute editorial content (some of which would be appropriate for a newspaper or magazine) as well as links to news stories and ratings. Other community sites with mechanisms for self-publishing, self-ranking and self-organization include the collaborative newspaper RedPaper, Plastic.com and Everything2, which describes itself as "a very complex online community with a focus to write, publish and edit a quality database of information, art and humor. When you make an account here you join not only a team of dedicated writers but an entire micro-society and community with its own pop culture, politics, beauty and blunders." Many of the smaller sites in this category tend to quickly fall away. The Vines Network and ThemeStream, sites featured in The New York Times two years ago, have already disappeared.

(5) Other kinds of "thin media."

Examples include mailing lists (Dave Farber’s Interesting-People, Firehair's Internet Native News and Issues List), e-mail newsletters (ThirdAge’s Health Newsletter) and other digital media.

(6) Personal broadcasting sites.

These include both video broadcast sites such as Daytonabeach-live.com and audio sites like KenRadio.com, where operator Ken Rutkowski conducts news interviews and pulls together a daily tech news report from various media sources.

Other examples of participatory journalism seem to be cropping up all the time. And some of the categories listed above overlap with one another. Because this is an interactive medium, we'll end with some questions: What else would you include? How would you group these categories differently? Or, do you remain unconvinced that some of these forms qualify as journalism at all?


Some valid points

There are some very sloppy newspapers, as well as sloppy ewspaper reporting. On the other hand, the same can be said about the blogoshere. There are some good blogs and bad blogs, as well as excellent bloggers and bad bloggers. But bloggers blogging about ploitics is more opinionated than journalism. Journalism places opinions on the Op-Ed Page, while bloggers just post and publish. Journalists, who report the news can't afford to be one-sided as opinionated bloggers, who only want their opinions heard.
I know I would rather have a trained journalist telling me the story I am reading, than anuntrained one sewing his crapload of information out on the blog with nothing to back it up.
It seems that journalists and bloggers are riffed on each other's work, analyzing, investigating further, making journalism of different sorts, from one writer to the next. Neither journalism or blogging is going away. They can't live without the other. They need each other, and the CBS case makes it clear that we have a better news world because of the cooperative convesation they make together.
What journalists now have is new watchdogs in the blogosphere.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Get used to the new technology

The publisher of the Dallas Morning-News said blogs are here to stay, so get used to them.

Blogger bullies

Are bloggers really bullies hiding behind the cloak of the Internet?

A new weapon

Heck, even the terrorists are getting in on the act. They haven't been able to pitch their threats throiugh the newspapers inorder to get attention, so terrorists are using the blogs and Internet to broadcast their terroristic horrors. Just look at the beheading footage they put over the internet and show their captives pleading for their lives. It's easy for them to be hidden and use the Internet as their weapon. they don't have to come out of hiding and talk to newspaper reporters. ll they need is a computer and a little broadcasting center. But terrorism is catching on to using the Internet for their own means. A nasty one at that.

An anchorman waterloo

It seems it may be the beginning of the end for television news anchormen as the scandal that bloggers recently uncovered seems to be unraveling the good the television industry has done for decades.

Blogs are big

The Arizona Republic Phoenix (Arizona) isn't saying blogs will take over the world, but they are using them in conjunction with their traditional journalism. The paper encourages readers to write opinion editorial ieces or do some every day writing like when they take their trips or do anything else deemed newsworthy. Beisdes using the blogs in the traditional sense, the newspaper said it brings readers together with the paper. One blogger said, he didn't see it taking over the role of the newspaper or take away the jobs of the newspaper. But blogs are something everyone does who is on the Internet. The blogger said, even the President and John Kerry blog. It's the coming of age. It doesn't replace anything only adds to the great comunication network we already have. It brings everything together so we can keep everyone informed.

A lot of uncertainty

In the field of journalism there remains a lot of uncertainty about the field as the future of technlogy moves up another wrung on the ladder. And many don't know where the technology is going. Journalsists were trained to be journalists. Theyw eren't trained to use the Internet or publish news on a website. There is a new breed of journalist on the horizon and traditional Fourth Estate scribes aren't sure what to make of it or if they can make it in the new world.

Everyone will become a journalist

It's happened in South Korea already. Now, it's the goal to carry it over to the United States where evry citizen is a reporter. In a way it's already happened. Every night, on the news, we see film footage provided by amateur ohotographers, whether it's a guy getting beat up by police, a traffic accident, a weather-related story or something locally that's not being covered by the big-wigs of the news industry. It's almost getting to be like blogging. Unsolicited pictures of different news stories pop up on the Internet or pop up in a reporters e-mail box. The thing is, is that the average Joe is contributing to the newscast or reports without being asked. But sometimes the mass media biggies will solicit pics and news, too. So, while we don't want bloggers interfering with blogging their opiniosn and pictures, we're asking them for news tips, phots and suggestions. So, it's kind of a Catch-22. Do we or don't we want their help. Let's make up our minds.

A little cheesecake

While CBS was lanbasted by the FCC for not monitoring the situation with Janet Jackson more carefully at this year's Super Bowl, the bloggers and the Internet had an amusing time with the subject with having their hands slapped. Because it's not government regulated, bloggers and the blogosphere had Janet's naked breast splattered all over the Internet. Traditional journalists could do this for fear of being slapped with fines just as CBS affiliate WCCO of minneapolis was. This is a case where the bloggers put a little cheesecake over the Internet and a lot of people just ate it up.

The answer is all about ethics

Many technological media experts believe it's not going to be a question of the Internet versus journalism. It's going to be a question whether or not bloggers can live by the code of ethics journalists live by.

Too much red, white and blue

While we are quick to slap bloggers with the label of being a "homer", we can say the same thing about the traditional journalists, too. For after September 11, we let ourselves get caught up in being too government supported. Some of the journalists have lost their persepctive, focus, in order to support the government in finding the enemy and destroying them. In the meantime, we have lost sight on just who the eenemy is, but I think we can become too much "government" and be blinded for the rah! rah! atmosphere Uncle Same has created in its battle with terorism. Journalists have let the excitement of terorism block their perspective of producing fair and balanced coverage. We blast the bloggers for over-hyping situations. They have an excuse. They really don't understand and let their emotions speak. Journalists can't do this. Readers and viewers want accurate depictions on what is happening int he world, and I think 9-11 has clouded our view of objectivity.

The war started it all

The Iraq War was supposedly the catalyst inwhich the blogging world took hold. The blogoshere supposedly exploded with activity overnight, thanks to the war and bloggers eagerly worked feverishly blogging their thoughts and opinions on the situation. MSNBC Hardblogger provides the inside story just as how the "Blogging Craze" began. Another story about war reporting, or blogging, was in a July issue of Businessnews.com. Some former Associated Press reporters stated a blog, web site, were paid money by subscriptions to cover the war by people who thought they could get a better perspective of the war when it was covered by the people who were paid by bloggers to report it. Many people thought the traditional media was not covering the war as it was supposed to be and a lot of information was not being reported.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Come on in

A story in the Indianapolis Star tells how blogegrs are starting to insert themselves into the political campaigns and debates. They are also giving a clue to what some of these bloggers are like. Some have a much higher and better educational background than some of the journalists do, which many feel are adding a different perspective to the blogosphere and blogging technology. It seems that politics brings out the worst and best in everything, but many feel that the bloggers who are contributing are doing so in a way to show up the fourth estate. It's almost saying that the blogegrs are the ones who should be paid to follow the campaign because they are contributing a heck of a lot more than the fourth estate journalists.

We know now

Trent Lott didn't know what a blog was until after he screwed up and everyone wrote about it on the Internet. I guess, none of us really knew what a blog was until something had an impact and the traditional court of journalism didn't deem it newsworthy enough to bring it to anyone's attention. But the bloggers asked why and then in the same breath said why not, and that's where the competition began between blogging and journalism. Bloggers go a step further and cover the things the fourth estate won't touch with a 10-foot pole.

Bloggers have no fear

Bloggers will tread where newspapers refuse to go and that may be a big thing in whether they upstage traditional journalists or not. Journalists have this fear about reprisal if they make a mistake. They need sources and those couldbe snuffed out if they make someone mad. Bloggers seem not to care who they get mad or anger. They're not afraid of a source drying up because they don't use sources, except for links that someone else has painfully created. they use someone else's sweat and tears for their own benefit. But hey, as long as they get what they want. As long as they can lambaste someone and take refuge in the Internet. So be it. A journalist can run, but not hide. The journalist worries about reputation. Something a blogegr doesn't worry about because they usually don't have one. No, a blogger seems to enjoy cutting and running. A journalist is anchored. He can't run. If he cuts, he/she is probably going to get cut themself. No, a blogegr can do, say and go over the boundary of righteousness to write what they want. That's the power of the Internet. The pen is mightier than the sword, but a lawsuit is something of an intimidator to a journalist.

Changes are coming

Either we're going to welcome with open arms changes in the mass media in the future or we'll going to fall off the path and be lost forever. At a recent meeting, journalists were asked about what they saw the future of journalism and the mass media being? Most saw a big change in the technological aspect of the way news is reported and then produced so the public can view it. Most felt if they're not going to accept the new technology, they won't be part of the furture. So, blogging will be a part of the future and the technology. It'll more than likely be fine-tuned to eliminate the worry of a lack of ethics. Even the people who are a part of it will likely have a new set of standards to work with, making blogging a vital communication tool.

A general observation

Even though I have read a "crapload" of information on the subject of blogging versus journalism" I'm still not sold on the fact that blogging, by itself, is a good thing. It is in working in conjunction with journalism. But not by itself.. I think that there are a handful of weblogs out there that have sufficient readership to be considered truly important. A much larger, but still relatively small, fraction of the blogosphere consists of solid writing and analysis that's better than all but the best political writing in the "real" media. But a much larger percentage of what's written on blogs is sheer and utter crap. Even for a small time paper, someone has to hire you. Anyone can sign on to Blogger to get a free account and start writing ungrammatical, uninformed nonsense.

A code of ethics

Can bloggers survive if there are no code of ethics to follow. Journalists have to live by a code of integrity and honesty, but can blogging survive without one. WIll they leave the door open to always question Intellectual Dishonesty. A code of ethics has to be derived, or use the one journalists live-and-die by, to survive.

A good use of blogging

A newspaper is giving its readers the opportunity to tell them what they like and dislike about the newspaper. I like that idea and it's a very productive use of the both the blog and the newspaper. It also gives the reader a chance to have imput into the everyday writing and production of the paper. It's a win-win situation for the paper, and gets the community involved. It gives the community an opportunity to shape the paper to its demographics.

Worried over nothing

Will blogging take over traditional journalism. Probably not in this lifetime. There are a lot of kinks to work out, and there's that big matter of trust, too. And there's the thing about making sure who'll be blogging the stories and what kind of education will one have to have for blogging. Will blogging news continue to be done by "part-timers" who do it as a hobby, or will there have to be some sort of ethical code of conduct and procedures to follow. Will the voice of the blogger be informative or just something to stir the cause of the movement. Right, now the best thing for blogging would be to work hand-in-hand with journalists. The two can help each other gather and report news. Then journalist can do the leg work a blogger has no idea about, but the blogger can give the journalist something he'she has not been able to see or even imagine...split second reporting. The journalist can have his/her story linked to other stories in order to strengthen their reporting. It can be a very useful venture for both. Both sides, though, will have to acknowledge the other and not remain enemies but become partners. I can see it working if blogging and journalism work together in a team effort. Individualism will kill the experiement. More can be done as a group or in a collaborating effort. Stories would become more interesting and informative. The voice of the journalist would become more stronger and as-a-matter-of-fact.

Is blogging a fad

The main question before getting all worried as to whether blogging and bloggers will take over the world is, is blogging a fad? Or, is it something that will take hold and we'll be running with for years to come. Is it the wave of the future. We can't put the cart before the horse. Maybe, journalists and the world of mass media is getting worked up over nothing. Maybe this is a fly-by-night phenom. Maybe it'll burn itself up, or maybe the novelty will wear off and people will get back to their senses. Maybe the technology will take over, though. Maybe it'll eliminate television and the way the present print media network, or other news gatherers, will bring us the news. Something is in the air. First, bloggers and blogging will have to prove that this can be a respectable technology and will be used for the purpose of good and not eveil. it won't create problems, but satisfy the curiosity of the world and promote further communicative technologies. It has to be proven it will be used to raise ideas and intellectual fortitude, not as an effort to corrupt and intensify Intelelctual Dishonesty. The blogsphere still remains a tool to prove itself worthy of becoming a part of the mass media world

Is blogging changing society?

There's an article about how weblogging is changing society. I don't know if it's true of not. It certainly is being talked about a lot. I don't know how it can change society, unless it makes us more a group of free-thinkers. Again, if we're to ride the new wave of technology, we should have to learn how to use this technology to our benefit. A lot of the Internet has questions on how we're using it. We rely on it a whole lot, yes. But our we making it a scholarly tool for education or are we leaning it on it too much. Are we lazily reaping the rewards of such a positive and impressionable piece of education without doing some legwork ourselves? Yes, I say. We are doing a lot of things in the blogosphere without regard to rules of the game. This can't help us if we're not using it wisely.

Blogging versus journalism

The two main things that separate blogging from journalism are the personalization of the voice of the blogger and the lack of the subbing workflow you would expect to see for any print or online publication.The question is why so many readers of online content have chosen to eschew traditional sources of news in favour of weblogs. Looking at the content blogs provide, such as alternative perspective, first-person experiences and interactivity, one might conclude that readers want either a balanced or more personal angle to their news.At the heart of this may also be a growing dissatisfaction or distrust of news provided by large media conglomerates.If journalism is by definition the reporting of news in a fair, balanced and accurate way, then blogging is not journalism. But if the truth is that not all journalists and media outlets adhere to these principles, the distinction is less clear.While people from journalism backgrounds tend to say they aspire to the high ideals of truth, fairness, and accuracy, I don't think the output of most newspapers comes close to that. If they're not sticking to standards, it'll be noticed by readers and other webloggers, who will take the author to task for the impropriety. The community acts as the editors. A corollary of the debate over blogging has highlighted the feeling that many big news and media organisations have lost sight of the fact that no publication or source can automatically command the trust of the reader. But journalists are not the only ones who know how to speak the truth. Bloggers are increasingly engaging in random acts of journalism whenever they report on events they witness first-hand or when they offer analysis, background or commentary on a newsworthy topic. Those who publish rumour and present it as fact will be burned fairly quickly.The weblogs that have gained huge followings have done so on the basis of becoming an authority on a particular subject, or breaking news that has subsequently proved true. Authors of blogs are given authoritative status by the very readers who have trusted them over time or share the same perspective.

The reaction towards blogging as a medium recalls that to the New Journalism movement, pioneered by writers such as Hunter S Thompson, Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote and Norman Mailer. The New Journalism movement transformed the conventional wisdom of news writing by presenting stories as features with greater colour, vibrancy and permeated with the personal experiences of the writer. The sense of detachment between the writer and reader disappeared. At the time of the movement the sound of guffaws and sneers from news writers and real journalists resonated just as loudly as they do today towards blogging. Like them or not, they are here to stay and are now an integral part of an online news gatherer's tool box. A part of what blogging is about is the personal voice and now we are trying to decide, how can we bring personality into what we've done already? Of course, personality can get you into trouble as a journalist. US journalist, Steve Olafson, lost his job for criticising local politicians (see http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/story492.html). The trick may be to balance informed opinion with fact, and to keep the two obviously distinct.
If the news media chooses to ignore it, it'll continue to lose a chance to connect with readers on an intimate daily basis. And they'll become a bit less relevant with each passing day.