Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Word of the year

Blog was selected as the word of the year.

A night of sadness

I had been in Duluth all day with health problems of my own and din't even get more bad news until i got home. My son asked if I had heard the news. "About what, I asked? "Notre Dame's football coach Ty Willingham was fired," he said. Now, we'll see if the blogging network focuses on this with its pack journalistic and selective writings. I doubt it. No one cares about a black football coach who is in one of the hottest football pressure cookers in the country. Why is it always the coache's fault. I'm tired of heraing the same verse from different writers all the time. Can't we be original and write positive things in support. This guy did a tough job. The trouble with football experts is that they don't figure that other teams get better. They don't believe in parity. They think one school with a rich football tradition should be getting the great players all the time. It's making me sick. it's making me ill to hear the same crap all the time on sports radio and the sports Internet. Pack journalism sucks. Nothing different. It's the same crap all the time. Why didn't we hear that under the circumstances Willingham did a heck of a job. No, they'll get another coach and the same thing will happen again. Tha's the trouble with sports. There's no patience anymore. it's must win all the time. It stinks.

Selective journalism continues............

As I sat down with my morning coffee and surfed the net, newspapers and news channels I have taken even more notice of the selective journalism style mainstream journalism and blogging is taken a liking to. Turn on the sports net, and we see nothing but talk about the Bowl Championship Series. It happens everythime this point of the year. Who's numbe rone, who's not. Can't we get on to another subject. How about coaching firings etc.....isn't there feel-good stories in sports that are happening. Iraq, Iraq Iraq. I know it's the thing happening, but what about other things we have to focus on like the economy, drugs for seniors, medical help for the poor, job security, straightening the cost of Social Security, trubng to make educational opportunities more fair and balanced. We are harping Iraq to death. if it's not soldiers dying, it's the elections or how the religious factions are upset over the imbalance....just anything on the war. Why don't bloggers harp on the economics and how the rich keep getting richer? Why don't we talk about policitcs in the job market? Why is Christmas costing each of us on the average of around $700 when last year it was $676. What about the violence and thefts on our college campuses that cost taxpayers a ton of money and give our schools a blackeye.

Why do we always talk about educators not doing their jobs and we don't hear, or read a thing about it. We blog, blog, blog about the political races and our future leaders. We don't focus on the issues. maybe we don't know what the issues are. Maybe we're not a focuses society. We have the attention span of a puppy. The news and happenings in all of our media is boring and uninfomative. Yet, we criticize every media outlet and boast the comings of the Internet.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

What it is, is selective journalism

After reading websites, online newspapers and top magazines like Editor and Pubisher, Journalism Review, Editor Weblogs amongst others, I've come to te realization that blogging more than likely is only a form of journalism....selective journalism. Unlike a newspaper or the mainstream print and briadcats media who give you a rounded-picture (or attempt to), blogging gives you a piece of the story by blogging on a selective topic, whether it be sports, politics, world or national news or economics. Over the past few monhs, I have also posted articles from some online sources to show what they're meanings of the news are, as well as citizen journalism, the future of journalism as we know it and other items. When I look back at what has been posted and commented on, the thing that strikes me the most is, is that I am commenting on the impact of these articles that focus on single topics only, not a vatiety of topics. That's why bloggers are successful in what they do. They harp and focus on the subject dear to them, while the mainstream focuses on a little of everything, which means they aren't able to focuse exclusively on a subject. A paper can't contain one subject articles. That's where the special feature sections come in. So, while we tend to say blogs have the impact because they have check finders, search engines and other things where they can focus and get information on a subject, the mainsteeam goes with sources' credibility. It seems I have a better understanding on this blogging versus journalism subject.

We tend to read on the Internet one-sided stories. A part of a story writers want to focus on without giving the entire picture. I see this happening in the sports world where we want to focus on scandal and focus on a few bad apples and decisions that give athletics a blackeye. But we don't talk to the other side. We forget there are two sids to every story and this is what bloggers have gained notoriety for.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Best blogs of the year

According to The Washington Post, here are the best blogs of 2004.

Thanksgiving reflection

I have some things to be very thankful for this holiday. For one, my health isn't as bad as we thought. It's bad, but not totally off the wall. I'm going to be alive for awhile. How healthy I'll be in that life is another thing. I have also decided after reading books, Internet posts, stories, news blogs and other blogs that the next thing I will dabble in is wikis. It seems wikis are a lot more scholarly and more geared to the constant exchange of ideas and thoughts, and are constructed to get a more unified meaning of a subject. With a blog, you can read something but your opinion is there and no one can add or edit anything to make it more cohesive. It's like the handout we had on Performance Art. Other writers can enhance your picture by making contributions and adidng value to your original piece. After careful reflection and working on the project for the last couple of months, I think it's important for me to shelve my ego and allow the community to interject their ideas and thoughts to enhance my yearning and desire to learn. My goal since my illness has been to constanty learn, ask questions and then compute. The wiki, after reading the assigned readings and material prescribed, makes me think it's the tool for me to be able to continualy compute and evolve into the scholar I want to be.

Also, today is a time to reflect on family. It makes me that much more miss and yearmn for my Mom. Holidays were hers to provide the true substance of the meaning of family. After her death, the holidays are clouded a little with a little emptiness. My dad would rather be by himself, my son is in Florida with his family, my sister has hers in Lakeville and my brother has his family regiment in Buxton, North Dakota. I have my wife and I appreciate her very much, but one should be able to fill in the giant cavern of loneliness during the holidays. Christmas will probably be better. That's when my son and his wife will be coming home. Enough said of this sappiness.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Did anyone learn a lesson

With the dark cloud of scandal over him, Dan Rather announced on Tuesday evening's news that he will step down from the anchor desk, but remain on the payroll of CBS to do special features for "60 minutes II and CBS 60 Minutes. This is kind of peculiar because Rather was involved in the scandal over President Bush's National Guard records. When the records were proven to be phony, Rather apologized to everyone but President Bush. CBS News has promised to get to the bottom of the incident, but hasn't come across with the results of their independent investigation.

In a story I read recently, Jim Geraghty wrotes: I really want to see the results of that CBS internal investigation. There's no way CBS will face the music and admit that the "60 Minutes II" story was a cheap-shot, amateur, sloppy, partisan, nasty, half-witted bit of hackery and that the guys in pajamas ran rings around them. If it was, they wouldn't be letting Rather stay on to keep doing "60 Minutes II" reports. And they wouldn't be delaying his "Evening News" departure until March.

Imagine. It was the dilligent efforts of a blogger and the blogshere that probbaly saddled Rather with his fate. The bad thing is Rather is going to be staying with the "60 Minutes" programming.

I think CBS and Rather are trying to get out of this situation graciously. Even with Rather bowing out, I still believe it's going to hurt him in the long run and put a dark cloud on his reputation as well as news-gathering capabilities. It's hard to believe the man who replaced Walter Conkrite would give so much up when he believed there was no wrong doing.

The blogsphere definitely had a hand in bringing Rather down. At one time, I believe he proclaimed himself as the "top-dog" in television news, too.

Why report was blogged

From The Lost Remote: In his personal blog, NBC journalist Kevin Sites explains his reasons for reporting on the controversial Marine shooting inside a Fallouja mosque. His decision has led many to call him anti-patriotic. Sites writes, "It's time you to have the facts from me, in my own words, about what I saw - without imposing on that Marine - guilt or innocence or anything in between. I want you to read my account and make up your own minds about whether you think what I did was right or wrong." Sites' blog is not affiliated with NBC News.

I have read and watched several reports of war blogging from embedded journalists. They are important to the credibility of what's going on in the war. it truly gives us a fair and balanced look at all sides of war. Sites report isn't the only one online, either. There have been many excellent embedded reports to give readers an exact picture our invlovement. And some of these embedded journalists have given their life for us to understand the rigors of war.


As I was panning the blogsphere on the subject of credibility of online journalism. Here's one from Online Journalism.com: Via Anchorage Daily News: Middle-school teacher Josh Whicker's satirical Web log, the Hoosier Gazette, has landed Rep. John Hostettler, R-Ind. in hot water. In a recent post, Whicker wrote that Hostettler was trying to change the name of Interstate 69 to Interstate 63 because of the sexual connotations of the number "69." Whicker's phony story was picked up by such blogs as Wonkette.com and SierraTimes.com, which reported the story as fact. Hostettler's office was inundated by phone calls from the media and angry constituents. Whicker says he's "thought about doing some journalism stuff, but now I don't know if anyone would hire me."

This is what happens when there aren't fact checkers. People tend to believe everything as the "gospel truth".

Someone will write about this subject

Whether it's online or in a paper, this is a subject a lot of people will write about.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Rather will step down in March

Did the bloggers of America help bring Dan Rather down. Are they the ones who forced him to step down. To see the light? One will never know. But it's official. Dan Rather will step down as the CBS News Anchor in March. After all the hoopla over the National Guard scandal, we can only speculate on who was responsible for Dan Rather's stepping down.

Enhancing communication

In a recent issue of Editor and Publisher it said, The StarTribune in Minneapolis will use AdPay's Click and Buy Classifieds system to enhance the paper's online classifieds. Click and Buy is a newspaper-branded, Internet-hosted application that integrates with newspaper classified-ad entry and posting systems. It gives classified advertisers the ability to enhance their online classifieds with extended text, photos, and multimedia. Click and Buy also provides advertisers the option of selling merchandise for a fixed price, a negotiated price, or by an auction. Buyers can also make payments online. "We're leveraging this technology to facilitate communication between buyers and sellers," said Ken Riddick, executive director of interactive for the Star Tribune. "That's an important role for newspapers to play in online business." This does exactly what papers are expected to do if they are to survive....communicate with the people and give the readers what they want.

Numbers are questioned

The New York Times is reporting the death counts form the battle in Fallujah is being overstated and inaccurate. Once again, the credibility of reporting and trying to keep things from the public is why we have a blogging versus journalism issue. This was the same thing that happened during the Vietnam War. The government gave out bad numbers (unrealistic ones) on casualties. This is why there is such a mistruct of government.

Monday, November 22, 2004


What's up with blogging? Why should you care about the blogsphere and the takeover of the mainstream media?

Newspapers will always be around

According to a recent Editor and Publisher article, there'll always be newspapers.

Bringing the war to the front

For some reason, newspapers have forgotten the fact there is a war going on in Iraq. In particular, Fallujah. There is a website called Fallujah in Pictures. This website proves we can't take the subject of war casually. There are a lot of things war does to people, soldiers, and they're not for the family album. The website (i have visited it) has pictures of dead citizens as well as soldiers, and there is enough blood and gore to fill a morgue 10 times over. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well this website is worth enough words to fill 100 libraries. War is not pretty and it affects everyone. There is nothing that is fair and balanced about this website. With a website like this, we will be constantly reminded war comes at an extremely high price.

Embedded journalists are a good thing

The reams of blogging copy in the blogsphere lambastes the mainstream media for not telling what's going on in the ranks of the Iraq war. I don't think these people have a leg to stand on in this critque because of the fact many news organizations have embedded journalists doing the job some bloggers don't want to acknowledge. Believe it or not, there are reporters putting their lives on the line to give people back home the message from the war front. Whether or not we want to believe the facts coming out of the war zone is anotehr story. But at least give these guys some credit that they're trying to get the job done.

War and the Media

Hundreds of thousands of citizens have seen the view from a video camera where a Marine in Fallujah shot a wounded insurgent inside a mosque and he is currently under investigation. The Television network decided to show the piece. Why? I guess because it demonstrated what goes on in battle and gives people back at home a clear idea of the rigors of war soldiers face.
On the tape, one could hear, "He's faking he's dead. He's faking he's dead." And then shot the insurgent. It's clar the soldier thought he was in danger and didn't know the guy was left there the day before by American soldiers to receive medical help. It is also not uncommon for bodies to be booby-trapped. ANother game the enemy likes to play. The Marines also have a code to follow in engaging the enemy. Something this soldier took very seriously. Can you imagine what a grenade could have done to a platoon? I don't think soldiers, or some of them, don't go in with the idea of kill.

Viewing the tape could be taken two ways. There could be the thought the Marine killed the enemy because he wanted to. The other, he was scared he may be killed. No one knows unless they are there. But the mainstream media and the blogshere could have a feld day in talking about pros and cons. And usually, the soldier will come up on the losing end because we judge from home and have no idea what war is like.

The soldier may have made a mistake, but things are throught through different under stress. The soldier was keyed on protecting himself and his unit. That's what was important.

Payback is tough

You gotta love the interview Peter Jennings had with former President Bill Clinton. It was great. Here's part of it:

The network news anchors usually stay away from controversy. So, [Thursday, November 18] when Peter Jennings questioned Bill Clinton about how historians have ranked his moral authority, eyebrows went up. Here's some of what happened.

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT: They're wrong about that.

JENNINGS: After Nixon.

CLINTON: They're wrong about that. Do you know why they're wrong about it? They're wrong about it.

JENNINGS: Why, sir?

CLINTON: Because we had $100 million spent against us and all of these inspections. And in spite of it all, you don't have any example where I ever lied to the American people about my job, whether I ever let the American people down. And I had more support from the world and world leaders and people around the world when I quit than when I started. And I will go to my grave being at peace about it. And I don't really care what they think.

No matter what mainstream journalists, as well as the blogsphere writes, too) Clinton doesn't give a damn about what people think about him. It's what he thinks of himself. And right now, I think he's giving himself some high marks about his presidency as well as legacy.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Seniors not being ignored

Senior citizens are no longer being ignored by the Online media.

Feel fortunate bloggers

Bloggers can thank their lucky stars they don't have to worry about one of the biggest things a reporter worries about.....the Federal Shield Law. The Blogsphere could not be watched if this law were to take palce.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Just some musings

Many mainstream journalists still have trouble with the notion any blogger can build a loyal audience than news establishments like the Boston, Globe, New York Times, St. Louis Distatch etc.... The establisment spends a lot of time talking about how bloggers don't have editors or fact checkers and how one can't trust the information one reads on the Internet. The Revolutionaries don't have the same skills as the big corporations, that's a big positive and not negative. Bloggers are nimble, fast, and transparent with readers, and offer a little personality and passion to the facts. The thing is they are still growing and learning to walk, but it's at a pace unseen in the other singular mediums - print, radio, television.

Eliminate the competition

The New Wave ponders the question of possible acquisitions of online media by traditional media giants following last week's purchase of MarketWatch by Dow Jones. Analyzing the market trends, which have seen online advertisements grow in times of mediocre performance of the print media, it might actually be worthwhile for media giants to add online media to their assets. Adam L. Penenberg, of Wired News, argues, "even though it's beginning to feel like the internet boom days of old, you likely won't see real-world companies paying ridiculous sums to buy their way into cyberspace." The acquisition of MarketWatch by Dow Jones is explained by Jeff Jarvis, president of Advance.net, "Dow Jones has been leaving ad dollars on the table because it's a paid site. Now it could increase subscriptions and advertising revenue at the same time through MarketWatch. It works pretty well when you can have a paid site and a larger free site." According to Sam Whitmore, editor of Sam Whitmore's Media Survey, over the next 12 to 24 months you will probably see big media companies scarf up these cult destinations, where a growing number of people are going for opinions, analysis and community. "Look at what happened politically," Whitmore said, when blogs hit the big time during the presidential campaign. "The same thing will happen in business, because people know they don't need to head to branded sites for good information. Bloggers can be trusted to be independent and people will turn to self-published experts for information."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Complaints about Blogsphere

Eric Engberg wrote an interesting article on bloggers, which , reverses the trend toward "blog triumphalism" . The former CBS News correspondent (now retired)'s critics towards blogs are also focused on events that occurred during the presidential election, more specifically the information obtained by exit-polls. "The bloggers, obtaining through leaks partial, in some cases suspect snippets of information from the early "cut" of data gathered by the mainstream media through exit polls, were spreading a story that the network and wire service bosses knew to be incorrect because their own experts – and their journalistic experience -- had warned them of the weaknesses in such data. He concludes by saying that: "The public is now assaulted by news and pretend-news from many directions, thanks to the now infamous "information superhighway." But the ability to transmit words, does not mean that any knowledge is being passed along. One of the verdicts rendered by election night 2004 is that, given their lack of expertise, standards and, yes, humility, the chances of the bloggers replacing mainstream journalism are about as good as the parasite replacing the dog it fastens on."

Friday, November 12, 2004

Content, not container, important

The fifth Annual Online News Association Conference opened Nov. 12th in Hollywood, Calif., with a keynote address from Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley."The Internet has become our new business environment, not just another medium for distribution," Curley said, according to a transcript of his remarks. "The ubiquity of the Internet now affects a media enterprise's entire business, not just an 'online market' segment."Rapidly increasing broadband penetration is accelerating the pace of change in the media business, he said, as new technologies allow news consumers to get the information they wish when they wish in the forms they wish. "Content will be more important than its container in this next phase," Curley said. "The franchise is not the newspaper; it's not the broadcast; it's not even the Web site. The franchise is the content itself."

He imagined a hypothetical "My Personalized News" of the future, which might include: the latest headlines and photos delivered, delivered to his computer by the AP; video news and ESPN highlights delivered to his set-top box; a list of upcoming earnings reports delivered by The Wall Street Journal to his PDA; and a BusinessWeek analysis delivered as a PDF to his printer. The challenge is therefore, he said, to first "get comfortable with this ice-cold shower of 'disintermediation'" and then for companies to begin "tagging our news for delivery in discrete pieces" while keeping control of their intellectual property and earning money to support their businesses."We believe that world needs AP's primary content more than ever," Curley said, "that authoritative voice that we -- and you -- provide, precisely because there are so many new voices and free-flowing content 'atoms' out there."

There were also a series of breakout panels held during the day Friday, and the "Master of the Web Universe" challenge will take place later this afternoon, before a networking cocktail party. Saturday's agenda includes more panels and discussions, a keynote luncheon speech by Wonkette editor Ana Marie Cox, a keynote panel on "The Internet as Campaign Aid," and, finally, the Online News Association Awards Banquet.

Websites, bloggers upset British police

(From Online Journalism.com)A British police union will ask the High Court next week to prevent their force from publishing officers’ photos online, BBC News reports. Officers from the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary claimed that photographs posted on the police Web site made them and their families targets of verbal and physical abuse. “I think they have an arguable case,” solicitor Eoin Fowell said. “Pictures of them on a Web site constitutes personal data under the Data Protection Act. The Police Authority has to have a good reason to use that information and the courts are increasing how seriously they take these rights.” Although more than 100 officers refused to comply, the force required each to have a photograph on the Web to improve community relations. “We know from our research that, where residents know and can clearly identify their local officer, their confidence in policing is substantially improved,” the force said.

They better toe the line

Aljazeera reports of a warning sent out by the Iraqi government concerning news coverage during the current state of emergency. The government warns to "differentiate between the innocent Fallouja residents who are not targeted by military operations and terrorist groups that infiltrated the city and held its people hostage under the pretext of resistance and jihad." Compliance will be enforced with "all the legal measures to guarantee higher national interests," warns the governmental statement. The current state of emergency enhances the Prime Ministers powers and allows for the insurgency to be crushed before elections in January.

War reporting. Can we trust Iraqi reporters

While most of the news about the battle for Fallujah is coming from journalists embedded with U.S. forces, newspapers and TV networks are also getting some stories and photographs from Iraqi correspondents. That gives American newspaper readers and TV viewers a fuller picture than they had during March and early April 2003, when U.S. forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein's regime. Almost all the Western reporters in Iraq traveled with U.S. forces, depended on those troops for protection and saw the war almost exclusively from one side of the battle lines. Also, there were almost no Iraqi correspondents providing information to the Western media about what was happening.American newspapers and TV networks have established small networks of Iraqi correspondents and in some cases are able to push the envelope a little more.

The Post published a front-page story by Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad. Headlined “In Hideout, Foreign Arabs Share Vision of ‘Martyrdom,' ” it painted a picture of what life was like for a dozen insurgents who were preparing to be attacked by U.S. forces. “We are not vicious, bloodthirsty people, but we will kill anyone who cooperates with Americans,” declared Abu Yassir, one of the men, according to Abdul-Ahad. USA TODAY and other newspapers across the country published a photograph of Iraqi fighters that was taken as they battled U.S. forces in Fallujah. It was taken by Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi freelance photographer hired by the Associated Press. He is among about half a dozen Iraqi photographers the AP has used.

“It takes ingenuity to properly cover a war,” says Roy Clark, vice president of the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists. “It can take hiring the locals. … Part of the job of the media is faithful storytelling even when we shine a light on things American forces shouldn't have done.” American media have turned to Iraqi correspondents for a broader picture of what's happening in Fallujah, but also for a very practical reason: Because of the roadside bombings and kidnappings, it's too dangerous for American reporters to travel much in Iraq. Ironically, some media executives say, the 70 or so reporters with U.S. forces in Fallujah may not be in much more danger than those in Baghdad. “In some respects, being embedded (with the U.S. military in Fallujah) may even be a bit safer” than trying to report elsewhere in Iraq, says Paul Slavin, senior vice president at ABC News. ABC reporter Nick Watt is embedded with U.S. Marines in Fallujah. The Marines he was with came under fire.

The Western media received an offer of protection from a group called the Fallujah Mujahedin Shura, on behalf of the insurgents, to any media wishing to send reporters to Fallujah. The invitation came three days after it was reported that journalists from four Arab-language TV networks had been ejected from Fallujah by insurgents for refusing to broadcast video of civilian casualties. There's no evidence any American or Western media took up the offer.

“The American military's orders are to kill or capture the insurgents. That's not a great place for us to be,” says David Verdi, executive director of news at NBC News. The network's Kevin Sites is embedded with U.S. Marines in Fallujah.“There's a good chance any reporter who did that would end up dead. It's not a good idea,” says Martin Baron, editor of The Boston Globe. That newspaper has one reporter, Anne Barnard, embedded with U.S. forces in Fallujah.

Wednesday, Barnard wrote about an incident Tuesday when the troops she was with were fired at by Iraqi soldiers who were supposed to be American allies. It could have been a case of mistaken identity, but Barnard reported that one of the U.S. soldiers thought the Iraqis acted deliberately. All five major U.S. TV news networks — ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC — are sharing information about the threats their correspondents face in Iraq. They hold a weekly conference call that includes the security firms they've hired to help protect their crews in the country and bureau chiefs such as CNN's Jane Arraf, who is with U.S. Army forces in Fallujah.

“It's the one time we set aside our microphones and stop competing,” says John Stack, a vice president at Fox. Fox's Greg Palkot is with U.S. forces in Fallujah.Reporters' safety is a constant worry. “I don't want anyone to feel as if they're pressured by us back here to do things they shouldn't,” says Marcy McGinnis, senior vice president of news coverage at CBS. The network's Elizabeth Palmer is with U.S. Marines in Fallujah.

That feeling extends to the Iraqi translators, drivers, photographers and off-camera reporters working for CBS, McGinnis says.American media take another risk when employing Iraqi journalists. They must be confident the Iraqis are unbiased and are truthfully reporting what they've seen and heard. The credibility of a newspaper or network is at stake.The Post, Hoffman says, studied Abdul-Ahad's earlier reports for London's The Guardian. Philip Bennett, who will step up Jan. 1 to be the Post's managing editor from his current position of assistant managing editor for foreign news, met with Abdul-Ahad in England this fall. Abdul-Ahad is best known in Iraq as a photographer, but “he struck Phil as someone who's a really talented journalist,” Hoffman says.

USA TODAY has been rotating reporters in and out of Iraq. The next staff writer is due there this week. The newspaper also draws on reporting from an Iraqi correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor (which has a reporter embedded with U.S. forces in Fallujah), wire services and publications owned by Gannett, USA TODAY's parent company. Those include the Army Times and Marine Times.

Standards for journalists

Here's an intersting story about the ethical behavior of journalists and what rules they should follow in order to achive the highest of ethical standards. Newspapers must always strive to retain the trust of their readers.

Let's talk ethics

Slate comments on a memorandum concerning the current discussion of sources for news stories sent to the New York Times Staff by the Assistant Managing Editor Allan M. Siegal. The memorandum informs the Times staff that there is a new committee in place to find answers to problems linked with anonymous sources. In the last year and a half, The Times has deepened and widened its efforts to deserve readers' trust. He says, "Most notably, we have appointed a public editor and given serious consideration to his questions and advice; we have required that every unidentified source quoted in the paper be known by name to at least one editor; we have tried to describe our sources and their motives more candidly and usefully. We'd like to believe we have reduced our dependence on anonymous sources; certainly we have begun trying and intend to push ahead." Siegal suggests that issues of plagiarism, fact-checking and reliability of sources. Reacting to recent criticism he suggests: "Should we be responding systematically to outside critics who attack our believability for political or commercial reasons of their own? What is an effective vehicle for doing this? A column by the editor or editors on how we work?" Siegal further suggests that articles attributed to anonymous sources should be eliminated from the newspaper if possible.

Another sequel

Since bloggers and the mainstream press wasn't able to bring George Bush down in the last election, film director Michael Moore is going to have another go at it with a sequel to Farenheit 9/11. What good will it do, though? Moore can't prevent Bush from winning another term since Presidents can only be elected to two terms. The man just likes stirring trouble up.

Poking fun at Bush

Bloggers and journalists always poke fun at President Bush. here's another place to view and laugh at some Bushisms.

Big brother is watching you

Hopefully, no one out there in the blogsphere has any enemies. But just a word of caution if you do, and you don't know it, someone is watching you.

Google is threatened

The Washington Post comments on the anticipated launch of Microsoft's search engine this week. Rumors have spread that the search engine is supposed to target Google, just as Internet Explorer was developed to target Netscape. Despite Microsoft's announcement that they would "catch up, and [...] surpass" their competitors, a speaker of the Times of London, which has been given a sneak-preview of the new system, announced that it will most probably follow the "clean lines of Google." Experts predict that technically the search engine will not reach up to the standards of Google yet: "The preview that begins Thursday won't include technology to let people search their own computer desktops as well as the broader Internet. But the company has promised that desktop search functionality by the year's end," announced Associated Press Nov. 12th.

Some new words

Reuters Reuters released an article on the introduction of new words into the American English language since the 2004 presidential election. "According to the study released on Wednesday by Global Language Monitor, a non-profit group which ranks word usage, the November 2 election popularised a number of political words and phrases once used mainly by political insiders. Among the most-used words of the campaign were red and blue states, signifying Republican and Democratic strongholds; flip-flopping, a term used by Republicans to denigrate the politics of Democrat John Kerry; moral values, a reason cited by voters for their electoral choices; and liberal, used in a pejorative sense. "

We all will be judged in the end

We all need to keep in mind that whether we are bloggers, journalists or both, our readers, viewers or users will judge the rest by what we do.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Taking some heat

The Fourth Estate is taking a lot of heat for the way it's covering the news and doinf business.

Loyal newspaper readers go online

According to the Editor and Publisher magazine, Among so-called "loyal" newspaper readers -- those who read a newspaper at least three times a week, including Sundays -- 72% go online daily while only 42% read the newspaper daily, according to a new study commissioned by the Internet company Yahoo! The study took place in two parts, both a quantitative segment that surveyed 1,182 people 18 and older in six cities across the country and a qualitative portion that consisted of observational interviews with 22 18- to 49-year-olds in the San Francisco and New York areas while they read the newspaper and went online in their natural environments. The quantitative survey was conducted by Ipsos and the qualitative research was conducted by Faulkner Focus.

Among the study's other findings:
• 59% of "newspaper loyalists" read news online at least daily. Only 18% read their local newspaper online at least daily.
• 83% read the front section regularly, and 75% read the metro section regularly. But fewer than 50% regular read the following sections: sports, coupons, lifestyle, editorial/commentary, food/dining, TV listings, politics, travel, home, jobs/employment, classifieds, real estate, fashion, and auto/transportation.
• 69% report that they go online for local information, like weather and local news.

Maybe journalists should create their own sites

Via Poynter Online: The cases of John Martinkus and Adam Nagourney illustrate the importance of journalists setting up their own Web sites, writes Sree Sreenivasan, a professor of new media at Columbia University. Martinkus was captured by Iraqi insurgents and later released, reportedly after the kidnappers were able to establish through a Google search that he was a journalist, not a CIA operative. Nagourney, a political reporter with The New York Times, is the victim of a fake blog, which declares that it is his personal diary. According to Sreenivasan, “As a journalist, our identities and our bylines are our most valuable assets. Why leave it to others to define who you are?” He went on to provide several resources for journalists seeking to establish their own Web sites or domain names.

Working together

A journalist wrote a story (column)and readers responded with blogs, emails and the traditional letters to the editor. But this is a classic case of writing community journalism and getting the response one wishes every story would get.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Just what we need more Anti-Bush sentiment

Aljezeera's come out with an article that Western Europe is anti-American. Just more fodder for the blogger and Internet blogges, and other skeptics to hammer the president. Can't we all just get along. It's titing to be reading all theis anti-American crap!

Future of digital media is bright, too

Coronate.com features an interview with Jeff Jarvis, president and creative director at Advance.net, Editor, Buzzmachine.com, on the future of digital media. Jarvis sees the future of the media as highly influenced by the demand of the consumers controlling media and its content, creating news easily with cheap blogging software, and distributing ads in their blogs. Not only does this reversed roll of demander and supplier of news put into question the expenditure of traditional media, it also reinforces the notion of user-generated contents. Jarvis suggests that the marketplace will no longer be centralized, but rather decentralized and highly specialized at once. There are lessons to be learned of this prediction for both sides: "Big media has to learn to be more honest -- that is, to level with its public, to reveal its prejudices and process as citizen journalists do. [And in return,] bloggers would benefit from learning how to write better headlines and leads and nut graphs," says Jeff Jarvis

Readership polls released

Newspapers are trying to entice young people to read the papers. It's an issue that's important especially since blogging technology and the Internet is making the nespaper seem obsolete.

An article of interest (FYI)

While coverage of the American Society of Newspaper Editor's annual newsroom census last week focused on the slight gains for racial and ethnic minorities, widely overlooked were similar small advances for women. Perhaps that's because women, overall, are still caught in a "crawl toward the goal post of equity," according to one leading commentator.

Michele Weldon, assistant professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and second vice president of the Journalism and Women Symposium, has analyzed the latest ASNE numbers for the Web site Women's E-news.

After a two-year decline, women's overall newsroom share rose from 37.05% to 37.23%, but some specific numbers are worse, she points out. Only 34.2% of supervisors are women. "How can that not affect decisions made about what stories to cover and how?" Weldon asks.

Only 26.2% of photographers are women.

Higher shares were reported for reporters (39.6%) and copy/layout (41.4%) but in both cases, gains were miniscule.

For women in journalism, Weldon writes, "something goes awry between studying for journalism and working in it. Women represent more than 70% of students in journalism schools or at universities with journalism or communications programs. In the newsroom, however that percentage has been cut in half...

"Women have needs for information on issues, from public policy to health care, that differ from those of male readers. To respond, we need to race toward parity in employing and promoting women at our country's newspapers so ambition can meet opportunity half way."

Newspaper asks J-Students to make suggestions

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has just launched a Web site and weekly tab following input from Medill students. These initiatives are just the latest real-world newspaper products to come out of the Medill Media Management Project Class in Northwestern's graduate journalism program. Every year for the better part of two decades, some 15 to 20 students spend the spring quarter essentially acting as a newspaper industry consultant firm. For many years, the students worked exclusively with The Times in Munster, Ind., then owned by Howard Publications. Among other projects, the class developed a pre-Web online service and revamped the Saturday paper. Nowadays, program leaders Rich Gordon, chairman of the Newspapers & New Media program, and part-time faculty member Cynthia Linton go looking for a client newspaper — or, just as often, the papers come looking for them. Martin Kaiser, senior vice president and editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, attended the students' presentation in 2002 — and hired the class the next year to figure out how to attract younger readers. "I was really impressed by them," he says. "I thought, boy, getting some smart young people up here and having them in the newsroom and the company would be very good for us. For a long time, I guess they were frustrated because we did nothing [with their ideas]."The students suggested a Web site, a standalone tab and a weekly section inside the Journal Sentinel for adults aged 25 to 34. After sitting on the plan for a while, the paper on Oct. 28 launched a Web site and tab called MKE, named after Milwaukee's airport code.

Great blogging article

An excellent article was written by Foreign Policy's Daniel W. Drezner , and Henry Farrell about the influence of blogs in politics. Although the article focuses on its influence on Western (mainly US) politics, it also mentions how blogs can sometimes affect politics in countries where there is limited possibility for political expression. "Web of Influence" reports on how weblogs transformed themselves from an isolated phenomenon to a primordial communication tool.

Cell phones gobble-up the news

Lucas van Grinsven reports for Reuters that twice in a month, De Telegraaf, the biggest Dutch newspaper had published front-page pictures shot by amateur photographers using their mobile phones, thus confirming the trend of "using cell phones to snap the news". "Passerby Aron Boskma took a picture with his cell phone at the scene of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh's murder in Amsterdam. News photographers arrived only after the body had been covered. "This picture was the story. There was a discussion if we should use it, but everyone who would have had this picture would have published it," Telegraaf pictures editor Peter Schoonen said. Nordic newspapers have also published photographs taken with mobile phones with built-in cameras. "We offer these pictures if we don't have them ourselves, and only if it's really big news," said ANP(Dutch news agency) pictures editor Leo Blom, adding he too would have distributed the Van Gogh picture to the Dutch media if only it had been offered to him. In Japan, where many people own a camera-equipped cell phone, it has become common to sell pictures to television stations and other media outlets. Chief executive of the world's biggest mobile phone maker Nokia, Jorma Ollila, said at a conference Wednesday that 200 million camera phones are expected to be sold to consumers this year alone. "

Google the next Netscape

Microsoft might be king of the software world, but it's having to play catch up in the increasingly important world of Internet and desktop search, chasing the substantial leads of Google, Yahoo and others. Various media outlets today reveal that Microsoft will unveil its search tool tomorrow. While the company has been mum on specifics, it appears that Google -- which beat Gates & Co. out of the gates last month when it unveiled its Desktop Search tool -- can breathe easy, for now. Microsoft's search engine appears half baked, according to the Associated Press: "The preview that begins Thursday won't include technology to let people search their own computer desktops as well as the broader Internet. But the company has promised that desktop search functionality by year's end." The AP noted that "Microsoft has long offered a search engine on its MSN Web site, but the technology behind it has been powered by subsidiaries of Yahoo Inc. Earlier this year, the Redmond-based software giant conceded that it had missed a large market opportunity by not developing its own search technology, and announced plans to launch its own search engine."

"Sergey Brim, founder of Google, the world's number one search engine denied the accusation of censorship towards the Abu Ghraib photos in collaboration with the Bush administration. According to a November 8th article on El Pais, if you typed "Abu Ghraib", "Lynndie England" or "Charles Graner" on Google's photo search, the pictures did not appear on the result page, whereas they did if you searched them on Yahoo! or Alta Vista. Sergey Brim retorted that technical problems were at fault for the incident."

Still a very good article from Adam, L. Penenberg, Wired, about Google news and the newspaper industry. The quote is a bit long (sorry for the copyright), just because the paper is more than interesting and prospective: "Google has a problem that is nearly as complex as its algorithms. It can't make money from Google News. So while other online publishers like Yahoo News and MSNBC earn tens of millions of dollars in revenue each year and continue to grow, Google News remains in beta mode -- three years after it launched -- long after most of the bugs have been excised. The reason: The minute Google News runs paid advertising of any sort it could face a torrent of cease-and-desist letters from the legal departments of newspapers, which would argue that "fair use" doesn't cover lifting headlines and lead paragraphs verbatim from their articles. Other publishers might simply block users originating from Google News, effectively snuffing it out." "What is fair use of a copyright work? According to New York University, where I teach, it covers comment, criticism, news reporting, research, scholarship and teaching, with several factors considered, including how much material is involved as a percentage of the entire work and whether use is of a commercial nature or strictly for nonprofit, educational purposes.

... And it's not only in lawsuit-crazy America that Google's aggregate news model faces an uncertain legal future. Earlier this year, a court in Hamburg, Germany, ruled against Google's German news service when it found that thumbnail images were protected under German copyright law and could not be reproduced without permission. (Google has appealed.) A few weeks ago, half a world away, Chinese publishers Sing Tao electronic news service, Ming Pao newspaper and Radio Television Hong Kong, a government-owned radio station, greeted the launch of Google's Hong Kong news with a spate of letters alleging copyright infringement."

Freedom of Press on the line

Every year, or day for that metter, we see freedom of speech and the press under turmoil and scrutiny in other countries. But it's happening in the United States, and that could mean trouble for bloggers and the mainstream reporters. Their soon may not be the freedom of speech guaranteed by the constitution if the courts have something to say about it.

Journalists captured

See, what happens to journalists a country doesn't like. And then Aljezeera reporters think they are safe from being fired on. They're upset because their journalists were fired upon in Fallujah. Geez, this is war, baby.

Hard to believe

For the past few months, I have been monitoring Aljezeera newspaper. I happen to come across their code of ethics, but I believe this is ony for sure. With the amount of contact they have with terrorists, and seem to be the only one's who received tapes with terroristic messages to show the world, I believe that this organization doesn't promote fair and bisased reporting. I think they find it difficult to side with fair and balanced journalism. You can see it in their reporting. Terrorists seem to love this one-sidedness. Where does Osama Bin Laden send his material to be broadcast....Aljezeera.

There's a problem

Any journalist worth his or her salt would have a problem with a spoof site. Especially in this day and age with the competiton between mainstream journalism and blogging. Evidently, the New York Times doesn't have an ethical standard. One would have thought it would have learned this lesson long ago.

Dead or live? Which is it?

When it comes to whether or not Arafat is dead or alive, bloggers and the mainstream journalists should just wait until the guy is dead to officially know what's going on. Over the past few days, we've been inundated with death reports Arafat is dead. Then we're told he's a live and in a coma. When the guy is dead, we won't believe it. We'll be thinking he's on life-supporting equipment in the hospital. Come on let's make sure and give accurate information. Bloggers and journalists really are in left field somewhere on this issue. It's a case of putting information out there just to keep the story alive and couldn't from the furthest be about Arafat.

Angry fathers

I'm not the only one struggling to learn technology. Fathers around the world are angry at Verizon for castizing them during a commercial for not knowing anything about computer technology and the Internet. Just think if these fathers could blog! Those fathers would be able to stuff it in the company's ear and say, "Can you hear me now!"

Good news for blogging and the Internet

According to a report conducted by Deutsche Bank's Paul Ginocchio, "High-quality circulation continues to erode rapidly, though not as badly as anticipated, reports Editor & Publisher's Jennifer Saba. "In a follow-up to his analysis over the summer, Ginocchio found that for the six-month period ending September 2004, more-than-50%-paid circulation for the industry declined 4.9%, versus 4.7% in March 2004 and 3.3% in September 2003.The "other paid" category, which represents employee, educational, and third-party copies, is rising fast. It now represents 10.3% of all circulation, as opposed to 4.8% two years ago." In "Circulation Uncensored II," Ginocchio examined 57 of the largest U.S. newspapers and broke out the numbers by category according to ABC reports. The study shows that while overall circulation is decreasing only slightly, it's being propped up by lesser quality circ, considered in the industry to be less-than-50% paid. Three companies in particular are vulnerable to this trend and may not see the typical 2% to 4% ad rate increase in 2005. Knight Ridder, Tribune, and Dow Jones "struggle the most with the highest-paid category of circulation, with declines much greater than the 57-paper average," the report said. The companies that faired the best: E.W. Scripps, with a decline of 1.3%, Media General, with a drop of 1.6%, and McClatchy, with a decrease of 0.9%."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Anyone can be an online publisher

Anyone can be a publisher online. Now a new study shows that promise is being fulfilled. Fifty-three million Americans -- nearly half of all adult U.S. Internet users -- have created content online by posting to Websites, blogging or sharing files, according to findings by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And while Weblogs are still a very small -- but growing -- proportion of online content, they're showing a remarkable ability to foster online community.

With all the buzz about Weblogs these days, some might be surprised by how small a role Weblogs have played in online content creation. Only two percent of Internet users in this survey reported writing a weblog or online diary. And of those, only about 10 percent update their Weblogs daily, while most update their blogs once a week or less often.

It's clear from this and other studies that creating or reading Weblogs is still only a very small part of how people use the Internet. Still, this survey was conducted between March 12 and May 20, 2003. Other surveys by Pew, including one in early 2004, show that between two and seven-percent of Internet users publish a blog, indicating that the use of Weblogs is indeed growing.

But while only a small number of Net users write blogs, a slightly larger number of Net users -- 11 percent -- say they visit blogs written by others. And of these readers, a third report posting to or commenting on the blog entries that they have read -- an encouraging sign for Weblogs' ability to foster online community.

Imagine 30 percent of newspaper readers responding to articles they've read. No other media form in history has created so much feedback and interactivity with its audience.

How Content Is Created

Here's a closer look at how all the content is being created online. Fourty-four percent of the nation’s adult Internet users (those 18 and over) have done at least one of the following:

• 21% of Internet users say they have posted photographs to Web sites.
• 20% say they have allowed others to download music or video files from their computers.
• 17% have posted written material on Web sites.
• 13% maintain their own Web sites.
• 10% have posted comments to an online newsgroup. A small fraction of them have posted files to a newsgroup such as video, audio, or photo files.
• 8% have contributed material to Web sites run by their businesses.
• 7% have contributed material to Web sites run by organizations to which they belong such as church or professional groups.
• 7% have Web cams running on their computers that allow other Internet users to see live pictures of them and their surroundings.
• 6% have posted artwork on Web sites.
• 5% have contributed audio files to Web sites.
• 4% have contributed material to Web sites created for their families.
• 3% have contributed video files to Web sites.
• 2% maintain Web diaries or Web blogs

Help needed to support imprisoned cyberjournalists

Reporters Without Borders, the international organization that seeks to protect press freedom globally, has called on media outlets to sponsor one of more than 130 journalists jailed worldwide. On Nov. 24 (Jailed Journalists' Support Day) and May 3 (World Press Freedom Day) of each year, all media sponsors are asked to call attention to the imprisoned journalists they have adopted by writing about them and in doing so, to ensure that their suffering is not forgotten. No financial contributions are required of sponsors or their media organizations. Several sponsored journalists recently freed in part due to the efforts of their sponsors include Moroccan journalist Ali Lmrabet, Chinese journalist Du Daobin and Cuban journalist Bernardo Arevalo Padron.

The next wave

Blogging is getting easier all the time and the new tools of the technology makes it real easy to become a publisher of an online newspaper or a regular contributor.

Blogging is just typing, not journalism

That's what a CBS News reporter said about blogging, especially with this just finished Election. He said it seemed bloggers wrote as if they were writing for a school newspaper, with the chatter they created likened to one using a CB radio.

Another musing on online journalism's future

The evidence suggests that the Internet is clearly in journalism's future. But it is less clear that it will be its only future. While most Americans are now online, and getting news, as of this year, the Web appears to complement traditional media for most of these people rather than replace it. The Internet is attracting young people. It offers the potential of a global audience, the potential of new jobs and new types of journalists. What is most intriguing is the evidence that television rather than print is suffering most. This is surprising because, at this point, the Web is still largely a text-based medium. One might have thought that the print media would thus be hurt by the greater convenience that the Web offers, in much the same way that cable seems to have eroded the appeal of network television. This is not the case.

What this means down the road is harder to figure. The future according to online professionals is an age in which the distinctions between media blur. Online, The Washington Post will not be a newspaper company but a text, picture and video news provider. CBS News will not be a broadcaster. It, too, will be a text, audio and video news organization. Nor will news just be consumed on computers, television or in print. News will be made to fit computers, PDAs, phones and perhaps more. Before too long, people riding the subway home from work may turn on their phones and watch a network anchor delivers the news, not because the anchor happens to be on but because he or she is "on," on demand.

The Internet is a continuous and on-demand medium. It's like cable, but it is updated only when there is something to update, and users do not have to sit through the stories they don't care about. As they can in newspapers, online users can search out what they want, but they also can access background material and previously published stories. Unlike any other single medium, they can read the news, watch video, listen to audio, read long transcripts, access original documents, or link to outside sites for more detail. The Internet offers the strengths of all media--the immediacy of cable, the skillful storytelling of network, the depth and deliberation of newspapers, plus more, all in one place. That, at least, is the potential.

It likely will depend on the economics to see it fulfilled. And it may depend on a few large organizations capturing large portions of that audience for that to happen. Thus there would be two Internets, in a sense. There would be the big media, the handful of places where large audiences assemble, and where huge multi-platform news organizations would deliver news on demand worldwide in sophisticated ways, perhaps better than they do now. And then there would be the open Internet - the water cooler, bloggers and clamoring citizens, off in their niches, in chat rooms and grass roots organizations, creating movements and confounding the establishment. And the Internet would be home to both. As of now, the signs are pointing in that direction.

Researching online journalism's future

The future for web journalism is brightening up, with several studies revealing an upswing in internet usage and revenues.The New York Times has gone from making a US$7.5 million loss on its web site in 2001 to an US$8 million profit in 2002. Asia Times Online's readers have risen from 26,000 per day in January to 65,000 in April this year. Slate magazine, despite still not making much profit, has more than 5 million unique readers - more than any traditional newspaper in the United States (US). In March this year, the San Francisco Chronicle's web site recorded its highest-ever profit. The Washington Post's site non-classified advertising was also up 80 per cent by the end of 2001.

In the UK, FT.com has seen its subscriber base rise from 17,000 last July to 53,000 in April, while the site's regular readership has risen to 3.5 million.Several recent surveys by online research group emarketer have also shown that, in the US, the web has overtaken traditional media in popularity with younger news consumers.According to John Berthelsen, writing for Asia Times Online, the growth of broadband connections and advances in technology that enable more interactive and 'embedded' advertising are responsible for this growth. He offers the new Porsche advert as an example: "By clicking on www.porschecayenne.com, the reader can zoom on to a test track with full-dimension sound. Travel advertisers can give virtual tours of resorts and show off hotel rooms... nor can television match this kind of advertising, which can be viewed at the viewer's leisure.

"Web news viewers are more affluent, more adventurous, better-educated and younger than newspaper readers," he says. "While studies primarily deal with the US, their implications are, if anything, even more encouraging for Asia. For instance, their figures for the growing ubiquity of high-speed broadband connections, crucial to fast delivery of attractive advertising, show that Asia is growing faster than any other region."Europe's online readers are growing rapidly, too. According to emarketer, there will be more than 190 million Internet users across the continent this year. Mr Berthelsen writes: "After the bubble years in which internet publications burned through a phenomenal amount of other people's money, web journalism is starting to take off. It may hold ominous implications for newspapers globally, but it could well save journalism itself."

Monday, November 08, 2004

An International point of view

Via Google News: The International Journalists’ Network reports that journalists at a seminar in Nigeria are discussing how journalism can escape government repression. Editor-in-chief of Nigerian Web site GleanerNews.com, Tony Iyare, discussed his views on the current state of editing in a technologically advanced age. Iyare refered to online journalism as an “open guerilla press.” He also commented, "[Online publications] must have editors and reporters that are committed to giving their time and resources to doing a blow-by-blow account of the goings-on in their social place.” The seminar was organized by the Media-Mentors

A sudden change of policy

That's what the New York Times did in its Nov. 8th edition. In a surprising move, The New York Times' editorial page came out for sending many more troops to Iraq. The Times, which before last week's election had been critical of many aspects of the occupation, said (in what could be an influential call) that "right now, what Amreica needs is to get more combat boots on the ground in Iraq." That's a lot of crap. No wonder why people have a dislike and distrust of the mainstream journalists. It changes its mind like the weather. A real flip-flopper.

While admitting that no amount of soldiers "can guarantee achievement of the ambitious political and military goals President Bush announced last week for Iraq" -- and noting that the "overall situation is grim" -- the paper nevertheless declared that the president "must face up to the compelling needs to increase" troop strength. "That would require," the editorial continued, "a minimum of two additional combat divisions, or nearly 40,000 more American troops."

The Times stressed with forces stretched thin, military personnel are too worried about their own security to carry out the many challenges facing them, from rebuilding to preparing for elections. The editorial did not address the question of why so many Iraqis actually want fewer, not more, U.S. troops in their country. The editorial sketched a positive scenario in which a larger troop presence allowed the Americans, among other things, to carry out fewer air strikes and commit fewer prison abuses, adding: "With more backup and relief available, there might be fewer scenes of stressed and frightened patrols kicking in doors and conducting humiliating household searches." Where would these new troops come from? "That can be accomplished through a significant further increase in recruitment quotas," the Times said. The paper thinks this will not be hard to manage, "especially if the prospective recruits know they will not be sent into a situation where too few troops must handle too many tasks."

The Internet of bloggers will have a field day with this.

No sense of humor

Buddha don't have more sense of humor than Jesus or Mahomet! The Sri Lankan Daily News reveals that "Colombo Chief Magistrate Ms. Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena sentenced Gamini Ranawaka of Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo, who was charged with superimposing the Buddha's image on women's clothing through the Internet, to two years rigorous imprisonment, suspended for five years. The Judge also imposed a fine of Rs.1,500 on the accused. The accused earlier pleaded guilty to the charges. Sentencing the accused, the Judge observed that the offence he had committed was very serious... The Judge also directed the CID to destroy the offensive pictures from the Internet." I tried to find these pictures but the search was unsuccessful. If anyone knows the URL address, don't hesitate to post a comment!

Trust will always be the issue

As this article states. The success of online journalism, or any journalism for that matter, won't be about the journalism itself, but the credibility it will have with readers. Many believe the Internet is full of viruses. It's no secret it's a valuable tool and is rich in information, but a lot of misinformation is attained on the Internet, too.

A workable meaning for online journalism

Open publishing means that the process of creating news is transparent to the readers. They can contribute a story and see it instantly appear in the pool of stories publicly available. Those stories are filtered as little as possible to help the readers find the stories they want. Readers can see editorial decisions being made by others. They can see how to get involved and help make editorial decisions. If they can think of a better way for the software to help shape editorial decisions, they can copy the software because it is free and change it and start their own site. If they want to redistribute the news, they can, preferably on an open publishing site. Some even believe that the future of journalism is murky and that means everyone will be publishing online.

Freedom of speech online

Freedom of speech online may soon be decided as a court case asks the quwstion, "Can you go online and say anything you want"?

The Future of Blogging

Professor Orihuela provides a very interesting and valuable paper on the new universe of communication created by independent individuals around the world, who by way of a precise social and cultural need have chosen to become the new, unique, trusted and most-up-to-date sources of critical information available. Bloggers, webloggers and the universe they create is a phenomenon of such importance for our immediate future, hardly anyone is grasping its implications fully.In this attempt at providing some differing viewpoints on the topic I take what I would consider an established assessment on the blog universe and the new media to launch some critical comments and to open up some new questions to reflect upon.

Professor Orihuela writes in his Introduction:

"The digital age arrives with a set of big communication challenges for traditional mainstream media: new relations with audiences (Interactivity), new languages (Multimedia) and a new grammar (Hypertext). But this media revolution not only changes the communication landscape for the usual players, most importantly, it opens the mass communication system to a wide range of new players."

The word mass in not anymore in sync with the times we are in.
The global communication system is NOT a mass communication system; it is a network. The difference between the two is very deep and fully acknowledging and understanding such difference empowers the individual in taking on with high self-esteem and confidence her role of twenty-first century Communication Agent.

"As far as enterprises, institutions, administrations, organizations, groups, families and individuals starts their own web presence, they become "media" by their own, they also become "sources" for traditional media, and in many cases, they produce strong "media criticism": opinion about how issues are covered and delivering of alternative coverage."

It is not a matter of Web presence. It is a matter of electronic interconnectedness. Don't need to have a Web site in the traditional sense. It can all happen through email. Through a newsletter. Discussion group.

Individuals, institutions, organizations don't make up for the creation of new similar media entities. While most of the institutions and companies are attempting to force their traditional information-communication-commerce paradigm onto the network, individuals ONLY are reaping the true benefits of real-time networked communications. Though this may gradually change, as companies and organizations will more likely reflect the clustering and like-minded aggregation of professionals working at the same goal, today it is the individual who is creating the new media, not the company Web site.

"The blogging phenomena represents the ultimate challenge for the old communication system because it integrates both: the new features of the digital world and a wide democratization in the access to media with a universal scope.

A recent article by Noah Shachtman at Wired News "Blogs Make the Headlines" bring back the always polemics relations between weblogs and Journalism. And once again the Poynter debate "Are Weblogs Journalism?" has to be quoted because of its clarity: "Wrong Question". Blogs could be many things, and even Journalism, but they are not Journalism for the sake of being blogs.

On the other hand, when mainstream media start blogging with their own columnist or hiring famous bloggers (which is recently the case of the Argentine newspaper Clarín) the debate that arises in the blogosphere becomes: "Is that blogging?". When the powerful tool of the media revolution is used by media, then is the blogosphere community who turns to the defensive.

While both debates were taking place, Google bought Pyra Labs, and the surprised blogosphere together with mainstream media seems to arrive late to understand what Google saw first: neither traditional media alone, nor just para-media blogging, the issue is now "Where is the knowledge?" . Google could become a global news agency and a global news media, joining the power of its database with the human knowledge of thousands of bloggers, from then on, also a global niche advertising channel.

The Iraq war was the first big test to check the relations between traditional media coverage and weblogs, and also to evaluate the media power of blogs. Even when the last Pew Report, The Internet and the Iraq war, reveals a limited influence of warblogging as news source, a trend emerges: blogs are catching the interest of young Internet users:

There has been much early discussion about the role of blogs or Web diaries in shaping opinion about the war and allowing Internet users to gain new perspectives and sources of information about the war. Our first soundings on the subject show that blogs are gaining a following among a small number of Internet users, but they are not yet a source of news and commentary for the majority of Internet users."

Many Internet users do not yet realize that blog ARE ALREADY part of the mainstream news. The circle has already been closed. Conceptually and technologically. Let me explain myself better. With the introduction of RSS technology many quality informative blogs have not only become the official news sources for many newsreader users, but most importantly they are now automatically crawled and indexed by major news syndicators as Syndic8, Moreover, and many others. This means that selected blog news, which include individuals and non-traditional journalists are already picked up regularly by news aggregators and syndicators and re-distributed over the main news channels utilized by established traditional companies and organizations.

"Some 4% of online Americans report going to blogs for information and opinions. The overall number of blog users is so small that it is not possible to draw statistically meaningful conclusions about who uses blogs."

The data is available for all who have enough curiosity to search for it. According to Jupiter Research and other analysts there are more than 500,000 people who maintain a weblog today.
If each one was so miserable to have only one hundred readers (I for nothing I have more than 1000 different blog readers each day, so that gives you some reference) that would make already for 50 million readers. While I am not promoting the soundness of my statistical approach, I just wanted to give some alternative way of looking at this.

"The early data suggest that the most active Internet users, especially those with broadband connections are the most likely to have found blogs they like."

It is those with most curiosity, interest and a will to communicate and inform that have first found out about blogs.
Broadband or narrowband do not have anything to do with your ability to open up, to search, listen, discover where the pioneers, meme-generators are going.

"In addition, blogs seem to be catching on with younger Internet users - those under age 30 - at a greater pace than with older Internet users."

In my noosphere, and in my list of bloggers I refer or look up to, there is no one that is younger than 35. I am 45. Sure enough teenagers are discovering blogs at faster pace than my age group is doing, but much of the critical content moving through blogs is not generated by them. (Teenagers are just playing with the tool to develop the skills they will need to use later, once they understand where they are going and what they want in their life.)

"Pluralistic views, not necessarily more balanced, but more transparent and out of the mainstream, turn blogs in the favourite source and tool for the anti-war movement."

Blogs is the natural counterbalancing component of our cyberworld to carry ANY independent idea, concept or news item not covered by the mainstream mass media.

"One of the most important effects of Iraq war coverage to the debate old media vs. new media is that old media discovered the emergency of blogs as non conventional sources, not only for news and views, but also for media coverage criticism.
Experiences like Technorati's Current Events in the Blogosphere show an interesting trend and strategic function for blogs: the blogosphere becomes a system for media control and balance."

"Once calm returns, maybe we will see that blogs are becoming a very valuable source for the media, a sort of early alert system to detect news, trends, and opinion states. And media could transform some of their columnists into bloggers and also integrate famous bloggers in the staff."

Calm maybe gone for a while.

SARS, and other mainstream media controlled stories will continue to provide valuable fuel to the blogosphere to provide alternative and independent views unfiltered by direct economic interests. With much greater immediacy, efficacy and reach.
Traditional media do not need to integrate great bloggers into their staff, nor great bloggers need to sell themselves out for supporting a news publishing system that unless changes its assumptions, maybe a mined field for any free writer around.

Bloggers exist for the very reason why they do not have a space inside the mainstream media. For the mainstream media to co-opt bloggers to serve its interests (which are rarely the ones of the bloggers - especially if it is true that relationship between bloggin and independent, activists and socially involved individuals) it maybe too much of a stretch. While there maybe some interesting exceptions to this, I believe this is a tough marriage and one that beats the original purpose of independent media blogging. In my view blogging for mainstream media would be just like infiltrating the blogosphere with co-opted and paid-by-other-interests writers. Just not the same thing.

Trust is important

If we can't trust news organizations to put out the correct information, how are we to believe what we read? Even the bloggers who mishandled and printed bad information about the exit polls on election day did a lot to set credibility on the Internet back.

One thing that has bothered me about the coverage of the early exit poll snafu on Nov. 2nd was the notion that bloggers were the problem. "Bloggers Said to Blame for Bad Poll Info," read the headline over the AP story in the New York Times, consistently echoing the line from those close to the exit poll process:

Joe Lenski, whose Edison Research conducted the NEP exit poll, said: "The basic issue here is the leaking of this information without any sophisticated understanding or analysis."
CBS News Polling Director Kathy Frankovic said: "I think people believed [the leaked polls], and it's particularly the case with Internet bloggers."
Former CBS News Executive Political Director Martin Plissner wrote: "The problem is not that the exit polls were wrong...the problem was that in the age of the Internet the exit polls were being seen by thousands of people who didn't know how to read them."
The New York Sun headline said it all: "Bloggers Botch Election Call; Networks Cautious, Steady."

Bringing America Together

How can we all come together after the election and unite in order to help America if the media isn't going to take the lead. The, we wonder why mainstream journalists are upset at the bloggers and the Internet who are spreading unity and not division. Some of the Democtartic papers aren't saying let's support Bush in the next for years. They are stressing survival in the next four years. Geez, we have to practice what we preach and try to be good sports after this election. Some people only believe what they read in the paper. They certainly won't help America unite if some of the sore losers are practicing division.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Bloggers outduel TV network giants

The most heated media-debate in U.S. post-election discussions is that of an agreement among the large media cooperations (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox, and the Associated Press) not to release the exit-polls to the public in order to prevent false predictions for the presidential elections. The bloggers (Slate, Drudge, Zogby, The Command Post), trying to counter this attempt, have ignored the agreement and published leaked exit-poll data prematurely. Debates now circle around the issue. Pressetext.austria has published a commentary on the role of blogs during the U.S. elections. A study of the IT-company Cnet shows that betting bureaus have predicted the outcome of the American elections with much higher probabilities than the blogs, which the media had set their hopes on. In the blogging sector the victory of Kerry was even illustrated with data and links to other websites, which turned out to be irrelevant. Pressetext.austria concludes that this faulty prediction shows the subjective character of blogs: "finally it became clear that Blogs only reflect amateur interpretations [...] and do not have the same status as politics journals and news magazines". The Boston Globe explains the position of the Bloggers further: "Some of [the blogs] cautioned readers not to make too much of the information. The Command Post delivered the news under the headline "Grain of Salt." Drudge removed the numbers almost as quickly as they were posted. And Slate warned: "these early exit poll numbers do not divine the name of the winner." Jack Shafer, editor of Slate, defends his position as follows: "Publishing the exit-poll numbers may look like a college prank, but our intent was loftier. We wanted to expose the hypocrisy of networks that simultaneously embargoed the exit-poll data and broadcast its essence. Slate believed that readers should be trusted with the secrets of the journalistic temple, especially if newscasters were going to pantomime from them so cavalierly [...] The good thing about today's uproar [concerning inaccurate poll information] is that it's accelerating the much-needed demystification of exit polls. Readers and viewers are asking the news organizations (CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, Fox, and the Associated Press) that own the outfit that produces the exit-poll data, the National Election Pool, questions about how the polls are conducted, how they're used, how accurate they are, and the need for keeping them officially secret on election night even though newscasters blithely lift from them". According to the New York Times, the new $10 million polling system has been developed specifically for the purpose of the 2004 elections. The National Election Pool, which owns the system does not take responsibility for the faulty results published on the blogs, they informed the media they had contracted and say they cannot be held responsible for leaked data.

Bill's reflective midterm

I am seeking the maximum amount of points with my reflection....100 points.

Everyone knows what audience participation means, but when does that translate into journalism and blogging journalism.

I used to think independent bloggers weren't journalists because no editor comes between the author and reader. I think being actually involved in a newsroom setting with an actual editor in command is the major factor that distinguishes between a journalist and blogger (amateur journalist).

That's what I used to think until actually becoming involved with my project and going through reams of copy on the subject of blogging versus journalism. Just as traditional journalism has made a big difference in political avenues (Bernstein-Woodward etc...), so has blogging on the Internet. There have been topics covered by bloggers on the Internet which has not seen the inside of a reporter's notebook, let alone prime space in a newspaper. Bloggers go where the traditional journalist fears to tread.

I have blogged almost 70,000 words in little over a month and have viewed almost 300 web and blogging sites in search of trying to settle the argument between journalists and bloggers. Just when I started to feel comfortable with the traditional and mainstream journalism brothers, there would be something on the otherside of the coin I would find to sway a little to the blogging side of the ledger.

Bloggers post news withheld by the mainstream media about a lot of things. One good example is professional basketball star Kobe Bryant's accuser's identity. You didn't find it in a newspaper or on TV. There was an agreement there would be no publication of her name or picture. But where did it appear? On the Internet and bloggers had a field day with it.

A big part of the problem that arises is the fact that there are ordinary people blogging the news. People, for the most part, without a degree or no experience in the journalism field. And, yet, they are getting the story more than the mainstream, or traditional journalists. Anybody can publish anything online and that's what is sticking in the throats of the mainstream journalists. For the first time, people at the edges of the network have the ability to create their own news entities.

When ordinary 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 measuring stick 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.

It seems participatopry journalism falls into these sections:
Audience participation at mainstream news outlets like Staff Weblogs, such as those written by The Dallas Morning News' editorial board. All involve 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. MSNBC and Fox News. Also included are the discussion forums like blogger cafe. We also can't forget 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.

Then there are photos, video and reports sent in by readers. The Dallas Morning News published readers' photos in its coverage of the space shuttle tragedy. The 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.

The New York Times on the Web and Tribune Interactive, ask readers to review everything from travel destinations to restaurants.

The second is independent news and information Web sites.These are 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 well-versed amateurs or independent writers 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 in small pieces or resemblance, while for others citizen reporting is their primary purpose.

There are strictly participatory news sites, where 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.

We also can't forget Collaborative and contributory media sites. These sites include Slashdot, Kuro5hin and Metafilter, which mesh Weblogs and discussion boards together, 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.

Other kinds of this thin media are 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. Personal broadcasting sites also have to be brought into the picture. 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.

In the Studio I Tour my classmates took of my project, they seemed to like the fact I have posted so many words and tried to link everything I have talked about. I am trying to make my posts more to the point and attempt to eliminate wordiness. I have attempted to mix up my posts, too. Some are short. Some are long. but I do try to link one or two sites to which I have talked about. My classmates are also surprised I have been able to maintain my other blog, too. The thing is that I don't think I am doing something so great. i am working hard, but that's required to make my project good. It is easy to lose yourself for two to three hours at a time. I was very skeptical about this class in the beginning, but once I had success surfing and linking and being able to have some good ideas, it was easy and enjoyable. I feel it's somehting fun I am doing and not doing it because it's the requirement for a class. I am drawing some strong conclusions when it comes to blogging and journalism. I can see blogging as the new wave of the future and it can be successful with some monitoring and having bloggers play by some rules. I can also see it being the media people turn, too, becaue newspapers will die out. No one will have time to by a newspaper subscription and sit down to read it. We are becoming a society too busy to read something like a papoer. Everything we want, we ant to be able to read on a screen. We want to be able to dial up and read what we want. We don't want to shuffle through newsprint to get the news. We are heading to a strictly electronic age of this medium. We'll subscribe to newspapers on the television. Like a 24-hour newspaper on TV. That's how we'll get our news. We're practically there already with 24 hour sports channels, news channels and weather channels.

Once a person gets past the intimidation factor, I think they are home free and really ready to be the citizen journalist that is making a solid contribution to the web.People are becoming interactive in the news. All the major networks givew average citizens the chance to comment on the news they are viewing evry day. They are giving them the opportunity to send in their own news. They are offering Internet and web users a different view of the world. We are getitng a chance to see the whole picture, not just a piece of it as regulated by the mainstream. We are being able to understand, digest and spew our thoughts and show the traditional mainstream there's more than just one side to a story.

Overall Perspective:

I have tried to address and attack quite a few subjects, most interesting I think, on my bnlog. The list of some are: Ethics in blogging and journalism, and the need for a code of ethics for blog journalists; Blogging and politics-role that blogs are playing in the campaign; Sports reporting and blogging; What it takes to be a blogger- ABC says it's simply a desire to write, but is that all? Conflicts between bloggers and traditional journalists, both newspaper and television (Brokaw likens blogging to "political jihad"); The media and trust and War blogging.

I have also attempted to tackle the critical issue of credibility. I have done this, as well as making sure all my posts are backed up with links to the articles or news sources I am focusing on. I also attempt to draw the classroom experience on sunbjects we talk about in the class, and I enjoy talking about what Rebecca Blood blood has to say on subjects.

I enjoy keeping track of what journalist bloggers are thinking when it comes to dealing with issues like the fact that "weblogs are allowed to comment on any subject area without facing any repercussions," Used wisely, a weblog is a good tool, October 4)], an issue that many readers face when they are searching for alternate, but credible observations about certain topics.

There's a wealth of information on topics pertaining to the clash between bloggers and journalists. One article was "One more time: Journalism vs. Blogging" which states that:

"the author says the difference between the two is journalism is prostitution and blogging is recreational sex. When you blog, according to the author, you do it when you want it, how you want it, and on what topic you want. You're hoping their is an audience out there to read what you get off on. Journalists have a lot of things to prove to people. There's the editor and the company management to please. You're actually writing what your editor thinks is important and do it in the format and manner inwhich he wants it. He is the most important part of the equation" [(Talking about blogging versus journalism, October 5th)].

It's not difficult to be viewing two schools of on the blogging vs. journalism topic:
"one side claims that "Blogging is not journalism" because the readers don't know who's credible and how is not, while
the other side says, "with the advent of weblogging, the readers know more than the journalists."
Blogging is not journalism", October 7th

In my research I have found some gray areas, too, in the sense that "in order for there to be credibility among bloggers, as opposed to the credibility that journalists build for themselves by having to check...and double check every piece of information Bloggers, journalists need some sort of rules, bloggers must try to adhere to the very same standards that journalists do. There is always a stigma of intellectual dishonesty in a bloggers thought or writing Show me the context, baby!, October 7th.

People are also going online for their news sources rather than purchasing print copies of the very same sources. In "On-line advertising killing traditional journalism" October 18th, "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" October 18th.

The bottomline I am trying to do is refuting the journalists who say blogging isn't a respectable form of public record by making it a respectable public record of their record. But I think I could use more links to strengthen my commentaries even more.