Monday, April 30, 2007 Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers


"As women gain visibility in the blogosphere, they are targets of sexual harassment and threats. Men are harassed too, and lack of civility is an abiding problem on the Web. But women, who make up about half the online community, are singled out in more starkly sexually threatening terms -- a trend that was first evident in chat rooms in the early 1990s and is now moving to the blogosphere, experts and bloggers said."

Comment: I was skeptical of this as a trend when I heard about the Kathy Sierra case, but this seems to be a more widespread problem than I thought.

New York Times: As Blogs Proliferate, a Gadfly With Accreditation at the U.N.

From The New York Times:

"[Matthew] Lee, a well-known gadfly who often presses banks to revise their policies on mortgage loans to the poor, is the only blogger at the United Nations with media credentials, entitling him to free office space and access to briefings and press conferences. There had been a second accredited blogger, Pincas Jawetz, a 73-year-old retired energy policy consultant, but he was ejected last month on the grounds that he had distracted too many briefings with off-topic questions."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Online Journalism Review: Newspapers and blogs: Closer than we think?

From Online Journalism Review:

"Much of the current debate in journalism that centers around how sourcing is used in blogs concerns the issues of verification of information not reported in the mainstream press. But for now, this doesn't appear to be their raison d'etre. The function of blogs may be an equally important one, however, offering a more nuanced, synthesized perspective not found anywhere else on the Web."

Pew Internet & American Life Project: Wikipedia users

From the Pew Internet & American Life Project:

"More than a third of American adult internet users (36%) consult the citizen-generated online encyclopedia Wikipedia, according to a new nationwide survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And on a typical day in the winter of 2007, 8% of online Americans consulted Wikipedia."

Associated Press: Newspapers debate online reader comments

From the Associated Press via Yahoo! News:

"Faced with declining circulation, many U.S. newspapers are trying to engage readers by allowing them to respond to news stories online. But the anonymity of the Internet lets readers post obscenities and racist hate speech that would never be allowed in the printed paper."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New York Times: USA Today to Use Items From Start-Up News Site

From The New York Times:

"USA Today said Friday that it would begin using articles produced by the start-up, The Politico, a mostly online news operation staffed by journalists who have worked for news outlets like Time, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reuters: Google tops new list of world's most valuable brands

From Reuters:

"Google Inc. has knocked Microsoft Corp. from its perch as the world's top-ranked brand, according to findings released on Monday. The rankings, compiled by market research firm Millward Brown, also put Google ahead of well-established brands like General Electric Co., No. 2; Coca-Cola Co., No. 4; Wal-Mart Stores, No. 7; and IBM, No. 9."

Monday, April 23, 2007

New York Times: The Latest on Virginia Tech, From Wikipedia

From The New York Times

"From the contributions of 2,074 editors, at last count, [Wikipedia] created a polished, detailed article on the massacre, with more than 140 separate footnotes, as well as sidebars that profiled the shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, and gave a timeline of the attacks... According to the foundation that runs the various Wikipedias around the world, there were more than 750,000 visits to the main article on the shootings in its first two days, an average of four visits a second. Even The Roanoke Times, which is published near Blacksburg, Va., where the university is located, noted on Thursday that Wikipedia 'has emerged as the clearinghouse for detailed information on the event.'"

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Free Press : Big Media Fears Your Video Upload

From WebProNews via the Free Press:

"Consulting firm Accenture asked executives in those fields about the biggest threats to their businesses. More than half of them, 57 percent by Accenture’s count, feel The Fear coming from user-generated content."

Chicago Tribune: Tribune rolling out 'hyperlocal' Web site

From the Chicago Tribune:

"Taking a tentative step into a brave new world of community-generated journalism, the Chicago Tribune will launch a Web site Thursday designed to allow readers in the far western and southern suburbs to post their own stories, write blogs and otherwise become what the newspaper company is calling 'citizen contributors.' will have a staff of four journalists charged with drumming up stories in an initial target area of nine towns. But the site, which will be largely unedited and self-policing, is designed to let citizens and organizations publish their own stories and post everything from high school team photos to favorite restaurant menus."

Friday, April 20, 2007

PC World: MySpace Launches Beta of News Aggregation Site

From PC World:

" has launched a beta of a news site it hopes will bring more advertising revenue to the popular social networking site."


"MySpace's news aggregator, called Newroo, searches for stories on the Web using an algorithm that posts content based on a number of factors, including relevance for MySpace users and the number of readers a news site has."

Comment: I really like the idea of combining Google News-style aggregation with Digg-stle users voting. However, things seem to be starting off slowly -- as of this post, the highest number of votes for stories in the top news story was seven, for 'Dean and DNCC visit Denver to plan out Convention.'

Also, while the top news stories included a link to the NY Times' piece about the Gonzalez hearings, other 'top stories' included one called 'Are You Abstract / Spirtual Or More Scientifically Minded?' and another entitled 'Streets of Rage 2 leads next Sega VC releases.' I have a very broad definition of news, and even I am having a hard time classifying the last two stories as 'Top Stories' in any sense of the word.

Then again, MySpace News just launched, and I'm glad to see MySpace adding a feature that may draw younger users to read more news.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

MTV News: Virtual Memorial, MySpace Pages Help VT Mourners Cope Online

From MTV News:

"The events of Monday morning are beyond comprehension, but it's commendable to watch the MySpace Generation pour its heart and soul into trying to do just that."

Comment: The story contains a impressive list of links to blogs, MySpace and Facebook pages, collections of pictures, and RSS feeds about the tragedy. My heart goes out to everyone at Virginia Tech and their families and friends, but I have a special admiration for those who can bring themselves to share information, documentation, thoughts, and feelings with the world. I'm just glad the Internet gives them a way to do so, and to hear from the rest of the world who is thinking about them.

I also have to make special mention of Prof. Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor who saved many of his students by barricading the door to his classroom before being shot by Cho Seung-Hui.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

NowPublic: Crowd Powered Media

From NowPublic:

"NowPublic is a participatory news network which mobilizes an army of reporters to cover the events that define our world. In twelve short months, the company has become one of the fastest growing news organizations with thousands of reporters in over 140 countries. During Hurricane Katrina, NowPublic had more reporters in the affected area than most news organizations have on their entire staff."

Comment: Another interesting experiment in crowdsourced journalism - it has obviously been around for a while, but somehow I hadn't come across it yet. The noise to signal ratio is still relatively high, but it seems to be getting more traction than some other projects.

Philadelphia Daily News: Cell phones: Turning witnesses into reporters

From the Phildelphia Daily News:

" midafternoon, CNN anchors were routinely referring to [Jamal] Albarghouti as 'our I-reporter,' a designation a CNN spokeswoman later likened to 'citizen journalism.' In other words, Albarghouti volunteered."

"[Albarghouti's cell-phone video] was racking up impressive stats, having been viewed more than 900,000 times on by 3:14 p.m. - numbers that were updated by CNN anchors through the afternoon in a marriage of news and marketing."

Monday, April 16, 2007

New York Times: Best-Informed Also View Fake News, Study Says

From The New York Times:

"... the survey respondents who seemed to know the most about what’s going on — who were able to identify major public figures, for example — were likely to be viewers of fake news programs like Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”; those who knew the least watched network morning news programs, Fox News or local television news."

Comment: I'm such a fan of the shows I just can't help pointing out surveys like this one.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

BBC News: Bloggers' search for anonymity

From BBC News:

"The internet has given the individual unprecedented power to reach out to millions but some governments are cautious, even hostile, to giving their citizens free access to ideas they deem too democratic and dangerous. Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia: they are all popular with holiday makers but they also censor and even lock up journalists and bloggers. This is why the media rights group, Reporters Without Borders, has published The Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents."

Comment: As much as I complain about the state of free speech in America, we should always remember that many people in the world risk their life to post to their blogs. It's a sobering, yet inspiring, thought.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Online Media Daily: Registrations Up 380% Since Makeover

From Online Media Daily: "USA Today's community-centric makeover last month appears to be paying off in dividends. Indeed, the site has seen a dramatic 380% increase in registrations since the re-launch, while its unique visitor rates have grown 21% from February, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Targeting today's interaction-hungry readers, the Gannett-owned paper last month relaunched its Web site in the guise of a social network laden with video, blogs, dynamic content-sharing and recommendation tools."

Online Media Daily: Why NBC News Still Hasn't Found the Right Producer...

From Online Media Daily:

"NBC Nightly News anchor and otherwise swell guy Brian Williams spoke to some NYU journalism students recently, offering advice, and at times, rants against various online tragedies such as un-J-schooled bloggers: 'You're going to be up against people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe... all of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I'm up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn't left the efficiency apartment in two years.'"

Comment: Awwww, Brian, how sad for you. But if you're such a great journalist, then why do you even have to worry about 'Vinny'? How can he possibly beat you at your own game?

I'd also like to know if online journalism guru and NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen (no relation) was at the session, and if he challenged Williams' slurs against bloggers. He hasn't posted anything about it on his blog yet...

Update: NYU's journalism student blog We Want Media reported on the speech, but the post reports on the speech without commentary -- not even a single reaction quote from a student or professor.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

MediaShift: Ball State Visit::Journalism Education Stuck in Same Oldthink Mode as Big Media

From Mark Glaser:

"The blog, in academia, is looked at by faculty as something to disdain, a lazy way out of doing real journalism; and by students, it is looked at as a leisure time activity, pointless and fun."

Comment: Glaser makes a number of important points in his (in my experience) highly accurate post, but those of you who know my job situation will understand why I chose this particular quote to cite.

Online Media Daily: New Study Points To Web Prominence For 2008 Election

From Online Media Daily:

"Mounting evidence points to the Web as a critical communications and educational tool for the 2008 Presidential election. Indeed, voters are relying on the Web more than any medium to research candidates and their positions, according to a new study from online ad network Burst Media."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Baltimore Sun: Newspapers need to 'do it different' on getting paid

From the Baltimore Sun's Jay Hancock:

"The problem isn't the journalism; soaring Web readership proves that. The problem is getting paid for it in the Internet Age."

Comment: A much more reasonable perspective on the topic than other recent commentary.

Update: The AP wasn't too thrilled by Hancock's column. Among other points of dispute, the AP says that "a very small fraction of this content -- less than 4 percent -- is contributed from AP-member newspapers. The overwhelming majority of content sold to commercial, nonmember Web sites is original content produced by AP staff." Considering the ratio of AP to locally-produced content in most newspapers these days, I tend to believe them on this.

Reflections of a Newsosaur: Why NYT may have to go private

From Alan Mutter:

"To comfortably maintain control of the New York Times Co., the Ochs-Sulzberger family may have no alternative but to follow the Tribune Co. in a highly leveraged transaction to remove their company from public ownership."

Comment: I believe that, to survive, the newspaper industry needs to get as far away from Wall Street as possible. That's not to say that there aren't other, gloomier, valid points of view.

In any case, Mutter, who knows what he's talking about, explains in exquisite detail what this would mean for the Grey Lady.

USA Today: The 2008 candidates are running 'e-lection' campaigns

From USA Today:

"Politicians have leveraged tech innovations since the 19th century, when locomotives and the telegraph helped them reach remote places. But an explosion of new and inexpensive technologies since the 2004 elections is transforming campaigns into tech-driven ventures, shifting the balance of power — with surprising and unsettling results."

The Nation: The Politics of Pundit Prestige...

From Eric Alterman:

"To put it bluntly, most MSM pundits are lazy, ill informed and in thrall to the specious arguments of the powerful people they are supposed to critique. The punditocracy may not like the blogosphere's diagnosis, but there is really only one way to get it off its collective back: Work harder, do a better job. It's really that simple."

Comment: To quote from Dan Gillmor's wonderful book We the Media, which I use in my Online Newswriting class, blogger Ken Layne "captured one of the online world’s essen­tial characteristics in a classic posting in 2001. “We can Fact Check your ass,” Layne said."

Los Angeles Times: Papers, Web firms need 'a new deal,' Zell says

From the Los Angeles Times:

"Sam Zell, who agreed to a takeover this week of Tribune Co., came to the heart of Silicon Valley on Thursday evening and said there needed to be "a new deal and new formulas" between newspapers and Internet companies.

Journalists produce the news that search engines such as Yahoo Inc. and Google Inc. seamlessly and freely make available to anyone with a computer, Zell said during a presentation on corporate governance at Stanford University. "If all the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content for nothing, what would Google do, and how profitable would Google be?" the Chicago real estate maverick mused.

His answer: Not very."

Comment: I guess Zell, who admits in the article that he's "been in the news business for less than a week, so he wasn't a genius at it yet," has been reading David Lazarus' columns.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Editor & Publisher: What Newspapers Need to Do -- To Survive

From Editor & Publisher:

"If we are going to continue to write about the demise of our own industry, let's at least get it right: Reduced circulation is not causing the revenue slide; the revenue slide is causing even lower circulation."


"We have to break the cycle. We cannot continue to cut at the core of our business simply to feed an irrational need for high margins. We must grow revenue, and we won't do that by slashing expenses."

Comment: This is one of the cogent articles I've read on this subject. Unfortunately, as long as Wall Street is in control, not only high, but growing margins will trump all other concerns in the short term.

Los Angeles Times: Aiming for a kinder, smarter online encyclopedia

From the Los Angeles Times:

"Try as they might, Citizendium's founders are finding it's pretty tough to do a better job than Wikipedia.

They've been working for nearly six months on the Herculean task of agreeing on how to organize all of the information in the world. So far, editors have approved only nine of the roughly 1,000 articles that volunteers have written. Visitors can see all of the entries, but the approved ones are distinguished by a green checkmark. The nonprofit Citizendium has found writers for only six of about 40 topics its editors have identified as most important.

"You simply can't legislate or give orders to people," said Larry Sanger of Columbus, Ohio, who founded Citizendium. "It's a volunteer project, and people will end up doing more work for the project if they feel free to go where their hearts take them."

Comment: There's a saying that goes, "faster, cheaper, better -- pick two." Wikipedia is definitely faster and cheaper. Given this news, when it comes to encyclopedias, it sounds like Wikipedia is also better, at least compared to Citizendium.

Friday, April 06, 2007

CJR Daily: Wolf Goes Free, But Debate He Inspired Continues

From CJR Daily:

"[Josh] Wolf, 24, was released from federal prison yesterday after spending seven and a half months behind bars for refusing to turn over to a grand jury the outtakes of a video he shot of a July 2005 protest in San Francisco in which a police officer suffered a fractured skull.

In return for posting the uncut video on his Web site, giving prosecutors a copy and denying under oath that he knew anything about violent incidents at the protest, Wolf was given his freedom and prosecutors agreed not to summon him before the grand jury or ask him to identify any of the protesters shown on his video."

Comment: In the end, Wolf gave in, but how can you blame him?

Broadcasting & Cable: Study Says Copyrighted Material Not Dominant on YouTube

From Broadcasting & Cable:

"The amount of copyrighted material on YouTube and other video sharing sites may be less than previously thought. A report from online video tracker Vidmeter found that of the top 6,725 videos between December 9, 2006 and March 22, 2007 only 621, or 9.23%, were removed because they were found to infringe upon their owners copyright."

Comment: My last post mentioned that content is king. But that doesn't mean that professionals are the only ones who can create quality content. People who believe that bloggers and content aggregators like YouTube are thieves who steal from the professional content creators are going to have to get it into their heads that there isn't that great a divide between them and really talented amateurs. These amateurs (and aspiring professionals) are posting a lot of their own content online. The content that gets the most traffic is the content that people want to see, regardless of who created it.

Editor & Publisher: McClatchy/Yahoo Foreign News Deal Opens Doors to Other Possibilities

From the AP via Editor & Publisher:

"Many newspaper publishers still consider major Internet companies to be a threat, but a deal announced last week to bring foreign news and commentary to Yahoo Inc. from correspondents at McClatchy Co. newspapers could open the way to even more cooperation between print and online media."


"Mike Simonton, newspaper analyst at the credit ratings service Fitch Ratings Inc., said newspapers are transforming themselves from being primarily distributors of information to producers of news that can then be distributed by other means."

Comment: Newspapers are starting to get it -- the distribution method doesn't matter -- content is king.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Washington Post: News Aggregation Site Employs Human Eyes


"Topix LLC is soliciting editors to oversee the forums covering every U.S. town and city. One or more volunteers from each of 32,500 localities will be in charge of marking the best messages and news items and perhaps writing their own articles on community happenings."

Comment: Journalism students who want clips should jump on this with both feet. ParkRidge47 on video…again

From Jeff Jarvis' new PrezVid site, chronicling "The YouTube Campaign 2008":

"ParkRidge47, aka Phillip de Vellis, the guy who made that Hillary attack ad, is interviewed on video by YouTube’s editor of nesws and politics, Steve Grove. Good idea for making news on YouTube (and an interesting format: the asynchronous webcam interview)."

Comment: Is YouTube the future of campaigning? I don't know, but it certainly is the hot topic of the moment. Another cool site is, whose tagline is: "How the candidates are using the web, and how the web is using them." Great idea - I wish I had thought of it.

Seattle Times: Could Times-Hearst battle end with P-I strictly online?

From the Seattle Times:

"Visualize a Seattle Post-Intelligencer that exists only online. A paperless newspaper. The first American daily to make a leap that many observers predict the entire industry probably will make someday."

Comment: The move is being driven by a legal dispute, but the fact that it's even being considered is another step toward the inevitable future.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

San Francisco Chronicle: Berkeley Woman's Iraq Quest

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Jane Stillwater is a 64-year-old Berkeley woman who left for Kuwait on Wednesday, hoping to embed with the U.S. military there and in Iraq as a blogger. And if she is refused? She's got a sleeping bag and plans to sleep on the beach in Kuwait until her return flight in three weeks."