Sunday, February 26, 2006

The changing relationship between journalists and their audience

Interesting column by Eric Deggans, media critic for the St. Petersburg Times and author of the blog Media In The Mirror.

Here's a quote:

Hartman's project has exposed, in an offhand way, the twin forces challenging every news outlet in America: an increasingly savvy news audience and digital technology which allows them more control over their news sources than ever.

So let's ask a heretical question. Why not allow people to choose more than fun, frothy features?

Why not indeed?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Federal employee investigated for sedition; MSM yawns

I've got a million other things I should be doing, but this one is too rich to pass up. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, A VA nurse wrote a letter to the editor of Alibi, an alternative newsweekly in New Mexico. Here's the quote that got her in trouble, I think:

We need to wake up and get real here, and act forcefully to remove a government administration playing games of smoke and mirrors and vicious deceit. Otherwise, many more of us will be facing living hell in these times.

(Emphasis added)

Well, her bosses at the VA decided this might constitute sedition, so they took her work computer to see if she had used government property to write the letter. Although she was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing, the New Mexico ACLU is demanding an apology.

This is something I would expect to happen in a country like, say, Singapore, but I thought we had this thing called the First Amendment that protected us from this kind of nonsense.

Anyway, the story doesn't end there. Although the Associated Press lived up to its end of the reporting bargain, the MSM has declined so far to run the story, as far as I can tell.

How in the world is this not a newsworthy story? I guess that whole news judgment thing I learned in school didn't take. Or maybe the rules have changed since I graduated in 1998.

In case you're unfamiliar with the concept of sedition, here's the definition. As the Wikipedia entry indicates, "The term is deprecated in most countries, though equivalent language may still be in use in totalitarian and fascist jurisdictions." Hmmm....

But according to FindLaw, the U.S. Code still includes laws against "Treason, Sedition, and Subversive Activities." IANAL, but this section is the closest I could find to what Ms. Berg may have been accused of.

Ok then, since I work for the state, if I say that I think that any idiots in the U.S. government who are running around investigating people for sedition should be frogmarched out of the country, I guess I can expect a call from the FBI. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

State of the Blogosphere

Dave Sifry, founder of Technorati, has posted his latest State of the Blogosphere. The enormity of the blogosphere is evident; the data he presents is also extremely relevant to my ongoing research.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Blogging is hard!

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted anything new this year - it is really hard to keep a blog current and stay on top of the rest of your life at the same time! My excuse at the moment is that I am working on a research project regarding how bloggers 'borrow' credibility from more established sites via hyperlinks. I'll be presenting a paper on the subject at the first conference of the International Association Of Online Communicators in March. The paper is due Feb. 22, so I'll be back to the blog sometime after that!

In the meantime, I've posted some links I'd be saving to write about - I didn't check them all but they should still be active for the most part - they're all interesting stories, so read what someone else has to say about the blogosphere.