Wednesday, February 28, 2007

MediaWeek: Launches FirstPerson

From MediaWeek:

" has launched FirstPerson, a new outlet for users to post news-related photos, videos and even stories on the site."

Comment: The story also mentions the launch of a similar project from CNN called Exchange.

MediaWeek: Publishers at MPA: Web Sites of Future Will Reflect Users

From MediaWeek:

"User-driven content and video will take on a greater role at magazines’ Web sites as they seek to make the most of the Internet’s unique properties. That was the message publishing execs sent from the Magazine Publishers of America’s annual digital conference, titled Connecting with the Consumer, taking place in New York Feb. 27."

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Lawmakers Seek to Strengthen Fair Use

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

"A bill that would make it easier for scholars to use copyrighted works without running afoul of copyright law was introduced today by Rep. Rick Boucher, Democrat of Virginia, and Rep. John Doolittle, Republican of California. Representative Boucher has long been a friend of academic librarians and technology companies for advocating that copyright law gives content owners too much control over the works they own to the detriment of innovation and research."

Comment: A bipartisan bill to protect fair use? What a concept! I don't see why it should be restricted to scholars, though.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Washington Post: A Brave New Wikiworld

From Cass R. Sunstein:

"In the past year, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that 'anyone can edit,' has been cited four times as often as the Encyclopedia Britannica in judicial opinions, and the number is rapidly growing."

Comment: Even I'm surprised by this number. But this is a perfect case to prove Wikipedia's reliability -- any lawyer worth his salt would assail Wikipedia on cross examination, and would introduce conflicting evidence if the material quoted was incorrect or even questionably sourced. So if lawyers are using it without losing cases, doesn't that say something about its quality? Feel free to disagree, but please back up your opinions with examples.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Valleywag: How the Internet's top bloggers achieved blog nirvana

From Valleywag:

"I'm proud to present a heatmap locating popular blogs (and a few major web sites) among the four spheres of audience reaction: Affirmation, indignation, titillation, and stimulation."

Comment: Very concise presentation of the blogosphere, even if you don't agree with the exact placement of the blogs...

Friday, February 23, 2007

BuzzMachine: New rule: Cover what you do best. Link to the rest.

From Jeff Jarvis:

"This changes the dynamic of editorial decisions. Instead of saying, “we should have that” (and replicating what is already out there) you say, “what do we do best?” That is, “what is our unique value?” It means that when you sit down to see a story that others have worked on, you should ask, “can we do it better?” If not, then link. And devote your time to what you can do better."

Comment: Amen. There's only one problem with this theory as far as I can see -- it only works on the web. You can't link to someone else's story in print or on TV. As far as I can tell, Jarvis' parallel suggestion for 'old' media is to use AP stories instead of devoting reporters' time to covering every story under the sun.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

CNET News: Estonia to hold first national Internet election

From CNET News:

"The Baltic state of Estonia plans to become the world's first country to allow voting in a national parliamentary election via the Internet next month... E-voting will be introduced for a parliamentary election on March 4, for the first time after it was used in more limited local elections in 2005. It is a fresh sign of Estonia's strong embrace of technology since it quit the Soviet Union in 1991."

Comment: Just in case you thought the US had a lock on innovative use of the Internet...

BBC News: Egypt blogger jailed for 'insult'

From BBC News:

"An Egyptian court has sentenced an internet blogger to four years' prison for insulting Islam and the president. Abdel Kareem Soliman's trial was the first time that a blogger had been prosecuted in Egypt."

Comment: This is why it is so important to protect free speech despite the War on Terror. Is it worth winning the war if we end up like Egypt (or even close)? If you don't think it's possible, consider the case of Josh Wolf. Granted, there's a difference between being jailed for refusing to hand over video tapes to a grand jury and being jailed for 'insulting Islam and the president,' but the connection between the two cases still makes me feel uncomfortably like the US is sliding down a slippery slope...

San Francisco Chronicle: Blogger jailed for defying grand jury sets record / He's U.S. journalist imprisoned longest in contempt of court

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Josh Wolf, a blogger who refused to give a videotape of a San Francisco anarchist protest to a federal grand jury, achieves an unwanted distinction today, when he becomes the longest-imprisoned journalist for contempt of court in U.S. history."

Comment: This happened on Feb. 6 -- I really thought I posted something on it but I guess it slipped through...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

BuzzMachine: YouTube is good for TV

From Jeff Jarvis:

"The days of doing business by telling customers what they cannot do are nearing an end. If your customers want to watch your shows, listen to your songs, read your news, or play your games, can you still get away with telling them they cannot unless they come to you and use your devices, pay your fees, and follow your rules? That could work in a scarcity economy in which you owned all the stuff and the means to get it. But no more. Business isn’t about control any more."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Zogby Poll: Most Say Bloggers, Citizen Reporters to Play Vital Role in Journalism's Future

From pollster Zogby International:

"A majority of Americans (55%) in an online survey said bloggers are important to the future of American journalism and 74% said citizen journalism will play a vital role, a new WE Media/Zogby Interactive poll shows. Most respondents (53%) also said the rise of free Internet-based media pose the greatest opportunity to the future of professional journalism and three in four (76%) said the Internet has had a positive impact on the overall quality of journalism."

Comment: I'm surprised - I didn't think blogs and citizen journalism had become this mainstream. I'm not disappointed, mind you...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Washington Post: Judge: MySpace Guiltless In Child Assault

From the Washington Post's Post I.T. blog:

"Yesterday, a Texas judge tossed out a lawsuit against MySpace, the world's biggest social-networking site brought by the family of a 13-year-old girl assaulted by a man who found her through her MySpace page... In the end, according to the judge, 'If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace.'"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

San Francisco Chronicle: Tonight at 11, news by neighbors / Santa Rosa TV station fires news staff, to ask local folks to provide programming

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"... the next step in Channel 50's evolution will be a nationally watched experiment in local television coverage. Over the next few months, the station's management plans to ask people in the community -- its independent filmmakers, its college students and professors, its civic leaders and others -- to provide programming for the station."

Comment: I'm skeptical, but this will be a very interesting real-world experiment in citizen journalism.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Poynter Online: Which J-Schools Are Really Keeping Pace with Online Media?

From Amy Gahran:

"I'm glad that many J-schools are starting to offer resources for interactive design and Web site development. However, the truth is that those topics represent what was coolest and most powerful about online media several years ago. Online media has expanded in far more compelling and engaging directions since then."

Comment: This is certainly true for Rowan -- this is our third year for basic web production and writing for the web, but we haven't even begun to address some of the newest trends. The most interesting thing to me is how skeptical some of my students have been about things like citizen journalism, and how unfamiliar they are with things like podcasting. I'm still trying to figure out whether they came into the program with this bias or if they have learned to accept the conventional wisdom on which most of the department's other classes are based. In any case, it's very hard to keep up, especially in an academic setting where adding a new course to the curriculum takes at least a year.

Washington Post: Where'd We Leave That Darn Fact?

From the

"Paying attention, says Ullman -- echoing Dr. Johnson -- is the best method of remembering. Frequency helps. For example, if you hear a word often enough, you learn it. And if a piece of information fits neatly into your worldview, he says, it's easier to recall. If a memory 'has significance to us,' says Otto H. MacLin, a psychology professor at the University of Northern Iowa, who studies memory and the law, 'we tend to remember it better.'"

Comment: This is one of the many reasons I don't believe in objectivity -- I defy any journalist to show me complete documentation to back up any story -- some of what they write (or write down) is based on memory, and what we remember is based, at least in part, on our worldview. Journalists may be better at avoiding these pitfalls than others, but they are still human beings, and therefore subject to the same frailties as the rest of us.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Washington Post: Google Still Searching For Recognition in D.C.


"Google has transformed the Internet. But the executives who have made billions from Internet searching -- and who get mobbed by geeks in the San Francisco Bay area and praised by analysts on Wall Street -- barely stir the kind excitement in Washington generated by, say, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her outfit at the State of the Union address."

Comment: This is why it's so important that government stay out of Internet regulation -- they have no idea what the Internet is about.

Slate: The Edwards campaign has blogger trouble. It won't be the last.

From John Dickerson:

"The major candidates are trying to do two conflicting things: channel the authenticity of the blogosphere while simultaneously maintaining the rigid image and message control that is crucial to any presidential campaign. It's a ready-made car wreck because bloggers are tough to domesticate. "

Washington Post: Taking the Bait On a Phish Scam


"Brinton fell victim to a sophisticated phishing scam, which, in recent months, targeted thousands of job seekers on such popular Web sites as and Phishers send out seemingly legitimate e-mail in an attempt to get people to reply with personal information then used in a variety of scams."

Comment: Wow - I'm pretty skeptical, but I don't think I would have suspected this type of scam. This just shows the difficulty of evaluating credibility and trust online.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Associated Press: Cronkite: Quest for Media Profits Hurts

From the AP via Yahoo! News:

"Pressures by media companies to generate ever-greater profits are threatening the very freedom the nation was built upon, former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite warned Thursday."

Comment: You'll notice he doesn't blame blogs, or the Internet, or younger readers indifferent attitude toward world events.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Free Press : Bloggers Upstage the Mainstream Press Yet Again

From the Free Press:

Summary: Time D.C. Bureau Chief Jay Carney posted to Time's
blog shortly after the State of the Union address. Bloggers quickly identified several mistakes in Carney's post.

"[The incident] inaugurated a rough week for those who still wish to uphold a model of cultural authority in which the fact that someone is a professional with a famous name — credentialed by other professionals with famous names — can serve as a reasonable proxy for trustworthiness. It marked one more step in the arrival of our new, more uncomfortable media world — one in which, to judge a piece of writing, we must gauge not the status of the writer, but his or her words themselves, unattached to the author’s worldly rank."

Editor and Publisher: Sulzberger Says He Doesn't Care If 'NYT' Eventually Ends Print Publication?

From Editor and Publisher:

"New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is apparently so focused on the paper's future Internet success that he wouldn't care if the paper stopped publishing in print in several years -- at least according to an interview with an Israeli newspaper."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Editor and Publisher: Where News Consumption Is Heading

From Steve Outing:

"I'm not so pessimistic as to believe that their generation will eschew news. I simply recognize that to them the printed newspaper is about as useful and convenient as a rotary-dial phone is in the era of the smart cell phone."

Comment: To newspaper people (yes that's a technical term), a statement like this is akin to crying, "The sky is falling!" And it is, because they can't embrace change and accept that journalism can be done in many different ways by many different people. Maybe some of the news media conglomerate CEO's should listen to Craig Newmark more. When asked what he thinks newspapers should do, he answered:

"Start viewing themselves more as a community service and forget about 20-percent profit margins. And start speaking truth to power."

Isn't that what journalists believe in? So what's standing in their way? Money, plain and simple.

BBC News: Hackers attack heart of the net

From BBC News:

"There is no evidence so far of damage, which experts are saying is testament to the robust nature of the internet."

Comment: As many people have said before, the Internet routes around all obstacles. This was a pretty bad attack, but I didn't notice anything unusual -- did you?

Inside Higher Ed: A Lesson in Viral Video

From Inside Higher Ed:

"Last Wednesday, Michael Wesch was one of thousands of Internet users to add material to the video-sharing site YouTube. He posted a five-minute clip, set to techno music, that helps explain Web 2.0 — the so-called second wave of Web-based services that enables people to network and aggregate information online... The video page had been viewed 19,000 times by early Monday, 30,000 times by the afternoon and 91,000 times by early Tuesday."

Comment: Watch the clip. It moves pretty fast, but does explain a lot about where we are today on the web clearly and concisely. Most important, it doesn't overhype Web 2.0, but it does show why it's different.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Wall Street Journal Online: In Search of Serendipity

From the Wall Street Journal Online:

"Let's break down how serendipity works in a print newspaper. In print, it's a byproduct of page layout, of scanning past ads for watches and jewelry for articles you might not expect. And our own rituals may actually limit serendipity: If there are sections of the paper you throw away or get to only if you have time, you're not going to find any hidden gems inside. Where print serendipity is derived from top-down decisions, electronic serendipity is bottom-up. It comes not from editors but from readers, who "vote" by reading stories, emailing them and blogging about them."

Christian Science Monitor: Bloggers can make money, but most keep day jobs

From the Christian Science Monitor:

"With the cost of publishing online close to zero, even small ad money can buoy creative output. "The definition of 'big enough' has changed. In the old days, [an endeavor] ... had to get an audience of billions to pay for that scarce airtime," says Jeff Jarvis, a new-media expert who makes about $1,000 a month from blogging. "Now, the definition of big enough can be that it covered my costs, [or] it bought me a camera." He notes with amusement that his son now makes more money from AdSense than from his allowance."

Friday, February 02, 2007

My Way News: YouTube to Share Revenue With Users

From My Way News:

"Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, said Saturday that his wildly successful site will start sharing revenue with its millions of users."

Comment: I wonder how much would a person have to get paid per click to make this a viable way to work as a freelance broadcast journalist?

New York Times: Readers Call Newspapers. These Are Their Stories.

From The New York Times:

"To respond to the challenge posed by digital media, newspaper executives are being told to listen to their readers. The San Francisco Chronicle is doing just that: It is posting some of the voice mail messages left for reporters and editors as audio files on its Web site,"

American Journalism Review: Is Keith Olbermann the Future of Journalism?

From the American Journalism Review:

" trying to reckon whether Olbermann is, indeed, the future of television news, there is another question being asked about the basic tenets of news itself, what it is and what it isn't, that has some important stakeholders in the business worried. What if the reach extended beyond cable and beyond television? What if, as the subhead to a story in November by Kansas City Star TV critic Aaron Barnhart asked, Olbermann's 'Countdown' is journalism's saving grace?"

Comment: A very long but very interesting article on the news program I watch most often (as long as we're not counting The Daily Show or Colbert.)

National Journal: The Trashing Of The Blogosphere

From the National Journal's Beltway Blogroll:

"You know the mainstream media are out to get blogs when you see a headline that says 'Blogs Make Spreading Untruths Easier' over a story that mentions blogs only in passing."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Chronicle: How Do You Cite Wikipedia on a History Paper? At Middlebury College, You Don't. A Professor Explains Why

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

"The problem with Wikipedia, in many scholars' eyes, is its open editing system. The site permits unregistered, anonymous users to edit content alongside more respected contributors. While several studies and informal surveys have found that Wikipedia is nearly as accurate as many hard-bound encyclopedias, professors often say the Web site's freewheeling nature makes it too easy for errors to be introduced."

Comment: I completely disagree with this policy (unlike many of my colleagues at Rowan). I want to teach my students to be skeptical of all sources of information. Singling out one source because of gut feelings against a new type of content creation despite studies showing that the content is at least as good as the Encyclopedia Britannica implies to students that other sources of information are completely reliable. Students need to learn how to judge the quality of information, not be told not to use a source "because I said so."

BBC News: Tagging 'takes off for web users'

From the BBC:

"As more and more people put their own content online, they are also being invited to tag it with descriptive keywords to help organise their data. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the trend in tagging is growing among US web users. It found that over a quarter of online Americans - 28% - had tagged content such as a photo, news story or blog."