Media & Journalism Grab Bag, Oct. 31

Here are some items on the theme of media, news, and journalism that I’ve been meaning to write about. There’s some inevtiable overlap between this list and my blogging grab bag. I’ve just made some gut-level judgement calls about which category best suits each item.

TOP OF THIS LIST: From Pull to Point: How to Save The Economist and The Journal from Irrelevance, by John Battelle, Searchblog, Oct. 11. Excerpt: “Why, I wondered, were these two august bastions of journalism falling off my reading list? …Both require paid subscriptions, and therefore, both do not support deep linking. In other words, both are nearly impossible to find if you get your daily dose of news, analysis and opinion from the blogosphere.”

Read the rest of this list…

  1. We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. This book by noted journalist and blogger Dan Gillmor is a thoughtful exploration of the phenomenon of participatory journalism. In an unusual and laudable move, the full text is available online. Excellent food for thought.
  2. The Fading Mystique of an Objective Press, by Doug McGill, PressThink, Oct. 29. Excerpt: “For more than a century, objectivity has been the dominant professional norm of the news media. It has at its heart the noble aim of presenting indisputable facts upon which everyone in society can agree, and build upon towards the goal of a better society. Unfortunately, the ideal of objectivity has in practice in today’s newsrooms become a subtle but powerful means of self-censorship. It’s a conglomeration of contradictory practices that serve the purpose of rationalization as often as investigation. It has become a crutch for journalistic practices that work against civic aims.” (Thanks to New Media Musings for that link.)
  3. Online publishers rail against Google , by Jemima Kiss, Dot Journalism, Oct. 27. Excerpt: “Internet search firms are ‘parasites’ that will eventually kill growth in the online publishing industry, according to Associated New Media managing director Andrew Hart.” (Thanks to Editors Weblog for that link.)
  4. The New Voices: Hyperlocal Citizen Media Sites Want You (to Write)!, by Mark Glaser, Online Journalism Review, Oct. 26. Excerpt: “If these nascent efforts bring more people into the editorial process and help the media cover smaller communities better, the so-called bush league content might just bring in major league revenues, at least in aggregate. The idea is to tap into smaller advertisers who hadn’t considered newspaper ads before.”
  5. Washington Post Takes Lead from Blogger on Kudos to Brad Friedman, whose Bradblog has been tirelessly following a trail of information mysteriously gone missing from the White House web site – such of the list of countries in the “coalition of the willing.” On Oct. 25, the Washington Post picked up on this. (Scroll down to the second headline.)
  6. Eyetrack III, a study by the Poynter Institute. This is a rich resources with a lot of interesting data that has drawn considerable comment. In the introduction to this report’s overview article, Steve Outing and Laura Ruel said: “What do people see when they view a news website or multimedia feature? Is it what the site’s designers expect? … Perhaps not. The Eyetrack III study literally looked through the eyes of 46 people to learn how they see online news. In this overview article, we review the study’s key findings.”
  7. UK Blasphemy law to be scrapped , by Alan Travis, The Guardian, Oct. 18. Excerpt: “The move is being considered as part of a package that will include a new offence of incitement to religious hatred, in order to make clear that freedom of speech and the freedom to criticise religions will not be curtailed.”
  8. APME Survey: Newspaper Readers Use Blogs Cautiously, Poynter Online, by Ryan Pitts, Oct. 13. Excerpt: “Newspaper readers who follow blogs remain cautious as they judge bloggers’ credibility, but they say a willingness to challenge traditional journalists makes the network of personal sites a vital newcomer to the media scene.”
  9. Bush Ad Surfaces As News Story on Schools, Associated Press, Oct. 10. CONTENTIOUS readers may recall that back in March I wrote about the flap over some “faux news” video news releases from the Bush Administration that got aired as genuine news by some TV news operations. Well, they’re at it again. I concur with Dan Gillmor’s assessment: “You expect this kind of sleazy stuff from the White House. But the people who deserve even more condemnation are any TV stations that run these press releases in news programs without making clear what they’re doing.”
  10. CNN and Florida Today: A Tale of Two Blogs, Hypergene Media Blog, Oct. 5: Explores how priorities affect the timeliness of blog postings concerning breaking news.
  11. Cries of ‘media bias’ hide sloppy thinking, a Philadelphia Inquirer column by Chris Satullo, Sept. 29. Excerpt: “Many bloggers are citizens who care about facts and ideas. (Some are narcissistic boors, but let’s ignore them.) Good bloggers devour information, making then a smart, skeptical audience. Any journalist who would not welcome that is a fool. Given a choice between a world of nonreaders zoning out with MTV or a posse of tart-tongued digital watchdogs, I say: Up with blogs!” (Thanks to Jay Rosen for this link.)
  12. Which side is winning? Democracy, Hypergene Media Blog, Sept. 16. This is a review of a widely read CNN review of Dan Gillmor’s popular new book We the Media. Hypergene writes, “We have to stop looking at [participatory journalism] from a partisan ‘Top Down against Bottom Up’ point of view. Participatory journalism is about emergent democracy and a symbiotic relationship with Big Media.”

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