Some Great Environmental Podcasts

(Here’s an explanation of podcasting, and some links to some good environmental podcasts, for the people attending my Saturday workshop at the SEJ conference.)

“Podcasting” (a type of on-demand “radio” delivered for free online and played on portable MP3 players at your convenience) has been taking the media world by storm since it debuted just under a year ago.

Today, thousands of podcasts (audio shows) are available from all over the world, on every conceivable topic and representing every type of perspective. Some are re-issued episodes from established radio shows (such as NPR’s “Living on Earth”), while others are produced by organizations, govt. agencies, companies, institutions, and individuals. Quality and credibility vary widely, of course. Still, much of this programming is surprisingly good.

More info, and links…

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Blogs, Feeds, Wikis, and Podcasts: Links for SEJ

(UPDATE OCT. 3: OK, the SEJ conference is now over, and I’m back home in Boulder. I’ve just updated this page of notes and links to reflect more accurately what actually happened in this standing-room-only session. Also, complete audio of this session is now available.)

On Saturday, Oct. 1, I’m delivering a talk at the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), in Austin, TX.

I’ll be explaining to a bunch of journalists and other attendees what they most need to know about weblogs, feeds, wikis, and podcasts – just the basics. I’ll focus mainly on the “so what” of it all.

This will be a pretty informal presentation, since I know the SEJ crowd pretty well. Here are the links I’ll be using in that session…

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Getting Ready for NYPA Citizen Journalism Talk

Sorry I haven’t had too much to say this week, I’ve been really busy. Right now I’m in Tarrytown, NY right now, getting ready to drive up to Lake Placid. Tomorrow, my I, Reporter colleague Adam Glenn and I will be delivering a talk to the annual conference of the NY Press Association, an organization of the major newspapers in the NY metro area. Our topic: “What is citizen journalism, and why should news organizations care?”

I’ve put together a handout for this event which covers our main points…

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Rathergate Anniversary

It was a year ago yesterday that one of the groundbreaking events of citizen journalism, the “Rathergate” affair, began. It all started with some postings that Harry MacDougald, a Republican lawyer in Atlanta, made to a conservative web-based discussion forum called Free Republic

(Read the rest of this article on my citizen journalism blog, I, Reporter…)

Weblogs, Date/Timestamps, and Time Travel

A couple of weeks ago, when we both spoke at the Da Vinci Institute’s Blogging Bootcamp seminar, my colleague Dave Taylor made many good points (as he often does).

Of course, I disagree slightly with something he said there (as I often do).

In a nutshell, Dave explained that he doesn’t like to feature a date/timestamp prominently on his weblog postings. He thinks that tends to diminish the perceived long-term value of the content. He encouraged business bloggers to generally follow suit: to focus on providing “evergreen” content, and to play down or possibly even omit the date/timestamp on their blogs.

Personally, I think Dave’s approach puts the blogger’s desires ahead of the needs and reality of the weblog audience – in a way that could be a problem for many blogs, and their readers. Here’s why…

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Survey Question 9: Why would you stop reading a business blog?

(NOTE: This is part of a series of postings where I published the results of my survey on people’s comfort zones regarding the overlap of professional and personal information online. More about this survey. Overview of numerical responses.)

SURVEY QUESTION 9:Here’s what might make you quit reading a weblog that interests you mainly for business reasons:

The big news here is that a significant majority of respondents (60%) report that they would not stop reading a business/professional blog simply because it occasionally offers personal anecdotes, disclosures, or mentions. The only reason these people would stop reading would be a noticeable decline in the quality or quantity of postings on business/professional topics. (Many of the 22% who replied “other” expressed a similar view, just in different terms.)

Therefore, as long as you keep supplying mostly business-related content, occasionally acknowledging other aspects of your interests, personality, or life probably won’t work against you. In fact, looking at the survey results as a whole, being all business, all the time might damage your relationship with your weblog audience.

CAVEATS: All of this depends, of course, on whether survey respondents are being honest – and if you consider informal, self-selected surveys of any use at all.

Here are the responses for this question, and my observations about them…

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Poynter Seeks Baton Rouge Housing for Journalists

Since New Orleans and many other Gulf Coast areas have been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, many journalists are working hard to get out the news and manage crucial communications and coordination from temporary digs further inland.

In my previous article, I tried to convey how crucial it is that news continues to get in and out of the devastated regions. This benefits everyone, especially the hardest-hit survivors who haven’t even been rescued yet. The more reliable news and information people can gather and share, the better prepared rescue teams will be to target their efforts.

There’s a problem, though: Many hardworking journalists who have lost their own homes are staying on the job and working very long hours – with no lodging of their own. In Baton Rouge especially, housing is nearly impossible to find. Many journalists will need semi-permanent housing in order to stay on the job.

If you have or know of available lodging in or near Baton Rouge (or other areas to which news organizations have relocated recently) here’s how you can help, courtesy of the Poynter Institute. Click that link or e-mail your information to: They’re collecting information and are attempting to match journalists in need with available lodging.

More about this…

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Chastened and Proud in the Wake of Devastation

Like just about everyone else who has access to TV and the internet, I am stunned by the news coming out of the Gulf Coast regions smashed by Hurricane Katrina earlier this week.

I try, in my own small way, to imagine what it must be like to be in that situation. And I realize that, with all or most communication systems still down, that lack of information might be one of the most frustrating and frightening aspects of surviving in the aftermath. No phones. No power, so no radio or TV for the most part. No newspapers. And don’t even think about the internet.

For many Southerners in the wake of Katrina, word of mouth has become the new 21st-century medium. That must be a rude awakening…

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Why I Hate Blog Spam

It’s the new breed of online kudzu, and it’s really starting to annoy me: Fake weblogs which offer no real content of their own. They merely scrape headlines or content from other sites, then paste it onto a page template loaded with sleazy spammish links and get-rich-quick come-ons.

Yep, it’s blog spam. Or facade blogs, take your pick of neologisms.

I hate blog spam because it directly undermines the key usefulness inherent to the connectedness that blogging tools provide: findability. I get especially irritated when my headlines or content end up getting scraped onto such sites – as just happened tonight. Go look at that crap, I dare you. Get ready to cringe.

Believe me, this kind of inbound link does me no favors. Here’s why…

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