links for 2009-08-16

  • Washington Post ombudsman: "Anonymous sources are critical to newsgathering — and to informing readers. Without a guarantee of confidentiality, many sources wouldn't share sensitive information on corruption or misconduct. But anonymity can be overused and abused. Sources can make false or misleading assertions with impunity. Journalists can inflate a source's reliability or even fabricate his or her existence. That's why The Post has such stringent rules. But they're not always followed."
  • "If proven this could be the first case of piracy in Europe in the modern era. There is speculation as to the reason for the ship's hijacking, as its cargo of wood, valued at 1.3 million euros, is not especially valuable. Suggestions include possible contraband, and the possibility of a commercial dispute between the crew or some other party and the ship's owners."
  • "[Rampant] copying [of wire service stories] causes much harm. The AP takes the unique value provided by the original site and dilutes it by making the product free for thousands of other outlets to repost, instead of sending all the traffic back to the site that created the valuable thing in the first place. The AP is the "parasitic aggregator" that it and others so often label other blogs and news sites.

    "So the AP's two reasons for existence don't hold up online. The AP senses this, and its leadership is going through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief (moving from Denial to Anger now, Bargaining will be next when more members start to cancel). We don't need an AP online (which is why it's laughable that AP thinks we all will be willing to license their content and pay for it)."

  • "How AP could deliver real value for members is to lead the way in developing tools and platforms for member newspapers to provide local e-commerce services as I described in the C3 Blueprint. It could lead the way in development of mobile applications that members could use to deliver content and generate revenue (AP has developed a popular iPhone app and dealt with the fine-tuning issues involved)."
  • "Historically, the value of those casual browsers was captured by the newspaper because the readers would have to buy a copy. Now all the value gets captured by the aggregator that scrapes the copy and creates a front page that a set of readers choose to scan. And because creating content costs much more scraping it, there is little rational economic reason to create content."
  • Mobypicture is using hashtags as a routing tool for publication: "Whenever you add #at5 to the title, description or tags of your posting, we also distribute the posting to the AT5 editorial team. They can then decide if your posting is relevant to the news/activities in the city and publish this, of course using your Name and link to your Mobypicture user page as official source. They also might contact you to get your eyewitness report or more context."
  • Aug 16-19 2009 #focas09

    "The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program presents FOCAS 2009 August 16-19 on the theme Of the Press: Models for Preserving American Journalism."

    Hmmm…. sounds like a workshop in pickling techniques. Or mummification. Really: "preserving?"

  • "Many users are aware that Facebook has numerous privacy controls, for example, but even the most experienced Facebook users often don't know just how much they can control who sees what. For instance, did you know that you can specify exactly who can see your status updates, down to different groups of friends (not just "friends" versus "everyone")? What about controlling which groups of people can even find you in a Facebook search to begin with?

    "If you don't want to be socially available at all, then the solution is right in front of you and you can stop reading! However, if you have been wondering how you can be socially available on Facebook while still keeping your privacy under control, this guide is for you."

  • "Cuban makes this all sound a bit like an infomercial. Buy the brush, get the broom, and we’ll throw in the ultra-super-sweeping instructional video. It’s not about news, in other words, it’s about marketing. In fact, he agrees with me: Nobody is going to pay for news. Not unless there’s a sweetener—some sugary entertainment add-on.

    "…This is the cable TV model. You pay a flat fee for a lot of stuff you wouldn’t pick, if you could pick. Of course, everywhere consumers, regulators, and legislators are after cable companies to “unbundle” their packages. Bundling—that classic LP music model so savaged in its digital form by young pirates who want their music not just free but self-selected—is about as future-oriented as, well, an LP."

  • AMEN!!! "1. Smaller is better. Newspapers can’t survive on online ads not because it’s an impossible model for publishing — I do it at Zen Habits and many other blogs and smaller news sites do it. They can’t survive on online ads because they’re too huge."

2 thoughts on links for 2009-08-16

  1. Thanks, Tarek

    Actually, I wasn’t referring to the format (“Ink and paper”) of journalism — because I knew you weren’t just talking about that either. I was referring to the implications of the term “preserving.”

    IMHO, too much of the talk of the news biz has been about “preserving” rather than “adapting” or “evolving.”

    Preservation is fundamentally a backward-looking concept, where the past is the focus.

    I think it’s great that you’ve invited Craig Newmark and other forward-looking thinkers to your event. I just hope that the event really does look forward, not backward. Because a few forward-looking speakers does not necessarily determine the tone of the event.

    Good luck,

    – Amy Gahran

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