the way the CT democratic primary race was covered in various media formats has created quite the buzz about new media, blogging and the internet. ned lamont, running a progressive, anti-war campaign had to his benefit many believers who started blogs and effetively mobilized voters as well as online media proponents. check this link for an example of how blogs helped ned.

lieberman, on the other hand did not have the same kind of grassroots activism behind him. his campaign suffered and has still not been able to harness the online energy in the same way.

both candidates have blogs on their websites, but only ned’s is run by champion blogger and netroots aficionado, tim tagaris.

the difference between blog and online coverage and traditional media coverage of this campaign is clear. traditional media tries to cover both candidates and takes no preference while most of the blogs are either pro ned or pro joe. check this article from the times and this one too for examples of traditional coverage.

anti joe/pro lamont blogs: spazeboy, myleftnutmeg, connecticutblog, lamontblog.
anti lamont/pro joe blogs: liebermania, lieberdem, vicious-poodle, bullmooseblogger.

interestingly, many of the pro joe blogs are more about moderate dems in general…

CORRECTION: Spazeboy posted a comment, correcting me on the content on liebermania. it is a satirical pro-lieberman blog.

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wow. while reading my fellow soon-to-be “journalists” blog posts about the guests in class on thursday i felt: enthusiastic, depressed, manic, confused and exhausted. many people were taking the position of “if this guy dan can’t get a job after all his accomplishments than how can i?” i feel it’s utterly pointless to think like that. yes, the media market is shifting and jobs are disappearing but what i’m more worried about is how this change affects us as readers/viewers/whatever. don’t get me wrong, i want a stable job and money to live comfortably and bring up children, etc., but the real underlying issue for me is, well, what does all this change do for the public? papers shrinking, imporant issues left uncovered, opinion centric blogging…this is the stuff that makes my brain explode. so, what do we do? we have to practice good, true, journalism. i’m sure everyone will jump on me and say “well, what’s that?” but i think it’s pretty clear. information that does not distort the facts is journalism. what else? information that gives the reader a chance to make up their mind is journalim. stories persuading you to think one way or another is NOT journalism. i think there is a place in the future “market” for this kind of stuff. interactive blogs that give ultimate power and choice to the reader is an interesting technology, and it many ways it’s great. but i think the hunger for straight stories not tampered with by others will never die out. whether you read the stuff online or on paper…

one thing that dan spoke about that was interesting to me was the whole idea of not being as strict with online journalism. he said you could always go back and fix errors, and you knew that readers would maybe tell you to fix it. while my first impression was to think “what a slacker! this attitude is exactly what is bringing down the quality of news, and beyond that, online news: the future!” but then i thought more and the fact that readers play a role in “fact checking” is actually pretty awesome. however, the journalists are supposed to be the experts, they should know the stuff they write and no one should have to fix it for them. or worse yet: what if no one who reads the blog or web article knows the info is incorrect? people will be misinformed.

what do i think overall? i believe that we, as people who want to tell stories and help others to see beyond their own personal world, need to get the basics, learn the technolgies, and above all else, strive to serve the public good. i think i speak for everyone when i say that we are sorely needed.

yet again…

September 22, 2006

in today’s New York Times there is another article dealing with shareholders and their stakes in media companies. This article is specifically about The Tribune Company and it’s decision to consider its sale. and who will benefit?! not us, but instead The Chandler Family, whoever they are (i can’t find a website for them). Why can’t they be like the widow in Deadline U.S.A., the movie we watched in class with Dean Shepard!? She was concerned with the product and with the public that required it.
check it here.

The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. is retiring after 17 years in the pulpit at Riverside Church. The longstanding and prominent liberal church has been a place for Protestants to openly protest against fundamentalism. The church has been a place for “activism, open debate and dissent.”

to give this story the best coverage possible means enabling the available tools and then giving the reader or viewer or whatever the means to navigate and choose what they want. what do i mean? do you want examples? of course!

– the Reverand experienced some controversy during his tenure and that may be of interest to some. A permalink to another page with many more links to previous articles about the numerous controversies would provide background.

– the church has long been a “liberal” religious institution. background on the politics of the church, and it’s many associations with activist groups, candidates, etc. would be of great interest to some. again, a link to a page which would then be a detailed outline of more links. the organization of these aggregate pages is essential. it would be a time consuming process for an experienced researcher.

– pictures of the large and architecturally beautiful and complicated building would add color and perspective. perhaps a slideshow would be available? Or, better yet, one of those programs could be used that allows one picture to blur and fade into another.

– videos of sermons, speeches, or other public appearances by the Reverand would also add to the overall package. Again, some readers, or viewers, or whatever won’t be interested in this but having the choice is always a good thing.

– with computers taking a prominent position in how people get their news, it’s important to remember that some don’t want to read anything. having video or audio on a website along with words would allow many more to become involved in the story. video interviews with members of the congregation and the Reverand would be beneficial. Even fully reported and edited news segments that are well packaged and cover all the bases of the story should be available.

– with a story like this, i would say it’s unnecessary to have charts, graphs, or other kinds of statistics. it may be interesting to know how Riverside Church compares with other churches with liberal leanings, but that may be better explained through interviews not numbers.

– also, a story like this doesn’t need a lot of flash, graphics, or colors. Some would argue that due to the seriousness of the subject, the inclusion of “distraction” tactics would spice things up a bit. I am of the opinion that if things are serious and not flashy, spicing them up and making them, shall we say, more “entertaining,” in the end makes a mockery of the story and keeps with the culture of sensationalism. for this reason, the photos of the church should be well done and be artistic.

-there is always room for more explanation, but not for clutter.

Deborah Solomon interviewed Lee Siegel, the guy who was fired from The New Republic for blogging anonymously on his own behalf, in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. What Siegel had to say on his behalf is interesting. He claims that “Anonymity is a universal convention of the blogosphere, and the wicked expedience is that you can speak without consequences.” Some position, Mr. Siegel.

Check it here.

sad, sad, sad…democracy now! reports today that at least 10 Florida based journalists have been accepting money from the U.S. government. scroll to the bottom of the page for the short report.

cutbacks in dallas

September 11, 2006

this just in: dallas newsroom may cut up to 20 percent of it’s staff members. check it here.

Be sure to read the second to last paragraph…

i am going to closely watch the developments in the ongoing race for the senate seat in CT on my blog. the coverage in both traditional and online media has been heavy and extremely fierce.

lamont’s campaign message has been widely spread in part due to the “blogosphere” and lieberman’s camp is starting to catch on.

for example, just today an anti-lamont blog posted a doctored photo of osama bin laden wearing a ned lamont sticker. it was promptly taken down. read about it here.

in today’s nytimes there is an article in the business section about the fate of time warner. it really got me thinking. without sounding ignorant here…i mean i know we live in a capitalist society and everything must have market value…but what is the goal of the media companies? these conglomerates are not interested at all in the quality of what they produce. not once in the article did it mention the editorial aspect of the company losing money and having to cut corners. instead it only discussed the ceo’s and the advantages or disadvantages of breaking the company up into smaller pieces. yes, it was in the business section and was primarily addressing related economic issues. but one would hope the discussion of the quality of the product would go hand in hand with the discussion of the company’s future.

here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/03/business/yourmoney/03frenzy.html?ex=1314936000&en=2cb8dbb14abc9699&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

sorry i don’t know how to permalink (right term?) this…

the fog of news

September 2, 2006

jeff jarvis said the above on day one of our interactive journalism class…the fog of news. the phrase is loaded with ideas and theories. what is news? how can news be fogged? does the fog burn off? how?

blogs. web logs. my feelings are mixed. i believe in the power of open access and i believe in choice, above all else. more and more blogs mean a greater volume of voices and opinions. so, there is more to choose from, and therefore the right of individual choice grows stronger. one needs to remember, however, that not all blogs/stories/websites etc. are equal.

equal in quality, consistency, accuracy, objectivity…the list goes on and on. for some, this is not an issue. some readers or consumers of news can sift through multiple websites and blogs and magazines and cable news stations and take what they like from each. others may not be able to do this, for a variety of reasons. first, they simply don’t have time. or, they don’t have the academic background that gives them an understanding of how the news functions.

the news is meant to be trusted, i think we can all say we believe in that and aspire to be practitioners of journalism in that way. for blogs to be trusted, they must cleary expose their agenda. some blogs may very well be objective, but with the ability for anyone to comment on blogs, thus adding endless opinions, objectivity is washed away.

i do not mean to say that people’s opinions and commentary aren’t important. i actually think it’s great that the news becomes a conversation with all parties involved learning from the process. but the reader who doesn’t participate in the discussion and is instead only on the outside of the conversation may be the loser.

is the story fogged by blogs? is it possible for the people to see through the opinions and uneducated banter and see clearly?

later, i will address the need for quality control.