Tuesday, August 30, 2005


BLOGS: In Denver, publishers say YourHub no threat to 'burb papers

ORIGINAL ARTICLE AT (registration required):
OR (no registration) http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9113674/

Publishers say YourHub no threat to 'burb papers

By Amy Bryer
The Denver Business Journal

Updated: 8:00 p.m. ET Aug. 28, 2005

Suburban newspaper publishers have a few cheers but mostly jeers for the
Denver Newspaper Agency's (DNA) new YourHub.com publications and Web sites
for more than 40 metro-area communities.

Rocky Mountain News publisher John Temple has been touting YourHub in his
columns and even on National Public Radio as the newest form of community
journalism -- where Average Joes and Janes can post neighborhood news,
pictures of their pet's birthday party or even their golf score.

But area newspaper publishers call it bad for journalism and a vehicle for
free advertising. Some say it's just plain bad.

"It's the biggest joke I've ever seen," said Bob Sweeney, owner of the
Villager in Greenwood Village and recent past president of the National
Newspaper Association. "It's the worst piece of journalism. I'd be
embarrassed to publish it."

Temple has written that Your Hub is supposed to be a platform where
citizens can share stories, calling it a "virtual town square."

But on a recent YourHub Web site, readers found "news" items promoting car
wash services, a networking event and a college investment service.

Temple, whose staff directs the editorial operations of YourHub, tells
detractors that the beauty of YourHub is that everyone is welcome to post
anything as long as it isn't obscene or violent.

"I believe advertising is a form of free speech," he said.

He likened the Web site to a bulletin board at the gym.

The Denver Newspaper Agency, which publishes the Rocky Mountain News and
The Denver Post, explains on the YourHub.com Web site that it doesn't
monitor content that's posted by users and can't be held responsible.

YourHub staffers do edit the content that's taken from the Web site
submissions and placed in the weekly print edition that goes to Post and
News subscribers in 15 communities.

But newspaper publishers around town say the Web sites and their print
counterparts are being misused by public relations agencies looking to
plug their clients.

"They call it news, but it's not journalism," said David Lewis, publisher
of Mile High Newspapers Inc., which publishes the Golden Transcript,
Lakewood Sentinel, Arvada Press and Wheat Ridge Transcript.

Public relations agencies admit they use YourHub to promote their clients,
but some say they have tried not to overuse the Web sites.

"You can cynically look at it as another venue for advertising, but we've
tried not to abuse it and tried to be a good citizen," said Gwinavere
Johnston, CEO of JohnstonWells Public Relations.

Temple said it should be obvious to consumers where the message is coming
from. "I don't think the First Amendment says it protects free speech,
except for people we don't like or PR agencies."

But PR agencies admit that they don't always include the source of the
information when they submit a story on behalf of their client.

Although some PR agencies have said they don't see the value in using the
YourHub sites.

"We don't think it gets a serious read because it looks like a throwaway,"
said Peter Webb, president of Webb PR.

The publishers said they haven't lost any advertising to YourHub.com, but
Lewis said he did lose his advertising sales manager to the DNA. Some
advertisers are talking with the DNA about advertising with YourHub.com,
Lewis said, but his staff is monitoring the situation.

What YourHub is passing off as news is insulting to professionals who are
in the field, said Scott Perriman, publisher of MetroNorth Newspapers,
which prints the Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel and the Westminster Window.

"The only [readers] who will stick with it are the people who consistently
write angry letters to the editor," he said.

And with a political season approaching, YourHub may be exposing itself to
a libel suit if it doesn't filter submissions that claim "Joe Schmo
politician is a thief and a crook," the publisher said.

Sweeney believes YourHub is destructive to an industry that's already
teetering on the brink of total distrust by readers. If the Web site posts
enough incorrect, inaccurate or misleading stories, it will give readers
one more reason not to trust the media, he said.

"People are already angry with inaccuracies in the media; this concept
encourages that," Sweeney said.

But Temple said YourHub.com is better for the journalism industry because
it involves more people in the product.

Readership of metro daily newspapers is slipping across the country, and
this concept of community journalism is a response to a fear that free
dailies -- such as those proposed by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz --
will beat traditional paid subscription papers, Sweeney said.

Anschutz bought the San Francisco Examiner in February 2004 and turned it
into a free daily paper. Circulation jumped from 76,000 to 160,000 after
the switch. This past February, he did it again in the suburbs of
Washington, D.C., delivering the Washington Examiner free to 260,000 homes
and newsstands -- and he's trademarked the Examiner name in 70 U.S.
cities, including Denver.

"[The DNA] would be much better off spending their time and money to
improve their daily newspapers' product," Sweeney said.

All of the suburban publishers interviewed by the Denver Business Journal
didn't view YourHub.com as a competitor in their markets, but Harrison
Cochran at the Aurora Sentinel called the publication the "boldest
experiment" he's seen.

"Everything that competes for a minute of eyeball time is competition," he
said. "We'll know in a year if it's worked out."

© 2005 Denver Business Journal


This article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Monday, August 29, 2005


REFORM: News Council proposal from Knight Foundation


WNC Wins Knight Foundation Grant to Help Create More State News Councils

The Washington News Council and the Minnesota News Council have been awarded a
$250,000 joint grant by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help
create two more news councils in other states.

The WNC and the MNC will oversee a national competition for two $75,000
start-up grants that will go to the best proposals. For an application form and
guidelines (Word Document), click HERE. For an online version of the
application click HERE. The application deadline is Feb. 15, 2006. Winners will
be announced by May 2006.

"News councils are needed today more than ever before," said Cyrus Krohn,
president of the WNC and former publisher of Slate.com. "Every state should
have a news council. The Knight Foundation's support for more news councils is
a tremendous endorsement of the concept."

To inquire about the competition, please call John Hamer, WNC executive
director, at 206-262-9793, or email him at jhamer@wanewscouncil.org.

Washington News Council
P.O. Box 3672
Seattle, WA 98124-3672


Interested in creating a sustained, statewide initiative to improve news media
transparency, media literacy and public involvement? Consider applying for one
of two $75,000 news council start-up grants from the Knight Foundation. The
Washington News Council and the Minnesota News Council will judge applications
from community/media nonprofit groups. The two best proposals will be awarded
$75,000 each.

A news council is an independent, nonprofit organization that investigates
complaints against news organizations and issues evidence-based rulings about
their accuracy and fairness. The councils provide public forums where citizens
and journalists can discuss media performance and ethics.

Deadline for applications is February 15, 2006. Winners will be announced by
May 2006. Please visit for details:


Sunday, August 28, 2005


VIDEO: Upcoming video on how TV "frames" the working class


"Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class"

Co-produced and Written by:
Loretta Alper & Pepi Leistyna
Edited by: Jeremy Smith

Narrated by Ed Asner

Based on the forthcoming book by Pepi Leistyna, Class Dismissed navigates the steady stream of narrow working class representations from American television's beginnings to today's sitcoms, reality shows, police dramas, and daytime talk shows.

Featuring interviews with media analysts and cultural historians, this documentary examines the patterns inherent in TVs disturbing depictions of working class people as either clowns or social deviants -- stereotypical portrayals that reinforce the myth of meritocracy.

Class Dismissed breaks important new ground in exploring the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality intersect with class, offering a more complex reading of television.s often one-dimensional representations. The video also links television portrayals to negative cultural attitudes and public policies that directly affect the lives of working class people.

Featuring interviews with Stanley Aronowitz, (City University of New York); Nickle and Dimed author, Barbara Ehrenreich; Herman Gray (University of California-Santa Cruz); Robin Kelley (Columbia University); Pepi Leistyna (University of Massachusetts-Boston) and Michael Zweig (State University of New York-Stony Brook). Also with Arlene Davila, Susan Douglas, Bambi Haggins, Lisa Henderson, and Andrea Press.

For info. about production status, E-mail: videosinproduction@mediaed.org

Media Education Foundation
60 Masonic Street
Northampton, Massachusetts 01060
Phone: (800) 897-0089 or (413) 584-8500
Fax: (800) 659-6882 or (413) 586-8398
E-mail: info@mediaed.org


Pepi Leistyna

With With BAs in Journalism and French from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Masters and Doctorate from Harvard's Graduate School of Education, Pepi Leistyna is an Associate Professor in the Applied Linguistics Graduate Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

He coordinates the research program and teaches courses in cultural studies, media analysis, critical pedagogy, and language acquisition. For many years, he taught English as a Second Language and adult literacy in community-based organizations. Speaking internationally on issues of democracy, education, and social justice, Leistyna.s books include Breaking Free: The Transformative Power of Critical Pedagogy (Harvard Publishing Group), Presence of Mind: Education and the Politics of Deception (Westview Press), Defining and Designing Multiculturalism: One School System.s Efforts (SUNY Press), Cultural Studies: From Theory to Action (Blackwell Press), and Corpus Analysis: Language Structure and Language Use (Rodopi Press).

E-mail Pepi Leistyna at pleistyna@hotmail.com

Saturday, August 27, 2005


BLOGS: Changing the face of war coverage, UC-Berkeley's Grabowitz says

Blogs are permanently changing war coverage, according to Paul Grabowitz, director of the new-media studies program at the University of
California Graduate School of Journalism.

"It's much easier, obviously, for a freelancer to publish information that they've gotten for a story, whether text or photos or whatever," he said. "And it's not like somebody standing on a street corner passing out flyers that they mimeographed of 'My thoughts on the war in Iraq.' The Internet has lent credence ... to people who are independent, being part of the sort of mix of coverage of an event. ... I don't know how far that's going to go," Grabowitz is quoted as saying in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.


URL: http://www.startribune.com/stories/484/5581851.html

Last update: August 27, 2005 at 12:59 AM

Blog brings the war home

By Aaron Blake and Rob Hotakainen
Star Tribune Washington Bureau Correspondents

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Army Lt. Col. Michael Erik Kurilla had just been shot three times and his thigh bone had snapped. He kept firing -- and shouting orders at the soldiers behind him.

Kurilla, 39, formerly of Minneapolis, was wounded in a firefight in an alley in Mosul, Iraq, on Aug. 19. On Friday, the battalion commander had surgery and was recuperating at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.

In a sign of how technology is changing the way in which the war is reported, anyone with access to the internet can see the graphic episode that put Kurilla in the hospital.

The entire incident was captured on film by independent photojournalist Michael Yon, an author and blogger. His photographs, published Thursday at michaelyon.blogspot.com/, show Kurilla taking the three bullets from insurgents in
Mosul. His family is expecting him to recover fully. "He's doing good," said Tommy Raye, 42, a brother-in-law from Bogart, Ga. "I mean, that guy's a warrior, dude."

Raye described Kurilla as "extremely bright, on the scary side of the spectrum." He said he was not surprised when he saw the photographs. "There's no surprise when he's out front," Raye said. "That's just who he is. Some guys are born leaders. This guy's a born leader. ... He's smart, tough and compassionate, all rolled into one. He is the guy you're happy is on your side, straight up."

For months, Yon has been documenting the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment -- nicknamed "Deuce-Four" -- that Kurilla commands. Yon casts Kurilla as a tough and heroic figure with a sixth sense about the enemy. He is described as a commander who calls the families of wounded soldiers before the Army does so that loved ones can get a direct account. On the blog, Kurilla is said to be hesitant to allow anyone but soldiers to travel with his unit. But Yon has ingratiated
himself enough to ride along.

In his dramatic account, he recounts how he followed Kurilla, two soldiers and an interpreter as they were searching for three insurgents. They heard gun fire, and Kurilla sprinted toward the shooting.

Here's part of his account:

Kurilla was running when he was shot, but he didn't seem to miss a stride; he did a crazy judo roll and came up shooting BamBamBamBam! Bullets were hitting all around Kurilla. The young 2nd lieutenant and specialist were the only two soldiers near. Neither had real combat experience. [The interpreter] had no weapon. I had a camera. Seconds count.

Kurilla, though dowm [sic] and unable to move, was fighting and firing, yelling at the two young soldiers to get in there; but they hesitated. BamBamBamBam! Once the firefight was over, Kurilla wouldn't quit giving orders. Yon wrote that medics needed extra morphine to subdue him. He had a mangled right leg and gunshot wounds in his other leg and arm.

Kurilla, who's stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., went to Iraq in October. He graduated from West Point in 1988 and is a veteran of the U.S. invasion of Panama, the first Persian Gulf War, and has served in Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo. He did not want the hospital to release any information regarding his medical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. Raye said that Kurilla's wife wasn't interested in being interviewed but that "she's doing great."

Kurilla, who grew up in Minnesota, has two daughters under the age of 6, Raye said, and his mother still lives in Minnesota. She could not be reached for comment on Friday. Toward the end of Yon's account, he writes about how the men from Kurilla's unit were taking down the Minnesota Vikings flag from his office and having everyone in the unit sign it.

Raye described Kurilla as "a huge Vikings fan," and said former Vikings owner Red McCombs called Kurilla in the hospital to see how he was doing.

Kurilla has been a strong supporter of the war. In remarks at funerals for other soldiers, he has quoted Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and William Shakespeare on their thoughts about war. He has also spelled out his own views. "There are 26 million people in Iraq whose freedom we are fighting for, against terrorists and insurgents that want a return to power and oppression, or worse, a state of fundamentalist tyranny," Kurilla said, adding that the United States is fighting "so that these fanatical terrorists do not enter the sacred ground of our country."

And remembering the fallen warriors, he praised the people who make up the military: "Extraordinary men that would sacrifice their own lives for their fellow soldiers. Men who place the needs of others above their own. Men who accomplish every mission for no reason other than they do not want to let down their brother in arms."

As Kurilla's story finds an instant audience on the Internet, Paul Grabowitz, director of the new media studies program at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, says blogs are permanently changing war coverage. "It's much easier, obviously, for a freelancer to publish information that they've gotten for a story, whether text or photos or whatever," he said. "And it's not like somebody standing on a street corner passing out flyers that they mimeographed of 'My thoughts on the war in Iraq.' The Internet has lent credence ... to people who are independent, being part of the sort of mix of coverage of an event. ... I don't know how far that's going to go." In Yon's account, the medium became an extension of the battle, projecting Mosul to the rest of the world in real time.

"This was happening," Yon said, "in seconds."

The writers are at ablake@startribune.com and rhotakainen@startribune.com.


This article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


NEWSPAPERS: A lesson for community journalism: the Point Reyes Light

The Online Journalism Review website at the University of Southern California posts a story by David LaFontaine about the Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly Point Reyes (Calif.) Light. LaFontaine recounts how readers have bailed out the financially-ailing paper, and then adds excerpts from an interview with former San Francisco Chronicle website guru-turned-news-industry-critic Bob Cauthorn. Includes many useful cross-links and the full text of the LaFontaine's interview with Cauthorn. The overall message: Listening to readers, and integrating web and print may save community "watchdog" journalism.

Friday, August 26, 2005


TRAINING: Univ. of Maryland offers news site handbook

The University of Maryland's Institute for Interactive Journalism (www.J-Lab.org ) has launched a new website and 20-chapter "digital handbook" which together provide basic training for how to launch and run a community news website. the site, http://www.J-LEARNING.ORG , teaches how to build it, use the latest off-the-shelf software to add online features, and then market it and track users. It was created for citizens media projects, small-market news organizations and journalism new-media programs. Read J-Lab's News Release

In a September e-mailed newsletter, J-Lab provides links to updates on several citizen-journalism projects it has funded with support from the Knight Foundation. It's called the New Voices initiative. You can read Jan Schaffer's article for the Knight Foundation's summer newsletter, or check out how J-Lab's New Voices grantees are doing.

Writes J-Lab: "Already a local computer company has donated 20 iPod shuffles to the Lower Eastside Girls Club. And the Franklin Pierce Law Center has helped a New Hampshire venture gain nonprofit status. The Forum, an online newspaper for Deerfield, N.H., launched after a whirlwind quarter of activity that includes plans for covering three more towns. "We are exhausted and exhilarated," said editor Maureen Mann on the eve of the August 20 launch. See story. KRFP News Radio Free Moscow, a start-up low-power FM newscast in Moscow, Idaho, begins a 5:30 p.m. half-hour newscast next month. See story."

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism http://www.j-lab.org/Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland7100 Baltimore Ave., Suite 101, College Park, MD 20740, 301-985-4020.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


TOOLS: Minnesota E-Democracy unveils the E-Democracy Guide/Handbook; open-source tools for issues forums

Steven Clift, E-Democracy board chairman. The E-Democracy Guide/Handbook is now available as a PDF download.

Clift was to speak Sept. 14, 2005, in Amsterdam on the process of setting up a local issues forum, and also describe opensource "GroupServer" software used by E-Democracy at its sites:
Time: 09:30 - 11.30
Place: Instituut voor Publiek en Politiek (IPP), Prinsengracht
911-915, 1017KD Amsterdam (http://www.publiek-politiek.nl/39 )

GroupServer is a new open source online group tool that combines e-mail lists and web forums. By hosting the new UK-based local Issues Forums in Brighton & Hove and Newham, E-Democracy.Org is opening a new path toward open source collaboration among e-democracy initiatives around the world. Issues Forum evolved from the world's first election-oriented website in 1994, Minnesota E-Democracy. Today E-Democracy.Org hosts citizen- based local forums in Minnesota and England. They are effectively designed to have an agenda- setting impact on local communities.

Those attending this free session are asked to download and review the E-Democracy Guide/Handbook.

"Whether you want to create an Issues Forum in your local community or are interested in applying lessons related to online facilitation of political discussions to your own projects, this session will have value to you," writes Clift. "If you are mostly interested in the open source aspects, details on GroupServer should also be reviewed before the session by linking to: http://e-democracy.org/groupserver"

This two hour session will include an overview of Issues Forum, a tour of GroupServer, and a discussion of the potential for open source collaboration in e-democracy projects around the world. This presentation builds on a similar event in London from June (audio webcast available): http://www.dowire.org/wiki/Issues_forum_event

Steven Lenos
Instituut voor Publiek en Politiek (IPP)
kantoor 020-5217643
mobiel 06-55337370
Ook van het IPP: www.stemwijzer.nl en www.jeugdparticipatie.info

Steven L. Clift - - - W: http://publicus.net
Minneapolis - - - - E: clift@publicus.net
Minnesota - - - - - - T: +1.612.822.8667
USA - - - - - MSN/Y!/AIM: netclift

UK Office Hours - 1pm - 11pm - - T: 0870.340.1266


Troy daily newspaper to convert to tabloid format - 2005-08-23

Troy daily newspaper to convert to tabloid format - 2005-08-23

Troy Daily Newspaper to Convert to Tabloid Format
Albany Business Review
The Journal Register Co.'s daily Record in Troy, N.Y., is switching to a tabloid format in an effort to stem declining circulation. "What we're trying to do is make the paper more relevant," says the paper's advertising director, noting that many people prefer a smaller, tabloid-sized newspaper.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


New book by John Battelle examines the idea of "perfect search"

Former Wired Magazine and Industry Standard editor John Battelle, who now teaches at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new book out (Sept. 2005), called "The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of business and Transformed Our Culture." He has excerpted a part of the last chapter in which he suggests that services like GooglePrint, The Internet Archives and Amazon's Search Inside the Book are precursors of sort of "universal search" -- all devices, all content.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


BLOGS: Cincinnati political blogger relocates to North Adams


North Adams Transcript

Blogger finds first few weeks in city quite busy

By John E. Mitchell
North Adams Transcript

Saturday, August 20, 2005 - NORTH ADAMS -- When a Cincinnati blogger
relocated to North Adams last month, he didn't expect things to happen so
quickly -- the first week, he met Ted Kennedy, the next someone asked him
to run for public office and, by the third, he was being interviewed for a
newspaper article.

No wonder his girlfriend referred to him as "King of Berkshire County."

"It's an amazingly friendly area," said new arrival Wes Flinn. "Everyone
has been so outgoing and inviting and the natural beauty is stellar, you
really can't top it. I've just fallen in love with the place in two and a
half weeks, it really feels comfortable."

Flinn came to town at the end of July to settle in before starting his new
position as assistant professor of music and band leader at Massachusetts
College of Liberal Arts. His Web log, "Walk In Brain"
(straightmute.blogspot. com), has been an ongoing effort for a few years
now, largely devoted to politics and happenings in Cincinnati. As he
chronicled his efforts to settle into a new home, opportunity presented
itself for him to meet the man who symbolizes Massachusetts on a national

"Out where I'm from, words like 'Ted Kennedy' and 'Massachusetts' are
usually said in the same tone of voice as 'Satan' and 'Dark Lord,'" said

Flinn's blog had been going through a slow period during the transition to
North Adams and rather than political analysis, he was posting messages
such as "Verizon's not going to turn on my home Internet for two weeks."

"Then the Ted Kennedy thing came along," said Flinn. "I did not have cable
yet, so the only two stations I could get were Channel 19 and 38, or
something like that, and through the haze and the snow on the screen they
said 'Senator Kennedy is coming to North Adams on Friday.'"

Flinn got to chat with U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy for a few minutes, as
well as state Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, D-North Adams, quite a happy surprise
for the politically minded blogger from Ohio. Of course, these meetings
were talked about on his blog. It was the following week that a friend
from Cincinnati who had also ended up in this area provided him with some
unexpected local opportunities.

"She mentioned to some of her friends that someone she knew from
Cincinnati who was active in politics was moving up here," said Flinn.
"They said 'Oh get him to run for council.' I've not even been here a week
and two people have asked me to run for council! Can I at least unpack my
books? Can I at least get the cable turned on first?"

Flinn thinks he should get to know the place better before he makes such a
move, but he already has attended a City Council meeting. It's not that he
has his eye on public office, it's just that his nature is to be an
involved citizen. In Cincinnati, he chaired a group called Cincinnati
Advance, whose mission was to get people to live, work, and play within
the city of Cincinnati.

"I really haven't had a lot of time to formulate opinions of all the
personalities in local politics yet," said Flinn.

He has had time to contact other Massachusetts bloggers and make himself
known to that community.

"I found one or two Massachusetts Web logs and dropped a little "Hey, I
just moved out here, what can you tell me about it?" e-mail to the
people," said Flinn, "and next thing I know, I'm linked on five or six
Massachusetts Web logs in the space of a couple weeks. We're planning
tentatively a Massachusetts blogger get together in October."

For Flinn, blogging has become a crucial tool in regard to politics --
it's about more than just spouting your opinion on things.

"What's happened is that those of us who are interested in politics have
started to discover what the real possibilities are of blogging on a
political level," said Flinn. "It's not just about raising funds for
candidates, it's almost an open-source think tank. There's the free flow
of ideas, the interchange and, hopefully, lively and robust discussion."

While the mainstream media has a tendency to present political bloggers as
wild cards spouting biased lunacy, Flinn believes they might be missing
the big picture by focusing so intently on specific bloggers.

"Democracy is not always clean and discussion is not always clean," said
Flinn. "I think it's important that these discussions take place and
people get passionate about it. I would be distrustful of people who
weren't passionate about something."

Flinn also recognizes his opportunity to act as a kind of an ambassador,
presenting a real picture of Massachusetts to his friends and family in
the Midwest -- especially ones in his hometown in Indiana, with its
population of 17 and the hog farm that Flinn grew up on.

"My father, who is 70 years old and as dyed-in-the-wool Republican
conservative as they come," said Flinn, "lives on the farm he's lived on
since 1968, lives in the same county his family has lived in since 1805.
When we were driving up, one of the things he remarked about was how much
the area in eastern New York and Western Massachusetts is not that far
removed in its physical appearance or use of farms as southern Indiana,
Kentucky, the Appalachian foothills."

Flinn feels that it would be helpful for national unity if people in the
heartland realized that there is more to Massachusetts than Boston.

"It's the same basic principle," said Flinn. "You've got people who work
the lands here, you've got the small-town mindset, the small-town approach
to life, and you're going to have that whether it's in North Adams or
Bedford, Ind., or wherever you are. In a small town, things operate a
certain way."

Flinn is excited to both dive into his new position at MCLA and discover
his new community. As week three has delivered on the newspaper article,
one wonders what week four will hold for him. No doubt, if something does
happen, anyone can find out about it on his Web log, a virtual expression
of his private self.

"It's just like a walk-in freezer," said Flinn. "This is my walk-in

Friday, August 19, 2005


LINK: Conversation about Citizen Journalism on NPR (from Paul Mallasch)

Citizen Journalism on NPR | New Media | J-Log Journalism Blog: "Citizen Journalism on NPR
Contributed by kpaul on: Thursday, Aug 04 2005 @ 01:05 AM
Talk of the Nation at NPR: Citizen Journalism on Al Gore's Current Network - If you've missed it, you need to go check out Talk of the Nation's recent broadcast on citizen journalism with Marc Glaser (columnist at the Online Journalism Review), Vin Crosbie (president and managing partner of Digital Deliverance), John Temple (managing editor of the Rocky Mountain News), and Kyle MacRae, (managing director and founder of Scoopt.) Go listen.

From the NPR site:
Talk of the Nation, August 2, 2005 � Al Gore's new cable network Current features video produced by young, non-journalists to provide voices from outside the mainstream media. But inside the mainstream, professional journalists debate its value. Join Neal Conan and guests for the pros and cons of citizen journalism."

Friday, August 12, 2005


Giraffe Heros Project founder John Graham becomes a giraffe

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 14:30:16 -0700
From: John A. Graham <graham@giraffe.org>
To: Giraffe Heros Project List
Subject: Deliberately Provocative Thoughts from John Graham--Update

Last month I told you I'd just been put on the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) Watch List of persons "posing or
suspected of posing a threat to civil aviation or national security."
The TSA gave no reasons for putting me on the list and no chance to
explain or defend myself. Being on this list means I can be stopped
from boarding any airplane anytime-and I pretty much have to fly for
a living.

I'm fighting this assault on civil liberties with everything I've
got-for myself and for the thousands of other innocent people on that

Many of you have asked to be updated on my progress.
http://www.giraffe.org/1speeches_watchlist.html The article I wrote
has been been picked up by over 22,000 websites, sites representing
the widest imaginable array of political thinking.

Here at my organization, the Giraffe Heroes Project, we're fielding
calls, setting up interviews, mailing out information--working in
every way we can to marshall public opinion in defense of liberty.
You can read and watch one of my interviews by clicking
http://www.giraffe.org/1speeches_watchlistvideo.html. I'm doing
radio talk shows across the country.

I've approached 30 of the most relevant Congresspeople and Senators,
urging them to amend the Patriot Act and the Intelligence Reform Act
to provide a better balance between legitimate security concerns and
basic civil liberties.

If I have to, I'll sue, either on my own or as part of a class
action. The ACLU is very interested in the case and I'm trying to
generate the same interest on the libertarian right. The flood of
mail I've gotten so far confirms that alarm about assaults on civil
liberties crosses all partisan lines.

This campaign gains momentum daily. Hundreds of staff hours now are
going into this cause, draining the resources the Giraffe Heroes
Project needs to continue our "regular" work of finding and
publicizing real heroes, helping teachers use our classroom
materials, and booking speeches and workshops about active
citizenship. And this may just be the beginning.

We need to hire some help before we drown.

I've already gotten an offer of pro bono legal representation, if it
comes to a lawsuit. People who live nearby have asked to come in and
stuff envelopes; others have walked up to me asking if it would help
to write a check.

Let me tell you what I tell them--yes, sending money would help!

One click puts you on the Giraffe Heroes Project's
http://www.giraffe.org/aboutus_help.html donation page. If sending
money through cyberspace is a concern, please send a check to the
Giraffe Heroes Project, PO Box 759, Langley WA 98260. Earmark it for
the "National Watch List Campaign." Yes, it's tax deductible.

Take a stand with us!

John Graham

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Conference considers the question of journalists and trust

From the AEJMC Reporter, a conference daily published for attendees of
the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
conference in San Antonio, Texas, Aug. 10-13, 2005


By Gabe Wicklund
Texas Christian University

Trust doesn't usually come free.

And, in most cases, journalists are still trying to earn it.

Charles Lewis, president of the Fund for Independence in Journalism, said
Tuesday that journalists can earn readers. trust by sharing information
that directly affects their lives.

"Trust follows from getting the inside story," Lewis said.

Tuesday's pre-AEJMC conference session, .A Wake Up Call: Can Trust and
Quality Save Journalism?. was driven by a one-year research project called
Restoring the Trust.

Speakers discussed their thoughts on whether journalism has lost the
public's respect.

A major change at The New York Times has been an effort to be open about
sources of information, because secrets are not helpful in gaining and
retaining readers' trust, said Neil Chase, deputy editor for NYTimes.com.

"People watch what we are doing," Chase said. "Nobody trusts anybody
blindly anymore."

However, the Times considers sources. trust important as well, as
exemplified by the jail term being served by Times reporter Judith Miller
for protecting a confidential source, Chase said.

Panelists also discussed the theory that the mainstream media is headed in
a death spiral.

Philip Meyer, author of "The Vanishing Newspaper" and a professor at the
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said the mainstream media is not
in a death spiral but is headed in other directions.

"Journalism has changed from a craft of hunting and gathering to a
processing of information," Meyer said.

He said because of a plethora of news and information available to the
public from an infinite number of sources, journalists must dig deeper
into issues to report the truth.

Clyde Bentley, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, said he
does not buy the death spiral theory because news media are everywhere.
Journalists see that traditional media are declining, but they overlook
the rise of new media such as the Internet, he said.

Bentley noted that Thefacebook.com, an online network for college
students, is becoming a widespread phenomenon at many universities.
Thefacebook.com is a form of journalism because it shares information, but
most journalists are not yet willing to look at it that way, Bentley said.

Another popular form of Internet communication is blogging, which provides
ways for citizens to have journalistic voices, Bentley said.

Kathleen Richardson, a professor at Drake University, said the panelists
sounded like they had almost given up on the traditional mass media.
However, she said she thinks her students will find careers in the
magazine or newspaper business if that is what they want.

She said it is clear that the future of mass media is on the Internet, but
there will always be a need for journalists to gather information and
report news.

"Helping people make sense of their world and their communities -- that
far from dead," Richardson said.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


MySA.com: MySanAntonio.com

MySA.com: MySanAntonio.com

More than 100 journalists and journalism educators gathered for a day in San Antonio, Texas, on Aug. 9 to hear panels consider why it is that citizens are less inclined to trust newspapers and TV stations than ever before. The San Antonio Express News created a jump page to links about the event.

RESEARCH: Skyrocketing blog usage seen as rebuke of "mainstream" media


Survey: Blog Readership Skyrocketing Aug. 9, 2005 [c.gif] [c.gif]

The surging popularity of blogs has led comScore Networks to suggest that
blogs can now be thought of as part of the mainstream media, if not rivals.

By Thomas Claburn

In six years, blogs have gone from navel-gazing online diaries to must-read
Internet publications that rival the reach and influence of traditional
media properties.

A new study from online research firm comScore Networks Inc. reveals that 50
million U.S. Internet users visited blog sites in the first quarter of this
year, up 45% from the first quarter of 2004. That represents about 30% of
all U.S. Internet users, or a sixth of the total U.S. population.

The study is based on data from comScore's opt-in research panel. The panel
tracks the online activity of 1.5 million U.S. Internet users and reflects
the behavior of consumers who visited the 400 top Weblog properties and
blog-hosting services during the first three months of 2005.

Given their popularity, the study suggests that blogs can now be thought of
as part of the mainstream media.

There are approximately 14.7 million blogs, if one goes by blog search
engine Technorati.com. But it's the top blog properties that are growing the
fastest. The study finds that six of the top 10 blog-hosting services have
seen their traffic numbers grow by more than 100% from the first quarter of
2004 to the first quarter of 2005. For example, according to comScore,
Blogspot.com now draws more traffic than NYTimes.com, USAToday.com, or

New York University journalism professor and author Adam L. Penenberg sees
the increasing popularity of blogs as a sign of disaffection with
traditional media coverage. "I think the public's appetite for
consumer-created content on the Web (like blogs) mirrors its taste for
reality shows, celebrity gossip magazines, talk radio, and cable TV shows,"
he says via E-mail. "The public craves intimacy. We want to feel like we
know the people we read and read about, listen to on the radio, watch on TV,
and click to on the Net."

"Mainstream media outlets should realize that objective 'just the facts,
ma'am' type of journalism isn't compelling enough anymore--and is, in fact,
a major turn off to younger audiences, which are their future subscribers,"
he says.

Rick Bruner, co-author of the report and director of research at Internet
advertising company DoubleClick Inc. (which wasn't involved with the study),
sees blogs complementing traditional media rather than competing with it. "I
think it's much more of a symbiotic relationship than one transforming the
other," he says.

The public's embrace of blogs is particularly significant for marketers,
Bruner says. As the study notes, bloggers represent an attractive audience
in demographic terms. They tend to live in wealthier households, be younger,
favor high-speed Internet connections, and be more likely to shop online.

Such statistics haven't been lost on forward-looking advertisers. Late last
year, Nike launched a blog (now inactive) called "Art of Speed" with the
assistance of Gawker Media to promote a series of short films about speed
(and, obliquely, about its shoes). Lee Dungarees has a blog called "90 Ft.
Babe" that features posts by "Natalia ... an unusually tall model/actress"
whose avowed interests include "cute guys, shoes, my favorite lip gloss,

Monday, August 08, 2005


FILM: Documentary shows Iraqis have diverse views on Bush and U.S. occupation

The Dreams of Sparrows

Upset with American media coverage of Iraq, American film producer Aaron Raskin is touring the nation with a film produced by a collective of Baghdad-based producers created by Raskin and Baghdad photographer Hayder Mousa Daffar. "The Dreams of Sparrows" includes interviews with a dozen or more Iraqis who offer surprisingly varied views on President Bush and the U.S. occupation. (LINK TO REVIEWS).

Sunday, August 07, 2005


BLOGGING: A discussion of "degree of risk" as definition of blogger vs. journalist

� Ground zero for credibility in blogging and journalism | Between the Lines | ZDNet.com

ZDNet columnist David Berlind is proposing that one distinction between bloggers and journalists (if you assume bloggers are NOT journalists), is that bloggers may tend to be willing to take more risks in the writing. He suggests they may be willing to post with less rigorous fact checking than a traditional journalist. He suggest that with blogs increasing the velocity of writing, sources, including PR professionals -- are going to have to get used to responding more quickly or risk seeing the posting of incomplete reports.

-- bill densmore

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Spokesman-Review's Ken Sands on charging for content


Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 17:56:49 -0500

Author: "Ken Sands" <kens@spokesman.com>

Subject: Paid vs. free? Maybe there's a third way...

Body: We're at an interesting period in the evolution of online news. Many
newspapers simply put their print content online, add some breaking news
and maybe a few bells-and-whistles multimedia and interactivity and call
it good. Sell a bunch of online advertising and everybody's happy, right?

I don't think so. In the next few years, in my view, online news should
become much more independent of that print content. If you think about it,
posting a newspaper online is giving people a snapshot of yesterday's
news. We should instead, give them today's news and a bit of tomorrow's
news, as well as making full use of the unique attributes of the web,
including: immediacy, interactivity, utility, multimedia, entertainment,
archiving, aggregation and community publishing. When you truly take
advantage of those attributes, you've got a much different web site.

Here in Spokane, we started on Sept. 1 charging an online subscription
fee, but it's ONLY for the repurposed print content. Everything else on
the web site is free. As it is now, we frequently post breaking news and
have between 20 and 25 staff-written blogs (immediacy and interactivity).
We have multiple databases of information (the utility function). We have
video, photo galleries, etc. Is it enough web-original content to
withstand the partitioning of our print content behind a subscription
wall? Obviously not, as we saw our year-over-year traffic growth go from
plus 42 percent to zero.

In a perfect world, I would have preferred to wait a couple of years to
let the evolution proceed toward web-original content before charging for
the repurposed print content. (But you can hardly blame the print
circulation folks for being antsy as their numbers decline.)

I'm hoping that what it really means is that we're simply ahead of the
evolutionary curve. Give us a couple of years to jack-up the web-original
content and people will come for that first and foremost. Then, who cares
if we charge for the print content? (Of course, we could find out that the
evolution is going an entirely different direction.)

Regardless, we really have no choice but to look for a better business
model. If print circulation and advertising drop significantly, there's
probably no way an increase in online revenue can make up the difference.
Who's going to pay all of the reporters and editors? Maybe those of us who
are left in the future will simply aggregate and edit the news that's
provided by citizen journalists. I don't pretend to have all of the
answers, but you can't say we aren't looking...

Ken Sands
Online Publisher
The Spokesman-Review

Friday, August 05, 2005


Creative Voices' reacts to FCC ruling allowing telcos to block competitive DSL access;

Date: Fri, 05 Aug 2005 16:59:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jonathan Rintels <jonr@creativevoices.us>

Statement of Jonathan Rintels, Executive Director, Center for Creative
Voices in Media, on today's FCC decision that telephone companies no
longer must share access to their broadband DSL lines with competing
Internet Service Providers.

Today's FCC decision that telephone companies no longer must share access
to their broadband DSL lines with competing Internet Service Providers is
not good for creative artists and the American public, but it could have
been far, far worse.

Following the Supreme Court's decision in the Brand
X case upholding the FCC's earlier elimination of competition from cable
broadband service, as Commissioner Copps correctly notes in his
Concurring Statement, "the handwriting is on the wall."

There was no
doubt that the Commission would extend the same ill-considered regulatory
treatment to the telephone companies' competing DSL broadband service.
Now, thanks to the Commission, cable and telephone companies will both
have the power to stop other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from
offering competing service on their broadband networks.

According to the
FCC's July 2005 report on High Speed Internet Access, in December 2004
approximately 94 percent of Americans subscribing to high speed
Internet access received it from either a cable or a telephone company.

Given that tremendous market share, today's FCC action eliminating
competing ISPs will give cable and telephone companies even greater
opportunities to provide the poor quality service at an inflated price
for which they are so well known.

To compensate for eliminating ISP
competition on these companies' broadband lines, the Commission should
immediately fast-track additional ways for Americans to receive high
speed Internet access other than via cable and telco, including freeing
up additional spectrum for new wireless broadband competition.

However, today's FCC action also gives reasons for cautious optimism. In
conjunction with today's decision, the Commission unanimously adopted an
important policy statement on the principles that will guide its future
policymaking concerning high speed Internet access. These four principles
of "Net Neutrality" are critical for preserving the open Internet that
Americans enjoy today, in contrast to a possible closed or proprietary
Internet that might resemble either a cable television system "on
steroids" or the "walled garden" that was the old, pre-Internet America
Online. The principles are:

1. Consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their

2. Consumers are entitled to run applications and services of their
choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement;

3. Consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that
do not harm the network;

4. Consumers are entitled to competition among network providers,
application and service providers, and content providers.

Creative Voices has strenuously advocated these "Net Neutrality"
principles for the benefit of creative artists seeking to reach an
audience, as well as an audience seeking to reach creative artists.

On a
larger scale, as demonstrated by the inclusion of these principles in the
Bill of Media Rights, a document endorsed by organizations representing
over 20 million Americans, "Net Neutrality" serves the broad public
interest in the widest possible dissemination of news, information, and
entertainment from a multitude of diverse voices and viewpoints, free
from control by the cable and telephone companies providing the high
speed Internet access that is increasingly necessary in our society.

We look forward to working with the Commission to ensure that these Net
Neutrality principles are not given mere lip service, but are rigorously
implemented and enforced in a manner that serves the interests of all
Americans. Today’s open Internet must be kept safe from a hostile
takeover by the few corporate gatekeepers who now control high speed
access to it, following today’s Commission ruling.

Additional information and background on our concerns about the effects
of the Brand X case may be found in our article in the current Journal of
the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers & Directors, which is posted
on our website, link below.

If you have any questions or comments on the above, please don't hesitate
to contact me.

Jonathan Rintels
Center for Creative Voices in Media
www.creativevoices.typepad.com (blog)

Center for Creative Voices in Media
1220 L Street, N.W., Suite 100-494
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 448-1517 (voice)
(202) 318-9183 (fax)

Thursday, August 04, 2005


STUDY: Blog post cites data and makes claims about corporate media board memberships

Adbusters : Board to Death

This post on the Adbusters.org website, cites research by Project Censored and lists the corporate affiliations of members of the boards of 10 of the largest U.S. media companies. The writer asserts that because these media companies have directors from major non-media companies, it is difficult for them to report independently.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


DOWNLOAD: Media Empowerment Project "organizing manual"

The Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, Inc. - Media Empowerment Project

The United Church of Christ's Washington, D.C., office using grants from the Ford Foundation and others, has formed "The Media Empowerment Project." The project, working in four test cities, including Detroit and San Antonio, seeks to teach citizens how to create and lobby for media that is ethnically diverse in its presentation and coverage, which "works for justice." The project has produced a PDF-downloadable "Organizing Manual".

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