Saturday, December 31, 2005


UPDATE: Jimmy Wales tells Times of London WikiPedia may accept advertising

Jeff Jarvis writes Dec. 29, 2005 on his blog, BuzzMachine that Jimmy Wales says Wikipedia may accept advertising.  Says Jarvis: "I think it’s a good idea. Some will have a kneejerk response against filthy lucre. But I say the right question is: What could those resources buy?"

The full Times of London interview with Jimbo is below.,,9071-1961321,00.html

Times Online December 30, 2005

Identity question for world's encyclopaedia

By Rhys Blakely
The Times of London

"In my vision of the future of journalism what we will see is an increasing amount of citizen participation in the gathering of news and in feedback and in reporting and analysing the news. At the same time, we’ll have professional organisations managing the process."  -- Jimmy Wales
:"It is pretty weird," the founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia, says. "A few years ago, I was just some guy sitting in front of the internet. Now I  send an e-mail or edit an article and it makes headlines around the world ... I used to be just a guy – now I'm Jimmy Wales."

Depending on your point of view, there are, at least, two very different Jimmy Wales.

For hard-core "wikipedians" there is the founder of one of the wonders of the internet age – a massive, charitably-funded online repository of knowledge, compiled completely by volunteers whose long-term aim is to create versions in all the languages of the world. 

In contrast, for John Seigenthaler, the founding editorial director of USA Today who last month was linked with the assassination of President John F Kennedy by a libellous Wikipedia article, there is an irresponsible rogue running a haven for "volunteer vandals with poison-pen intellects".

For Mr Wales, neither of these will do.

He calls the Seigenthaler entry the "worst" article on Wikipedia – "not the only bad article on Wikipedia for sure, but … the worst". But while he "definitely worries a lot about how to make sure that articles on Wikipedia are right", he suggests his biggest fear was that the incident would overshadow the rest of the work on the site "which is actually pretty good".

Indeed, according to a recent study by Nature, the scientific journal, Wikipedia is actually no more unreliable than the venerable Encyclopaedia Britannica – the standard to which the website aspires. The report, Mr Wales acknowledges, came in the nick of time – just as the Seigenthaler crisis risked rubbishing Wikipedia's reputation for good.

"It was good to have this thing out there that said it’s not just this crazy place on the internet where people just post nonsense - that Wikipedia’s actually pretty good in parts," he explains.

That "pretty good" refrain sums up the cautious Wikipedia champion. Never mind the Nature commendation. Or that the site now carries more than 2,500,000 articles and has 80 "live" language versions - from Asturian to Waloon, via Scots, "Simple English" and Telugu - with another 100 already in the pipeline. "If what you’re after is 'who won the World Cup in 1986', it’s going to be fine – no problem," he says. "If you want to know something a little more esoteric, or something that’s going to be controversial, you should probably use a second reference – at least."

To understand Wikipedia's place and potential, Mr Wales argues, you have to accept these kind of qualifications. As one reader wrote to the Editor of The Times, to criticise a website which anybody can edit for being "non-authoritative" is a bit like criticising a "newspaper for being flammable".

Similarly, Mr Wales is reluctant to over-hype the worldwide web as a whole. He recently read The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage, a history of the telegraph that describes how in the 19th Century the then new technology was lauded in remarkably similar terms to those used by today’s internet gurus.

"We all like to think that we are living through a time of very rapid change, but that was true in the 19th Century as well," he says.

"On the brink of the 20th Century, people thought that because they could suddenly communicate nearly instantaneously across continents, this could be an end to war. And then the 20th Century came and was a fiasco as far as wars were concerned."

The "outlaw" Jimmy Wales, it turns out, is a very reasonable revolutionary. A finance graduate, he ended a six-year spell as a futures trader in Chicago in 2000. According to one report, he earned enough money in the commodities markets to "support himself and his wife for the rest of their lives".

Mr Wales says that is true – but only because he "lives in a normal house and drives a Hyundai". As a trader, he was involved in computer programming, through which he became interested in the "open software" movement - where volunteer collaborators build "free" software - and began thinking about using similar methods to build an online encyclopaedia. Now 39, he is the head of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit body that owns Wikipedia, but works unpaid. The Foundation employs just three people to carry out its mission: to provide every person on earth with a free online encyclopaedia in their own language. The real work, after all, is done by the site’s volunteer writers.

The demand for their output is already phenomenal: Wikipedia, which started in 2001, will notch up around 2.5 billion page impressions this month. According to Mr Wales, its traffic volumes are doubling every four months.

The combination of ultra-low overheads and massive readership would excite any media executive. And while the site does not carry any advertising, Wales admits it might. "There is a great deal of resistance to the idea, both from the community and from me. But at some point questions are going to be raised over the amount of money we are turning down," he says.

"In my vision of the future of the newspaper industry and of journalism in general, people who think that traditional media organisations are going to go away are just kidding themselves," he says. "That doesn’t make any sense to me. On other hand, people who think that journalism can just stay the way it is are also just kidding themselves.

"What we will see is a set of hybrid models with an increasing amount of citizen participation in the gathering of news and in feedback and in reporting and analysing the news. And at the same time, we’ll have professional organisations managing the process – basically being the core framework."

The example Mr Wales gives comes from a spell of consulting he carried out for the BBC last year.

"In the sport division of the BBC they are very interested in thinking about how they can have better coverage of minor sports. Sometimes they are criticised for focusing only on major sports. They don’t carry coverage of every sport and every local club around the country – they don’t have enough money, it’s impossible.

"So what they’re saying is, 'wouldn’t be interesting if we had a model where we could cover the major sports with our traditional people and enrich the whole experience by bringing in people to allow other sporting communities to report on themselves?'

"I’d say that makes a lot of sense. In a similar way, if people out there are willing to make webpages and content, then it makes sense for the newspapers to get involved with that."

Alongside blogging, "wiki" technology (the name, according to Wikipedia, is derived from the "wiki wiki", or "quick", buses found at Honolulu Airport) is one obvious route for newspapers to explore if they want to involve their readers online.

The software could be the key to involving potentially limitless numbers of contributors to co-operate on a single piece of content. It works, Mr Wales explains, by incorporating  a series of "incentives" that encourage positive amendments. For example, it requires just a single mouse click to undo a piece of "vandalism" on Wikipedia – far less effort than it takes to spoil an article in the first place.

Old media companies, however, have an awful track-record in experimenting with wikis. The biggest disaster came in June, when the Los Angeles Times conducted a live trial to discover whether Wikipedia’s software could be used by users of the newspaper's site to collaboratively write a comment piece on the Iraq war.

"Plenty of sceptics are predicting embarrassment," the paper had said prophetically. "Like an arthritic old lady who takes to the dance floor, they say, the Los Angeles Times is more likely to break a hip than to be hip. We acknowledge that possibility. Nevertheless, we proceed."

So it turned out. In a matter of hours the LA Times's "Wikitorial" proved an unmitigated failure, being swamped with obscene messages and photos.

Mr Wales applauds the paper’s "brave experiment". But he also makes it clear he would have done things very differently.

"They used our software, but made a few mistakes when they set it up," he says. "They hid all the community features – so they hid ‘recent changes’ for example, so it was impossible for the community to monitor the site’s development.

"Also, they didn’t take the time to build a community. They just started promoting it wholesale to the general public. So that rather than having a core community of people who cared about the site and to look after it they just had people wandering in with no real personal stake in it.

"And the final point I would make is that they chose just about the most difficult thing there can be to write collaboratively: opinion. And in particular, opinion on the Iraq war – that’s a tough topic. It’s not as if there’s a simple for-or-against argument to be made. There’s a million possible variations and it’s not immediately clear how a community can converge on something."

Such moderation has played a major part in the development of the Wikipedia project. Long-standing plans to ring-fence "completed" articles, once they have been reviewed and checked, were given fresh impetus by the Seigenthaler crisis. The software to allow such "stable" articles, which will be closed off from further revision, is now in the final stages. But there will be no hurry to implement it.

"Exactly how we’re going to do that is going to be open to the community," Mr Wales says.

"As we go along, there will be a lot of debate. It turns out that for us there is almost never a simple answer to anything. Just a lot of questions, a lot of discussions and some fairly detailed policies."

AP: Internet technology increasingly empowers citizens to direct action


Wednesday, December 28, 2005 - Updated: 07:16 AM EST

Internet fosters local political movements

By Ron Fournier
The Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Frustrated by government and empowered by technology,
Americans are filling needs and fighting causes through grass-roots
organizations they built themselves - some sophisticated, others quaintly ad
hoc. This is the era of people-driven politics.

From a homemaker-turned-kingmaker in Pittsburgh to dog owners in New York
to a "gym rat" here in southwest Florida, people are using the Internet to do
what politicians can't - or won't - do.

This is their story, but its also an American story because ordinary folks
are doing the extraordinary to find people with similar interests, organize
them and create causes and connections. "People are just beginning to realize
how much power they have," said Chris Kofinis, a Democratic consultant who
specializes in grass-roots organizing via the Internet.

"At a time when we are craving community and meaning in our lives, people
are using these technologies to find others with the same complaints and
organize them," he said. "They don't have to just sit in a coffee shop and
gripe about politics. They can change politics."

Mary Shull changed her life, if not politics. A lonely and frustrated
liberal, the stay-at-home mother of two joined the liberal online group in 2004. Working from home, the Pittsburgh woman helped round up
votes for presidential candidate John Kerry and other Democrats. On Election
Day, Kerry prevailed in Pennsylvania, but failed to unseat President Bush.

"I was upset with Kerry's loss, but what really devastated me was the loss
of that sense of empowerment in my life, this sense of engagement, that I got
with MoveOn," she said. Shull, 31, was brimming with ideas for liberal causes,
but MoveOn had virtually shut down after the election and the Democratic Party
was catatonic. So she took matters in her own hands, e-mailing the 1,500
contacts she had made through MoveOn and asking if they wanted to keep busy.

Their first meeting drew 85 people. They got involved in local races, and
Shull tended to her e-mail list - each name coded with the person's pet issue.
"This wasn't about a huge agenda. This was people gathering together and
working with each other on things that interested them," she said. "It was just
a way for people to connect with each other."

Politicians took notice. When former Rep. Joe Hoeffel decided he might want
to run for lieutenant governor, he called Shull and asked for her support.
"Ten years ago, somebody like Mary would be as interested as she is in
politics, but her circle of influence would not have extended beyond her home
or block or even voting precinct," said Hoeffel, a Democrat who gave up his
House seat in 2004 for an unsuccessful Senate bid.

"Now, she's got 1,500 other self-motivated and influential people at her
fingertips, and carries as much clout as half the people I've been calling."

MoveOn, founded in 1997 to fend off President Clinton's impeachment, raised
$60 million for liberal causes in 2004. The group put its organizing muscle
behind Cindy Sheehan last summer and helped make the "Peace Mom" a symbol of
the anti-war movement.

Political activist Tom Hayden believes that the anti-war movement in the
1960s, which he helped organize, could have gained steam sooner had the
Internet existed.
"Movements happen so much faster today," he said. And they come in all
shapes and sizes.


Shannon Sullivan's 9-year-old son wanted to know why Mayor James E. West
used a city computer to solicit gay men over the Internet, and why nobody was
doing anything about it. "He's the mayor," Sullivan replied. "Mom, you better
do something." So she did. A single mother with a high school education and no
political experience, Sullivan launched a recall campaign that used an Internet
site to organize rallies and media events. Turns out there were thousands of
other people in Spokane, Wash., who wondered why nobody was doing anything
about West. "I was mad at people for not doing anything. I was mad at the
system and I was mad at James West," she said after her campaign succeeded in
convincing voters and the mayor was recalled. "I.m not so mad anymore."


Roberta Bailey likes Pugs - the jowly, wrinkly faced breed of dog she keeps
as a pet. She also likes punk rock and people. With the help of the Internet,
the Manhattan photographer found a way to combine her interests: She organized
a group of Pug owners who fought to save a legendary punk venue. "I got off my
butt and did something cool," she said. Using the Web site, Bailey
organized a "Million Pug March" in Washington Square Park to show support for
the venerable club CBGB. It's as close to politics as she has ever come. "Who
knows what me and the Pugs can do to change the world some day," she said,


Howard Dean used in 2003 to organize anti-war activists behind
his Democratic presidential campaign. Though his candidacy petered out, the Web
site continued to grow. Nearly 2 million people log into the site to find
others with similar interests. There are more than 4,000 topics - everything
from witches and pagans to wine enthusiasts, working moms and divorced dads.
"People really get a certain high about connecting with other human beings,"
said Scott Heiferman, the site's co-founder. "Because we live in such an
isolated culture, when people come together with other like-minded people,
there is a sense of, "Let's organize to do something."


Matt Margolis got tired of hearing about the rising influence of liberal
blogs so he scrolled the Internet for advice on how to start an online diary of
his own. He enlisted writers. He got help with designing a home page. He found
somebody who knew how to write computer coding. was born. "It
took a community of people to get me going," said the 25-year-old architecture
student from Boston. By the end of the 2004 election, he had a nearly 1,500
other bloggers posted on his site - an army of Bush backers who donated time
and money to his campaign and wrote letters to the editor on the president's


Dave Renzella is a fitness instructor at Omni gym in Fort Myers, Fla. In
his spare time, he plugs into the MoveOn Web site to get the e-mail addresses
of fellow liberals and tries to organize them."I'm not an activist at heart.
I'm a gym rat," he said, "but the Internet makes it easy to combine an interest
in people with an interest in politics."


Eli Pariser, the 25-year-old executive director of MoveOn Political Action,
said the people-driven trend is a good thing for democracy, a chance to "shift
the balance of power from established interests that can raise of lot of money
and lobby special interests to a bunch of bubble-up, bottom-up citizen
campaigns." These newly empowered constituents are using technology to send a
message to politicians. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack frequently hears from citizens
via e-mails on his Blackberry. "It's great because it reconnects people to
government. It.s created a sense of community and a sense of belonging," he
said. Politicians who pay little heed could find frustrated voters banding
together and creating a third-party movement. "At some point this has got to
reach critical mass," Kofinis said. "Nobody knows when that will happen or how
that will happen, but it will literally explode into a movement."


SIDEBAR: Taking matters into their own hands

The Internet and other technological advances have enabled people to change
politics in many new ways.

-- Philip Lutz is a divorced father who believes that he and others got "raw
deals" in custody cases. He uses and other e-tools to organize
meetings of divorced men who lost custody of their children.

-- Jeanine Long of Enid, Okla., keeps an e-mail list of more than 1,000 fellow
Republicans that she uses to forward party alerts and stories of interest.

-- Saravanan Manoharan of Bangalore, India, started a group of
fellow technical writers in July 2004.

-- Scott Sala, 36, of New York City, runs a blog about local politics after
shifting focus from a national political online journal.

-- Rita Amunrud, a political newcomer who helped Shannon Sullivan recall
Spokane Mayor James West, is pushing city leaders to include the recall leaders
in conversations about the future.


On the Net:

Blogs on Bush:


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

Friday, December 30, 2005


EDUCATION: Media Bloggers Association to offer "boot camp" training

For additional information contact:
Robert Cox
Media Bloggers Association
(928) 223-5711
FAX: (928) 223-5711

March 21, 2005

Media Bloggers Association Launches First-of-its-kind Journalism Education

Heritage Foundation, and Center for Budget and Policy Priorities partner
with MBA to offer journalism training for bloggers

NEW ROCHELLE, NY, and NASHVILLE, TN February 21, 2005 - The Media Bloggers
Association launched today the Media Bloggers Association Education and
Training Program with the announcement of a unique partnership between the
MBA And two leading Washington policy institutes: The Heritage
Foundation's Center for Media and Public Policy and the Center for Budget
and Policy Priorities. Under the auspices of the MBA, the two
organizations will sponsor training for 15 MBA members to attend a two-day
CARR training "boot camp". CARR stands for "Computer-Aided Research and
Reporting" and is designed to give journalists and now "citizen
journalists" tools to cut through the PR cant and spin to get to the real
underlying news on public policy issues, using publicly available
databases and statistical research techniques the academic world has used
for decades.

The MBA Education and Training Program will be overseen by MBA Member Mark
Tapscott who is currently the Director of the Center for Media and Public
Policy at The Heritage Foundation. The CARR "boot camp" is just the first
in a series of Education and Training programs planned by the MBA.

"Mark came up with the terrific idea for offering CARR training to
bloggers soon after joining the MBA last year", says Robert Cox, President
of the Media Bloggers Association, "our only concern was the need to
remain non-partisan and how working with Heritage alone might impact that.
Mark solved that by enlisting his 'opposite numbers' at the Center for
Budget and Policy Priorities around the common goal of accountability and
transparency in government."

"Bringing together two leading think tanks and bloggers from different
political perspectives as part of an innovative program like the MBA
Education And Training Program was complex, said Tapscott, "but it's
definitely going to have been worth the wait."

The first CARR "boot camp" will be held at the Freedom Forum's First
Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University as part of the MBA's
BlogNashville, a three-day event hosted by the New Century Journalism
School at Belmont University, a mile from the Freedom Forum. The "boot
camp" will include two days of training and course materials provide at no
cost to MBA members. Plans for a second CARR "boot camp for bloggers" at
the National Press Club in Washington, DC are already underway for this
coming summer.

The Media Bloggers Association ( is a
non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting MBA members and their
blogs. Founded in 2004, the membership includes independent/amateur
bloggers, professional bloggers and professional writers who operate a
personal blog, as well as those interested in the development of media
blogging, citizen journalism, and related endeavors.
The Heritage Foundation (, founded in 1973, is a
research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to
formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles
of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional
American values, and a strong national defense.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ( is one
of the nationâ..s premier policy organizations working at the federal and
state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and
moderate-income families and individuals. The Center conducts research and
analysis to inform public debates over proposed budget and tax policies
and to help ensure that the needs of low-income families and individuals
are considered in these debates.

The Freedom Forum ( is a nonpartisan
foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all
people. The foundation focuses on three priorities: the Newseum, First
Amendment freedoms and newsroom diversity. The Freedom Forum funds the
operations of the Newseum; the First Amendment Center; and the Diversity
Institute. The First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute are
housed in the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University in
Nashville, Tenn.
The New Century Journalism Program at Belmont University
( contains several primary and interrelated
components, all of which are closely related to Belmont University's
mission to integrate professional education with a strong core emphasis in
the liberal arts and ethical development. Our objective is to provide each
of our students with a high quality education that combines strong
critical thinking skills and practical training in the most current
professional methods with a personal understanding of the role that
journalists play in our society.


COPYRIGHT/ANTITRUST: Spitzer looks at pricing of music downloads

Posted 12/27/2005 2:28 PM

Spitzer subpoenas music companies on download pricing

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is asking
several major music companies for information on wholesale prices for
digitally downloaded music as investigators consider launching an
investigation into pricing practices.

Darren Dopp, a spokesman for Spitzer, said the AG's office was making "a
preliminary inquiry" into pricing. He said it would take several months
for the office to launch a full investigation, if one is warranted.

Warner Music Group said in an SEC filing Friday that the subpoena it
received is part of "an industrywide investigation."

"We received a subpoena from Attorney General Spitzer's office. As
disclosed in our public filings, we are cooperating fully with the
inquiry," Amanda Collins, a spokeswoman for Warner Music Group, said in a

The Wall Street Journal reported that a spokesman for Sony BMG Music
Entertainment confirmed his company received a subpoena and that an
unnamed source close to Vivendi Universal's Universal Music Group
confirmed that company had received a subpoena.

Neither company returned calls for comment. Calls to EMI Group's offices
in New York and London went unanswered.

In September, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs publicly criticized music
companies, calling some major labels "greedy" for pushing Apple to raise
prices on its popular iTunes service. Record label executives have scoffed
at the suggestion.

In a speech before an investors conference, Warner Music Group CEO Edgar
Bronfman Jr. said that Apple's 99-cent price for single tracks ignores the
issue that not all songs are the same commercially and, like any other
product, shouldn't be priced the same.

Such discord has not kept the labels from licensing their music videos to
Apple. Still, as their contracts with Apple come up for renewal, the music
companies are seeking to improve their take.

"All the prices do seem to move in lock step," said industry analyst Phil
Leigh, who runs market research firm Inside Digital Media. "There has been
talk of raising prices for several months. I'm surprised (music companies)
raised the issue. It's clear the industry convention is 99 cents."

The subpoenas issued this month are not the first time Spitzer has looked
into the music industry.

In November, Warner Music agreed to pay $5 million to settle an
investigation into payoffs for radio airplay of artists. In July, Sony BMG
agreed to pay $10 million and stop bribing radio stations to feature

Spitzer also asked for documents from EMI Group and Vivendi Universal in
that probe.


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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


MoveOn unit protests staffing cuts at Tribune Co.

Group Says Tribune's Cuts Hurt the Public
Published: December 26, 2005

The New York Times

Public demonstrations against a newspaper's editorial views are not
uncommon. But it is highly unusual for anyone to protest a newspaper's
internal business decisions.

Nonetheless, that is what is happening these days to the Tribune Company,
the Chicago-based owner of several of the country's major daily
newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Newsday,
The Baltimore Sun, The Hartford Courant, The Orlando Sentinel in Florida
and The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa.

The company has cut its work force by 4 percent, or 900 jobs, accounting
for nearly half the estimated 2,000 jobs lost in the entire industry this

These cuts have caught the attention of MoveOn Media Action, an offshoot
of, the liberal activist group formed to oppose President Bill
Clinton's impeachment. The group, whose parent organization has worked
against President Bush (whose poll numbers have fallen with the reporting
of difficulties in Iraq and other problems), says the cuts at the Tribune
papers undermine important watchdog journalism.

Its campaign has included public demonstrations as well as petition drives
in Tribune cities to gather signatures protesting the job cuts.

MoveOn attended a newspaper investor conference in New York earlier this
month and gave petitions, with 45,000 signatures, to an aide to Dennis J.
FitzSimons, chairman and chief executive of the Tribune Company. But they
were unable to engage Mr. FitzSimons in a discussion.

So they sent him an e-mail message.

Now Mr. FitzSimons has sent a message back.

He was far less specific about the company's financial situation than he
was at the investor conference. But he disputed the group's assertion that
the cuts had hurt the Tribune papers.

"Outstanding journalism isn't just about staffing levels," he wrote,
saying it was about having a talented staff.

"Tribune's commitment to quality journalism and to serving the readers and
advertisers of its local communities hasn't changed one bit," he added.
"But the media environment is changing and we have to change with it."

"Tribune's edge is its unique ability to cover its local communities like
no one else can," he wrote. "In order to keep that edge, we have to remain
financially strong."

The Tribune Company is in the same boat as many newspaper companies:
profits are relatively high but costs are up and the stock price is down.

The industry had an average profit margin last year of 20 percent, double
the average of the Fortune 500. But investors are pessimistic because of
sluggish advertising revenues, stagnant circulation, rising costs -
especially for newsprint and employee benefits - and the migration of
readers and advertisers to the Internet.

Still, the protesters said the Tribune Company deserved to be singled out.

"Nobody in the newspaper industry has actively undermined quality
journalism more than the Tribune Company," said Adam Green, a spokesman
for MoveOn Media Action. He said the campaign against Tribune would
continue and would "serve as a lesson for the entire industry - the right
way to gain readers is to invest in strong watchdog journalism, not to
neuter the watchdog by stretching newspaper staff too thin."


The 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.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


RESOURCE: Cambridge, Mass.-based group aggregates "best of" topical blog feeds

A Cambridge, Mass.-based startup has launched a website which uses RSS
syndication to gather what it hopes will be the "10-best" websites on a
given topic, updated daily.


Web Surfers Find New Online Destination For Information

Tuesday December 6, 2:07 pm ET Enables Users to Quickly and Easily View The Best Blogs
and News Sources Organized By Topics of Interest, All in One Location

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 6, 2005--Top 10 Sources today
announced the launching and immediate availability of a new online
destination for news and information.

The site searches through traditional media sites, blogs and other sources
of online content to find the ten best Internet sites for a particular
topic. With its compilation of top ten lists, Top 10 Sources organizes the
disparate sources of Internet fashion that makes it easy for novice
Internet users to quickly find information and view it in a fresh, new
site with the company's aggregation technology. In addition, the site does
not require visitors to download any software or sign up for a service.

"Top 10 Sources is about adding a human element to searching and sorting
through the increasingly great syndicated content on the Web," said John
Palfrey, founder and publisher of Top 10 Sources. "Much like Yahoo!
brought a hierarchy to the early days of the commercial Internet with its
browser, Top 10 Sources organizes information in blogs, podcasts, wikis,
photoblogs and other sources into 'reading lists.' The goal is to foster
an active conversation among readers, authors and editors that is about,
and results in, great online content with context."

To celebrate the launch of the site, two guest editors will be featured,
Dan Bricklin and Irina Slutsky, two noted technology thinkers sharing
their unique insights. Every day new "reading lists" will be added to the
site on topics of the editors' choice. Past lists are organized into
categories enabling visitors to intuitively sort through the archives to
find past additions. Said Palfrey, "With more than 20 million blogs and 48
thousand more added each day, we thought it would be useful to list the
best we can find in one, easy to use location to help surfers get exactly
what they need."

Added Palfrey, "With new technologies like RSS making it easier to create,
distribute and receive up to the minute news, we are undergoing a sea
change in who has a creative voice in the news process. Unfortunately,
with all these voices speaking to us it is harder to sort through them to
determine who is saying what. Before now, one of the primary roles of
mainstream media was to act as a sorting mechanism for the daily news to
help inform and educate the average consumer, but the success of bloggers
and podcasters and others who syndicate their content demonstrates that
individuals are just as able to collect, comment on and disseminate news -
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


POLITICS/LOCAL: In Vermont, political bloggers proliferate | Burlington, Vermont

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Vermont political debate takes to cyberspace
Published: Tuesday, December 20, 2005

By Terri Hallenbeck
Burlington [Vt.] Free Press Staff Writer

In stolen moments when he really ought to be working on his next novel, Philip Baruth is blogging. As he posts his
decidedly left-sided jabs, he imagines an audience out there of people interested -- as he is -- in national and local

"Heads up, my friends -- the race for Vermont Lieutenant Governor just got interesting," he said in a recent posting on
this 3-month-old blog -- or Web log -- called The Vermont Daily Briefing.

Baruth, a Burlington writer and teacher who also does commentary on Vermont Public Radio, finds blogging on his own site
gives him freedom to be as blunt as he'd like.

He is among a growing number of people in Vermont who are taking to the Internet to talk about local politics. As the
state heads into what promises to be a heated 2006 election season, conversations about the races are increasingly taking
place not just in barrooms and board rooms but from virtual perches in cyberspace.

The conversations range from long, contemplative pieces to quick hits, and depending on their style, offer everything from
rumors to solid new information. In a recent exchange on a site called PoliticsVT, two bloggers debated the viability of
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Scudder Parker's campaign:

"Scudder's campaign has got game," an anonymous blog-poster started out. "Yes, it's tough to unseat an incumbent. But if
Scudder keeps up his great work and sticks to his progressive guns, he's going to win it."
"Scudder's got game?" another anonymous responder said. "I think it's more like Scudder's got lame."

Even Parker, a 62- year-old admittedly un-Web-savvy former minister, launched a blog of his own this fall, with a little
help from some tech-knowledgeable volunteers. He acknowledges the site is evolving and he's not sure where it will go in
the next nine months.
"A good friend of mine said, 'I thought I'd never see the name Scudder Parker and blog in the same sentence,'" Parker

Just what role this relatively new device will play in shaping Vermont's political landscape remains to be seen. Blogs
succeeded in connecting thousands of disparate devotees during Howard Dean's surprising 2004 presidential primary bids.
Can they do the same in bringing people together over a Vermont governor's race? Will they foster healthy debate or
escalate partisan bickering?

At the very least, the blogs are keeping some of those within the state's political arena running to their computer
screens like kids to a cookie jar, going back for more even if they know it isn't good for them.

"I feel like it's necessary to be sure that we're not overlooking some kind of rumor or inaccurate information," said
Jason Gibbs, spokesman for Douglas. The governor, he said, might even start his own blog.

Most of the Vermont political blogs popping up are on the left side of the spectrum, possibly a function of sheer numbers
in this "blue" state, or of residual impact from Dean's campaign. Republican candidates will likely be increasing their
use of the Internet, said Jim Barnett, chairman of the Vermont Republican Party.

The dean of blogging

Zephyr Teachout hands out a lot of blogging advice these days. She was a key personality behind Dean's blog that is
universally hailed as a groundbreaker in generating, and maintaining, buzz about a candidate.
"I'm not blogging now," she said the other day, like an addict who's stepped away from her vice.
She is, however, paying attention to the political blogging world that's developing around her in Vermont. If any of these
newcomers were under the impression that Dean's staff knew exactly what they were going to do from the start, they are
mistaken, she said.

"We had no idea," she said. "We experimented constantly."

That, she found, was one of the appeals of the Dean blog -- that it was lively, playful and adaptable. "I haven't seen
much of that since," she said. "They take the tools. They don't take the spirit of experimentation.
"The technology is easy. It's the temperament, tone and sort of letting go that's hard," she said.

Making choices

Teachout has watched Parker's blog take its infant steps. Politically, she shares his ideology, so she was inclined to be
complimentary of his blog. He has a good blog voice, she said -- in that he sounds like a person, not a press release.
The Dean campaign, in addition to creating an online community, used the blog to supplement what was being said in the
mainstream media, Teachout said. Parker is similarly hoping his postings give voters access to his own words.
"I would love for the word to get out there that you can actually see what Scudder says," Parker said. "I would love to be
at an event where someone says, 'I read this on your blog. Could you clarify?'"

Teachout said that even in such a small state as Vermont, there's also room for a candidate to use blogging to build a
network. "It's not like all the connections are made," she said.

She envisions, for example, that Parker supporters in Richmond and Albany might meet through his Web site, organize a
visit to a senior citizens group and spread the word about the candidate -- that would be a mark of successful use of this
new device.

Adam Quinn has also asked Teachout for advice as he and a group of friends try to get their VermontersFirst .org blog off
the ground.

"We're still new and kind of developing our voice and audience," said Quinn, a 27-year-old political consultant who used
to work for Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. "Our goal is to energize people on the left end of the spectrum and, frankly,
to be a little bit of a thorn in the side of people like Jim Douglas."

Quinn and the others behind VermontersFirst, which includes Democratic Rep. Floyd Nease of Johnson, are well-identified on
the site, and they make it clear where they stand politically.
Blind blogs

That is not so for all blogs. Who's behind PoliticsVT or Vermontsenate They're not telling.
PoliticsVT is run by a group of anonymous people who use pen names derived from famous Vermonters -- Ira Allen, Edna
Beard, etc. "We don't want people tracking us down," said one of the blog's organizers.

Likewise, many responses from viewers are anonymous. Whether that's good or bad is the subject of much debate.
Barnett said he reads Vermont political blogs occasionally. "You can almost begin to recognize the same people saying the
same things," he said. He's been tempted to toss in an anonymous response, he said, "but I never have. I've got better
things to do."

Quinn, who identifies himself as AQ when he posts comments on PoliticsVT, can see some advantages to anonymity. People who
work in government can say what they want politically without fear of reprisal on the job, he said. "It allows more people
to participate."

Baruth said he finds anonymous blogs generate a more hate-filled debate that is difficult to respond to. "It's maddening,
I think," he said. "One of the things I think is key to political health is standing behind your words."

David Mindich, chairman of the St. Michael's College Journalism and Mass Communications Department, said he worries that
the anonymity that comes with debating politics online poses a danger to democratic debate. In a traditional town meeting,
people are forced to face their adversaries. Online, those same people might drop a political bomb and walk away from the

There are other risks to the political blogging phenomenon, Mindich said. Surveys have indicated that many Web users have
difficulty telling the difference between reliable and unreliable information, he said, and blogs often use a mixture of

With that caution, Mindich said, blogs probably do more good than harm. "Any time we have more information and more views,
it's probably a good thing."

"John Milton once said that the best views will prevail."

Contact Terri Hallenbeck at 229-9141 or

Some Vermont political blogs POLITICSVT: An anonymous group that posts items that range from recently published Vermont
news stories to rumors:

SCUDDER PARKER: The Democratic candidate for governor posts statements that viewers may comment on:

VERMONTERSFIRST: A liberal-leaning group posts some self-generated, some previously published Vermont-centered political
articles, with responses attached:

VERMONT DAILY BRIEFING: Writer and teacher Philip Baruth of Burlington comments on world and local political issues. He
doesn't offer viewers an immediate response mechanism, but welcomes e-mails:

VERMONT SENATE RACE: An anonymous group that claims political neutrality posts news articles about the race for the U.S.
Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Jim Jeffords. The site does not have a comment feature:

DOHIYI MIR: Todd Pritsky of Fletcher runs an eclectic blog, the name of which means peace in Cherokee and Russian. The
blog hits upon world and local politics and invites comments:

Copyright ©2005 All rights reserved.

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.


LOCAL: Ex-newspaper reporter starts "Chicago Daily News" blog for Windy City,1,1861199.column?coll=chi-techtopheds-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true
Published December 20, 2005

By Steve Johnson
Chicago Tribune Online

Chicago Daily News surfaces on the Internet

Chicago's got a new newspaper, if a threadbare Web site with a lofty name and set of ambitions can be defined as a

But the fledgling Chicago Daily News may have to fight to retain that storied Chicago journalism name because the
Sun-Times has sent a cease-and-desist e-mail and promised to follow with a more detailed letter.

The Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily News were both part of the Field empire in 1978 when the Daily News, Mike Royko's
first major paper, was closed.

"They don't have a right to [use the name] and we have cease-and-desisted them," Sun-Times Editor John Barron said in a
voice mail response to a voice mail query seeking comment.

He referred a reporter to in-house lawyer Linda Loye, but Loye would not comment on the matter.

Daily News Editor Geoff Dougherty sounded ready to fight, contending the Sun-Times had let the Daily News trademark lapse
by not using it.

"It would be unfortunate for Chicago and, in a public-relations sense the Sun-Times, to take us into court and try to shut
down the Daily News for a second time," Dougherty said.

"We'd be interested in seeing any information from them indicating they are, in fact, using the name. We were diligent in
trying to locate any evidence they were and couldn't find any."

A trademark search of the term "Chicago Daily News" at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reveals words such as "dead"
and "abandoned," and Marc Fineman, a Chicago intellectual property lawyer, said current law requires use of a trademark to
retain rights to it. If it's not used within the last three years, those rights are, in essence, lost.

Barron did not return a second call seeking comment, but the Sun-Times is surely thinking of its recurring "Chicago Daily
News: On this date" historical feature, which has been published intermittently since 1989 and regularly in recent times.
It begins with the line, "as reported by the Chicago Daily News, sister paper of the Chicago Sun-Times."

Up since late November, the Chicago Daily News (www.chicagodailynews.orgcq) is a non-profit defined in the usual manner of
new publications: as a reaction against the coverage choices (and gaps) of the city's big papers.
It also carries the becoming-usual hope that "citizen journalism" -- reporting and writing by amateurs -- will create an
active community and provide lots of good copy. The concept hasn't fully proved out in many places beyond the Korean
OhmyNews and, in a sense, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, but the trend and the hopes of many on the Internet lean in
that direction, at least for now.

"There's a lot to be done with investigative reporting, a lot to be done with the Chicago Housing Authority, a lot to be
done with whole swaths of Chicago that were essentially abandoned years ago," Dougherty said. "We're non-profit. We can
cover those neighborhoods because they deserve to be covered, not because they're going to yield a pot of gold."
Dougherty, 35, is a Maryland native who came to Chicago in 2001 to work for the Tribune. He was an investigative and
business reporter until mid-November, when he resigned.

Unencumbered by marriage, kids or mortgage, Dougherty hopes to hire a staff at some point and to solicit ads beyond the
nickel-and-dime (or, increasingly, quarter-and-dollar) ads-by-Google model. He's advertising on Craigslist for (unpaid)
writers, offering the potential lure of professional editing, and looking to give internships to eager, or even jaded,
college kids.

Dougherty said he was inspired by working at the St. Petersburg Times and the close ties he says that non-profit paper,
owned by the Poynter Institute, had with its community.

Does it stand a chance? The editor says his costs, right now, are all of about $10 a month in Web hosting. "The question
is, Will we get the funding to add the other features?" he asked.

The competition, beyond the big dailies, would include what are essentially community blog sites such as Chicagoist and
Gapers Block, both well-established.

Alternative weeklies the Reader and Newcity are in the digital space, but the newish Time Out Chicago listings and
entertainment guide, while a vibrant print product, restricts useful Web site access to subscribers.
Right now, the Daily News site is, Dougherty acknowledged, fairly empty, with a scant handful of articles and items,
although it has grown quite a bit since a Web-only piece Dec. 9 (on my blog at made its
existence widely known.

In addition to an almost immediate e-mail from the Sun-Times after the article was posted, he has heard, he said, from
scores of would-be writers willing to work for free.

But the site's strengths, so far, lie in the blogs, including a few on local sports teams, one on offbeat world news and
Dougherty's lively editor's blog.

In one entry, he invites readers to "look around. Notice that we don't have all that much content. Find some content and
send it to us. Repeat until thy fingers bleed all over thine keyboard."

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

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.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media TEN YEARS ON

Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media TEN YEARS ON

Former Canadian journalist Mark Hamilton, who now teaches journalism in Vancouver, B.C., posts his predictions of what journalism will look like in 10 years.

Friday, December 16, 2005


CITIZEN JOURNALISM: NPR roundtable discussion about Current.TV

Four experts on Citizen Journalism were gathered by NPR reporter Neal
Conan for an Aug. 2, 2005 "Talk of the Nation" discussion. Click to the
original URL to launch the streaming audio of the discussion.


Media: Citizen Journalism on Al Gore's Current Network

By Neal Conan
National Public Radio

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.


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
Kyle MacRae, managing director and founder of Scoopt

Neal Conan bio:

Thursday, December 15, 2005


LOCAL: Citizens ply public with local e-news - The Boston Globe

PUBLISHED: December 15, 2005

Citizens ply public with local e-news

By Lisa Kocian, Boston Globe Staff

Robert Falcione is showing off his website when he hears the crackle of his police scanner. He abruptly stops
what he's saying, picks up the handheld device, and turns up the volume.

''Two trees [down] on the wires; I'm not going to go for that one," he says, waving off the police chatter with his hand.

But it doesn't take much more than that to get his journalistic juices flowing. He posts new photos and writes every day
for his Hopkinton news site.

Without knowing it, Falcione, editor of, has been on the cutting edge of a growing trend in e-news. All across
the country (and as close as Watertown and Holliston) people just like him are diving into what has been dubbed ''citizen
journalism." It existed before with printed newsletters or even small independent newspapers, but just in the last year or
so, experts say, online versions are proliferating.

''If 2004 was the year of the blog, 2005 is unquestionably the year of citizen media. It's taken off like wildfire since
the beginning of the year," according to Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab, The Institute for Interactive
Journalism at the University of Maryland.

Lisa Williams, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mother, started, which covers Watertown, in February. She estimates
she has about 1,200 visitors daily. Her site is more blog-like than HopNews, but she does commit what she calls ''random
acts of journalism."

''I have two small kids -- you have to put off youthful fantasies of taking off for India. H2otown let me travel deeper
rather than farther," she said. ''And that was probably one of the major reasons [for starting the site]. I needed to stay
out of trouble. I needed to get a hobby."

Before she had children, she was a technology analyst. Williams considers herself more of a blogger than a journalist.

But that's not unusual -- and maybe not even all that problematic -- in the world of citizen journalism, according to Dan
Kennedy, a visiting assistant professor at Northeastern University's School of Journalism.

''In a way what's going on is old-fashioned," said Kennedy, former media critic for The Boston Phoenix. ''Certainly you go
back 50 to 100 years and look at the weekly newspapers in hometowns across New England and across America, you weren't
really talking about people you'd consider to be professional journalists the way we do today."

''This is not a priesthood. It's not even a profession; it's a craft," he said. ''Anybody who has some brains and is
dedicated to learning the craft can do that."

Kennedy said he has tried to quantify such local news sites but found no good list, but there is no doubt the number is

J-Lab's Schaffer said there are also more foundations like hers offering grants to such nascent efforts, and mainstream
media outlets are putting ''fewer feet on the street," making more residents hungry for local news. Last year, her
organization received 243 proposals for 10 grants for startup print or electronic news efforts.

''The common refrain is 'Nobody is covering us,' " he said.

Falcione, 58, started his site more than two years ago because he wanted an outlet for his photography. He thought he
would post the police log too, just for fun. Then he got carried away one night when he went to take photos at a
selectmen's meeting.

''I sat there and I said, 'I think I'll just watch this thing,' " he recalled. ''I wrote a little story. The church wanted
a one-day liquor license for their event, their bazaar, whatever it might be."

Now Falcione, who is originally from Dorchester and moved to town in 1979, goes to a couple of town board meetings each
week and reports on what happens. A few other people help write up news and features, and thanks to some local
advertisers, Falcione can even pay his freelancers for some of the content. also offers video and sound on the

Site traffic has almost tripled over the last year from 13,000 visits in November 2004 to 35,000 in November.

The future is a question mark for sites like HopNews and H2otown. But there seem to be at least two directions they could
go in.

Schaffer said that volunteer citizen journalists have been married to mainstream news at places like in
Colorado, which is produced by the Rocky Mountain News but features stories from regular people.

The other way to survive and maybe even thrive is through advertising, said Kennedy.

''Although I certainly don't think it's necessary that people figure out how to get rich doing citizen journalism, it
would be nice to figure out how a two- or three-person operation could cover a community and make a living doing so
because if this remains a strictly voluntary effort, I think there's going to be a real limit to how far it can go," he

Lisa Kocian can be reached at 508-820-4231 or by e-mail at
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

The 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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


OPINION: Ralph Peters/NYPost on journalism's failure

PUBLISHED: Dec. 5, 2005 on the New York Post Op/Ed Page



(Ralph Peters' latest book is "New Glory: Expanding America's Global

A SPECTER is haunting journalism: the specter of Watergate.

Three decades ago, two young reporters became the story and crippled American

Budding yuppies who avoided inconvenient service to the state needed heroes
they could call their own. And they got them.

Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman played Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
on-screen. It was as if Mike Bloomberg was portrayed by Brad Pitt. Overnight,
journalism became an upwardly mobile profession . and our country is much the
worse for it.

In place of the old healthy skepticism, we have arrogant cynicism. The highest
echelons of the media and government became preserves for America's
most-privileged. An Ivy League degree was the ticket to a reporting job on a
major daily. And incest produced the usual ugly results.

"Mainstream" newspapers lost touch with American workers because the new breed
of journalists didn't know any workers.

After journalists became matinee idols, every bright young reporter had a new
career goal. Forget honest, get-at-the-facts reporting. Henceforth the crowning
ambition in the field was to bring down a president . especially one who wasn't
"our kind." Failing that, turning the tide of a foreign conflict against
Washington would do.

"Serious" journalists became scandal-mongers in drag.

The other product of the Woodward-Bernstein cult was the rise of the
self-adoring conviction that journalists were above patriotism, the law and
common decency. Today's Joe McCarthys aren't on Capitol Hill . they're in the
newsroom. In lieu of Edward R. Murrow, we have Hedda Hopper masquerading as
Joan of Arc.

Now we learn that Bob Woodward, the muckraker who became a groupie to the
great, felt himself entitled to ignore his basic responsibilities as a citizen
and journalist in the CIA leak case: He had information and withheld it from

His counterpart at the New York Times, Judy Miller (the loudest diva since
Maria Callas), invoked the journalist's exception to the rule of law in the
opposite manner, grandstanding about protecting her source.

Leona Helmsley famously remarked that taxes are for the little people. Star
journalists assume that the law is for the little people, too. "Journalistic
privilege" is the biggest crock of merde since phrenology or eugenics:
Reporters aren't priests in the confessional: They're citizens, just like you
and me.

Celeb journalists love to invoke "freedom of the press," but dismiss the
reality that the exercise of freedom in an open society demands a corresponding
sense of responsibility, as well as self-restraint and mature judgment.

The coverage of Iraq by once-great publications such as The New York Times and
The New Yorker has been nothing more than a propaganda effort to convince the
American people that our efforts are destined to fail. Stories lie by omission
and manipulation.

Patriotism? Forget it.

After Watergate, patriotism became an embarrassment among journalists. They're
"citizens of the world." CNN International has grown so casually anti-American
that it rivals the BBC, while much of big media here at home gives terrorist
atrocities a pass, while celebrating the slightest errors of our troops with
front-page headlines.

The Washington Post . the old home of Woodward and Bernstein . offers a
fascinating study in the tensions at work in journalism today. Its editorial
page has improved remarkably in recent years, while the quality of its general
reporting has far surpassed the Times' page one editorializing.

Yet the quest for headlines-at-any-cost and the sense that evident patriotism
is distasteful led a superb paper to shameful decisions. Dana Priest, a
journalist with much fine work to her credit, recently broke the story of
secret CIA arrangements to hold captured terrorists in Eastern Europe. For the
sake of a headline, the paper did severe harm to our counter-terror efforts and
our diplomatic relations.

The editors would insist that "the public has a right to know." That tired
mantra needs scrutiny: It would have justified revealing secrets such as Ultra,
the Manhattan Project or the timing of D-Day in the Second World War.

Our country is at war with implacable enemies. If the media disdain supporting
our efforts at self-defense, they should at least refrain from undercutting our
security. How many deaths is a story worth? (And imagine if we had published
daily casualty reports from World War II battlefields. Would "journalistic
integrity" have justified aiding Hitler)?

Another Washington Post reporter, Anthony Shadid, published a long string of
soft-on-the-insurgents columns. An Arabic-speaker with family roots in the
Middle East, Shadid was apparently such a vital asset to the paper that his
work never got the scrubbing it deserved.

This year, Shadid published a book, "Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the
Shadow of America's War." Turn to the index. In 424 pages that pretend to
describe the suffering of "Iraq's people" under American occupation, there are
only nine entries under "Kurds" . when Kurds are about a fifth of the
population. Kurdish success and pro-Americanism would have been inconvenient.

Media bias just might turn the future of Iraq into a disaster that will
reverberate for decades. Last week, The Washington Post interviewed
Sunni-insurgent sympathizers. They said they "loved" media-creation Cindy
Sheehan and took heart from reports of the anti-war movement in Washington.

There you have it, from the camel's mouth.

As vile as Richard Nixon was, I'm no longer certain that Woodward and Bernstein
did our country a service. The post-Watergate journalist's unexamined
conviction that he or she is "beyond good and evil" has done far more evil than

Actions have consequences. Today's journalists refuse to accept that the rule
applies to them. The wages of irresponsible journalism are death . for others.
Expose a crucial clandestine operation, shatter a policy or wreck a struggling
state, and you get a Pulitzer Prize. The motto of journalists today is
"Nothing's ever our fault."

The republic suffers.

NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM,
are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc.
Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.


BUSINESS MODELS: Satellite radio attracts Bob Dylan

Posted Dec. 14, 2005

The Airwaves, They Are A-Changin'
Bob Dylan Signs With XM Satellite Radio to Host a Weekly Show

By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer

Bob Dylan -- singer, songwriter, former counterculture figure and voice of
a generation -- has added another line to his rsum: radio DJ.

The enigmatic troubadour has signed on to host a weekly show on XM
Satellite Radio, the D.C.-based pay-radio provider. Dylan will select the
music, offer commentary, interview guests and answer e-mail from listeners
during the one-hour program, which will start in March, XM said yesterday.

Dylan's hiring is not just a coup for XM, which is in a fierce battle for
new subscribers with Sirius Satellite Radio, but also another score for
satellite radio over conventional broadcasting.

XM and Sirius have been wooing big names and making high-priced sports
deals to differentiate their offerings from terrestrial radio, and from
each other. Sirius is counting on shock jock Howard Stern, who will move
to the service Jan. 9, to help it close the subscriber gap with XM, which
boasts more than 5 million customers to Sirius's 2 million.

XM's chief programmer, Lee Abrams, said his company talked with Dylan's
management for about two years about the Grammy-winning artist becoming a
host. XM declined to say what Dylan would be paid for the multiyear
agreement. Howard Stern signed a $500 million, five-year contract with

Abrams said that Dylan was attracted by the promise of a national
audience, a commercial-free program and "total creative freedom" to air
whatever he likes. Dylan also will broadcast from wherever he wants.

"This will be a peek inside the mind of one of the most important
songwriters and poets of the 20th century," Abrams said. "He's a mystery
to most people."

Once an almost reclusive figure, Dylan, 64, lately has attained about as
much exposure as an Olsen twin. This year he gave his first TV interview
in 19 years on "60 Minutes," and was the subject of a Martin
Scorsese-directed documentary series on PBS in September. His memoir
"Chronicles, Vol. 1" spent 19 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list
last year.

He also appeared in, and provided the musical soundtrack for, a Victoria's
Secret TV commercial last year. The women's undergarment chain, in turn,
sold one of his promo CDs, "Lovesick," in its stores.

For Dylan, the XM deal might represent a way to reach younger music fans
and stay "relevant" with those who have followed him for decades, said Tom
Taylor, editor of the industry newsletter Inside Radio. "Great artists
want to stay in front of their fans and want to be discovered by new
generations," he said. "They don't need the money or the other things, but
they do want to keep their hand in and stay current."

Dylan, who performs as many as 100 dates a year, is easily the biggest
musical name to host his own radio program. Steve Van Zandt, of Bruce
Springsteen's E Street Band, hosts a weekly two-hour show, "Little
Steven's Underground Garage," that's syndicated to stations across the
country (including WARW-FM locally). And XM previously signed programming
deals with Tom Petty, Snoop Dogg and Quincy Jones.

Taylor said Dylan has a loyal following but has "never been a huge seller.
He's a tastemaker, someone other artists watch." As such, his hiring "is a
niche for XM. It's prestige."

Taylor added: "It's for the older baby-boomer subscriber. A lot of the
early adopters [of satellite radio] are baby boomers. This will put an
additional name on the marquee. It's an additional reason to subscribe."

XM and Sirius essentially are battling for the same pool of potential
customers -- those who like radio enough to pay about $13 per month and,
in many cases, buy a new radio (for about $50) for scores of channels,
which are mostly music and mostly commercial-free. Although XM and Sirius
have been growing -- each expects to add hundreds of thousands of
subscribers this holiday season -- both have recorded heavy start-up
losses. Neither has made a profit since the companies first sold their
stock to the public in 1994 and 1999, respectively.

Taylor compares the signings of such big-name talent as Stern and Dylan to
the rivalry between the old American Football League and the NFL, which
fought each other for the best players in the 1960s. The signings make for
great publicity, he said, but in the long run, that might not be enough to
sustain both.

"Just like in football," he said, "at some point, do you have a merger and
have one satellite service instead of two? Some people think that's
eventually what's going to happen."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company


The 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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


TV: U.S. broadcasters flex muscles online to catch up with newspapers

Originally posted: Dec. 12, 2005

Bring It On-Line
TV stations take on newspapers, Yahoo! and all challengers on the Internet
to claim new viewers and boost profits

By Allison Romano
Broadcasting & Cable

When students from an Oklahoma elementary school decorated a state capitol
Christmas tree with old lotto tickets, it sparked a political firestorm.
Coming so close on the heels of a hotly contested state lottery, the tree
was deemed in poor taste.

Then the media poured in: The Associated Press, newspaper The Oklahoman
and local TV stations jumped on the story. News on the tree.and its
eventual removal.immediately went online, but ABC affiliate KOCO Oklahoma
City went a step further. On the front of its Web site, the station
streamed video of the tree of tickets and an interview with the offended
official, state Rep. Randy Terrill. .This tree did not deliver Christmas
joy to everyone,. said KOCO reporter Kevin Tomich, capping off the brisk,
minute-long video clip.

Across the country, TV stations like Hearst-Argyle.owned KOCO are taking
on newspapers, Web sites and all comers online.and challenging them with
video and exclusive online newscasts. Indeed, many stations say they are
just beginning to flex their broadband muscles, offering rich video clips
of dramatic news and displaying real-time traffic reports and weather by a
local meteorologist.

Viacom is relaunching all of its CBS station sites with prominent video
and daily lunchtime Webcasts. The Fox Television Group, under new
management, plans to expand local news online and plunge into wireless
products, such as alerts on cellphones. Hearst-Argyle Television.s station
Web sites feature video players embedded on the home page and allow users
to create virtual newscasts from a video library. Three Washington
stations are experimenting with video podcasts, short programs for
playback on computers and MP3 players.

.Broadcasters finally understand that their market share is shrinking and
their ability to grow revenue is limited,. says station consultant Jerry
Gumbert, managing partner of Dallas-based Audience Research & Development.

The market for online news is exploding. Twenty-nine percent of Americans
say they go online regularly for news, up from virtually zero a decade
ago, according to the Pew Research Center. The migration has caused
tectonic shifts across media sectors, shrinking the audience for TV
news.both national and local.and sending shockwaves through the newspaper
industry, which has seen readership tumble sharply in the past decade.
According to the Pew study, 71% of adults 18-29 say they get their news
online, yet only 46% say they regularly watch local TV news. In the early
1990s, 75% of Americans said they watched local news.

TV Stations. Edge
News has never been cheaper or easier to find. In an instant, a hunt on
Google or Yahoo! search engines calls up headlines from bloggers,
networks, newspapers, magazines and countless sites. For all their losses,
newspapers have moved aggressively on the Internet, drawing new readers
and attracting new advertising revenue, particularly from classified ads.
Online-community site Craigslist has become a top site for classified ads,
and founder Craig Newmark is mulling a news service of his own.

By 2009, more than 70 million Americans are expected to have high-speed
Internet access, according to Kagan Research. As technology improves and
more people upgrade to broadband ideal environment for video
clips.TV stations think they have an edge. Thirty-second video clips and
exclusive Web programs are certain to beat the competition, they say. .TV
stations have assets to gather news 24/7,. says station adviser Seth
Geiger of consulting firm SmithGeiger. .Now they need to take advantage of
delivering news 24/7..

Advertisers are leading the shift, moving away from traditional strategies
and pouring millions of dollars into the new platforms. They spent $12
billion on online advertising in 2004. That was less than TV.s roughly $60
billion, but online advertising has the momentum. By 2009, it will surge
to $25 billion, according to investment firm Merrill Lynch. Leading the
way are blue-chip companies such as Procter & Gamble, Mitsubishi and
Toyota, which have cut back on TV spending in favor of new platforms,
including the Internet and cellphones.

The early sales efforts of local newspapers have paid off: Of $2.7 billion
spent on local online advertising last year, newspapers nabbed $1.19
billion, and TV stations got $119 million of the ad pie, according to
media-research firm Borrell & Associates.

For now, the power of a hometown newspaper.s brand is a big draw online.
.The newspapers have a little leg up, but we are extremely competitive,.
says Ric Harris, executive VP/general manager of digital media and
strategic marketing for NBC Universal.s TV-station group.

Although newspapers. text and still photographs are easy to convert to
Internet content, newspapers have acted largely out of desperation: Print
advertising rates are falling, and circulation is thinning. From 1992 to
2002, the number of Americans who regularly read a daily newspaper fell
from 75% to 63%, according to Pew.

Making matters worse, the classified business, a newspaper.s economic
lifeblood, is being challenged by Internet companies. But newspapers.
online efforts have paid off: In October, their combined Web-site ratings
were up 11% over last year, to 39.3 million unique visitors in October,
says Nielsen/Net Ratings.

Best Weapon: Video
Now TV stations are jockeying for a better position and innovating. The
biggest threat of all may come from Google, whose gross online revenue is
expected to climb to $6.1 billion this year, according to Wall Street
estimates. Meanwhile, Media General, which counts 26 TV stations among its
assets, attracted $13.9 million in online revenue last year, and newspaper
and TV-station owner Belo Corp. recorded $31.11 million.

To compete, TV stations are playing up their best weapon: video. When
former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein makes a court appearance, news
junkies want to watch the clips and see his outbursts. Locally, when
traffic snarls in Los Angeles or Atlanta, anxious commuters check to see
how bad the tie-ups are before leaving work.

Broadcasters are also experimenting with interactive features, such as
podcasts and custom online newscasts. When severe weather hits,
meteorologists keep blogs to disseminate reams of information that don.t
make it on-air. NBC affiliate WHO Des Moines, Iowa, created an animated
character, dubbed a .newsbot,. to host its hourly Webcasts. .Stations are
trying anything to capture users when they are at work and away from their
TV sets,. notes Cory Bergman, co-founder of local-TV blog

Stations are using video to tempt advertisers as well. A local eye
surgeon, for instance, can sponsor the health section of a Web site and
display video testimonials from pleased patients. Stations can also
produce and stream online commercials. .There are opportunities for local
advertisers who don.t buy television to buy online,. says Jonathan Leess,
president of the Viacom Television Stations Digital Media Group.

Nationally, broadcast and cable networks also are ramping up online
efforts. Since November, NBC has streamed Nightly News online at 10 p.m.
ET and is adding Meet the Press and segments of Today. MSNBC and CNN have
increased online video. ABC plans an afternoon online version of World
News Tonight.

On Election Day last month, WCBS New York streamed live news on its Web
site for two hours during prime time. Reporters filed dispatches from
across the region and interviewed officials. A writer from alternative
paper New York Press blogged from the station.s newsroom. Star anchors Roz
Abrams and Jim Rosenfield directed the online coverage.

.This is a time to experiment,. says WCBS Senior VP of News Diane Doctor.
.We have great content and production capabilities, and we are looking for
opportunities online.. The station recently added a Web-only sports
wrap-up show, Sports Monday.

.In an on-demand world, [the Internet] could turn out to be the main
revenue stream,. says Viacom.s Leess.

Two major platforms, Internet Broadcasting and World Now, dominate the
business for local news on the Web. Internet Broadcasting, a privately
held company founded in 1997, operates 73 local sites for major station
groups including NBC, Post-Newsweek and Hearst-Argyle. It provides content
and national advertising in return for a cut of the profits. Internet
Broadcasting producers are on-site at nearly every station, attending all
news meetings and working closely with reporters and producers.

Its main competitor, World Now, powers 200 broadcaster Web sites,
including Meredith Broadcasting.s and Raycom Media.s, and provides
Internet technology, streaming video and some advertising, such as local
auto classified. Stations on World Now employ their own Web producers and
editors. The company.s newest product, dubbed The Video Producer, enables
a station to record and stream its video within seconds.

Local Content Wins
When news breaks, online traffic soars. In September, for example, when
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita attracted national attention, Internet
Broadcasting sites averaged 12 million unique users, surpassing and Google News, according to Nielsen Net ratings. World Now
Web sites notched 6.9 million. Using such platforms allows station groups
to standardize content and advertising.

.This is not just a TV station anymore,. says KSDK St. Louis News Director
Mike Shipley. .Everyone recognizes this is the future business for us. It
is not just on the sidelines..

As cable operators push video-on-demand, about two dozen stations are
making their newscasts available for playback on cable. Others.including
ABC- owned WLS Chicago, NBC.s WMAQ Chicago and Gannett.s WUSA
Washington.are experimenting with podcasts.

.People today want their news and information when they want it, and they
don.t want to wait,. says WLS President/General Manager Emily Barr, who
owns two iPods herself. .It is important for us to recognize there is a
shift going on and experiment..

Still, news directors concede that getting a newsroom to suddenly feed a
new electronic beast can be a challenge. Some reporters are reluctant to
break news online, and producers fret that posting video online
discourages people from watching the newscast. And, with crimped budgets,
some staffers resist taking on even more duties.

Ten years ago, says station consultant Gumbert, a reporter might shoot a
daily story, appear on the 6 p.m. news and freshen the package for the
late news. Today, he says, .they still do all that, plus cut a piece for
the station.s news partner, make sure the network gets what it needs and
write a Web article, too. As managers, we have misjudged the amount of
time repurposing material takes..

One solution is to focus on the station.s core mission and forget about
fancy new toys like podcasts, says Ron Loewen, VP of strategic development
for TV-station owner Liberty Corp., where he researches Internet usage and

What users want, he says, is the very local content they can.t get from
national sites, such as breaking news, traffic and weather.

.Local content is the only currency you have,. he says. .It has to be
posted and updated religiously..

Chasing Local Dollars
As online advertising booms, newspapers have a commanding lead over TV

Total Spending
2002 $1.65 billion
2003 $2.1 billion
2004 $2.7 billion
2005* $3.9 billion

Newspaper Revenue
2002 $655 million
2003 $811 million
2004 $1.19 billion
2005* $1.52 billion

TV-Station Revenue
2002 $55 million
2003 $75 million
2004 $119 million
2005* $196 million

Source: Borrell & Associates


The 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.

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