Friday, April 28, 2006
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, KCRW and Seattle's KEXP. The streaming radio stations included in iTunes also rely on MP3 streams (since Apple isn't about to license the Real or Microsoft streaming codecs). If the PERFORM Act becomes law, webcasters who use the statutory SoundExchange licenses to play music would have to give up MP3 streaming in favor of a DRM-restricted, proprietary formats that impose restrictions on any recordings made, according to the EFF's analysis of the Post account.
U.S. State Department briefing paper profiles the Global Voices Online project
HEADLINE: Journalism meets the blog
An American social activist was working on technology issues in West Africa when he tired of searching for news and bumped into a CNN reporter who shared the same frustration. Activist meets journalist - or a match made in heaven.
It was Ethan Zuckerman, former member of Geekcorps, which sends American technology experts to the developing world, and Rebecca MacKinnon, former CNN reporter, who pooled resources and founded Global Voices Online, the largest and most successful international bridge for bloggers in early 2005. Thirty million blogs, written mostly by "citizen journalists," everyday authors and contributors, have been created around the world, according to journalist David Kline. "No longer are public policy, news and information, and national and international discourse the exclusive domain of 'professional editors, reporters, policymakers and politicians,'" Kline said during a State Department-hosted webchat in March. Kline is the author of blog! how the newest media revolution is changing politics, business and culture. (See related article.)
Zuckerman said he found himself digging deeply and widely for information that would be useful in his work on technology issues in the developing world. "I was fascinated by the holes in media coverage of Africa," he said. "And it wasn't just Africa." Zuckerman found that mainstream coverage of Africa and even Asia was more about government and foreign policy and rarely about people. He began to rely on blogs, or Web logs - the online journals where citizen journalists publish stories and interact with each other - for news and information.
GLOBAL VOICES ONLINE
Global Voices Online is now a project of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School in Massachusetts and receives additional funding from the MacArthur Foundation, the Dutch nongovernmental organization Hivos and Reuters. Co-founders Zuckerman and MacKinnon spent so much time finding and reading blogs that they felt there was a great need to curate the hundreds of sites, creating a hub for an international community of "bridge bloggers" who want to communicate, often anonymously, with the broader world. Global Voices is a select guide to conversations, information and ideas appearing on various forms of participatory citizen media such as blogs, podcasts, photo-sharing sites and videoblogs, according to Zuckerman. Paid regional editors who work 20 hours or 30 hours per week receive $800 a month to assure that Global Voices covers the world accurately, Zuckerman said.
Editorial meetings are held every other week in 10 different time zones using Internet Relay Chat, a form of computer technology that allows many people in different places to communicate online in real time. The meetings last about three hours. "Developing virtual relationships around the world - that's the fun of the medium," Zuckerman said.
BLOGGING AND JOURNALISM
"Not just anyone can contribute," Zuckerman said. "All bloggers would like to be picked up by us - we've got a half a million readers per month - so we rely on our editors to chose the best and most credible posts." Editors develop a sense over time of which contributors, who are often anonymous, are credible. Knowledgeable content editors have ways of telling when stories are credible even when they do not know the name of the citizen reporter, Zuckerman said. "Knowing a poster's name doesn't help us anyway," Zuckerman said. "Using anonymizing proxies to post stories can be important for some of our writers." An anonymizing proxy is computer software that allows an individual to use the Internet anonymously and without being observed.
Many countries around the world censor free speech on the Internet, according to John Palfrey, director of the Berkman Center, and Global Voices Online offers a widely read and respected forum for writers who choose to publish anonymously. (See related article.) Although Global Voices Online is published solely in English, summaries provided by regional translators in several languages are offered daily for select blogs. Zuckerman said he hopes Global Voices Online will publish a Spanish language version soon. "We're not fair and balanced," Zuckerman said. "We're diverse and transparent - that's the difference between citizen journalism and blogging."
THE DOWNSIDE OF BLOGS
Many see the plus side of putting everything out there, but it is important to consider the challenges of citizen journalism, according to U.S. Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo of California at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce meeting in Washington in March. Some effects of the Internet are "detrimental to the political process," Eshoo said. "Much of the information spread on the Net is not well-researched or held to traditional journalistic standards, but it's not always considered in this light." Bloggers of various political persuasions have begun to serve both as "fact checkers" for news organizations and as actual sources of news and information, Eshoo said.
The positives of the growth of blogs and citizen journalism outweigh the negatives, Eshoo said. "No longer will an individual be limited by geography, wealth or disability to have access to the world's greatest literature, science and philosophy." Or, for that matter, the ideas of regular citizens. Eshoo said she is confident that as the Internet political community matures and the public becomes more familiar with the Internet as an alternative news medium, people will become more adept at evaluating the trustworthiness of a particular source of information.
Source: U.S. Department of State
Copyright © 2006, NewsBlaze, Daily News
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
TEXT: Net neutrality coalition's statement following Markey amendment defeat
The following is the text of a statement provided by the "SavetheInternet"
coalition following a vote by a House committee on Wednesday rejecting an
amendment which the coalition said would have guaranteed "network
neutrality" on the Internet.
Statement dated: Wednesday, April 26, 2006
from: http://www.SavetheInternet.com Coalition
Supplied by: Trevor Fitzgibbon, Fenton Communications, 202-246-5303
Craig Aaron, Free Press, 202-265-1490, x25
STATEMENT HEADLINE: House Ignores Public, Sells Out the Internet
Growing Right-Left Coalition Gains Momentum, Looks to Senate to Save Internet Freedom from Telecom Cartel
WASHINGTON -- Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee struck a
blow to Internet freedom by voting down a proposal to protect Network
Neutrality from attacks by companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast.
The diverse, bipartisan SavetheInternet.com Coalition vowed to
continue rallying public support for Internet freedom as the
legislation moves to the full House and Senate. In less than one week,
the coalition gathered more than 250,000 petition signatures, rallied
more than 500 blogs to write about this issue, and flooded Congress
with thousands of phone calls.
The "Markey Amendment" supporting Net Neutrality was voted down by a
vote of 34 to 22. The "Communications Opportunity, Promotion and
Enhancement Act" telecom law, or COPE Act, passed out of the committee
without any meaningful protection for Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality
means all online activity must be treated equally, and companies like
AT&T must allow Internet users to view the smallest blog just as easily
as the largest corporate Web site.
"The Commerce Committee is headed in the opposite direction of where
the American public wants to go," said Columbia Law Professor Timothy
Wu, a pro-market advocate and one of the intellectual architects of the
Net Neutrality principle."Most people favor an open and neutral
Internet and don't want Internet gatekeepers taxing and tollboothing
Major telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon are spending hundreds of
millions of dollars to get Congress to change the rules to let them
discriminate on the Internet -- forcing Web sites to pay "protection
money" to ensure their sites will work properly.
"Predictably, the careerist politicians on the House Energy and
Commerce Committee rolled right over in their frantic desire to do the
telecoms' bidding," said Craig Fields, director of Internet operations
for Gun Owners of America. "It makes no difference to them whether the
Internet will remain a free and vibrant marketplace of ideas. As far as
they are concerned, if big business is happy, all is right with
America. And so we look with hope to the Senate, that supposedly august
body, which prides itself on its more 'deliberative' pace and tone.
They paint themselves as conscientious adults -- perhaps, just perhaps,
they'll actually act like such when it is their turn to decide the
future of the Internet."
Groups on the right and left have banded together, and hundreds of
bloggers from across the political spectrum have galvanized behind this
cause, with more than 500 blogs pointing their readers to
"It's shocking that the House continues to deny the will of the people
on an issue that affects everyone so directly -- protecting the free
and open Internet," said Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn.org
Civic Action. "Our bipartisan coalition will rally the online community
like its never been rallied before, and together the public will
overturn todays enormous blow to the freedom principle thats made the
"Commerce and free expression on the Internet have flourished because
it's available to everyone on the same basis," said Glenn Reynolds, of
libertarian blog Instapundit.com. "That's how it should continue to
The SavetheInternet.com coalition includes: Gun Owners of America,
MoveOn.org Civic Action, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, Glenn Reynolds
(a.k.a. libertarian blogger Instapundit), Parents Television Council,
United Church of Christ, the American Library Association, the Consumer
Federation of America, Consumers Union, Common Cause, Public Knowledge,
and other major public interest groups. The coalition is spearheaded by
Free Press, a national, nonpartisan group focused on media reform and
Internet policy issues. The rapidly expanding list of groups supporting
Internet freedom is available at www.SavetheInternet.com.
"The diversity of this coalition underscores the importance of this
issue," said Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet and Google's
Chief Internet Evangelist. "When the Internet started, you didn't have
to get permission to start companies. You just got on the Net and
started your idea."
The COPE Act next moves from the committee to a full House vote. The
Senate Commerce Committee is expected to take up Net Neutrality
legislation in the coming weeks.
"The House vote today ignores a groundswell of popular support for
Internet freedom," said Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press. "We
hope that the full House will resist the big telecom companies and
reject the bill. But we look to the Senate to restore meaningful
protections for net neutrality and ensure that the Internet remains
open to unlimited economic innovation, civic involvement and free
--- end of statement --
Benton Foundation provides links to "network neutrality" resources
Kevin Tagland (email@example.com ), who prepares a weekday summary of
communications-related headlines, went all out on Wed., April 26, posting
via email a summary a links on the "network neutrality" issue in advance
of a congressional hearing. Here is an excerpt of his email.
RUSH'S MILLION-DOLLAR CONFLICT?
[SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times, AUTHOR: Lynn Sweet]
A Chicago community center founded by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-II), a key player on
telecommunications legislation, received a $1 million grant from the charitable
arm of SBC/AT&T, one of the nation's largest phone companies. Sheila Krumholz,
the acting executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive
Politics, says Rep Rush's ongoing association with the Rebirth of Englewood
Community Development Corporation and his role in shaping telecommunications
law as a member of the House Commerce Committee is a conflict of interest.
Today, the Commerce Committee, on which Rep Rush sits, is set to vote on a
controversial rewrite of telecommunications law co-sponsored by Rep Rush and
backed by major phone companies eager to compete with cable television
companies. "People can disagree about where to draw the line on contributions
and abstaining from votes, but $1 million is definitely over that line,"
Krumholz said. Rep Rush is the only Democrat to sponsor the "Communications
Opportunity Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006." He has been working with
committee chair Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) to promote the "Barton-Rush" bill.
The SBC charity made the first of a series of payments totaling $1 million in
2001 to the Englewood group to create the still unbuilt "Bobby L. Rush Center
for Community Technology." The final check was written in 2004, with the SBC
Foundation delaying the last payment for a year over concerns that the project
was not moving forward. The Rush center is now expected to open within the next
'NET NEUTRALITY' IN HIGH GEAR
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
The "Net Neutrality" debate raged in Washington Tuesday, the subject of a
hearing in the House Judiciary Committee and of countless letters to and from
legislators on the issue as lobbyists geared up for a markup on a video
franchising bill Wednesday. A House Commerce Committee bill allowing national
video franchises also promotes telco provision of Internet access. And there's
the rub. Because telcos want to be able to offer enhanced services over their
networks, and charge content providers for those services, those who see one
company's enhancement as another's degradation are concerned that those network
providers will discriminate in Internet access provision., discouraging
innovation and requiring Internet content providers to pay "protection" money
not to have their service degraded. On the telco side, Walter McCormick,
promised legislators that the companies he represents would not "block, impair,
or degrade" access. He also told the committee that antitrust laws, as they
already exist, guard against restraint of trade and should be able to insure
that so-called "network neutrality." McCormick says that companies like Disney
have approached them about setting up virtual private networks--where they
could securely distribute video content, for example--and that those companies
should bear the cost of that enhanced services. Proponents of stronger network
neutrality rules counter that that scenario means that others service will be,
de facto, degraded, since the bigger pipe will go to the company willing or
able to pay for it
* McCormick: Telcos Won't Block Web Content
* Network neutrality = open
[SOURCE: TPM cafe, AUTHOR: Former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt]
[Commentary] Since someone asked, there are four categories of meaning to the
term "open networks," and the current debate falls quickly into terminological
confusion as a result. Networks can be (1) open to all content [like the Web is
designed to be, and TV and newspapers are not], (2) open to connection with all
other networks [like the Internet is designed to be, and the telephone network
is ordered to be by the regulators], (3) open to all people [like free over the
air broadcast TV, and not like cable TV], (4) and open to all designs.
* The Neutrality Non-Debate
[SOURCE: American Prospect, AUTHOR: Matthew Yglesias]
[Commentary] "Network neutrality" regulation is complicated. Potential changes
deserve real scrutiny, not a quiet congressional pass on behalf of the telecom
industry. The issue has been languishing in an obscurity all out of proportion
to its objective importance. Most people have no idea what network neutrality
is, and most of the ones who do know probably heard about it in the past two
weeks. At a minimum, the status quo seems to work fine, while there are
credible arguments that making the change would be a giant mistake. If this
change really is a good idea, surely it could withstand some public scrutiny
and debate. Instead, telecom companies seem determined to push it through under
cover of night and, so far, Congress is happy to help.
MARKEY INTRODUCING NET NEUTRALITY AMENDMENT
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
Ranking House Telecommunications Subcommittee Member Ed Markey (D-MA) says he
will introduce a "network neutrality" amendment to a national video franchise
bill. Rep Markey announced the amendment during opening statements on a video
franchise bill that will be marked up in the committee Wednesday. Rep Markey
and several co-sponsors including Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Rick Boucher
(D-Va.) are concerned that the current bill does not sufficiently protect
against network discrimination in the provision of Internet access. The network
neutrality issue has surpassed red-lining and the lack of build-out
requirements as the hottest video franchise bill-related issue in Washington.
See Rep Markey's statement at the URL below.
* Opening Statement at the "COPE" Markup on Network Neutrality
* Congress must protect free access to Web sites, services
[SOURCE: San Jose Mercury News, AUTHOR: Rep Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA)]
[Commentary] The "battle for 'net neutrality' will determine the future of the
Internet and the continued innovation and technological development the
Internet has produced.
* Democrats pledge fight over Net neutrality
VIDEO: How is podcasting affecting journalism and the media?
Duke University hosted Sept. 27-28, 2005 an academic symposium on podcasting. The two-day event featured a hands-on podcasting workshop, as well as panel discussions of the economic/business, legal, political, journalistic, and cultural impacts of podcasting by bringing together prominent members of the podcasting community with policymakers, scholars, and media experts.
The proceeds are webcasted from:
A specific panel on the effect of podcasting on journalism and
the media was held Wednesday, September 28, 2005
CLICK HERE TO LAUNCH VIDEO
1:30 - 2:50 PM Journalism & the Media Panel Discussion
The panel will consist of brief participant introductions followed by four 12-minute position papers from the panelists and conclude with a 30-minute moderated discussion.
Moderator: John Biewen, American RadioWorks and Duke University Center for
. Michele Hilmes, Department of Communication Arts, University of
Wisconsin - Madison
. Tony Kahn , Special Correspondent & Alternate Anchor, The World
. Sasha Norkin, Department of Journalism, Boston University
. Kenneth Rogerson, DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy, Duke
Information for Presenters
Information Science + Information Studies at Duke University
Box 90400 · 018 John Hope Franklin Center · Durham, NC 27708-0400
(919)668-1934 · (919)684-8749 fax · firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
2003 -- Gore: Decline of Newspapers Bad for Democracy Bemoans TV's Influence, Sees Hope in Web
NOVEMBER 12, 2003
Gore: Decline of Newspapers Bad for Democracy Bemoans TV's Influence, Sees Hope in Web
By Amber McDowell, Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- (AP) The "quasi-hypnotic influence" of television in
the United States has fostered a complacent nation that is a danger to
democracy, former Vice President Al Gore said this week.
Gore, speaking on "Media and Democracy" at Middle Tennessee State
University (MTSU) in Murfreesboro, told attendees that the decline of
newspapers as the country's dominant method of communication leaves
average Americans without an outlet for scholarly debate.
"Our democracy is suffering in an age when the dominant medium is not
accessible to the average person and does not lend itself most readily to
the conveyance of complex ideas about self-governance," Gore said.
"Instead, it pushes toward a lowest common denominator."
Gore said the results of that inaccessibility are reflected most
prominently in the changed priorities of the country's elected officials,
who think that debating important issues is "relatively meaningless today.
How do they spend their time instead? Raising money to buy 30-second
Students and members of the community filled the 235-seat auditorium for
Gore's appearance, and several hundred more watched his speech on a
big-screen monitor set up in the building's lobby. It was the first of two
lectures that Gore has scheduled at MTSU as part of the "American
Democracy Project for Civil Engagement," an effort to start a national
discussion on the "vigor of the national democracy."
Students at 200 college campuses across the country also watched Gore's
speech via satellite and asked the former vice president questions by
calling a toll-free number.
Gore, who has taught several classes at MTSU, put on his professor's hat
for much of the lecture, giving attendees a history lesson on the origins
of communication and democracy -- from the first evidence of complex
speech 60,000 years ago to the invention of the printing press to the
eventual evolution of media as it is known today and it's role in a free
Gore said democracy in the United States flourished at the height of the
newspaper era, which "empowered the one to influence the many." That
changed with the advent and subsequent popularity of television, he said,
noting that the average American watches four hours of television a day.
"What does it do to us that has relevance to democracy? Does it encourage
passivity? Is it connected to the obesity epidemic? ... If people are just
staring at a little box four hours a day, it has a big impact on
democracy," he said. Gore said a remedy to television's dominance may be
the Internet, a "print-based medium that is extremely accessible to the
"We have to choose to rehabilitate our democracy in part by making
creative use of these new media and by insisting within the current
institutions of our democracy that we open up access to the dominant
medium," he said.
MTSU student Stephanie Elvey, 20, a junior from Blacksburg, Va., said Gore
"touched on a lot of the views of people who are uneasy with the
complacency" of the American public. "I believe the media feeds into that
complacency because it instills fear in people, makes them believe the
government will take care of the problem. Mostly, people just don't know
what's going on," she said. "People need to be aware of how to make their
Source: Editor & Publisher Online
Amber McDowell, Associated Press Writer , Copyright 2003 Associated Press.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten, or redistributed.
Congressional "Future of American Media" caucus urges net neutrality
This is the text of an email sent April 25 by Jeff Lieberson, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., who chairs the congressional "Future of American Media" caucus. (Lieberson: 202-225-6335 office; 202-225-0817 cell) email@example.com
WASHINGTON -- Concerned about proposed legislation that could limit the public's access to all Internet content, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and members of the Future of American Media (FAM) Caucus today called on House telecommunications leaders to strengthen the net neutrality provisions in the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act so that large Internet service providers cannot exert influence over the speed and availability of Internet content. The House Energy & Commerce Committee is set to consider the COPE Act this week and finalize the measure before sending it to the full House for a vote.
Joining Hinchey in sending the letter to Barton and Dingell were: Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA), Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
"As members of the Future of American Media Caucus, we believe that net neutrality should be a benchmark of the strength of American democracy," Hinchey and five of his FAM Caucus colleagues wrote to House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) and Ranking Member John Dingell (D-MI). "Any attempt to limit information access on a pay-for-play basis is antithetical to the goal for which the Internet was initially created: to supply content from all sources without discrimination. Our country cannot afford to allow media giants to assume control over what information citizens view online. We must protect net neutrality principles."
Hinchey and his colleagues expressed their concern that the COPE Act would cede control of Internet content to major telecommunications companies. In its current form, the COPE Act would allow Internet service providers to charge content providers to deliver their services to Internet subscribers. Since some smaller companies and individuals would be severely burdened by these fees, large media conglomerates would receive unfair advantages. Content owned by larger providers would be delivered faster, putting an end to the free and open nature of Internet as it is today.
The FAM Caucus is composed of House Members who believe in an accountable, diverse, fair, and independent media. The Caucus, which currently has 20 Members, is open to Members of both parties and it neither supports nor opposes any particular industry stakeholder. The FAM Caucus' goal is to educate Members and staff about media issues before Congress and to ensure that all parties - especially the American public - have a chance to participate in the vital debate over media policy.
Joining Hinchey in sending the letter to Barton and Dingell were: Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-CA), Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
The text of the letter to Barton and Dingell follows:
April 25, 2006
The Honorable Joe Barton
Honorable John D. Dingell
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Barton and Ranking Member Dingell:
As the House Energy and Commerce Committee considers the Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement (COPE) Act of 2006, we write regarding net neutrality provisions contained within this important measure.
We are concerned that the COPE Act does not sufficiently protect the freedom and open accessibility of the Internet, and instead would essentially cede control to large telecommunications companies such as Time Warner, AT&T, and Verizon. We respectfully request that you change the COPE Act's net neutrality provisions in order to fully guarantee freedom of access to all Internet content.
Free and open access to the Internet is essential for the ever-increasing number of users around the world. Yet the provisions within the COPE Act do not make a substantial effort to prevent large cable and telephone companies from exerting influence on the speed of content delivery to their users. Instead, these companies would be allowed to tax content providers and discriminate in favor of their own services and choose which other services prosper based on who pays them more, achieving an unfair advantage over their competitors. Such action would prevent consumers from obtaining the free and unlimited access to information for which users value the Internet.
As members of the Future of American Media Caucus, we believe that net neutrality should be a benchmark of the strength of American democracy. Any attempt to limit information access on a pay-for-play basis is antithetical to the goal for which the Internet was initially created: to supply content to all users and providers without discrimination. Our country cannot afford to allow media giants to assume control over what information citizens view online. We must protect net neutrality principles. We therefore encourage you to use the upcoming mark-up to strengthen net neutrality provisions in the COPE Act, addressing enforcement and preventing discrimination through differential pricing and discriminatory access. These changes are necessary to ensure that consumers continue to receive information through the Internet in an unbiased way, free of corporate influence.
Thank you for your consideration of our request. If you are in need of additional information, your staff may be in touch with Moira Campion of Congressman Hinchey's office at 5-6335.
Maurice Hinchey, Louise Slaughter, Bernie Sanders, Diane Watson, Jim
McDermott, Peter DeFazio
Monday, April 24, 2006
Wired's Kevin Kelly reviews news-aggregation, headline-feed website PopUrls.com
Wired Magazine's By Kevin Kelly maintains a personal website, and sends
out emails about "cool tools" he's found on the Internet. Here's a recent
email (which should show up on his website shortly)
By Kevin Kelly
Recently I surveyed the emerging web filters which rely on consensus methods
(see the CT review http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/001163.php ) as a way
to quickly read what was happening in the world. I hypothesized that soon there
would be a meta-site that would aggregate all the consensus filters into one.
The next day Thomas Marban from Austria wrote me to say that he had already
written one, called PopUrls.com I've been using it daily for the past month and
This single page now replaces my need to directly read Digg, Reddit,
Delicious, Furl, Slashdot, BoingBoing, NewsVine, Metafilter and all the
others that I subscribe too. This one page encapsulates up-to-the-minute
headlines from 15 consensus filters, and top thumbnail images from the
social sites Flickr, YouTube, and Google Video. The hive mind on one screen.
Here's how I use it. On one page I can scan the latest headlines of what the
web collectively thinks is either popular or interesting. A simple mouse
over the headline will cleverly reveal a small box of expanded text on the
article. If I want even more, a click will open the original entry in the
filter. In five minutes I can scan 18 social site sources thoroughly. I get
an excellent feel for what is new and what is worth following up (a small
amount of overlap between sources helps).
The design of PopUrls is brilliant. There's two flavors, black on white or
white on black. Function drives form, buttons are minimal. It feels like a
well-designed command post for a concise debriefing. Even on a large
screen, like the 21-incher I use, there's a bit of scrolling. But I've come
to realize that I MUCH prefer this single fixed sheet to endless RSS feeds
in a reader. In fact, the page is essentially an improved interface for
multiple RSS feeds, which keep PopUrls constantly updated. The dashboard
doesn't move, while all the streams flowing into it keep it lively.
There's no better way to watch the hive mind.
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Sunday, April 23, 2006
AP PROFILE: Kevin Sites goes online at Yahoo to tell smaller stories
PUBLISHED: Saturday, April 22, 2006
Sites Goes Online to Tell Smaller Stories
By ANICK JESDANUN
The Associated Press
NEW YORK - Former television journalist Kevin Sites is mindful that his online dispatches from the world's war zones won't attract anywhere near the audience he's used to getting on the evening news. But that's just fine, he said. Halfway through a year-long gig to visit nearly two dozen conflict-ridden countries for Yahoo Inc.'s news Web site, Sites said he gladly trades the mass audience for the freedom to tell smaller stories about human lives. "I can be putting `American Idol' on the site and have 20 to 30 million people, but what kind of impact am I having?" Sites said during a brief return to the United States.
From northern Iraq, Sites wrote about the tranquility and economic development surrounding a park that was once an Iraqi Army headquarters. From Baghdad, he reported on the complexities of the U.S. Army's humanitarian mission. Later in Afghanistan, he compiled a photo essay on the good luck charms worn by service personnel.
Other news organizations carry human-interest items, too, but Sites says he enjoys devoting his full attention to it _ and doing it through text, video and photos, in a mix that makes the most sense for each story. "I don't have to cover the news of the day," Sites said. "I don't have to do a body count every day." In an interview at the global headquarters of The Associated Press, Sites also said he could visit locales he considers undercovered on the evening news: Somalia, Uganda, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others. His site, at http://hotzone.yahoo.com, has the feel of a fancy Web journal, with the latest dispatches on top and the ability for readers to post comments. But Sites, 43, sees his effort as more narrative storytelling than blog.
Adam Clayton Powell III, a former television news producer who now specializes in new media at the University of Southern California, said Sites' approach to news gathering is fundamentally no different from what traditional outlets have been doing for centuries. The equipment, though, is newer, and the shrinking of high-tech devices allows Sites to operate as a solo journalist, spending seven to 10 days in each country unencumbered by entourages with heavy gear. Two digital camcorders, a digital still camera, an Apple PowerBook laptop, two phones and a satellite modem fit into a backpack. He hires translators and fixers to help with logistics on the ground, but his three full-time producers are back at Yahoo News' Santa Monica, Calif., offices.
"Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone" draws a monthly U.S. audience -- Internet users visiting at least once that month _ ranging from 500,000 to 1.4 million, according to comScore Media Metrix. (Some stories also appear in print through the Scripps Howard News Service.) That's larger than the Internet's most popular Web journals and comparable to the entire Web sites of many metropolitan daily newspapers, but it's nowhere near broadcast outlets _ on the Web or over the air. Consider NBC, which had retained Sites as a freelancer before he joined Yahoo last year. MSNBC.com typically gets at least 24 million visitors a month, while Nielsen Media Research says NBC's "Nightly News" averaged 8 million viewers last week --_ that's for simultaneous viewers, not the once-a-month requirement for Internet tracking. In fact, it was one of Sites' NBC dispatches that got him notoriety. He shot video of a Marine corporal shooting an apparently injured and unarmed Iraqi in a Fallujah mosque;!
the footage prompted outrage among Iraqis. He later wrote about it on his blog and got attention that cemented in his mind the Internet's power. Sites, who also had worked for CNN and ABC, said he no longer needs to compete with his colleagues for two minutes of airtime. Nor is he restricted in format _ at CNN, he was asked to suspend his blog.
Steve Outing, an online columnist for Editor and Publisher magazine, said Sites' focus is nontraditional, but not unique. Outing cited dispatches by columnist Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times as among the efforts by traditional outlets to cover underreported regions around the world. Powell added that the plethora of international news outlets available online lets readers and viewers assemble the types of stories Sites is doing. More notable, Outing and Powell said, is Yahoo's involvement with news reporting. Traditionally, Yahoo News gets its material from deals with traditional outlets like the AP, Reuters, USA Today, National Public Radio and CNN.
Neil Budde, general manager of Yahoo News, said that when Sites proposed the project, Yahoo saw "an opportunity to create content from the ground up for the Internet" rather than reuse items initially made for other media. Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has consolidated its media operations 300 miles to the south in Santa Monica, near Hollywood, prompting speculation about the company's ambitions as a content creator. Yahoo carries some original finance, sports and travel columns and recently reached a deal with CBS's "60 Minutes" to package new footage. Budde, who would not discuss the Sites project's costs, considered it "a little bit of a departure. We're not saying we won't be doing more of those, but it will be like Kevin, in very specific areas."
Stuart H. Loory, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri, said there are enough untold stories out there for Yahoo or anyone else to tell. "No one outlet can do a good job of covering everything," he said. "They will bury stories that he will see as more important ... and give it more prominence."
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Alex Jones: "Crisis of conscience" in newspaper journalism; Jay Harris: Corporate ownership deleterious
The Public Broadcasting Service's Online Newshour included a nine-minute segment on Monday, April 17, about this year's Pulitzer Prize awards to newspapers for investigative journalism. The two commentators selected -- Alex Jones of the Shorenstein Center at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Jay Harris, former San Jose Mercury News publisher now at the University of Southern California, both had strong commenets. Alex Jones said newspaper publishers are in a "crisis of conscience" and Harris said corporate ownership has been deleterious to watchdog journalism. Read their comments below, moderated by Newshour correspondent Jeffrey Brown. There is also a link to streaming Real Audio to hear them speak.
JEFFREY BROWN: In a year when most emphasis has been on the woes of newspapers -- readers lost, reporters laid off, papers on the auction block -- today was a day to honor the best in American journalism, as Columbia University, which administers the Pulitzer Prizes, released the 90th annual winners.
It was a year in which some very high-profile, investigative stories made a major mark. The Washington Post won the investigative category for its coverage of the Jack Abramoff lobbying and corruption scandal. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel was a runner-up for its probe of federal government mismanagement of hurricane aid. Another finalist was the Los Angeles Times for its exposure of management and acquisition problems at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Investigative work was also honored in the national reporting category, where two prizes were given: the New York Times, for its reporting on secret domestic eavesdropping; and the San Diego Union-Tribune and Copley News Service, for their disclosure of bribe-taking by former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.
And investigative journalism also featured in the award for beat reporting, where the top honor went to the Washington Post for reports on secret prisons in the government's counterterrorism campaign and the award for international reporting, which went to the New York Times for stories on China's legal system.
The press was a watchdog
An assessment now from Jay Harris, a member of the Pulitzer board and one of the judges of today's awards. Mr. Harris has been a reporter and editor and served as publisher of the San Jose Mercury News. He's now head of the Center for the Study of Journalism and Democracy at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California.
And Alex Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard. He previously covered the press for the New York Times and was himself awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1987. Mr. Harris, starting with you, when you look at these stories from the last year, what did they tell you about the state of investigative journalism today?
JAY HARRIS, Pulitzer Prize Judge: Well, Jeff, first, let me say that I'm speaking on behalf of myself only and not as a representative of the Pulitzer Prize board. But I was enormously encouraged by what I saw as I read the finalists. I think you could say that the press as a watchdog did its job remarkably well this year.
JEFFREY BROWN: Why did it seem to you, Mr. Harris, that there were so many big, important stories this year? Or did it seem unusual?
JAY HARRIS: Well, I think that there were a number of important stories, some generated by natural events. Hurricane Katrina, we learned a lot about the mismanagement of FEMA. And a number are generated by the war on terrorism. We learned a great deal about questions, the balance between the war on terrorism and civil liberties, a great deal about domestic eavesdropping. And, finally, we learned, sadly, a great deal about corruption in government at the national level, with the Abramoff trial, and local. For example, in Toledo, Ohio, a finalist where illegalities by government up to and including the governor were reported.
Investigations had national implications
JEFFREY BROWN: Alex Jones, what did you see when he looked at these stories? What did it tell you about the state of investigative journalism?
ALEX JONES, Awarded Pulitzer Prize in 1987: Well, I would say that the first thing it says is that there's certainly plenty to investigate out there. I think that that's always been the case, of course. And I think this was a particularly important year, because so many of these investigations had really national implications. I mean, the Abramoff one, the New York Times one, of course, on the domestic eavesdropping story, so many others that really had a national focus and were not just local.
But I think that the real message here is just how important this kind of reporting is. And in the environment that we're in, there is, I think, despite the fact that there's some great work being done, there's probably a lot more work that could be done and should be done that isn't being done because of the sort of turmoil that the newspaper industry is undergoing. And newspapers do most of this kind of reporting. They don't do it alone, but they are by far the greatest engine for this kind of investigative reporting.
JEFFREY BROWN: So, Mr. Jones, would you say these stories should be seen as the exception, rather than the rule? In other words, is there less of this kind of big, investigative storytelling going on now than in the past?
ALEX JONES: I think there's no question that the budgets for investigative reporting are going down. I think there's no question also that many of -- especially the publicly owned newspaper companies are devoting less money to this very expensive and time-consuming kind of reporting, and focusing on a kind of hyper-local kind of reporting, which is the sort of the mantra of the newspaper industry as they try to combat the effects of the Web and so forth and decline in advertising. I think this is a very, very hard question, because investigative reporting goes to the very heart of the sort of public role, the public obligation role that the newspaper business has had from the middle of the 19th century. It was a business, but it was a business that had an obligation to spend a significant amount of money doing this kind of watchdog work.
The work you see on Pulitzer day is the very best, and the very best is as good or better than it's ever been. But that very best work does not represent, I think, what is going into this kind of reporting broadly, in terms of the newspaper industry overall.
Smaller circulation newspapers did well
JEFFREY BROWN: Mr. Harris, what do you think? What are the forces that are telling us how much and the quality of the kind of investigative work that we're seeing today?
JAY HARRIS: Well, first, I would agree with Alex: The effects of news organizations being owned by large corporations which exist and have as their primary goal the acquisition of profit for shareholders. This has really had a deleterious effect on news organizations. You've seen their capacity, the fundamental capacity for excellent journalism, weakened by cuts in the news room. That said, there's still excellent investigative work being done out there, but it's being done as much as anything because of individual journalists and editors who are concerned that this work be done. Even with the budget cutbacks, they are doing it out of dedication to the best of what journalism is.
JEFFREY BROWN: Mr. Jones, one thing I noted here is that some smaller circulation -- again, the largest papers won the most, the Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post. But there were some smaller circulation newspapers that did quite well, too. So they are finding a way to do this work.
ALEX JONES: Well, I don't want to -- I think it's very important to point out that there are smaller newspapers that are doing this. For the most part, they're family-owned newspapers that have a tradition of doing this kind of work as a matter of pride, as a matter of sense of public service.
I think what you don't see, though, are small newspapers owned by large newspaper chains that are in this list. That's not entirely true, but I think for the most part that's not the way it works anymore. Those are not the kinds of places that are willing to give the time and the resources for this kind of expensive work. This is the most expensive, difficult kind of journalism to do. It takes the reporters with the most experience and that cost the most. This is a problem for a lot of publicly-owned-and-operated news corporations that are basically feeling an extreme pressure on their profit margins and are looking to cut their news budgets.
And one of the ways they do that quickly is to diminish their investigative, you know, ambitions. I think that that's a shame. And I think that -- I wish there had been, you know, 20 times as many investigative and another Pulitzer-worthy pieces out there from newspapers all over the country. I just don't think that really is the reality, because that's the very hard times the newspaper business is going through. It's kind of a crisis of conscience, as much as anything else, figuring out what their public service obligation is going to be, as a measure against their duty to their shareholders and their need to make a profit.
JEFFREY BROWN: All right. Alex Jones and Jay Harris, thanks very much.
ALEX JONES: Thank you.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
POLITICS: Massachusetts candidates battle with web blogs, cell phones, iPod buzz
PUBLISHED: Thursday, April 13, 2006 - Updated: 09:04 AM EST
HEADLINE: New media, new frontier - Candidates battle Web blogs, cell phones, iPod buzz
By Jesse Noyes
Deval Patrick might have taken the lead in the race for the most cutting-edge gubernatorial candidate when his campaign unleashed an online marketing effort this week. But with many of the 2006 candidates planning to flood every medium available as the race heats up - taking advantage of everything from blogs and online banner ads to cell phones and iPods - that early edge is tenuous at best.
Patrick rolled out a major Internet-based effort, posting video and banner ads on local media sites, including NECN.com, CNN.com, BostonHerald.com and others. Patricks. spending could reach $100,000. "Deval really wants to get beyond the 10-second sound bites and the 30-second TV spots," said Doug Rubin, senior adviser to the Patrick campaign.
He's not alone.
"You're going to see all the campaigns start to shift some resources into some of the newer avenues," said Tim O.Brien, campaign manager for Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey. For instance, Healey's campaign is toying with the idea of jumping on iPods. "I think you'll see, very soon, blasted verbal messages to people's iPods,' O.Brien said. "It certainly is something that we're taking a serious look at."
With more people heading online and carrying handheld devices, the need for candidates to use nontraditional advertising is stronger than ever. But it's not just a matter of reach. It's also about perception as candidates try to adopt media-savvy personas.
"Generally speaking a vast majority of campaigns are about the future not about the past," said Rob Gray, president of Gray Media and a consultant to the Healey campaign. "Everybody wants to be on the cutting edge and to get their message out as much as possible."
The Internet has also taken a leading role in campaign fund raising after Howard Dean.' unconventional but successful efforts raising money early in the 2004 Democratic primaries. "The Web has become the ATM of political campaigns," said Tobe Berkovitz, associate dean of Boston University's communications department.
For Peter Pendergast, campaign manager for independent candidate Christy Mihos, it's about making one ad splash across an array of media channels. Mihos. first radio ad last month became fodder for bloggers, talk radio hosts and voters standing around the water cooler, giving the message buzz that far exceeded the cost of the original ad buy. "We got an awful lot of bang for the buck,' Pendergast said.
Both Attorney General Tom Reilly's and Chris Gabrieli's campaigns refused to comment on their marketing strategies.
Despite the early ventures into new media, traditional outlets still rule, experts said. As the race continues, candidates will step up their media buys in TV, print and radio. TV is "still the workhorse," Berkovitz said, "but you also have plenty of show horses and that's the new media."
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Miami Herald editor's edict puts the web front and center
From Miami Herald executive editor Tom Fiedler, sent to
the Herald staff via e-mail on April 12, 2006:
To the staff,
All of you who have stepped off an elevator into the Miami newsroom in recent
days cannot have missed the wall-mounted flat-screen monitor constantly
displaying and refreshing the MiamiHerald.com site.
And if you've attended any of the morning or afternoon news meetings, you will
have heard an opening discussion about what's on that site, how many hits each
article has received, and what's coming to the site later in the day.
These may seem like the incremental markings of evolutionary change, mere
head-nods toward on-line as we continue to think of ourselves as newspaper
people first, foremost and -- perhaps for some -- always.
But that cannot continue to be. Today we change. Today, as in NOW.
Three years ago, on one of the anniversaries of our 100th year, we focused
time, thought and effort into remaking the newspaper as part of the New
Century Project. I have no doubt that it produced a more successful newspaper,
one that incorporates all of the great journalism on which we've prided
ourselves, presented in a more visually exciting and easier-to-use newspaper.
Imitators are legion.
But time marches on and constantly improving the newspaper isn't going to
guarantee success, either in journalism or in the marketplace.
I have two messages to deliver today.
First, my goal is to remain as relevant, as important and as influential to
this community in the future as we have been in the past -- and to do it
through world-class journalism. It's a goal we all share.
Second, we will make delivering that journalism on MiamiHerald.com and our
other media platforms just as high a priority as delivering it in The Miami
Herald. Let me repeat that for emphasis: Just as high.
We are beyond being satisfied with incremental change and giving polite head
nods toward other media platforms. We are going to execute fundamental
restructuring to support that pledge. Every job in the newsroom -- EVERY JOB
-- is going to be redefined to include a web responsibility and, if
appropriate, radio. For news gatherers, this means posting everything we can
as soon as we can. It means using the web site to its fullest potential for
text, audio and video. We'll come to appreciate that MiamiHerald.com is not an
appendage of the newsroom; it's a fundamental product of the newsroom.
No more will some people be strictly newspaper staff and others will be
strictly on-line or multi-media staff. If you produce news, you'll be
expected to produce it as effectively for the electronic reader or listener as
you would for the newspaper reader. If you edit or design for the newspaper,
you'll learn to edit and design for the web site.
We'll be creating and posting several new jobs that will be necessary to
deliver on this mission. We don't have the luxury of waiting for new
resources to do this, so we may need to find the wherewithal by dropping some
of the less-important things we do now. Almost certainly we'll be changing the
typical work schedule so we can deliver the news when our audience wants to
get it. Of course we'll invest in training to help everyone succeed in new
The details will be worked out over the next few weeks and I invite everyone
with ideas to be involved.
Let me stress that we aren't going to milk The Miami Herald to do this. This
newspaper is what brought us here and it will remain very successful for many
years. There is something special and unique about journalism on the printed
page and we won't neglect that going forward. But we didn't fall in love with
journalism because of ink and paper. We fell in love with it because it had
the power to change lives for the better -- and we can do that on paper, on
the web and over the airwaves with equal devotion.
The potential for having even greater impact than we have now is enormous.
Although all of us are aware of the challenges we face in keeping newspaper
readers, a few facts about MiamiHerald.com:
*In January 2004, our web site captured 100,000 unique local visitors. Last
month, just 14 months later, it hosted 250,000 unique local visitors. In
fact, between February and March of this year, our on-line traffic grew by 22
percent. Remember, of course, that only on the web site can we reach readers
without regard to geographic boundaries, something we do very well and can do
*Across the nation, newspaper web sites increased the share of 18-24 year old
readers by 9 percent, and 25-34 year olds by 14 percent.
*We're making money. In the first quarter of this year, our websites exceeded
even optimistic revenue estimates by $2.2 million.
When I entered this business 35 years ago, the way things were done in the
newsroom wouldn't have been unfamiliar to someone doing my job nearly 100
years before. I scarcely can imagine what the newsroom will look like 35
years from now in terms of how we deliver our journalism.
What's exciting is that we are in the position today of shaping that future.
What we do will largely determine how successful The Miami Herald will be in
serving generations to come. As I said, that's exciting -- and daunting.
This much is certain: We won't be successful by standing still and lamenting
what used to be. Three years ago this September we launched the New Century
Project. Now we need to begin work on the next century and I need each of
you to come along.
About Tom Fiedler:
Tom Fiedler is the executive editor of the Miami Herald, overseeing a staff of
nearly 400 journalists at one of the nation.s most respected newspapers. Over a
career spanning nearly three decades at The Herald, he has held a variety of
assignments including editor of the editorial pages, political editor and
columnist, White House correspondent and war correspondent during the Persian
Gulf War. He is perhaps best known for reporting on numerous political
campaigns, including every presidential contest between 1972 and 1996, and for
authoring the Florida Institute of Government.s Almanac of Florida Politics.
In 1988, he was awarded the Bronze by the Society of Professional Journalists,
its highest honor, for his coverage of candidate Gary Hart.s presidential
campaign. He also shared a 1991 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the political
influence of an extremist group.
FOR FORUM REPLIES TO THIS SEE:
QUOTE: How McClatchy's Gary Pruitt describes the future of the newspaper franchise (fwd)
FULL RELEASES AT:
Two earnings reports out today demonstrate the momentum some newspaper companies are building in the web advertising business. And one CEO, McClatchy's Gary Pruitt, offered in his company's statement a concise, congent view on the positioning of a traditional newspaper publisher making a strategic transition to retain local market dominance.
Pruitt, the McClatchy chairman and CEO, said:
"Some may see the current slow advertising environment as confirmation of predictions that newspapers and print media are dying. We think that's wrong. While there is certainly more competition for advertising in all media, McClatchy continues to gain share over other traditional media in our local markets, and online advertising is growing strongly -- up 30.1% in the first quarter. Our portfolio strategy -- combining the daily newspaper with leading websites, niche publications and direct marketing products -- provides the best reach and results for local advertisers. This approach makes us the leading local media company in many of the best, fastest growing markets in the country and provides a solid foundation for our future."
While Journal Register Co.'s earnings report, also out today, contained no such similar statement, the numbers speak powerfully on their own:
"The Company continued to post strong gains in online revenues in the first quarter of 2006. Online revenues were $3.3 million for thequarter, reflecting an increase of 30.6 percent, on a pro forma basis,as compared to the first quarter of 2005. The Company's Web sites generated 89.7 million page views during the first quarter, an increase of approximately 75 percent as compared to the prior yearquarter. In March, the Company also reported 3.7 million unique visitors to its Web sites, including over one million visitors to the Company's JobsInTheUS Web sites. The Company's onlinebusinesscontinued to produce substantial operating profits in the first quarter. President and Chief Operating Officer Jean B. Clifton noted, "We are very pleased with the continued growth in our online business.JobsInTheUS is off to a great start and is a key part of our online strategy. We expect growth to accelerate at JobsInTheUS as we launch additional web sites, the first of which are JobsInCT.!
ADVERTISING: Podcasting marketing hits its stride
Podcasts Coming Of Age
March 31, 2006
By Antony Bruno, Billboard
SOURCE: Billboard Magazine
A year ago podcasting was just a fad with a cool name. In recent weeks, the
format has taken several steps toward becoming big business. The audio blog
phenomenon that began as free, grass-roots rantings is being commercialized
through advertising and subscription fees.
In early March, for instance, the creator of the British sitcom .The Office.
began charging $2 a pop for his comedy-themed podcast after generating 250,000
downloads per week from Apple.s iTunes Music Store.
Media companies like NPR and Clear Channel now sell 10- to 30-second
commercials for their podcasts, prompting the emergence of startups formed to
insert ads into amateur podcasts whose creators are unable to sell the ads
The trend has even expanded into the mobile space. On March 27, Mobile
podcasting service Pod2Mobile introduced an automated advertising program that
inserts 20-second audio ads at the beginning of participating podcasts.
The motivation is clear. A recent eMarketer report predicted that podcast
advertising spending will increase from an estimated $80 million this year to
$300 million by 2010. Venture capitalists at Sequoia Capital.which participated
in the $8.85 million funding of podcasting pioneer PodShow.say the market could
grow to as much as $2 billion in the next five years.
Of course, to reach these figures, podcasts need listeners. According to Bridge
Research, there are about 9 million podcast listeners today. Conservative
analyst projections peg that the audience will reach around 12 million in the
United States alone by 2010.
The .corportization. of podcasts is contributing somewhat to this growth, as
the big media brands take over the format from the geek fringe. But almost
every pundit agrees the biggest killer app for the format is the one most
difficult to obtain.music.
To date, the major labels have been reticent to license full-track songs to the
podcasting community because podcasts are downloaded files free of digital
rights management protection.
But there has been some movement. Noncommercial radio station KCRW Los Angeles
has posted audio podcasts of its programming since last March, and in January
expanded into video podcasting.
On a case-by-case basis, KCRW has scored permission from major labels to
podcast the in-studio performances of acts that appear on its .Morning Becomes
Eclectic. show. Such acts as She Wants Revenge, Medeski Martin & Wood and
Robbie Robertson are included. KCRW plans to soon launch a new .Song of the
Day. podcast, featuring music by emerging bands.
But the music in these podcasts is limited to what is recorded in the studio or
from independent acts. Getting full-track studio cuts of major-label content is
next to impossible.
.The major labels aren.t interested in digital distribution or promotion
through podcasting,. KCRW assistant GM Jennifer Ferro says. .I think they.re
waiting for it to go away..
Emerging to meet this challenge are firms focused on distributing podcasts over
wireless networks. NPR, with KCRW, made a splash March 27 by becoming the first
major media company to contribute its podcasts to the Mobilcast wireless
podcast service from Melodeo.
Mobilcast, like Pod2Mobile, streams podcasts to mobile phones. Because there is
no download, labels do not have to worry about distribution of unprotected
Melodeo.s service even adds a direct-purchasing option. The company also
operates a full-song download service for Canadian wireless operator Rogers
Wireless and others. So songs streamed via the mobile podcast can be purchased
over the air.
Others include startups.like PodSafe and the Independent Online Distribution
Alliance.s Promonet service.that aggregate libraries of tracks that
participating labels have cleared for widespread use in podcasts.
But aside from the case-by-case exceptions, major labels are still not onboard.
Some artists signed to these labels are beginning to express frustration.
.Podcasts are this big unknown to them,. says Brandon Curtis, vocalist for
Reprise act Secret Machines. Tracks from the band.s album .Ten Silver Drops,.
due April 25, have been sent to MP3 blogs and leaked to file-sharing sites as
part of a pre-release buzz campaign, but not included in podcasts.
.Meanwhile, they.ll license this shit out to .The OC. for pennies,. Curtis
says. .Record company people have agendas. The music can go on some ESPN sports
highlight program, but it can.t be on a podcast? Whatever..
(Additional reporting by Todd Martens)
Find this article at:
© 2006 VNU eMedia Inc. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
BLOGS/LOCAL: Traffic quadruples for "CoastSider" after road closure
Barry Parr, the former San Francisco daily editor and news industry
analyst, says traffic at his "CoastSider" local online news community has
quadrupled since a major road closure last week.
" . . . [W]e had a huge story here last week when one of two roads that connect us to the outside world (Devil's Slide, you took it from SF) was closed, probably for 3 months. I beat the HMB Review senseless and my traffic is now about 4x what it was before the closure. I've hit an inflection point. I've been telling people that I've been working toward this moment for two years and didn't even know it.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Citizen Media Conundrum::If You See News, Where Do You Report It? | PBS
ORIGINAL URL HAS POST COMMENTS
If You See News, Where Do You Report It?
April 7, 2006
By Mark Glaser, 1:49PM
MediaShift PBS Blog
One of the ideas behind citizen journalism is
that anybody who witnesses something newsworthy can photograph it, videotape
it or write about it for the rest of the world. But one of the conundrums of
citizen journalism is where do you do that?
You could start a blog or put the information on your existing blog. You
could try a citizen media service such as NowPublic or try to sell your
story to a mainstream or local news outlet. And now there are even
specialized agencies set up to handle photos from citizen journalists.
I believe there's a big opportunity for somebody (or somebodies) to step in
and become the place for citizen journalism, but it will take a lot of
marketing and outreach before the average person thinks that this is the
place they should send their news. Meanwhile, the places for citizen
journalism continue to multiply.
I recently had an email discussion with Topix.net CEO Rich Skrenta (pictured
above), who had pointed to his siteÿÿs news forums and their recent booming
success thanks to taking off a registration requirement. Skrenta was
particularly impressed at the 200+ posts about a tornado in Caruthersville,
Missouri, including many eyewitness accounts from the scene of destruction.
What ensued was a back-and-forth about how citizen journalism sprouted on
Topix forums, and how future efforts might become professional/citizen
hybrid collaborations in journalism. Hereÿÿs an edited version of part of
Skrenta: I wanted to follow up with two recent posts weÿÿve done on the
continued growth of our forum system. Weÿÿre thinking weÿÿve created the
largest local citizen journalism system on the Net with our forums. Forums
often donÿÿt seem to get the nod from journalists proper to being real
citizen journalism. Iÿÿd be curious on your take here.
Glaser: Fascinating stuff. I think the big question is at what point people
in a dire situation think about Topix as the place to reach out to others.
At the moment, I canÿÿt imagine that would be the case, but maybe that will
change over time. I think right now there isnÿÿt one particular place where
people go to connect online with loved ones they think they might have lost.
Maybe thatÿÿs an opportunity waiting to happenÿÿ
Skrenta: Itÿÿs true that weÿÿre seeing success which exceeds what our audience
reach footprint would suggest. What I believe is happening is that, when
events such as these occur, people are drawn online to find more information
and to connect with others. If there is an existing, dominant communication
system for the location or topic already, people go there. But if there
isnÿÿt an existing system, the audience finds our forums, since we have
created a ÿÿdefaultÿÿ news and community resource for every place and topic.
Weÿÿve seen this over and over again, where we will have multiple witnesses
to a news event end up in our forums. It canÿÿt be explained by reach
fraction [of our overall audience], yet people are finding ways to converge
on our forums.
Glaser: You become the accidental center for citizen journalism. But one
other question: How do you trust the info that you get, the eyewitness
Skrenta: Yeah, thatÿÿs always a big question that real journalists ask. The
public doesnÿÿt have the same issue though. Theyÿÿve gotten savvier. They can
appropriately judge the sources of what they read. You read online forums
ÿÿ or blogs for that matter ÿÿ with a grain of salt, and with skepticism. The
public needs to be their own editor.
This mirrors the elimination of the middlemen in other online activities. No
more travel agents ÿÿ we all have to use the seat selectors on Expedia
ourselves now, and suffer the consequences if we botch our vacation plans.
No more stockbrokers to tell you what to invest in; hereÿÿs the Schwab
website, read some articles and make your own trades. And hereÿÿs a big pile
of first source accounts ÿÿ blogs, press releases, forums, a spectrum of news
sites from Fox to the NY Times. Read it all and make up your own mind;
everyone has to be their own editor now.
Journalists, being the middlemen, are wary of this progression. Like travel
agents, real estate agents, and others being cut out of the chain by the
Internet, they are defending their value-add. Regardless of the merits, the
trend seems clear to us.
Glaser: I understand what you mean about journalists losing their place as
the middleman. But then what will be their place in the future? They canÿÿt
be completely eliminated, but what happens to them and their authority?
Skrenta: I definitely believe thereÿÿs still a role for them. A lot of the
story collecting ÿÿ reporting ÿÿ simply wonÿÿt happen without full time
journalists paying attention and doing their jobs. Especially on local
politics, investigative journalism, consumer advocacy. I also think there is
value to the analysis that good journalism can provide around a story.
But journalists wonÿÿt have a monopoly on the newsfeed to the consumer.
Theyÿÿll be just another channel.
Glaser: My biggest question in this area is how can pro and citizen
journalists work together to do better work, and support themselves
financially? You are basically bringing them together in one way with
aggregation, but not in a face-to-face way to collaborate. Whatÿÿs the next
Skrenta: I have an answer (or answer-in-progress) for the revenue side, but
not the collaboration side.
I do think professionally produced news is very valuable, consumers want it,
they miss it if itÿÿs not available, but the delivery channels are changing
now and the monetization hasnÿÿt caught up. In print, classifieds paid for
the newsroom; online, classifieds and news have little to do with one
another. But I still believe the news is valuable, and can support itself
financially. But not with 468×60 CareerBuilder ads on the header.
Glaser: So how can original news production support itself financially
without the classifieds? With relevant ads?
Skrenta: Yes. We obtain performance monetizing news stories directly 10
times above what we see on newspaper websites. We do this by using our
categorization engine to program the advertising.
Apart from the specifics of our case, however, I think the broader industry
issue is to focus on growing incremental revenue per visitor from the web
delivery channel. Part of the reason, we believe, that news websites are not
strong in this area is because itÿÿs simply taken a back seat to other
initiatives. But focusing effort and attention in the right way can lead to
If the news online canÿÿt pay for itself, funding the newsroom will become
challenging. Itÿÿs critical for the industry paricipants to focus their
engergy on this problem. Of course, Iÿÿm not saying anything particularly new
here, but the problem hasnÿÿt been solved yet.
What do you think? Will journalism survive and thrive online with new
business models? How will citizen journalism fit into that mix? What do you
think about Topix.netÿÿs mix of news aggregation and open forums on specific
topics and locales?
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
OPINION: Return public edition to roots: Teaching civic engagement
Published April 4, 2006
HEADLINE: Why Johnny can't be bothered
By Thomas Geoghegan, a Chicago attorney and author
and James Warren, a Tribune deputy managing editor
In Chicago for their annual gathering, the nation's newspaper publishers should sit down with some politicians and school principals. All three parties are impacted by the real Culture War. Not the one between left and right over gays, guns and abortion, but the one between the "we" who still read a daily paper and those who don't. "My wife and I read three papers a day," says a law professor friend. "But my daughter who's in graduate school, not a one. And my son, 19, doesn't read a paper at all either."
Yes, newspaper reading has dropped around the world. But that's a half-truth at best. The share of Germans over the age of 14 who scan a daily paper is nearly 80 percent. The French and Scandinavians, among others, read much more than we do too. So don't be so quick to blame the Internet, TV news, iPods, IMing or even unrelenting attacks on the evil "mainstream media." It's too facile. Other countries have most of that, as well as Britney Spears, nincompoop shock jocks and pro wrestling. But newspaper reading in those countries hasn't collapsed as far as it has here.
The crisis in America, where ironically we have the world's highest rate of bachelor's degrees, is that if people don't read papers, they generally won't vote. The crisis of the press here is a crisis of democracy too. The single best indicator of whether someone votes is whether he reads a paper, according to political scientist Martin P. Wattenberg in his book, "Where Have All the Voters Gone?" But the converse is also true. Whether one votes is a much better indicator than a college degree as to whether one is reading a daily paper.
The reaction between these two trends, a decline in voting and the decline in the reading of dailies, is what scientists call autocatalytic. One drives the other in a downward spiral. The under-30 young read far less, and vote far less--and according to their teachers, have fewer opinions. Not reading, not having political sentiments, they aren't especially capable of voting intelligently anyway.
What can we do now? Let's start with public education. In the Northwest Ordnance of 1787, Thomas Jefferson slipped in a famous mandate of public schools for basically one reason: to turn kids into citizens able to govern themselves. But we take democracy for granted. The founders could not. No one had ever attempted such a huge experiment: to test whether the common people could manage the public business.
Critical to public education was telling children not that they merely could but that they had to vote: It was a moral obligation. And to exercise that obligation, they had to be literate enough to read a paper. If they didn't read a paper, they couldn't follow a legal argument and sit on a jury. Unless they read a paper, they couldn't cast a vote; it would be too dangerous to the country. Jefferson opined, "... and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them." The quotation is attributed to a letter by Jefferson found in "The Papers of Thomas Jefferson," according to A Dictionary of Quotations, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. (This paragraph as published has been corrected in this text.) But teaching students to read a paper is virtu!
ally the last thing anyone in America expects from a school, especially in this test-driven era of No Child Left Behind. The purpose of education is now largely vocational or economic, preparing students for job and career, while filling a dizzying array of state and local mandates, including AIDS awareness, obesity prevention, anti-bullying and fire-safety programs. The civics element is gone. And the industry's traditional link to schools, its Newspaper in Education program, evolved into more of a gambit to boost circulation than a means of thoughtful civics instruction.
History, civics and other "political" subjects need to play a big role not just for the college-bound but also the armies who will at most have high school diplomas. A year ago the Chicago Tribune ran an estimate that only 47 percent of high school graduates from public schools in Chicago went on to any college work at all, and most of those soon dropped out. They depart having been cheated out of the civic skills they need to vote and take part in the great policy debates over allocation of the country's income (Social Security, welfare reform, Medicare, etc.).
There are many ways to recast public education to save the press and the democracy. One approach is four years of civics and four years of American history. "Four years of civics" might include one old-fashioned civics course, a current-events course, a course on problems of American democracy, and a final course that involves in-service learning and volunteer work.
Another approach would be for the state school system to publish a "student paper" that is given every day to students. The paper would consist of articles taken from newspapers around the state. The plan here is to turn the reading of the paper into a daily habit. If publishers want to save themselves from long-term demise, they must consider reinvention of their papers' content and dramatic hikes in traditionally anemic marketing and promotion efforts. But they should also push for a new public education quite different from that envisioned by No Child Left Behind.
Worry a bit less about the Wall Street analysts and a bit more about the principals and the taxpayers on the local school boards. Sit down with them, but with a bit of care since school leaders rightfully feel put upon by too many mandates. And think about paying something for civics courses, which may turn out your future readers. It's the democratic thing to do--and maybe the industry's best hope to stay alive, even flourish.
Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune
Saturday, April 01, 2006
OPINION: Michael Kinsley on how journalism is changing
Writes Michael Kinsley, the founding editor of Slate Magazine:
"No one seriously doubts anymore that the Internet will fundamentally change the news business. The uncertainty is whether it will only change the method of delivering the product, or whether it will change the nature of the product as well. Will people want, in any form -- and will they pay for -- a collection of articles, written by professional journalists from a detached and purportedly objective point of view? The television industry is panicky as well. Will anyone sit through a half-hour newscast invented back when everyone had to watch the same thing at the same time? Or are blogs and podcasts the cutting edge of a new model for both print and video -- more personalized, more interactive, more opinionated, more communal, less objective?"