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March 20, 2009

Science journalists turning to blogging?

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It’s not news that many journalists working in traditional print media are feeling the pinch, but a new survey published in Nature journal suggests that science journalism is really under pressure.

Surveying nearly 500 science journalists from Europe and North America, it found that jobs are being lost because the science sections of newspapers aren’t making money.

Conversely, it found that science blogs and web sites run by researchers are growing in number and readership, and are often looked to by traditional journalists for story ideas.

Of course there are plenty of issues to contend with when it comes to science blogging — authenticity and trustworthiness, for a start, as well as how to monetise, particularly when sponsorship and advertising could come from drug companies, threatening readers’ perception of a site’s impartiality.

Are science blogs a good substitute for the in-depth research and analysis found in the papers?

(Via Xinhua Net)

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December 31, 2008

Exploring Social Media: Live Citizens Press Conference on Twitter

Exploring Social Media article series badgeYesterday, was used as a real-time news conference podium by the Consulate General of Israel in New York and featured on their Israel news and commentary blog, . In this ongoing series on Exploring Social Media and Social Media Tools, the politics in issue are not up for discussion, but the manner in how this popular social media tool was used to great a Q&A forum for discussion of a current event is worth discussing.

Called a Citizens’ “Press” Conference on Twitter, from 1300 – 1500 EST on December 30, David Saranga, Israel Consul of Media and Public Affairs in New York, answered questions regarding the situation in the Middle East regarding Israel and Gaza and all parties involved. Questions were submitted to their Twitter account, @IsraelConsulate and attempts were made to respond to the questions through the 140 character limit, with those requiring lengthy answers would be posted on the blog.

There were no rules, other than the typical “play nice” and all questions were welcome from any and all angles. While Mr. Saranga was the host of the Twitter event, I’m sure he had a lot of help from his staff at the Consulate to respond to the flood of questions.

Twitter example during Israel Gaza Press Conference by Israel Consulate of New York

Within a very short time, the “edited” version of the Twitter conference was posted in sections on the Israel Politik blog. They explained what they meant by “edited” as: read more

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December 8, 2008

BBC Mumbai Twitter Debacle

BBC learned the hard way that Twitter is not always reliable. I doubt they thought so from the start, but the fact that they screwed up their Mumbai terror reporting running rumors floating on Twitter not only looks bad for the publisher, it also hurts the credibility of user generated content online. Steve Herrmann writes extensively on this on The Editors blog. read more

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November 21, 2008

Sarah Palin Blasts Media Not Just Bloggers

When asked in an interview with Sarah Palin on FoxTV, her first public interview after the election, if there were false allegations made that needed to be addressed, and Sarah Palin blames the media, with a minor slap against bloggers that is making the rounds of the blogosphere.

…if the media had taken one step further and investigated a little bit, not just gone on some blogger – probably sitting there in their parent’s basement, wearing their pajamas, blogging some kind of gossip or lie regarding, for instance, the discussion of who is Trig’s real mom…and that was in mainstream media, the question that was asked, instead of just coming to me and setting the record straight. And when I tried to correct that – that yeah, I’m truly Trig’s mother – to take days for everything to have been corrected…

Rumors are flying around that she is attacking and judging bloggers. While she does make a sweeping generalization about bloggers, one that we bloggers deal with daily, her point is to actually take the media to task for using blogs as a source of fact and fiction. read more

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October 28, 2008

Traditional journalists burning out on blogging

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Reporters working for traditional news organisations are becoming burned out because of the demands placed upon them to engage in new media and communications tools, according to journalists at the National Press Club forum at the University of Missouri.

It’s quite common to find online versions of newspapers and news broadcasters kitting out their web sites with blogs, Twitter feeds, and social networking links, but it seems that in many cases this is a loss-making exercise, done only because it’s “cool” or institutions feel that they have to “keep up”.

A correspondent for the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Tony Messenger, said that he had been blogging for years but had never had a discussion with the newsroom as to why they were blogging and how that should tie in to their business model. read more

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August 25, 2008

Blogging Internships, Anyone?

NY Times blog Shifting Careers recently featured a story about a student interning at a blogger’s home office. High school student Sara Jane Berman was on-the-job for a few weeks at the home-office of NY Times columnist (and blogger) Marci Alboher and had described the experience as “different from a conventional internship.”

Instead of the stereotypical “gofer” work, such as photocopying, my job consisted of tasks such as thinking of questions for interviews, proof-reading Marci’s blog posts, and keeping an eye on her dog, Sinatra, during phone interviews.

On my first day I noticed that the line between work and home life was blurred, which may be expected from the author who coined the term “slash” as a type of career. I quickly learned that for working out of a home, versatility was essential. One minute I was answering the phone “Hello, Marci’s office” and next it was time to walk the dog or fix something for lunch.

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July 21, 2008

The Legal Risks of Blogging

A recent article in ABC News paints a fairly grim picture about the current state of blogging. According to the article, as well as the Media Law Resource Center, there have been 159 civil and criminal court actions taken against bloggers since 2004 with countless others threatened into silence before any kind of action was filed.

Though the number of actions taken are still very small compared to the number of bloggers writing (Technorati was tracking over 70 million blogs at its last report), the threat of legal action is enough to scare many bloggers into changing the way they write, removing content or otherwise altering their site.

The problem is that, even if the image of bloggers being sued is an exaggerated one, the image of bloggers being threatened with such suits is much less so. For every lawsuit that reaches trial, there are dozens that are settled and for every one that is settled there are likely hundreds that are threatened, but never filed.

This has helped to create a climate of fear, one that bloggers need to be prepared for.
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May 5, 2008

Should Matt Drudge Apologize for Reporting the News?

I’m no big fan of the Drudge Report, a popular site run by Matt Drudge, but this I find this pretty scary, since I am a fan of free speech. The background is that the Drudge Report picked up on a story that UK Prince Harry was in Afghanistan, and that was against the agreement UK press had with the military. In other words: No one reported this, it was a sanctioned news blackout.
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Andrew Keen: “The Huffington Post is Death to Professional Journalism”

Andrew Keen is the author of a book with this title:

THE CULT OF THE AMATEUR: How Blogs, Wikis, Social Networking, and the Digital World are Assaulting our Economy, Culture and Values

In a Word Press Freedom Day Debate he maintained that new media is killing journalism, a line that didn’t win according to Andrew himself. Journalism.co.uk, who are responsible for the overly aggressive headline of this story, has got a report up, where this quote stands out:

“It is no coincidence that just as you have the rise of The Huffington Post that encourages people to give away their content for free you have job losses and the death of the professional journalist.”

Read the full piece, and then check out Andrew’s piece in The Guardian, heralding lovely things like this:

The truth is that today’s internet – with its radical challenge to the traditional authority of elitist journalism – is as much a consequence of these socio-cultural changes than a cause of them. Today’s Web 2.0 media is just technology. We bring it to life. When we go online, we are staring into a ubiquitous mirror. New media is us, our collective narcissism, our aggregated hubris. So rather than accusing digital technology of killing journalism, we are the criminals here. It’s our use of democratising internet technology – our cult of the amateur, our cult of authenticity, our cult of ourselves – which is undermining the authority of professional public reporters.

What do you think? Are we killing journalism here?

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April 25, 2008

MediaShift Interviews William Bastone of the Smoking Gun

The Smoking Gun is still going strong, making a living on publishing celebrity mugshots and a lot of other things. Mark Glaser over at MediaShift have a great interview with William Bastone, founder of The Smoking Gun, and he’s got a lot of things to say about online publishing.

There are a lot of people commenting on stuff and riffing on things and blogging, but actually reporters breaking stories on the Net — there are a lot fewer than I would expect…Even though we’re no longer running the site out of my living room and sold it, we’re still a three-person outfit. We’re the smallest division within the Time Warner monstrosity. We’re still three guys in a room who generate every story we do…We still maintain a shadow of our indie cred.

An interesting read for sure, so check it out this weekend.

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