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January 13, 2009

Bloggers Get Press Credentials After Filing Lawsuit

In November 2008, three bloggers filed a lawsuit against New York City after being denied press credentials from the New York Police Department in 2007, due to the fact that they weren’t traditional media. Now they have gotten their credentials as NYPD have relented. This according to the blogger’s lawyer, Norman Siegel.

“This step recognizes that bloggers are 21st-century journalists,” Mr. Siegel, a noted civil liberties lawyer who has announced plans to run for public advocate next year, said in a phone interview. “It’s an important first step, but only a first step, because we still need to address the constitutional problem of who gets press credentials in New York City. The Police Department should not be in the business of determining who’s a journalist.”

In other words, they are going ahead with the lawsuit to force “further reforms”. Good news for NYC bloggers I’m sure. Read more about this at the City Room Blog over at NY Times.

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June 4, 2008

Google: Paid-for News Online is a Credible Business Model

Nikesh Arora, VP of Google UK, uttered those words at the World Association of Newspapers in Gothenburg, Sweden, the other day. He also noted that many businesses have just moved their offline ideas online. Google won’t be challenging the content creators though:

“We see ourselves as part of an ecosystem. We see ourselves as ensuring people’s access to information and content. We are not in the business of creating content,” he said.

More in the wrap-up at Journalism.co.uk.

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May 30, 2008

Can You Run an Online Publication?

Answer honestly. Do you have what it takes to run background research, fact check, spell check, grammar check, objectivity check. Wait a moment, wasn’t blogging supposed to be about opinion and voice? Yes it was, and so was journalism. You are allowed to feel, witness (experience), and document what you see through your human filter.

Christiane Amanpour thinks that “there are some situations that one simply cannot be neutral about. Objectivity does not mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing.” Herein lies the first lesson in running a publication for bloggers – it is about being balanced in recognizing differing points of view.

Another journalist I have tremendous respect for, John Timpane of the Editorial Board at The Philadelphia Inquirer – former Shakespearian English teacher and poet – calls it skepticism. This means requiring the official reality to explain itself. Not to be confused with another sentiment, which is often overused: cynicism. A cynic is not open to discovery, he is set in his ways. A skeptic, on the other hand, is open to receiving. In other words, they are listening while exercising critical thinking.

Now that you are listening, you can pass the biggest test.

The Biggest Test

The biggest test you can take after you honor the proper grammar and form is that of the attribution. Being objective means being honest with yourself, and with the other – both sides. Can you do that?

Then you are well on your way. All the other things – finding news, analyzing it, doing background and fact checks, even finding a sponsor or an ad network for your publication is easier.

The hardest part is always that of objectivity. Asking, even requiring reality to explain itself is harder than it seems. Yet the rewards are oh so much greater. With the recent news of Ars Technica being bought by Conde’ Nast we learned a very important piece of information: the community that forms around an online publication can be a powerful story.

Compelling at the tune of millions of dollars. The content is key to forming that, of course, as is the integrity and passion of the reporting – with objectivity. What side of the conversation are you not giving a hearing to?

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May 5, 2008

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 28, 2008

Shutdown Day Returns. Will You Pull the Plug?

Filed as News with 5 comments

Last March the Internet went dark as Shutdown Day arrived. OK, not really. But about 50,000 people opted to leave technology behind to pursue other endeavors.

This year, the event is back, this time on Saturday, May 3.

It is obvious that without computers we would find our life extremely difficult, maybe even impossible. If they disappeared for just one day, would we be able to cope?

Be part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the Internet. The idea behind Shutdown Day is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate!

I know what will happen…my blog traffic will drop. But the founders of the non-profit organization are thinking bigger than that.

Shutdown Day was founded with the sole purpose of spreading awareness about the pitfalls and dangers that lie in the excessive use of television, computers, and computing equipment like game boxes, cell phones, music players, online social websites, etc. that impinge on social space and interaction amongst our communities.

Want to take part in the second annual event? Pledge your allegiance to pulling the plug – at least for a day.

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April 21, 2008

Blogging Lessons For and From Journalism

As the proud holder of a journalism degree, I am always looking for ways to connect what I’ve learned both in school and in previous jobs to my blogging.

The fact is that blogging and traditional news reporting are actually closer to one another than many would like to admit. They both involve many of the same elements including, finding stories, researching them, writing the article, crafting the headline and finding supporting media.

So what do professional journalists have to teach bloggers, especially new/amateur ones and what can bloggers teach the print world about online media?

As it turns out, there is a great deal for both sides to learn, if they are willing to listen.

read more

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April 6, 2008

Tools for Twitter

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Jeremiah Owyang has posted his essential twitter tools over at his blog Web Strategist. In this post he takes an indepth look at tools that he is using to improve his twitter experience.

All of his suggestions are good tools for enhancing your twitter experience, but I found the most value out of Tweet Scan which provides a robust search mechanism for twitter.

I used tweenscan this morning to find several mentions of myself or The Blog Herald from twitter over the last 48 hours that I was unaware had occurred. Highly recommended as a tool.

What twitter tools do you use?

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April 3, 2008

40 Becomes 50 In This Year’s TechCrunch Startup Conference

TechCrunch40 becomes TechCrunch50, sporting 50 startups as opposed to last year’s 40. More money, three days (September 8-10), and more exposure as well as venture capital I’d reckon. As usual, there are a bunch of high profile names sponsoring the even, including both Microsoft and Google this year. All details in a TechCrunch post of course.

The TechCrunch40 conference debuted last year, and the companies featured is said to have raised over $143 million in VC money, which is a whopping number for sure. The project is initiated and pushed by TechCrunch owner Michael Arrington, and blogosphere hotshot Jason Calacanis.

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March 25, 2008

Deep Jive Interests Looking for Guest Blogger

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For those unaware, Tony Hung, our former editor here at the Blog Herald, is actually an MD (medical doctor, that is). And whenever he’s not busy saving the world, he loves to write about new media, particularly on Deep Jive Interests. However, with a big exam coming up, Tony will be unable to post regularly on his blog. So to make sure the site stays alive, he’s looking for guest bloggers.

[M]y Royal College Exams in Internal Medicine are here (or will be, in April and May), and seeing as they are the Final Exams one writes at the end of one’s medical training they are rather important.

Although my training won’t quite end, because I’ve decided to do an extra year’s training in Palliative Care, this Exam is the Big One. Its the kind where people sweat and stress, and really, start studying in earnest about a year before the exam date.

In case you’re interested, or know someone else who may be, do get in touch with Tony. You can help the new media scene with deeper, jivier and more interesting thoughts and commentary over at Deep Jive Interests!

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March 17, 2008

Are you a fast blogger or a slow blogger?

Filed as Features with 9 comments

The philosophy of one of my favorite bakeries is that they allow the bread to rise up to 36 hours to ensure the best quality. It reminded me of the Italian ‘slow food’ movement as a response to the production and consumption of fast food. The general idea was translated into various aspects of life and gave birth to the ‘slow movement’ which may be considered as “a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace.” (Wikipedia)

However, the web seems obsessed with updates, it seems to be in an endless beta state fed by a perceived freshness fetish where updating quickly and instantly is the norm. Blogging may be seen as a medium where the freshness norm is illustrated in the daily update. New York Times science reporter Andrew Revkin recently stated that

Much of the power of the Web lies in speed and reach. But those same properties are the source of its greatest failing as well: the tendency to spread faulty assertions instantly and widely. Maybe it’s time for a “slow blog” movement, just as there’s now a slow food movement — and even a slow life movement, as described in The Times this week.

While blogs thrive on the update , the quick update in order to break the news first may also lead to the “fast-motion flow of misinformation.” A recent example is the Robert Scoble’s quick but inaccurate Twitter message stating that “revision3 just sold to cnet for $58 mil” which was humorously covered by Michael Arrington on TechCrunch.

While freshness is still the norm on the web there are also a few trends that propose to slow down. We are dealing with an increasing amount and speed of information which gave birth to the Getting Things Done hype. Dutch problogger Ernst-Jan Pfauth for example applies GTD to blogging in ‘how to process blog-related email Getting Things Done-style‘.

Both the slow movement and Getting Things Done are a philosopy and a lifestyle. Slow blogging proposes to take a step back, reflect and think. Carl Honore gave an interesting talk on ‘Slowing down in a world for speed’ at Ted 2007 (see video). Of course the Slow Blog Manifesto does not apply to all blogs and bloggers. Slow Blogging is a style and mindset that rejects immediacy:

It is an affirmation that not all things worth reading are written quickly, and that many thoughts are best served after being fully baked and worded in an even temperament.

News blogs depend on quick and fast updates but depending on what kind of blog you run you have to balance between the speed of information and depth of information:

The best internet experiences balance the tension between speed and ease of access and depth of information. The superficial quality of speed is inherent to the net (just like water is wet) but that doesn’t mean it has to be accepted unquestioningly. The proliferation of information and our consumption and creation of it isn’t something that should be taken for granted. (Jesse)

Mari then distinguishes between two types of blogging:

There is and should be fast and slow blogging. Someone a while back made the point that the real issue is lazy blogging. I think that’s right. Fast blogging has its place in conveying news and starting conversation. Meanwhile, slow blogging is for thoughtful, considered analysis; for weighing all of the news that’s already been reported in fast blogging and by other media outlets. Both are good. Lazy blogging has no place. (Mari)

What kind of blogger are you? A fast blogger or a slow blogger?

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