The last thing Web 2.0 needs is a cheerleader, but it has one. in Mike Arrington, our ninth bastard of the blogs. A shout out goes to Blogebrity, who also thought that we should see Mike’s legs in a cheerleader uniform.
The last thing Web 2.0 needs is a cheerleader, but it has one. in Mike Arrington, our ninth bastard of the blogs. A shout out goes to Blogebrity, who also thought that we should see Mike’s legs in a cheerleader uniform.
We live in Minnesota. Our company is based just outside of Minneapolis – having moved here from Boston a few years back in order to facillitate my wife’s career. And hell, I can work just about anywhere. So why not in the frozen tundra of Minnesota.
Politics in this state are interesting. Having lived for a long time in Massachusetts where the Democrats have a virtual stranglehold on everything except the Governor’s office, Minnesota was a relief in that the government was more properly balanced between Democratic and Republican. And, there’s a pretty strong third party in the state as well. After all, Minnesota elected Jesse Ventura governor not too long ago.
One Minnesota blogger though is hoping to change all of that.
This is the 31st post in our “How I Blog” series. To read the rest, visit the archives. Interested in participating? Drop us a note about ‘How I Blog’ along with a photo or yourself or your blogging space at tips [at] blogmedia [dot] biz.
How I Blog: Brian Yalung, MBA, Blogger
For years I have acted as a writer and columnist to several local and business organizations, mostly on the field of Information Technology. Most of these article contributions were out of charity and acted more on providing relevant content for the newsletters and the public newspapers that everyone could see. In short, the only actual reward I wanted was acknowledgement and the chance to be known as a writer.
A few years back, blogging become so popular that I checked it out. Well, this new hype that the Internet has given towards the Internet enthusiasts has drawn a lot of attention and raves, allowing any person anywhere, to be able to express his or her inner self for the world to see. Some even go to the extent of making a business out of it, which I guess is pretty obvious with the scheme that most search engines such as Google and its Adsense schematics and other affiliate marketing strategies. It has been said that most people earn a lot from it, hence making it only but natural that most people would bite and try out this new fad. Unfortunately, I don’€™t see it that way as far as I am concerned. I have a lot of ideas running around in my mind, but the thought of earning never really crossed my mind. So seeing that Blogging was similar to that of what I really do in actual article writing, well, the rest is history. I had my first big break writing articles for a word content organization based in the Philippines, but unfortunately, due to misunderstandings, the relationship was cut short.
I soon found myself focusing on blogging. I blogged regularly at the Marketing Shack, putting to use my MBA knowledge, with special focus on brand marketing and marketing strategies. Not content, I even put up some personal blog sites, some type of relaxation and unwinding activities to put off some steam especially during internal conflicts which I choose not to discuss with friends. My favorite blogs where I usually pour my heart out and speak my mind is at the Daddy and Daughter Times, Diary of Love and Miracles, and Technology and Tricks. Now, given the breaks and vote of confidence, I have been given the opportunity to join a group of professionals to revive a good business site, that of which is Biziki, for pleasure of course. This all the more allows me to provide business and career tips based on experience and actual knowledge from the graduate level viewpoint, something I know will benefit most up and coming ambitious career oriented individuals. But most importantly, it provides a stress release therapy on my part, especially when pressured times set in.
In all, I blog and write for the sake of putting together thoughts in my mind and composing them in such a way to make it look professional. Focus and attention on my surroundings, past experiences, own critique and maybe a word or two to draw the usual adsense and keyword search for search engines make up my entire undertaking as far as blogging and content writing is concerned. Oh and before I forget to mention it, enjoying through expressing and sharing with a target market audience about what I know is also what I call an icing on the entire endeavor.
This is the 30th post in our “How I Blog” series. To read the rest, visit the archives. Interested in participating? Drop us a note about ‘How I Blog’ along with a photo or yourself or your blogging space at tips [at] blogmedia [dot] biz.
Rambix, Rabble-Rouser, Blogger
I blog not for fame or fortune, but because of a deep, burning passion to expose the mainstream media (MSM) for their hypocritical coverage of crime, criminals, and societal degenerates in general. I’€™m also propelled by a strong sense of justice – real justice, not one-year-in-jail-and-thirty-years-of-probation justice (*actual sentence just handed down in Minnesota to a child molester).
Last week, when the debate erupted over the New York Times publication of the use of bank wire information from the Swift network as a part of its anti-terror efforts, I asked Munir Umrani, the editor of the Diplomatic Times Review and The Blogging Journalist to give us his thoughts on how bloggers should handle a similar situation. Munir agreed – and his post is below.
What should a blogger do if confronted with a source willing to reveal classified information? Should he or she post it or not?
Many factors determine what a blogger should do in such a situation. However, the first thing the blogger should not do is immediately publish the information. On the other hand, the first thing the blogger should do, if he or she does not know the the person offering the information, is try to learn the person’s identity and motive. The blogger should try to determine why, out of the millions of bloggers in the world, the source chose to divulge the confidential information to him or her.
If the source is a high profile senior official, meaning at least a deputy, I would probably be less skeptical. However, I’d still ask: why me? I’d also want to know whether the person is engaged in a disinformation campaign for political or intelligence reasons or both.
Before the blogger publishes information from a confidential source, he or she should also want to know whether the information can be verified. Personally, I’d prefer verification by at least three, and preferably more, sources. As in law, corroboration in journalism, and especially investigative reporting, is essential. A blogger should not be so anxious to scoop traditional media or other bloggers at the expense of verification. Chasing the scoop can be extremely dangerous because the person is motivated by the scoop, not the highly debatable principle called “the public’s right to know.” It’s better to lose a story rather than a reputation.
Also, I’d let the confidential source know upfront that I’d reveal the source of the information if turns out to be bogus. If the information is false, maybe such a threat will make the source decline to reveal it.
The blogger should try to determine whether there are documents that would back up the assertions of the source or sources. If the source provides documents, can they be independently certified and authenticated? The documents should be such that they are able to withstand intense scrutiny from bloggers and traditional journalists determined to discredit the information, the source and the blogger for ideological and professional reasons. Don’t forget what happened to former CBS Evening News managing editor Dan Rather and the documents purporting to show that President George W. Bush shirked military duty.
As Wikipedia notes, ‘€œOn September 8, 2004, Rather reported on 60 Minutes Wednesday that a series of documents concerning President George W. Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service record had been discovered in the personal files of Lt. Bush’s former commanding officer, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, in which Bush was found unfit for flight status after failing to obey an order to submit to a physical examination. The authenticity of these documents was quickly called into question by both conservative and liberal bloggers; by September 10, stories in media outlets including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Chicago Sun-Times examined the documents’ authenticity.’€?
‘€œRather and CBS vigorously defended the story,’€? Wikipedia adds, ‘€œinsisting that the documents had been authenticated by experts. However, CBS was contradicted by some of the experts it originally cited, and later reported that their source for the documents, former Texas Army National Guard officer Bill Burkett, had misled the network about how he had obtained them. On September 20, CBS retracted the story. Rather stated, “if I knew then what I know now ‘€“ I would not have gone ahead with the story as it was aired, and I certainly would not have used the documents in question.”
The lesson from the Rather episode is that, the blogger should always keep in mind that the court of public opinion is not that much different from a court of law. In each court, a skilled practitioner or practitioners can paint a picture that obfuscates the truth while not necessarily discrediting the facts. All a defense attorney wants to do is to raise is reasonable doubt in the jury’s collective mind. Political ideologues want to impugn motives and question loyalties in the court of public opinion. Karl Rove and the Bush Administration are masters at playing the game and some making Americans view a certain segment of the the traditional press and the blogosphere as having committed treason for exposing and discussing questionable practices in the so-called ‘€œWar on Terror”.
There is more. Before publishing confidential information, a blogger would do well to the assess his or her strengths and weaknesses and ability to evaluate information and manage sources less he or she ends up being managed by the source or sources.
Of course, being a blogger of the stature of Steven Clemons at The Washington Note or Joshua Micah Marshall at Talking Points Memo, both of whom seem to have extensive contacts in government and a knack for ferreting out information, helps when approached by a confidential source. For example, I haven’t been to the State Department, the White House or Capitol Hill since the late 1970s. Having stayed away from Washington for almost 30 years, I know absolutely no one I could turn to verify information from a confidential source. If some one came to me with such information, I’d definitely want to know why they want to confide in me. On the other hand, I might say that it was probably because the source reads The Diplomatic Times Review and thinks I can handle the story. Would I be deluding myself? Probably.
Here’s another thing to consider: If the source confides in a blogger with no journalistic, legal, intelligence or public policy experience, who generally writes about knitting or cars, it’s another ball game and would probably end in disaster. The mindset of an investigative journalist or blogger is totally different than the average blogger. This is not to say that blogger who concentrates on knitting or state and local politics couldn’t use the information to write an article; they can. The question is will the blogger have access to the right sources who could verify the information. Maybe, but most likely not.
With high profile stories, it’s not enough just to be a good writer with a fairly well-read blog. An impeccable reputation is a valuable asset. In other words, is there anything in the blogger’s background that could be used to discredit an article based on confidential information. Someone who has been convicted or charged with rape or child molestation should pass on the story. Why? Because that blogger would become the story. The first question critics would want answered, and rightly so, is: why should I believe a pedophile?
It’s the blogger is a deliberate plagiarist, he or she would be a fool to publish the information. Remember former Washington Post blogger and RedState.org and RedState.com founder Ben Domenech? The Post launched its “Red America” blog on March 21, 2006. Jim Brady, the Post’s often maligned online editor, announced Domenech’s resignation on March 24, 2006. As Wikipedia notes, he resigned ‘€œafter other bloggers posted evidence that he had plagiarized work from writers at The Dallas Morning News, The Washington Post, National Review Online, Cox News Service , and Salon, as well as that of humorist P. J. O’Rourke and several amateur film critics.’€?
If a blogger has a reputation for sometimes inventing facts, he or she may want to tell the source to take the information elsewhere. Currently,Truthout reporter Jason Leopold is Exhibit A for what can befall a blogger when he or she has a reputation for unreliability. On May 13, 2006, Leopold published an article headline Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators trying to determine who at the White House told journalists that Valerie Plame, the wife of Bush critic Joseph C. Wilson, was a CIA operative. While some bloggers reported the story as true others were skeptical. Some members of the Washington Press corp tried to verify Leopold’s assertions but reportedly could find no corroboration.
So far Rove, who is President Bush’s ‘€œDeputy Chief of Staff, heading the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the White House , according to Wikipedia, still has not been indicted.
In fact, Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, told reporters June 13, 2006 that he had received a letter from U.S. Attorney and Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald saying Rove would not be indicted. Fitzgerald has not released a statement, so we don’t know whether it’s true or not. Leopold, who reportedly used confidential sources for his story, sticks by his reporting.
if the blogger should decide to publish the confidential information, the wise blogger would avoid ideological taint. I’m not referring to a blogger with political views but one who would let those views cloud his or her judgment regarding the facts. The fact should speak for themselves. Of course, all facts are subject to interpretation.
After publication, the blogger should expect to hit with the kind of blog swarm that targets The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal and other traditional media outlets when they publish national security related articles. A good example is the criticism heaped on those publications after they revealed that the Bush Administration had what The Times calls ‘€œa secret program that seeks to investigate and block terrorists by tracing financial records through a banking consortium in Brussels.’€?
These publications have the financial resources and constitutional attorneys to defend their right to publish and stand their ground. How many bloggers have such resources?
Picture by evill1@flickr – used under a Creative Commons license.
For seven years, I lived with my wife in the town that I consider to be the birthplace of this great nation – Boston, Massachusetts.
For a young man who grew up in a town of only 2,400 people in the middle of Indiana, living in a large city like Boston was a heady experience. But for a man who loved history – the thought of being able to trod the steps of a town where John Hancock, Sam Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, and Paul Revere once walked was nothing short of sheer joy.
My parents raised me to respect and love my country and its veterans – my family having had a long history of military service to our nation. This left me with a keen understanding of the sacrifices that have been made so that our nation and its people – and those of its allies – could live in freedom.
My first year in Boston – 1999 – I wandered into town to soak up the sights on July 4th. I caught the tail end of the 4th of July parade – which came to a stop in front of the original capital of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – the Old State house – where a Navy Captain stepped out on the balcony and introduced the commanding officer of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.
The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company is the oldest militia unit in the United States. They date from 1638 – far predating the United States. And a few days after July 4th, 1776 – when a company of the Declaration of Independence arrived in Boston.. they stood out on this same balcony and read the words for the first time in the City of Boston.
And that tradition has continued for more than two hundred years.
I stood – in awe – as the words were read – just a few yards from the site of the Boston Massacre – just a quarter mile from the graves of Hancock, Paine, and Sam Adams.. across the street from Fanueil Hall and around the corner from the Old South Meeting House.. each places where so many gatherings were held to debate whether or not to take the ultimate step.
Massachusetts has another unique holiday that I’ve found in no other place that I’ve lived. On April 19th, 1775, more than a year before the Declaration was signed, a man named Revere set out to warn the Minutemen along the path from Boston to Lexington and Concord about the pending seizure of their arms and stores by the British army.
At a bridge just outside of Concord they finally made a stand – and with that action – and then signing of a document by 56 men a bit over a year later – this country was born.
That day – April 19th – is celebrated annually in Massachusetts as Patriot’s Day. You know it as the day of the Boston Marathon, but for those that have visited Concord and Lexington, that day holds an entirely different meaning.
There’s much I don’t miss about Boston – the traffic, the cost of living, Senators Kennedy and Kerry, and others… but on July 4th, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.
Happy Birthday America!
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
This is the 26th post in our “How I Blog” series. To read the rest, visit the archives. Interested in participating? Drop us a note about ‘How I Blog’ along with a photo or yourself or your blogging space at tips [at] blogmedia [dot] biz.
Karissa Van Tassel, Mom, Blogger.
As a stay at home Mom, I don’€™t have always have the luxury of writing when it’€™s convenient. Ironically, stay-at-home Moms should have more free time because they don’€™t have a ‘€œjob’€? per se, but it doesn’€™t seem to work that way. For myself, I spend my days chasing/playing with my 2 and 3 year old. It’€™s kind of like herding cats somedays’€”you work hard and never seem to get very far.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and Linux World Net.
Well, Linux World Net is a new network of Linux-centric blogs. There are a lot of great Linux resources out there, but as far as I can see, there’s no single stopping point for a wide variety of Linux information. Hence, Linux World Net – a single resource for topics like gaming, security, new user tips, development, business, news, FUD removal, and whatever else the guys come up with each day. At any given time, the current network blogroll can be seen at any Linux World Net blog, but The Kernel is the main source of network information.
As for me, I think I’m best described as a Linux enthusiast. I’ve written articles for Linux Magazine, Linux Journal, Linux World, and Sitepoint; been interviewed (mostly about podcasting); and spoken at the recent Calgary Linux User’s Group Linuxfest. I keep a love-me page at jonwatson.ca about if anyone can stomach it.
Where are you headed with Linux World Net this year?
All the way to Christmas, baby!
No, seriously…Originally, I wanted to launch with a dozen blogs and then build up to 20 by the end of the year. As it turned out, we launched with 6 blogs and have recently just launched our 10th which, upon reflection, makes perfect sense. The bulk of my network blogging experience comes from my work as Tech Channel Editor for b5 Media which is very broad in scope. It took me a few weeks to realize that Linux World Net is a different kettle of fish. Since we’re specifically Linux related, I needed bloggers who are not only willing and able to write, but also have a fair bit of technical experience in their fields. It’s easy to find people with technical skill and it’s easy to find people that can write. Finding people with a nice mix of that was the challenge.
I see Linux World Net maxxed out at about 20 blogs. I mean, how many distinct topics can you really make out of Linux? I’m always open to new ideas, but hitting the 20 blog mark by the end of the year is our goal at the moment.
Why a linux blog network?
As I alluded to earlier, nobody’s doing it. There are lots of people out there doing great work in the Linux space (guys like Jeremy over at Linux Questions and Mark Rais over at Really Linux are two that come to mind) but no single network providing a good range of Linux information.
At first I thought that it might be fun to try and join some of the existing sites under a single banner, but as I started the ball rolling it became apparent that there were potential Linux bloggers out there that were willing to start new blogs rather than bring in existing ones. That just fanned the fire even more by showing that there was excitement behind the idea of a Linux blog network and the momentum started rolling from there.
One of the things that I’m really enjoying that I didn’t see coming is our network-wide mega-feed. Each blog has their own feed, obviously, but we recently created a single network-wide feed as well. I’ve started reading that feed rather than the individual blog feeds recently and it’s quite enjoyable. Because the entries show up in the mega feed in chronological order rather than in blog order, each entry jumps into a different area of Linux. It’s a great way to get a quick fix.
Do you worry that focusing in such a niche area that you may be limiting your audience?
I hope so. Our audience is supposed to be limited.
Linux has many, many faces. In some areas like the enterprise service space, Linux does very well. In other areas such as home/desktop use, there are some challenges still. A Linux user isn’t your typical computer user. In general, Linux users are computer enthusiasts and many are also concerned with the freedoms that Free sofware brings with it. The vast majority of computer users aren’t concerned with their computing freedoms and don’t have the desire to tinker with their system. Therefore, the vast majority of computer users aren’t our target readers. Did that makes sense?
I grew up a slackware fan, switched to Redhat on my desktop, and then moved on to Debian for my servers. What’s your favorite distribution?
First off, my condolences. You’re going to get killed for publicly stating that you left Slack. Rule number one: Nobody leaves Slack!!
I’ve always been partial to Debian-based distros. The first box I ever put together was a Debian 3.0 box in my basement to run an online BBS running MBSEBBS. It grew into my brutally TOS-violating web and mail server and ran happily for about a year. I then got ‘Boing Boinged’ one day and it became obvious that my ISP was going to notice this guy with 50,000 hits a day streaming through port 80. So I shut it down before they made me. That and the chewing gum that was holding the box together started to dry out.
During that time I had messed around with trying to get Linux running on my Inspiron 1000 laptop. I finally got Fedora Core 2 running on it and that’s what I started podcasting about Linux. I upgraded to FC 3 which broke my sound so I started shopping around for another distro. I settled on Kanotix (Debian-based) for quite a while and then eventually gave into the lure of Kubuntu with 5.10. I’m still running Kubuntu 6.06 on my Inspiron 9400 and am quite happy with it.
How do you feel about what some are calling the ‘Death of the Blog Networks’?
I think it’s rather dramatic. Blog networks are dying like email is
Wake me up when the circle-jerk stops.
This post has nothing to do about blogging – except that in writing about a topic close to my heart, I’m really writing about the core essence of blogging.
I’m in New York City on a two day trip – and as I believe is appropriate when visiting the greatest city in the world – one should take a few moments to visit the hole in the ground that once held two of the tallest buildings in the world – and where nearly 3,000 of my fellow citizens were killed. Nearly 400 of which were police, firemen, and other rescue personnel.
No matter one’s political view – 9/11 is an event that has changed many of our lives – personally, professionally, and spiritually in many cases. It’s hard to fathom or think back to a time before 9/11 and how things were different, almost more innocent perhaps.
One photo and story that has always stuck with me about 9/11 is this picture that I first saw months after 9/11 in Dennis Smith’s book Report from Ground Zero.
It’s a photo of Lt. Ray Murphy of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). He was walking away from the cameraman following the collapse of the first WTC Tower. He was shaken and probably felt lucky to be alive. He had just recovered from that tower collapse and was headed into the still standing WTC tower in order to help others.
He was killed in the collapse of that tower.
This picture has always reminded me of both heroism and sacrifice given freely by the men and women of the FDNY, NYPD, PAPD, and others that day —
In the end, I think we all have the responsibility to remember what happened that day – to us – to our fellow man – here in our own country.
A few weeks ago, while having coffee with a dear friend in Minneapolis, our conversation steered towards the impact of September 11th on our lives – both personally and professionally.
She pulled out her PDA – tapped on it a few times – and spun it around so that I could read it.
It was her calendar – turned to September 11th, 2006 – and it showed just one word:
Yesterday, at St. Paul’s Chapel just across the street from the World Trade Center, at the memorial wall where one could leave a note.. I scrawled my own simple reminder to myself.
I have not forgotten.
I’m not really sure why I chose to post this here… except to say that sometimes we all get caught up and emotional about things like “Blog Network Wars” and “Who’s business model is better than another’s?” or “Why isn’t Karl Rove indicted?”.
The reality is that none of that really matters. And one only has to visit the World Trade Center to understand why.
The Blog Herald. Wow. I remember this place back in the day. Looks like there’s some fresh paint, some furniture rearranging… I like that painting on the wall, Matt. Where did you get it? Very impressionistic. Funny, the memories. I’ve always looked at this place on the outside and admired the yard and deck. Always thought that some exterior remodelling could take place, but never anticipated being able to step inside and see the changes inside.
Like I said, my name is Aaron Brazell. I call myself a roaming gnome because I can be found at a number of blogs. I’ve seen my share of controversy and sparked the ire of more than a few people (in comments).
I like to blog at more than one blog, and now for more than one network, because I believe there is a harmony that can be had when bloggers are given a chance to express themselves about the things that they have the most passion for. I approached Matt awhile ago about the chance to blog here, not knowing if I’d have that opportunity. So, I’m pleased to be here today though, and pleased to be given this opportunity.
For the conspiracy theorists among us, despite my role at b5media, this is not a subversive ploy to re-assimilate the Blog Herald into our network.
But lest I prattle on more and bore readers, I’ll check out for now and say, I love the new look, I love the opportunity to be here, and looking forward to how my contributions move The Blog Herald forward. Cheers, Matt, for having me in. Now get me a beer, before I really get pissed off. ;-)