Tag Archives: blogging

Amateur media watchdogs helping keep newspapers in check

While a handful of established groups shoulder the responsibility of holding news and media organisations to account, the internet has fueled the growth of the individual online watchdog, according to an interesting post on the European Journalism Centre website.

Author Jamie Thunder, an Investigative Journalism MA student at City University uses several examples to illustrate the biggest media bloggers within the online community, such as Tabloid Watch, Five Chinese Crackers, Angry Mob and Enemies of Reason.

‘Watchdog’ groups are nothing new to the media. But these blogs are different. There’s no unifying political ideology, and they’re maintained alongside full-time jobs. They’re not run by media theorists or political activists – just individuals stirred to action by the daily iniquities of the press.

He says that while they accept their impact on the papers themselves will be minimal, it’s the online “groundswell” among readers which is where their power lies.

We all know the media landscape is shifting, and shifting fast – paywalls, user-generated content, and Wikileaks are just three recent developments. Yet little has been said about the increasing ability for non-journalists to analyse and publicise the press’s problems (…) And as long as newspapers keep misbehaving, they’re not going away.

See his full post here…

Crisis-mapping platform Ushahidi launches new simple service

Open source crisis-mapping platform Ushahidi has launched a new service for the less technically minded user.

Crowdmap enables anyone to rapidly deploy the platform on a subdomain without the need for any installation.

Testing the platform yesterday Curt Hopkins from ReadWriteWeb.com came into some difficulties, but the company say these have now been ironed out. Hopkins added that if the problems are sorted, the platform has significant potential for supporting blogging in difficult situations.

Crowdmap, if it works without inducing aneurysms, may have the potential that blogging did in areas of conflict and high censorship: anyone with basic tech access and determination should be able to download, launch and run a Crowdmap deployment.

See his full post here…

Belfast Telegraph: Bloggers and mainstream journalists can be happy bedfellows

The blogging community and mainstream journalists – it will not be a case of either or, according to a post on the Belfast Telegraph opinion blog this week.

Many will undoubtedly respond to this to say that in fact, it never has been, but there are still some journalists who worry that the plethora of bloggers doing journalistic work for free will sound the death knell for the paid-for industry in the near future.

But according to a post by the Belfast Telegraph, two differences between their two worlds will mean they continue to “feed off each other”, rather than consume one another entirely.

There remain some vital differences between a journalist and a blogger. The journalist has to deliver on time. There are deadlines. The blogger can go to the pub and upload the recordings later, maybe even the next day. The journalist has backing. When harassed by abusive calls and threats of libel, the newspaper or broadcaster should take the heat. The blogger alone will more readily succumb to pressure.

(…) And the problem for a blogger is that the publishing model is vulnerable. An article online can be removed in a way that a broadcast item or a newspaper article cannot. Once they are out, the damage is done. The blogger may have to defend a piece every day, or remove it. And there is unlikely to be support from the host server, which has no editorial principles to defend.

The result, the writer adds, is a future with room for both journalism entities to exist. Any finger of blame for the problems facing traditional media should be firmly pointed in the direction of finances, not competition, the poster says.

But if newspapers and broadcast outlets collapse, it is still more likely they ran out of money than because bloggers provided a viable alternative. There should still be room for both.

See the full blog post at this link…

NMA: Reactions to Italy’s ‘blog-killing’ new bill

Reputation Online’s Vikki Chowney rounds up the reaction to a so-called “blog-killing” clause in Italy’s new Wiretapping Bill.

As Journalism.co.uk reported last week, the revised bill will allow the publication of transcripts “relevant to an investigation”, but campaigners remain concerned by a clause in the new version which, according to European Digital Rights, requires anyone “responsible for information websites” to publish corrections within 48 hours of a complaint of inaccuracy being made, or else face fines of up to 25,000 euros.

There’s a huge amount of convergence within the reputation industry at the moment. the New York Times, FT and Guardian have all run lengthy features in the past two weeks on the issue of “managing your brand” as an individual. Just last week we saw a Facebook user sued for posting defamatory comments on a friend’s profile.

We’re yet to see a UK brand put a law like the one proposed in Italy into action, but as the courts start to impose stricter rules and the idea of managing personal reputation becomes more mainstream, these types of regulations will become more commonplace.

Full post on New Media Age at this link…

Science bloggers leave network in protest at Pepsi sponsorship

Fascinating round-up from David Dobbs about the exodus of science bloggers from the ScienceBlogs network, part of the Seed Media Group magazine title, over the launch of a new blog sponsored by PepsiCo.

The origins of the PepsiCo blog – money rather than merit – would not have matched those of other bloggers on the network: it’s an issue of credibility and trust between the readers and writers, says Dobbs.

Does this advertising-editorial wall ensure good journalism? Unfortunately, no; people find other ways to botch journalism. But in the murky world of media, we need a few firm lines to keep us away from slippery slopes. This pact between publisher, writer, and reader provides one of the most vital. It forms the foundation of reader trust; violating it erodes that foundation. Ads are a necessary evil. Credible publications present them unambiguously as third-party commercial messages so the reader instantly knows someone is selling something. That’s why patching a couple of stickers on a blog that presents itself in every other way as editorial content, as Seed proposed before killing the Pepsi blog, doesn’t work. It’s like sticking a lapel button on a guy at the front of the church in a tuxedo and expecting us to think he’s not part of the wedding. The guy needs different clothes.

Full post on Comment is Free…

Correction: this post has been amended to show that it is Seed Media Group not AOL’s Seed that run ScienceBlogs.

Hyperlocals, regional press, and the ‘them and us’ attitude

Interesting blog post from Joseph Stashko, co-editor of local news site Blog Preston, where he highlights what he thinks are the biggest issues surrounding ‘hyperlocal’ news networks.

One of his points is the relationship between regional press and local sites.

Not all bloggers are reactionary, unsubstantiated wannabe journalists, and not all regional media journalists view the internet as an evil contraption. We need to get beyond this immature view that still persists.

Rather than two very separate platforms, he would like to see greater integration between the two, a ‘best-of-both-worlds’ situation.

What I’d like to see is some kind of co-operation between traditional and online media. This has been done in some places, but not enough, and not to a standard where both parties equally benefit. Too often, articles are written deriding ‘the other side’, making snide cheap shots and I don’t think anyone can afford to be making enemies right now. How about providing a space on regional newspaper websites for these new journalists to cover their small beat? Or even integrate into the print edition, maybe with a postcode specific opinion article once a week.

Read his post in full here…

New Statesman: Bloggers are ‘the fifth estate’

Blogging on New Statesman, Laurie Penny writes:

Cosy members of the established commentariat eye bloggers suspiciously, as if beneath our funny clothes and unruly hair we might actually be strapped with information bombs ready to explode their cultural paradigms and destroy their livelihoods. This sort of prejudice is deeply anodyne.

Bloggers aren’t out to take away the jobs of highly-paid columnists: we’re more ambitious than that. We’re out for a complete revolution in the way media and politics are done. While the media establishment guards its borders with paranoid rigour, snobbishly distinguishing between “bloggers” and “journalists”, people from the internet have already infiltrated the mainstream.

Penny adds some great insight from online publisher, blogger and “digital activist” Cory Doctorow into bloggers’ role as “the fifth estate” with an ability to challenge and bring down traditional media approaches to commentary, especially political commentary. She concludes:

One thing, however, is certain: journalism is changing forever. The notion of political commentary as a few-to-many exercise, produced by highly-paid elites and policed by big business, has been shattered beyond repair.

Full story at this link….

Jon Snow: ‘Joy is it to be allowed the role of reporter in these amazing times’

Yesterday we linked to an article by the Guardian’s Andrew Sparrow on the possibilities of political blogging, and today we spotted that Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow is also waxing lyrical about the beauty of election blogging:

Joy is it to be alive and to be allowed the role of reporter in these amazing times. May Snowblog long continue to be somewhere where, whatever our prejudices, we can share this remarkable moment in the affairs of man and woman.

Full post at this link…

(via @samshepherd / http://mayweed.tumblr.com/)

Guardian.co.uk: Should commenters be forced to use their real names?

A short debate appeared in yesterday’s Observer, over whether newspaper site commenters should be allowed to remain anonymous or not.

(It’s particularly timely given historian Orlando Figes’ Amazon review confessions, and also – as I’ve just posted – the Telegraph writer Cristina Odone’s outrage over internet pests’ challenging her facts)

Journalist and academic Aleks Krotoski argues for the right to anonymity (an extract):

The anti-anonymity brigade assumes that the cloak of the keyboard brings out the very worst in people because there’s no accountability in an identity vacuum. This belief, however, is purely anecdotal and is completely empirically unfounded. Really, what happens online is just the opposite: research shows that people are more willing to be open and honest and to help one another than to try to break down the virtual social order.

The Observer’s Rachel Cooke, meanwhile, argues for unmasking the users (an extract):

As for cowardice, yes, of course anonymous posters are cowards. It’s pathetic. The honourable thing to do is to put your name to bad reviews and all the other stuff, and if this makes your social life awkward – as it sometimes does for me – the upside is that, in future, you will think rather harder before you begin typing.

Full post at this link…

Beet.TV: Daniel Franklin on the Economist’s ‘collective voice’

Economist executive editor Daniel Franklin talks about how the Economist has developed its writing style and why a lack of bylines in the newspaper doesn’t mean a lack of individuality.

On its website, writers’ initials are now included on blog posts – including its recently launched technology blog – to reflect “the personal nature of blogs”:

Full post at this link….