Jun 18, 2007 LA Times story Citizens are the media in S. Korea
Although traditional newspapers and magazines around the world are cutting jobs amid declining circulation and a shift toward the Internet, OhmyNews continues to recruit. It currently has a reporting corps of 50,000. The company's motto, posted outside its crammed office in central Seoul, is a big help-wanted sign: "Every citizen can be a reporter."
After making a big splash during South Korea's 2002 presidential elections, the company lost money last year on revenue of about $6 million, most of it from ads. Its readership, as measured by page views on the Internet, has fallen to about 1.5 million a day, from a peak of 20 million five years ago.
Last summer OhmyNews expanded into Japan, with $11 million of financing from Tokyo-based investment giant Softbank Corp., but neither that site nor the English-language international site has come close to matching OhmyNews' performance in South Korea.
n some ways, OhmyNews is a victim of its own success. It was a pioneer of citizen journalism, but its ideas of engaging readers, particularly younger ones, have been co-opted by rival news purveyors in South Korea and all the way to CNN and the BBC. Mainstream media websites, including that of the Los Angeles Times, now post videos, photos and comments from the public.But OhmyNews has encountered other problems. It has faced questions of credibility, partly because of its liberal bent and its army of nonprofessional reporters. In one instance, an advertising agent and citizen reporter wrote a story promoting a company that, it was later discovered, was one of his clients, prompting Oh to issue a public apology. Oh declined to comment about that incident, but in an e-mail reply he said citizen reporters were required to reveal their association with clients.
Jun 17, 2007 Philadelphia Inquirer story Journalism's future is in global dialogue
I wrote here last week that I believe newspapers, despite their current hard times, will ultimately survive. I think the print edition will probably endure to some extent, but, without any doubt, the future of daily journalism is digital, not because it is the latest thing, but because it is, quite simply, a far better medium than paper and ink.
Right now, the technology is still in its infancy. Video and audio links have improved a great deal in the last decade, but remain primitive, with annoying download delays for all but the fastest computers, and often with herky-jerky quality on screens no bigger than those on iPods. Most newspaper sites are little more than Web editions of the paper product, and more difficult to use. They are a little bit like early movies, in which the director essentially filmed a stage play. But because journalism itself has value, eventually publishers will work out the profit problem. The multimedia aspect will grow seamless. What will news sites look like then?
"A short answer is that they will probably look like a lot of things; there won't be one single form," said Don Kimelman, a former Inquirer editor who today, as a managing director for the Pew Charitable Trusts, has overseen initiatives to explore this very question. "There is a lot of experimentation right now, but the old media still govern the new media. The best sites are run by the traditional dominant news organizations. While everyone recognizes that the future of news is online, for now the advertising money is considered insufficient for the real pioneers to take the plunge."
Unlike with TV and radio, which are stuck with people reading out loud, customers of digital journalism will get the best of all media forms. They can wade into any story that attracts them as deeply as they wish. Readers will gravitate toward prose, while those who prefer sounds and images can simply watch and listen. The digital report will not be locked into the strict chronological format of TV and radio news, but will be much more like a newspaper, which permits you to begin with sports and weather, if you wish, or go right to the editorials or comics.
The old idea of reporters covering a beat might well be replaced by an online reporter/editor who oversees a subject area driven by the entire community - a constantly updating police blotter or transit map, for instance. Digital thinkers refer to this as a pro-am (professional-amateur) model, in which the reporter is corrected, tipped off and guided - just as I was with Black Hawk Down - by the expertise of his readers. Blog sites offer a rudimentary working model.
Old fuddy-duddies like me will still want their news on paper and in the driveway every morning, but we won't live forever, and already two of the biggest newspapers in America - the New York Times and the Washington Post - are reaching more customers online than in print.I advise young journalists today to learn how to use a digital video camera, and to get used to working in multimedia. Nearly every story I write today for the Atlantic, and every book I undertake, I do in conjunction with a documentary filmmaker. This results in a documentary version of the story, which can be marketed to TV but also compiles the audio and video needed to produce a Web presentation comparable to Jennifer Musser-Metz's Black Hawk Down project.
Future of news media
Jun 18, 2007 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle story 'USA Today' founder assesses status, future of news media
[W]hen I travel across the country, my amusement comes from Rush Limbaugh's show. I find that that's one of the funniest programs on the air. I don't become offended by the idiotic things he says; I become amused by them. But I also think that from my perspective that it's OK for idiots like him to voice their opinion because that's what this country is about and that's what the First Amendment is about. I might add that I have become convinced, although a little reluctantly, that all the bloggers on the Internet have a right to all of their stupidity, too. And there's a lot of it. But I really think we're better off with those kinds of opinions and dissenting voices than we would be if we or the government tried to control them.
Talk radio runs America
Jun 15, 2007 NY Times story Senate Leaders Agree to Revive Immigration Bill
Frightening statement by Lott. It appears that Trent "Hugo Chavez" Lott is implying that government needs to control free speech.
Govt and broadband Internet
Jun 18, 2007 BuzzMachine blog posting A question for the candidates
Is this the job of government?
Is the old guard wise?
Jun 17, 2007 Social Media blog posting The wisdom of the old guard?
In the San Francisco Chronicle, Todd Oppenheimer reviews American Carnival: Journalism Under Siege in an Age of New Media by Neil Henry, We're All Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age by Scott Gant and The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture by Andrew Keen.
In the San Jose Mercury News, Ryan Blitstein has this book review: Web warning: Amateurs at work. Andrew Keen says new technologies are enabling a war on expertise and degrading our culture; too bad he has so few facts to back it up.Incidentally, the book review came in the same issue in which the San Jose Mercury News announced that the Perspective section (the ad-free weekly op-ed section) was ending after today. Unfortunate news, but another area where the marketplace is not rewarding the old-school brand of opinion and analysis now in plentiful supply in a world of personal media.
Cell phone conspiracy?
Jun 15, 2007 Chicago Reader story When Bad News Is No News
THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM Review plays darts every issue with unworthy journalists, but its Darts & Laurels feature for May and June threw one at the entire "U.S. news media." Launching a dubious metaphor, CJR took the American media to task "for failing to pick up a long-distance signal."
The item explained that when major papers in Britain, Germany, Canada, Israel, and other countries "recently rang, sometimes on page one, with the findings of a five-country study that showed a statistically significant increase in a certain type of brain tumor among people who had used cell phones for ten years or more, one might have expected the American press to at least record the message." But it didn't, said CJR, even though "the telecom industry here keeps hoping that the FCC and the federal health agencies will raise the levels of cell-phone radiation currently allowed.
Cell-phone radiation is non-ionizing, which means it produces heat but, at least in theory, doesn't threaten biological organisms at the atomic level. The idea that noniodizing radiation is a menace regardless goes back at least as far as the 1977 book The Zapping of America: Microwaves, Their Deadly Risk, and the Coverup, by New Yorker writer Paul Brodeur."There is a vast conspiracy among the press, especially newspapers, not to write about the biological studies, especially the epidemiological studies done in Europe," Brodeur told me this week. Like other vast conspiracies, this one shows every sign of being able to live on indefinitely, never confirmed beyond doubt or discredited to everyone's satisfaction. That a long period of latency precedes whatever damage cell phones might do only hardens both sides' convictions.
Jun 18, 2007 Editor and Publisher story titled Surprise! Study Finds Web Users Also Like Dead-Tree Editions :
A telephone survey of adults who said they visited an online newspaper in the past seven days found that "crossover" users -- adults who read both print and online newspapers -- make up the largest segment. Eighty-one percent of newspaper Web site users said they also read the print edition in the last seven days.
Crossover readers aren't reducing the time spent with the newspaper either. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed revealed they have maintained the combined time reading either the Web site or the print edition; 35% said they actually increased their time with both products. Only 12% of crossover readers said they have decreased their time spent with either print or online newspapers.
The survey, conducted by Scarborough Research on behalf of the NNN, also looked into the behavior of Web-centric users. Online-only readers, 49% of them, tend to access a newspaper Web site before 10 a.m. compared with 34% of crossover readers who access the Web site during the same time period. Crossover users tend to spend time with the print edition in the morning -- 63% read it before 10 a.m.Online-only users tend to skew female, the survey revealed. Fifty-five percent of Web site-only users are women. The majority of Web-only readers said they go to an online newspaper for local news (84%), entertainment and information (74%), and food and restaurant information (58%). Fifty-two percent of Web-only readers read or write blogs while 46% said they had joined a Web community.
Jun 19, 2007 Forbes article titled Blogging Into The Mainstream
It looks as if the revolution is now being co-opted. Last week, The New York Times hired Brian Stelter, the 21-year-old mastermind behind MediaBistro's widely read TVNewser Web site. Last month, CBS paid $5 million--that's the number 5 followed by six zeros--to acquire the satirical financial-news video blog Wallstrip. Last December, McClatchy acquired local entertainment news blogs Fresno Famous and Modesto Famous from a Fresno., Calif., native who had started blogging in her spare time.
With increasing frequency, media outlets big and small are deciding that if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. And why not? Slammed by critics for not being Internet savvy, the moves are a natural. You get an instant audience and fresh talent steeped in a sensibility that's still evolving.
Jeff Jarvis, a magazine and newspaper veteran who blogs at BuzzMachine.com, hails the blurring of the lines between traditional media and the blogosphere as a positive development. "It means we're going to have more journalists, not less,'' Jarvis says. "Just because newspapers are shrinking doesn't mean journalism will shrink.
But recruiting from the blogosphere is not without its risks--for both sides. The acquisition of blogs by big media companies can alienate the very readers they're looking to pull in. Bloggers who join the mainstream press trade freedom for a steady paycheck but could get swallowed up by the larger media brand.
Wonkette founder Ana Marie Cox and ex-Rocketboom anchor Amanda Congdon are good examples. Now that they're at Time.com and ABC.com, respectively, neither enjoys the same high profile as during her original blogging gig. It's hard to shake the impression that the traditional media banners for which they now work have blunted their insurgent charm.
Fresno Famous and Modesto Famous were transplanted complete and unchanged to their new home. "The site didn't change a bit, not one line of code, not the format, not the editing of the content," Euston says. "It's exactly the same as when I owned it."
Nonetheless, the sale put off some readers, who considered McClatchy's Fresno Bee and Modesto Bee newspapers too dowdy to be associated with the hip, free-wheeling Famous sites. Still, "we've picked up more than we lost for sure,'' says Euston, who continued to serve as a consultant to McClatchy until last week.
Brittney Gilbert discovered another problem: Readers can be harsher with traditional media than with independents. The Nashville, Tenn., native and longtime blogger had been waiting tables in town when she was hired in the spring of 2005 by Nashville ABC-TV affiliate WKRN to pen the station's new blog Nashville Is Talking. Gilbert proved to be a big hit locally. But after two years she abruptly resigned June 6."People are vicious," she wrote in a farewell post. "They are even more vicious when they fail to make any distinction between you and a feelingless, faceless media company. It’s easier to justify the venom that way."
Social media experiment
Jun 21, 2007 story titled BBC reporter tours Turkey in social media experiment
The coverage will culminate in two documentaries that will be broadcast by BBC World at the time of the elections, which will include some of the behind-the-scenes coverage. Giles Wilson, the BBC News blogs editor, believes the methods of reporting with social media could be used as an example for other journalists.
journos donating to politicians
Jun 21, 2007 MSNBC story Journalists dole out cash to politicians
Low power FM
Jun 21, 2007 Slashdot article
Jun 21, 2007 story
Opponents of the changes are still hoping for a reprieve before the July 15 date on which the royalties are scheduled to kick in. They are continuing to pressure politicians on Capitol Hill to pass bills that would overturn the royalty rate increases and align them with those required of other digital services, such as satellite.
Build, don't shovel
Jun 20, 2007 blog posting
Newspapers should be the experts on their communities, but the typical newspaper website provides almost no useful background information. What is the community like? How does the transportation system work? What is the political structure? If I'm visiting, what should I do there? If I'm thinking about moving, what are the neighborhoods like? The schools? Who collects the trash? Where does it go?
Newspapers know the answers, but they're not telling. Personal utility is one of the major drivers of Internet usage, yet newspapers put almost nothing into building long-life resource pages about basic issues in their own communities. Instead, staff time and energy is almost entirely spent on short-term, short-burn work.
SignOnSanDiego.com has been using wiki technology to enable a community-built (or, more accurately, community-enhanced) guide to bands, bars and various entertainment venues. It's part of the AmplifySD entertainment site, but you can shortcut to the wiki at http://wiki.amplifysd.com/.Unlike the Los Angeles Times' foolhardy "wikitorial" project, this is a smart way to put the principles of the wiki -- quick, easy collaborative writing and editing -- to work to create a resource of long-term value.