In 1972, I spent a summer as a copyboy for The New York Times, working nightside in the newsroom. Often, after the Late City edition was out, there wouldn’t be that much to do, not unless the bells on the news-service printers at one end of the room started ringing. They alerted us that something significant had occurred, something important enough that a decision might be made to stop the presses for an update to the edition. This happened often: we had plane hijackings, the shooting of George Wallace, and a number of other events that (among other things) gained me valuable overtime when they were not resolved until the wee hours of the morning.
A special hat-tip to Kaili Joy Gray of Daily Kos for this, which appeared in today's Midday Open Thread:
Despite years of traditional media outlets bitching that blogs add nothing to the media landscape but simply live as parasites off recycling original traditional reporting, an academic study of local blogs shows that just isn't true:
In the 1,000 blog posts examined, bloggers used 2,246 sources, of which only 517 were from traditional media, and Watson found that local public-affairs bloggers are more likely to depend on original sources—documents, government databases, shoe-leather reporting (interviews, eyewitness reports, etc.)—than on media sources. "Additionally, when these bloggers do use traditional media sources, they are also likely to use additional, non-media sources," Watson writes.
The bloggers studied use significantly greater numbers of traditional media sources when writing about nonlocal topics, but as Watson notes, their use may be analogous to a local paper's use of a news wire to cover nonlocal news: Neither has the resources to collect nonlocal news.
This also relates, indirectly (or perhaps directly?), to the earlier references to convergence from our own Open Thread this morning.
Journalists, professional (paid) ones, still like to disparage "citizen journalism," though it has been half a decade since citizen journalists rocketed into American media consciousness, pushing aside some of the moribund aspects of traditional journalism, injecting a new enthusiasm into the fourth estate, providing new means of reaching readers, and making what had once been primarily a one-way conduit into a round-robin of conversation. There's still a sense, in some quarters, that the professionals are somehow "better" than the "citizens"--or that a distinction between the two is unneeded. But the professionals have only shown they are "better" in terms of training, not performance, and the distinction allows the dedicated amateur to keep away from the monetary motivation of those who depend on activity in journalism to keep bread on the table.
ePluribus Media, since its founding five years ago, has been an important forum for, and promoter of, citizen journalism. We speak out loudly on those issues that bring us to our own citizen journalism, provide tools that citizen journalists can use to improve the stories they produce, and promote other sites engaging in citizen journalism.
Another of these, Raging Chicken Press, launched this week, proving that citizen journalism continues to be a strong contributor to our local, state, and national discourses. The nay-sayers may continue to rage against the amateurs, but it is the amateurs who now provide the dynamic in American journalism--even though the professionals (look at what has happened to Huffington Post) continue to try to horn in.
The trailer for "The President's Speech" was introduced by President Obama at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. It's an excellent hat-tip to the movie "The King's Speech" and a great response to those who have obsessed about the President's teleprompter.
Campaign 2012 is apparently off to a roaring start, and if this and if the President's performance at the dinner are any indication, it will be a doozy of a campaign cycle with the ridiculous multitude of conspiracy theories and high-school level hijinks of the Tea Party, the Birthers and the GOP's conservative "leadership" getting schooled for their complete avoidance of real-world problems.
As it should be.
We shouldn't have had to wait until this latest campaign cycle for the Democrats and for the news media to start pushing back against the enhanced levels of Kabuki theater in a Potemkin village that has infiltrated & taken over Washington DC politics. That's something that the media, in particular, should have capably dismissed all throughout the news cycle instead of presenting the conspiracy theories and propaganda as serious issues that reality-based individuals actually debated and cared about.
The media failed, and let a politically motivated messaging machine almost completely supplant the news cycle.
That, alone, is reason enough to put out a call to all those who complain about the traditional media's failure and encourage them to step up as citizen journalists, helping organizations like ePluribus Media bring back the voice and interests of the People, by the People, for the People.
Via The Guardian,
The death has been announced of Mohammad Nabbous, described as the "face of citizen journalism in Libya".
Nabbous was apparently shot dead by Gaddafi forces in Benghazi on Saturday.
Known as "Mo", Nabbous set up Libya al-Hurra TV, which broadcast raw feeds and commentary from Benghazi, on Livestream.
Video from the Guardian article, via YouTube
A Google search on the term "journalists targeted" yields quite a few results, indicating the potential power and impact that live reporting can have on fluid, dangerous situations - particularly in this age of ubiquitous and instant communication. Any time that there's a potential for oppression through violence, those doing the oppression know how important it is to keep the truth hidden as long as possible. A few samples from the search results as of this report:
- Journalists targeted in Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya:
New York, February 18, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities today in Bahrain, Yemen, Libya to cease their attempts to prevent media from reporting on anti-government demonstrations. Bahraini authorities used live ammunition--including fire from a helicopter--against peaceful protesters and journalists, according to news reports. Pro-government thugs attacked at least two journalists in Yemen, and the Libyan government appeared to be shutting down Facebook, Twitter, and Al-Jazeera's website as a means of silencing reporting on protests.
- Journalists Targeted by Warring Factions in Ivory Coast:
The New York-based Committee to protect Journalists [CPJ] says both sides are using media outlets allied with them to disseminate their political message.
Media houses have been used to inflame passions and win the hearts of civilians in both the south and the rebel-controlled north, says Mohamed Keita, the CPJ Africa advocacy coordinator.
Thirty people were killed recently when they marched on the offices of the state-controlled television station to demand the resignation of its director.
"It is becoming unbearably dangerous for media outlets and their journalists to operate in Ivory Coast,” says Keita. He calls on both sides to “refrain from targeting the press or using politically motivated censorship."
- Turkish newspaper claims more journalists targeted by ruling party:
Turkey’s ruling party has a list of 70 people, including journalists and opposition figures, to be kept under surveillance or detained in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation, a daily newspaper has claimed.
The truth hurts. Sometimes, ensuring that the truth gets out can be deadly.
Be careful out there. Without journalists - and without citizen journalists - the forces of oppression and decay can operate with less fear of opposition.
We need to stand together, and we need to keep those who have given their all to keep the rest of us informed, and safe, in our hearts and minds.
Support your local citizen journalists and their efforts - remember, they're doing this for all of us.
NEW YORK — Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have said they will release four New York Times [NYT] journalists who were captured during fighting in the eastern part of the country, the newspaper said today.
The journalists are reporter Anthony Shadid; photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario; and a reporter and videographer, Stephen Farrell. In 2009, Farrell was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and was rescued by British commandos.
Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, told ABC News reporter Christiane Amanpour during an interview that the journalists were in Libyan custody, and on Thursday evening Libyan government officials told the U.S. State Department that all four would be released, the Times said in an article on its website.
As some folks are aware, ePluribus Media has been undergoing a lot of changes and updates behind the scenes. We'll be filling you in on more of them as designs are finalized, structures are put into place and things set into motion.
One thing we're hoping to see before that, however, is a few folks actively returning to paricipating on the community site (this site), posting either in comments or posting news stories or items of possible interest.
If people are interested in learning more about what's going on and think they may be interested, willing and able to be part of the process, let us know...and as you learn more, consider that to be an open invitation to post an inquiry any time or to express interest or offer assistance.
One very definite item: our Journal, dormant for an unavoidably long time, is coming back. It's our flagship - our primary, core product of the collaborative research by vetted investigators, fact-checked and edited then displayed to the world.
We'll be refreshing our Timelines, too, and have two more big surprises in store to be unveiled later, so keep coming back - and say "hi" or drop in a comment once in a while.
Citizen Journalism is a People thing, and you're all "people."
Check out our new motto:
"Citizen Journalism Of, By and For the People"tm
...what are your thoughts? And how's your day going - what's on your mind? Keep in mind, this is an Open Thread.
Earlier today, ePluribus Media posted a diary over on Daily Kos containing a few formatting tips and tricks for the new DK4 format. The diary is called The Elements of Style: Tips, Tricks and Regrouping News. The first part of the title comes from the well-known The Elements of Style - perhaps a bit presumptuous, but at the time it seemed appropriate.
For those who are waiting and watching as ePluribus Media rebuilds and rejuvenates, we're interested in any feedback you've got regarding our past, present and future: what would you like to see, what would you like to see more of, and what didn't work for you?
We'll keep the community posted on developments as we move forward, and we'll be starting a group (as yet undefined) over on Daily Kos as part of reconstituting our core of citizen journalist researchers, writers and editors.
We hope to see you in the comments below, and over at our dK4 Group too. Most of all, we hope to hear from you.
For now, though, just remember: This is an Open Thread.
Sometimes, someone says what needs to be said -- there's more to the truth than the objective idealism of "fair and balanced" which Fox News has turned into a catch-phrase for "partisanship" and propaganda.
In the Special Comment delivered on 15 November 2010, Keith Olbermann talks about the News Media and it's abhorrent record.
Give it a listen.
Comments are open, and welcome.
The thing about citizen journalism is not that one has to be impartial or "objective" to provide valuable news service to one's fellow humans, but that one is part of a community the story concerns. Unfortunately, there are people who have taken the concept and bent it to their own ends. These tend to be political zealots without backgrounds in journalism who try to make "citizen journalism" a cover for what is really simply work by amateurs trying to score political points.
Among such people is James O'Keefe, a 26-year-old political ambush specialist masquerading as a citizen journalist. His latest offering is a highly edited (as usual) video from what appears to be a bar where attendees at a New Jersey teachers' union conference are relaxing.
Journalism is a totally unregulated profession. It always has been and it should always be so, even when it fails miserably to do its job.
The dirty little secret about journalism is that you don’t need any special training to call yourself a journalist. You don’t need a license, you don’t need to join a union, and heck, you don’t even need a job or income to call yourself a journalist.
So, if you would happen to wake up someday disgruntled with your miserable life, you could grab a pen and a paper and write a news story. Once finished, you could declare yourself a journalist. It’s that easy. Well, almost.
Here’s a quick history of journalism in America from a little book published several years ago by the Indiana University Press.*
More manipulation, propaganda and incitement stir the airwaves and reverberate through the internet as the Shirley Sherrod controversy unfolds before us. This marks yet another time that a heavily edited, doctored and flagrantly erroneous video was successfully used to smear and tear down a target of the right-wing. And yet again, the source was found to be lacking integrity; the story told by the video a complete fabrication. But the public and officials still choose to react to such trash without question, even after repeatedly finding that the source has intentionally deceived and mislead in order to affect negative change.
How can we stop this mad dash toward insanity and push for a greater degree of accountabilty, if not from the sources of such misdirection then at least in some form or capacity that prevents a knee-jerk reactionary response to such trash without a pre-requisite pause to question and verify?
Perhaps we can't. Then again, perhaps by driving home the growing facts regarding the importance of personal due-diligence, it may be possible to at least provide some underlying guidelines to protect against further future misdirections. In the spirit of optimism that such efforts would prove useful, here's a list of documented distortions made by Breitbart, taken from Big Falsehoods: An updated guide to Andrew Breitbart's lies, smears, and distortions over on Media Matters. Each link goes to the appropriate entry on that site, where there's more information about each event:
Updated July 21, 2010 3:24 pm ET
Following the dissolution of Andrew Breitbart's smear of former Obama administration official Shirley Sherrod, Media Matters provides an updated look at how his sensationalist stories have been based on speculation, gross distortions, and outright falsehoods.
- The "video evidence" of Shirley Sherrod's "racism" (NEW)
- "Nationwide ACORN child prostitution investigation" (UPDATED)
- Platform for anti-gay Jennings smears
- Breitbart-promoted O'Keefe Census tape features selective editing (NEW)
- Breitbart-promoted video falsely accuses Democrats of reconciliation hypocrisy (NEW)
- Wild accusations over Gladney case
- Breitbart's websites make baseless claim that NEA engaged in lawbreaking
- Bertha Lewis' nonexistent White House visit
- The Maoist Christmas tree ornaments
- The ACORN "document dump"
- False claims of community organizers "praying" to Obama
Over the jump, I'm concluding this piece by quoting selected excerpts from Holding America To Her Principles from the USPatriotsUnited blog, with permission. The excerpts focus on the importance of a free and independent media, and provide some hints to the role that such a media should play in our society today. I selected them in particular because they provide some insight about the "how" and "why" the rise of the blogosphere and citizen journalism in prominence is a result of the failure of the traditional media to faithfully discharge its role.
If you find this post useful, please talk it up and send links to it far and wide. We must, as a nation of concerned citizens seeking a better & brighter future, start encouraging others like us to do our part to quell the fires of incitement.
When you write news, you’re supposed to provide your readers, viewers and listeners with useful and reliable information. Have you noticed that the information you get on television, in the newspapers and on websites is not always either useful or reliable? Some of it is biased, some incomplete and too much of it is just hot air.
To help clarify matters, I have identified four categories of information as it relates to the news business: 1. There is straightforward, factpbased information, 2. misinformation, 3. disinformation and 4. spinformation. I will more fully define each category.
“I want to be a reporter, but I don’t know what to write about!” was the comment from a young lady in an audience I spoke to recently. Her dilemma prompted me to start work on my next book tentatively titled, “1001 News Story Ideas for Citizen Journalists.”
There is more than one way to interview someone for a news story.
Some journalists take the role of an unfriendly, disbelieving inquirer who wants to catch the interviewee in some moment of confusion or expose him/her as a hypocrite, ignoramus or buffoon. I refer to this as “gotcha” journalism.
Some journalists take the role of a supportive, affable colleague so they don’t ask any tough questions that might embarrass the interviewee. This often called throwing softballs, but I call it “brownnose” journalism.
The really good journalists take the role of an objective, neutral interviewer with no agenda except to get the interviewee’s side of the story. This is called unbiased journalism.
The role you take as a journalist interviewing someone for a story is important, but there are other aspects of the journalist’s interview that will also help or hinder your quest for a complete story. The words used to formulate questions, the tone of voice used to ask them and the body language employed in the interview either contribute to or detract from a successful interview.