ePluribus Media's blog

The Power of the People: Blogger & Citizen Journalist Sourcing Beats the Traditional Media

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.

Neat, eh?


Via weatherdude: "High Risk" Major Tornado Outbreak Expected -- PDS Tornado Watch for Dallas/OKC

Now in liveblog mode over on Daily Kos, folks in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas are being warned of the potential for a major tornado outbreak:

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare high risk area across Oklahoma and Kansas for a major tornado outbreak this afternoon. The outbreak is expected to be centered across Oklahoma, extreme northern Texas, and southern Kansas, with a lower (but still elevated) risk of a major tornado outbreak across northwestern Arkansas, northern Texas (including Dallas/Ft. Worth), most of the rest of Kansas, and western Missouri this afternoon.

A PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) tornado watch has been issued for parts of Texas and Oklahoma for the threat of very large, long track, destructive tornadoes, hail larger than baseballs, and destructive wind gusts over 70 MPH.

For liveblog updates, keep checking back over on the Daily Kos diary by weatherdude, here.

If you're located in the affected area, please be safe.


A Voice Speaks Out: Lara Logan on her sexual assault in Egypt

Many people have heard of the ordeal that Lara Logan went through during the Egyptian riots. Now, Lara speaks out and tells what happened.

We hope that Lara's recovery continues, and thank her for her voice and bravery. Her decision to speak out may help protect others against having to endure such horrible experiences. Sexual assault is a very real, and very prevalent, problem.

Nobody should ever have to experience it.

Hat-tip to Christina Rad's blog entry about this.


Mission Accomplished: Osama Bin Laden Dead in Pakistan

Tonight, the White House made the surprise announcement that Osama Bin Laden is dead as a result of small precision strike against his compound in Pakistan, following a brief fire-fight.

Eight years to the day, on the anniversary of former President George W. Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" carrier speech, the mission has - finally - been accomplished.

Osama Bin Laden has been killed, and his body is in US custody. For those who fear that an outbreak of outraged violence may result from accusations of mishandling of the body, it appears that assurances of proper handling of the body have already been made. Via Meteor Blades of Daily Kos:

In a background briefing from several senior officials, which is now in the question-and-answer phase, it was stated:

The action was a surgical raid by small team and sought to minimize civilian damage.

In addition to Osama bin Laden, three adult men were killed, including one believed to be bin Laden's son. One woman being used as a shield in the compound was also killed. Two women were injured.

The team was in the compound for 40 minutes.

Lost a helicopter due to mechnical failure. It was destroyed.

[Update]: Osama bin Laden's body will be handled in accordance with Islamic tradition.

[...Read the rest on Daily Kos...]

Get the full text of the President's remarks over the fold.


Earth Day 2011: 'A Billion Acts of Green'

Tomorrow - 22 April 2011 - is Earth Day. If you'd like to participate or know a bit about what may be going on, check out Earth Day Network: they've got a billion or so things cookin':

Screenshot of the
Earth Day Network site page for "Earth Day 2011."

What will you be doing for Earth Day 2011?


The Fresh Air Fund: Seeking Host Families for Summer 2011

The Fresh Air Fund (Fact sheet: English, Spanish) is a program that helps inner city children from New York City; it's been around for a very long time, and we've even posted about it in the past. Some additional details, from their About Us page:

Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer experiences in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend Fresh Air Fund camps.

Nearly 10,000 New York City children participate in the program every year. Children from low-income communities ranging in age from six to 18 years old are selected for participation based on financial need. Host families open their homes to these children for one to two weeks or more during the summer time; they are not paid, and there are no financial requirements for host families. Families are selected after "Friendly Town" committees review their applications, visit them in their homes and check personal references.1

Learn how two weeks can change a child's life...

With the summer of 2011 fast approaching, the Fund is looking for more hosting families:

If you or someone you know is able to host, please sign up now. In 2010, The Fresh Air Fund's Volunteer Host Family program, called Friendly Town, gave close to 5,000 New York City boys and girls, ages six to 18, free summer experiences in the country and the suburbs. Volunteer host families shared their friendship and homes up to two weeks or more in 13 Northeastern states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

To learn more about becoming a host family, read more here. If you are located in one of the five boroughs of New York City and wish to sign your child up for the program, read more here about how to sign up.

Children are our future. Any time you can help children, you are helping by setting an example for the rest of us, as well as providing hope for the legacy of human civilization - a legacy of hope that our future will learn from our past, and benefit from the opportunities we provide.2




1 Information according to the Fresh Air Fund fact sheet.

2 Some additional ePluribus Media pieces, stories and blurbs regarding children our history and legacy:

Logo Design Contest - ePluribus Media

ePluribus Media is looking for a logo. Specifically, it's looking for a new logo, one that will be more functional as a logo than our traditional trademark graphic. Given the plethora of bright, talented individuals who populate the ePluribus Media and Daily Kos communities and their past participation in the Dick Cheney Halloween Photoshop contest (entries here, votes here), I thought it may be both useful and fun to offer a free ePluribus Media "Don't Clog My Tubes" coffee mug to the winner - whoever designs the best new logo for ePluribus Media. The winner would also be listed on the ePluribus Media "About" page for credit with the logo design and given the option to link to his or her site if they'd like (unless such a link would lead to a NSFW site - sorry).

The blogger's mug features a graphic designed by Roxy the ePM Webmistress and myself, and brought to life through Roxy's own mystickal Photoshop wizardry. Here's the graphic:

And here's what it looks like wrapped around a coffee mug:

What do you think - are you up for a challenge, in exchange for a stylin' mug? If so, read on...


Saturday Afternoon Open Thread: ePluribus Meta, DK4 Formatting Tips and Thou Edition

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.

Missing Man: Iraq and Contractors, Then and Now

Today's news via CNN:

  Missing man in Iraq identified as Army civilian employee

(CNN) -- An Army civilian employee missing in Baghdad, Iraq, since January has been identified as a 60-year-old man from California, the U.S. military said.

Issa T. Salomi of El Cajon was last seen in the Iraqi capital and has been unaccounted for since January 23, the Department of Defense said Friday.

Salomi was working with U.S. Forces-Iraq in the country. Search efforts are under way, the military said. No more information was available.

This is not "new" news -- civilian contractors in Iran have been having a rough go of things throughout this whole debacle. For more information, check out these recent stories by Susie Dow related to civilian contractors in Iraq:

  Thank You - A Sliver of Justice


  Americans Missing in Iraq as of June 2008

You may also find the following Journal articles of use, interest and relevance:

  • Missing Contractor: US Military Mechanics may Hold the Keys

    Missing Contractor: U.S. Military Mechanics May Hold the Keys

    Both Kirk von Ackermann and Ryan Manelick worked for Ultra Services of Istanbul, Turkey.

    October 9, 2003 -- Kirk von Ackermann left a meeting at FOB Pacesetter, a small and isolated...


  • Defense Base Act Conference - Part I

    In cooperation with the Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation, the Loyola Law School of New Orleans held a two-day conference in Washington D.C. on October 23 and 24, 2008. The conference coincided with the publication of a unique...


  • Iraq Contractors - Raw Data From CENTCOM - Pt II

    Susie Dow and ePluribus Media issued a FOIA request in August of 2007 for Central Command (CENTCOM) for data on civilian contractors in Iraq.   New contractor census data addressing that request was recently received by ePluribus Media this October,...



For the fun of it...

Folks who were waiting and watching the festivities got more than a simple "Site Offline" message -- we periodically updated at random intervals throughout the process.

And, while the Community site is back, we still have to complete the move of the Journal, Timelines and our Investigates sites.

But, never fear.  We're back, and below the fold you can see the updates that we kept posting -- and which some people still see, as the DNS propagation slowly makes it was across "teh intertubes" and some people are unfortunately still seeing the cached old server with the Offline msg.

You'll be able to tell 'em what they're missing, of course, and see what they're seeing when you make the jump...

From the Mailbag: Health Care for All Weekly Newsletter

Guest Commentary: When a Progressive Blog for Profit Like the Huffington Post Starts Peddling Panic, It's Time for Reflection


by Mark Karlin

We have enormous respect for the Huffington Post and particularly for Arianna Huffington's brilliant analysis. But when a progressive Internet site -- and the leader on the web -- takes a turn toward the sensational and panic peddling, it's time to pause for reflection upon the impact of commercial investment on the web.

Huff Post started out as a sort of a celebrity blog version of the Daily Kos -- and with the oversight of a former AOL honcho and the infusion of millions of dollars in capital, it expanded into a progressive online newspaper.  It had the money, the celebrity panache, and the brainpower to create the news source of the future, and people -- particularly liberals -- flocked to Huff Po.

[HCIP] Public Supports Public Health Insurance Plan Option

From the Mailbag, courtesy of Campaign for America's Future


Table of Contents:
1. Tracking Poll Examines Public Opinion About Health Care Reform
2. Debate on new health program postponed
3. Health-Care Dialogue Alarms Obama's Allies
4. Democrats Consider Bypassing G.O.P. on Health Care Plan
5. Healthcare provisions would not derail budget legislation
6. U.S. senators hope to have health bills by June

1. Tracking Poll Examines Public Opinion About Health Care Reform
Kaiser Family Foundation
Click for source

Two-thirds (67%) of U.S. residents "strongly" or "somewhat" favor establishing a public health insurance option "similar to Medicare," with about 80% of Democrats, 60% of independents and 49% of Republicans in favor of such a plan.