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?


Open Thread - ePluribus Media Blogger Causes 120 Million Dollars In Lost Worker Productivity

Ok... Maybe standingup isn't quite a Financial Weapon of Mass Destruction and only contributed a bit to that loss in productivity when posting the "Sunday Morning Photo and Open Thread" on the playable Google Pacman logo:

And a happy 30th birthday to Pac Man! Google stirred up quite a response yesterday when they replaced their logo with a google doodle celebrating the anniversary of one of the most popular video games ever. The twist on this doodle is the "Insert Coin" button which transforms the doodle into a live version of the video favorite. See for yourself, while it lasts at

Via the BBC we find out that a firm making software that tracks what workers do online, Rescue Time, estimates millions of hours wasted on playing the game:

Extrapolating this up across the 504 million unique users who visit the main Google page day-to-day, this represents an increase of 4.8 million hours - equal to about 549 years.

In dollar terms, assuming people are paid $25 (£17.50) an hour, this equates to about $120m in lost productivity, the firm said.

That amount of money also adds up to about 6 weeks of Google's payroll. FYI: The game proved to be so popular that  Google gave Pacman a permanent page where you can play it whenever you want - but don't tell your boss I sent you there from this Open Thread....


With the recent changes to the site I just wanted to point out a widget on the right sidebar that Roxy added featuring books written by ePluribus Media members.

The widget should be over there >>> and down a bit.

Any other Blogger books you would like to recommend? Below the fold I'll pull out an old plug I wrote for a book that both my daughter and myself enjoyed, The Pains, by John Sundman at the Wetmachine. Bear in mind that the post was not just about a book but, also, about supporting Bloggers in general.

RIP Jon Swift

A sad day for the entire Bloggosphere as Al Weisel, AKA Jon Swift, has passed away:

The great Jon Swift
has died. That's the "blogging" angle to a personal tragedy. In
reality, the voice of Jon Swift - the hilarious faux conservative
blogger whose talent and passion were evident in every post - belonged
to Al Weisel, a sweet and good-natured journalist who happened to be
the college roommate of my once-and-future collaborator Jason Chervokas.


Al was on the way to his father's funeral in Virginia when he
suffered a sudden aortic aneurysm and underwent several surgeries in an
attempt to save his life. Sadly, they did not succeed.

Heartbreakingly, Al's mother has posted this comment to the Jon Swift blog, unmasking the true identify of her brilliant son - and yes, he was a blogging super-hero to many of us.

I don't know how else to tell you all who love this
blog. I am Jon Swift's Mom and I guess I'm going to OUT him. He was Al
Weisel, my beloved son. Al was on his way to his father's funeral in VA
when he suffered 2 aortic aneurysms, a leaky aortic valve and an aortic
artery dissection from his heart to his pelvis. He had 3 major
surgeries within 24 hours and sometime during those surgeries also
suffered a severe stroke. We, his 2 sisters, his brother, his partner
and his best friend since he was 9 years old were with him as he took
his last breath. We have all lost a shining start who warmed our
hearts, tormented us and made us laugh as he giggled at our pulling
something over on us. He passed away on February 27, 2010. My beloved
child will live on in so many hearts. I miss him more than I can say.
If you are on Facebook, go to organizations and join "Friends of Al
Weisel, Unite!" It will give you just a taste of how special he was.
Farewell, Jon (Al)

Weisel was the political poser's worst enemy as Jon Swift, but he was
also a good guy to hang around the pub with and commiserate over New
York's shrinking freelance rates. Gone all too soon, he'll be truly
missed by many.

One of the greatest satirists in the
entire Blogosphere, for certain. And someone I considered a friend even
if our only contact was through comments, posts and occasional emails.
I had assumed for a longtime that something had been wrong with him as
he had not updated his blog in nearly a year. Now we all know why. :(

Here is the Facebook group his mother mentions.

And here is a glimpse of some of what he did beyond the Blogosphere from his profile.

RIP Al Weisel...

Google Wave

Originally posted just a short while before the Open Thread (2009-11-30 08:17:14 -0500), I've bumped it back to the top because I posted w/o looking both ways before crossing the river. :) -- GH

One of the things that intrigued me, originally, was one of the reviews saying it would be good for Community Blogs and Bloggers wanting to research and work on pieces together. I asked one of my Blog friends (Bob Morris) that had been using it for a while if he thought it would be good for just that and he agreed that it would. So I signed up a while back for Google Wave and it does have a lot of functionality for people that are working on projects
together. I finally got in there this weekend (you might have to wait
a while if you sign up today) and was poking around in their Beta version.

I can also say that it is on the road to becoming everything they said it would be, and then some. It is good for messaging, sharing a video, images or to share any bits or pieces of info you might find out there on the net. And everyone or anyone you share it with can add to whatever you post, easily, if you want them to.

To add to the functionality of the site? Little bonus apps you can add to your personal Google Wave tool box like:

  • Ribbit for conferencing - Ribbit is a fully programmable communications platform that
    allows web developers to integrate telephony and messaging capabilities
    into any workflow or application. Combining Ribbit with Google Wave means real-time, asynchronous
    audio streams can now be inserted into any Wave.
    Participants can collaborate using voice in live
    conference sessions and by leaving audio messages.
    Both of these streams become an integral part of the
    Wave collaboration process, providing additional channels
    of communication and significantly enhancing the overall
    Wave collaboration experience.
  • 6Rounds - Want to talk abouit a video you want to use and how to use it in a post or how to edit material from one to use in a certain post? Yeah... I know, it looks like a typical flirt place BUT, I also know some video Bloggers that will enjoy and recognize the functionality of this in Google Wave for VBlogging.

There is a lot of other stuff that you will like. This seems to be the most functional tool for political Blogging (for any kind of Blogging) I have seen in years. In fact, I can't think of any business that will not see some kind of use for it. And the sooner you sign up for it the sooner you will see what I mean.

Mark Penn: WSJ's New Expert on Blogging

 I hardly know what to make of this oddball collection of supposed facts about the lucrative world of blogging that appeared in the Wall Street Journal and was linked to in Huffington Post. According to Penn, at least 1% of all American adults earns some income from blogging, and more people earn their primary income from blogging than firefighting.

Just for kick I checked a few of his sources.

Party in Pittsburgh this August

Okay! They may get some work done at the Netroots Nation too..

Taking place Aug. 13-16 in Pittsburgh. You can start by submitting your ideas on what to work on. And if you want to register to attend go here. Here are the rising registration costs below:


Registration is quick and easy! To begin, simply enter your e-mail address and select a registration level.

With your generosity and the support of our sponsors and donors, we are able to offer subsidized registrations on a first-come, first-served basis. Our $175 and $225 introductory prices are sold out. We currently have a limited number of registrations offered at $275; when those are gone, the price for standard registrations will increase to $325.

The Benefactor Registration represents the full unsubsidized cost to attend Netroots Nation. Registration fees cover only 40 percent of our conference costs. With your generosity and the support of our sponsors and donors, we can continue to offer reduced rates so activists of every age, background, and economic bracket are able to join us in Pittsburgh. If you're interested in fully supporting Netroots Nation and allowing us to offer lower rates to others, we encourage you to register at this level.

Review of Aaron Barlow's Blogging America -- Discussion

bumped - roxy - orginal posting info 2008-08-26 13:30:47 -1000

Cho reviews Blogging America, ePluribus Media founding member and director Aaron Barlow's latest book on the phenomenon of web logging and how it re-vitalizes America's public sphere and contributes to our democracy.

From the review:

This second book zeroes in on blogs themselves and how, at a very detailed and specific level, they are transforming our cultural landscape, creating, as his title suggests, a new public sphere. For those concerned about the future of democracy, the existence of such a civic space may be our last defense against neo-liberalism “disappearing” open discussion.

The rest of the review is on the Journal.

Just a Heads Up to ePM

originally posted 2008-08-17 16:39:14 -0500.I am bumping it up because I just saw it today and I think this kind of outreach is really important. I hope everyone who sees this is also on to stumbleon, another out read site. Just hit the stumble button below posts and you will get the idea. Big thanks from Carol too.

Like Beijing Bush, Like Beijing McCain

Boehner's communist leader, the ever incompetent Beijing George Bush, and his heir wannabe Beijing John McCain are cut from the same communist cloth as John McCain sets out to copy China and their internet astroturfing:

People who sign up for McCain's program receive reward points each time they place a favorable comment on one of the listed Web sites (subject to verification by McCain's webmasters). The points can be traded for prizes, such as books autographed by McCain, preferred seating at campaign events, even a ride with the candidate on his bus, known as the Straight Talk Express, according to campaign spokesman Brian Rogers.


More chillingly, dissidents alleged earlier this year that the Chinese government has paid Chinese citizens token sums for each favorable comment about government policies they post in chat rooms and on blogs.

That John Beijing McCain is just a red republican chip off of the old communist block...

Bill O'Reilly: Where was his story a year ago?

Let us take a peek at last year's Bill O'Reilly news starting here, shall we?

Bill O'Reilly Says He Will "Destroy" Daily Kos Today Hotlist
by Hunter
Mon Jul 30, 2007 at 03:28:17 PM EDT

Today, Father Coughlin -- er, sorry, frog in my throat -- Bill O'Reilly is planning another in his ongoing attacks against Daily Kos and YearlyKos. Fox News has apparently been emailing the Democratic campaigns asking them for "comment" on Bill's ongoing Jihad of Jackassery: the following email was sent on to us from one of those Democratic campaigns: