Fourth Estate Archives
AP provides "shoddy goods"
When a company defrauds its customers, or delivers shoddy goods, the customers sooner or later are going to take their business elsewhere. But if that company has a virtual monopoly, and offers something its customers must have, they may have no choice but to keep taking it.
That’s when the customers, en masse, need to raise a stink. That’s when someone else with the resources needs to seriously consider whether the time is ripe to compete.
"Say no to AP’s shoddy work," by Jules Crittenden, The Boston Herald, December 3, 2006
The Power of the Press
We are witnessing the last growl of the unbridled power of the press. Some in the press would like to think -- but would not be stupid enough to brag -- that they could "destroy people" for a living. And though they certainly can cause headaches for people in the spotlight, the odds of fatality go down by the day as there are more and more means of response. Now the targets can turn the tables on the journalists. I’ve seen reporters go ballistic when their emails to sources or transcripts of their interviews are published on blogs. Well, tough. What’s good for the goose is now grist for the gander.
At the same time, journalists are not the great gatekeepers they once were. Flacks are. In the old days, reporters had access to the press and that gave them power no subject could match. But when celebrities discovered the value of their faces to market media, they gained the upper hand. Now, you won’t hear a reporter or columnist threatening to ruin a star. Instead, you’ll hear the star’s publicist threatening to cut off a magazine or show if they don’t obey demands to grant a cover, approve a photo, or select a reporter.
"The last gasp of the power of the press," by Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine, April 8, 2006
"First Hill Hearing To Be 'Live-Blogged'"
The rise of blogs within Washington made this breaking news inevitable: A House subcommittee for the first time will make room for citizen journalists to "live-blog" a congressional hearing.
The International Relations Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, Africa and International Operations will hold the hearing Wednesday at 10 a.m., and the topic is most appropriate. The panel will examine the role that U.S. companies like Google and Yahoo play in filtering Internet content in countries like China.
"First Hill Hearing To Be 'Live-Blogged'," Beltway Blogroll, February 13, 2006
- Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations
- Hearing: The Internet in China: A Tool for Freedom or Suppression? February 15, 2006, 10:00 am, Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
- CRS Reports
- "Internet: An Overview of Key Technology Policy Issues Affecting Its Use and Growth," by Marcia Smith, John Moteff, et al., 98-67, December 20, 2005 (53-page pdf )
- "Internet Development and Information Control in the People's Republic of China," by Michelle Lau, RL33167, November 22, 2005 (15-page pdf )
- "Internet Privacy: Overview and Pending Legislation," by Marcia S. Smith, RL31408, October 19, 2005 (25-page pdf )
- "Google, Yahoo Accused Of “Irresponsible” Chinese Censorship," by Brittany Thompson, webpronews.com, July 28, 2004
- "Yahoo, Chinese police, and a jailed journalist," by Robert Marquand, The Christian Science Monitor, September 9, 2005
- "Criticism of Yahoo!'s role in prosecution of journalist Shi Tao," Chinese Law Prof Blog, September 10, 2005
- "China’s Control Over Search Engine & Blog Content," by Loren Baker, Search Engine Journal, January 14, 2006
- "Google agrees to China censorship," AP via CNN, January 25, 2006
- "Google Now Censoring In China," Search Engine Watch, January 25, 2006
- "Comparisons of Google China and Google," BoingBoing, January 26, 2006
- "No booze or jokes for Googlers in China," Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, January 26, 2006
- "Microsoft, Yahoo, Google Call For Help Against Chinese Rules," by Axxel, Playfuls.com, February 2, 2006
Congressional Directory 2006
Newspapers need to worry about the best and the worst of the blogosphere
Like the long-gone typesetters, today's newspaper guild members believe that their job is somehow their "property," and that no amateur can step in to perform their difficult and arduous tasks. On one level, they're right. John Q. Blogger can't fly to Baghdad or Bosnia and do the work of a John F. Burns. But what a lot of guild members miss is that not everybody wants to read John F. Burns, not everybody who wants to read about Baghdad is going to demand coverage of the quality he produces, and not everybody wants Baghdad coverage, period. If you loosely define journalism as words and graphics about current events deliverable on tight deadline to a mass audience, the price of entry into the craft has dropped to a few hundred dollars. Hell, I can remember renting an IBM Selectric for $100 a month in the late 1970s just to make my freelance articles look more "professional" to my editors.
So, when newspaper reporters bellyache about shoot-from-the-hip bloggers who don't fully investigate the paper trail before writing a story or double-check their facts before posting, they're telling a valuable truth. Bad bloggers are almost as bad as bad journalists. But the prospect of a million amateurs doing something akin to their job unsettles the guild, making it feel like Maytag's factory rats whose jobs were poached by low-paid Chinese labor.
It's not just the best of the blogosphere drawing away big audiences that the guild need worry about. If Chris Anderson's Long Tail intuitions are right, the worst of the blogosphere—if it's big enough—presents just as much (or more) competition. Michael Kinsley made me laugh a decade ago when he argued against Web populists replacing professional writers, saying that when he goes to a restaurant, he wants the chef to cook his entree, not the guy sitting at the next table. I'm not laughing anymore: When there are millions of aspiring chefs in the room willing to make your dinner for free, a least a hundred of them are likely to deal a good meal. Mainstream publishers no longer have a lock on the means of production, making the future of reading and viewing anybody's game. To submit a tortured analogy, it's like the Roman Catholic church after Gutenberg. Soon, everyone starts thinking he's a priest.
I'm not about to predict what the collapsing cost of media creation will ultimately do to the news business, if only because my track record at prophesy is terrible. But this much I know: The newspaper guild (again, reporters, editors, publishers) can't compete by adding a few blogs here, blogging up coverage over there, and setting up "comment" sections. If newspapers, magazines, and broadcasters don't produce spectacular news coverage no blogger can match, they have no right to survive.
"Not Just Another Column About Blogging: What newspaper history says about newspaper future," by Jack Shafer, Slate, January 28, 2006
- "Read All About It! Newspapers Lose Web War," an interview of Prof. Clark Gilbert by Sean Silverthorne, HBS Working Knowledge, January 28, 2002
- "The 8-Step Cure for Old Fartism," by Jon Katz, hotwired, November 4, 1997
- "The End of Legacy Media (Newspapers, Magazines, Books, TV Networks)," by Jakob Nielsen, Alertbox, August 23, 1998
- "Niche Masters Who Can Kill You," by Randy Cassingham, Presented to The Online News Summit II held in Washington, DC, May 19, 1998
- "Why newspapers are in trouble," by Guy Kawasaki, Forbes, February 9, 1998
"Trust No One"
Interesting post at fishbowlDC about a forthcoming National Journal report that included this question:
Q. Has your experience in government and politics given you more respect for the news media, or less?
See the post for the results and some accompanying comments: "Trust No One"
"A Setback For Bloggers" - H.R. 1605
Bloggers were the focus of attention for about an hour in the House yesterday, and they managed to win the backing of 225 lawmakers for a bill designed to limit the application of campaign finance law to blogs and other Internet communications.
But the final tally, 225-187, fell 47 votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary to pass the Online Freedom of Speech Act under a procedure designed to expedite passage. For now, that puts the debate about applying campaign finance law back at the Federal Election Commission, where a court-mandated rulemaking has been under way since this summer.
Yesterday's House vote is not technically a defeat for the legislation....
"A Setback For Bloggers," Beltway Blogroll, November 3, 2005
- H.R. 1606
SHORT TITLE(S) AS INTRODUCED:
Online Freedom of Speech Act
OFFICIAL TITLE AS INTRODUCED:
To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to exclude communications over the Internet from the definition of public communication.
- "Online Freedom of Speech Act under fire," by Charles Jade, ars techinca, November 2, 2005
- "Online Freedom of Speech Act Introduced in House," by krempasky, RedState.org, April 13, 2005
- "The Digital Money Mill," Editorial, The New York Times, November 1, 2005
- "Why 1606 failed," by kos, daily kos, November 4, 2005
- "Online Freedom of Speech: Further Thoughts," by Adam B, daily kos, November 4, 2005
- "A Vote for Free Speech," by John Samples, CATO, November 2, 2005
- "ACLU Letter to the House of Representatives Urging a 'Yes' Vote on H.R. 1606, the 'Online Freedom of Speech Act'," ACLU, November 2, 2005
- "Hensarling: The Day After," by Bob Bauer, More Soft Money Hard Law, November 3, 2005
- "System Failure: Congress should have passed the Online Freedom of Speech Act," by Allison R. Hayward, National Review Online, November 4, 2005
Ads on blogs
What influence should advertising have on a blog?
My answer is "none." And what's more, it should not make a difference whether an advertiser chooses or passes on advertising with one's blog. Advertisers are in the advertising business. Bloggers are not. (If they are, then they're already in trouble.)
. . .
Advertisers pull ads from publications and broadcasts all the time, for all sorts of reasons, and I really don't think the blogger is well served by fretting publicly about it. That's life in the media big leagues.
"Ads on blogs, ads not on blogs ... and bloggers blogging about it," mediagirl, October 27, 2005
We agree: an ad being carried on a blog does not imply agreement with or endorsement by the blogger of the advertiser. Bloggers, like other media, are free to reject ads; in the blogads world, bloggers are free to reject any ad placed through blogads.
NYT web traffic bigger than ... Daily Kos (barely) and Gizmodo (3x)
N.Z. Bear, keeper of the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem, notes that even the traffic numbers the NYT boasts about make it only slightly bigger than Daily Kos. ... But, hey, it's 4 or 5 times bigger than a lone law professor blogging in his spare time from Tennessee! ... P.S.: Don't worry, Pinch. Eric Alterman says Wall Street doesn't care about these quotidian Web stats. Not one tiny bit!
kausfiles, by Mickey Kaus, October 23, 2005, 12:10 pm
I don't know about you, but "NYTimes.com: we're slightly more popular than that Kos guy!" doesn't strike me as a huge boast for a $3.3B media company. Maybe stick with "The New York Times: eight times more popular than those chicks that can't stand Kirstin Dunst's outfits."
"NYTimes.com: More Popular Than A Blog (Barely)," the truth laid bear, October 22, 2005, 6:07 pm
See "Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos," Hobnob Blog, October 14, 2005
"Capitol Hill Blog Row"
Today I joined other bloggers (listed here) at the first ever Capitol Hill Blog Row (almost all of today's posts below are dedicated to the event). The event was organized by the House Republican Conference and when all was said and done we bloggers had the opportunity to talk with 23 members of the Republican caucus.
"Thoughts on Capitol Hill blog row," by Tim Chapman, townhall.com, October 20, 2005
See "Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos," Hobnob Blog, October 14, 2005
Most emailed headline on ABC News?
October 17, 2005, 8:00 pm ET
According to the ABC News web site, the most emailed headline of the last 24 hours is ...Continue reading "Most emailed headline on ABC News?"