Media stories of note for Monday, May 6, 2013:
Charlie Warzel, writing for BuzzFeed,
notes the paradox of online comments. They're vilified in many quarters yet have never been more popular. He explores the constant dilemma for online sites in providing space for and moderating comments. No matter that some sites have minimized or even stricken them, they are here to stay, he concludes.
Jaron Lanier, in a commentary piece for the New York Post,
says people should be compensated by the likes of Twitter and Facebook for providing content. Lanier, a Microsoft employee and author of a new book, believes social media is killing the middle class because rewards of the technology are only deposited with a few. He says it's time to take the future back.
Margaret Sullivan, the public editor of The New York Times, looks back on the
Jayson Blair fabrication episodes at the paper that came to light 10 years ago. She examines the effort to repair the shaken credibility and the steps taken to avoid a recurrence. She concludes the Times has put in place several measures to verify, and the Internet context provides ongoing scrutiny from the audience. But she and editors in the piece note that nothing can guarantee there won't be another event.
Media files of note for Wednesday, February 27, 2013:
For a clear take on what a reporter does,
we can now turn to the entity that taught us all much over the years: Sesame Street, whose Word on the Street is "reporter." This clip compiles some historical references to reporting and puts it into the most basic language even a child could understand.
Peter Osnos, writing for The Atlantic Online,
takes on the myth of the Internet as the purveyor of free information. He notes the expense of connectivity isn't accessible to all, by any means, and argues there is an important public policy challenge in narrowing the gap between those who can and cannot pay. He also notes that very little of the revenue attached to the Internet finds its way to creators of the content.
When Sir Martin Sorrell speaks, the advertising community listens. The head of the giant WPP agency has misgivings about Twitter as an effective advertising platform. He tells the Harvard Business Review
that Twitter is a public relations medium and a good way to spread the word, but that it "reduces communication to superficialities and lacks depth." Sorrell also repeats his view that Facebook is a much better branding medium than an advertising medium. Twitter, meanwhile, is expected to unfurl its initial public offering soon, and today the Wall Street Journal corporate news director suggests it is hard to deny the platform is worth $10 billion. For a clear take on what a reporter does, we can now turn to the entity that taught us all much over the years: Sesame Street. This clip compiles some historical references to reporting and puts it into the most basic language even a child could understand.
The state of global journalism intersects in several ways with the governance of the Internet: freedom of expression, exchange of ideas, net neutrality, territorial sovereignty and protectionism, among many others.
A member of the council that develops policy involving the domain naming system has written an elaborate 2013 outlook for Internet governance.
Wolfgang Kleinwachter, a professor of Internet policy and regulation at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, identifies seven critical conferences in the year ahead and explains their possible contribution to the settlement of key governance issues.
He notes the three camps: countries attempting to assert sovereignty in cyberspace, those attempting to create more collaboration, and those who lean toward openness but not if it means greater western control. He sees this tension as Cold Internet War versus Peaceful Internet.
He is not optimistic that this year will break through many of the conflicts, noting it "is unclear whether the Internet will remain in 2013 as open and free as we know it from the previous years with borderless communication and innovation without permission."
He writes: "A probable scenario is the fragmentation of the Internet or a least the cutting out of parts of the global Internet, the so-called 'national Internet segment' which would reduce global communication capabilities for millions of netizens and risk to trigger new conflicts on the frontiers of national sovereignty in cyberspace."
Arguably the most comprehensive examination of news media arrives in the form of the annual State of the Media report
from the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. It looks at each platform, trends in creation and consumption, some of the economic conditions and ambitions, and summarizes the environment in which journalism (primarily North American journalism) operates.This year's report is out, and not surprisingly its focus is on the technological thrust of content delivery. Its findings note a rapid growth in mobile consumption
. that social media are not yet large drivers of news, that television news continues to grow, that subscription models will expand, and that privacy considerations will increasingly intersect with newsgathering. It concludes that business models are still far from certain in this new environment and it chides the traditional media industry for not viewing the engineering function as an economic and operational necessity in the digital age.As for standards, an area of the study's focus is on the reductions in local coverage of civic affairs. It notes that newspapers have been the primary sources of such information and that newsroom cuts have serious consequences for such coverage. The report also speculates that it may be a matter of time before the large technological platforms begin to acquire traditional content providers.The report has several elements and is generally considered required reading in the industry.
In his latest The Media Equation column,
The New York Times' David Carr notes the problem of the "burped up" thought that is Twitter, particularly when it intersects with professional expectations.Carr cites the recent suspension of CNN's Roland Martin following a Tweet during last week's Super Bowl. Carr writes a thoughtful and self-deprecating look at the challenge of using social media when his employer has high standards.
The instant judgment isn't always congruent with the overall judgment.He concludes that 140 characters makes it difficult to be journalistic, even if it is fun and even if is a requirement.
With a U.S. election looming, Twitter has created a new hub to train journalists on best practices to use the microblogging service.
The @TwitterforNews account shares, in 140 characters or less, tips for journalists. But the hub, Twitter for Newsrooms
, is a more thorough guide to researching, reporting, engaging, networking and maintaining security.
"We want to make our tools easier to use so you can focus on your job: finding sources, verifying facts, publishing stories, promoting your work and yourself—and doing all of it faster and faster all the time," the service says on the site.
For nearly two decades of Canadian elections now, it has been evident that technology has overtaken the law in how results are permitted to be transmitted.
The Elections Act does not permit results to be broadcast in any time zone before polls have closed. The reasoning is that Canadians should not be influenced by the results from a time zone whose polls have closed and where results can be gleaned.
Of course, that was a more enforceable matter when there was not an Internet; only Canadians who were phoning across the country could share results. But once the Internet surfaced, people could email and non-Canadian sites could publish results.
Efforts were made to suppress those results and crack down on bloggers and others who transmitted results. The biggest losers were the television networks, which had to run pre-game-type programming until local polls closed, then join the national broadcast in progress. In the west, it often meant joining a telecast with an overall outcome long since resolved.
On Friday it was made clear the law will change
by the next federal election. Given that there are staggered polling hours that mitigate closing times, there shouldn't be much of an influence from east to west. And all of the technological workaround and crackdown will be a thing of the past.
An interesting touch: The federal minister who announced the change Tweeted out the announcement.
Associated Press has amended its social media guidelines
to be clearer about the responsibilities inherent in redistributing another account's Tweets.The news agency says its staff should not ReTweet in a way that makes it appear they are expressing an opinion or support. And a disclaimer that the ReTweets are not their own views does not suffice, AP says.It is telling staff to avoid the unadorned ReTweet.
It argues that implies support. This is in line with many other organizations that view ReTweets as little different than expressions of opinion.
The Supreme Court of Canada this week ruled that the presence of a hyperlink on a website does not confer legal responsibility for its content. It means that sites can link without fear they will be liable. The ruling has been seen as a bit of a commonsensical acknowledgment of reality --- it would be quite difficult to enforce what happens in Canada and elsewhere as a cultural norm of the Internet --- but also as another effort to interpret the Canadian version of freedom of expression.The Globe and Mail today offers a feature on the ruling and its implications for journalistic standards.
A new study of how U.S. business journalists use the Internet has some interesting implications for those who evaluate its impact on standards. It's clear that the journalistic use is primarily information-gathering.
The study for the Arketi Group
asked business journalists (it isn't clear in the study how many) how they use the Internet. Not surprisingly, 98 per cent said they use it to read news, while 91 per cent use it for sources and ideas. Industry experts, interested parties and corporate websites are the most frequently used sources.
Slightly more than two-thirds (69%) use the Internet for social networking. Journalists are more likely to have Linkedin accounts (92%) than Facebook (85%) or Twitter (84%) accounts.
As for their own creating, a little more than half (53%) blog. Other top uses include consuming webinars, YouTube and Wikis, producing and listening to podcasts and social bookmarking.