Tag: Blogging

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Why We Need Gawker

I love tabloids like the NY Daily News or New York Post. The editorial style is aggressive; reporting is accurate but snarky-authentic; and headlines typically are punchy and bold. These pubs also push boundaries that more traditional, staid—and, honestly, hoity-toity—papers like the New York Times often won’t.

Gawker Media blogs adopt similar scoop style appropriate to online news gathering; they connect the dots, adding breadth and context to stories all while keeping what I call the Prime Directive: Write what you know to be true in the moment. The approach—think tabloid and wire-service mashup—assumes the reporter doesn’t have the whole story, but writes what he or she has, following up as new info is available. Professor Jeff Jarvis calls it “Process Journalism“, which gets a chapter in my book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers

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Valleywag May Be Gone, But Its Spirit Lives On

I follow few bylines. Matt Taibbi tops the short list, which also includes Gawker writers Sam Biddle and John Cook. I read them for their biting style and searing sarcasm. But one of the vehicles for their content is gone, and I should have seen the end approaching.

The New Year left behind Valleywag, the snarky insider rag that over the course of 9 years shamelessly scorched Silicon Valley’s power elite. But no more. On December 31st, John posted “R.I.P. Valleywag, 2006-2015“.

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Journalism Matters

Over on Google+ today, Alex Hernandez reminisces on 2015’s closing by looking at content from years past. Among them: Dan Lyon’s February 2012 missive “Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists: Welcome to the Silicon Cesspool“. Hey, I vaguely remember that indictment of Silicon Valley journalism. Alex, who runs tech-news site Techaeris writes in response to the nearly four-year old story:  “I’m working really hard to not be a ‘Valley Press’ site—as Scott Wilson rants about often—and after reading this and a few other articles today, I may be reforming the way we approach things.

Jack Weisz mentions me in a comment, to which I responded and to another from Alex. While both responses reiterate principles posted to this site many times before, end-of-year reflection is good time to present them again. 

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter IX

I owe you an apology. Months ago I promised to finish serializing my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, before releasing it into the public domain. The last installment was in mid-October, with one chapter and the Afterword remaining. As I prepare for the New Year, not leaving loose ends is top of mind. Thus, with a huge sorry, this evening I present the closing chapter (but exclude the outdated March 2014 Afterward), The book will release into the public domain to start 2016.

I have posted from Chapter IX before, on Dec. 30, 2014: “You Could Study Journalism, or Learn as Much Watching These Five Films“. Each movie teaches lessons about responsible reporting—some by illuminating irresponsible and/or unethical behavior. The last in the list expresses in an exchange between characters something that should be embedded into the synapses of every 21st Century news gatherer: 

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter VII

Nearly a month has passed still the last installment of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers. I have been overwhelmingly busy with other projects, which is no excuse. My apologies, please. Over the next couple of Sundays, I will serialize the remaining few chapters before releasing the tome into the public domain.

This chapter, like most of the others in Section 3, is vital to your success, which means rising above the endless sea of sameness. You must be original, and produce original content that finds and builds audience. Today’s chapter gives varied examples of news organizations doing just that. 

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What is the Google Free Economy?

Today I posted the third installment of my investigative news analysis series “What Does the ‘Google Free Economy’ Cost You?”, which is being crowdfunded through Byline: “Obituary for the Fourth Estate, Part 1“. The headline derives from a subhead in the first story, which I share here, below the fold.

During the editing, I nearly broke up Part 1 in two to make a third. The first of the pair recaps how the Google Free Economy illuminated a path for new media companies as the Fourth Estate lost its way. Part 2 will look at the rise of social media and how it has fundamentally shifted authority from a small number of editors and reporters to the audience of news consumers. The initial concepts build from my groundbreaking, but largely ignored, June 2009 analysis “Iran and the Internet Democracy“. 

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter V

All good reporting begins with one question, which is topic of today’s excerpt from my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers. Among the five chapters from Section III, two—this and the previous one—primarily focus on the importance of sound sourcing. Chapter IV explains the importance of original sourcing at a time when so many blogs or news sites cite one another as primary source; that’s terrible form. Today’s installment is all about assessing sources’ motivations for giving you information.

The two views on sourcing are related because bad practice of either leads to the same outcome: Propagation of misinformation. The first is easily fixed: You make the contacts and get first-hand sources rather cite blog, forum, tweet, etc., without vetting who is behind them, while corroborating with sources with whom you personally interact. The second, and topic today, is more complicated. You need to understand what the other party gains, particularly when leaking something directly to you. 

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter IV

Serialization of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gathers is off-schedule ahead of its release into the public domain. So, as an effort to catch up, I present installments today and Sunday, for your weekend reading.

Today’s chapter is among the most important from the book. I discuss the reporter’s responsibility to be accurate. Simply stated: Write what you know to be true in the moment, and expect what you know to change. The chapter is another where establishing and maintaining trust with the audience, and also sources, is foundational to reporting responsibly. 

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Discussing Chromebook’s Success

One of the problems with bad news reporting: Those of us who strive to be responsible and accurate are lumped in with the lumps of coal, and the black powder rubs off on us. Illustrative: The excellent exchange I had over at BetaNews to the version of my Dell Chromebook 13 story posted there.

Commenter Joe HTH bristled about bloggers overstating NPD data and making Chromebook’s success much larger than it really is. I agree that this occurred about 18 months ago. But he levels his accusations at my reporting , which I assert correctly stats and interprets newer data that the analyst firm released just a few days ago. What follows is his comment and my response, in red and blue rather than block-quoted. I put story titles to my links, which are presented differently in the commenting system. 

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapter III

The next several chapters of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers are among the most important for reporting responsibly, ethically, and without conflicts of interest. The themes are recurrent on my website, and any regular readers should immediately recognize them.

Today’s installment explains the importance of audience trust, and builds from previous chapters, particularly  I and II from the same section. But to best follow the logical flow, you should start at the beginning: Foreward; Section 1, Chapters I and IIIII and IVV and VI; Section 2, Chapters IIIIIIIV, and V

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Responsible Reporting Section 3 ‘What You Must Do’: Chapters I and II

Serialization of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, resumes following a three-week hiatus. Two sections behind us, we come to the final one. What came before: Foreward; Section 1, Chapters I and IIIII and IVV and VI; Section 2, Chapters I, II, III, IV, and V.

The book published in Spring 2014, and all information herein was current then and nearly all of it is still relevant today. The first two sections build up to the third, and I strongly encourage you start at the beginning and read through the previous 10 chapters plus one before continuing. 

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Responsible Reporting Section 2 ‘The New Journalisms’: Chapter IV

Today’s excerpt from Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers spotlights the fourth type of journalism. The other three: Contextual, process, and conversational. Advocacy journalism is the most provocative of the five that the ebook identifies. Many people working in traditional news media outlets would scoff at the idea.

They would be wrong. Advocacy journalism has a long history—centuries old—but the Internet magnifies its reach and the soapbox upon which its proponents stand.