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Responsible Reporting Section 1 ‘News in Context’: Chapters I and II

My ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers is divided into three sections. The first, “News in Context”, is a state of the online news industry. The second, “The Five Journalisms”, examines five categories of news gathering most relevant to the age of context. The last, “What You Must Do”, applies concepts from the other two to present guidelines for responsible reporting.

In this second installment, I present two chapters from the first section. Opener “In Just Eight Years” is in part adapted from my June 2009 analysis “Iran and the Internet Democracy“, which is a provocative lens for looking back to look forward at the state of the news industry. 
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The Intercept Does Right by Matt Taibbi

Last night, when opening Rolling Stone on iPad Air, Matt Taibbi story “The $9 Billion Witness: Meet JPMorgan Chase’s Worst Nightmare” surprised and delighted. But I wondered: “What the frak?” Nearly 10 months ago, First Look Media brought on the investigative journalist to launch the second of two magazines. I nearly stopped subscribing to RS, because of his departure—instead going from print to tablet digital during my July renewal.

Matt and First Look are parted, and “The Inside Story of Matt Taibbi’s Departure from First Look Media” is surprisingly good journalism, particularly coming from First Look’s other online magazine, The Intercept. John Cook, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill share the byline. Is that sink-or-swim-together journalism? Depending on upper management’s reaction to a story that’s not the least kind
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Aggregation Beats the Wrong Drum

BGR used to give great scoops. Now, too often, it scoops up posts from other sites and poops them out. Can you say “aggregation”, dudes? Case in point is today’s post: “Beats acquisition called Apple’s ‘best idea since the iPad’“. The “best idea” belongs to Marcus Wholsen, writing for Wired.

So what? BGR blogger Zach Epstein has to recap Wired’s opinion piece about the rumored Apple-Beats merger rather than write his own? Not that there isn’t already too much punditry about an acquisition that hasn’t taken place and might never will. 
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Aggregation is Plagiarism

On March 15, 2011, I started the post you now read with a headline left unanswered: “Is Aggregation Really Just Plagiarism?” Clearly, my answer—too long coming—is “Yes”. Unequivocally, news aggregation is plain, pure plagiarism.

Google enables, no encourages, content thieves, despite recent search engine penalizing strategies. Too often, the big G raps sites because of links to black-listed blogs. The problem is bigger: Mainstream blogs writing synopsis stories that include absolutely no original reporting but take away pageviews from the news site doing the real work.
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HuffPo is all Headline, no Original Content

This story exemplifies why, as a journalist , I’m no big Huffington Post fan. The large-font headline takes up the space above the fold. Surely there is a hard-hitting news story behind. Right? Nope.

The five-paragraph story, while carrying a Huffington Post byline, culls from other reports, CNBC and New York Post on the page, with links as sourcing to other HuffPo stories that also largely or wholly depend on other news services (Reuters is one).
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