My respect for National Geographic news reporting—yes, news—grows with each day’s online reading. September 9 story “Inside the Vast (and Growing) Global Trade in Stolen Smart Phones” is goddamn good example. Stories like this require […]
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“.
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.
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.
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 II, III and IV, V and VI; Section 2, Chapters I, II, III, IV, and V.
The Internet backlash against dentist Walter Palmer for killing Cecil the lion is one of the best examples of mob journalism ever. The narrative spreading across the InterWebs is some ways well-meaning but in many more is destructive. Meanwhile, the force of collective-will tempts too many journalists to join the mob opinion, when they should stand aside and offer objective and responsible reporting.
Before writing another word, I must praise National Geographic for the best reporting about this event. The magazine offers broader perspective and, more importantly, puts big game hunting into larger context, while taking an objective tone. The raging mob’s perspective is myopic, and news sites supporting it fail the public good.
Over at BetaNews I pose question “Will you upgrade to Windows 10?” and provide readers a poll to answer the question. Timing coincides with the official launch of the platform tomorrow. To be brutally honest, I seriously considered using headline: “Will you upgrade to Windows Death?”
Because: if Windows 10 doesn’t succeed it will be the last viable version, given the success of Android or iOS; shipments of both mobile platforms either match or exceed Windows computers; and Microsoft’s advancing cloud strategy signals the end of Windows as we have come to know it, as the operating system evolves and updates in a manner more like Chrome OS than the big release delivered every few years. Then there is the criticism, much of it among beta testers, that makes upgrading to Windows 10 seem like Death.
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 II, III and IV, V 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.
Last Sunday, we interrupted our weekly serialization of my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, because of Father’s Day. Another interruption comes July 12, during San Diego Comic-Con. This week’s return completes the last of five journalisms, and the one that more than any other can lead to irresponsible news reporting.
Timing is interesting in context of the landmark Supreme Court ruling just two days ago that opens way for marriage between people of the same gender in all 50 states. There is a force of collective will washing across the Internet that could cause some journalists to bow before social pressure rather thcan offer probing analyses in second-day stories. For example, I see lots of quick criticism of the dissenting judges that doesn’t delve into the Constitutional concerns they raise, nor negative implications for rights-gainers with respect to taxes or other legal constructs. How much does the mob’s mood influence followups? My concern is process, and I express here no opinion about the ruling—just timing and context with respect to today’s mob journalism excerpt.
Yesterday, I started a discussion with a BetaNews commenter identified only as John. He responded to a story I posted here as “Apple Music Takes from Artists to Give to Subscribers“, which at BN followed another appearing on my site as “Apple Music Will Surely Succeed“. The cross-posting with different headline and art keeps with my December 2014 advice: “Writers, Own Your Content!” Comments funnel to BN, which is good for audience building there.
The commenter first accuses me of being a troll and then, based on my response, of being deceitful because of my writing style. You be the judge. I see the exchange as being hugely relevant to what should be good online journalism, and it may reflect two different and (hopefully) valid perspectives—reporter’s and reader’s—about what that should be.
Journalists and the organizations they work for need to know when to stand their ground against entities about which they write and when to give in. IMAX wants Ars Technica to retract mentioning the company […]
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.