Tag: news meda

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The Shredded Republic

For this Memorial Day we present a solemn sentiment reflecting the tattered state of the Republic, which is shorn to pieces by cultural and political strife. At no time since my first eligible-to-vote Presidential election have I seen such fractious and contentious state of the electorate or the representatives in Washington, D.C.

Worst of all is my profession. The Fourth Estate has abandoned its duty to protect the public interest. Subjective reporting and editorialization define modern journalism. The Fifth Estate, which includes new media and online informational utilities (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the like), is worse because of rampant censorship. Patronizing tactics choose for you, because presumably you’re not smart enough to sift fact from fiction. I would mind less if professional news gatherers reported responsibly more.

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A 20-Year-Old Memento

While rummaging around for one of our daughter’s old drawings, my wife pulled out my press pass issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit 20 years ago. At the time, Microsoft sought to overturn, or at least diminish, its adverse antitrust ruling and recommended remedy that would break the company into separate applications and operating systems companies. The U.S. Justice Department and 20 states attorneys general filed the initial case in May 1998. One state dropped out almost immediately. If I rightly recall, only 18 states remained by mid-2001.

I was a staff writer for CNET News.com and remember the court case well. My reporting got lots of attention, particularly analyses of the case and where it would lead—such as prediction that the appeals court would remove the trial judge; it did and upheld eight antitrust offenses. I am unable to find the news piece online because CNET removed the byline from all my stories—presumably purged in a content management system upgrade five years (or so) ago. Even more disturbing: The stories I have found universally have the wrong datelines. For example, my report “New judge assigned in Microsoft trial” has a publication date of July 20, 2002 but should be Aug. 24, 2001. Ugh.

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Subtract This from Apple News+

I thought so little of what Apple might announce during its March 25th splashy event that I scheduled my annual physical at the same. Not that you asked, and that’s okay: I am healthy for my age, which is not something that can be said of the publishers exposing their operations to the Apple News+ plague. For consumers, the deal is sweet: $9.99 monthly for access to about 300 news sources—the majority magazines.

The first free month tempted, and I had to try it out. As you can see from the screenshot, my tenure didn’t last long—not even a day. During 2019, my subs to Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic, New Yorker, and Rolling Stone will expire, and all of them are available via Apple News+ for pennies, by comparison, plus a heap of other mags I would love to read.

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Litigation Censorship, Gawker, and the End of the Free Press

I am super grumpy today. Angry. No—thoroughly pissed off at billionaire bully Peter Thiel’s vendetta litigation financing that resulted in today’s bankruptcy filing by new media journo Gawker Media. Thiel plunked down, admittedly, at least $10 million to back Hulk Hogan’s breach-of-privacy lawsuit, which resulted in a $140 million jury judgement against the blog network for releasing the former faux wrestler’s sex tape.

Gawker had asked the presiding judge to set aside damages during the appeals process. Denied. The amount due exceeds the company’s assets, precipitating the Chapter 11 filing that will effectively end the media company as we know it now. Gawker is on the auction block, where Ziff Davis already has an offer. 

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BBC’s ‘Bathroom Bill’ Story is the Worst Kind of Journalism

This analysis is not a commentary about North Carolina’s controversial bathroom law, but the irresponsible and unethical news reporting about it. I am appalled by the headline and dek of a BBC story posted earlier today. Quoting the latter: “North Carolina is suing the U.S. Department of Justice over its attempts to bar the state from upholding its anti-LGBT ‘bathroom bill'”.

While many people might agree with “anti-LGBT” as descriptor, BBC nevertheless shouldn’t use it. Doing so makes a value judgement and demonstrates bias rather than neutral news reporting. Even using LGBT without the “anti” is biased. Also, as a foreign news agency, regardless reputation, the Beeb makes moral pronouncements that may not reflect those of the country that it reports about. The headline and dek implicitly impose values, and that should not be the news report’s goal—all while diminishing, if not ignoring, the rationale behind the legislation. 

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Six Films Every Journalist Should See

Yesterday afternoon, I started watching movie “Spotlight”, which later won Best Picure during the 88th Academy Awards. Following the Oscars, I finished the film, which warrants inclusion in my list of movies that every news gatherer should watch. If there are others worthy, please prompt me. I previously posted, on Dec. 30, 2014: “You Could Study Journalism, or Learn as Much Watching These Five Films“.

All six movies offer valuable lessons about responsible news reporting and ethical boundaries that matter in the real world—beyond the ideals that J Schools teach, regardless the kind of journalism you practice.  My ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers identifies five types (and really should count seven): Advocacy, contextual. conversational, mob, and process

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

The second of the five journalisms was a topic on this site long before becoming part of my ebook  Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers. First reference: “Process Journalism and Original Reporting” (July 2009). The concept closely aligns with contextual journalism, which is the topic of the previous chapter published here a week ago.

I wrote the book understanding that the intersection of old and new media presents an opportunity to develop more realistic reporting guidelines. The cultural and ethical differences too often set one against the other, which process journalism demonstrates. However, online reporting demands a different way of thinking about news gathering and what the so-called quest for truth really means. 

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Like I Said, Aggregation is Plagiarism

File this in the “When things are too much alike department”—and I meant to write this post last week. Better late than never, eh? Scrolling through my RSS feeds on Friday I came upon this Gizmodo story which matters to me: “HBO Is ‘Seriously Considering’ Offering HBO Go Without Cable TV“. Pranav Dixit’s piece provides no real reporting but aggregates from Quartz’s “HBO is now ‘seriously considering’ whether to offer HBO Go without cable TV“.

I recognize there are only so many ways to write a headline with quote “seriously considering”, but c`mon. Aren’t bloggers embarrassed puking out someone else’s digested food? There is something like alien culinary abduction here, and the results are disgusting. How hard would it be to get the quote, rather than lift it from someone else? What if Quart’z John McDuling misquoted (he doesn’t) such that Giz and countless other aggregators regurgitated and the social web smeared it all over their Walls?