Bloggers

We Just Have To Go Do The Work

Nicholas Lemann, in a story on blogging and citizen journalism in the August 7 issue of The New Yorker: [N]ew media in their fresh youth [produce] a distinctive, hot-tempered rhetorical style. …transformative in their capabilities…a mass medium with a short lead time — cheap…and easily accessible to people of all classes and political inclinations. And […] » about 400 words

Richard Sambrook Talks Citizen Journalism

I’m not sure what to think of Richard Sambrook appearing to struggle to find a place for traditional journalism in the age of the internet, but the story’s worth a read.

David Weinberger […] talked about the crisis in US journalism with failing trust in the big news organisations. He pointed out that Google now provided a news service with just an algorithm where there used to be a newsroom of dozens of people — and suggested algorithms were probably more reliable than journalists anyway! So if information is commodotised, and the public can tell their own stories, what’s the role for the journalist? I came up with three things — verification (testing rumour and clearing fog), explanation (context and background) and analysis (a Google search won’t provide judgement). And journalists still have the resources to go places and uncover things that might otherwise remain hidden. Citizens can do all of those things, but not consistently, and with even less accountability than the media.

To Blog Or Not To Blog

A friend revealed his reticence to blogging recently by explaining that he didn’t want to create a trail of work and opinions that could limit his future career choices. Fair point, perhaps. We’ve all heard stories of bloggers who’ve lost jobs as a result of the content of their posts. And if you believe the […] » about 300 words

Political Blogging Protected By FEC

Way back near the end of 2005, Lot 49 reported that the Federal Election Commission had basically ruled that bloggers are journalists:

The Federal Election Commission today issued an advisory opinion that finds the Fired Up network of blogs qualifies for the “press exemption” to federal campaign finance laws. The press exemption, as defined by Congress, is meant to assure “the unfettered right of the newspapers, TV networks, and other media to cover and comment on political campaigns.” The full ruling is available at the FEC site. A noteworthy passage: “…an entity otherwise eligible for the press exception would not lose its eligibility merely because of a lack of objectivity…” (emphasis added)

So, yeah, it’s double-edged, I mean that last line is basically the Fox News Channel exemption, but it also gives those bloggers who consider themselves citizen journalists a leg to stand on.

And the folks in that camp should be happy to have the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s help. As Donna Wentworth says, Bloggers: You Have a Right to Remain Vocal.

Who’s Afraid Of Wikipedia?

Arguments about Wikipedia‘s value and authority will rage for quite a while, but it’s interesting to see where the lines are being drawn. On the one had we’ve got a 12 year-old pointing out errors in Encyclopaedia Britannica (via Many2Many) and now on the other side we’ve got John Seigenthaler, a former editorial page editor […] » about 500 words

Blog Value

The sale of Weblogs Inc. to AOL last month for $25+ million got a lot of bloggers excited. Tristan Louis did the math and put the sale value into perspective against the number of incoming links the the Weblogs Inc. properties. It’s an interesting assertion of the value of the Google Economy, no?

The various properties have a total of almost 50,000 incoming links, which work out to being worth between about $500 and $900 each, depending on the actual sale price, which everybody’s mum about.

So Dane Carlson created this (now broken) how much is my blog worth? app based on those numbers and powered by the Technorati API. Zach took a stern look at it (while it was working) and decided the numbers probably represent the gross ad revenues of a blog over four years (or two years with strong growth).

Attack Of The Blogs (Yeah)!

Online reaction to the Forbes cover story Attack of the Blogs has been quick and strong, and given the doom and gloom language, it’s not surprising: Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and […] » about 400 words

Tech Tuesdays: Blogs and Blogging

Note: these are my presentation notes for a brown bag discussion with library faculty and university IT staff today. This may become a series…[[pageindex]] More: my presentation slides and the Daily Show video. Introduction Public awareness of blogs seems to begin during the years of campaigning leading up to the 2004 election, but many people […] » about 1400 words

What Bloggers Need To Know About Cahill v. Doe

Wendy Seltzer alerts us to the Delaware Supreme Court’s ruling last week in Cahill v. Doe, a case that tested our rights to anonymity online, as well as the standard for judging defamation.

As it turns out, the court decided against the plaintiff, a city councilman, and protected the identity of “Proud Citizen,” who the councilman accused of posting defamatory remarks in an online forum. Further, it also decided that the context of the remarks “a chatroom filled with invective and personal opinion” are “not a source of facts or data upon which a reasonable person would rely.”

In short, as Seltzer points out, the ruling hold readers responsible for seeing materials in the context they’re presented in:

The standard empowers a wide range of bloggers’ speech. Because readers can use context to help them differentiate opinions from statements of fact, bloggers are freer to publish their choice of opinionated gossip or citizen journalism. And thanks to courts like Cahill and Dendrite, they can do so using pseudonyms or their real names.

Linking Bias

Danah Boyd posted about the biases of links over at Many2Many the other day. She looked for patterns in a random set of 500 blogs tracked by Technorati as well as the 100 top blogs tracked by Technorati. She found patterns in who keeps blogrolls and who is in them, as well as patterns about how bloggers link in context and who they link to.

The patterns Boyd points to would certainly effect the Google Economy, our way of creating and identifying value based on linking structures. And though she’s emphasizing gender differences, the patterns show broad differences in linking patterns between content types as well.

Discussion?