Posts from May 11, 2004



: What more can be said about the evil slime who behead an American civilian? Nothing.

Okrent meets his other public

Okrent meets his other public
: Steven I. Weiss forwards news that Dan Okrent is talking to the NY Press Club tonight. I might drop by.

Oh, Rob!

Oh, Rob!

: Defamer celebrates the return of the Dick Van Dyke Show as a moment at last for the “coveted 59- to-ashes-in-an-urn demographic.”

Citizen reporters

Citizen reporters

: Doc Searls tried to help out an old-media radio station and contribute a report on an earthquake. They didn’t know what to do with it. The wise media outlet will find ways to turn readers into reporters.



: I’m halfway through NPR’s Connection discussion on blogs with blog-basher George Packer, who wrote the oh, so ho-hum anti-blog piece in Mother Jones. Listen to this and, damn, blogs are boring.

The media plateau

The media plateau

: David Card posts a chart comparing media-giant revenue in September 2001 and today. Back to square one:

Time Warner: $44B to $40B

Disney: $27B to $27B

Viacom: $26B to $27B

News Corp.: $15B to $19B

Vivendi (NBC): $16B to $13B

Which bloggers matter?

Which bloggers matter?

: Michael Zimmer asks an intriguing question in the comments below: If you were selecting the bloggers to be credentialed to cover the Democratic convention (or any other news event), what criteria would you use?

I’m unfamiliar with the standards used to issue press passes in general, but I’m interested in what people think the standard should be for bloggers. How should the convention planners determine which bloggers get credentials? Number of hits? Lottery?

Seth Finkelstein replies:

I believe standards are roughly the combination of

1) How many people do you reach?

2) How “important” are they?

That is, you can have a small audience, but if it’s for a trade journal (“Editor and Publisher”?), that might pass.

Someone who knows more, feel free to correct me. But this seems like it would easily apply to bloggers as well.

Yes, by the way, someone makes a values decision – I think “small press” publishers have at times been unhappy.

One imagines a tortured session at the DNC: One blogger out of every possible minority (any blind bloggers?); checks on their political leaning (what’s the definition of Democrat?); FBI background checks (well, he only sounds like a dangerous crackpot)…

I’ll repeat that on the one hand, the last thing we citizen journalists should do is join the mob already over-reporting an undereventful moment like a modern-day political convention. We should strive to give you the stories and perspectives the big guys do not report. Nonetheless, access to official events is a key benefit of mainline press that should accrete to citizens’ press and as it does, people will have to decide which citizens get behind the rope.

So what are the criteria? Traffic and audience may seem to be in the best interests of the credentialing organization (more people equals more publicity) but that’s an old-media way of looking at things (aka the power-law way). The truth is that you may want to get the influencers talking to more targeted groups. Quotas quickly become offensive. A lottery ignores the meritocracy that is the blogosphere. Maybe bloggers should select the bloggers who get in. What do you think?

The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: FIRST, LET’S BLEEP THE LAWYERS: Now if nothing else has frightened you about the FCC’s mauling of the First Amendment, this should:

Now lawyers will be deciding what you should and should not hear. Lawyers.

Adding an additional safeguard against anything actionably indecent getting out on the air, Emmis plans to hire at least two paralegals to augment existing indecency protections. While no hires have been made, the company is looking to add paralegals in Chicago (for Mancow’s Morning Madhouse on WKQX) and in St. Louis (perhaps for The Howard Stern Show, which KPNT carries).

“We already have a layer or two – this would be a back-up system – an added measure,” Emmis spokeswoman Kate Healey tells FMQB. The extra layer would augment existing precautions by giving a person with a legal background access to the dump button.

: BROTHERS IN BATTLE: Ira Glass, host of the NPR show This American Life, comes out as a strong ally of Howard Stern in the fight for our First Amendment:

I’m the host of a show on public radio, and when my listeners tell me they don’t care for Stern, I always think it reveals a regrettable narrowness of vision. Mostly, they’re put off by the naked girls. But Stern has invented a way of being on the air that uses the medium better than nearly anyone. He’s more honest, more emotionally present, more interesting, more wide-ranging in his opinions than any host on public radio. Also, he’s a fantastic interviewer. He’s truly funny. And his staff on the air is cheerfully inclusive of every kind of person: black, white, dwarf, stutterer, drunk and supposed gay. What public radio show has that kind of diversity?…

Sadly, lots of smart people shrug off the recent government crackdown on Howard Stern — and on other ”indecency” — as if it were nastiness going on in some bad neighborhood of the broadcast dial, one that doesn’t concern them, one that they’d never stoop to visit.

But the recent F.C.C. rulings make me Stern’s brother as I’ve never been before….

: JUST LIKE AFRICA: The Nairobi Standard sees too many parallels between government control of media in Kenya and in the U.S., based on the FCC’s vendetta against Howard Stern:

Even in US Press is not so free after all

The media in Kenya may be forgiven for feeling a little bit besieged, what with a promise by the Government to institute more oversight to keep it on the straight and narrow. The media is crying foul and is loudly proclaiming that what it needs is more freedom not control.

If the Kenyan media thinks it’s in a particularly bad place, it should cast its sights across the Atlantic and witness what is happening to the American media, at any rate the radio part of it….

Stern occupies the centre of the brewing debate on freedom of speech in America. In the meantime, the FCC continues squeezing him. This being America, the matter is far from over. At some point, the matter will go before the courts. Maybe the media in Kenya can take solace in the fact that they are not alone.

A fine example.