Posts about News

Plastic explosives


David Kline finds the ideal Christmas present for the age: The Playmobil airport security toy. Surely, I thought, this must be a joke. But, no, it’s really on the Playmobil site. Coming soon: subway bag checkers… Guantanamo interrogators… FEMA ice trucks…

Yahoo’s news includes blogs

Yahoo’s news search now includes blogs and that is good news.

Eric Auchard of Reuters called me about it last night and probed the question of separating blogs from … what should we call ?… real news, professional news, journalism?

I got on my high horse, predictably, and said the separation is artificial and even perilous (see the post directly below)

Robert Thompson, a media studies professor at Syracuse University, said it was important to preserve the distinctions between professional journalism and personal commentary.

He defined professional journalism as reporting which adheres to standards of accuracy and writing subjected to an editorial process, and all done with an eye to journalistic ethics, although he said journalism often falls short of these goals.

“There is a distinction between something that has gone through an editorial process as opposed to something put up by someone that has been through none of those processes,” Thompson said.

But media critic Jeff Jarvis, author of the blog Buzzmachine (http://buzzmachine.com), said major Internet sites such as Yahoo and Google continue to patronise bloggers by treating them as secondary sources of news.

I was complaining that GoogleNews will not includ a site unless it has multiple authors… as if that makes a difference. Google to I.F. Stone: Drop dead.

Jarvis, who is a former TV critic for TV Guide and People magazines, mocked the notion that journalists live by a shared set of professional standards, that they are better trained or more trustworthy than the anyone-can-join blog movement.

“What made the voice of the people somehow less important than the paid professional journalist?” he asked. “You don’t need to have a degree, you don’t need to have a paycheque, you don’t need to have a byline,” Jarvis said.

“If you inform the public, you are committing an act of journalism,” he declared.

I went to Yahoo’s news search and looked up “Meirs.”

In the left column, under “news,” I found this: commentary from a student paper in Tennessee. In the right column, under “blog beta,” I found this: analysis from law professors. Which is more valuable, more authoritative, more trustworthy? The only way to find out is to read them.

Bottom line: I am delighted that Yahoo now includes blogs in search; I’m not complaining. Good on Yahoo. Take a lesson, Google. But to Thompson and others who keep arguing that there is a clear distinction, I say: Show me the line.

: Winer says:

1. Blogs don’t belong in the margin, they belong in the main results. There’s so much confusion about what is and isn’t a blog, why bother even trying to make a distinction. BusinessWeek has a blog, but it’s not the same thing as Scripting News, right? Or is it? Where should BW’s blog be? Why should it be in a different place from their editorial stuff? Don’t expect the line to get more solid in the future, it’s going the other way, getting more blurry all the time.

: Lisa DiCarlo at Forbes.com asks:

But is Yahoo! taking another big step in the blurring of lines between professional media and grassroots journalism?

The line is already blurrier than you know….

Past print

Squared finds the key quote from John Battelle’s interview in I Want Media:

Print is an extraordinarily important, wonderful medium. But I think we’ve seen the passing of print as the medium of news delivery. There are plenty of examples where print was the best we could do because it’s all we had. But the online medium is better.

Fifth wheel in charge

Or he could fly around for a few hours:

President Bush canceled plans to visit with emergency workers and officials in Texas, citing the storm’s shifting path and a desire not to impede preparations, but he still intended to monitor the storm’s progress from a military facility in Colorado instead of Washington.

Education v. oil

Multiplementality reports that Georgia’s governor closed schools Monday and Tuesday to conserve gas, which this blogger and traffic reporter predicts will only cause panic and lines and wasted gas.

Deals with devils

Ruth emails me appropriate outrage over this news:

President Bush decided Wednesday to waive any financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Washington’s closest Arab ally in the war on terrorism, for failing to do enough to stop the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers and forced laborers.

What do we stand for?

It’s not just us

Deutsche Welle says (in English):

Americans take heart: the United States is apparently not the only major western democracy unable to pull off an election. Germany’s vote on Sunday has been a disaster from the get-go…

Corrections

I linked to at least two stories out of New Orleans that now seem to have been exaggerated. One was the emotional Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard’s emotional story about a friend’s mother who died in a nursing home. MSNBC now reports that Broussard did not get the details and timing of this right and that the death was, tragically, among those that allegedly came when residents of a nursing home were not evacuated and the owners of that home have since been indicted. The other story was of the murder of at least one child in the Convention Center as reported in the Times-Picayune; David Carr in The Times said there is no verification of that story.

Carr also points out that such exaggerations often occur in such tragedies. He recounts hearing similarly amplified horrors after September 11th. In both cases, it is not as if there is the slightest reason to add to the horrifying truth.