Posts about News

Late news is bad news

Well, the good news is that NBC is going to stream its nightly news online. The bad news is that they’re going to do it three and a half hours after the show airs in the east…. for the obvious reason that they don’t want to piss off west-coast affiliates. Still, can’t they all see the absurdity of this, on its face: Old news is not news, it’s just old. Why didn’t they give the affiliates all the right to show the news on their own sites? Why didn’t they all say that if they can get anyone under the age of 60 to watch their news anywhere anytime, they should thank their lucky news stars. This is why the future of news cannot come from the past of news: It is weighed down with deals and issues and precedents and contracts like Marley’s ghost.

Iraqi democracy

I will fully confess that I have been remiss in not linking to reports of the Iraqi constitutional vote. My fault.

But I will link to reports that voter turnout is even higher than it was in January and that there was opposition — what democracy does not? But it appears the constitution will pass.

These are a people who are dying to build a democracy. And we continue to have an obligation to help them. How we got there is not an excuse to abandon them and their quest to secure their freedom.

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 (, 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 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.