Posts about Weblogs

I thought we were past this

From Simon Collister’s conclusions in his dissertation:

Despite the above findings, 100% of the journalists interviewed claimed they did not use material from blogs when writing stories, while 50% of journalists said they did not even read blogs.

A diploma and a blog

I’ve been quoting Neil McIntosh of the Guardian to my students this week, saying he expects job applicants to have a blog. And conveniently, here’s Neil today leaving a comment with his rationale (responding to a question from Paul Bradshaw):

I tell all the journalism students I meet this: blogs are the minimum. There’s no excuse for a student journalist who wants to work online not to have one. The only exception (and even then…) might be if they were heavily involved in student media, or were working for a publication part-time, or were doing some kind of other digital work which trumped having a mere blog. And no, MySpace/Bebo/Facebook pages don’t count :)

Moreover, the quality of the blog really matters, because it lets me see how good someone is unedited and entirely self-motivated. If I were to see a decent pitch with a blog address on it, I’d look, and the quality and frequency could count heavily in the author’s favour. And if a brilliant graduate didn’t have a blog, but still made interview, I’d be asking, politely, why not…

LATER: John Robinson, cybersmart editor of the News & Record, weighs in.

I ask job applicants if they have a blog. Most of them don’t. Then I ask them if they read my blog. About half of them haven’t.

The two questions tell me a lot about the candidates. First, if they have a blog, it gives me an indication of their passion for writing and communicating. It also allows me to see how their unedited writing reads. I rarely pay attention to submitted clips; I know how good editing can make a mediocre writer appear positively Halberstamian. Finally, in answering the question, they usually let on what they think of blogging and digital. Believe it, some trash blogs.

Second, if they haven’t read my blog, it tells me they haven’t done their homework. That makes the candidate a non-starter.

Actually, it helps winnow down the candidates pretty quickly.

In the comments, there, Mark Potts adds:

It’s not so much that there’s great magic in writing a blog–it’s just another publishing tool, in my book–but it certainly reveals a lot about their comfort and facility with the Web and new media. It also is very revealing about what their raw writing skills are like, as you point out.

On the digital side, especially, we need people who are “native speakers” or as fluent as possible in the new ways of presenting information and interacting with readers. There’s no question they’re more qualified if they’ve walked the walk, talked the talk and blogged the blog.

What he says

Mike Arrington gets it right in the kerfuffle over Robert Scoble using a Plaxo scraper to take email addresses of his friends — mine included, I might add — and put them into their damned spam machine. Scoble’s doing to loud public crying act over this but I agree with Mike that Plaxo is wrong and Facebook is right. I want Facebook to protect my email address. I don’t want Scoble downloading it and giving it over to Plaxo, a brand and company I will never, never trust and would never choose to do business with or hand data to on my own. So much of the reaction to this little incident gets it backwards; there has been much talk about how we should be able to get our data out of Facebook and that’s fine but we also need to protect our data from others making use of it without our permission and that’s what this is about in the end.

: And what she says: Dawn, comment on Arrington’s post:

Facebook has created an environment where we only allow access to certain items that we want people to see. If I have let Scoble see my entire profile, meaning my education, my employment, my DOB, etc., and he takes any of that with him, to where ever he is taking it (and he could take it elsewhere), he is violating my right to privacy.

Not only does this affect the careful identity construction that I’ve done, but it also undermines my ability to only be a part of communities that I wish to take part in. He is porting my identity to sites unknown and using it in a way that I haven’t consented to.

If today it is Robert Scoble, who is to say that tomorrow it’s not someone stealing my identity and using it on sites that are unsavory?

Instead of jumping on a revolution bandwagon, we should be thinking about the overwhelming social issues here. I believe in portability for MY OWN identity. I don’t think that you should be allowed to take my information anywhere you want to go with it.

Right. Especially Plaxo.

: LATER: Good gawd, Nick Carr and I agree. Jack Schofield of the Guardian agrees, too.

: Scoble is back up on Facebook. But he now has fewer than 5,000 friends. Did some leave him?

Mobile on mobile

Andy Carvin tweets that we can listen to his NPR report on mobile blogging from our phones. Just call: 202-683-7002. This is, indeed, where content and communication merge: We can listen to whatever we want whenever we want as if we’re just phoning up content. We can create and interact with content that way. Phone? What’s a phone?

Blogger is journalist of the year

Medium, a media magazine in Germany, just named a blogger, Stefan Niggemeier, as journalist — yes, journalist — of the year because of BildBlog, which follows, criticizes, and dogs the huge tabloid newspaper in Germany, Bild. Just to give you a flavor that translates easily, here’s a post about a picture that ran in Bild, supposedly of a Turkish prison cell, when readers noticed the similarity to a picture of a cell at Alcatraz — note that moment of networked media criticism. I don’t know enough about the German media society, but I suspect this award could be as much about antipathy toward Bild as admiration of BildBlog. And I suppose this could only fuel the fires of blogs-v-MSM (which I keep trying to douse). Still, I think it’s a positive sign that a blogger is recognized not only as a journalist but as the journalist of the year. (via Martin Stabe)