Archive for the ‘ethics’ Category

Another NewAssignment.net Post

December 1, 2006

So, the NYS Legislature released a text file of all the “member items” from 2004-2005. The NYTimes reported on some of the more glaring items in the list earlier this week. But at least one website – I’m sure there are more – has begun the task of combing through the list more thoroughly. They’ve even converted the Legislature’s release into a searchable document.

It is slightly fun to troll through searching for strange, big-ticket items, like $100,000 “to assist with operating aid” at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta. (Who knew there was a National Soccer Hall of Fame? Or that Marcelo Balboa moonlights from ESPN as a soccer ambassador? Kudos to Oneonta for that coup.) Or, the $50,000 that went to “recycle and renovate” a warehouse in Patchogue for use as an Elks Lodge.

That’s all good clean fun, but there is a problem. This document is huge and unwieldy! It would be nice to know how much Marcelo Balboa and those Elks may be collecting from state coffers via other “member items.” But, to do that we need a database.

Now, I’m sure that the Times will be working this thing over, finding all of the jewels that may be hidden within, but this seems like a perfect project for networked journalism. Jay Rosen, rally your mob to develop a people’s database of NYS “member items.” Maybe if we do it, the government will feel the need to release this stuff every year, not just every few decades. You could even give the database project a catchy name, like “The Marcelo Balboa Project” and get him on board as a celebrity sponsor, to raise interest.

“I protect my sources”

September 24, 2006

Making news, indeed.
Reporter: Give me a call if you’re holding the Duckett boy

What, exactly, is this supposed to accomplish?

Circling Key West

September 20, 2006

“There are plenty of U.S. journalists, including me, who are eminently qualified to host TV programs that no one will ever see.”

– Carl Hiassen, Miami Herald

Romenesko links to Hiassen’s wonderful column on the Radio Marti et al. imbroglio. Even more wonderful than Hiassen, however, is the US government’s insistence on maintaining its ineffectual “broadcast” to Cuba.

We, the enemy

September 4, 2006

The unique value of journalism remains today what it has always been: honest, accurate, reliable transmission of information. By imposing tough standards on what and how he reports, by gaining and maintaining the trust of his audience, the journalist stands apart from the mere gossips, the pr shills, and the partisan hacks.

When we talk about blogging though, most of us see the latter three categories. All that we see is the gossip, shilling, hackery, and the occasional bout of amateur brilliance. We don’t see journalism at all.

But, those lesser categories have always stood alongside true journalism in the traditional media (newspapers have their gossip columns, tv morning news is a product placement bonanza, talk radio is a snake pit). So, why do we only think of gossips, shills, hacks and amateurs when we think of bloggers?

Because we are stuck in our historical moment; because those other categories of news purveyors have flooded into this new media, while journalists, for the most part, have stayed away. Indeed, as Joe points out, a real antagonism and mistrust has arisen between journalists and bloggers. Bloggers and journalists each think the other is the enemy. In the coming months and years, that will all change. Journalists will bring their standards and ethics to blogging (and, hopefully, kill that ugly little word).

Will journalism change by moving to this new medium? Will the journalist’s standards and relationships with the audience, sources, and the business end of journalism need to be revised? Yes, undoubtedly. And, why shouldn’t it? Online publishing via blogs, is perhaps the most revolutionary innovation in human communication since the era of Gutenberg and Caxton.

Just as Craigslist broke the newspaper monopoly on the classifieds, the internet and blogs have broken an even more fundamental monopoly held by traditional media: the monopoly on us, the journalists. Journalists should embrace the flexibility offered by these new tools, for they will set us free.

Though it may not look that way now, blogs are part of the solution, not the problem.