Comment on "Citizens' media gets richer"

Something in one of this week's readings, "Citizens' media gets richer" by OJR's J.D. Lasica, struck me as particularly interesting.

Lasica quotes Michael Tippett, founder of NowPublic.com: "The big news organizations always say, we have journalism school grads and Pulitzer Prize winners and people trained in the craft. Fair enough, but you have two people on the story, and we already may have 20 or 50. What happens when we have 2,000 people covering that story? There will come a point where they can't compete," he says.

(To read Lasica's complete story:

Is it true that two professional, experienced reporters can't compete with 2,000 citizen journalists? If so, why is there a need for staff reporters at all? News organizations could rely entirely on the public for content.

I would argue that even 2,000 citizen journalists are not necessarily better than two veteran reporters. While I believe in the importance of citizen journalism as part of the news--I agree with Lasica that it adds "emotional depth and first-hand experience"--it cannot be the only source of news.

Yes, there are many "regular people" who write and photograph beautifully, and I hope the public continues to benefit from their talent. But I think it would be going too far to say that a small number of Pulitzer Prize winners cannot compete with dozens, even hundreds, of "regulars."

I'd be interested to hear your opinions on this.

Blogs you like...

Class, here are some of the blogs that I didn't list that you told me you liked -- along with your comments and suggestions for improvement:

From Annie:

1) This blog consists of news updates on celebrity behavior.
2) The content of the blog is entertaining yet trashy. It feeds on the celebrity-driven pop culture. The site is easy to navigate. With links to pages and celebrity knowledge quizzes, there is tons of visitor interaction. The site doesn’t have any archives and only keeps records for the past couple of days.
3) I would visit the site merely because I, too, am celebrity obsessed. I don’t really care what the blogger says, but I am interested in the pictures.
4) I would eliminate the amount of commentary on the blog. The pictures and headlines are the interesting factors -- not what a nobody person has to say.

From Danny:

1. My blog of choice, at the moment, is maintained by MSNBC’s Willie Geist, a producer/on-air co-host/jack of all trades for the cable network. He describes his blog as such:

“Willie Geist has maintained since 1996 that the Internet, like the automobile and the television before it, is a fad. He gets his information from microfiche at the public library and communicates with friends through the good old-fashioned United States Postal Service, thank you very much.”

The site is decidedly tongue-in-cheek, but it is a great place to read about network news and other goings-on the media business. It is an opinion blog.

2. The content is good. Geist is funny and usually keeps his posts fresh. It is easy to move around and find archived posts. Also, the site is big on user comments. Basically the entire main page scrolls with comments (after Geist’s post, of course). Fans of Geist have an easy way to access or comment on his page. Interaction on this blog seems high.

3. I would look at this site again. I watch Geist with Tucker Carlson all the time. He is witty and bitingly sarcastic. I like going to his blog for more of the same.

4. The site could have comments on a separate page. I would rather see more of his posts on the front page. I really do not care to see 100 people comment on one post. For instance, his latest entry refers to MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski refusing the read the Paris Hilton story as the lead for a morning newscast. There are dozens of people who wrote to the blog saying roughly the same things (congratulating Brzezinski on taking a stand). I don’t need to see that. Show me other, even slightly older, blog posts instead.

From Aliza:
Frozen Tropics (http://frozentropics.blogspot.com)

“Frozen Tropics” is a blog about the Trinidad and H Street NE areas of Washington, D.C.

It is a news roundup, and occasionally an opinion/commentary blog.

The author, Inked, links to articles written about the area; posts press releases from politicians, developers and upcoming events; takes photographs of things she sees in the area and muses on changes in the area. The content is sometimes nothing more than links, but sometimes it is long.

The blog is the source of information on my neighborhood. It is easy to navigate, with archives on the right-hand navigation bar, as well as links to news organizations, local businesses, politicians who serve the area and more.

Readers interact with the blog through comments, and inked responds to many of the comments. Readers often also interact with each other through the comments. Inked also provides many links for readers to click on.

I read this blog often because of the news it provides. Inked also linked to one or two articles I wrote last summer on the area, and we have a mutual friend.

One way for the blog to be improved is to disallow anonymous commenters because there are often multiple commenters, and keeping track of who said what can get confusing. Another way to improve the blog would be for Inked to take on more writers so that the blog could be updated more frequently.

From Aditya:
The Huffington Post

This blog aggregates the posts from several contributors and categorizes them under ‘Politics,’ ‘Business,’ ‘Entertainment,’ etc.

Most of the posts are commentaries. Small excerpts or summaries accompany the links to the opinion pieces. Many of the articles are on Huffington’s Web site, others are external links. The contributors come from very different backgrounds, and some may be more credible than others. The blog provides links to short biographies of each contributor.

Huffington’s blog seems to encourage interactivity since it allows users to instantaneously post comments to articles. The blog does not seem to have an archive of its own, but allows users to search it quite easily.

Huffington Post is a good place to look for left-of-center commentary and analysis, but seems to have little use otherwise.

More to come...


Blogging Assignment

Class, this assignment is to be done independently. Please turn it in by e-mail to me by 11:10 a.m. on Thursday, July 5. Happy holiday!

Directions: Quickly check out the following eight Web logs.

Go back and take more time with two of them, plus any other blog of your choosing. (Check out http://www.technorati.com/ for listings of blogs if you don’t already have a favorite.)

For each of those three that you analyze, BRIEFLY answer the following:

1. Is this a reported blog, an opinion/commentary blog, an author’s journal, a news roundup, or something else entirely?
2. How good is the content? How easy is it to navigate and find archival entries? How well does it encourage reader interaction?
3. Would you look at this site again if you didn’t have to?
4. How could it be improved?

Please type up your answers and e-mail them to me.

Here are eight sites to start your review with:









The Power of Blogging

Here's an article in the Post yesterday demonstrating the increasing influence of blogs on the mainstream:

Calling in Pros to Refine Your Google Image

One thing to consider is that Webmasters can manipulate search engine algorithms to have their sites come up as one of the first listings. So, no matter what companies like ReputationDefender.com could do, there will always be malicious coders who will ruin any attempts that you fork over thousands of dollars for to improve your online prestige. What's even more funny is that people found a market in making people look good on the Web. My take on the situation: you can't make people like you.

Here's a good read on how search engines work

And here's a Wired.com article about search engine manipulation