Monthly Archives: October 2007

California wildfires: a roundup

How do you react to a local disaster in the new media age?

Martin Stabe:

San Diego TV station News 8 … has responded to the crisis on its patch by taking down its entire regular web site and replacing it with a rolling news blog, linking to YouTube videos of its key reports (including Himmel’s), plus Google Maps showing the location of the fire. Continue reading

Blogs and Investigative Journalism: The amateur-professional debate

In the second part of my book chapter I look at the criticisms leveled at both bloggers and professional journalists. I would welcome any corrections, extra information or comments.

The amateur-professional debate

Blogs have attracted criticism from a range of sources for being susceptible to mob rule (Allan, 2006), for containing ill-informed and biased opinion, for being an ‘echo chamber’ of homogenous voices (Henry, 2007), for lack of editorial rigour, and as representing the rise of the ‘cult of the amateur’.

At the same time, professional journalism itself has been under attack for the rise of a corporate culture (Gant, 2007), with many journalists seeing “their autonomy diminishing as newsroom standards of ethics, rigour and balance lost out to management goals of saving money and trivializing the news” (Beers, 2006: 113), while under-resourced newsrooms have faced criticism for running unedited PR videos (Henry, 2007), or relying on only one source (Ponsford, 2007), and investigative journalism specifically has been criticised for allowing sources to set agendas (Feldstein, 2007). Continue reading

Blogs and Investigative Journalism: draft first section

From today I’ll be blogging parts of a book chapter on ‘Blogs and Investigative Journalism’ which will form part of the next edition of ‘Investigative Journalism‘. The following is the first part, which introduces blogging in general and its relationship with journalism. I would welcome any corrections, extra information or comments.

Blogging and journalism

To ask “Is blogging journalism” is to mistake form for content. Blogs – like websites, paper, television or radio – can contain journalism, but may not. They are a platform, albeit – like other media platforms – one with certain generic conventions. Like all conventions, these have advantages and disadvantages for journalism, which this chapter aims to address. Continue reading

The 2009 journalist: some ideas from Paris

One of France’s main journalism schools, the Centre de Formation des Journalistes, has just launched a revamped new media curriculum, where all students are now required to specialize in new media on top of their traditional skills.

The program was 2.0’d from the start, back in June, when Philippe Couve brought together the crème de la crème of the French blogosphere to outline what the 2009 journalist should look like. Continue reading

Cult of the Amateur author fails to do his homework

It’s hard not to feel some schadenfreude when you see ‘Cult of the Amateur’ author Andrew Keen demonstrating a particularly lazy bit of amateur blogging himself. Today’s entry, ‘Anonymity shouldn’t pay (even in Sheffield)’ reads:

“Finally anonymity on the Internet is being punished. The Guardian today reports on anonymous Sheffield Wednesday bloggers who are being sued by the club for their abusive comments. This is heartening news. It is only when anonymous bloggers are made legally liable for their views that the Internet will become a civilized medium for responsible adults.”

Except the case was not about bloggers at all. It was about anonymous posters on a messageboard.

Perhaps he only read the headline – ‘Warning to abusive bloggers as judge tells site to reveal names’ – not a particularly great example of professionalism itself.

I tried to post a comment correcting Keen, but I got an error message.


Katine: Guardian does something very special indeed with crowdsourcing

If you have ten minutes today, click along to Katine: it starts with a village. With this project The Guardian is doing something very special indeed with crowdsourcing, interactive storytelling, and journalism itself.

Launched over the weekend, Katine appears to be a new approach to “the annual appeal to focus attention on worthwhile causes during the pre-Christmas giving season”. Editor Alan Rusbridger explains: Continue reading

Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution (mirror copy) By Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin

The following is copied in its entirety from

This newspaper and its editorial staff — both current and former — are the targets of unprecedented grand jury subpoenas dated August 24. Continue reading

Subpoena raises privacy danger for registration-based websites

This story on the arrest last night of Phoenix New Times owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin raises some real concerns for online privacy – in particular for news organisations who require readers to register in order to read.

“a grand jury subpoena was issued for information about the online readers of the paper.

“The authorities are also using the grand jury subpoenas in an attempt to research the identity, purchasing habits, and browsing proclivities of our online readership,” they wrote in their article, “Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution,” which was published yesterday. Continue reading

From the inverted pyramid to the tumbled pyramid (João Canavilhas)

When I published the news diamond model, a number of commentators from Brazil and Portugal compared it with João Canavilhas’ ‘Tumbled Pyramid’ model, which looks at online reading patterns and suggests a new way to structure online journalism. João very kindly agreed to write a post for the OJB summarising this model – here it is:

The inverted pyramid model as the prime writing technique is usually implied when we discuss journalism. The emergence of the web, with its hypertext potentialities, opens new windows of opportunities. Now, journalists are able to provide new and immediate reading horizons by creating links between texts or other multimedia components which can be organised into layers of information.
But how will readers react when faced with several optional reading paths? Do they follow a reading pattern or does each individual have their own way of reading? Continue reading

Citizen journalism: some conclusions from the European Bloggers Unconference

Consider this my first attempt at a photoblog entry. For those who prefer video or text you can see both at

What is citizen journalism

Continue reading