Friday, October 3, 2008

"Citizen Journalism" loses big (so does CNN)

The problem was an absolutely false report filed by a "citizen journalist" on CNN that Apple's Steve Jobs had a heart attack. It was taken down by CNN after it was found to be false. 

That's one of my problems with the term, "citizen journalist." I think journalism means checking and verifying -- before you run a story. That's where CNN went wrong. Sure, it wasn't filed by a CNN reporter, but the network's name was on the line.

Sure it's stupid, but. . .

A radio reporter in Detroit was fired for wearing an Obama shirt while covering an event. Of course, it's stupid and unethical. But it's a reminder to us all not to let ourselves get carried away. This, of course, is something student media reporters and editors must remember, especially on campus politics.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Some thoughts on redefining news

Editor & Publisher's Steve Outing has some interesting thoughts on just what should constitute news today and in the future. One though, melding the social networking experience into your website. It's not that I agree with everything he proposes, it's that he is looking at the problem the correct way -- from the audience back toward the publisher. Define what news should be, then figure out how to create it.

As someone who regularly uses both old and new media (it's fascinating to see that one niece just finished a long visit to Australia while working on a cruise ship), I understand the appeal. Perhaps better (easier, less porous) filtering will halt the outpouring of excess information (not just spam, but too much information) that is brought to us by the Internet. As I teach, I talk about one role of journalists is to put facts into perspective. Another is to select which facts are most relevant to the story. New media delivers a lot of facts. As someone with 67 unread emails awaiting action as I speak (I've already dealt with at least 50 this morning), I know that keeping ahead of facts on new media is hard. Maybe that's an area for old media.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Practical tips: Interviewing

I'm going to start posting some practical tips for student (and professional) journalists. Here are some great observations about reporting, including the observation that 93% of human communication is nonverbal upon first impressions. That means it makes a huge difference in approaching an interview subject on how you are dressed, the tone you use, even the personal space you choose.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What do readers want? You don't want to know

OK, let's let the pessimism flow:

A former L.A. Times newsman blogs about his doubts about the future for newspapers. Why is he pessimistic? It's what the readers want. A thoughtful blog.

Meanwhile, an Internet guru speculates that the future hold less print -- and it's been very, very different (think magazines). An interesting take, and I'm not sure he's wrong. Incidentally, he thinks blogging will continue to drive communication. Does that mean I have to keep this up?

Finally, you can read here about how the banking industry is going to "disembowel" the newspaper industry. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

The new Chicago Tribune

The new design for the Chicago Tribune hit the streets today. At least one online design expert offers instant analysis of the new, magazine and Internet-inspired design which featured lots of big pictures, promos and a new "you are here" inside guide. I liked it; my student editors from Chicago hated it. One of us is wrong; but the paper is different, and it is nice to see something different from a newspaper company. It also has new features, as opposed to those newspapers cutting features. And it's not your father's Tribune.

The folks at also weigh in on the new Tribune, with lots of links.

Meanwhile, Editor & Publisher posts reaction from the other side -- those cut by the Tribune Company.

On Tuesday, 72% of Crain's Chicago Business readers said they hated the redesign, a poll reported.