Friday, April 20, 2012

A new media take on, well, new media; It brings some light to political bias

The new media has brought forth upon this continent a totally different news landscape -- one that is often fresh and invigorating. Let's spend a minute to look at a couple of elements of that landscape today, both sparked by a fascinating article in the current Shepherd Express alternative newspaper.

The first is the substance of the article, titled "Have 'independent news service' groups crossed the line?" It's a substantive look at the nonprofit news groups such as Wisconsin Reporter, Media Trackers, Wisconsin Policy Research Institutes and the MacIver Institute. All purport to offer news, that, the article claims, is solidly affiliated with right-wing, mostly Republican organizations, including everybody's favorites: The Bradley Foundation and groups affiliated with out-of-state conservative business-tied groups.

While it goes too far at times (not all the stories are slanted), the article does the best job of anything I've seen at publicising the financial ties between the groups and political operations. It's to be commended -- and read -- because so much of the new media seems to be accepted on faith, without looking at whether there is an agenda.

The news organizations, by the way, are finding welcome ground since so much traditional media has pulled back in coverage that news-hungry citizens are so open to any coverage of things like state news that they often accept stories as fact without looking for the slant.

The second element of interest is that it was written by Chris Liebenthal who honed his skills on several blogs, especially at Liebenthal is as dependably left as the above listed groups are right, but he is a wonderful example of how one can use a blog to establish a presence in the community. We have a host of blogs, both left and right, that bring spice -- and often facts -- to the public discussion. It's what new media does best, and it's a good thing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

First a chuckle, then more sobering thoughts

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel business blog reports that news of a new Harley-Davidson factory in Milwaukee is sweeping there world. The only problem is that the world-wide reports are based on a recently-reprinted 1918 magazine report.

At first, the instinct is to chuckle at it -- as we did with the Chinese news reports quoting a story in The Onion as fact. But it does point to a continuing problem. News in the digital university looks alike, so it's sometime hard to separate "real" news from "fake news" or old news. Mediation makes a difference.

Guardian moves ahead into new media realm

Few newspapers have embraced "new media" models as eagerly as London's Guardian, which has long worked to integrate its traditional reporting/writing/publishing with new, digital forms of journalism. It's going farther, according to CEO Andrew Miller.

The Guardian is going to reach out to its audience using what he called the papers "Open Newslist." "We encourage people to interact with it, and we are also trying a live blog of what we are discussing during the day," he said. Miller said the Guardian has going from "being a UK paper with 3000,000 readers to a global news organization with 65 million unique users, according to a story on It's still an experiment, but a lively one.

Miller's talk at a digital media conference in London laid out the paper's plans for its future. It looks like a good plan, at that.