5 Ways To Improve Facebook's User Privacy

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It doesn't take long before privacy advocates and users complain about new services introduced by Facebook. This time Senators from across the United States have taken a stand. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Al Franken (D-Minn.), and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are involved and ready to fight.

The senators are taking on the issue of the recent changes to Facebook's privacy policy as well as the Instant Personalization services that allows third-party websites to customize site features to users' tastes. The senators are asking FTC to recommend privacy guidelines for online social networks. This may in turn cause lawmakers to introduce legislation to govern privacy on social networks.

Facebook however, has been responsive to user concerns in the past and may do the same in this situation. According to Ian Paul there are several things Facebook could do to improve their likability.

First Facebook must make the Opt-out option for the Instant Personalization feature much easier to understand. Apparently users are being buried within the privacy settings and Facebook forces users to click several times to opt-out.

Facebook must become much more upfront about changes and rewrites. Last Friday Facebook reworded the privacy policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities unknown to many of it's users.

Stop being vague. Facebook tends to use ambiguous language such as: "Connections. Facebook enables you to connect with virtually anyone and anything you want... Because it takes two to connect, your privacy settings only control who you can see the connection on your profile page."

Reading between the lines you must understand that this connections means at minimum your friends, likes, interests, city, hometown, family, relationships, networks, activities, interests, and places. It is very unclear on how these connections are made public and to whom

Let the user control the information access. Facebook users interacting with a third-party website or application need to have more control over what information those third parties can get from their profiles.

Finally the fifth improvement needed is to bring back the 24-hour user data storage policy. Third parties you interact with are not aloud to sell users Facebook data or use it other than in relation to Facebook. But it does make it easier for rogue sites to build databases on Facebook profile information.

Facebook should heed these warnings or else Congress may take action and soon.


The Ethics of the "Leak"

A tech blog aired a video last week listing the features of the unreleased iPhone 4G after the top-secret phone was forgotten in a bar.

On his 27th birthday, Gray Powell, an Apple engineer, was at a bar celebrating with friends. When the group left the bar, Powell forgot his iPhone sitting on a bar stool, but this was no ordinary iPhone. It was an iPhone 4G, not due for release until this summer, disguised as an iPhone 3GS.

Gizmodo, a blog specializing in the analysis of new technology, bought the iPhone 4G for $5,000. Staff members then dissected the phone and verified its authenticity as the highly anticipated new iPhone.

Immediately, speculations began that the iPhone leak was simply a ploy by Apple to steal buzz from the release of Google's Android. However, Gizmodo refutes that idea in a recent article.

This is not the first time that there has been a leak on a highly-anticipated Apple product. The morning the iPad was released, an Apple engineer showed it to Steve Wozniak, one of Apple's co-founders, for two minutes. As a result of this internal leak, that engineer, identified only as A.J., was fired.

Wozniak told Gizmodo this story following the recent iPhone leak. If Gizmodo knew that Apple fired the person who leaked the iPad, would they have an ethical responsibility to reconsider publishing the leak of the iPhone 4G? Or, in contrast, does a blog like Gizmodo have a responsibility to publish that information when it is encountered?

In the iPad leak, the engineer was kept anonymous, and he lost his job. Because Gizmodo identified Powell so quickly, they may have helped him keep his job. Instead of remaining faceless, he became the symbol of a guy who screwed up. If you fire the guy now, you make him a martyr for Apple. From a public relations standpoint, it's a whole lot easier to give Powell a second chance when everyone knows his name.


8 Ways for Journalists to be in Business

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Recently on the site Poynter Online, Steve Myers wrote a post dealing with ways that a Journalist can be more like a businessperson. He said that being a entrepreneurial journalist is more than a check and a good idea.

1.) Unfortunately, cash does make a difference. Assuming invoices are paid on time, your income statement will show how much cash a business will have.

2.)Watch for the quickness in paychecks. Focus is mainly on the contracts but actually it should be more on the paycheck. You must make sure you are paid as fast as possible.

3.) Complementing Revenue streams. There needs to be a well balance of multiple ways that revenue is created and a variety of options.

4.) Knowledgeable in pro and cons of Revenues. Advertisement is crucial but risky. You will not receive payment till after you provide your service.

5.) Be open. Don't limit yourself to what your core is. Branch out and do a variety in the field.

6.) Increase advertising with certain networks. Google is great for your ads. They are able to pinpoint your to those who would care about it.

7.) Never stress over the site. Meet your goals and target audience. If the hyper local site is outside the area, you are not reaching your target audience.

8.) Page views are unequal. The further you get with the site the more opportunities that are given. Let ones that register and subscribe receive more access than those of visiting the site.

While this is mostly on business, i still think that it is good for a journalist to keep in mind.


Onaf's 13 Steps of Blogging

Blogging is the news reporting of the future and Ant Onaf has 13 tips that will help young journalists get their start online.

1.) Start Free
Onaf suggests that young journalists should start with a free blogging site. Going this route allows them to focus on the content of their stories and not have to worry about scripting, hosting or programming. This way, if your blog does not become successful, you are not out of any money either.

2.) Niche
Young bloggers need to decide on a product, topic or service to write about. Bloggers are trying to appeal to specific audiences and will come to your blog expecting to read about the specific topic you cover. The topic does not have to be extremely popular if it has an audience then it works.

3.) Update Daily
Consistency is important to keep brining readers back to your blog. They do not want to be stuck reading old things and the more frequently and consistently you post the more audience you get to follow what you are writing.

4.) Traffic
Young writers are going to need traffic to attract attention to their blogs. The distinct ways to spread word of you blog is through advertising, search engine marketing, viral marketing, RSS feeds and word of mouth. Even if they run over it by accident they may be interested by what they see.

5.) Track You Blog
Do not panic if none of your readers are commenting on your page. The majority of blog readers do not comment on articles you write and there are several ways to find out your traffic numbers differently. Onaf suggests a free page counter like StatCounter.com.

6.)Listen to Your Audience
You should check and see if readers are finding your blog through search engine searches. If this is the case then find out what word they use to find the blog and write your blog around that word or topic.

7.) Multiple Blogs
Once you really get into the grove of things you should use multiple accounts to blog. Having blogs on many different sites is a great way to increase reader turnout and a great way to create more traffic to the blogs you are writing.

8.) Short and Concise
Onaf feels that except for a weekly blog summing up your findings for the week your blogs need to be as short as possible. Readers have short attention spans and if they are reading novels every time they come to your page they will lose interest.

9.)Digital Aft
Include pictures and other forms of art on your blog entries. Graphics perk up your blog and can bring color and life to the stories you are pursuing and reporting.

10.) Keep It Personal
Include personal experiences that have to do with your blog topic. It is fine to write in the first person and use a more personal voice in a blog.

11.) Interact With Your Visitors
You now have a great following of loyal readers that go out of their way to see what you have to say. You owe it to them to put out the best product you can. Knowing that they will visit frequently Onaf suggests using daily tips and other devices to keep them intersted.

12.) Make Money
Once you have established your self in the big time you need to start trying to profit from the stories you are putting out. This means buying a page for yourself and checking its domain availability. Use advertising as a source of income and well as a way to create more traffic.

13.) You're a Professional
The last twelve sets have all led up to this point. Now you have a following, you have a specific niche, you are making money and life is good.


10 Rules for Brands to Folllow on Twitter

Mashable journalist, Jolie O'Dell, recently conducted research on how people think brands should utilize Twitter. O'Dell compiled a list of 10 items in which consumers expect companies to follow.

1. "Don't Be a Showoff" -- Tell users about special deals and make sure the features and benefits are known. To determine whether a tweet is acceptable, ask yourself if you would care to read about it if you didn't work there.
2. "Don't Use Poor Grammar or Spelling" -- It seems obvious, but far too many people misspell words. If this happens and you catch the mistake, I would suggest going back and fixing it. You may also want to delete the incorrect tweet. Don't use abbreviations for words, or at least keep them to a minimum. Avoid using shorthand terms, such as "LOL" and "Thnx," and emoticons, such as the smiley face.

3. "Don't Get Too Personal" -- Don't use your company's Twitter account to tell people about your favorite things or what's going on in your personal life. If you are representing a business or brand, remember to keep it professional.

4. "Don't Auto-Tweet" -- The purpose of Twitter for companies is to be "personally engaging" not entirely promotional. While it may be OK to set up a tweet or two to roll out while you are away, avoid setting up an entire feed. Also, don't automatically direct message new followers as it is considered spam by consumers.

5. "Don't Leave Air in the Conversation" -- If you are having a conversation with someone via @replies, don't wait too long to respond. People expect responses in a timely manner.

6. "Don't Overtweet" -- If you're not using Twitter to engage with consumers, but you're constantly tweeting, people will feel as if you are "shouting" at them.

7. "Do Shout Out to Users Who Mention You" -- If a person tweets something that is favorable toward a product or your company in general, tell them thanks. If it is a negative tweet, be cautious about replying, but never ignore them.

8. "Do Monitor Keywords and Competitors" -- Knowing what people are saying about a competitor helps keep you informed and can also allow you to gain a potential costumer.

9. "Do Make an Informative Profile" -- Use your company or brand logo as your avatar and make the purpose of the account known in the "bio" section.

10. "Do Fish Where the Fish Are" -- Determine if your brand or company needs to be on Twitter. If your general target market is an older demographic, use forms of media that they engage with. However, it may be beneficial to know what is going on on Twitter. If you are trying to tap into a younger market, you may want to consider setting up an account.


Newspaper Circulation Still Declining

Monday, April 26, 2010

Newspaper circulation is still falling according to Monday's figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations as reported in The Huffington Post.

Overall circulation is down 8.7 percent, for the period October 1,2009 through March 31, 2010 compared to that same period last year. Circulation for Sunday papers is down 6.5 percent.

Free news on the Web is still considered a factor. Publishers have increased subscription costs to adjust for lost advertising revenue and of course others have stopped or reduced delivery in certain areas.

The Top 25 newspapers in the country showed major losses.

  • The Washington Post is down 13.1 percent; 8.2 percent down on Sundays.

  • USA Today lost 13.6 percent - partially contributed to the slump in travel because it is popular in hotels and airports. It is now at the number two spot.

  • The Wall Street Journal had a gain of .5 percent and now has the highest circulation at 2.09 million as it surpassed USA Today as the top newspaper. Although this is somewhat misleading because looser auditing standards allows it to count its digital online replica in the subscription count. In essence providing a double count. The Journal's paid online circulation rose by 31,000 offsetting the printed editions decline of 20,000.

  • The New York Times has the third highest circulation at 951,063, which is a 8.5 percent decline.

  • The San Francisco Chronicle is down 23 percent.

The Wall Street has launched a metro edition in New York City to compete even more agressively with The Times, its biggest competitor in the region.

The president of the Newspaper Association of America, John Sturm, says that you can't judge the industry by these declining numbers, because more and more people are turning to the Web for their news and 100 million adults still say they read a newspaper daily and 168 million read news in print or online daily.

These facts and figures help to paint a clearer picture of the state of the newspaper industry and how it is affecting journalism. I don't know that I would refer to it as a death spiral for the newspapers because people are still reading the news; where they are getting it has changed.

There are just so many options available. It is apparent that the business model has to change as we have heard from various sources throughout the BNR course. Perhaps charging for access does make sense in some instances. I also agree with the idea of public funding to protect the integrity of journalism and insure that students who want to go into journalism for the love of writing and reporting get the opportunity to do so without living in poverty due to thier chosen career.


Integrating Facebook's New Tools

Recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has introduced several new tools on its site. These features include using the "Like" function on various sites such as IMDb (a movie database site) and news sites. Another feature is the Recommendations Plugin, which tells you what others on Facebook recommend. The purpose of this tool is to make it easier to share your interests with others.

Sites such as CNN.com have incorporated this function onto its website, which could possibly benefit news sites. If more and more people are recommending news stories to their friends via Facebook, it could generate more traffic to the site. Also, if people notice that a story has been recommended by several people, they may be more inclined to read it. However, companies obviously should not depend on this to stimulate interest in what they are reporting. People aren't going to recommend everything they read nor will everything they recommend be read by others.


Being Held Captive

Most people will never know what it is like to be held captive in a hostile country. Unfortunately, journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, have an intimate understanding of this. For four months Ling and Lee were held captive in North Korea. The journalist were there on assignment, working on a story about human trafficking. They crossed over into North Korea, without visas, briefly. After help from former President Bill Clinton, North Korea pardoned both journalist. For the first time they will speak on camera about their experiences being held captive. On Wednesday, May 19 at 10/9c, Current TV, will feature the Vanguard special, “Captive in North Korea.” This special will have interviews with both Ling and Lee.

Ling and her sister Lisa Ling, also wrote the book, “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home,” that comes out May 18.


Make YouTube Work for You

We've been hearing it a lot lately. Facebook and Twitter are two social networking sites that can help your business thrive.

But one very important Website is getting lost in hustle and bustle of new sites: YouTube.

Whether you're an individual starting your own private company, or a large corporation, you can make YouTube work for you. After all, it's called YouTube for a reason.

According to Mashable's Amy-Mae Elliott, there are 10 major ways to use YouTube to its fullest extent.

The first tip is all about your YouTube channel. Elliott suggests customizing it with company information, logo and colors. A second tip is to subscribe to similar companies' channels and appropriate content. Make YouTube 'friends' that have similar interests to what your channel will provide.

Next, go the extra mile and provide subtitles. When getting your company name out there, you don't want to exclude any particular person or group. However, tip number four suggests taking action to remove offensive material. If a user is continually posting irrelevant and inappropriate comments on your videos, remove and/or block them from commenting.

If you remove other users' irrelevant and annoying comments, don't post your own as well. Tip number five is a warning against too many annotations. Annotating your video is sometimes helpful, but having too many comments overlapping the video can be overwhelming for the audience.

If you really feel the need to tell your audience more about your videos, use tags. Tags are helpful because if someone is searching for a certain keyword that you tagged your video as, your videos show up in the search results.

Tagging is a great way to promote your videos, but don't forget about your other options. Use Facebook and Twitter to notify followers and friends of your latest video or content.

Tip number 8 encourages organization. Make sure your channel is organized and professional. You don't want visitors to leave because they can't find their way around your content.

Elliott also promotes using YouTube's analytical tools to stay on top of your followers. These tools can help you figure out who is watching your videos, how do they get there and how often do they revisit your channel.

Last but not least, don't let your hard work go to waste. Everybody hits a dry spell. Don't let it affect you and your channel. Keep it up to date, even if you don't have anything new to post. There is always going to be something you can update. So comment users back, post some pictures and accept those friend requests; just don't leave your channel dormant.


Investigative Reporting on Twitter

Investigative reporting is changing because of the internet, but it is not going away.

Infact an article in the Taipei Times argues that the internet is becoming one of the best sources for information beneficial to investigative reporters. Many reporters feel that the best way to get information is to announce that there is an investigation going on. What better way to do this than to post it on twitter

"I wasn't convinced about Twitter at first, but it quickly turned out to be quite useful for investigating," the Guardian's Paul Lewis says. "Twitter is not just a Web site and not micro-blogging, it is entirely different medium - like e-mail, fax or even newspapers. The way in which information travels on Twitter - the shape of it - is different to anything that we've previously known."

These journalists feel that a great way for them to get the information they need is to tell the Twitter world that they are investigating a subject and let the information role in. They are also using it to bounce ideas off each other and receive ideas from their followers.

They also understand that Twitter cannot just be the end all solution for them getting stories. The fact that anybody can create an account on Twitter and can say anything bothers them so they have developed "Help Me Investigate," which is a crowdsourcing project that allows them to establish a known and trusted audience.

This does not mean that they are edging away from Twitter, though. When it is all said and done with all of the reporters spoken to feel Twitter is a great way to help with investigative reporting.


SEO is More Important Than AP Style

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Robert Niles of The Online Journalism Review makes a compelling point. As journalism shifts more to online content, so should the style in which it is written. So say good-bye AP style and hello SEO.

Some may wonder, what is SEO? SEO stands for search engine optimization. This allows readers to find you based on the information they are searching for, instead of you going to readers through ads.

Instead of you ad just popping up at random, it will pop up because you have posted something with several keyword matches the potential reader has been searching for.

SEO techniques help to provide clear cut writing that stays to the point and on topic. It also helps to frequently reference words and phrases that match the articles topic.

This would be great if, like AP style, there was a book to tell writers how to do this effectively. One day though, SEO might just be the new AP style and taught to journalism students through out the country.


Avoiding Collapse Through Blogging

Friday, April 23, 2010

The media as we know it may soon be coming to an end. In a recent article for MediaShift, writer Roland Legrand tells of how another media scholar and writer, Clay Shirky, believes that traditional media outlets have become too big for their own good, destining them for collapse. This may seem disconcerting to journalism students such as myself, however, as Legrand continues he details several ways future journalists can save themselves in the face what I am titling, with inspiration from John Stewart, "mediapocalypse."

In examining the newspaper industry, it becomes evident that the structure and functioning of a large newspaper remains extremely complex. First, as Legrand points out it must employ, reporters, editors, news managers, graphics editors, printing, and sales and circulation departments. Also, with new online technologies, papers must employ people involved in digital news, who produce stories and video often 24 hours a day.

With all this complexity and need for employees, Shirky points out that traditional media entities will soon not be able to produce profit and will collapse in on themselves. Yet, in his article Legrand provides a well argued case for how blogging can help. First, blogs provide an interactive community and running them is far less complex. In following three simple rules, Legrand believes individuals and newspapers can find success with blogs.

First, newspapers must keep their blogging staff at a minimum and utilize simple software. Using simpler software will make the blog more manageable and limit the need for a more complex technical staff.

Second, blogs must be run similarly to small businesses. Although Legrand does not expound on this idea, in my opinion, this rule involves a local and creative approach to the news.

Lastly, bloggers must be granted freedom of control over their blogs. While it may be tempting for large news organizations to enforce too much control over bloggers, ultimately this will limit the creativity and life of the blog.

I agree that Legrand's approach to blogging is good sound advice for students such as myself. The last concept he discusses is the blog's ability to create a personal brand for an individual blogger, an idea that will come in handy for journalists after "mediapocalypse." As we've discussed in class, there remains a good chance that future journalists may someday be forced to take control of their own business and work independently. So, take Legrand's advice and continue to develop your brand as a blogger, your future may depend on it.


Who Really Reports The News?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In today's changing media, who really reports the news? Every morning when we wake up, we are positive the paper will be on our doorsteps full of news. When we turn on the evening news, we are sure there will be something to report. Where does it really come from?

If newspapers were to die, how would it affect our media landscape? Would that change what our communities know and seek to find out everyday? What is taking up the slack for the decreasing number of people who get their news from TV, print, and radio?

According to journalism.org and the Pew Research Center's project for excellence in Journalism, the answer is a moving target. Actually the tracking and the pursuit are nearly impossible. Newspapers are still the overwhelming choice as a traditional media vehicle inwhich audiences are getting their news. The study shows that eight out of ten news stories are repackaged or repeated from previously published information. Of the stories that were new, 95% came from traditional media.

Some of the findings include:

1. Of the 53 different news outlets, 12 did not produce any new or local content.

2. Of the six major new threads studied, only 17% actually contained new news content.

3. General interest newspapers only produced half of that.

4. Almost half of the newspaper stories studied were online rather than print.

5. 63% of new stories were initiated by the government officials.

Of the media vehicles, TV news was the most locally focused, and 80% of straight news accounts were written by local staffers.

What does all of this mean? When we look to our papers, TV news anchors and radio personalities, we assume they are reporting the news first. As time passes, it seems like every bit of "news" we absorb, isn't really "new" after all.


The New Mobile News

Huge name companies including NBC, Fox and Gannett Co. Inc. are combining to form a new national mobile content service.

They are using the current broadcast spectrum but this agreement allows the companies involved to provide mobile content to those who may not have originally able to access all these companies content. The services that are available to mobile phone users now are live and on-demand video, local and national news from print and electronic sources and sports and entertainment programming.

The spectrum these companies are using is Fox, NBC and Telemundo and ION. The other nine companies providing content will be Belo Corp., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Gannet Co. Inc., Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Corp., Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media.

By joining together these companies will allow them to offer mobile video and and print news content to over 150 million people. The deal helps fulfill the Federal Communication Commission's initiative to reduce congestion on the nation's wireless broadband networks while offering the same amount of content to customers.


iPad Developing Ideas

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The iPad is earning the label of "idea creator."

Much fuss has been created since the release of Apple's newest creation but most of that has been technical news. Chuck Frey is arguing in his blog that the iPad is going to be the best way to create and develop ideas, as well as share those ideas.

Frey points the portability and battery life of the iPad as a major pro for the spread and share of ideas. The iPad can be taken anywhere and especially if you purchase the 3G version it can be used to find information for that story you have been trying to write.

The bigger screen and new technology in the iPad allows you to browse mediums of news not only quicker but more efficiently to find the information that is important. It is a tool meant to tap all forms of media and because of this owners of the iPad have a world of information at their fingertips.

The iPad is also helping the ideas it creates be implemented. The iPad allows you to download full books and allows authors to publish books and blogs that may not have been published otherwise. Frey feels the iPad will never take the place of a computer or a laptop, but its versatility and ability to tap information that those two also can makes it a prime source for developing and implementing your ideas.


Generation Touchscreen

Once dubbed "Generation Z" or "digital natives," the new hipper term for those under the age of 15 is "Generation I." Analysts at Gartner have predicted that over 50% of the computers purchased for this age group will have touchscreens by 2015. That means the idea of typing on a keyboard will be gone.

Gone will be bedtime stories from a book chosen off a bookshelf or even drawing on paper with crayons. Board games and shuffling a deck of cards - will this generation even learn to do this? Tangible objects with a feeling of permanence will be replaced by an application on a computer.

The computer that used to be a tool, a means to an end, is now everything. It is 160,000 applications with more added daily. It replaces books, TV's, DVD players, coloring books, a canvas, a globe, and so much more. Also predicted is that over half of U.S. schools will specify touch and/or pen input within the next 5 year - and this seems to be accurate prediction.

As we adjust to smaller and smaller hand-held devices, smaller keyboards and keys, and now touchscreens - the logical next step will be voice activation.


Paid Tweets in Twitter Searches

Twitter recently announced that is is testing the concept of advertising through "Promoted Tweets." This comes after pressure to turn its wide usage into profits since growing rapidly from 2006.

The Promoted Tweets will appear as ads on top of search results, so users would see the new ads when they search broadly for topics being tweeted about.

Twitter invited a test group of advertisers, including Virgin America, Best Buy Co, Sony Pictures, and Starbucks Corp. The ads are not expected to bring in much money during this initial phase, but it should eventually turn into a paid model.

About 69 million people worldwide used Twitter in March, up from roughly 4 million at the end of 2008. Investors have valued the site at $1billion. Twitter is making an undisclosed amount of money by providing Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. with access to messages for their search engines.

The catch? If a Promoted Tweet isn't replied to or forwarded by other users, it will disappear. With advertising bombarding our emails and virtually every website visited, I don't know how logical it would be to expect viewers to forward ads. It will be interesting to see if the concept is successful.


Who Do We Hold to What Standard

People are very passionate in their opinions about whether or not The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is "news." Most explain this opinion is because the show doesn't present equal sides of the issues as journalism should. The problem I have, is that the media itself has labeled show as "news", which is something that Stewart never claimed the show to be. Per the show's website, it is intended to be a nightly half-hour series "unburdened by objectivity, journalistic integrity or even accuracy". With that in mind, should the public hold Jon Stewart, who has no degree in journalism, political science, or communications, to the same standard as we hold other commentators who hold those titles and assume that responsibility?

Bernard Goldberg believes so. On April 15th, Stewart aired a clip of Goldberg and several other commentators from Fox News complaining about the media generalizing the Tea Party based on the actions of a few individuals. Stewart agreed that the media had done so, but then pointed out that Fox News in particular was guilty of the same generalizations against liberals. He proved his point by airing several clips of Goldberg along with Bill O'Reilly and others making generalized statements that portrayed liberals in a negative light. Goldberg responded to this by appearing on O'Reilly's Fox News program and agreeing that Stewart had a point, but he went on to say that Stewart himself had failed as a news reporter and social commentator because he did not treat liberal guests as roughly as conservative ones.

But if clearly you want to be a social commentator, more than just a comedian and if you want to be a good one, you better find some guts because even though you criticize liberals as well as conservatives, congratulations on that, when you had Frank Rich on your show, who generalizes all the time about conservatives and Republicans being bigots, you didn’t ask him a single tough question. You gave him a lap dance. You practically had your tongue down his throat.."

Stewart addressed the critisism on his show April 20th. He pulled together the entire clip of Goldberg and his comments, pausing inbetween to offer challenge points and elaborate a few of his own points.

There was one in particular where Goldberg claims that Stewart isn't as edgy as he thinks he is. "You're just a safe Jay Leno, with smaller audience, but you get to say the F-bomb, which gives your incredibly unsophisticated audience the illusion that you're courageous and you're renegade, but it's only an illusion."

Stewart responded with mock horror, exclaiming "Wait, Wait... I'm not a courageous renegade? But I've always considered myself the Lorenzo Lamas of late night." Stewart continued, explaining that he never labeled his show as edgy, or claimed to be renegade. He accused Goldberg of trying to hold his show to the standard proclaimed by the Fox News tagline "always fair and balanced."
"You can’t criticize me for not being ‘fair and balanced.’ That’s your slogan. Which by the way, you never follow..."

Stewart ended the segment with a gospel style skit in which explained that, even in his personal beliefs, he is not perpetually on one side or the other. He closed by calling Fox News the "lupus of news" and offered the same insult he had given to them in the clip on April 15th. "Fox News, as long as fair and balanced is how you sell yourselves, Go F*** yourself," to which the audicence clapped and cheered and the choir behind Stewart broke out into a gospel style chorus of the insult.

The whole clip was amusing to me on many levels from both sides, but what struck me was how Stewart is constantly being portrayed as a journalist, which he is not. Fox News has been critisized by not only Stewart, but other sources (News Hounds and FAIR for example) for being biased in its commentary. Fox News responds not by changing the way it portrays news, but by hurling back superfulous accusations against the accusers, and calling them what appears to be their favorite insult: liberals.

For consumers of media, what does this approach provide to us? From either side, whether you choose to watch Stewart and his openly comedic biased social commentary, Fox News with its right-wing tilt to everything, or another source, if the journalism being provided by our largest news corporations isn't accurately giving us the facts, how can we make informed decisions on all the issues that affect us?

For me, when I watch Stewart, I am fully aware that I'm getting his opinion with the jokes. I completely understand that he might be a little biased, and he can be, because he's never claimed to be a journalist and I don't hold him to those standards. But Goldberg and others are journalists, and there is no warning on Fox News that states "the opinions expressed on this channel may not portray all accurate portions of the story." Which, in my opinion, means Fox News is selling me a false product.


Berman to Stay

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chris Berman, the face of ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Football," is staying with ESPN.

Along with his involvement in ESPN's NFL coverage Berman is the host of ESPN's U.S. Open golf coverage. Berman is the six-time national sportscaster of the year award winner and has been with ESPN since October of 1979, soon after the network was launched. Berman has become the face of the NFL branch of ESPN and is the anchor for all their NFL coverage.

The decision was not a quick and easy one for Berman. He was pursued by two major broadcasting companies, DirecTV and NFL Network. Berman has decided to stick with the network where he got his start, however saying, "Home is where the heart is."

The next time you can catch Berman on ESPN will be Thursday night where he is set to host ESPN's live coverage of the NFL draft at 4:30 p.m. (ET). Berman has hosted the NFL draft since 1987.


Tumblr wants your money

The three year old company Tumblr wants your money.

What is Tumblr? It's a service that allows people to quickly and easily set up lightweight blogs. They currently have 4.5 million users.

What makes them stand out is they do not charge their users for their service. They also do not sell advertising on pages they generate.

In the past Tumblr has received millions of dollars from Spark Capital and Union Square Ventures. Together they recently poured another $5 million making them the sole investors in Tumblr.

Now Tumblr wants to sell "digital stickers" to users at a dollar each. Users will buy these "stickers" to spruce up their pages, like bells and whistles.

Peter Kafka says this "strategy is a little more seat-of-the pants, but the bet is that it may be easier to coax money out of people a couple dollars at a time."

Although I had never heard of Tumblr before, I think that it is a great starting place for new journalist to get a start blogging, and get the feel of blogging. Because there is no cost associated with their service, new journalist don't have a huge financial investment, but allows them to start a portfolio of work.


Entire Rolling Stone Archive Online

All 43 years of interviews, reviews, and other articles from Rolling Stone magazine will soon be available online for a price.

According to AFP, Rolling Stone plans on making most of their content free, but in order to see all of the content a user would pay $3.95 per month or $2.50 per month with a yearly subscription. The magazine will also be redesigning its Website, adding more audio and video.

Mashable writer Brenna Ehrlich argues that Rolling Stone is setting up its paywall in a smart way. Rolling Stone not only released more content, they also added a lot of new content.

She points out that putting up 43 years worth of content online is "no small feat." When media consumers are considering whether or not to drop $30 a year into a subscription, they will have to take this work into consideration also.

Ehrlich makes a good point, but will consumers agree with her?


Poynter Points to FCC to Stop Media Crisis

Remarks at today's FCC workshop should be of interest to fellow BNR students.

In remarks made in her testimony at today's FCC workshop, Karen Dunlap, President of Poynter Institute said that cross-ownership of media wasn't the immediate crisis. Whearas she urged the FCC to keep watch to insure that relaxing cross-ownership rules wouldn't affect independent, local and community provided news, she urged them to consider a wider issue.

She is concerned about the media transformation, anyone can have a megaphone now. She quotes Michael Smith, executive director of Northwestern University's Media Management Center. Who said to a group at the Newspaper Association of America meeting that "an eight-year old –- let's say an affluent eight-year-old -- has more publishing power in her bedroom today than publishers in 1999."

The FCC is concerned about owners of mass media and the power they hold; but mass media now shares the stage with the masses. And the FCC should also be concerned about that; because "Almost anyone can post almost anything to friends, a community or the world. Drawing an audience, of course, is another matter, as is the matter of producing news and information that is of value to society. The megaphone simply speaks to the means of commanding attention, of gaining influence."

She also discussed declining audiences of all traditional news media, people are selective in where they are getting thier news. She mentions the decline and loss of jobs in the newspaper industry, newsrooms, news magazines and the loss of ad revenue. "The decline was greater for journalists of color." according to Dunlap.

Dunlap told the FCC, "The problems that I have outlined are a threat to an informed democracy. We are seeing the deterioration of informed civic discourse as we drown in information, opinions, debates, half-truths and lies."

She encourges the FCC to consider their role in insuring an informed population.

She urged the FCC to:
1. Assist local communities to make sure daily, local, national and international news gets to them - using public funding, government, foundations and citizen contributions.
2. Promote diversity in the field of journalism.
3. Take a stand against hate speech and raise the "level of exchanges to stop the civic discourse."

This article addressed similar issues we discussed from the speeches of McChesney and Nichols and emphasizes the amount of concern there must be out there, particularly by academics. I hope the FCC can take some action that doesn't trample on First Amendment rights and yet makes sure we can sustain journalistic integrity within the newsrooms. And I hope they can save jobs and make sure that local communities continue to have news service.


Bad News For Bill O'Reilly

The Comedy Central kings are still sitting pretty on their thrones.

The political and media news shows that satirize and mock conservative political pundit programs such as Fox News's The O'Reilly Factor are here to stay. The Colbert Report and The Daily Show both just got their contracts extended on the comedy channel.

Stephen Colbert has hosted his own show, The Colbert Report, since October 2005. His show has been extended through "indecision 2012" and through the end of that year.

Jon Stewart, executive producer, writer, and host of The Daily Show, has gotten his contract extended through June 2013. He began hosting the show in 1999.

Between the two, they have been nominated for 47 Emmys and three Peabody awards.

All in all, Colbert and Stewart aren't going away any time soon.


Banned iPad

The Apple iPad has been banned from two major American Universities because of wireless connection issues.

Princeton University has officially blocked 20 percent of the iPad from being used on the Princeton wireless network. Princeton claims that the iPad cause DHCP client malfunctions which means the iPad is making it hard for other devices to connect to the school's wireless network.

George Washington University is having technical difficulities of their own with the iPad, though their issues don't involve DHCP malfunctions. Their wireless networks do not support the iPad just like they did not support the iPhone when it was released. This problem makes it impossible for iPad owners to connect to GWU's wireless network.

Not all places are having trouble with the iPad. Cornell University specifically tested for DHCP malfunctions before the iPad was released and because of this Cornell has had no problems with the iPad on their wireless networks. Seton Hall is another institution that was prepared and has had little trouble with the iPad.

Apple plans to release iPads that will connect to 3G networks in April which could help solve the WiFi connections problems the current iPads are having.


Apple Still Old Fashion

Apple has recently denied an application called "Newstoons." This application was apparently in violation and so it was not published. The application was created by Mark Fiore, a Pultizer-prize winning cartoonist. His application was to let people view the cartoons.

While Apple seems to believe that the gated community they have now created works well, it shows interesting views of whether you'll only be able to have stories that are overall popular with audiences. If Apple is pick and chosing what they want to publish, what exactly are they looking for? Just the topics that might get them more money. It seems that this might be Apple's main concern.

Currently this application has now been published.


Google Buzz Gets Scolded By Privacy Officals

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is being criticized by data protection officials from 10 countries for his company's handling of the launch of Google Buzz and asked the company to commit to building greater privacy protections into services.

Jennifer Staddart, privacy commissioner of Canada sent the scolding letter signed by her counterparts in France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The letter stated that the officials were concerned that the privacy rights of the world's citizens are being forgotten when Google releases new technological applications. They were disturbed by the recent roll out of the Google Buzz social networking application which is a complete disregard for fundamental privacy norms and laws

The letter also noted that Google has a history of privacy problems with its services, particularly Google Maps Street View.

Google Buzz, which launched in February, was an attempt to hasten the process of creating a social network by designating Gmail users contacts as followers. Googles attempt to catch up with the phenomenal growth of Facebook, backfired by exposing relationships that users expected would remain private.

Google apologized and made some changes to the service. Earlier this month, the company attempted to start over again by asking users to reconfirm their Buzz settings.


"Liking" Their Way to the Top

As we all know by know, Facebook is currently the most popular social network site available. In the past, sites like Myspace, Friendster and Bebo once reigned.

The problem with other networking sites is that they didn't last all that long. Users grew tired of them and moved on to bigger and better things. That 'thing' right now is Facebook.

But how long will the fad last? Will Facebook soon die out much like Myspace did?

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is well aware of the trend. That is why he is making efforts now to help sustain the life of Facebook.

He is doing this by trying to build a sturdy platform; basing other businesses off of Facebook and integrating the 'like' button into other sites.

The plan is to create a web-wide 'like' button and to create a Facebook toolbar compatible with any browser.

While these new options will be good for Zuckerberg, Facebook and the Web, they might not have so many positive effects on Internet users.

To those who refuse to hop on board with Facebook, and those who let the site take over their lives already, Facebook is ready for total domination of the Web.

Before Facebook is seen absolutely everywhere online, get out from its grasps while you can. When Facebook controls everything else, don't let it control you.


Media Reporting Finalists Announced

Monday, April 19, 2010

According to an article on Poynter Online, Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications has selected finalists in seven categories in the fourth annual Mirror Awards. The competition received nearly 200 entries.

"Those of us who served as judges were impressed by the depth and variety of entries," says Joel Kaplan, associate dean in the Newhouse School, a member of the Mirror Awards Advisory Committee and a first tier judge. “While traditional journalism outlets like Vanity Fair and The New York Times continue to hold a mirror to their media colleagues, they have been joined by such content providers as 5280 magazine in Denver, Politco.com, Philadelphia Magazine and Financial Times.”

Finalists in the following categories are chosen by a group of journalists and journalism educators:
  • Best Single Article—Traditional Media
  • Best Single Article—Digital Media
  • Best Profile—Traditional Media
  • Best Profile—Digital Media
  • Best Commentary—Traditional Media
  • Best Commentary—Digital Media
  • Best In-depth Piece—Traditional Media

The winners will celebrate at a luncheon and ceremony on Thursday, June 10, from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at The Plaza Hotel, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York City, with Katie Couric serving as emcee and Lorraine E. Branham, dean of the Newshouse School, serving as event host.


Cashing In On Your News

What do you do once you have joined the masses, put down your pen and paper (literally) and have made the decision to go digital? You still have a job to do and bills to pay!

You can earn money online! Due to the rise of online journalism and news, many are actually starting to make money. By publishing independently online, journalists are making extra cash or even a full-time wage.

Here are some tips to getting the money rolling. (This is not intended for established power-seeking news organizations)

1. Advertising networks

Advertising is the largest way new websites are money. The sale and display ads for your site can be handled by ad networks. You just have to decide where you want it to go.

2. Selling your own ads

If you are a little more greedy, and do not want to share revenue, you should consider selling your space directly to advertisers.

3. Sponsorships/Grants

Of all of these options, this one requires the least technical skill. In addition to be a reporter and journalist, you will need to sell yourself. Essentially, you will need to convince organizations and other individuals to give your money.

4. Commissions and/or affiliate links

To make a few extra bucks on your website, affiliate programs would work the best. By providing links to sites and products, your return is usually in the form of more commission.

5. Paid content

If your content and site is unique and valuable enough that readers are willing to pay for it, you will need to come up with ways to collect it. This is the most time consuming and usually generates less revenue than selling advertising on free pages.


'Ignore User' Option Available

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Colorado Spring Gazette now gives readers the option to block comments from specific users that annoy them. According to Jeff Thomas, Gazette editor, readers have mixed feelings about the new tool.

"People have said, 'I get where this could be a blessed relief,' but it also creates the ability for folks to hide their eyes from information they don't want to see," Thomas said. "And some people have lamented that."

Thomas explains how the option works: "If you have readers A, B and C looking at gazette.com story comments, and user A decides to ignore user B, then when user B posts a remark, user A will not see it--but user C will because user C has not chosen to ignore B."

Just as all new software has its downsides, this new option does too. Going back to the previous example, if user A has blocked B but not C, user A can still see comments that C may have left in response to a post by user B. However, user A will not know what B said. Thomas said that some people will have to be willing to miss out on that information if they want to use this function.

At first glance, this seems like a good option because you will no longer have to read comments from people who annoy you. However, I think it is important to know all sides of the story before forming any opinions of your own. Choosing to not be exposed to a person's comments that don't match your beliefs doesn't allow a reader to stay informed on an issue.


From Web Site to Website

The Associated Press Stylebook has made a change to accommodate the changes in technology norms. No longer will Web site be the official style. Now, website will be the new recognized version. The AP Stylebook announced this changed on Twitter.

"We...invited readers and users of the AP Stylebook to offer us some suggestions for a new social media guide that we're including in the 2010 Stylebook, and we got a very good response and a large number of people who favored 'website' as one word," said Sally Jacobsen, one of three Stylebook editors and deputy managing editor for projects at the AP.

Many people are happy about the change to website. Though others prefer Web site. This change will be reflected in the 2010 Stylebook available this spring. The AP Stylebook will be adding a new section of the book focusing on new media and social media. They are asking for suggestions.


AP Stylebook Changes

There's a fun article at Poynter Online which is very timely for us "BNR" students. It talks about recent changes made to the AP Stylebook at the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) conference last Friday afternoon.

When the AP Stylebook announced via Twitter that it was changing the style for "Web site" to "website," some users let out shouts of praise: "Finally!" "Yes!" "Yeeha!"

The reactions aren't surprising given how many people have asked AP to change the style from two words to one word, arguing "Web site" is an antiquated way of writing it.

The 2010 AP Stylebook comes out next month.


'Web site' Will Officailly Become 'Website'

Friday, April 16, 2010

AP Stylebook announced that in its 2010 edition "Web site" will now be one word "website". This announcement has met approval and rejection. For many up-and-coming journalist, the change is welcomed due to the much more common use of "website" in the English language.

Many editors believe that the change will cause great confusion and disrupt work in the newsroom. This may be true considering that "Web site" is might not be the only thing being changed in the 2010 Stylebook.

According to Poynter Online, AP Stylebook asked its users via Twitter to recommend any words they felt needed to be changed. A lot of users voted for words with capital letters and hyphens to go lowercase and 86 the hyphens.

It's just a sign of the times.


Discovering New Online Ad Types

Like it or not, journalism obtains a large amount of its funding through advertising dollars. Therefore, with the field constantly changing, it remains important for advertising to keep up with new journalistic mediums. Unfortunately, advertisers have, much like in the newspaper industry, simply utilized online advertising as a new way to offer the same old thing. However, in a recent article for the Online Journalism Review entitled "Moving Beyond Traditional Display Advertising: Its All About ME," Dave Chase describes three new methods being embraced by hyperlocal Web sites that follow the simple ME principle.

First, what is the ME principle? According to Chase, the inability measure their effectiveness renders the current banner type ads useless. Thus, the first letter of the ME principle stands for measurable. Secondly, these ads must be Easy for businesses to offer (the second part of the principle).

In his article, Chase describes three types of innovative online advertising currently working on independent hyperlocal Web sites. Internet coupons top the list, with several new features built in, such as the ability to share with friends or send to a mobile phone. Next, group buy offers, in which a business, such as a restaurant, would offer a discount if a certain amount of people buy in. Lastly, is the idea of a "deal of the day" in which visitors to a Web site can then visit a local business to receive the exclusively online deal. It should be pointed out that Simpson's own Holy Grounds Coffee shop utilizes this technique with daily Twitter specials. Since all three of these advertisements would exclusively exist online, businesses would have no trouble in judging their effectiveness.

I found this article to be very interesting and important for communications students, as many of us may someday find ourselves working for a small hyperlocal Web site or a local newspaper where these advertising tactics could be applied. Having an understanding of the techniques of the business not necessarily taught in class can only give us an edge on the competition. In addition, in this developing field there is limitless opportunity for creative ideas. These new advertising techniques provide excellent examples of how simple ideas can change a professional field.


Your Tweets: Archived Forever

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today, the Library of Congress announced that it will acquire all public tweets made on the popular social networking site Twitter since March 2006.

The Library of Congress has collected and preserved information from the Internet since the presidential election of 2000, but because of the vastness of the Internet's content, the Library of Congress only collects a limited sampling.

Through this archival process, the Library of Congress will have records of several newsworthy and historically significant events. However, the majority of the tweets archived will simply involve the day-to-day activities of Twitter's 105 million users.


News is the New Social Experience

Today, Americans can get their news from multiple news vehicles. The Internet and mobile technology have changed the way people consume the news, and have turned the absorption of news into a social experience.

People's relationship with news is constantly changing because of the Internet. Six in ten Americans get news from a combination of online and offline sources everyday.

Research shows that while online, most people used between two and five online news sources and 65% do not have a single favorite website for news. Only 21% say they use only one site for their news and information.

News is becoming personalized, participatory, and portable. According to this article:

  • Personalized: 28% of Internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and topics that particularly interest them
  • Participatory: 37% of Internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
  • Portable: 33% of cell phone users now access news on their cell phones.
What does all of this mean? This multi-media platform environment is becoming a shared social experience. People are posting news stories to their Facebook feeds, swapping links in emails, and highlighting news stories in their Tweets.

The Internet has surpassed newspapers and radio in popularity as a news platform on a typical day. It ranks just behind TV.


Ethics in social media?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

As Facebook, blogging, and Twitter have changed the way that news is delivered, many journalist are pushing to ensure that the same ethical principles are applied across the board for all journalist.

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) recently joined the efforts. "The guideline talk about truth and fairness, and how it's reflected in social media; how we Tweet or text, and how we use it in newsgathering. It looks at how we can better our transparency with our audience, so that they can see how we cover the news," Stacey Woelfel, chairman of the RTDNA said in regards to social medial guidelines.

These new guidelines will be good, as many orgainizations don't have ethical guidelines for dealing with the digital world.

Andy Schotz, chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Committee, also said that the SPJ would be looking into their Code of Ethics this year to see if changes are needed in light of increased social media usage.

There isn't a need to reinvent the wheel here, journalist have a Code of Ethics. If journalist want to use social media outlets, they should stand by that same code.

Whatever codes are decided on there needs to be consistancy between digital and traditional journalist.


The Future of iPads and E-books

We've all heard about iPads possibly replacing textbooks, magazines and newspapers, but columnist Matthew Ingram of Gigaom sees a future for children's books.

A company called Atomic Antelope recently created an iPhone application based on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. The application gives interactive features to the book's original text and illustrations.

Ingram wonders if this will become standard practice for e-books. Each book will have its own application and readers can choose whether to purchase it; just like books today, except virtual and more interactive.

The current price for the Alice in Wonderland app. is $8.99, similar to what the book's price would be in a normal bookstore. Many of the newly released books for the Kindle, an e-book competitor are $9.99; again, typical pricing for traditional books.

In light of the digitization of media, many newspapers, magazines and book publishers worry about making a profit. The development of apps. could help them maintain their income without losing content.

We should watch for book publishers hiring computer programmers and app. developers. The public likes interactive media, and if companies can make money from it, they will embrace it wholeheartedly.


Online-Only Publications Win a Pulitzer

That's right. Editorial cartoonist Mark Fiore for SFGate.com and investigative journalist Sheri Fink at ProPublica were both awarded Pulitzer Prizes for their work.

Mashable has called it "history making" because it is the first time any online-only publication has won a Pulitzer, the highest award a writer can receive.

ProPublica, which prides itself in investigative journalism, is an independent organization that teams up with traditional media sources to get its news out there. The organization itself operates solely online.

Mashable describes ProPublica as a non-profit that thinks of itself as a resource to other news companies who may not have the time or resources to do serious investigative reporting.

Fink's winning piece told about “the urgent life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the flood waters of Hurricane Katrina,” according to a Pulitzer announcement. The entire series is located on ProPublica's site.

Fiore won his Pulitzer for his editorial comics. Here's an example:

You can find more his work on the SFGate archive or on his site.

This is a big step for online-only media. The only question I have is how many more companies will have to team up in order to get the news out there?


No Tweet Zone

Employers have not been quick to change their policies when it comes to using Twitter or Facebook on the job. In a recent survey conducted by Robert Half Technology, 1400 CIO's of company's with 100 or more employees were asked about their policies for access to social media websites by employees.

According to CNET, of those surveyed, 55% reported no change, with 23% enacting stricter policies for personal use and 15% implementing stricter policies for business use. The challenge is for employers to find the delicate balance as social media can be a valuable business tool, but obviously it can also be a distraction that could affect productivity in the office. There are also concerns that employees might inadvertantly post sensitive proprietary information.

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to social-networking policies," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement. "To be effective, guidelines should include input from stakeholders throughout the organization, including IT, legal, human resources, marketing, public relations and front-line employees."

Steven Bennett of Jones Day offers some best practices for corporate policies on social networking in a January 5, 2010 article on the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel website.

Some employers recognize the value of social media as a research and communication tool. It is viewed as a way to reach audiences with marketing messages and capitalize on free advertisement. Some employers use Facebook and MySpace as screening tools in their hiring practices. There are varying opinions on if you should completely block the sites. Some want to limit the use, but that is difficult to police. Employees may find other, less-secure ways to access the sites and that can cause other breaches of confidentiality or could hurt the reputation of the company.

Whatever the policy is for a company, it needs to be defined and incorporated into the employee handbook. It should be clear and not ambiguous in it's scope. My employer has people who have been specifically chosen to blog about the company. There is also a company Twitter account, but access to Twitter is blocked. On the other hand, we do have access to Linked In, which is seen more as a professional networking site. Company's have embraced social networking, but at an arms length.


Where Did You Read That?

The Pulitzer Prize was given out this week, and a rather unlikely source was in competition for the prestigious prize, albeit, for only a brief moment. The National Enquirer, long renowned for it's coverage of scandalous affairs and over-the-top breaking news articles, entered into the competition the article that covered John Edwards alleged affair with a political campaign worker in 2007. The article was second story the paper had run regarding the scandal, but the story was largely ignored by many outlets. Though many of the facts reported by the Enquirer were easily identifiable, if one were to search hard enough, the story was considered just another one of the magazines supermarket headlines published in an attempt to earn another $3.49 from consumers.

But in 2008, Edwards confessed to the affair, and subsequently confirmed the existence of a child with his mistress. When the story broke, news outlets from CNN to Fox News, and of course, the Enquirer, were covering the details. Why the headlines from the Enquirer didn't read "Hey! We Said It First!" I'm not sure; but the editor thought enough of the story's value to submit the article to Pulitzer for the competition. Several other news sources also gave the Enquirer some credit for getting it right, but others wrote the tabloid off, calling the submission a pipe dream for a checkout tabloid.

We've been discussing credible sources in BNR, and we've all heard the speech at Simpson College: Do Not Use Wikipedia As A Source. Though they didn't name the sources the information regarding Edwards was obtained from, The Enquirer did all their homework. They investigated and reported the facts, and the information in their article was easily confirmed if we would have given it a second glance. They deserved recognition for this important story, one which had important political repercussions, regardless of the source it came from. It seems that we have forgot the humble beginnings of Journalism, which started off with sensationalist stories that ran in the penny press. The public loves a scandal, and the early news papers gave it to them. This tradition, however small, has continued with stories published in the Enquirer and other such tabloids.

Barry Levine, the executive editor of the Enquirer, stated recently to Gawker.com that if the story had first been published in the NY Times or the Post that there would have been no question about a legitimate nomination for a Pulitzer. This may be true, but with that observation, I believe he points out a very important fact: the Enquirer has shot itself in the foot (or, excuse me, footnote) for some of the stories they've published, and much like the boy who cries wolf, it's hard to take another one of their headlines seriously. Here are a few examples of their current headlines on their Web site and running in the magazine's current issue

"Bam Nukes Palin!" <--"Bam" being a reference for President Obama. "Sex Crazed Taylor Swift"
Seagal Sex Slave Charges

Another thing that discredits the Enquirer from being a source people turn to for credible news is the fact that right on their website, they have the "Got News?" button, soliciting anyone with any wild tale to come forward for "big bucks".
It's for reasons like this that the majority of mainstream media has acknowledged that the Enquirer took a big step toward good journalism with it's coverage, but it's still got a long way to go.

Scientific philosopher, Robert Anton Wilson, was once quoted as saying "Of course I'm crazy, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong.” Indeed, many of the stories that grace the pages of the National Enquirer sound crazy, but every once in a while, the reality of the story makes the craziness appear sane.


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