While most newspapers are trying to stake bigger claims online, one new publication is pulling material off the Internet to be printed in ink. John Wilpers, editor in chief of BostonNow, a free weekday daily introduced last month, said he wanted to fill the paper with items that local bloggers submitted to the BostonNow Web site. Last week, editors began culling posts and running excerpts next to articles from reporters and newswires. The blog items, which appear in gray boxes, are still relatively few, but Mr. Wilpers said he thought the feature would grow.
Mr. Wilpers, who previously edited two other free commuter newspapers, Metro Boston and The Washington Examiner, said he wanted to address what he believed was the news industry’s biggest problem: an inability to connect with the communities it covers.
“It doesn’t take a whole lot of smarts to look out at the Internet and see thousands writing on their communities, whether they be geographic or thematic,” Mr. Wilpers said. “They’re writing about Jamaica Plain or Dorchester or the Boston music scene or windsurfing on Massachusetts Bay.” BostonNow also hopes to help connect bloggers with fans. With a current circulation of about 85,000, BostonNow potentially offers a much larger readership than most local bloggers are used to. The greater exposure could translate into increased ad revenue for their own sites.
Read this article from the New York Times
It’s no surprise that “print” is looking for new revenue answers online, but gimmicky solutions aren’t the answer. The history of media evolution suggests those mediums that can’t adapt or integrate, die. (Least we assume the Internet is the end-all, be-all of communications media.) Although newspapers face this challenge, it’s not like publishers have to reinvent the wheel to get good content online. The bigger obstacle is getting everyone to understand you can still make money in a subscription-free environment.
Previously from What’s New Media…all things web meets newspaper.
The modified bill that passed the committee today included a provision that limits its protections to those who make “financial gain or livelihood” from their journalism. Bloggers who make ten bucks a quarter from their Google ads seem unlikely to get protection, though this will depend on how broadly the courts interpret “financial gain.”
Read this item from Ars Technica. Previously from WNM: Free Flow of Information Act positions bloggers as journalists
Disclosure is a tricky business and as a practice is still ill-defined even in the realm of traditional journalism. The general idea is that anything that might be seen as a potential conflict of interest between a writer and the subject of his story should be disclosed to the reader. If I invested in a startup I am writing about, for example, or if the CEO is my best friend, I should disclose that fact. But it’s not always so cut and dry.
Read this item from the Read/Write Web
Links and commentary from MetaFilter
But I contribute to crowdsourced journalism because I want my work to yield a high “social good” return, and by that metric, overall, the experience has been frustrating. With some of these projects I ended up with nothing to show for the time I put in — either from being unable to get or enter the data, or from not following through where I probably would have, had there been support. (Support is crucial: if not for my editor’s encouragement at a bleak moment, you wouldn’t be reading this now.) And in the projects where I did contribute, my work had no visible effect — because of no follow-up or no publicity, or because what I provided just wasn’t very significant. All in all, I likely could have spent the time more productively at home on my own weblog.
Excerpt from WIRED’s Open-Source Journalism: It’s a Lot Tougher Than You Think
Wiki writers stand in stark contrast to the traditional image of the solitary, tortured artist. In crowdsourced fiction and nonfiction writing, the social narrative can trump a literary one. Still, from the complete expressive freedom of “A Million Penguins” to the careful scripting of “These Wicked Games”, each crowd created concrete works, though vastly different in length, content, salability, and final format. “What I have learned is that it would be possible to crowdsource a novel, but I think it would have to be done in a more controlled way than we did,” said Jeremy Ettinghausen, Digital Publisher for the U.K.’s Penguin Books. “What we decided with ‘A Million Penguins’ is that it was ‘all or nothing’ and that the experiment was about: there are no rules, there are no breaks, there’s no quota of people. We had a goal in mind that it was an experiment, and we were all in it together.”
Excerpt from WIRED’s Creative Crowdwriting: The Open Book
More from the Assignment Zero website and an introductory note from Jay Rosen, Executive Editor with Assignment Zero.
Previously from WNM: When we all write, does the reader lose? and Not ‘everyone’ can write a great novel
So it might not make for interesting content (which is key to a good blog in the long run), but repeat posting on an organization or individual whose actions you oppose is one way to gain that person’s attention and potentially (if you start to get noticed by Google) owning them on Google and other popular search engines…New content, frequently posted on the same person, increasing traffic (which I’ll write about shortly), and boom, before you (and your targeted evil-doer) know it, you own them on Google.
More on “trickle blogging” from the blog, Learn the secrets of a professional online activist. Commentary at MetaFilter. Share your knowledge of trickle blogging at the Whats New Media wiki.
Ten years ago, in dining destinations like San Francisco, Chicago and New York, restaurant critics at newspapers and magazines reigned supreme as the final arbiters of who served up the richest foie gras, the most interesting wine list and the overall best dining experience. That was then. Today, foie gras is practically illegal, if not politically incorrect, sommeliers have been replaced with brew masters and computer screens have become the go-to source for what’s what on the dining scene. With nothing more than a keyboard, a camera phone and a lot of opinions, a group of bloggers — often not professional writers — are revolutionizing restaurant reviewing one post at a time and the movement has some chefs and restauranteurs angrily realizing that the only credential required to publicly flog even the most well-established hot spot is a high-speed Internet connection.
Read this item from ABC News and Food bloggers dish up plates of spicy criticism from the San Francisco Chronicle. Commentary at Metafilter. Previously from WNM: Rise of the Amateur class, II
But one of Keen’s central arguments — that the internet, by its all-inclusive nature and easy access, opens the door to amateurism-as-authority while at the same time devaluing professional currency — deserves a full airing. Basically, I think he’s right to criticize what he calls the “cut and paste” ethic that trivializes scholarship and professional ability, implying that anybody with a little pluck and the right technology can do just as well….But opportunity and desire alone do not professional historians or journalists or pundits make. There’s this process known as “learning your craft” and “paying your dues” that all professionals must endure. Sorry, but trolling the web and blogging from your darkened study doesn’t qualify as on-the-job training.
Read Tony Long (aka “the Luddite”)’s response to Andrew Keen’s book, The Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet Is Killing Our Culture. Previously from WNM: Rise of the Amateur class. Contribute your knowledge of Keen’s book at the Whats New Media Wiki.