Monday, April 18, 2011

Colbert and Viacom

Watch from 3:45-6

at 5:30 Colbert reads a letter from his "parent company who won't be viacomed" which says:
At this point, Stephen has used enough of Viacom's resources in promoting the as-yet-unformed PAC... that the FEC would likely see an in-kind donation from Viacom in the event the PAC is ever actually formed. That means you can't form it."

This was a great example of some of our conversations in class about the inabilities of the mainstream media to go against their parent companies but what comedy can do in its wake.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Root

The root is a daily on line magazine that was created to focus on news pertinent to African Americans. What is interesting is they are owned by Washington Post Company through The Slate group. Their advertisements are run and controlled by the Washington Post. When you click on advertising you are redirected to the Washington Post Digital Ad center. HBO is sponsoring the cite and MSN has agreed to run some of the article. With all of this though, the reporting they are doing, while at times is a little tabloid, is narrowly focused on the demographic they are seeking to serve.

For the most part the cite functions as a commentary and collection. Like other cites we've seen (such as the drudge report) sifts through the pertinent information on the internet and pastes it in a forum in which its easily accessible. They also feature some vary interesting guest views. On its about us section of its website it has guidelines for submission which are:

The Root commentaries aim to to spark lively discussions on our site, as well as dialogue with other conversations taking place on the Web through embedded links to videos and other news and commentaries on blogs, newspapers, webzines, organization sites and video. Essays should be 500-800 words in length. Please copy and paste the essay within the body of the email, as well attach it as a Word document. (Hyperlinks can be inserted from the tool bar.) Please send submissions, along with a one paragraph author bio, and phone and email contact information, to For general comments, please send an email to

They are very much dependent with only a staff of four on outside authors, They are very open through to the idea of citizen journalism it actually more like citizen blogging.

Another interesting feature of their website is the roots tab in which you can input your information and using you are able to find your "roots". It is a really interesting addition to a news site.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Professor Jacobson Response

Professor Jacobson's talk was very interesting. He definitely covered all of the things that I was questioning in the way that his blogs function.

I thought his point about becoming "obsessed about traffic" was really interesting. I respect that he has been trying to avoid this, when a blogger is focused on the popularity of his or her blog it can tarnish the content. What I view as the innocence of blogs is that they have been uncorrupted by money or fame. The article in the NYT about youtube generating money makes some interesting points about this. It says that in the instance of Michael Buckley it has pushed him to improve his content and act more professionally. When we were talking with Professor Jacobson he was very honest with me when I asked him about political party lines and said that yes he does think about his readership subconsciously with charged issues. Right now he has managed to keep a balance between growth and content. He uses connections within the blog-o-sphere to grow. His questioning on whether to start pushing his blog for growth I feel would be a bad idea. Its not that I think he would fall to the greed of capitalism but I think the level of transparency he has created in his reporting would be compromised by the obsession of traffic.

I also keep coming back to the fact that he has chosen to approve his comments. I struggle with this because he seems to have a legitimate reason for this choice and he is still letting the dissenting voice through but, like he expressed, this represses dialogue which I think is one of the strong areas of his blog (peoples want to comment on it). To me the good is out weighing the bad. He has created a great platform for discussion, I'd really like to see him open up his comments just to see what the result would be. Beside increase in traffic I think that it would also increase the quality of statements.

Thank you for coming in Dr. Jacobson! It was really interesting.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Todays Class

I'm really interested to she how our class goes today with blogger:Prof. William Jacobson. I find his opinions to be sometimes to me completely illogical and I don't understand how any one can fell that way. Politics aside I find the journalistic integrity he employs is of a super high standard.

The way he writes, although like I said I don't agree with what he writes, is a strong editorial structure. He is definitely not reporting news in a traditional sense but his biases are very clear. At the bottom of the page he has a paragraph saying "these are just my ideas" (I would even challenge him to move this information farther to the top). He functions at a level of transparency that should be emulated by other bloggers. Along with that every post is well cited and well research, he is not just an opinion, a rant but is attempting to disseminate information with complete acknowledgement that is arriving through his lens.

I also found very interesting the section on "what people are saying about me". Some of the comments were not in favor of him. I'm not sure if that was a move of complete self awareness or a cheap trick to appear to want dialogue in this blog. I'm leaning towards a self awareness that he stimulates his opposition because he seems to have many followers that are opposed to his view point, and comment on his post that enhance the dialogue. I think this is a mark of a good blogger when people from the opposing party or politics go to your blog to find out what the other side is saying.

I wonder if he sees himself in the lineage of partisan papers like many bloggers are starting to follow?

Something that I found off putting was all the adds on his blog. Does he get to choose what is advertised? Is he allowed to veto an add that he feels is compromising his ethical standards? How much is he making off of the ads? Is he ok with it detracting from the format of the blog, since the ads definitely intrupt the flow?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My obstacles to reading the news

I went to read the Boston Globe editorial "Indy magazines across spectrum challenge postal rate hikes designed by Time/Warner" and I could if I bought the article for JUST 4.95! This is ridiculous I don't think an editorial in support of Indy media should have a jacked up price when they are criticizing Time/Warner for jacking price. I find this highly ironic and highly annoying that I can not read this article.

Try for your self:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Update on Huff Post and AOL

Arianna has certainly provided a platform for Bill Lasarow and other journalist to rally around. What I find interesting is that it wasn't only AOL that sparked some animosity between them. It seems like the Huff Post accepting and soliciting free articles from journalist is the crux of the problem. I was interesting that in an effort to fix the tension Huff Post decided to categorize "journalist" and "bloggers" separately, the first of which would be paid for their freelance work the second that would not. Lasarow responded, "This is a start, but not good enough – given that a large number of these "bloggers" are, in fact, professional journalists. " Its is interesting that the Huff Post would delineate between those two terms so starkly.

I also think the idea of a virtual picket line is really interesting. He didn't elaborate how exactly this would work but with advertising being so driven by number of clicks you get it seems like it could be an effective way to boycott online businesses.

Robert Greenwald

Part of what is so interesting to me about Robert Greenwald's idea of having the audience pay for the film before it produced is that it truly allows consumers to drive the market. The way our economy works right now is supposed to be consumer driven but often I feel like it is a chicken and the egg senario. Does Walmart produce shoes for a third of the price because of consumers or do people become consumers because Walmart can produce shows for a third of the price (this applies not only to Walmart but to all major chains). Companies are always trying to anticipate the consumer yet the consumer has become so materialistic they get things purely because they are so cheap. That being said I think this model would be really beneficial for media on a whole. Bloggers have already started doing this, they receive funding before they move forward. The question that strikes me is how can we apply this model to large scale media. It may not be possible to do for everything that is published but taking the "refritos" idea from south america, what if news corporations set up a part of their site in which all of the stories are available for you to pay to have a journalist re-investigate. Set a number like $100 and if a story raises that much then it will be reinvestigated. Obviously there is still a lot of possible corruption and interference but it would be a great way for consumers to drive economically the content they're getting, since it seems like that is the only way to get through to mainstream media.