Journalistic Integrity vs. Online Perspective

I was on a panel with two journalist recently. One led a progressive online outlet, the other worked for a traditional print publication with a growing online component.

 

We talked to a group about the obvious struggles that traditional media continue to have with the online medium.

 

Monetization issues aside, the journalist with the traditional paper brought up another issue that seems to be prevelant among traditional media.  He said that his publication gives its staff the ability to blog for the paper on its Web site but that when he does, he feels conflicted.  He’s concerned about blogging in a way that might cloud his writing for the print edition.

 

His main concern is that he wouldn’t want the opinions he expresses on his paper’s blog to somehow undermine the objectivity and balance that built his traditional journalistic background.

 

This conflict highlights an important pressure point in the ongoing struggle of traditional media and the online medium – fairness and balance are not exclusive of opinion and perspective.

The reason blogs are successful isn’t because they adhere to the conventions of journalistic integrity. Blogs are raw (although less so). Blogs incite emotion.

It’s that emotional response people have with blogs that keep readers coming back, responding in comments, and why blogs are so disruptive to traditional media who will continue to wrestle with that format.

 

Personally, I don’t expect the blogs I read to be balanced.  That’s why I go to blogs – for an opinion.  I like having something to react to and challenge my thinking.  Do I expect that opinion expressed on the blogs I read to be educated based on the collective insight gained by looking at all of the opinions – definitely.

 

Back to my traditional journalist’s conundrum. I told him I thought he would better servce his readers by blogging more and expressing his point of view on topics in a way that will lead the reader to greater meaning that they may not have been able to find otherwise.

Becuse exposure to new thinking, new people and new ideas is where the real value of the Interent resides.

 

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The Truth is … We Don’t Know

A few years ago, I was in a room with knowledgeable cell phone chip engineers and marketers. They were pouring over data that definitively said that consumers would never want their cell phones to do anything other than conduct voice calls. Fast forward to today, and you can see how wrong that thinking and “data” was.

A post today on ReadWriteWeb highlighted recent data that claims the use of mobile social networks will barely go beyond today’s major players.  From the ABI Research study …

According to a recent online survey* conducted by ABI Research, nearly half (46%) of those who use social networks have also visited a social network through a mobile phone. Of these, nearly 70% have visited MySpace and another 67% had visited Facebook. No other social networking site reached 15% adoption mobile adoption.”

While I don’t question the themes and undertones of the findings at this particular point in the mobile social era, to try to determine how receptive consumers will be to other mobile social networks and how they will use them at this stage is like trying to call who will win the World Series from the first pitch on opening day.

To see the bigger picture, you have to look at the way networks form, consider geosocial patterns around the world (which are behind the US market in many respects) and understand that social is still the great experiment.

No one knows what is going to happen. But, with the speed at which the space is moving, we’ll know more soon enough.

Blasts from the Past – Like a Tech Yearbook, Complete with Prom Pics

I found a link on Twitter to the Google archives from 2001. 

In honor of our 10th birthday, we’ve brought back our oldest available index. Take a look back at Google in January 2001.” – Google

While checking out the life and times of my 2001 self, I remembered another fun Web research tool, Web Archive, that lets you search for Web pages back to 1996. 

I was surprised to see that many of the links on the pages were still clickable.  I’m sure others with the understanding of the architecture may not be as impressed. But, the fact that I was almost able to build a 1999 Escort on the Ford site was pretty cool.

I’ve included a few interesting searches below, but take a look for yourself.  One of the more interesting finds is the search I did for Technorati.  Looking at the Technorati homepage from 2002 indicates that the site on that day was tracking 15,729 blogs.  It’s little things like that stat which offer insight to to the growth of the Internet.

Take a look, and let me know if you find anything interesting.

Technorati: Dec 09, 2002

MIT Blogdex Top 10

Gizmodo: Aug 24, 2002

Engadget: Mar 05, 2004

GigaOm: Dec 02, 2001

CNN.com: Jun 20, 2000

Scobleizer: Dec 14, 2005

Chevrolet.com: Mar 03, 2000

Ford.com:Mar 03, 2000 

Pepsi.com: Dec 19, 1996 

AOL.com: Dec 20, 1996

Netscape.com: Oct 20, 1996