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Session 2: Best of Both Worlds (Part 1) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.
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Much is made of the “blogging vs. journalism” argument. We believe there can and must be room for both in this world, and that the world will be better for having both. In this session we explore the potential for synergies between professional journalists and citizen-bloggers. How do journalists and bloggers interact in the world outside the US and Europe? How can bloggers become journalists and journalists become bloggers? How do the two learn to work together and respect each other? How can we combine the value of professional journalism with the power of citizens’ online conversation to help all members of the human race understand each other better?

Led by Rebecca MacKinnon, with input from Jeff Ooi (Malaysia), Ndesanjo Macha (Tanzania), Dina Mehta (India), Georgia Popplewell (Trinidad & Tobago), David Sasaki (Americas Editor), Onnik Krikorian (Armenia), Ben Parmann (Eurasia Blog), Lisa Goldman (Israel), and Dean Wright (Reuters)

The session begins (besides a few lunch announcements) with a videoconference with Dean Wright from Reuters (via flickr)
He gives a brief introduction of himself: (paraphrasing from the transcript) “I started with Reuters bringing global material to a consumer audience. This is an area where many networks in the US have dropped the ball on recently. There is a good fit with Global Voices, which has a similar interest to Reuters in bringing international news to a US audience. Recently with the penetration of broadband paper media and old broadcast outlets aren’t the only game in town and that kind of media isn’t going to work for most of the world. As trust in the media has declined recently, it makes sense for us to want to reverse that trust. Bloggers have seen themselves as holding big media to account and I think that is true, I think it has happened. I don’t think that the Jason Boyer scandel would have happened nearly so quickly if it hadn’t been for bloggers holding MSN’s feet to the fire. So we at Reuter’s are very interested in working with the people of Global Voices.”

Mike is handed back to Rebecca MacKinnon: “Thank you for letting us use your facilities. Before I open this up, (Dean feel free to jump in) I’m often asked, are you guys trying to displace, to become an alternative news agency? Doing journalism, citizen journalism, what are you? Are you doing news in a different way, or something different? I tend to refer to what we are doing as citizen-media, rather than citizen journalism necessarily. I think that there are some peoplem who are watching the news and there are lots of people uses to reading most of their news from the computer. I’d like to hear your persceptives on this. Different people have different perspectives on how you feel, what you do with blogging, how is this the same or different from what pros are doing? Have you interacted with professional media? How might professional media? How might Global Voices help facilitate a more productive interaction? The reason I went into journalism was to inform the public, for people to be free and self-governing, people need to have control over their lives, and to know who to vote for. This is why many people go into journalism and why many of us are blogging. Most of us want to have a more intellectual global discourse and inform our fellow citizens. Professional and bloggers have a lot of the same ideas. I think that its a good opportunity here to have a good conversation about how we further that aim from different sides. With the professionals being paid to so the objective thing to go track down facts, and us helping people get into the stories of various countries and get persceptives from the ground level. I want to start with Dina Metha, a very well known indian blogger, and a global blogger, who has been instrumental in tsunanmi blogging efforts, and earthquake blogging. The tsunami blogging was an example of the synergy that happens between citizen media and interaction between the professional media. I would love you to talk about what you think worked and what didn’t and what our community might do to help make things work better in the future.”


Dina Mehta talking about how blogging helped during disaster relief efforts (via flickr)

Dina:I don’t know who knows bout the tsunami blog. Many of us in bombay we’d never met, but were feeling helpless sitting at home and couldn’t just pack up and go down to the affected regions… so we just said let’s do a blog. We didn’t know what we wanted to do. Within hours, we had hundreds of people writing and translating. We wanted anyone to put in a post from the affected reasons, in real time, real voices; by the end of day 1 we had 200 people volunteering and doing stuff. We used blogger, very basic platform, which was good; there were people who had never blogged. They were able to do it, there were really no entry barriers b/c of that. We of course then translated things to a wiki; with a post everything gets lost in the archives; and building news and info around – bridging people ho had help to offer with those who needed help. that’s the basic use of the wiki. This is one of the experiences that changed my life; I believe these are tools that bring in so much empathy, and I really mean empathy; it’s not some tv telling you about some region you know nothing about; we had people sending ups sms messages from the ground; we out them up immediately; pictures we put up. Also interesting: as with groups and people working together there will be tensions; people who say “let’s make it an ngo, make something bigger out of it”. Some of us resisted that thought; we said, we’ve got a model that works; we used it when katrina struck again; and started innovating around it with katrina we started setting up skype lines…I was setting up something in bombay, neha was setting up something… we covered the whole spectrum of 24 hours (london, berlin?) People believed there was a voice they could talk to; we were pointing them to paces on line; we weren’t the [original sources] but we were trusted and could point them…if you want to call it activism, sort of like a movement – it could happen in next to no time at all, using technologies s like blogs, wikis votelephiny, even im. It’s like a ?society, at the margin; there was no ceo, no cioo, people said “do you want to donate bandwidth? where are you going to donate the bw to?” and there were people keeping telling us that no, we should have an organization, we should.. but the beauty and magic was of the way it was and worldchanging and boingboing – that’s when the traditonal media came in; when we had bbc and nyt coming in; we had interviews with indian media much later; which was sad. They had no clue of what was going on; just a website which was collecting stuff that was a turning point of sorts in the indian media. neha correct me if I’m wrong; but almost every week there are a couple articles about blogs now, more than just online journal articles.”

Rebecca MacKinnon: Thanks. If we could pass the mike to Georgia, put you on the spot here


“We play cricket in a different style, so should we blog in a different style” – Georgia Popplewell (via flickr)
Georgia – The caribbean is an unusual place to cover. There are 15 different regions to cover… always diff issues. My roundups are a bit fragmented; it’s also a region where the press is some much… the press is not so much free as not lazy…there isn’t massive censorship; just people not saying things in journalism with relationships with people in power, as throughout the world. So it’s sill a very young blogosphere; a long time until it becomes mature. Trinidad, for instance… free wifi… there’s a burgeoning growth in radio and television. There are certain key bloggers, a lot of whom are in Trinidad, now doing pretty serious citizen -journalism. Well, a few; and people who write easily about things. The other day I appeared on tv; there hadn’t been a whole lot of coverage about blogging in the local press; one of the magazines I write for has done things b/c those people are more interested; but the other day : called form a long-standing journo to appear on tv, to coincide w/the week we qualified for the world cup 🙂 I sensed I was there out of obligation for variety; but I had to remind him that he had quoted a blogger about football. Certainly if more people could write seriously the journalistic communities would certainly [cover it?] I’ve noticed since I started rounding up the Caribbean for Global Voices, that people start to change things; since they know that I’ll ink to them if they cover certain things that alone has shifted things. I’m one of a few Caribbean podcasters.. I find the whole idea of use (of blogs?) in other areas…b/c of the ideas I’m trying to get attraction for, audio in education…still has limited appeal… a government school. You wouldn’t use a blog to communicate with the parents. it’s at least not a case of “we’re not going to do it!” just that it doesn’t seem to apply now…I think the journalists, once they realize the blogosphere is a source, they will leap on it; they are overworked. If they can get help with research etc they certainly would. The people I link to in the caribbeab all share globalvoices from the time I link; they often either mention or remention; there’s a kind of evangelism brewing certainly among bloggers. the fact that people know they’re being heard makes people step up and realize they should be more thorough, etc. My 3d or 4th post was about the blogosphere, which brought in a number of feelings among people; they though it was saying that all blogs should be political, which is not the case but in a way it was good b/c it caused people to react.

Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

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Session 2: Best of Both Worlds (Part 2) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.
5 comments

Lisa Goldman – It’s almost impossible to have a sane/rational conversation about the mideast these days. People have agendas, problems listening to each other. I blog about listening to the other side. Recently there was a huge controversy b/c I talked about a dilemma faced by a Palestinian cameraman; he told a group of Israeli and Palestinian journalists who meet in Amman to discuss cooperation That elicited an amazing, stunning, unexpected amount of controversy, and hatred as well. There – the Israeli blogophere is an interesting animal. Most bloggers whose native language is Hebrew don’t blog about politics; but about intimate personal issues. They don’t want to explain about [anything but] their lives; the books they read, the flowers they’re planting. The English bloggers attract a lot of controversy; for many reasons; from anarchists in favor of a one-state solution to are-right-wingers living on the west bank who believe that territory was given to them by God. I think the fact the blogosphere is so diverse and reflects a wide range of opinions is good; and in roundups I say, they’re all so convincing, how can you figure out who’s right?? If you have an agenda and strong opinion, you’ll just find something to confirm your opinion. I’m trying to get around that; it’s very hard. Right now I’m taking it on the chin from everybody; I’ve been called a useful idiot, a propaganda tool; jew-hating and anti-palestinian…Sometimes it keeps me up at night. Other times I say, come on, it’s just a blog. I do believe in bridge-building. But I think it will be a long long time before [people are really listening to one another] I want to close by saying that 4-5 months ago, a journo for Ma’ariv wrote a column, saying I don’t know why everyone says the Israeli blogosphere is so boring…The fact of the matter is there are fascinating blogs out there; but not written in Hebrew, written in english. I linked to a bunch of them, and led to a bunch of traffic. Israel is very wired; hardly a home without a wireless connection. Everyone’s really into tit; but they see it as a high-tech tool more than a political tool. I welcome you to my roundups where I will try very hard to make sense.

Rebecca MacKinnon: Thank you… later this afternoon we’ll be talking about language. I’m grabbing people, but at any time if people have something they want to add or elaborate on, jump right in.


Traditional journalists – we are not here to replace you, but to provide sources – Jeff Ooi (via flickr)

(grabbing jeff ooi)

Jeff, you and other Malaysian bloggers have really been doing your part to bring issues forward that the media is not talking about. But to what extent are you a journalist, and to what extent do you think you are something different.

Jeff Ooi – Thanks! I’m Jeff Ooi, from Malaysia; got its independence 48 years ago. We’ve retained a lot of [good] things about being a colony of the uk; the government system has remained intact. But there were a lot of things where we tried to get equal with the rest of the world; and that’s where we have faulted. for instance, most if not all are owned by political parties, incumbents in the government. We have never changed government since we gained independence 48 yrs ago, and that is peculiar. A lot of journalists gain [position?] by [paying homage to political leaders] that’s where bloggers can help, with missed information, etc. When blogs came out, 2-3 years ago they were despised. But there has been a lot of changes since then. The biggest onslaught on bloggers who tend to blog on alternative views of major political events, are basically — the onslaught took place in the oldest English newspaper. We noticed that 1 yr ago, bloggers were termed as ‘unrestrained do-gooders’ and after a year, that stance coming from this oldest paper has changed and they said “bloggers are now the byword for freedom of expression”–Bloggers have taken on the views that 1) they are taken seriously as senior editors… and there were certain news items which editors would not run because they’d make an enemy of a politician; so they would pass it on to bloggers. When that kind of info was passed on to bloggers, we thought it might be a booby trap, and we had to verify the facts and unknowingly, we put into practice “two independent sources”…so that’s something interesting that /has/ happened. 2) we try to engage the senior editors by challenging them. You can call us names, but why not challenge us by starting your own blog or started by the smallest newspaper group; it didn’t last more than 3 months. I think plurality should be kept at all levels. Now, there’s a lot of trouble here : 1) they have to obey their political [masters], 2) they don’t want to sink to the level of ‘unrestrained do-gooders’ 3) there was an interview of 3 editors-in-chief or senior editors; each was asked about bloggers, and if bloggers are really replacing the role of journalist. Because at times bloggers broke news SARS case [blackout in the msm]

…Tsunami 3 mo later, aftershock in nicoba? islands… happened at midnight simply no more online updates on newspaper websites. We don’t know if we are replacing journalists, but that’s not our primary goal. We wanted to forward/project a context for all info printed in papers; mostly people say the truth only lies in online media, not print media in Malaysia… taking stock of blogosphere in Malaysia (where you have democracy, and freedom of speech [if not after speech] enshrined in the constitution. This is related to many things — migrating Malaysia from a production-based con to an information-based economy and why so many stories don’t get run; That’s where we are pumping hard still.|Still ongoing, but the latest olive branches come from online orgs. next week, by the time I get back ,the former prime minister of Malaysia will host a world blogo-peace forum for 3 days! Bloggers will be given press passes for the first time ever…

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 2: Best of Both Worlds (Part 3) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.
1 comment so far

Continued Transcript:

Dean Wright – Can I jump in for a second? Speaking as a rep of the main stream media, I think it’s not an either or situation… the tsunami showed, and as emergencies have shown, we in the main stream media need bloggers who are in place around the world… certainly in the us, when the tsunami hit, there was almost no footprint of any us media orgs in affected areas. In many areas that was the only way we would find out what was going on. So it really is… there is a symbiotic relationship here. Another point that Jeff made that was really good : we can find context… report context It’s difficult as a main stream journalist to report all sides of a story when you’re just parachuting in. What we at Reuters can do.. how we can benefit from the blogosphere is being able to report many sides of an issue. This contributes to the conversation that the world has with each other. It’s one of the things we at Reuters take seriously, bringing that conversation to the world to the fore. We have a mission, at Reuters, to be independent, free of bias, to report news straight down the middle, and we do. But we also have are ways to show the many voices on all sides of an issue.

Rebecca MacKinnon- Thanks Dean. Now to Neha

Neha Viswanathan – I don’t think you can say b and j are related to each ohter in a specific manner…it’s very contextual, especially in India; main stream media is scared of reporting what really goes on in India, to scare away for investors. When journalists don’t do their job, bloggers do it. But at the same time, in Nepal, the blogs support main stream media. For instance, the issue of (? Fm), stopped by the government, or when bbc was stopped by the government, bloggers stepped up and said no, we need this media. It was bloggers who filed a case in the supreme court, and aggregated opinions from around the world about freedom of expression in main stream media. Another thing : challenging media. In media we have huge instances of plagiarism; where newspapers borrow from blogs without giving credit. It’s a huge issue. Finally, do bloggers want to be journalists in the first place? Do they want to be seen as members of the press? Do they want id cards? Recently we had a huge fiasco, the ibm fiasco – where an institute has paraded itself as something its not; a blogger had to quite his job because he felt it jeopardized his interest in the company. He explained he has an opinion, and has a right to his opinion whether or not he’s a journalist…these are some of the issues seen in south asia.

Rebecca MacKinnon- Thanks. I want to throw out a number of questions…One of the things we try to accomplish is, to also hash through difficult questions… we’re bringing attention to bloggers some of who might consider themselves journalists some of whom don’t, some use real names, native language, some not. How do we vouch for their credibility we’re using a distributed net – trusting our regional editors have a pretty god idea of who these people are, why they’re linking to them in context; That it’s not a cia agent posing as an iraqi blogger or something like that. There is that kind of question – how do we make sure people trust what we’re doing? As we try to call attention… perhaps making sure we’re not calling attention to false voices/disinformation. Also, what is the responsibility of bloggers? Jeff talked about how we’re really stepping up attention. Does this change how people are blogging, or linking? Do you have to make sure you’re not linking to someone with neo-nazi affiliations, would that affect your own credibility and that of global voices? To what extent does the responsibility for what one person you linked to [did] reflect upon you and then the larger community we’re increasingly a part of –I’m very interested in hearing these issues and people’s perspectives on that. It’s one thing when you’re writing about the people you know; another when you’re writing about hundreds of people, and trying [to be comprehensive, etc]

John West – What really interests me is fusion and on how you build trust or reliability; there are many other ways – webs of trust, peer review + centralized review, on sites like slashdot or on wikipedia… all of those sites make user contributor/history available, complete versioning if you like once those systems are introduced (it may be that blogging communities don’t want to do that, if it offends their ethos — we are focusing on voice, and that voice should be unfettered but if you’re focusing on the info side of media; as well as voice; these mechanisms exist and can be adapted. They would be coming more from the professional media side, seeking to embrace blogging. but that would make a huge difference in the way newsrooms with limited time review 13 diff sources coming in from Sri Lanka. That’s the first point. This second : we’re largely thinking about media as it reflects international and national. I work with internews; working mostly to develop new traditional media; mostly helping people get things up and running : tv, radio stations; improve the ones that exist. Less than half the people in the world have significant access to media; finding a remote village with sat-tv doesn’t really [capture] it. Finding media in your own language, even in the right gauge (many languages have high and low level] with correct degree of sensitivity to local issues; less than half have significant access to radio/tv. Our work is geared to extending the reach of diverse/independent media, largely traditional. I think there’s a tremendous opportunity; the blogosphere will arrive at the same time; if you’re talking about going into the sahara in w. Africa, or rural India, or many other places; about the bottom of the pyramid; the 1.2B people who live on less than $1 a day The blogosphere will arrive at the same time as traditional media. So we now have an opportunity to build completely fused media. Sorry – I’ll stop in a second… but a lot of this discussion is about how the blogosphere interacts with currently existing traditional media. If (nobody really knows) we think more than half the world’s pop can’t be classed as having significant access to media, let’s try and fuse it; make sure.. and I’m issuing an open invite to everyone in this room. We have projects of various different kinds on 50 countries in the world, come talk to me about how we can do [these things] in your areas.

Rebecca MacKinnon – This is absolutely true. We’re at a point where we can shape the future. One of the reasons I’m here instead of at my old job is I believe we [can do this], decide what to do to shape the future, who we can be working with at all these different levels, so people can communicate about what matters to them.

Mary (Page or Joyce?) – I’m glad you talked about credibility. I want to talk about the strengths of subjectivity, to me, journalism is about telling someone else’s story; blogging can be telling your own story. For me this is so important; since I’m doing a democratization blog; this is people saying this is what democracy means to me; it will be biased b/c it’s their opinion, but there’s a place for subjectivity and “what this means to me”. There’s a place for bloggers that /cant/ be taken by traditional journalism; which is interesting.

Rebecca MacKinnon – it’s almost like a convenient division of labor; wire journalists say I’m supposed to be out here being objective and straight; and bloggers having license to be subjective

Sokari Ekine – Just one point. As long as we’re individuals, we don’t have protection from any organization; we can blog anonymously or as ourselves if as ourselves… sometimes, writing about issues in our own blogosphere –For instance I blog about lesbian and gay issues on a continent that’s really homophobic, every time you press ‘send’ you set yourself up for some very negative responses. Lisa said something about people saying why was a self-hating jew on the one side, and a [palestinian apologist] on the other side. Every time I send out posts, I have no protection other than myself. I have to deal with that; I’m not within an organization that can have some support…so do you self-censor?

Ory Okolloh- I think ndesanjo from tanz was going to speak on journalists in Africa; I don’t think…

(interjecting)Rebecca ManKinnon – His plane just got killed by weather; so despite the the obstacles he surmounted, it got cancelled.

Ory Okolloh – I just want to say that in Africa… from Kenya, it hasn’t been off to a good start. The first interaction was plagiarism didn’t publish as his own, but there was no source given…The blogging community eventually forced it to be cited; with a formal apology letter from the editor in chief. There was a whole debate about what plagiarism was. It was relentless…(the response) there have been a few websites that have appeared, but where I see the role of bloggers in Africa : we’re playing a role that the main stream media isn’t doing. I write from an individual perspective; sometimes I’m more real – about observations -then we have lazy journalists, then there’s corruption…[these are all differences] there are some online journals in Nigeria; I see bloggers as filling that huge gap and spurring journalists to be more serious. If I can over the referendum as an individual with on resources just observing Nairobi today with cnn/bbc/reuters all telling people they don’t know what’s going on [and are reading here?] There’s a huge gap there. I hope as more get online, both western and African… [why are /we/ not covering Africa as Africans?] I see global voices linking to what’s going on .But the role is more than just being another voice.

Rebecca MacKinnon – Lisa next.

Lisa Goldman – about main stream media: yes, when you’re writing a story, you want to attract readers; blood and guts gets readers. When I went to gevalia recently, I photographed people on a beach at a picnic, and a girl from a birthday party and without comment I put it up on my blog. I just said “a day in gaza” and opened it up I had comments saying “I =thought everyone in gaza was a masked gunman…” “i’d never seen a photo in the main stream media of people in gaza just living their lives. Main stream media has to find a balance [including] what people want to hear and what their editors want to hear.

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 2- Best of Both Worlds (part 4) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.
4 comments

Rebecca MacKinnon – I want to go to David, our Americas editor. David is not a very old guy; I know he struggled with the question of whether he should become a journalist and go to journalism school; or continue in this wild and wholly world of independent media. I’d love your perspective. I know you recently attended a training course on bloggers; how to use the web for research, etc. I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you think training etc is something bloggers should seek out…and global voices – does this change the way you view responsibility on your own blog? How do you think that changes what you do on a number of levels, on Global Voices posts and on your own blog?

David Sasaki – I do struggle with that’ I’d like to be a journalist; I do distinguish b/t what I think blogging is and what investigative journalist is what I hope happens is that investigative journalism goes to one side, does it very well, with competent journalists; decentralized, all over the world, done by everybody with Global Voices, I feel like I’m a host at a party, talking to different people, like me introduce you to this person… tracking conversations. But in my mind, the blogosphere isn’t a “medium” as much as it is a café, a conversational space. 2d question : I haven’t dealt that much – have been thinking about it, as my own blog [posts] have changed a lot – On my own blog it’s a space to have fun, while on Global Voices I can be more serious; but it’s a matter of responsibility. The Americas – all the regional editors cover very broad, diverse places; diverse linguistically, culturally. You need to know the cultural and political history; and that’s tough; you get put on this pot, and you have to know how to say “i don’t know” “talk to this person” but I think I’m getting better at that, and you have to recognize that I’m learning, you’re learning. Also, you have to realize that reporters are individuals too; often we say “the NYT said this; Reuters said this” we should be willing to name the person who said it. I’d love it if a reporter called me up, talked to me [personally] — we all know the feeling of someone quoting you and not mentioning you by name at all. We should have more contact with journalists…I often end up meeting a blogger, and say “I know you, I read you, I’ve seen you on flickr” and give them a hug and I don’t feel that way about journalists. I’d like to… would like all journalists to hug me, today.

Rebecca MacKinnon – he wants to be hugged 🙂 I want to know more about how you think about logging on your own blog… bout giving your own opinion; but saying we’re not going to be a platform (as Global Voices) for people’s personal views… for instance when we ask someone to do an overview about a country ;it’s “here’s the conversation happening online in our country and here’s the range of opinion” we do have different views in how neutral that can be, or how opinionated that can be. For instance, Indonesia.. When the poster has a strong opinion about what’s going on to what extent is it okay for those biases to come out in a Global Voices post? Iria? When writing about the Venezuelan blogosphere, what kind of posts will give you credibility, and help people understand Venezuela?

Iria Puyosa – So far I have been trying to be as inclusive as I can be selecting bloggers from different pov’s, opposition, pro-chaves, independent, to represent them in the most respectful way, avoiding being so extreme. I try to keep [my own opinion] under control to make other people’s points of view the subject of conversation

Rebecca MacKinnon -a number of hands up… david?

David Sasaki – you asked the 2d questions before the 1st question. What do you want Global Voices to be, and how do you want it to be looked at? What do you want your audience to feel? You and I were both in china… we both had strong personal opinions about what we were seeing… the opinions I expressed to my wife at the time were different than I’d express to Europeans…. than I’d express in a diplomatic gathering (all different by degree) different than I’d express on a panel. The larger the audience, the more they’d misunderstand or blow out of proportion the extent to which your personal bias is influencing your reporting. If you want Global Voices as an organization to support many povs, fine; have people express that in individual blogs. But if you want it to be seen as a neutral source, you should be careful to have people with strong posts on personal blogs; because the audience will not distinguish b/t what is personal-personal and what is written for Global Voices

Rebecca MacKinnon – that’s a good point; its true. A lot of loggers make a big distinction b/t what they put on their own blog, what they link to…a lot of other people don’t make that distinction. The public isn’t necessarily clear what you mean when you link to something.

Brendan Greeley – Also speaking as a journalist (and I will give you a hug after lunch)

[shenanigans]

Dean Wright – I wish I were in that room.

Brendan Greeley – One thing we need as journalists, other than more hugs, is training. One of the question’s I always have, using a blog in the newsroom: how do I know I can trust that? Interesting b/c it’s something journalists learn in journalism school; you have to face this every day when standing in front of a person, to look at a thousand non-verbal cues; and those cues exist on blogs too. You live in the blogosphere, so you know these things…you know what [the cues] are. If its a legitimate entry, they’re probably young, if it has a Global Voices badge, it’s probably a little more reliable at least; What would be a tremendous resource for journalists who are getting started…– it’s all in the journalists judgment on what they should rely and on what they shouldn’t — would be if you could put together an guide on all these things that you just know that we couldn’t be expected to. A wiki of things / clues you should look for on a blog about whether to trust someone or not [or on a wiki! –Ed] would be tremendously useful.

Tom Steinberg – There’s a very strong response for something happening in Britain recently : An anonymous blogger here, a bit like the Drudge Report, called guide faulkes, running a blog called Order Order they set up something called a ‘press plagiarims of the year’ award with a fantastic trophy I hope someone find online consisting of a gold pair of scissors, a gold bush, and an old jar of glue. As he reported himself, he got astonishing traffic for this b/c everyone in the main stream media wanted to know if they’d gotten called out. There’s probably been no greater education in the world of blogs (for main stream media in England) as realizing that at doing this could have gotten them into serious trouble.

Cecile Landman – I want to… address the trust issue. It is not the same as looking at Fox, CNN, BBC, and at the paper you read you always make a choice about trusting that. Blogging is growing and people trust less and less the main stream media…There are so many organizations in the media who try to get people to think in one direction; especially in this time when war is [to the fore]…

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)

Session 2- Best of Both Worlds- (Part 5) December 10, 2005

Posted by delal in GV05, Session 2.
8 comments

Rebecca MacKinnon – to Dan Gillmore: You’ve written a guide for bloggers. What is your take on this? observations?

Dan Gillmore – Global Voices has to make its own decision about what it would be. If there’s an aim to be more journalistic in some way, there’s going to be a need for greater transparency of who are the people writing. Where are they from, motivation…? Transparency illuminates a lot; you can’t illuminate bias or point of view, and in blogging you may not want to try, but you may have a better shot of getting through the speedbump you’re going to hit too, that someone games the system in a way that will discredit the whole thing…

Dean Wright – following up on Dan’s point about transparency…This is also a lesson the main stream media can learn – in being more transparent about their research and sources. Why do people in particular main stream media tend do be suspicious of (content especially) blogs? A: we use sources, go to thinktanks and politicians; go to people who have a title, maybe an academic. We’re comfortable with that level of authority. Now online we have people establishing authority through lots of different methods; compelling stories to tell, good writers; a lot of main stream media folks aren’t comfortable with thee alternate methods of establishing authority. I work for a global discussion program; it’s my job to be subjective. I don’t care if you’re subjective, I want your view on things. We have discussions about the death penalty, elections, free speech; it isn’t whether you are objective or not – but what I ask my colleagues to do is, “take out ‘blogger’ and put in ‘first-person eyewitness’…”and they’re a lot more comfortable with that. Tthese are just some of the discussions we have…

Rebecca MacKinnon – when you read blogs from Egypt, e.g., it ‘s just linked going down to a cafe, listening to conversations, finding out what the buzz is.

Onnik Krikorian – I’ve gone into journalism. I don’t see this as making me different from any other blogger… as someone else said, as long as the content is good, if you like the way it’s presented; you will choose whether to respect it or not. Just one other story. I suspect, and others may as well, that some media feel very threatened by blogs. I just want to tell a story re: elections an Azerbaijan . I’m based in Armenia, but looking into Azerbaijan. and someone posted a photoblog; they also said on the page “you’re free to reuse… as long as proper attribution? is given”. Ironically, I’d just started writing for these people as well. They sent me a warning… asking me to remove the photos. I sent back a note, and said, on your disclaimer page, it says…and they wrote back and said, no no, we don’t want it…I personally think they highlighted me, and didn’t want a blog to use their material…. maybe they’re worried b/c we can update more interesting info than this site can. During the Azerbaijan thing, maryam’s ost about ? info was some of the best info out there. I want to ask Jeremy a question — he also has an online publication dealing with former soviet space; he is also one of the reasons I considered blogging in the first place. I want to know as the editor in chief of an online publication, why is he considering blogs?

Jeremy Druker – I was going to [speak] anyway, I think all this talk about the mainstream… was framed improperly from the beginning. It was really a good story that this new medium could threaten conventional journalism. But it gets to the point, really what people have said — it’s a great complement to traditional media. Our mission : we’re about freedom of expression and getting local voices out. so we’re main stream media but we have a mission. We’re interested in getting local-language blogs, and promote them; and to promote freedom of speech locally. As an editor of a net publication, I see it as an incredible complement to our content. We have rather heavy analytical articles not often ‘slice-of-life’ and I see blogs as an incredible way to tell our readers something we’re not telling them in our normal content. In that, very heavy political articles about transformation, transition, where things are going; once we get these blogs [set up] — someone in … Ireland, Iceland, Asia — we’ll have an idea of what [these people] are doing. Then we [can] have a great amt of commentary and a great amt of slice-of-life. People will still want analysis, and will want it from people in those countries, not from journalists that parachute in…

Onnik Krikorian – One of the things about Azerbaijan is there are [basically] no local reporters. Bloggers are just a source; journalists have always worked with sources; you’ve always worked with local people, and attendees at some protest meeting giving their very opinionated view. I’m lucy from the bbc; getting schizophrenic here, trying to describe why that is I’ve been a main stream journalist and a reporter; I’m not sure what I will be in the future. Will I be a ms reporter again, I’m not sure; will I be a blogger in the future, certainly. We’re certainly very interested in being in contact with bloggers; and we want to know from bloggers, and from Global Voices — what do you want from main stream media? What idea would you like to see in your next phase of development as paper retreat from? on the ground for various reasons, like it or not; there are many reasons why working together will be fantastic. atm, the resources are weighted on the main stream media side; but whether this will continue who can say? [a couple more questions, then sj with a quick wiki-demo; then steinberg talking about pledgebank]

Dan Gillmore – it’s not a journalistic competition; at least it shouldn’t be. The more the merrier, the competition that worries mass journalists is financial. That has relatively little to do with bloggers; it’s the swarm of companies tracking the main media revenue base So just keep doing this… don’t worry that it’s scaring journalists from a journalist point of view. They’ll respond in a good way to this (kind of competition) re Asia blogging (newyouasia.net): What do you make of all this? just quickly, we have a local girl who started writing for our blog… there are quite a few English-speaking posters in Central Asia, and they are some of the more active people and regard blogs as proper journalism; this is what I take from the discussion: I’m not really interested in what we’re doing, if we’re in competition with normal news sources; but what do people in the Caucasus and Central Asia think; how can we make them blog more?

Rebecca MacKinnonack – that’s a great segue into the next session, since we’re talking about how to bring people more into the conversation. I’d like to thank Dean again…many more thoughts before we say goodbye?

Dean Wright – these are thee kinds of conversations we need to be having. I think the reporting Global Voices is doing a round the world, is in line with what Reuters needs to do more of in the future…

Rebecca MacKinnon – I’m hoping we can continue to discuss precisely how we move forward… on the email lists, on irc, on the blog[s]…

(Tagged: gv2005, globalvoices)