April 13, 2005
Re: Samantha Israel’s “Blogging the Spotlight: The Rise of Online Journalism” (Spring 2005)
In another story about the no-holds-barred cage match between journalists and bloggers, Samantha Israel writes that she has been corrected only once by a reader.
Let’s go for two.
Ms. Israel writes:
“More than arrogant, some old-time reporters think bloggers are plain old lazy. Former CBS news correspondent Eric Engberg made himself clear in his ‘Blogging as typing, not journalism’ article on CBSNews.com last November. ‘Given their lack of expertise, standards and, yes, humility,’ he wrote, ‘the chances of the bloggers replacing mainstream journalism are about as good as the parasite replacing the dog it fastens on.’ The dog certainly bit back when it revealed that Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who averages more than 350,000 visitors a day to his Daily Kos political blog, was paid US$12,000 to promote Howard Dean’s campaign for the Democratic nomination.”
The mainstream press didn’t reveal that deal. Zuniga disclosed it to his readers in June 2003:
“I spent this weekend in Burlington, VT, where we officially accepted work on behalf of presidential candidate Howard Dean. Dean joins a Senate candidate in our still small but hopefully growing roster of clients.”
He also put a prominent disclaimer on the home page of his site, “I do some technical work for Howard Dean,” linking the word disclaimer to a full description of the financial relationship. You can see this yourself in the Internet Archive’s June 2003 copy of the Daily Kos home page.
I’m not aware of a single mainstream media website that displays its conflicts of interest as prominently and permanently as Zuniga did.
The only thing journalists revealed about this deal was an inability to do even cursory fact checking, misleading people into thinking that a fully disclosed financial relationship was shady Armstrong Williams-style payola.
In an article where she offers a derisive “sor-ry” to the only reader to correct her, Ms. Israel continues this trend. The fact that this slanderous falsehood lives on in the mainstream media, even turning up in a high-minded academic review of journalism, demonstrates one reason that readers might turn to bloggers for information.
April 14, 2005
Re: Lindsay Kneteman’s “Look Who’s Reading Now? Can ed Hang Onto Its Readers?” (Spring 2005)
Thanks to Lindsay Kneteman and the Review for the piece on ed magazine in the latest issue. It was well researched, interesting, and pretty flattering about ed, which I have good reason to appreciate.
It’s a shame the article went to press before the launch of Dose, but that leaves room for a follow-up piece, right?
The Edmonton Journal
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April 23, 2005
Re: Leigh Doyle’s “So Long: Is Long-form journalism dying out?” (Spring 2005)
As usual, the Review is alight with fascinating pieces about the practice of journalism, but of the current issue I have a cavil. In your survey of magazines that once provided space for long form journalism you refer to Quest magazine as a “men’s magazine.”
As the magazine’s last editor, I must demur. Yes, Quest began as a men’s magazine, but was transformed into a general interest feature magazine, and won a number of magazine and design awards for journalistic excellence.
It was about as much a men’s magazine as Harper’s.
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April 27, 2005
Re: Lisa Sarracini’s online feature, “Distrust, Disdain, Deceit”
Months ago, I was interviewed by Lisa Sarracini for a story on journalism and activism. The story she produced from this interview is thorough and well researched. Kudos for that.
However, how did I manage to get into a story about online media? Alberta Views is not an independent alternative news website. It’s a print magazine that happens to have a website, like Maclean‘s, The Walrus, Canadian Living, and most other magazines in Canada. I was disappointed to see this factual error.
I do not currently write for any online media. I find editorial freedom not in online media, as Ms. Sarracini writes, but in magazine writing, which affords the space and the time to broadly research, explore, and consider a given topic.
As a writer, I always let my sources know what story their comments will be included in. I feel that in this case, I was misinformed and misrepresented.
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May 11, 2005
Re: Lindsay Kneteman’s online feature, “Fox News… Goes Well With Tequila Shots”
As usual, Canadian journalism is spawning more of the same old, “If I don’t agree with you I will try and marginalize you by inferring that you are a bigot or a hick Bible thumper or just a plain old loony.”
Forget about intelligent debate or, goodness forbid, truth and facts. No, not for the liberal wacky Canadian media, who for years have been so threatened by people with a more traditional point of view, or that disagree with their liberal, far extreme left ideology that they pull out what has worked so well for them to keep many Canadians in the dark, a bucket of good old smear. Their intolerance to other points of view, especially conservative, traditional, or Christian, blatantly reveals their hypocrisy and attempt to control what Canadians read, hear, and think.
Well Lindsay, I have news for you, truth is more powerful than propaganda. As more Canadians hear both sides of important issues they will experience the joy that Fox News supplies, the opportunity to hear all the facts and make up their own minds.
Thank God Fox News has arrived in Canada. I am a Canadian who lives in Chicago. My father volunteered and fought in the Second World War so Canadians could keep freedom of speech and opinion, and to have the right to hear both sides of the issues, not just far left liberal ideology that you, Lindsay, along with the good old CBC, so predictably present.
Oh yeah, that funny O’Reilly guy, he’s like a good cup of Cape Breton tea, refreshing, sprinkled with conviction, and the scent of glorious days gone by. Most Canadians will not find him funny, but, like the North Star, a solid point of reference to get going in the right direction.
What a relief.
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June 15, 2005
Re: Angela Boyd’s online feature, “Elephant in the Room: Metroland Rolls Over Toronto With Bland Community Newspapers, But the Independents Fight On”
I read with some interest “Elephant in the Room,” in which Angela Boyd referred to an interview we’d done some months ago. Ms. Boyd had called me asking about how The Beach/Riverdale Mirror had covered the contentious heritage designation in the Balmy Beach neighbourhood in the Beach.
In the course of our conversation, I’d explained to her that we had covered the story lightly, deliberately not taking sides in the dispute that had arisen between two factions in the neighbourhood, so as to maintain a degree of objectivity. I’d never suggested — as Ms. Boyd’s article claims I did — that we stay away from local disputes in our community newspapers. That’s an absurd statement; it’s simply not the case.
And for the record, it’s David Nickle, not (as appears in the piece) David Nichol.