Irresponsible Journalism in the Age of the Internet – by “Brad”


I generally leave the blogging to my students, but a story “breaking” today leaves me compelled to write.

I’m among one of many that’s spouted “Google before you tweet is the new think before you speak.”  In this case, a horrific story about a Judge making insensitive comments at a rape sentencing in 2008 is breaking throughout the mainstream media.  Why four years later?

Because the California Commission on Judicial Performance just released its order censuring (‘publicly admonishing’) Judge Johnson.

In particular, I’m going to single out New York Magazine’s Adam Martin as most irresponsible reporter of the day.

Adam’s article claims:

It’s only coming out now because the California Commission on Judicial Performance finally decided to admonish him publicly — he’s still on the bench, and hasn’t commented.”  (emphasis mine)

No Adam, the exact comments came out in October 2008.  Credit where credit is due, OCWeekly’s R. Scott Moxley broke the story on October 30, 2008.

Moxley wrote:

There’s no mystery about Johnson’s thoughts. During the sentencing hearing, the judge explained that he did not believe the woman, whom we’ll call Jane Doe, had been raped. According to transcripts, he stated that Doe’s vagina had not been “shredded” during the sexual assault, an indication in his mind that she’d given some sort of consent.

“If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down,” the judge opined. “The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case. That tells me that the victim in this case, although she wasn’t necessarily willing, she didn’t put up a fight.”

That statement is so outrageous it’s reminiscent of the cockamamie theories offered by defense lawyers during the sensational trial for the 2002 Haidl gang rape. Those lawyers hired doctors, flew them in from far-away places, paid them more than $750 per hour, and had them claim in court that the only way an erect penis could enter a woman’s vagina and rectum was if she consciously agreed to penetration. In essence, they argued (and a wise jury rejected) that successful penetration without massive tears means no rape.

Again, emphasis mine.

Yes, the comments are horrifying.  And yes, they have “echos” of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock.  Except there’s one small wrinkle:  Akin and Mourdock have echoes of Johnson, not the other way around.

Moxley’s story was not hard to find:  I was absolutely gobsmacked that no one would have covered the story back in 2008. So I went to Google News, typed in “judge derek johnson rape” and date restricted to 1/1/2008 to 1/1/2009.

It took me 15, maybe 20 seconds.  (To add insult to injury, the story that Adam cites, from the LAist, correctly credited Moxley.)

So Adam — please tell me, when you say “It’s only coming out now” did you really mean that  journalists are only paying attention to these kinds of stories now that national attention has been focused on to stories about the insensitivities towards rape?  Or did you mean that the story was only coming out in NY Magazine now, as an apology for missing the story four years ago?  Update: Moxley needs no such apology or disclaimer, as his coverage of the Commissions decision references his own previous story.

Stories may “pop” for a variety of reasons — and if the story was missed in 2008, be upfront about it.  It should have gotten more media attention, but it didn’t.  But don’t play the CYA game.  The comments have been out for four years.  (If anything, the “story” might be why the Commission only learned of the comments in May 2012 (see page 5)).

We live in a new online journalism culture, where everyone is copy-pasting as furiously as they can to get the story out.  I believe bloggers are journalists — and I think as journalists, bloggers have an obligation to try and get their facts right.  Is a quick Google News search too much to ask?




Final Project: Lowering the Barriers to Campaign Contributions Data – by “Anthony T”

A few months ago I was reading an article on TechCrunch about a group of Congressmen that had penned a letter to President Obama in support of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Shortly after the article was published, a reader contacted the author noting that one of the Representatives had received over $25,000 from AT&T over the course of his career. Almost immediately the comments erupted with cries of corruption, with one user going so far as to say that “Our Congress is bought and sold by lobbyists.” Of course, this outcry never would have happened had no one taken the time to go and lookup the campaign contribution information. This made me realize that in order for campaign finance information to be useful, it has to be more easily accessible. As long as users have to navigate away from their current task and lookup each officials’ record by hand, the data will go unused by most.With this in mind, for my final project I developed a Chrome extension called Access Influence, with the goal of making campaign contribution data more readily available. Whenever a user is on a website that references a senator by name, a green $ notification appears at the right hand edge of the Omnibox. Clicking this notification results in a popup window containing the names and affiliations of all senators present on the page along with links to their “Top 20 Contributors” pages on


Available now on the Chrome Web Store


With this extension installed, the barrier to entry for accessing this data is significantly lowered. Still, the angry comments on TechCrunch left me wondering: what affect will the increased access to this information have on users’ perceptions of Congress? To explore this question I created a brief survey in which participants read two articles and answered a few questions. For Article A, participants were permitted to use the extension to research donation histories of the relevant officials, while for Article B they were asked not to. Participants were split into two groups, with one reading Article A first, and the other starting with Article B. The survey was conducted with 20 total participants, 10 in each test group. A few interesting results emerged.

First, it is important to note that among those surveyed, perceptions of congressional-corporate interactions weren’t terribly high to start with. At the start of the survey, participants from both test groups were asked how, in general, they felt about the way that Congress interacts with corporations. Responses fell on a five point scale, with ‘1’ being “strongly disapprove” and ‘5’ being “strongly approve.” The average across both test groups was a mere 2.6, between “neutral” and “disapprove.” After having read both articles and using the extension to research the officials mentioned in Article A, the participants were asked the same question at the conclusion of the survey. By the end of the survey, the average had fallen to 1.7. The distribution of responses are shown in the graph below.

The other interesting result of the survey was the effect that using the extension had on participants’ future opinions. As noted earlier, the first test group read Article A (with the extension) first, followed by Article B, while the second read Article B first followed by Article A (with the extension). After reading each article, participants were asked how they felt about Congress’ interaction with corporations in the context of the article. For Article A, it did not make a difference whether the article was read first or second; the reaction was negative either way.
For Article B however, those participants that read the article after having already read Article A with the extension exhibited a significantly more negative reaction than those that read Article B first.
This seems to suggest that those who use the extension and find a monetary connection between an official and a corporation in one article, could potentially be conditioned to react more negatively to future articles, even if the extension is not used when reading the later articles.

As interesting as these results are, it is important to remember that they could change with a larger, more diverse pool of participants, or a different set of articles. One thing that does seem clear, however, is that there is some level of interest in the functionality provided by the extension; 17 of the 20 participants indicated that they would be interested in using the extension in the future.

This is just the first release of Access Influence. In the coming weeks I will be working to improve the search reliability and efficiency of the extension. I am also working to integrate the contribution data directly into the popup window, and I am experimenting with displaying the data graphically. You can download the initial release of the extension from the Chrome Web Store here. If you like what you see, please consider giving a donation to

Anthony Tordillos

Why tweet? – by “Yael Z”

Celebrity Tweeting: Twitter’s Beginnings

“It’s like Facebook status updates…and that’s it…” This is the way that my friends described Twitter to me when I was a senior in high school and Twitter was just coming out. Appealing, no? We didn’t get it. We thought Twitter would be another fleeting Internet trend. After all, why use Twitter when it does just a fraction of what Facebook does?  Our hypothesis was quickly disproven. It became clear that Twitter was on the Internet to stay. It started with celebrity tweeting. Tweeting became a way for celebrities to interact with their fans as actual human beings. Fans could receive information about celebrities’ day-to-day lives from the celebrity him/herself, rather than from the tabloids. For example, followers of Demi Moore found out on July 14th, 2010.

On October 8th, Seacrest fans found out:

It’s a completely guilt-free stalking tool! Fans hear about celebrity actions instantly and directly from the source. Celebrities are the new Facebook friend, the new cyber buddy. Twitter created a connection between fan and celebrity the way no social networking tool had done in the past.

Thus, the rise of Twitter began. Twitter quickly gained user after user. At first, just to follow their celebrity crushes, but soon to use it themselves. The following chart shows the growth rate of Twitter posts between April and May 2007, just a small sample of the exponential growth of Twitter posters.

(Java et al.)

The Mass Appeal of Twitter: Why?

My question is…why? I understood the celebrity appeal of Twitter (perhaps because of my personal guilty-pleasure love of celebrity gossip), but what is that makes people not only want to tweet their every movement, their every thought, but want to read other people’s movements and thoughts. As my grandmother would say, (and this must be read in a Minnesotan accent)  “it’s just plain creepy the way you kids stalk each other on the Interweb.” She has a point.  Why are we entertained by the location of a peripheral friend, the musings of a second or third cousin?

As it turns out, I’m not the first person to ask this question. Many anthropologists and technology researchers have found Twitter an interesting phenomenon and have conducted empirical studies to try and figure out just what it is that makes Twitter an engaging platform for social interaction. I’ve compiled this information and the following is a list of what I found to be the top 5 reasons people use Twitter:


The number one reason that people use Twitter is to find communities based on personal interests. Twitter’s innovative hash tag (#) system allows people to tweet about certain topics and other people interested in those topics to easily find those tweets and often retweet or comment on them. Thus, Twitter communities are born. The following graphic shows one section of one particular Twitter community, the gaming community.

 (Java et al)

A community such as this one not only shares their feelings on gaming and recent developments within the gaming world, but they also share with each other personal feelings and experiences of their everyday lives. Thus, Twitter extends beyond the boundaries of something like a gaming blog. Users find each other because of a shared love of gaming, but eventually begin to share other news and personal feelings and experiences with each other, creating a virtual community.

Studies also found that within these communities natural leaders emerge as the most reliable and most up-to-date communicants. For example, Scobleizer, a tech geek blogger who tweets about the latest technology news has gathered many followers within the technology Twitter communities. Because he has so many followers, he also connects many different sub-communities within the larger technology Twittersphere and then Twitter users from similar communities can find one another because of a shared Twitter leader. The following chart illustrates the connections that Scobleizer makes between Twitter technology communities.

 (Java et al.)

Twitter communities work like communities in real life – a connection through one person opens up a whole new world of people, ideas, and entertainment.


This topic is a slightly controversial as people have been wary of calling Twitter a news source. However, a recent study showed that over 81% of all tweets refer to some current event. This doesn’t mean that people necessarily get their news from Twitter, but rather that it is a great place to discuss current events with others. The most common retweets (tweeting someone else’s tweet on one’s own Twitter page) are all news sources. The following chart shows the most common topics on Twitter in 2009, based on the amount that they were retweeted:

(Zhao et al.)

All but two of these topics are offline news. This statistic shouldn’t be surprising. The obvious reason for the prevalence of news topics on Twitter is that these topics are universal. Americans can follow Iranians’ thoughts on the Iranian election. Fans of Kanye West can gather by the millions to talk about his latest scandal.

Of course, news junkees could do this before Twitter via blogging, but there is one thing that keeps Twitter apart from these other informal news sources: BREVITY. The 140-character limit keeps up with our quickly diminishing attention span. People don’t need to read an article about Osama’s death when they can find what they need in a quick 15-word statement. In addition, Twitter is updated in real time. People read about the Northeast earthquake this summer before they felt it. The raid on Osama Bin Laden’s bunker was tweeted before the news hit New York Times. Twitter is the perfect way to share news with a generation who can barely sit through Good Morning America.


This type of communication is what I’ll call “water cooler conversation.” Beyond finding communities within Twitter to be a part of, people also use Twitter to maintain a constant flow of communication within real life communities.

The best example of this type of community is the office community. As companies become more and more global, employees for those companies become further and further away from people they may be working with. This expansion of the office changes the way that people communicate with their colleagues. 20 years ago office workers gathered around the water cooler to discuss current events, last night’s episode of Miami Vice, likes, dislikes, etc. Today, employees working together on one project may be split by the Atlantic Ocean, rather than by a few cubicles.

This distance creates a problem in the work environment where team members don’t know each other as human beings. As “Donna,” a participant in a recent study on the effects of Twitter in the work place said: ““I think it makes the person more human, than just professional carbon unit.” Many offices have started to use Twitter as a way to remedy that situation. Employees in China may tweet about their favorite foods or sports teams, and a fellow employee in New York City gets to know him/her better. Thus, Twitter becomes a trans-Atlantic water cooler, allowing people from a specific real-life community to come together via the Internet to get to know one another as human beings (as ironic as that may be).


The fourth reason that people use Twitter is to stay in touch with friends and relatives. The (again) brief snippets of other people’s goings on are a very easy way for friends and acquaintances alike to know what’s going on in someone else’s life. Facebook created a online environment in which it is not only okay, but encouraged, to broadcast what you did last night or over the weekend to friends. Twitter took this one step further. Don’t tell them what you did last night, tell them what you’re doing right now. And people do just that. The following chart shows what people tweet about based on the day of the week.

(Java et al.)

Tweets about school decrease significantly from Friday to Saturday, showing that people are very unlikely to tweet about school over the weekend. While this chart doesn’t prove anything, it shows that people are more likely to tweet about what is happening presently in their lives, rather than yesterday or tomorrow. This way, people don’t have to talk every day to find out what’s going on in their friend’s lives presently. Again, another very easy, non-time consuming way to achieve something that would have taken greater investment ten to fifteen years ago.


The final reason that people use Twitter is relatively new. Twitter is already a water-cooler, a telephone, and a community center; why not make it a bulletin board as well? Two summers ago, Iranians gathered together to protest the June 12 election, and their voice was heard not via posters or even blogs, but via Twitter. News articles called Twitter “the medium of the moment,” and it makes perfect sense. Twitter is free, fast-spreading, brief, and most of all it was invented to connect people to one another. The charts above depict just how easy it was for tech nerds or gamers to get together, why would it be any different for protestors of the Iranian government? Hashtags and retweets make it so easy for anyone starting a protest movement to rally together.

It should come as no surprise that the most recent mass protest movement, the occupy movement in the United States used Twitter to gather attention and supporters. Anywhere you see comments on the movement (even not on the internet) you will see: “#occupy.” Twitter has become a symbol of the movement itself. My father made the neutral comment, “If I wanted to protest something when I was your age I would have had to go door-to-door, put up fliers on every billboard, phone bank, and that would have been just to gather people in my neighborhood. Now you put a little pound sign next to your cause and millions of people are outside the next day.” Twitter has become the easiest way to quickly and effectively spread information across class, country, and ocean. It is a global billboard urging people to tack up their problems every second of every day.


Charts obtained from:

How and Why People Twitter: The Role that Micro-blogging Plays in Informal Communication at Work by Dejin Zhao and Mary Beth Rosson

Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities by Akshay Java, Tim Finin, Xiaodan Song, and Belle Tsang

We’re still hip! How social media is changing the life cycle of the news. – by “Charles G”

The world of journalism is changing fast. Reporters over the last ten years have been thrown into a rather intimidating world pool of social media and networking developments, faced with the prospect of keeping up with the times or else risking their careers. Lightning fast internet connections combined with far reaching influence of internationally integrated social networks has made information gathering and processing more comprehensive- and trickier- than ever. Social media has indeed changed the very essence of the news, from what is reported and how, to what professional journalists do differently, and how this all affects public perceptions and preferences concerning the news.

It's funny because it's true

To fully understand the impact social media is having on the life cycle of news, we must look at what news gets reported and gains traction, how reporters act, and how public sentiment influences the general direction of content pursued by reporters. Along with these structural implications, it would also be helpful to examine how the journalism industry’s foray into the field of social media doubles back to affect the industry and its actors.


What Gets Reported and How 

First and foremost, social media immediately influences what we see and when we see it. Information easily outpaces even the most proficient journalist, and thus the industry has been forced to adapt to a system that would otherwise render professional journalists obsolete. The Arab Spring was only the latest in a line of social movements that exemplifies a simple idea: news can travel faster than anything else, even the newsgatherers. This significant increase in the speed of information exchange has made social media an invaluable- and perhaps the most valuable- form of news reporting.

The image above illustrates the point perfectly: Twitter waves can outrun seismic waves, and all of a sudden the citizens of Virginia get to learn about the earthquake they are to experience before they experience it. The reason for this is social media’s ability to harness the collective eye of an entire Internet population and direct its efforts at exposing the truth, at least to some degree. Although, as seen above, social media has long played a role in the organization of social movements, the mainstream media’s utilization of social media in this respect is new. Instead of fighting prevalent trends in citizen reporting, as seen with the use of Twitter to relayed real time information concerning the Arab Spring among followers and to the outside world.

Suddenly, an average Joe could serve as a CNN I-Reporter by sending in video of breaking news events to be broadcast on the 24-hour news network. But what did this mean for the substance of the content the media’s consumers would receive? This topic has cultivated much debate among the journalistic community, with supporters of citizen journalism indicating that a journalistic trend that allows readers more choice and transparency justifies the possible decline in journalistic quality encountered when professionals are no longer at the front of a breaking story. It is of little doubt that the people of Egypt would not have seen the sweeping changes they have recently encountered without the presence of large, engaged social media networks with users willing to convey real time information to the outside world. The fact that this information stream was partially cut off during the Arab Spring (below), presumably by some entity that felt threatened, further evidences the extreme influence social media can carry in the context of political movements.

Internet Usage- and non usage- in Egypt

The importance of Social media in the life cycle of the news is apparent from the very beginning- it not only redefines what content can possibly be available in real time, but it also allows citizen reporters to refocus our societal priorities by influencing what news is reported at all, and further influencing what gains traction in the traditional media. This cycle continues once the content reaches a professional, as reporters have had to adapt to the changing information landscape as well.

How this affects reporters

Journalists have only been able to survive with, and not in spite of, social media. The vast improvement in information relay speeds that comes with a large, socially engaged online network efficiently utilizes the disparate placement of its discrete members around the globe, thus acting as a virtual “global news net” that catches any story, no matter how good or bad. Herein lies the main argument against the so called “citizen journalist” trend (ie, a sever decline in journalistic quality). This is where professional journalists find their still existent, but possibly eroding, niche, one in which social media will surely play an increasingly important role in the near future, according to the BBC video below.


BBC Social Media Video


Obviously, this emergence of a new aspect of social media will catalyze changes within the journalism industry. First, there are the passive changes, or those that are a natural product of social media’s emergence onto the journalism scene (as opposed to an active effort by media companies to integrate social media campaigns, which I’ll talk about later). The primary changes are related to social media’s speed. If breaking news delivered so fast as to sacrifice quality of reporting is America’s drug, then social media is the enabler. To illustrate the whole “sacrifice of quality” bit, take the example of Amanda Knox, an American woman convicted of a murder allegedly committed during Knox’s study abroad period there. The Daily Mail waited anxiously to report the result of the woman’s murder appeal, and ran a headline proclaiming the announcement of Knox’s guilty verdict just minutes after the announcement. There was just one problem: Knox had been found innocent. The professional reporters got it wrong. In a rush to publish first that is then hyperized by a need to publish before the collective body of internet users can find information through social networks, professional journalists had royally mucked up a very basic reporting job.



In past journalistic generations, this phenomenon carried the popular phrase “never wrong for long,” referencing the 24 hour news cycle’s relative lack of need for accuracy, given that corrections to prior incorrect statements could be made at any time. The risk for committing errors was reduced, and thus a greater premium was placed on speed in reporting. Newsrooms have always moved fast. But social media is forcing them to move even faster, just to keep up with the flow of information over social networks. This increase in speed leaves little time for fact checking, and this often falls by the wayside completely when the relative penalty for a mistake is so small.


Or is the penalty so small? The flip side of the internet age coin with regard to journalism is that mistakes, though easily and quickly correctable, are also preserved on hard drives in web archives forever. Worse yet, the ferociously quick spread of information over social media can take on the personality of a wildfire, with sometimes devastating consequences. Consider the recent hacking of a Fox News Twitter account that led to false reports of President Obama’s assassination. The reports were eventually reported to be the product of vandalism and removed, but not before panic spread through the Twitter-verse. This type of hyper-speed response time, of which only internet-based social networks are capable, reflect simultaneously the greatest asset greatest detriment of social media from a journalistic perspective.


Next, one must examine the active changes in the activity of news organizations in response to developments in social media. Journalists, in their attempt to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of information technology, have in some cases used social media to actively bolster their own reporting activities. Social media has allowed journalism to transform into a dialogue between reporter and reader, and this relationship displays influence in both directions. When asked, reporters of all types indicated that social media had changed the way they interact with readers, thus evidencing social media’s growing importance within the journalism industry.



Since audience participation has now become a staple of online journalism, this relationship inevitable affects not only the reporting priorities of the journalist, but also the content covered. Reporters can now put a call out for information relating to a story and build breaking news coverage around a targeted audience that has proven its investment in the journalism provided by actively engaging it in an online setting. Reporters can use social media to direct their coverage and inform their stories, especially with platforms as extensive as Twitter which allows unlimited access to breaking news events through a vast, global user network.

All you can eat?

Some networks and organizations have gone so far as to place social media campaign agendas at the center of their operating strategies, with Time magazine focusing solidly on amassing Twitter based followings for its various top magazines. The synthesis between traditional media modes utilizing new media and the participatory culture of new media lies in programs like CNN’s I-Report, which allows regular viewers to send the network breaking news stories with accompanying pictures and videos. This form of social media acts not only as a type of new wave marketing for CNN, but also as a means of news aggregation for use during the 24 hour news cycle. News gathering has been relegated as a task for the viewers, because their speed as harnessed by a network cannot be matched. The BBC has outlined similar goals for its social media utilization agenda, outlined in its video below.

BBC Media Kits

Perhaps The Atlantic Magazine has embraced audience participation in the creation of media at the most fundamental level by opening its editing process to public comment. This outright endorsement of the effects of citizen journalism, at least during the editing process, signals an approval of the seminal effects this participation can have on the direction of news content. Users can now refocus the material on which news organization must concentrate their efforts, such as with citizen journalists in the Middle East.  The journalists’ underscore this fundamental shift by acknowledging and apparently embracing new media, with sites such as providing access to the story trends and ideas of reporters that allows user feedback which can help shape story angles and directions. In short, social media has had a dual effect on how reporters operate, both by reshaping the journalistic landscape and allowing reporters to tap into aspects of audience communication and participation that facilitate the growth of reader influence over journalism’s aims and targets.


Changing Answers Change the Questions

With the growth of social media as a method of amassing breaking news, discerning audience opinion and desires, and formulating story angles, the media has begun to change the types of questions it asks and the angle by which it attacks stories.  Primarily, audiences are coming from different places (ie: social media outlets), which naturally affects the marketing strategies (and thus, the types of stories) pursued and pushed by traditional media sources.

With this change in traffic flow comes a change in how media must adapt to find audiences effectively. Integration with social networks is key, though this hyper-connectivity sometimes leads to undesirable instances of information communication. One BBC blog post asks the pivotal question: “What if younger readers start to see their friends as legitimate news sources?” It seems, for many circumstances, that this change has already occurred. This change in reporter-audience dynamic has proved so important as to cause the BBC to refocus its growth agenda with an emphasis on social media.

With all of these significant changes in how news gets reported, what garners attention as newsworthy, how audiences participate with reporters and how this participation shapes the image of modern media, one must ask if the news is better or worse of for the emergence of social media. It is obvious that journalists will have to continue to adapt to this changing landscape as social media becomes more prevalent. More importantly, it appears that the market for journalism no longer necessitates primary discovery of facts- this task has been given to amateur viewers who will provide the information for free through various social networking means. The task of the reporter in the age of social media will be to guide, to provide synthesis where there is only doubt and to shed light on the truth, not just “the facts.” It will also be the task of reporters to ensure that audiences are given fair treatment of what needs to be seen, not just what audiences indicate they wish to see via interactive media platforms. The danger with customized media through reader-reporter interaction is that the news will lose its primary purpose: to inform of the truth. If audiences are given to much sway over the angles and story ideas of future reports, the reports will begin to only resemble the prevailing modes of thought within the audience. It has always been the job of the reporter to challenge the status quo and to facilitate transparency as the best disinfectant. With the emergence of social media, our society waits to see if journalists are up to the task of reinventing themselves in order to face the hurdles inherent in the use of new media systems. Audience participation is here to stay, and this dynamic will obviously influence reporters to produce content tailored toward the engaged audience. This is our dilemma: what we want to hear may not always be what we need to hear. It will be the job of internet generation reporters to help us tell the difference.

Cool Story, Bro: Is Every Citizen a Reporter? – by “Carla G”

Call me old fashioned, but I’ve always liked the pre-Internet romanticism of reading the paper, opening it up with the dramatic movements of an orchestra conductor, scanning through the world’s personal log of events, and placing it neatly under my cereal bowl for further inspection. I get it, though: no one has time for such an extended, ceremonious process anymore. We’re a generation of multi-taskers. And it is much more difficult to check your email, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever you might be actually working on, while having sections of the paper sprawled around you, than if you were just opening another tab on your Internet screen. So, it is really no surprise that, in 2008, for the first time, more people said they get their national and international news from the Internet than from newspapers (see here, for more stark statistics on the newspaper’s future). The issue is not just that one day I’ll have to permanently adjust my eyes to reading from a screen, or work on not spilling Reese’s Coco Puffs on my laptop, but that online journalism has opened a huge can of worms for the question of citizen journalism, redefining who can deliver the news, how they do it, and who checks for veracity.

The Rise of Citizen Journalists

A 2003 seminal report entitled “We Media”, defined citizen journalism as the concept of members of the public “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news and information.” To be sure, citizen journalism is a flawed term. Professional journalists are citizens too, and non-citizens are also included in the debate. I’m not interested in discussing issues of semantics though—there are bigger fish to fry.

With the rise of online journalism, barriers to entry in reporting have completely collapsed. JD Lasica classifies media for citizen journalism into the following 6 types: audience participation, independent news and information websites (ConsumerReports, The Drudge Report), full fledged participatory news sites (NowPublic, OhMyNews, DigitalJournal), collaborative and contributory media sites (Slashdot), other kinds of “thin media” (mailing lists, email newsletters), and personal broadcasting sites (KenRadio). We can disseminate knowledge with the click of a button to not just our friends but to a whole breadth of previously imaginable contacts. This sort of access gives the idea of “disseminating information” a new dimension—and puts it in the hands of new agents.

To paint a more concrete picture for you, on the one hand we have every self-proclaimed Matt Lauer or Katie Couric, pontificating, venting, broadcasting, divulging, transmitting, interfacing, editing, applauding, degrading, commenting, “liking”, tweeting and twatting from the comfort and privacy of their own (or probably their parents’) home, in others’ sites or in their own created blogs. On the other hand, there are the true over-achieving, multi-tasking David Lats and Steven Brills of the world, who initiate and conduct a public service by providing new channels of diversified information for more specified audiences, on the side of their everyday lives and careers. [And, at the very second I was going to move on to my next paragraph, I got an email from the Master of Pierson College, of course, informing us that he too has started a blog for his “hotlines.”]

What does this all mean? Journalism can no longer be defined by appealing to the medium (i.e., print, television, radio) or the basic notion of “disseminating information.” We need more concrete standards for distinguishing between the amateurs and professionals.

Haves v. Have-Nots

One way to peg down the legitimate reporters could be the “reasonable person standard”—who would we reasonably argue to be sharing news for the purposes of informing the public at large. This seems like the easy way out, so I’ll dig a little deeper. What factors constitute journalism? First, there is content. We could outline our standards based on whether the information reported is a matter of public concern and important for our understanding. This yardstick might put some entertainment sites in danger. Would Above the Law’s “Hotties Contest” qualify as public concern? Just about every article on Gawker might fail this standard [visiting the site for the first time, the first article I saw was “Kristen Stewart’s wild ‘thrusting’ almost ruined Twilight.” Interesting?] What about FAILblog of other funny blogs? Even if these subjects constitute “interest” for some people, just about everything might be interesting to someone.

Another factor we could consider is truth. Is the supposed “news” accountable and reliable? Has it been fact-checked? Again, entertainment and gossip sites might run into trouble with this standard. Moreover, it is questionable how much we can even trust printed news especially because nowadays, their sources come from the same place as the sources for blogs—Twitter and Facebook (as we saw in the Twittering the US Airways Plane Crash and the Notre Dame student articles).

Similar to truth, a third factor may be having an editor. Putting an intermediary between author and reader not only creates greater accountability, but also gives journalism the perquisite of an elevated discourse among intellectuals. It would imply that a certain degree of expertise is required in the news-reporting process and, most likely, an affiliation with a recognizable news entity.

None of these factors by themselves or even together, seem satisfactory. To me, the best way to define journalism would be by instituting an “intent” standard, similar to the one Georgetown Law student Laura Layton proposes. If your original intention was to gather news and present it in a manner that the public would acquire information then, congratulations, you’re a journalist.If your intention did not exist at the beginning of the news gathering process then it is a bit more questionable (see Von Bulow v. Von Bulow, 811 F.2d 136 2nd Cir. 1987). Sometimes you would not know that a story is in the making until after you acquire the information. In these cases, a more thorough analysis of the other factors, as well as the means and ends of the story are in order. In any case, we should err on defining too much as journalism as opposed to too little. As we saw several weeks ago, the 1st amendment is a sensitive issue that is best not messed with.

Shielded by Shield Laws?

Again, I am not interested in matters of semantics. The way we define journalism is not important because having the title is just kind of cool, but because it comes with certain privileges. We cannot imagine the White House opening the doors of its press conferences to amateurs and professionals alike. Most notably, there is legislation designed to provide a news reporter with the right to refuse to testify as to information and/or sources of information obtained during the newsgathering and dissemination process—we call that “shield laws.” This is akin to the attorney/client confidentiality privilege or the doctor/patient privilege (although, maybe not for MJ’s doctor). The point of these laws is to encourage open communication so that reporters can better do their job of informing the public.

As of now, there is no federal shield law (despite a bi-partisan bill called the Free Flow of Information Act introduced in 2007 and passed by the House in 2008). [Friends at the YDN: Court’s have already found that student journalists are covered. You’re safe.] State shield laws vary in scope and Hawaii is the only state to specifically include whether bloggers are protected by shield laws. Their conditions hold that: (1) the individual invoking the privilege regularly participates in reporting or publishing news of significant public interest, (2) the person holds a position similar to a traditional journalist or newscaster, or (3) the public interest is served by extending the protection of the statue.

Why do we need to limit the scope of privilege at all though? Why can’t a shield law apply to all citizens if we can, seemingly, all report? Floyd Abrams stated, “If everybody’s entitled to the privilege, nobody will get it.” In other words, the court might be able to find counter-veiling social interest in almost all cases if Joe-blogger releases high priority information, ruining it for the rest of us. This is because the societal interest will almost certainly be greater than the interest of you expressing your personal thoughts and feelings on the Internet. Moreover, we see some natural limits in scope. If their skin is not in the game, so to speak, people can saying anything. If someone had ousted Valerie Plame Wilson on Facebook, they would almost certainly be required to disclose their source. They are not a journalist, just an idiot. This is where privacy and journalistic privileges might get a little fuzzy. But, to me the most important reason for limiting its scope, is to preserve some semblance of legitimate media. We need to (i) incentivize the open flow of information and new sources of media while (ii) maintaining the integrity of valuable news.

The following three cases better illustrate how this plays out in practice:

  1.  Remember Jason Chen? Someone found an iPhone prototype at a German Bar in Palo Alto and sold it to Gizmodo who did a story and video report with full disclosure about the new generation of iPhone. Police then raided the bloggers home, searching his computer files to determine if they could put together evidence of a felony. Such a search upon an ordinary citizen seems outrageous, but it is even more unthinkable if it happened against a news organization. [If you did not see John Stewart’s take on the subject, definitely check it out here.] And, in this case, it seems clear that Gizmodo was intended as a source of news. If shield laws do not apply to Gizmodo, which is owned by Gawker Media, then Lat should watch his back.
  2.   Too Much Media LLC v. Hale: Up against defamation and libel, Shellee Hale, a blogger on a campaign against criminal activity in the online adult entertainment industry, was not protected by the shield law because her posts about the software company TMM, were determined to be “nothing more than rants and complaints about her opinions, rather than the dissemination of truth and news.” This court dismissed the “intent” test arguing that, instead, the shield law requires a link to news media, and the New Jersey statue defines the term. While I still think the “intent” standard, along with the other factors discussed above, could have been employed, I agree with the Court’s decision.  Hale argued that her blog was the “Wall Street Journal” of porn. Still her statements were made on a third party site without ever contacting TMM’s representatives for their side of the story. Nothing in Hale’s actions or comments resembled the activities of a legitimate media reporter. If we narrow the scope of shield laws we can incentivize true journalists to meet a quality as well as an accountability standard—something that will certainly be valuable for the purpose of news.
  3. Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78 (1st Cir. 2011): In this case decided in September 2011,a federal court ruled that recording public officials, including police officers, are protected by the 1st Amendment. This decision marks a new open-mindedness in regards to citizen journalism and demonstrates the value of other sources of information that meet a reasonable standard of news.

Extended protections to citizen reporters might further instigate the proliferation of these forms of journalism. This calls for a brief cost-benefit analysis. What could “bad” citizen journalism, or “good” for that matter, be hurting?

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Conclusion and Looking Forward:

Citizen journalists are on the rise. We must implement some standards to both widen and regulate who is protected by certain journalistic privileges. Citizen journalism has costs and benefits. But it is possible to work on mediating the costs. Future challenges will include considering how to encourage better signal-to-noise ratios so that random comments—the ass lobster aficionados—do not drown out the substantive ones.

Increasingly, indicators of quality will matter. What will the peacock’s tail of journalism be? First, the ability to concentrate on analysis more than simply reporting stories. Second, enabling conversation around stories so that they truly become alive. And, third, differentiating products for particular audiences. I predict that soon new business models will emerge for both the blog-phobes (those overwhelmed by too much content) and blog-feens (those who want to participate). People will gravitate to communities they feel more comfortable in. Subscriptions will be introduced as the value of these connections and communities become more conspicuous.

Now, quick reality check: Only 1/8th of the total population get their main news source from the web. They make up about 2/3 of regular users and more than half of the readership of blogs. They dominate social network sites (see more statistics here). At the same time, there are 7 billion people in the world, and about 2 billion are Internet users, or a little over a 1/4th. So, if I’m doing my math correctly (and there is no guarantee that I am), we are talking about 1/32 or about 3% of the world’s population that read news on screens. Surprise? Not quite. If you believe the World Bank (I don’t), more than two billion people are poor—those would be hard-pressed to spend cash on Internet connections of any kind. My point is just that we have yet to fully realize the full potential of the web as a channel for news, whether those that fill the channels are professionals or not. Everyone, chill out—we still have time to figure out how to tailor online and citizen journalists, to help them be fair, accurate, and useful, before some catastrophic pre-mature demise of print news.

Julian Assange: Champion of Freedom of Expression or Criminal? – by “Nick M”

Censorship vs. Freedom of Expression

In the United States, freedom of speech is the very first protected right listed in the Bill of Rights. As the First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Supreme Court has had many interpretations of this amendment over what “freedom of speech” in the First Amendment actually implies. Although one might think of freedom of speech as closely associated with our identity and heritage as Americans and thus a ubiquitously accepted right, there have been several controversial rulings on this issue, especially in cases where one individuals’ freedom of speech might be perceived to infringe on others’ preserved rights (ie: if my freedom of speech to shout fire in a movie theater infringes on your freedom to not be trampled).

Indeed, practically speaking, it is apparent that simply not all types of speech can be tolerated for a society to function. Some forms of speech are accordingly plainly and thoroughly outlawed by US law, such as fraudulent advertising, child pornography, fighting words, words used in a criminal transaction, unlicensed broadcasts, copyright infringement (hello DMCA), libel, slander, and threats, among others. Most of these forms of speech are restricted because they have a compelling government interest: the US government may regulate, or censor speech if it has a compelling interest, is a public concern, or threatens national safety.


All the cool kids are doing it

For example, it is even considered legal to express certain forms of hate speech as long as one does not actually do the activities or encourage others to do them. However, once these groups overstep their boundaries and their actions can be interpreted as violating a compelling government interest, they can (and have) been regulated. For example, the Ku Klux Klan has been denied certain marching permits (a real tragedy) and the Westboro Baptist Church (which became famous recently for protesting military funerals) was sued for its activities (however the ruling was later controversially overturned on appeal in the US Supreme Court). These examples illustrate that while legal history has defined certain finite limitations on the freedom of speech, courts have ultimately historically held that in order for freedom of speech to exist, it must necessarily be protected to allow the unpopular, offensive, and distasteful.

Background on Wikileaks

The “Wikileaks controversy” is a great example of the tension between this freedom of expression and censorship. Wikileaks (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH WIKIPEDIA) is the name of an international non-profit organization run by founder, editor-in-chief, and director Julian Assange, that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Since it went online, the site has published an extensive catalogue of secret material, ranging from materials on procedures at Guantánamo Bay, to the contents of Sarah Palin’s private email account. Look at Trigg!!!!

What Assange and his Wikileaks team are doing is technically not illegal under international law nor under various countries’ laws (more to come on this later); nonetheless, several nations (notably Assange’s home country of Australia, China, Germany, Iceland, Thailand, and the United States) have limited access, or in some cases blacklisted and completely blocked all traffic to the site. The United States has blocked access to the site in various government agencies in addition to issuing several other 1984-reminiscient demands. I’m insulted they didn’t threaten Yale. (Although this claim was later refuted by government officials…).

Larry Flynt Reincarnate- Another Champion for Freedom of Expression?

Julian Assange






... and Larry Flynt, separated at birth?



Assange himself believes that Wikileak’s role (and his on Earth apparently) is to expose injustice, not to provide an even-handed record of events. In an invitation to potential collaborators in 2006, he wrote, “Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations.” He has argued that a “social movement” to expose secrets could “bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality—including the US administration.”

Many agree that Assange’s work is beneficial and even noble, believing that by increasing transparency of government operations, Assange will ultimately force governments to act in more accountable manners. Calling Assange a “champion of freedom of speech,” proponents of his work believe that Assange provides information that the public has a right to know, and that both international and US efforts to suppress his efforts constitute a significant threat to freedom of expression world-wide. Proponents of his cause believe that the right to freedom of information outweighs the potentially dangerous effects of revealing US military strategy, pointing to the fact that none of the published cables were kept at the highest levels of secrecy, inferring from this that nothing truly sensitive has been revealed. Organizations such as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the “blocking, cyber-attacks and political pressure” directed at the cables’ website from all over the world, and expressed concern at comments made by American authorities “concerning Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.” “This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency,” RSF said.

Indeed, Assange’s work has been received to some international acclaim, as the Wikileaks foundeer has received a number of awards and nominations, including the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award for publishing material about extrajudicial killings in Kenya and Readers’ Choice for TIME magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year.

Or a Criminal?

However, despite the seemingly good intentions of Assange’s work, his work has had serious repercussions. Some of the information that his organization has published includes confidential military documents that reveal great deals of US strategy and policy. As Wikileaks makes this information publically-accessible, Assange’s work has potentially compromised US national security, essentially placing in danger not only the lives of soldiers who rely on the secrecy of these documents, but also the lives of citizens at home who are now more vulnerable to attack.

Claiming that his information compromises national security, the US Justice Department has attempted to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act, which makes it broadly illegal to compromise national security by interfering with the US military. In 2011, an unknown person in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had received a subpoena regarding the Espionage Act’s “conspiracy” clause 18 U.S.C. § 793(g), as well as the federal embezzlement law 18 U.S.C. § 641, a statute used in some other Espionage Act-related cases. A grand jury has begun meeting in Alexandria, Virginia, to hear evidence and decide whether an indictment should be brought.

However, critics of the legal approach of charging Assange under the Espionage Act argue that the broad language of the Act could make news organizations and anyone who reported, printed, or disseminated information from Wikileaks subject to prosecution as well. This slippery-slope argument might ultimately undermine this attempt to prosecute Assange, as further spinoffs from this type of reasoning might be interpreted as uancceptably limiting freedom of expression (if a magazine publishes an article from a magazine that publishes an article from a magazine that publishes an article from Wikileaks – WHERE DOES IT END!!?!?!).

Despite his steel-clad safe haven behind these concerns, Assange has faced a growing number of other problems, including rape charges in Sweden (Update: Good news for Assange! The rape charges have been dropped….but replaced with….?) and having his assets frozen by a number of banks. He does not operate out of an office, but rather remains on the move for extended periods of time in order to avoid extradition to countries that would be eager to repay him for his “noble work.”

My Take

Has the US acted correctly in its response to Assange and Wikileaks? Should our censorship laws be altered to prevent this type of unwanted freedom of expression? Does their inability to prosecute (as of yet) mean that Assange is without blame?

Yes, no, and probably not. The fact remains that our First Amendment technically protects his right to freedom of expression, and, just like protecting the right to protest military funerals, if we want to stay true to our traditions of maintaing a society of freedom of speech, Assange shoudl not be prosecuted for his Wikileaks-related work. Our censorship laws in this regard, should not be fundamentally changed in order to close a loophole that Assange is seemingly exploiting. Thus, the fact that the US (at best) is proceeding cautiously with charging Assange is the correct response if we wish to maintain true to our traditions.

This does not, however, mean that I believe Assange to be a noble champion of our First Amendment rights. I believe his actions to be wrong, plain and simple. The fact remains that in order for a government to function properly, not all information can or should be transparent. As a citizen, I willingly abdicate my right to know this information, trusting my government to make certain determinations for me. Voting with my feet, I can choose what country to live in, and what  government to trust (granted, this is not possible for everyone, but the concept is clear).  Thus, Assange’s actions don’t increase the global levels of democracy through transparency of government operations, in my opinion, but rather make the world a more dangerous place for me to live in, as a result of the increased knowledge of the US military’s vulnerabilities.

Are Journalists Really People? – by “Courtney P”

Within the profession of journalism, there is an idea that objectivity is the highest good, the nirvana of journalism. Magically, journalists are supposed to squelch their personal opinions and political leanings in order to provide the public with an objective account of stories that are important within the public sphere. By providing an objective account, ideally, the public is able to form responsible, informed opinions. The media views this mission of informing the public as central to the function of democracy.

It may be, but this ideal of objectivity hasn’t always existed. In his book “The Creation of the Media,” Paul Starr explains how American media has transformed since the country’s founding. American newspapers began as propaganda machines for political parties and then evolved into classified advertisements and community announcements. Information was provided, but it wasn’t necessarily for the sake of informing voters on topical issues.

In the 20th century, American media came to encompass radio and television. And corporations like General Electric came to own media companies. And then the Internet happened…

Image courtesy of

Objectivity may be the goal for journalism, but the medium has changed in such a way that makes that goal difficult to attain. The Internet allows anyone to publish any news at any time. Newspapers and other media companies have lost their monopoly on information. In the ocean of information that is the Internet, the information that floats to the top is often the kind that has a slant and is presented in a colorful voice. When people are searching for news on the Internet, they often want to find it presented in the lens of their political ideology and in an entertaining way.

With the Internet shaking up the typical journalism business model, journalists are uneasy about their future within traditional news organizations. Journalists’ solution for this changing media landscape? Becoming a brand on their own.

Journalists now have Twitter accounts and personal blogs. They have Facebook pages and YouTube channels. Journalists seem to be drawing a line between their personal work and interests and those of the newspaper, cable channel, or magazine for which they work. In the day of Glenn Beck and Jon Stewart, the loudest and most unique voices are the ones that are the most profitable. It becomes less about the company that you work for, because the Internet allows journalists to become their own publisher.

With this blurring line between the journalists’ personal and professional life, can we still reasonably expect objectivity? Is the public really expecting objective journalism? Is objectivity necessary for the public discourse, or is it just a marketing gimmick to preserve the authority of traditional news organizations? Can MSNBC really punish Keith Olbermann for donating to democratic candidates?

I think the public would be a lot more accepting of the idea that Olbermann the person and Olbermann the journalist are one in the same, and he holds ideas X, Y, and Z. The revered example of a Walter Kronkite figure is no longer attainable. And honestly, I think the public would be bored by a Kronkite in 2010.

Google Grants Try to Save the Dying Art of Journalism? – by “Casey B”

With the rise of online media and the decline of traditional print journalism, Google has often been attributed the lion’s share of the blame. The online giant aggregates content from across the web and places it at the reader’s fingertips, all while reaping the rewards of advertising revenue. The print media have been decrying this practice for years, and it seems that Google has finally heard their cries.

Well, sort of…

In an official blog post on October 26, 2010, Google announced it would be giving $5 million in grants to non-profit organizations in an attempt to encourage journalistic experimentation and innovation. The US foundation receiving $2 million of the grant money is the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Google specifically indicates that $1 million will be going toward the Knight News Challenge, a contest that awards funding based on proposals for “innovative ideas that develop platforms, tools and services to inform and transform community news, conversations and information distribution and visualization.”

However, it is interesting that Google chooses to cite the Knight-funded project DocumentCloud, “which aims to bring more investigative-reporting source material online so anyone can find and read it.” Even though Google is ostensibly trying to bolster the journalistic community, they still have a clear interest in freely accessible news available “so anyone can find and read it” – the very thing bemoaned by the journalism industry.

Looking at some of the 2010 Knights News Challenge winners, however, there seems to be some hope that the Google grant may one day achieve its intended goal.

PRX StoryMarket, a Boston, MA project by the Public Radio Exchange, is an intriguing plan that would allow anyone to propose and help fund stories reported on by the local public radio station. When enough funds are raised, the station will hire a journalist to cover the story. This model would provide the kind of interactivity that blog writers and readers value while still maintaining a professional journalism organization.

Another promising project is the WindyCitizen’s Real Time Ads, a Chicago, IL project by journalist Brad Flora. Real Time Ads is software intended to “help online startups become sustainable” by creating ads that will engage visitors by virtue of their constantly-changing content. This project seems to be geared toward helping the news organizations themselves form a model for ad revenue instead of relying on the old model of subscriptions.

While only time will tell if the Knight News Challenge projects will produce lasting models for modern media, it is certainly promising, if surprising, to see a giant like Google attempting to mitigate the havoc it has wrought upon traditional journalism.

ADVERTISING A STATEMENT: Google AdWords with agendas – by “Evin M”

The PR machine at BP has picked up on a recent trend, which utilizes the Google AdWords service as a soapbox from which to launch a damage-control blitz.

Open another window and Google “BP.”

Odds are, you found this too. How about “oil spill”?

Same link? Me too.

Google AdWords is the moneymaking machine behind the world’s most popular search engine. This product selectively displays advertisements alongside search results, allowing advertisers to market to users already interested in specific terms. AdWords launched in 2000, and has since become more than just another billboard. By associating text advertisements with search terms, AdWords clients are able to deliver increasingly sophisticated messages to intended audiences—as BP is demonstrating right now.    Never before has a campaign had this potential to target its message with such speed and precision–though that potential comes with a price tag, one that is subject to open bidding.  In addition to advertising themselves in a more traditional sense, Google AdWords now empowers wealthy companies to command eyeballs searching for select keywords toward editorial content.

In September 2009, AdWords became a platform for PR damage control when the front page of the New York Times reported that New Zealand fisheries were overharvesting the hoki, a species known to most palates as the McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish. In response to this article, the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council bought up Google AdWords like new zealand hoki, hoki new york times, and William Broad (the author of the article). These search terms triggered links to a page refuting the Times’ accusations, and included emails from the Times science editor as well. Jim McCarthy of PR firm Counterpoint Strategies, who spearheaded this spin technique, has applied a similar strategy on behalf of the National Fisheries Institute and the Formaldehyde Council, in reaction to journalists’ criticism of these organizations. He seems to have started a trend by representing his clients with Google AdWords and links.

New Business Models for News – by “Max C”

“This is a case of something close to what economists call market failure: Something is deemed important, but there isn’t enough of an incentive for the private sector – the market – to provide it on a broadly democratic basis.” —Ralph Whitehead, Jr., The Boston Globe

It’s no secret that journalism has fallen into a bad way. When the President of the United States takes the time to express concern about something, it’s probably worth noting. And while he notes that professional, investigative reporting is “absolutely critical to the health of our democracy,” he seems unsure that it will remain intact in this capricious modern age of new media. Various exciting, promising offshoots of journalism have appeared and begun to flourish thanks to the Internet — such as its citizen and social media derivatives — but as Rupert Murdoch noted at an FTC conference last week, “Good journalism is an expensive commodity.” And it is one that the World Wide Web has left largely without a financial platform to support it.

That’s why the discussion of new, innovative business models for journalism has become essential. And thankfully, that discussion has been happening — and continues to happen every day — in the blogosphere, in the editorial columns of the world, and on fantastic websites like CUNY’s News Innovation resource. But to our knowledge, no one web location has attempted to condense and distill all that discussion and information into an easily digestible, comprehensive format. It is with that in mind that we established this website.

We have set up a repository of lengthy, informative posts on what we think to be the eight main models that are the most discussed and pursued right now. In each analysis, we describe the model and the innovation that led to its birth, businesses and entrepreneurs who have pursued these models (and to what success), the probable future of the model, and the financial role we think the model is most likely to play in the long run. We also have a cache of Supplements, which includes other journalism/business model-related pieces we have written recently from conferences and various assignments.

We hope that you learn as much reading all of this information as we did in compiling it. Many thanks!

-Jakob Dorof, Sam Duboff, and Max Cutler

Website: New Business Models for Journalism