Monday, April 12, 2010

Director's Notes: How do you view your news?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fluff and Bull. The average citizen hardly knows what to believe anymore, according to's Gene Lyons. "Due to the parlous state of professional journalism; the Internet; cable TV 'news' networks and talk radio shouters; and the ceaseless din of the right-wing noise machine, the public is daily confronted with make-believe new, doctored quotes, fake history and phony data."  Meanwhile, MSNBC smugmaster Keith Olbermann personifies the bad news "that certain media figures are choosing to mimic such partisan tomfoolery on the left." Although skepticism used to be considered a journalistic virtue, the oft-derided mainstream media still hasn't figured out how to deal with this avalanche of mis- and disinformation, Lyons said.

Transparency Techies. Transparency has gained currency in social networking circles through such public accountability sites as and The Washington Post's Mike Musgrove says "in the same way that social networking and apps have changed so much else on the planet, such technologies are being scrutinized for use in building stronger democracies."  One attendee at the recent TransparencyCamp at George Washington University said "there's no reason why keeping tabs on your member of Congress shouldn't be as easy as seeing what your friends are posting on a Facebook wall."

Disturbing Demand. Advertising Age reports that USA Today's website has started running thousands of pieces of original travel editorial from the Demand Media content farm. These types of revenue sharing partnerships are becoming more alluring to news organizations trying to slash their content costs. Media analyst Ken Doctor said the waves of buyouts and layoffs haven't done enough to overcome reductions in revenue. Content farms are showing there's another way to do it, Doctor said.  However, Demand Media's Dave Panos begs to differ. He believes the term content farm has a negative connotation that paints a picture of a nameless, faceless organization that churns out low-quality, thoughtless editorial product.  "We think our studio bears a greater resemblance to larger, distinctive content-creation companies like Reuters."  What do you think?

Quote of the Week: "Writing good editorials is chiefly telling the people what they think, not what you think."- Arthur Brisbane

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