links for 2009-06-16

  • Kevin: Marc Ambinder says that this is how a CIA Analyst would look at the events in Iran, but I suggest that it's also the way that journalists should. "Watch for disinformation. … Don't assume. … Look for sources that disprove your thesis. Go outside the country and outside your comfort zone. See what, say, China's news agency reports about the protests."
  • Kevin: Like many projects, I spotted this in the flow of links via Twitter. It's a fascinating look at '12 different voter communities' in the United States. The map is fascinating, but I'm curious about the journalism that the Christian Science Monitor and US public television's News Hour will be doing. I need to investigate how they came up with 12 different voter communities. The political parties and their models often slice the US electorate into often twice as many demographic groups in terms of targeting, but it's interesting to see news outlets do this kind of coverage. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this project to see how it evolves.
  • Kevin: Richard Sambrook, head of the BBC Global News division and a friend from the BBC, compaired Twitter to mainstream media coverage of the outcome of the 2009 Iranian elections. His conclusion:
    "Result? Mixed.
    If you, as an average news consumer, relied on Twitter you might believe all sorts of things had happened, which simply hadn't, running a high risk of being seriously misled about events on the ground. You might at best, have simply been confused. You probably wouldn't have thought Ahmadinejad enjoys much popular support at all.
    But if you had a reasonable understanding of social media, how to set up and assess feeds, how to compare and contrast information, if you had a reasonable understanding of news flows, a developed sense of scepticism, and an above average understanding of the political situation in Iran, you would have emerged much better informed than the lay viewer relying on TV or Radio news."
  • Kevin: Vin Crosbie writes: "Ask most people who think of themselves as new media experts what the greatest change in the media has been in the past 35 years, and you'll hear such answers as "the Internet," "social media," "search engines," or "iPhones."

    They're wrong.

    The greatest change has been that people's access to media has changed from scarcity to surfeit. It's an even bigger change than Gutenberg's invention of a practical printing press, the invention of writing, or even the first Neolithic cave paintings. It's the greatest change in all of media history. And it occurred in only 35 years — half a human lifespan."

  • Kevin: Jeff Jarvis writes: "The question is whether the legacy press – for the benefit of its staff even more than its audience – can issue enough caveats to enable it to work real-time. Forget blogs in this discussion. Will The New York Times ever be comfortable working on the standards and practices of 24-hour cable news? Can it afford to? Don’t they have to?"
  • Kevin: This is a succinct outline of social media journalism from Jeff Jarvis: "I emphasized to a reporter today that Twitter is not the news source. It's a source of tips & temperature & sources. Reporting follows."
  • Kevin: Dougald Hine, former BBC journalist and co-founder of the School of Everything writes about why journalists write a lot of ill informed nonsense about Twitter. Like a lot of things, they focus on celebrities that use Twitter, or bands that use MySpace or campaigners who use Facebook. They don't get under the skin of social media. Also with Twitter, they don't spend the time necessary to really understand what is going on. "So unless a reporter has been using the service personally for long enough to get a feel for it, they are very likely to pick up the wrong end of the stick. Or mistake the stick for a snake."