Social Media

The Power of Blogs

Essays and Commentary, The Weblog Blog
Would former Senate majority leader Trent Lott's endorsement of Thurmond's 1948 pro-segregation platform have become such a big story and led to his resignation if blogger Joshua Micah Marshall hadn't reported it and excoriated the media for ignoring it? Instapundit and MSNBC.com blogger Glenn Reynolds, who linked to Marshall's scoop, said, "Several big journalists told me they first heard the [Lott] story from my site, and that they probably wouldn't have thought it was important if I hadn't given it so much attention." But the Lott story could have percolated without him, he told The Baltimore Sun, because some black Republicans were already fuming over the comments. "Like most such things," he said, "how much power the blogs wield is hard to determine." Reynolds said , even blogs like ...

ABCNEWS.com Suspends The Note

The Weblog Blog
With a war with Iraq likely to begin any day now, ABCNews.com has suspended one of it's most popular features, The Note, because "coverage of the possible war is going to require the bulk of the assets of ABC News." In a note on the site, the political news Weblog's writers say, "As word leaked out over the weekend that this Note suspension might happen, some of our well-meaning readers taunted us, claiming that this a confession that the Political Unit isn't up to the journalistic equivalent of fighting a 'two-front war.' All we can say is - WE would be able to do it, but those 1,000 monkeys who do those Google searches for us all night have been diverted to making widgets and trading nylons for chocolate for the ABC News war effort, and, frankly, we've become more reliant on them than yo...

'We Media' and Interview Voyeurism

Essays and Commentary, Innovation, Online News and Convergence Tips, Online Reporting Tips, The Weblog Blog, Tips and Tools
Thanks to the Internet, Journalism is becoming less of a one-way street from reporters to readers and more of a dialogue. Two recent journalism review articles explore this phenomenon. "We Media augments traditional methods with new and yet-to-be invented collaboration tools ranging from e-mail to Web logs to digital video to peer-to-peer systems," writes Dan Gillmor in the Columbia Journalism Review. "But it boils down to something simple: our readers collectively know more than we do, and they don?t have to settle for half-baked coverage when they can come into the kitchen themselves." Meanwhile, in the American Journalism Review Barb Palser talks about writers posting complete interviews online and writes, "We are learning that people often are as interested in the ingredients of a news...

Projo.com on The Station Fire

Convergence, Great Breaking News Work, Great Convergence Work, Great Multimedia Work, Great Use of Community, Great Weblog Journalism, Great Work Gallery, The Weblog Blog
The Providence Journal's Web site has done such a good job covering the fatal fire at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island that it's hard to know what to single out. In addition to continually updating the site with staff-written stories on the latest developments from the moment the news first broke early Friday morning, the site has published a slew of impressive online-only features, including: A first-person account from a survivor searching for his mystery savior; an online memorial for readers to post condolences for the fire victims; five flash slide shows and video from a partner TV site; useful information such as victim and memorial details; and much, much more. As a public service, the site has not only been running a Weblog of online reaction to the fire by staff blogger Sheil...

Reader Slide Shows

Great Multimedia Work, Great Use of Community, Great Work Gallery, The Weblog Blog
The Charlotte Observer's Web site, Charlotte.com, has been publishing reader-generated slide shows during big local weather stories. "One of our Charlotte.com traditions is getting readers involved in telling the story of major weather events," the site wrote during an unusual January snow storm. "Since schools are closed today, and many of you won't be going anywhere, get out your digital cameras and send us snow photos: your backyard, your stuck car, your dog, your kids, etc." The site then published two slide shows using the best ones (here and here). The photos are by no means professional quality -- but they offer a fresh, unique perspective on the storms' impact. And they have the homey-feeling of a family photo album, except that in this case the family is one of Observer readers.

News From the Readers' Perspective

Great Multimedia Work, Great Use of Community, Great Work Gallery, The Weblog Blog
Recognizing the value of tapping the news consumer community, BBC News has launched a new feature that will showcase reader photography. "BBC News Online wants to report the world from your perspective," the site says in a note to readers. "And the digital revolution will help us to do that....So if you think you have a picture worth looking at, if you found yourself in the right place at the right time, send it to BBC News Online." The site's picture editor will choose the best each week and publish them on this page every Friday. This could provide a great and popular feature for readers -- not to mention setting up a handy way to get exclusive photos when major news breaks. Here are the slide shows BBC Online published when millions of people marched worldwide in February 2003 in protes...

Columbia's Last Flight Online

Great Breaking News Work, Great Use of Community, Great Work Gallery, The Weblog Blog
Last weekend's shuttle disaster unfolded as much online as it did on radio or television. A group of space enthusiasts learned of the trouble in real time by listening to mission control via NASA TV's Webcast. They and other trackers shared their thoughts online in many forums, including a discussion board for shuttle buffs on the Free Republic Web site. The New York Times has culled some of the more interesting comments into a compelling narrative; you can read the full discussion on Free Republic.

Shuttle Crash News Weblogs

Great Breaking News Work, Great Weblog Journalism, Great Work Gallery, The Weblog Blog
As news on the shuttle's crash came out, Florida Today posted continual updates to its "Columbia landing journal," a Weblog of the failed landing and the aftermath. This was a particularly effective format for breaking news such as this: as tidbits were released, staffers John Kelly, Chris Kridler and Kelly Young added the latest details, getting the news out fast and giving readers an easy way to see the latest news without having to comb through long articles and figure out what's been added since they last read it. This nicely complemented the site's comprehensive coverage, including its exclusive close-up video of the Columbia launch, showing debris possibly hitting the wing. Spaceflight Now's site also ran Weblog-like updates as news broke, in a feature called "Mission Status Center."...