Full December 2002 archive

Here is the complete December 2002 headline archive for

Blogs Make the Headlines 
Lott’s remarks were

one of several issues
that the burgeoning blogging community
helped push on to the national agenda in 2002.  [12/31]

Great Work: Yahoo Year in Review
Every publication loves year-in-review packages (including this one), but
Yahoo may have been first and best to the punch. The site’s
2002 Year in Review, launched
before Thanksgiving, might be the most comprehensive on the Net, covering
everything from the war on terror and turmoil in the financial markets to
the top movies and hottest clothes of the year. The site has timelines,
graphs, lists, polls, slide shows and even a user vote on the person of
the year. Much of the content comes from the Associated Press, which must
be given a tip of the hat here, but Yahoo also did a fantastic job of
compiling, selecting, organizing and packaging the information. Here are a
few other Year-in-Review packages:

Infoplease Year In
CNN Year in Review;

BBC Year in Review

NetRatings: Tops
The congressional
elections and the launch of MSN 8 helped overtake as the largest news site in November,
according to
the latest
Nielsen//NetRatings report
. [12/26]

Lighting up the Holidays

Missed your local tree-lighting ceremony? has
put together a festive photo
of ceremonies around America, set to Christmas music. Happy
Holidays! [12/24]

Tips: Holiday Fast Facts
The kind folks at the U.S.
Census Bureau have conveniently compiled
a collection of
statistics about the holidays just for reporters
-? tailor-made for
holiday feature stories.  [12/23]

A Lott of Great Work Online
The sequence of events
that led to Trent Lott stepping down as Senate GOP leader began
with his comments about Strom Thurmond. Soon the media jumped
all over the backlash. But the first reports of his comments
came not in traditional media, but online: on two Weblogs,

and’s The Note
. Kudos. [12/22]

Google’s Gaffe

If you’re a Google
News skeptic who prefers your headlines selected by human
editors rather than computer algorithms, you’ll love this:
earlier this week, the top story on Google News’ business
section was a news release from Schaeffer’s Investment Research,
highlighting Best Buy and Circuit City — and topping the story
about New York prosecutors securing their first guilty plea in
the Tyco case. "Press releases often include significant
information, no doubt,"

writes CBS MarketWatch’s Bambi Francisco
. "But most living,
breathing editors would be chagrined to see that type of snafu
on their pages….To be sure, homo sapiens still craft the best
news sites." [12/19]

Top 10 Online Journalism Stories of the

What were the biggest events in the
online news world this year? Here’s a look at’s Top 10 Online
Journalism Stories of 2002
. [12/18]

2003 Predictions For Online News Biz

What’s ahead for the online news industry
in the coming year? Steve Outing

Slow but steady recovery of the online ad sector,
progress toward better targeting of online ads, more intrusive
and obnoxious ads, less focus on fee-based services, loss of job
recruitment market share to, and more emphasis on


Paper Sued After Airing
911 Call On Web Site
Here’s an odd online freedom of speech
case: The family of a Virginia man shot to death by police is
suing the Richmond Times-Dispatch for posting online a 911 call
the man made prior to his death. The family claims the paper
exploited the the tragedy to help improve traffic to its Web
site. Executive Editor William H. Millsaps Jr.

tells E&P
the 911 call is as integral to the story as
initial reports of the event: "It is a public record. We hope
[the case] will be dismissed before it comes to trial." [12/17] Returns
Knight Ridder continues to move away
from its strategy of branding all the newspaper sites to the
regions they served with the return of as the URL for
The Miami Herald’s online edition. Knight Ridder had created
for Miami-Dade readers and
for users in Broward County. After complaints
from some publications, Knight Ridder decided to leave branding
up to the local markets. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has also
regained its old name,, and eliminated
— but some Knight Ridder papers, such as the Philadelphia
Inquirer and Kansas City Star, will retain their city URLs. "By
using the newspaper’s name, the Web site benefits from the
Herald’s 100-year history in the South Florida community and its
high level of brand-name recognition,

said Kim Marcille, general manager for Knight Ridder Digital
i." [12/17]

Tip: Gear for the Multimedia

With all the new technology tools out there, what are the most practical
ones for the newsroom? Every year, the Advanced Journalist Technology
Project, an initiative of the Ifra Centre for Advanced News Operations,
develops a list of the most useful technologies for networked, converged
newsrooms: the best laptops, digital cameras, digital camcorders and mobile
networking devices. J.D. Lasica runs through these tools
in the Online
Journalism Review
. "These aren’t pie-in-the-sky gizmos for a futuristic
newsroom — they’re practical, field-tested technologies that work together
and help news organizations meet the audio, video and text-based needs of
their audience today," he writes. [12/17]

Tablet Digital

Way back in the prehistoric technology year of 1991, before even
the World Wide Web, Roger Fidler devised a prototype newspaper
for an electronic pad while at Knight Ridder. It was way ahead
of its time, and now a pilot Los Angeles Times Tablet PC edition
proposed for early next year will use Fidler’s "Kent" format
(for Kent State University, where he now directs the Institute
for CyberInformation): three types of hyperlinked,
near-magazine-size pages, with navigation tabs denoting sections
along the right. "Looking like section fronts, summary pages
preserve the experience of browsing a newspaper. Headlines and
summaries link to full-text content pages with a consistent
three-column format and the latest type technology,"

reports Jim Rosenberg in Editor & Publisher
. [12/17]

Pathfinder, Deja Vu
AOL Time Warner’s decision to move Time, Inc. content behind its
subscription wall continues to raise eyebrows. "This service,
which started in the autumn of 1994 and closed in the spring of
1999, was called Pathfinder and proved two things: Selling Time
Warner content on the Internet was pretty much a nonstarter, and
the people at Time Warner lacked a certain flair for the

writes Michael Wolff in New York Magazine
. "We just don’t
get it, they said. Which was the essential reason for merging
with AOL. Now, in a fascinating and comic turn of events, AOL
has come full circle to an idea that eerily resembles

Libel Jurisdiction

The question of Internet jurisdiction for libel cases continues
to bring new precedents. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond
has ruled that a Virginia prison warden cannot bring a libel
suit in Virginia over articles that appeared on the Web sites of
two Connecticut newspapers. "It appear that these newspapers
maintain their websites to serve local readers in Connecticut,
to expand the reach of their papers within their local markets,
and to provide their local markets with a place for classified
ads," the court said. Although the Internet sites are accessible
all over the country, "the websites are not designed to attract
or serve a Virginia audience," the court said. This decision
comes on the heels of a ruling from  Australia’s high
court, which said that Dow Jones can be sued for defamation in
Australia over an article published in the United States and
posted on the Internet. [12/17]

Newspapers Bank on Web

Here’s a
switch: Newspaper executives

are now predicting
the Web will produce more revenue next
year even as ad spending in papers picks up — and are starting
to view their Web sites as money makers. At The New York Times,
online ad sales were up 33 percent this year, compared with
single-digit growth in print ads. [12/16]

Tip: Property Tax Records
to find property tax records online
that can be
invaluable for backgrounding individuals and also lead to local
story ideas.[12/16]

Media Win Pig Farmer Hearing

The preliminary hearing for the pig farmer accused of killing
15 of Vancouver’s missing women will be open to the media. Defense attorneys
had argued to exclude the media — even foreign media — out of concern that
U.S. publications would publish information on the Internet and make it
harder to find an impartial jury.  Canadian media have a record of
respecting publication bans that are routinely imposed when evidence is
presented at preliminary hearings, but U.S. media outlets have shown intense
interest in the case and are not within the court’s juristiction. Lawyer
David Sutherland, representing four Seattle TV stations, told the court that
his clients would not broadcast evidence from the preliminary hearing unless
they could guarantee it would be blocked out in areas in Canada where their
signals reach. [12/15]

Filter This!
Filtering software continues to block out legitimate information
online. Such software often blocks important health information
on issues ranging from diabetes and sexually transmitted
diseases to depression and suicide, according to a new Henry J.
Kaiser Family Foundation study. The Children’s Internet
Protection Act requires schools and libraries to filter
pornographic content on Internet computers. A lower court
recently declared the Children’s Internet Protection Act
unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds, and the Supreme
Court says it will hear the government’s appeal. [12/13]

Journalists Crossing Platforms

A growing minority of reporters not only
understand what convergence means, they practice it on a daily
basis — reporting and producing content for print, the
Internet, radio, and/or television,

reports Steve Outing in Editor & Publisher
. For now, he
says, these people are unusual, but in the future the majority
of journalists may live such cross-platform working lives.

Tip: Smallpox

Now that President Bush has decided on a
plan for inoculating the military and the public against
smallpox, you may find yourself reporting on the disease, the
vaccine and its implications. Here is
comprehensive site from the CDC
covering everything from
smallpox basics to side effects of vaccination. [12/12]

Great Work:
Multimedia Magazine in a Box

Thirty years after the unique cultural
magazine Aspen ceased publication, it’s been brought back to
life online. The magazine — which came in notebook-size boxes
stuffed with articles, postcards, posters and phonograph records
— was seemingly made for the Internet, and Andrew Stafford, 48,
a San Francisco bookseller, found the idea of digitally
recreating it online irresistible. The Web may not convey the
tactile qualities of magazines, but it does a wonderful job of
presenting the audio and video recordings. Now at,
you can check out 10 issues of this prehistoric multimedia
magazine — a magazine way ahead of its time. [12/11]

Defamation Can
Reach Overseas Via Internet


a landmark decision
for online journalists, Australia’s high
court ruled that Dow Jones can be sued for defamation in
Australia over an article published in the United States and
posted on the Internet. The case could set a precedent and
affect publishers and Web sites that post articles in the 190
nations that allow defamation cases. "What it means is that
foreign publishers writing material about persons in Australia
had better have regards to the standards of Australian law
before they upload material to the Internet," said Dr. Matthew
Collins, a Melbourne lawyer and academic who has published a
book on defamation and the Internet. The defamation case was
brought by Melbourne mining magnate Joseph Gutnik, who argued
that a 7,000-word article in the October 2000 issue of Barron’s
portrayed him as a schemer given to stock scams, money
laundering and fraud. Several media and Internet organizations,
including The Associated Press, and AOL Time Warner,
filed legal briefs in support of Dow Jones. [12/10]

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones equipped with cameras may be
the next piece of technology to have a major impact on

says the San Jose Mercury News’ Dan Gillmor
. Already there
are more than 10 million camera-equipped mobile phones in Japan
and some of their owners take snapshots and post them to Web
pages. "Watch the next time a major news event, such as a bad
earthquake, takes place there. Before the big Japanese media
organizations even have time to scramble their photographers to
the scene, the world will be able to view the aftermath of the
quake — and, no doubt, videos of the quake as it happened — on
a variety of Web sites. [12/10] vs.

As more
companies move toward charging for online content, The Wall
Street Journal Online is going all out in promoting the concept.
It’s launched a new television, print and online advertising
campaign aimed at demonstrating the benefits of subscription
content over free online content. The creative campaign pits the
Online Journal against a fictitious free site called ‘‘,
to reinforce the message that if people want quality business
news they can really trust, they should not rely on free sites
but should subscribe to the Online Journal. The campaign
launched on television stations such as ESPN, Fox News and CNBC
this week, as well as on sites such as Motley Fool  and "There’s no denying the quantity of freely available
business information on the Web, but it can’t compete with the
quality, breadth and depth of the Journal’s business reporting,"
Scott Schulman, president, Dow Jones Consumer Electronic
Publishing, said. "For a small annual subscription, users can
access Journal-quality insight, news and analysis that they
can’t see anywhere else."

Coping With a
Web That’s No Longer Free

The increasing amount of subscription
content online is bound to impact our lives in many ways. "We
may be looking at a holiday season where a grandmother buys her
grandson a season pass to Fantasy Football Insider,"

writes James Kiernan in Media Life Magazine
. "There is even
the scary possibility of a day where teenagers peddle yearly
subscriptions to Web sites to raise money for their school."

Behind the
Scenes: Media Unspun’s Demise

Media Unspun prepares to shut down on Friday,
publisher Jimmy
Guterman says in a Q&A with’s Jonathan Dube

that the only way for independent Web publishers to survive is
by banding together as a network to
"preserve our idiosyncratic voices, but share a business back
end." He also says, "
Weblogs have to be two-way to work, otherwise they’re either
vanity publishing ventures or traditional columns pretending to
be hip."

Media Unspun, an
online and e-mail publication analyzing media coverage
of technology business news, will suspend publication on
Friday Dec. 13, unless a major sponsor or investors is found
before then. [12/9]

Readers Use Same Media Brand Offline

Users of branded media Web sites are more likely to read, watch
or listen to those same media brands offline,

a new study from the Online Publishers Association says
This indicates that online sites are not siphoning readers away
from their offline brethren. Among the promising signs cited: has generated more than 58,000 credit card
subscriptions to The New York Times this year; is
the #2 source of new subscriptions for USA TODAY in 2002; 31% of users said that they are more likely to watch MSNBC
cable news; and about 10% of all new subscriptions to The
Washington Post are driven by, making it the
fastest growing source of new subscriptions to The Washington
Post, with the number of print subscriptions being driven by the
site doubling over the last year.  "The online and offline
components of a media brand are synergistic in that they reach
their audiences during different times of the day," OPA
executive director Michael Zimbalist points out. "This suggests
that advertisers who communicate through offline media brands
can achieve greater impact by adding an online component from
the corresponding Web site(s) into their media plan." [12/9]

Interactive Civic Journalism Center Launches

The University of Maryland has launched a new journalism center
designed to help news organizations use innovative computer
technologies to develop new ways for people to engage in
critical public policy issues. "J-Lab: The Institute for
Interactive Journalism" will provide seed money to news
organizations that propose interactive news ideas and team them
with computer scientists to help build software and
easy-to-navigate news experiences. The institute also will
spotlight the best cutting-edge news innovations through the
Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism. J-Lab will give
$15,000 awards each year to journalists who build the best
interactive news models that foster public participation. ?Now
is the time to capitalize on new technology that can help make
people smarter about public issues and advance civic
participation in the digital arena,? said J-Lab Executive
Director Jan Schaffer. [12/8]

Tip: Online Crime Statistics

Years ago crime reporters relied
on two thick, heavy books of crime statistics: "The Sourcebook of Criminal
Justice Statistics" and the FBI’s annual "Crime in the United States." Now,
both books
are online and even better than their print versions
. Plus, here’s
another great
of crime reporting sites
. [12/6]

Dateline interactive: Justice for all?

How good are you at finding out
the truth? Each year, hundreds of letters from prisoners sentenced to spend
the rest of their lives behind bars arrive at the law offices of Kathleen
Zellner & Associates in Naperville, Illinois.
Dateline NBC has put together an
where you can read some of these real letters and decide whether
you would pursue the cases — it’s a virtual choose-your-own-adventure,
based on true stories. Dateline continues making good use of the Web in
its broadcasts: Users’ answers will "play a role" in a special Dateline
Friday night. [12/5]

AOL Time Warner to Limit Free
In perhaps the biggest move to
date against the free online content business model, AOL Time Warner is
going ahead with plans to move a substantial portion of Time Inc. content
from free Web sites to America Online’s struggling proprietary service, as a
way of creating extra incentive for people to subscribe to AOL. Time Inc.
editors will work with AOL to integrate content from  People,
Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Parenting, Teen People, Time for Kids, Real
Simple, Sunset, Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Health, Southern Accents,
Southern Living and other magazines through AOL, at no additional cost to
AOL members. Access to this select content will be restricted on the general
Internet, though the magazines individually may decide to offer their
content online for a fee. AOL members will also receive free access to CNN’s
pay video news services on AOL Broadband (as opposed to the minimum $4.95
monthly fee on the Internet), and CNN and AOL will work together to offer
exclusive online/on-air tie-ins and programs, and to integrate CNN content
into AOL’s alert service. [12/4]

Media Unspun to Die

Media Unspun, a
publication analyzing media coverage of technology business news, will
suspend publication on Friday Dec. 13, unless a major sponsor or investors
is found before then. The publication was launched in January by the same
team that produced the Media Grok for the Industry Standard, after it
folded. "We launched a subscription- and advertising-supported email
newsletter about the technology business during an economic slowdown that is
having a particularly violent effect on the publishing, technology, and
advertising industries," publisher Jimmy Guterman wrote to subscribers.
"Despite the high quality of the newsletter, as evidenced by the feedback we
receive every day, we can’t fight a hurricane." [12/4]

Internet Raises Publication Ban

Thanks to the wide reach of the Internet,
a battle is brewing over foreign media coverage of the biggest serial
killing investigation in Canadian history.  Canadian media are not
allowed to report on evidence presented in court hearings before the trial
begins. At least one media outlet in nearby Washington state has said it may
ignore the ban in covering the case since there is no similar law in the
United States and its primary audience is not Canadian.  Suspected
serial killer Robert Pickton’s attorney, Peter Ritchie, argued that the
preliminary hearings should be closed to all media in order to protect the
accused’s right to an unbiased jury. Ritchie said he fears foreign media
would publish details of the evidence abroad, and the reports would get into
Canada via the Internet. "Technology now has reached the stage where the
idea of a publication ban poses a challenge," British Columbia Attorney
General Geoff Plant said.  [12/4]

National Geographic Photos Go

The National Geographic Society is
putting thousands of its culture and wildlife photos online for sale. "I had
to really wait until the market was demanding digital images and online
said Maura Mulvihill, National Geographic’s vice president
of image collection. "It wasn’t really a great idea financially until the
last year or two.” National Geographic will initially put about 10,000
photos online from its archive of over 10 million images. [12/3]

Online Stock Quotes Errors

Those who base their financial
decisions on online stock quotes should pay heed: stock quotes on a number
of online news sites — including CBS MarketWatch, CNN and Reuters — were
inaccurate for at least several hours on Friday,
according to
The New York Times
. The New York Stock Exchange apparently created a
test computer file that accidentally misplaced the decimal point on stock
prices by three places. No word on whether anyone made trades based on the
inaccurate numbers, but they were so far off — General Electric, which
closed at $27.10 on Friday, was quoted at $919 — that they were obviously
wrong. If the errors had been less obvious, though, they could have had
serious repercussions. [12/2]

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