Genre Classifications for News Content

Newspapers have sections; magazines have departments; weblogs have neither. All of these publishing forms carry content of interest to readers, yet none use the same name to describe the essential nature of that content.

Blogger Archetypes, Too: Strivers, Divers, and Thrivers

A couple of years ago, I offered a set of blogger archetypes. I came up with six based on the motivations of bloggers (singers, ringers, wingers, fingers, stringers, flingers). They didn't catch on very well, perhaps because there wasn't very much holding the set together beyond the rhyme. But I did want to distinguish those bloggers who didn't see themselves as playing any role in the news process and those that didn't take themselves to seriously (the “singers,” with a nod to Walt Whitman) from those that do.

Raiders of the Lost Archives

Here's a brief suggestion how video news archives could better market themselves in a YouTube world. Archive catalogs have, after all, content to license and sell, and a growing number of amateurs (not to mention the next generation of professionals) are seeking to use it.

A wiki is a CMS with neat links

A year ago, a colleague asked for a wiki to be set up at work to accelerate our collaborative efforts. I responded by setting up Drupal, because it can act like a wiki and do so much more (like forums, portal layout comments-on-the-page, user/groups management, etc., and that’s the reason I had familiarized myself with it long ago).

The Sock-It Veto

Since Ronald Reagan, U.S. Presidents have added "signing statements" onto laws to indicate how (or whether) they expect to enforce them. Two weeks ago in the Boston Globe, Charlie Savage reported on the 750 signing statements of the current President Bush, which have come at a pace several times that of his father and President Clinton. This story has caught on, but perhaps not as quckly as one might think, for a couple of reasons. First is that it has been just one of many troubles battering the current Administration. Second, and what interests me, is that the phenomenon has yet to win a pet name. The common name for the effective veto as described by Article I, Section 7 has been popularly known as the "pocket veto." This I’d like to call the "sock-it veto."

Open Source Reporting: The RSS Quest

I’ve been promising this story since Monday, but I must disappoint for now as I’m still waiting to hear on a couple of key source that I only contacted late in the week. If I haven’t contacted you, and you think you need to improve upon the historical, shoot me a message, or post yourself. If you want to scoop me, be my guest, but here’s what you have to reach for: you’re going to need to come up with the particular faults of RSS, and also illustrate a model of how it could be completely re-imagined. And you also might want to deliver something on the order of 5,000 words, which is where I’m at right now. It was longer, but I’ve cut out many parts where I was just quoting directly five-year old quotes– as in years ago, not the age of the quoted person. I’d like [As for this little game? Stephen Baker of BusinessWeek floated such an idea this past Monday. I was skeptical then, but under the circumstances, I accept.] Whatever you got, tag it rss+quest.

Readers, Writers and the New Worders

A guide to the various Worders in the New Media landscape.
It’s no longer just Writers and Readers.
But one term doesn’t fit all.
word ’em up:

Bloggers: Some Formal Definitions

The word “blogger” gets thrown around quite a bit these days, with shape-shifting definitions. Having studied this over the past year, I thought it best to cleave out four senses of a definition. (Note: The definitions have been updated with clearer names from the original post twelve days ago.)

What type of blogger/self-publisher are you?

Some questions to ask to help you determine one blog from the next. This is a short quiz to spare you from having to read the 5,000-word essay on Presenting Blogger Archetypes that I wrote in March 2005. This essay replaces one poorly titled The Four Questions— as there are now five questions for five categories.

Intent: How is your site different from all other sites?

This article has moved to What type of blogger/self-publisher are you? — there are now more than four categories, and more than four questions.

It goes to eleven: stacking on the clutter of "citizen journalism" analysis

On Monday, Steve Outing of the Poynter Institute stacked up the eleven layers of citizen journalism. Stack may be the wrong word– that’s mine– but layers isn’t exactly right, if we are thinking about network communications layers. They’re eleven concepts used to frame a number of concepts related to the new media called citizen journalism, with some helpful examples. But it can use a little more work. Here’s my citizen additions.

Bloggers from the A-List to the Z-List

There’s been a lot of talk about the “A-List” in the blogosphere– the top bloggers who get all the attention– and this often inspires speculation about parallel B-lists and C-lists. What many people don’t know is that the designations go all the way to Z. Here is the full list:

Identity: How do you identify yourself to your audience?

There’s been many questions and opinions about what the nature of the online community of bloggers and others is composed of, and very few facts. Here I propose some basic identity questions to ask, as well as other series of questions I have posted previously. At the end I discuss some technical means for taking such a census in a sustainable fashion.

When Bloggers Make The News

There have been increasing calls for integrating bloggers as “citizen journalists” in traditional publications, based on the premise that bloggers are now making the news. This deserves further scrutiny. There’s more than meets the eye here.

Blogs: differing definitions

Don’t confuse this website with a blog. It isn’t one, even though it shares similar characteristics with them, such as recent articles with lead-ins on the front page.

Where the outrage is over Nicholas Berg’s death

Many conservative commentators have asked where the outrage is surrounding Nicholas Berg’s death. The Boston Herald editorializing on Al Gore’s MoveOn speech, began so: "He never mentioned Nicholas Berg. Or Daniel Pearl." A reader of my Civilities piece on Abu Ghraib demanded, in effect, equal outrage for Berg.


Google and the Petrification of Knowledge

I had the oppurtunity this year to tutor a high school sophomore, a girl from the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. Through the METCO program, she attends Lexington High School, 16 miles up Massachussetts Avenue into leafy subrubia. I hope I taught her a little bit about critical thinking and about creative problem solving. She taught me a thing about how the next half-generation does research. No library is necessary: it’s all on Google.

Bush Administration Fails Science, History, Logic

If you go to sleep with the radio on, you may find yourself waking up at 6am to the delightful strains of This American Life Ira Glass’s remarkable show which “documents everyday life in this country.” The show has apparently been broadcast on in this early-morning timeslot on WGBH 89.7 for the last year. (Previously it had been on in a comfortable afternoon slot, where WBUR 90.9 has it).

"Move On" — now the GOP Party Line

MoveOn had a great message, but recently it’s becoming twisted against them. Just to review the origination of the term: First they petitioned the Republican Congress to “move on” past the Clinton impeachment hearings (they failed). They revived it in urging President Bush to “move on” past the war threats on Iraq (failed again).

Since then, the GOP has blossomed into the party of no accountability. After all, accountability would be tantamount to admitting error, and admitting error would invite investigations, and that would just get in the way of the important things a government does, like wage war and cut taxes. As Dick Cheney said, in a Saturday night prepared release defending Rumsfeld: “People ought to get off his case and let him do his job.” Move on, indeed. The talking points from Republican Senators today (outside of McCain and Warner) were on that message: let’s not dwell on the past; let’s focus on the present, and the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have an incumbent President who campaigns on the same theme, to forget the past.

Words vs. Perceptions: which matter more

In my Performance Management training at work today, I learned something absolutely remarkable: words matter only 10% of what is communicated. Body language and tone account for 30% of the message, while 60% is based on perception and prior prejudices. Absolutely remarkable; I am glad I spent two days in my coworker (and fellow volleyballer) Josh Perlman’s excellent training class.

On the Issues: Mapping out the positions of elected officials

Can’t tell the politicians without a scorecard? Looking for a free online equivalent of the Elias Sports Bureau of American politics? Check out On the Issues, a website which made its debut in the 2000 Election and has continued keeping its data updated to reflect recent votes. It has vote details and issue grids for each national poltician, governor, as well as those for many challenging candidates.

Rescuing the American political grid from the unapologetic Nolan Chart

Draw two axes of American politics– social issues and economic issues. Along each axis, consider how much individual liberty . Do you want to extend civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights? Climb up the left. Loosen regulations? Climb up the right. Congratulations– you’ve come upon the “Nolan Chart”, which was devised by David Nolan, who first published it in 1971. But have you ever seen this in any political article intended for a general readership?

Bush Meets the Press

If only he be meeting the press more often. A linguistic foray into today’s Presidential interview.

Proposal for Drupal support of story types

This is a brief proposal to explain how I’d like to extend Drupal to support story types.

About Meta-commentary

Often I’ve heard “blogs” and “meta-commentary” in the same breath. I have to find some real references on this. In the meantime, I wanted to just point out that they aren’t exclusive to each other.

K-logs: the right term?

The term “k-log” is supposed to represent the next wave of knowledge management. But the term will have a tougher time flying then a lead Zeppelin.

Welcome to a Civ community

What do you call a website which features a community of people writing to each other? A BBS? A Forum? Virtual Community? We’re calling it a Civ.
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