Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Are Bloggers Journalists? or Does Receiving Stolen Property Equal News Gathering?

David Chen blogs for Gizmodo, a tech blog, and he recently posted pictures of a next-generation iPhone that he somehow acquired on that blog. Last Friday, investigators came to his house with a warrant for his computer, saying that it was used in a felony connected to illegally obtaining that iPhone. Chen and the folks who own Gizmodo are saying he is a journalist and therefor his property is protected under the first amendment.

A number of news stories are framing this incident as a legal question of whether or not Chen has protection under the Shields Law, which prevents a journalist from revealing anonymous sources. I agree with some legal experts, however, that this might be more of a receiving stolen property question. The Awl's Choire Sicha writes, "The reporter shield law, ... might not be germane—if the police are investigating the editor himself as the person who committed the felony. ... maybe you're going to find out that journalism and/or blogging is totally incidental to what happened here."

While I do think there will ultimately be court cases that attempt to settle whether bloggers count as journalists, I don't think this will be the case that tests those waters. There seems to be the larger issue of whether or not Chen knew he was receiving stolen property when he got that iPhone prototype and until that is cleared up, I don't see this case addressing the "Are bloggers journalists?" question.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Come on in -- The World Bank is Open!

Journalists writing international stories and the researchers who support them, rejoice!

It was just announced today that the World Bank is opening up its data archive and putting up a new website to house all of it. According to an article by Mathew Ingram of the business blog Gigaom, "The data at the World Bank site includes more than 2,000 indicators related to economic well-being and global development, including some that the agency has been accumulating for 50 years."

There looks to be a ton of great stuff in this archive. For example, you can find out how many patent applications were submitted by Bulgarian residents in 2008 and which countries have the highest life expectancy. On top of this, the archive lists the sources for the data so you know where all of it comes from. I can't wait to keep digging in this archive!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Welcome to the New Books!

As this academic year winds down, I want to highlight some of the new communication books that we've added to the Cook Library collection. While some books were ordered because they were requested by faculty members, I also requested other books to help beef up our collection in some key areas, namely global communication and Web 2.0. I also wanted to expand the number of books with graduate level scholarship.

So without further ado, here are some of the newbies:
  1. International media communication in a global age (Call Number: PN4784.F6 I583 2010)
  2. International communications strategy: developments in cross-cultural communications, PR and social media (Call Number: HM1211 .C36 2009)
  3. Advertising 2.0: Social Media Marketing in a Web 2.0 (Call Number: HF6146.I58 T88 2008)
Enjoy :-)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Where is the media middle?

John Douthat wrote a column in the New York Times a few days ago asking the question, "Can CNN be saved?" He basically contends that CNN's decision in 2004 to pull contentious shows like "Crossfire" in favor of more middle-of-the-road news programming has killed them in the everyday ratings. Douthat wants CNN to be more like John Stewart on "The Daily Show" and have more "lengthy, respectful and often riveting" debates.

But the research out there on selective exposure makes me wonder if Douthat's strategy would save CNN. Dr. Diana Mutz of the University of Pennsylvania noted in a paper for the Brookings Institute that "selective exposure is alive and well" with Republicans choosing Fox News and Democrats choosing NPR. Mutz goes on to argue that this selective exposure polarizes the electorate because those in the middle become disenchanted with politics and are less likely to participate. So this leads me to ask: If the middle is shrinking and that's where CNN sits, will there be anyone to even watch CNN's new "riveting" programming?