bankrupt of originality
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Aggregation is Plagiarism

On March 15, 2011, I started the post you now read with a headline left unanswered: “Is Aggregation Really Just Plagiarism?” Clearly, my answer—too long coming—is “Yes”. Unequivocally, news aggregation is plain, pure plagiarism.

Google enables, no encourages, content thieves, despite recent search engine penalizing strategies. Too often, the big G raps sites because of links to black-listed blogs. The problem is bigger: Mainstream blogs writing synopsis stories that include absolutely no original reporting but take away pageviews from the news site doing the real work.[Read more]

Trains Collide
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When Media Values Collide

Overnight, I came out against my colleague’s story “New Mozilla CEO is allegedly anti-gay marriage—Firefox developers boycott” . Had I been editor on duty, the story wouldn’t have run, not because of the topic but the sourcing. However, response to the post—820 comments as I write—raises an interesting quandary about the cultural clash between old and new media.

Reader response is explosive, and comments are much more interesting reading than the story (no offense to buddy Brian Fagioli). Commenters largely fall into two opposing camps—those complaining about societal constraints on free speech and others disgusted by Mozilla’s CEO being allegedly anti-gay marriage.  The polarized ends, and even some discussion between them, is fascinating snapshot about freedom, community, and human rights—one person’s personal versus those of the larger group.[Read more]

Enterprise
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News Gatherers, don’t violate ‘The Prime Directive’

There is a very good reason why in my book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers that I identify The Prime Directive (yeah, like “Star Trek”): “Write what you know to be true in the moment”. Last night, one of my BetaNews colleagues violated this sacrosanct rule. I berated him privately, now publicly.

The story: “New Mozilla CEO is allegedly anti-gay marriage—Firefox developers boycott“. Had someone consulted me, the story wouldn’t have run (and the reporter did try to reach me). The problem is fundamentally one of sourcing. Four years ago, in post “The Difference between Blogging and Journalism“, I laid out the fundamental sourcing philosophy behind The Prime Directive. Excerpt:[Read more]

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Affirmatively Advocate Counterpoints

Earlier today I explained my recent “Chilling Chromebook” writing approach, which seemingly contradicts my more pro position taken throughout 2013. Simply stated: My stance seeks to counterbalance sudden media fan frenzy—bloggers and journalists relating the same points of view because they think it’s vogue. There is too much me-too enthusiasm, rather than real reporting.

The recent rah-rah rash of “Chromebook is better than sliced bread” blog posts and news stories represent two types of contextually-relevant journalisms: advocacy and mob. Both get considerable treatment in my new book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers.[Read more]