Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog
Explorations of personal and community journalism...
Traditional, Alternative, Online...
The new TAO of newspapers?

Subscribe to "Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog" in Radio UserLand.

Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Nothing like a weekend away from home to cause some pileup in the mailboxes (paper and e-mail), and a backlog of news and blog items from the RSS aggregator. The good news is that the technology lets me know what I missed. That's also the bad news... along with the temptation to try to catch up.

The bunch of indented items below are mostly verbatim from the aggregator... I don't like to send out "unfiltered" news like that unless I trust the source. I may get back to adding comments or extra links as I read the stories myself, depending on the progress of other reading and writing, and a lovely spring head cold. I've already noticed one item that seemed shaky, checked the source, and added a flush-left comment on top.

Sigh... "Bloglines" says I only have 95,000 more new articles in my most-oversubscribed aggregator. (Cancelling many of those subscriptions is on the "to-do" list, too.)

5:03:48 PM    comment []

IBM Paper Sees Radical Media Changes by 2010. Leonard Witt of PJNet says, "IBM now has its equivalent of the Media Center's We Media report, but the IBM's Media and Entertainment 2010 white paper is way more radical in its thinking. It predicts by 2010 we'll have wide open media, reacting quickly and nimbly in a digital world of micropayments." His blog includes excerpts from 44 page report. [PJ Net]

4:57:57 PM    comment []

Journalistic Transparency, or Something Else. Dan Gillmor, with numerous updates, blogs about the ProfNet service, which "lets journalists send a blind e-mail query to battalions of professors and other self-defined experts," about publication of some of those search inquiries, and about "the question of journalistic transparency. We're a black box, but its workings just got revealed, in a small way. "[Dan Gillmor's eJournal]

4:38:19 PM    comment []

To Woo Impatient Novices, Google Tweaks Its Blogger. You might call it the Yahooing of Google. Seeking to build on the popularity of its Web search tool, Google has added features and worked to make others more appealing to non-techies. It recently rolled out a streamlined version of Blogger (, one of the most popular services for publishing the online journals known as Web logs. By David F. Gallagher. [New York Times: Technology]

4:32:16 PM    comment []

Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Has Hollywood Buzzing (Reuters). Reuters - The White House calls the film "outrageously false," but Hollywood is hot for "Fahrenheit 9/11," documentary filmmaker Michael Moore's caustic broadside at President Bush. [Yahoo! News - Most Emailed]

4:30:23 PM    comment []

Gates backs blogs for businesses. Microsoft boss Bill Gates highlights the benefits of blogs in a speech to top business leaders. [BBC News | Technology | World Edition]

4:27:55 PM    comment []

Camera / Iraq. From John Schott: "Camera / Iraq is a new website created to gather materials and perspectives about photography and the Iraq War of Images. The site began in response to the pictures from Abu Ghraib, but is growing in new directions daily. It's focus is on visual images and their uses, rather than general debate about the war. The goal is to create a community-built resource for research and commentary." [Link to Camera / Iraq] [Smart Mobs]

4:21:22 PM    comment []

Rumsfeld bans camera phones in Iraq? This terribly brief item is getting plenty of blog commentary, but should it? The source, Agence France Press, starts out with an already third-hand account that should make anyone doubt its accuracy. (See the updated information at the end of this item and here.)
  • First, if you trust the punctuation, AFP got the story from a London newspaper named "The Business," which I've never heard of. Or maybe it came from an unnamed "business newspaper."
  • Second, the story says the newspaper quoted an anonymous "Pentagon source." (I assume there are written policies about use of cameras and communication devices by members of the armed services that could be cited in such a story, explaining what policy had been issued or changed.)
  • Third, there's no detail at all, just three sentences before the "background info" starts. Unless this is old news I missed, I'd expect a "smoking gun" memo to have turned up at the Washington Post or New York Times by now.
Comments on the SmartMobs blog, below, and on Joi Ito's blog, suggest someone may have taken a piece of satire as real news. Even if "The Business" is a legitimate newspaper, the story was filed on a Sunday; even at a professional news organization, weekend and holiday datelines always say to me, "Danger! Sleepy part-time second-string staff on duty, possibly under pressure to fill space on a slow news day."

Rumsfeld bans camera phones in Iraq. AFP reports that the Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered the ban of cellphones equipped with cameras in US army installations in Iraq. Link.[Smart Mobs]

More info (added 5/26) digging backwards for better information:

While the prisoner-abuse photos from Iraq and cellphone cameras are new, and the combination seems like something that might cause the military to impose restrictions, the issue of personal photos and Web publishing have been discussed in military circles in the past. See this 2003 article in an Air Force newspaper, quoting a Lt. Col. Brieuc Bloxam, Air Force operations security program manager, about the risk that personal photos posted to the Web could create security problems or propaganda opportunities for an enemy:

"At present, there is nothing that says I can't take personal photos with my personal camera and post them," Bloxam said. "But when you post something on the Web, you're posting to the world, and you don't control who has access to the information you're posting. You're open to threat, and you may put others at risk in the same way."
In a recent case, Bloxam said, personal photos taken by an airman and placed on a personal Web site were downloaded and placed on an anti-American site. What began as "I was here" photos for friends and family became propaganda material used by an adversary. [Travis AFB Tailwind]

The same 15-month-old article quotes a Lt. Col. Timothy W. Murphy, identified as "chief of the command doctrine and employee law branch in the office of the Air Force Judge Advocate General," saying that commanders with security concerns could curtail Web or e-mail access, or say "no pictures."

Here's a Washington Post story from February on Air Force concerns about photo phones and PDAs.

The BBC covered the spread of disturbing images from Iraq on May 8, including how disturbed Rumsfeld was at people "running around with digital cameras and taking these unbelievable photographs." The BBC, unlike AFP, actually named its source on the lack of military policy:

...spokesman for US Central Command in Iraq, Lt Cdr Nick Balice, told BBC News Online: "Certainly the use of digital cameras and the internet provides methods of communicating that did not exist prior. As far as I know, there is not a policy that covers theatre-wide with regards to digital cameras. It depends on what area they are in - there may be restrictions, such as along flight lines or within secure areas." [BBC News]

Knight Ridder newspapers has a May 16 overview story (free registration required), saying "Yet no official rules have been released in the year-plus invasion of Iraq governing the use of cameras, or restricting specifically what soldiers may or may not photograph. No one reviews the photos before they are filed across the Internet."

Similarly, see Amy Harmon's New York Times piece from May 14, "New technology loosens controls over images of war."

J.D. Lasica also has been blogging on reactions to the original AFP news item, including the Knight Ridder link above.

Meanwhile, Xeni Jardin, whose blog used the original AFP bit on Monday, has updated the Boing Boing blog item, adding a link to a jargon-filled Defense Department PDF file on wireless communication restrictions issued last month, and a comment from an unidentified "Defense Department spokesperson" saying the AFP phonecam ban report was technically inaccurate.

So what really has or hasn't been banned? And has anyone seen that original London story that caught AFP's attention on Sunday?

4:18:44 PM    comment []

Survey offers profile of first Massachusetts gay marriages. Scott S. Greenberger and Bill Dedman of The Boston Globe organized a survey of 752 same-sex couples who applied for marriage licenses on May 17, the first day they were available in Massachusetts. "Two-thirds of the gays who applied for... [Extra! Extra!]

4:02:24 PM    comment []

Jay McCarthy has been part of the Harvard blogging scene for the past year and coordinated a lot of the community networking (WiFi, webcast, etc.) for the Bloggercon convention this spring.

(I've mentioned him elsewhere as an example of a prolific blogger making creative use of RSS aggregators to somehow keep on top of more than 1000 weblogs.)

His family home burned down this weekend. All family members got out OK, as did Jay and the laptop he blogs with... So of course he blogged about the experience while watching the fire:

Lisa Williams, another Thursday night regular, has started a fund-raising campaign online, complete with PayPal contributions, sort of the blogger equivalent of an old neighborhood barn-raising.

Meanwhile, back on Jay's own blog, the automated Google ads for his first-person fire story are selling smoke alarms and related equipment. Eerie.

12:35:54 PM    comment []

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website. © Copyright 2008 Bob Stepno.
Last update: 7/19/08; 12:57:20 PM.
May 2004
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          
Apr   Jun