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Monday, May 31, 2004

Bertrand Pecquerie and colleagues at World Editors Forum are blogging furiously from Istanbul, where the World Newspaper Congress and the forum are meeting this week, with online news a theme of the proceedings.

For example, one item quotes Ansssi Vanjoki, a Nokia vice president, saying, "Blogging will evolve to become mainstream," and predicting that (surprise) mobile phones will play a large role in updating blogs "on the go." More topics from the meeting:

8:53:28 PM    comment []

Daniel Okrent, ombudsman for The New York Times, says he didn't know Times editors were at work on their own investigation of the paper's contribution to overblown fears about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq until he proposed a similar column of his own on the topic.

That column appeared this weekend, refocused to include his assessment of Wednesday's "From the Editors" material.

Okrent's conclusion is that the editors' note was a good step, if underplayed, and that The Times needs even more "aggressively reported stories detailing the misinformation, disinformation and suspect analysis that led virtually the entire world to believe Hussein had W.M.D. at his disposal. No one can deny that this was a drama in which The Times played a role."

The Transparency Era at the New York Times is also the topic of Jay Rosen's weblog this week, drawing parallels between this latest Times self-assessment and the case of Wen Ho Lee four years ago. "It seemed inexplicable. No correction, no apology. Then, as now, the editors had seen a case collapse. Then, as now, critics had long called for an accounting," Rosen says.

1:51:03 PM    comment []

Jessica Baumgart's collection of  Resources for and about News Librarianship is something journalists and journalism students should take a look at -- to get an idea of the knowledge, services and terrific people available in a modern news organization's research library.

When I started as a reporter, we still had manual typewriters, and we had barely stopped calling that room behind the photo lab "the morgue." It was "the library," but  it still had a morguelike character... dusty shelves and long coffinlike  file drawers full of brown envelopes holding yellowing clippings of news stories or index cards, hand-written in elegant penmanship from 50 or 100 years ago. This was, after all, "The nation's oldest newspaper of continuous publication."

But then, around the same time that the first computer terminals appeared in the newsroom, The Hartford Courant hired a real librarian with an ALA-accredited library science degree (something that goes farther than a Ph.D. in some circles), and she set about turning that dusty back room into more of a resource.

The same thing happened at hundreds of newspapers over the past 25 years -- moving out of the "dead clips" morgue and into the world of "news research," online databases and support for journalists' news-gathering efforts.  Barbara Semonche at the University of North Carolina taught me a lot about that, as did Teresa Leonard and colleagues at the News & Observer.  (That last link shows the part the research staff played in investigative reporting that led to a Pulitzer Prize.)
12:47:27 PM    comment []

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