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> How Wikipedia Puts The Existence Of A Free Press At Risk, And A Free Press Will Die, Not With A Bang, But A Wiki
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Jon Awbrey
post Tue 3rd March 2009, 4:30am
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How Wikipedia Is Putting The Existence Of A Free Press At Risk

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ 30 Jan 2009)

Wikipedia has shown us that a mass medium can be rendered so plastic and so well-leveraged that any part of it can be manipulated by a relatively small number of people, in ways that defy a free society's usual means to guard against it, so long as the special interests in question have a moderate amount of resources and the will to do so. If there are portions of the content that remain untouched, it is for two reasons only: (1) no one has conceived a stake in them yet, (2) virgin forest makes for good cover.

If you're thinking that Wikipedia is the Latest Thing in Blows Against The Empire, then you have a DoubleThink coming.

Jon Awbrey, Comment in The Guardian, 30 Jan 2009, 2:02am

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Daniel Brandt
post Tue 3rd March 2009, 2:02pm
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Along the same lines, Web 2.0 in general is increasingly perceived as a threat to society, instead of Jimbo's "bringing all of the world's information to all of the world's people."

From a CNET story by Charles Cooper that ran a couple days ago:
QUOTE
Investigative journalism: First casualty of the Net?

...

The occasion: a series of panels co-sponsored by Microsoft, Google, the Computer History Museum, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, probing "the impact of information technology on society."

...

The day started off with a rocking presentation by Joshua Cohen, a Stanford professor of political science. Alluding to the accelerating collapse of newspapers, he cautioned that the still-to-be-determined impact on the American polity will be anything but good.

"Here's where there is a big problem," he said, arguing that a "successful democratic sphere" is impossible without the information that newspapers supply. He added that "the damage is growing, and the consequences, potentially, are severe."

"Call me old-fashioned," Cohen continued, but blogging will not offer "a viable alternative" to investigative journalism. He faulted arguments that an increasingly decentralized blogosphere can fill that vacuum, a contention that he dismissed as "cyberutopianism."

"It is not only misplaced," Cohen said. "It's dangerous."

...

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Jon Awbrey
post Tue 3rd March 2009, 4:46pm
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QUOTE(Newyorkbrad @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 11:04am) *

There is widespread agreement that the increased number of closings and downsizings of conventional newspapers and magazines, largely as a result of the Internet revolution, is a serious issue. I haven't seen a case made that Wikipedia is a major contributor to this particular side effect of increased Web dependency, as contrasted with many of the other negative effects, such as the ones mentioned in my post to the "Online defamation/Slashdot" thread under "General discussion." But as illustrated by the closure of one of the two Denver newspapers last Friday after 150 years, this is a real and ongoing problem, and one with no readily apparent solution.


Let me just say what I said again, so I don't have to argue about all sorts of things I didn't say.

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ 30 Jan 2009)

Wikipedia has shown us that a mass medium can be rendered so plastic and so well-leveraged that any part of it can be manipulated by a relatively small number of people, in ways that defy a free society's usual means to guard against it, so long as the special interests in question have a moderate amount of resources and the will to do so. If there are portions of the content that remain untouched, it is for two reasons only: (1) no one has conceived a stake in them yet, (2) virgin forest makes for good cover.


This has nothing to do with the migration of journalism and scholarship into different physical media. It has to do with the undermining of acceptable standards for general information publications — one especially flag-rant example of which eschews the responsibilities that might be incurred by doing so much as calling itself a "publication", as opposed to, say, a "party line".

Hey, pretty good, a triple entendre …

Jon Awbrey
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GlassBeadGame
post Tue 3rd March 2009, 5:08pm
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QUOTE(JoseClutch @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 11:53am) *

QUOTE(Newyorkbrad @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 11:04am) *

There is widespread agreement that the increased number of closings and downsizings of conventional newspapers and magazines, largely as a result of the Internet revolution, is a serious issue. I haven't seen a case made that Wikipedia is a major contributor to this particular side effect of increased Web dependency, as contrasted with many of the other negative effects, such as the ones mentioned in my post to the "Online defamation/Slashdot" thread under "General discussion." But as illustrated by the closure of one of the two Denver newspapers last Friday after 150 years, this is a real and ongoing problem, and one with no readily apparent solution.

This assumes, of course, that it is a problem. It may be easy enough for old fogies to reminisce about the good ol' days of journalism, but most newspapers these days are not worth taking free at gunpoint. What with my budgie having died some years ago, most newspapers simply hold no value whatsoever anymore.


It is not just the change from print to internet based mediums. Newspaper, more than any other type of media, had committed resources and developed contacts needed to engage in investigative journalism. This was true of even modest mid-size city papers. Never true of local TV news, seldom for network news, even less for cable despite a "24/7 news cycle." It will be hard to tell the next time (already seriously impaired the last time) our government lies us into war with just a "news-chopper" circling around Washington. Of course all of those "Twitters" might give some new and wonderful insights.
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Daniel Brandt
post Tue 3rd March 2009, 6:34pm
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For decades, many universities in the U.S. have had journalism departments for undergrads who wanted to major in journalism. While this has been diluted since the 1960s by expanding these departments into "broadcast journalism" or "mass communications" areas of study, it still remains true that a professional journalist in print media (newspapers and magazines) is sometimes a person who can make a difference with an investigative story. Woodward and Bernstein were such a big hit in the 1970s that journalism departments became more popular.

It's also true that many print editors are willing to give their reporters a bit of freedom to develop their own stories and pursue leads on the company's dime. When a print reporter calls someone for an interview and identifies himself, the person who is called has a sense that certain standards of decency, common sense, and professionalism are a part of the mix. For example, there are standards about "off the record," "on background," "not for attribution," with the default being that everything is "on the record" as soon as the reporter identifies himself (a real name and affiliation, not a screen name!), unless there is agreement otherwise before the interview begins. Also, the person being interviewed knows that the editor and publisher of the newspaper is legally responsible.

This professional environment, which evolved over many decades, is essential for anyone who is trying to do investigative journalism. Bloggers cannot do this, and the entire framework of Wikipedia is in stark contrast to this professional environment.

My perception is that investigative journalism has been taking a dive in the U.S. ever since the Reagan era. But it wasn't until the Internet became popular that it went downhill very rapidly. Now it's just about gone, and if a few more newspapers go under, that will be the end of it.
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Jon Awbrey
post Tue 3rd March 2009, 9:28pm
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QUOTE(JoseClutch @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 4:07pm) *

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 1:34pm) *

My perception is that investigative journalism has been taking a dive in the U.S. ever since the Reagan era. But it wasn't until the Internet became popular that it went downhill very rapidly. Now it's just about gone, and if a few more newspapers go under, that will be the end of it.


I could certainly believe this. Note that essentially everyone here to thinks the loss of a lot of newspapers might be bad is at least forty. The twenties-somethings and teeners are perfectly happy to say "Well, I am sure someone else can put out a poorly spelled pack of lies in an inconvienent format without much difficulty, if that is really needed." For my money, I would rather leave the paper as trees, and hope to slightly retard global warming, in terms of "benefit to me", than print up most newspapers.

Obviously my opinions on a lot of things have changed as I have gotten older. But I do not see myself ever being anything besides contemptuous of most news sources (whether radio, TV, print) as essentially useless and wrong. Cutting the fat, bloat & crap would see (to me) to consist of axing ~95% of it. I just do not need a ten minute piece of information on the injustice of some woman who has to pay a $35 fine because her dog crapped in a park where the "pick up after your dog" sign was poorly maintained.


When I was teenager, the Networks and especially their News Organizations were still relatively independent, at least, compared to what they are today. It was a big shock to every thinking person when they got slurped up by Corpulent Giants like Disney and GE, but at least you still know who owns them, and you know that you have to Consider The Source all the more for a' that.

Kids today, who have about as much acquaintance with a Real Liberal™ as they do with a Real Library™, are thinking mostly of their own personal liberty, and how it might be liberated by a Right Of Pseudonymous Speech (ROPS). But they never get as far as computing what it will be like when Everybody Does That, especially the Corpulent Giants who have vastly more resources than all the rest of us put together to pull the ROPS around our necks.

Jon Awbrey
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EricBarbour
post Mon 16th March 2009, 2:26am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 2:28pm) *
Kids today, who have about as much acquaintance with a Real Liberal™ as they do with a Real Library™, are thinking mostly of their own personal liberty, and how it might be liberated by a Right Of Pseudonymous Speech (ROPS). But they never get as far as computing what it will be like when Everybody Does That, especially the Corpulent Giants who have vastly more resources than all the rest of us put together to pull the ROPS around our necks.

Why, it's funny, Jon. Just today I saw a Digg story that perfectly illustrates this.
It was a blatant example of a Digg story being submitted by a PR professional, for pay.
Which was only revealed when the nerds on Reddit started in......

That's the future of "journalism". Everything will be a blog, and every blog will be
bought and paid for by PR hacks and "special interests". There will be no truth, just
idiots spewing idiot opinions. With occasional corporate meddling.

This post has been edited by EricBarbour: Mon 16th March 2009, 2:31am
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Jon Awbrey
post Mon 16th March 2009, 3:16am
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QUOTE(EricBarbour @ Sun 15th March 2009, 10:26pm) *

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 2:28pm) *

Kids today, who have about as much acquaintance with a Real Liberal™ as they do with a Real Library™, are thinking mostly of their own personal liberty, and how it might be liberated by a Right Of Pseudonymous Speech (ROPS). But they never get as far as computing what it will be like when Everybody Does That, especially the Corpulent Giants who have vastly more resources than all the rest of us put together to pull the ROPS around our necks.


Why, it's funny, Jon. Just today I saw a Digg story that perfectly illustrates this.

It was a blatant example of a Digg story being submitted by a PR professional, for pay. Which was only revealed when the nerds on Reddit started in ……

That's the future of "journalism". Everything will be a blog, and every blog will be bought and paid for by PR hacks and "special interests". There will be no truth, just idiots spewing idiot opinions. With occasional corporate meddling.


Sure, it's just another variation on what Paul wrote about MP3.com in his Akahele article. The only thing "free" about it will be the ads, so why should advertisers pay for ads that are labeled as ads, when they can just "product spot" all over the Web for nothing. At least in Jimbo's case you know all the ads will be for Wikia.com — well, that and his favorite meat market of the wik.

Jon
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emesee
post Mon 16th March 2009, 3:33am
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so, what has to change?
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Jon Awbrey
post Mon 16th March 2009, 3:44am
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QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 12:46pm) *

Let me just say what I said again, so I don't have to argue about all sorts of things I didn't say.

QUOTE(Jon Awbrey @ 30 Jan 2009)

Wikipedia has shown us that a mass medium can be rendered so plastic and so well-leveraged that any part of it can be manipulated by a relatively small number of people, in ways that defy a free society's usual means to guard against it, so long as the special interests in question have a moderate amount of resources and the will to do so. If there are portions of the content that remain untouched, it is for two reasons only: (1) no one has conceived a stake in them yet, (2) virgin forest makes for good cover.


This has nothing to do with the migration of journalism and scholarship into different physical media. It has to do with the undermining of acceptable standards for information and knowledge publications — one especially flag-rant example of which eschews the responsibilities that might be incurred by doing so much as calling itself a "publication", as opposed to, say, a "party line".

Hey, pretty good, a triple entendre …

Jon Awbrey

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Rhindle
post Mon 16th March 2009, 5:07pm
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I wonder what Neil Postman would say about wikipedia and web 2.0 in general.

QUOTE
Information has become a form of garbage, not only incapable of answering the most fundamental human questions but barely useful in providing coherent direction to the solution of even mundane problems
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Milton Roe
post Mon 16th March 2009, 7:23pm
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QUOTE(Rhindle @ Mon 16th March 2009, 10:07am) *

I wonder what Neil Postman would say about wikipedia and web 2.0 in general.

QUOTE
Information has become a form of garbage, not only incapable of answering the most fundamental human questions but barely useful in providing coherent direction to the solution of even mundane problems


I believe he is talking about unprocessed, semi-processed, or mal-processed information. And of course it's something like semi-processed garbage. Doing anything really right takes work, and not all information-processing work can be chopped, diced, packetted, and parcelled out for people to do it for free in their spare time. Yet.

So what you get is sort of like turning sewage into graywater. It's amazing that it works at all! You can put it on your lawn! Just don't drink.
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Jon Awbrey
post Tue 17th March 2009, 2:34am
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QUOTE(Rhindle @ Mon 16th March 2009, 1:07pm) *

I wonder what Neil Postman would say about wikipedia and web 2.0 in general.

QUOTE

Information has become a form of garbage, not only incapable of answering the most fundamental human questions but barely useful in providing coherent direction to the solution of even mundane problems



Data In Gargage Out (DIGO) is a persistent phenomenon, perhaps irresistible in the end — intelligence in the universe has always been a Sisyphean struggle to push the cornerstones of the mind down the hill of rising entropy — but there are specific factors that have risen to prominence with the onset of Usenet and its more obstreperous spawn, Wikipedia.

For some odd reason whose cause I don't know, except perhaps their own massive ignorance of where anyone else is coming from, Wikipediots act like anyone who points out the specific defects of Wikipedia must have some kind of nostalgia for the smell of greaseprint and parchment. They talk as though pointing out flaws in Wikipedia can only be due to a horror of all IT. But this is just a projection from their own Wikipedia Is The Only Game In Town (WITOGIT) complex, and it doesn't really apply to anyone else. The truth is, Wikipediots are falling more and more behind the curve when it comes to thinking about the real future of IT, prospects and perils both, precisely because their diehard fixation on a single model has rendered them incapable of making comparative, critical, reflective surveys of alternative futures.

Jon Awbrey
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Selina
post Tue 17th March 2009, 11:57am
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I think proper news organisations can capitalise from the web still - I think most people realise that bloggers can be just about anyone (competitors, marketers) masquerading, there's no oversight, so there's never going to be people getting all their news from blogs.

Newspapers just need to become web-papers that's it really smile.gif

I think BBC News is the best example of news moving to the web though just about every paper publishes it's articles online now too; telegraph.co.uk guardian.co.uk dailymail.co.uk etcetc
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Jon Awbrey
post Tue 17th March 2009, 12:20pm
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QUOTE(Selina @ Tue 17th March 2009, 7:57am) *

I think proper news organisations can capitalise from the web still - I think most people realise that bloggers can be just about anyone (competitors, marketers) masquerading, there's no oversight, so there's never going to be people getting all their news from blogs.

Newspapers just need to become web-papers that's it really smile.gif

I think BBC News is the best example of news moving to the web though just about every paper publishes it's articles online now too; telegraph.co.uk guardian.co.uk dailymail.co.uk etcetc


There are lots of online journals, many of them free, and there is nothing about moving to a new medium that forced any of them to start using Phony Name Authors with Multiple Personality Disorders or ArbClowns instead of Editors. Those debasements of accountability are bad habits that Wikipedia imported from Usenet and Chatville in general.

The website and newsletter of the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) are good resources for following developments in the Open Access movement.

http://www.arl.org/sparc/

http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/03-02-09.htm

Jon
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Jon Awbrey
post Fri 29th October 2010, 11:50pm
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Periodic Reminder —

For all the nøøbs …

And nøøbs @

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Peter Damian
post Sat 30th October 2010, 9:57am
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I'm afraid you gentlemen are just showing encyclopedic anxiety.

http://networkcultures.org/wpmu/cpov/lang/...opedic-anxiety/
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It's the blimp, Frank
post Sat 30th October 2010, 6:05pm
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QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 5:08pm) *

Newspaper, more than any other type of media, had committed resources and developed contacts needed to engage in investigative journalism. This was true of even modest mid-size city papers.

QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 6:34pm) *

When a print reporter calls someone for an interview and identifies himself, the person who is called has a sense that certain standards of decency, common sense, and professionalism are a part of the mix.
Let's not forget that the cartelization of these papers was already well underway 30 years ago, and they had become the mouthpieces of people like Katherine Graham, Sun Myung Moon, and Rupert Murdoch.
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Jon Awbrey
post Sun 31st October 2010, 1:25am
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QUOTE(It's the blimp, Frank @ Sat 30th October 2010, 2:05pm) *

QUOTE(GlassBeadGame @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 5:08pm) *

Newspaper, more than any other type of media, had committed resources and developed contacts needed to engage in investigative journalism. This was true of even modest mid-size city papers.


QUOTE(Daniel Brandt @ Tue 3rd March 2009, 6:34pm) *

When a print reporter calls someone for an interview and identifies himself, the person who is called has a sense that certain standards of decency, common sense, and professionalism are a part of the mix.


Let's not forget that the cartelization of these papers was already well underway 30 years ago, and they had become the mouthpieces of people like Katherine Graham, Sun Myung Moon, and Rupert Murdoch.


I think we all know how bad things had already gotten.

I don't think that's an argument for letting it get worse.

Jon hrmph.gif
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Larry Sanger
post Wed 3rd November 2010, 3:21am
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There is this thing called supply and demand, see. As long as there is a demand for credible news, and as long as there are enough people who do not find the average blog to be credible, there will be a market and hence a supply. The supply might be lower, but there's going to be a significant supply. And if somehow we can arrange for the demand for credible news to be to satisified without many people getting paid, well--great!

If there is anything to worry about, it is that not enough people will demand what I consider to be credible news.

But I'm guessing there are.
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