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Journalism Braindump, and Other Oddities


Tonight, there was a gathering of great journalistic minds at an event called New Media, New Standards? Ethics in Online Journalism. There were old white guys, young white guys, in-between white guys, young women holding microphones, super old crazy white guys, and my friend Erica from Metroblogging.

Okay, that's not really fair. White guys often dominate discussion at these sorts of events. Indeed, The UpTake is full of white guys and we're trying to change that. The real issue is perhaps this: If you let the chattering classes in the door, the bastards will chat about you!

That's the vibe I get from the moderator of this event, Minnesota Public Radio's Bob Collins. And he's right, in a way - bloggers of all stripes will get catty in the backchannel when they sure could speak up at the event. But honestly, a lot of the air was sucked out of the room in the first 30 minutes, and the format heavily favored the two gentlemen on stage. A representative from the Society of Professional Journalists admitted (on camera) that this was the first time they'd ever attempted an event like this. So, hats off to them for trying. There was some good discussion. Get these growing pains out of the way now, and get some thick skin for those stinging blogger barbs.

The consensus is that this event should've been more of a roundtable. We honestly don't need Dan Gillmor to have these conversations. I tell you who we do need: Jason DeRusha and Mary Lahammer. Did you know? I helped TPT's Mary Lahammer start her blog way back in 2003. Almanac and Lahammer are pillars of local journalism and exemplify what a fair, ethical news operation should be. Meanwhile DeRusha has quickly become our generation's Dave Moore. He effortlessly blends his traditional news background with a personable delivery. He's in touch with what's going on and what people are saying because he uses every new media tool imaginable. DeRusha is fresh, authentic and accessible like few on-air talents.

MPR's Bob Collins is absolutely the right guy to moderate some of these discussions. Bob rightly laments the lack of passion in professional journalism. He's passionate and puts his personality into his news coverage, both on his blog and chatting with Mary Lucia on 89.3 The Current. I think Bob was unfairly maligned in the "thanks, no. bob" incident. Perhaps we need to make a "Is Bob Collins a prick?" wiki. JUST KIDDING! The guy beat me in arm wrestling, I'm nursing a sore arm/ego over here.

ANYWAY, BACK TO ME. The Rake (RIP) has an informal, i.e. inaccurate, survey of where people get their news locally. For some reason, this here blog is on the list, and in fact ranks higher than WCCO. Clearly, these people are retarded. I just bought some journalism books, so maybe there will be awesome news-making here someday. We actually do kinda make news over at The UpTake, so please go there instead and for fuck's sake turn on your television on watch WCCO once in awhile. They're getting paid!

RANDOM NAME-DROPPING: I talked to Steve Perry about his new gig running the Minnesota Monitor. What was the word he used... oh yes, clusterfuck. But I get the feeling he relishes the challenge of sheparding MinMon's operation into it's next evolution. There were many other familiar favorite faces: Melody Gilbert, Nikki Tundel, Bob Moffit, Garrick Van Buren, the Metroblogging kids. Finally, due to a St. Paul parking ramp closing at 8pm and related calamities, Noah Kunin and I got a ride home from David Brauer. I can't say enough nice things about this guy. He's definitely one reason I'll stay hooked into MinnPost, along with some interesting arts coverage over there lately.

ONE LAST PLUG: Julio Ojeda-Zapata, a Puerto Rico-native and all-around Journalist 2.0, wrote a great article about The UpTake's use of new technology. Technology A to Z: With easy, affordable tools, anyone can be a video journalist. I'm especially grateful Julio appreciates not just the tools, but the tone. I'd say the issue I most struggle with in creating citizen journalism videos is the tone.

Olsen's brand of reporting doesn't hew to traditional journalistic standards (network correspondents would never speed up a national politician's speech, for instance). You'll see him pretend to disrobe in one video, swear in another segment, and flit aside a Red Bull can strewn alongside a seemingly unconscious fellow UpTake member. Don't hold your breath waiting for Diane Sawyer to do anything like that.

February 26, 2008 at 03:20 AM in Media, The Uptake | Permalink | Comments (26)

God in Our Governments: RAW & UNCUT

The UpTake's "We Need God in Our Governments" video of fundamentalists in Lynchburg, Tennessee has generated a firestorm of interest and heated discussion. Here's almost all of the raw footage, where I ask them about the fabled separation of Church & State, and the fact that our country was founded upon religious freedom.

As I've stated elsewhere: These are good people - some of the nicest folks I've ever met in my life.

Their views are often misguided or worse, and they seem almost impervious to information outside their close-knit religious community, which is frightening. However, piling hatred on them, or dismissing them as ignorant hicks, does no good.

These folks believe they're doing what's right for them in the context of their moral framework. Of course that's miles away from the progressive moral framework. Perhaps someone should give the young girl a laptop with an EVDO card so she might have access to other ideas outside the bubble of Lynchburg, TN.

This is the smartest comment I've seen about the people in this video.

February 20, 2008 at 09:25 PM in The Uptake, Thought Candy, VIDEO | Permalink | Comments (5)

LP obsession

yr my obsession

* genius

February 19, 2008 at 01:25 AM in Art/Design | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Media, Journalism, Bob Collins, Oh My!


Professional journalists build credibility through accurate, timely re- porting and adherence to clear ethical standards. But how much do the traditional journalistic touchstones of vetting sources and fair and transparent reporting matter at a time when anyone with a cell phone can publish images instantly for the entire world to see?

The Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists and Minnesota Public Radio’s UBS Forum offer an examination of where online journalism is and where it’s going.  Host Bob Collins, the creator of MPR’s News Cut blog will be joined by Dan Gillmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School for Journalism and Mass Communications.  The forum also includes a stable of ethics ex- perts, bloggers, editors and reporters to help guide the audience to a better understanding of what’s possible and what’s at stake.

This event is FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC, but REGISTRATION is required.   
Register TODAY at: www.MNSPJ.ORG

I will be there with THE UPTAKE as a "contributing expert."

That's right, I said I will publicly arm wrestle MPR's Bob Collins.

February 14, 2008 at 12:16 PM in The Uptake | Permalink | Comments (1)

The UpTake featured in Pioneer Press


High-tech citizen journalists innovate political reporting

During this week's Super Tuesday, Minneapolis video reporter Chuck Olsen co-anchored a live broadcast that fed online viewers a steady stream of primary and caucus dispatches from around the country. But unlike Diane Sawyer and other network big shots, Olsen had no swanky TV news set or high-tech entourage. [He was] in a New Orleans bar near Bourbon Street, sitting by a couple dressed as Adam and Eve for Mardi Gras, speaking into his laptop's videocam as a part of a webcast seen on the UpTake home page (theuptake.org).

Thanks Julio for writing about our envelope-pushing citizen coverage of this election. Julio posted links to a number of recent stories related to the article, from our Iowa caucus coverage, to Steve Garfield in New Hampshire and my recent Southern Fried Road Trip. Of all these videos - and there are many, produced by people coast-to-coast - the video that has impacted me the most and generated the most discussion is "We need God in our governments":

It's videos like this that make me absolutely LOVE what I'm doing with The UpTake. These folks are about as far away from horse race coverage as you can get, and yet they are very much a part of America and this election. They, and others I interviewed, made it worth the 3500 mile drive alone, shooting and editing on the road with my MacBook Pro and EVDO card, running out of gas in Iowa, and spraining my ankle in St. Louis.

Here are more videos I shot and edited on the road leading up to Super Duper Fat Tuesday:

Iowa resident blames the media

St. Louis: What Does America Need?

Alabama Politics 101

Executive Search: Bloomberg, Gingrich, Gore?

February 9, 2008 at 08:44 PM in The Uptake | Permalink | Comments (7)