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Online News Judged as Reliable as Newspapers

Submitted by Steve Hanson on Thu, 03/05/2009 – 11:11am

recent Rasmussen Reports Survey indicates that most people now believe that online news sources are at least as reliable as newspapers.  Notably, it also reports that only 30% of adults read a paper almost every day, and that among younger people the rate is half that.

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Americans say they go online and use the Internet every day or nearly every day, and most of those adults now find online reporting comparable to that in their local newspaper. Seventy-four percent (74%) of these daily Internet users say that reporting from web sources is at least somewhat reliable while 69% say the same about local newspaper reporting.



My Father

Submitted by sharkscott on Thu, 03/05/2009 – 11:54am.

My Father, a self professed “I don’t really use computers for anything” guy, is now going online to get the news when he is travelling or out of town, and it has caused him to actually put a computer on his desk at home now because he can get the news he wants faster and easier than sifting through the paper.

I asked him if he can see any difference in the quality, he didn’t understand what I meant..and there was my answer. To him, there is no difference.

He does understand that not every site is as good as every other, but to him that falls right in line with being choosy with what, who and where you get your news from. Which he does/did with regular media before going online.

When someone like my Dad switches over to reading the news online and either doesn’t care or doesn’t notice any difference quality, that says everything to me. My Father may not be technologically savvy, but he is one of the smartest people I have ever known and if he doesn’t see a difference, then there really must not be that big of one.


Journalism News, JTM News

Software as a Service? Know Who’s Servicing You!

Submitted by Steve Hanson on Fri, 02/20/2009 – 11:09am

As a group, we’re seeing a lot of interest in different platforms for news sites, and general issues about Software as a Service providers. Some recent developments are making it clear that a little caution in choosing a provider is in order, as many sub-par providers are having trouble dealing with their own success and providing sufficient infrastructure.

One example has been the SoapBlox platform. SoapBlox is a very nice turnkey platform, primarily used by progressive political web sites.  A short while back, one of the SoapBlox servers crashed, and the one-man-shop owner made a dramatic announcement that he was throwing in the toweland was going to drop his service.  This turned out to be a rash reaction to a long-term financial struggle for the service, but it threw the progressive blogging community into a tizzy over the possibility of losing a favored platform. A big fundraising effort took place, raising money to fund the company and to improve its infrastructure (backups, anyone??).

More recently, portable book mark provider ma.gnolia fell down and could not get up.  Again, it turns out that this was a very minimally built service, which seems to have kept no backups and had no disaster recovery plan. Attempts to recover the saved bookmarks have apparently failed, and the service is gone, along with all the data.

I’ll grant you that I am sensitive to these issues. Back in the days when I had a reasonable income, I worked largely as a backup and disaster recovery consultant.  And I find it hard to believe that so many companies are providing services that are giving next to no thought to robustness and disaster recovery. But this is undoubtedly just the tip of the iceberg.

So – why am I ranting about this? The world is currently full of news entrepreneurs who are building platforms and services and many of the people reading this site are potential customers.  Please consider that behind the lovely features, graphics, and googly-woogly widgets these companies are providing, there is an underlying infrastructure, and you should care about that too.  Do they do backups?  Can they recover when a server falls on its face?  Do they provide uptime guarantees?  Do you trust and believe them? Ask questions now, before it’s too late.

Journalism News, JTM News

Large Parts of Progressive News Infrastructure Hacked

Submitted by Steve Hanson on Wed, 01/07/2009 – 9:48am

A large part of the U.S. progressive blogging infrastucture was hacked overnight and is currently down or defaced.  Many of the blogs in the 50-State Blog Network are hosted on the SoapBlox platform.  At least one of the SoapBlox servers was hacked overnight, and the sites hosted on that server have been defaced or are down currently.  This includes sites such as

Blue Hampshire
Blue Jersey
Blue Mass Group
MN Progressive Project
My Left Wing (site loads w/o diaries)
Never in our Names
Pam’s House Blend
Swing State Project
West Michigan Rising

Personally I have always thought that having large amounts of the progressive infrastructure hosted with one small company was a mistake, which is why we’ve developed Uppity Wisconsin on it’s own open-source platform, Drupal.

Our condolences go out to the various sites that are down, and we hope they’ll recover soon.

Journalism News, JTM News

Pew Reports Internet News Now More Popular Than Print

Submitted by Steve Hanson on Sat, 12/27/2008 – 8:55am

The yearly survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reports that for the first time, more people rely on the Internet (40%) as their primary news source than newspapers (35%).

Currently, 40% say they get most of their news about national and
international issues from the internet, up from just 24% in September
2007. For the first time in a Pew survey, more people say they rely
mostly on the internet for news than cite newspapers (35%). Television
continues to be cited most frequently as a main source for national and
international news, at 70%.

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Indymedia and News Challenge Kerfuffle

Submitted by Steve Hanson on Mon, 12/01/2008 – 1:16pm

I ran across this interesting article today, which outlines some of the tension that naturally exists between some new media outlets and funding from more traditional-media-related benefactors.

Indymedia refuses to be co-opted by the Knight Foundation

A $200,000 grant proposal, submitted by a group of Indymedia volunteers
to the Knight News Challenge contest, has been blocked by other IMCs
and subsequently dropped due to the abiding ethos that Indymedia is a
counter to corporate, money-fiaxted media entities. The grant
application to the Knight Foundation was to fund technical development
work for Independent Media Centres (IMCs), also known as Indymedia, and
has caused much controversy within the global network. The debate has
also encapsulated, once again, the thorny issue of how to sustain
radical projects without compromising that radicalism by accepting
tainted money.