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  • Mitch Harper, editor [contact via email]

    Original content, commentary and analysis © 2005 - 2016 Fort Wayne Observed

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Comments

Andy Borgmann

Ahh...the Hunt Club. The location of my first paper route when I was in 4th grade.

Glad to hear everything worked out ok. You knew there would be some issue like this eventually with the incorporation of Aboite - hopefully there isn't too much fall out from it.

John Wonderly

The Chief mentions Aqua Indiana quite a bit. Did they actually have anything to do with this event?

Karen Goldner

I thought it was interesting that in the Journal's story on this topic this morning, they sourced "an e-mail sent to Councilman Harper" but never FWOb! Unless you forwarded the e-mail to the reporter, Mitch, I assume that they saw it on the blog.

Ed. note: Well, Karen, interesting that you should comment on that.

I don't know that it was important that the weblog be credited. The FWOb was simply a visual copy and publication of correspondence relating to a matter of public concern.

However, the legacy media's contortions regarding weblogs resulted in a strange inconvenience.

The Journal Gazette's Rebecca Green called me yesterday on my cell phone to ask questions for the story. I was at the City-County Building at the time and nowhere near a computer terminal.

At one point, I said that I had sent a letter at noon the day before and had received a detailed response from Chief Kelly that she could view.

Ms. Green said she was aware of the letter and had seen it on FWOb.

She then asked whether I could forward the letter and response by email. I replied that I was not at a computer terminal but that she could easily copy and paste from the FWOb website.

She replied that she would prefer that the JG be sent an email of the letter and response from myself or the Chief.

I chuckled and said that I could vouch that the letter and response as published was accurate and true with the exception of one minor punctuation edit.

She then said that the JG had an "ethics" policy that the newspaper couldn't use material from weblogs. I think the implication intended was that was so the newspaper would not run afoul of copyright claims or something.

However, I chuckled again, and said that I think the policy was a little more geared to avoid having to credit local weblogs when stories have clearly originated on a local blog.

She didn't really respond to that. I said that I would try to get the letters forwarded when I got to a computer terminal.

I stopped by the ACPL on my way back just in order to engage in the silly transmission by email of content that was readily available from most computer screens anywhere in the world.

When I called back to confirm that it had been received, I talked with Jim Chapman on the Metro desk. He said he thought that, in the meantime, Ms. Green had been emailed the letters by Chief Kelly's office, but that he would confirm.

I remarked to Jim that it was kind of silly. I've known Jim a number of years; he is a sober newspaperman and a good guy. I told him that I thought the purpose of the so-called 'ethics' policy was a smoke-screen so as to avoid crediting bloggers.

Jim didn't agree with me but he didn't refute me either.

Frankly, I think some of the reporters and other personnel are somewhat embarassed by such policies but the older folks who are veterans of the glory days of print are trying to ignore the immediate internet access to weblogs, wire service content, big city daily content and the shortening of the news cycle which is leaving the legacy newspapering business facing a deepening revenue decline due to a loss of print subscribers and advertising dollars.

It's not just print, either.

Two months ago, a local television reporter doing a stand-up said that her station had "exclusively learned" what she was about to report. Well, it had been learned from a local weblog (not FWOb) and it wasn't exclusive. The post had been up since mid-day.

The new generation has an expectation and a practice of getting news and information from a variety of platforms and a multitude of media sources. They have an expectation of having the opportunity to get information directly from a source without being dependent on a media filter.

It is called disintermediation and it is empowering to a new generation of Americans who have embraced new technologies.

You get it, Karen. It is why you and I are working cooperatively on City Council to advance government access and transparency.


Andy Borgmann

[quote]I stopped by the ACPL on my way back just in order to engage in the silly transmission by email of content that was readily available from most computer screens anywhere in the world.[/quote]

Mitch that is awesome. You are always willing to go above and beyond for the public interest. If I still lived in Fort Wayne I would vote for you for any office you ran for.

[quote]It's not just print, either.[/quote]

Working in the radio world I can attest it is there as well. Luckily for me my niche is that I am embrace the new technology shift and it is pretty much the reason I have my job. You just wait. If Google wins the 700 mhz band FCC auction later this year and they are able to provide high bandwidth wireless streaming capability, it is going to get very interesting for TV and Radio. Picture wireless ipod, combined with tivo, combined with local am/fm stations, combined with the ability to do true target marketing based on ownership of the car, and the ability to do news, traffic, and weather.

Cory Johnson

Yahoo for Mitch, yahoo for Karen. Keep up the good work! You both should be proud.

Steve Linsenmayer

"Jim didn't agree with me but he didn't refute me either."

Mitch, you really should go into talk radio with a gotcha line like that.

I can only speak for print, but in the newspaper business you want to get information from the original source, not as reported by other media sources. I can see why in this particular situation that practice comes off as a bit awkward, but its still better to have the original statement, not a duplicated one. This sort of policy was effect for years at the News-Sentinel. It wasn't invented as a means to slight bloggers.

Ed. note:

Even when the original source is vouching for its accuracy?

It is not as if one were asked to fax, duplicate or send a pdf. of a printed letter or other document. These were bits of digital information rendered as pixels both sent and received; the question and response were never rendered in any other medium.

Steve Linsenmayer

True. In this case the policy is especially anal retentive. In the end the chief is the original source, so its probably best she ended up with the email from him.

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