Saw this on the interwebs today… another video that should be shown to every journalism student the day after they enrol:
One day after I highlighted the removal of a blog piece from the Al Jazeera English website because it dared to tell the truth about an ally of the Qatari government, it seems the infection is spreading, and it’s another champion of free speech that’s succumbed.
This time it’s The Huffington Post who have removed a remarkably anodyne report from well known 9/11 sceptic Jesse Ventura – his posting told of how hundreds of architects and engineers have signed a petition calling on Congress to re-examine the destruction of the World Trade Center’s twin towers on September 11, 2001.
As usual, HuffPo management have shown a remarkably tenuous grasp on reality, and an breathtaking ignorance of the medium they work in, by openly removing an article which is bound to appear elsewhere along with suitable public approbium about how one of America’s standard-bearers of free-speech has joined the racks of the mainstream media’s blue pencil brigade.
Almost immediately the full article has appeared elsewhere on sites like 911Blogger, as have the reports of the takedown in the wider news media.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a policy that says “no conspiracy theories”, which is what the HuffPo is now cravenly hiding behind, and almost every site on the web will have different policies for dealing with different eventualities.
What’s troubling in this case is that Ventura’s report is not a conspiracy theory, but a factual report about how a group of real experts have done nothing more conspiratorial than call for a re-examination of the scientific evidence because their research says the science is inconsistent with the official story told by the Bush-administration appointed 9/11 Commission.
As Ventura pointed out, this was never covered in the mainstream media, so it is exactly the kind of story the HuffPo should be highlighting, but because Ventura mentions his new book, American Conspiracies, it was obviously too much for the spineless editorial team, who seem intent on putting their pensions before their principles. It is a sad day for the Huffington Post, and what’s worse is that it is not the first time they have been caught censoring their contributors.
As for the subject matter, well I’m no conspiracy theorist (I prefer cock-up every time), but given the choice between the American Institute of Architects and a bunch of Dubya’s lackeys… who would you choose?
Assuming of course you were given the choice, something which the American mainstream media and now, remarkably, The Huffington Post, don’t appear to want you to have.
Charlie Brooker has always been a bit hit-or-miss for me, but his new BBC series, Newsswipe, really has hit the mark – here’s an example which will probably become essential viewing in every journalism school across the UK:
Quick posting on a potential headline of the year, courtesy of News.com in Australia:
Hats off to the sub who came up with that gem, the only thing it’s missing is the word “shocker”!
Plaudits also to the twit who came up with the pay-off line.
A friend of mine twittered enthusiastically from Malta today:
NewsXchange conference session on political news for a younger audience. Great title: “Are we boring you?”
Yes, I had to agree, a great title, so I headed over to the NewsXchange website to see if I could find out more. Nice blurb there on the agenda, so I wanted to know more – ah, it’s happening right now, so is there a stream I could subscribe to?
Maybe it’ll be available online later?
A brief look at the previous conference agendas soon put me straight.
Then I saw the tag-line: “for broadcasters by broadcasters” and the penny dropped with a resounding thud.
Here we have a large room in a nice hotel in Malta filled with some of the best TV news folk in the business, but because they still have their collective old media heads stuck up their old media proverbials, the NewsXchange is reduced to being nothing more than a bunch of self-serving hot-air producers pontificating about the future of their industry behind closed doors.
No social media, no streaming, no podcasts, no blog, no tweets (bar the teaser above) – just the same old, same old.
What an opportunity missed.
Bye bye, broadcast news, it was nice knowing you.
So I logged into WordPress this morning for a quick look at what’s going on and by chance spotted one of the featured blogs and the intriguing headline: 10 reasons why Google just reinvented online communication.
“Yeah, right”, I thought.
So I read, and I followed the links, and then I watched the video:
Two hours later I sat back and took a deep breath.
Google Wave is a radical step forward, and even better, it’s open source.
First of all I watched this as a computer-user, sick and tired of continually switching between my e-mail, IM, browser and blog, either in windows or in tabs.
Then I watched this as a content producer, a writer and began to ask myself about how the dissemination of information would be changed by a toolkit such as this, not just between friends or colleagues, but between a media organisation and their audience.
The whole video is very interesting, but if you haven’t got a spare 90 minutes, check out some highlights including – blogging (0:20), accountability (0:33), concurrent editing/collaboration (0:35), spell checking and linking (0:45), productivity tools (0:50), twittering (1:00) and translation tools (1:13).
The whole landscape suddenly took on a whole new view – there’s a party coming and everyone online is invited.