Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BBC gives Ted Koppel new gig

The Independent of London got my chuckle when talking about former ABC News heavyweight Ted Koppel's joining BBC. The newspaper said after Koppel left ABC (ditched actually, because what TV viewer wants news?), he wound up doing commentary on NPR, "America's pale imitation of the BBC."

Ole NPR is the best we have, but I couldn't agree more that it a pale imitation. KSFR, after all, teamed up with BBC, not NPR.

More from the Independent about Koppel.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New media a danger to journalism

A Canadian journalism professor calls it the biggest ethical revolution to hit journalism in 120 years. It's the internet and the new "citizen journalism."

He says:

Here are a few ethical issues coming to a head with the rise of the new media:
* Internet journalism is bringing many more "voices" and viewpoints into the public sphere, which is positive for democracy. But many of those voices are vitriolic, lack credibility or have tiny audiences -- often amounting to a few people just "twittering to each other."

* The rise in citizen journalism can be creative and provide context on trends in society, but much of it is agenda-driven and unreliable. It's leading to a decline of journalistic values, including what Ward calls "pragmatic objectivity." Few online journalists know the difference between emotion-fuelled opinion and analysis, the latter sticking more respectfully to the facts.

* Internet journalism may be adding to the increasing "trivialization" of the news, including in the mainstream media. Sex, violence, celebrities and rants often draw more readers and viewers, and create more online "hits," than serious stories, which have wider but more subtle-to-discern social consequences.

* With newsroom staff declining in the mainstream print and broadcast media, fewer resources are available to mount investigative examinations of important, complex developments, including political and economic policy, organized crime, seniors centre standards and environmental degradation. Online media outlets typically cannot afford such investigations.

There's more about Stephen Ward, outgoing head of the University of British Columbia's journalism school, in the Vancouver Sun.

Friday, July 25, 2008

KSFR News: Best of Santa Fe

What a surprise.

KSFR News has been named the "Best Local Radio Program" in the 2008 issue of the Santa Fe Reporter's Best of Santa Fe awards special edition.

My hat is off to the entire KSFR news team.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

AP vs. bloggers: AP may have little if any rights

On further reflection about Associated Press' Take Down Order against some bloggers for excerpting and linking, I question whether Associated Press actually has much say in the matter. These are the reasons:

(1) Much of the material Associated Press runs is taken from its member newspapers and publications. As soon as the member generates material, "Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created," according to the Copyright Office Thus, with material picked up from members, the original copyright rests with them, not Associated Press.

(2) Associated Press would be able to acquire the original copyright from the member source, but it takes written documentation and registration with the copyright office. It's unlikely, however, that the Washington Post is going to transfer all of its rights in full.

(3) Associated Press would be able to "share" the copyright under transfer rules, but it must have an agreement with the original author to do so. Just asking to use and redistribute the material shouldn't be sufficient.

**(My broadcast organization is a "subscriber member" of the Associated Press. Here is the total sum of all our membership agreement has to say about AP's right to use my material:

**"Subscriber shall, without cost to (AP), promptly make available to (AP) .... all information original to the Subscribe in all forms gathered by Subscriber that is spontaneous in its origin, for use in news report(s) of AP and its subsidiaries."

**That's it. No request to "share" copyright.

Associated Press may place the copyright notice on material I and other subscriber members turn over under our agreement, but it is meaningless. We've simply granted them a license to use it, not to share in the copyright.

I may place a copyright notice on any material I get from an associate and I may do it forever. But it has no meaning. Thus, the Associated Press notice on material picked up from the Washington Post similarly has no meaning.

The Copyright Office has no means or authority or desire to enforce the notion of copyrighted material. It is the concern of the original author who may, or may not, call on a trespasser to cease and desist.

My conclusion: Member subscribers of Associated Press have not taken steps to tell their press association to stop "pretending" to have the copyright authority over material they supply AP. But that's OK. They still own the copyright anyway. It cannot be taken away. By the same token, AP has oversteped in claiming rights they do not have.

All of this tempest about bloggers has been nothing more than "selective harrassment."

Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of the AP, be ashamed.