kentbye's picture

Citizen Journalism Implications of Blog Doc Controversy

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(UPDATE 6/7/05 6:08p.m. -- John Hart has posted a public reply on his website, and I'm a bit speechless. It is certainly not a very rational response to the whole situation. Below were my thoughts on what I saw developing with the project independent of any outside influence or input from Chuck Olsen.)

There could be a bit of a PR nightmare brewing for the 59 Bloggers documentary in pre-production that I mentioned a few days ago. Independent filmmaker Chuck Olsen titled his film Blogumentary and expressed concern to the 59 Bloggers director John Hart that there might be some confusion over loosely throwing around the "Blogumentary" meme on his site.

Hart sent back a curt e-mail telling Olsen, "Please don't bother me with this bullshit nonsense." Then Olsen published an excerpt from Hart's e-mail on his blog. Hart apparently threatened Olsen with some type of legal action for publishing the e-mail.

Then David Weinberger -- one of the potential interviewees for the 59 Bloggers film -- responded to the controversy by saying, "I've seen how this new guy responds to a civil inquiry, I have asked him to drop me from his list of interviewees."

Hart then backtracked and removed all references to "Blogumentary" on his website -- along with a lot of other background information. Here's Olsen's archival screenshot.

At this point, we're only hearing Olsen's side of the story because Hart is not keeping a production blog (Bad PR on Hart's part).

So I see four lessons for citizen journalism from this little episode:

1.) There's a difference between social capital and normative standards and institutional capital and legal standards
2.) There are ethical and legal issues with publishing e-mail correspondence
3. ) This may have implications for establishing credibility and building trust with potential interviewees for citizen journalists
4.) It's bad to write something in an e-mail correspondence that you wouldn't want published in The New York Times.

More details below...

kentbye's picture

Phase 06: Collect Volunteer Metadata on Pre-War Television News Coverage

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* Media Content Analysis
* Copyright Restrictions
* Fair Use
* Metadata Collection


* Find a way to receive volunteer input on the pre-war television transcripts without violating copyright restrictions from ABC, CBS, & NBC news.
* Collect more volunteer metadata on these clips to help inform the editing process.
* Post image thumbnails with the transcripts in order to give the text more depth and context.

What I have

* Transcripts for ABC, CBS, & NBC newscasts from August 26, 2002 to March 19, 2003.

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Phase 09: Gather Additional Multimedia Input from Volunteers

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* Open Source Media
* Multimedia Collaboration
* Creative Commons


* Use to facilitate multimedia submissions from volunteers to be included into The Echo Chamber documentary.
* Gather B-Roll from other volunteer filmmakers (background visuals without sound in order to add depth and context)
* Gather animation sequences from volunteers
* Provide questions to be asked for "Man-on-the-Street" interviews, and include other diverse perspectives on the website and film.

kentbye's picture

Brainstorming Ideas from Blog Conference

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I wrote down a list of useful ideas and concepts that were mentioned at the Harvard Blogging & Journalism Conference today.

I would like to implement as many of the following ideas as I can:

Transparency Issues

* Write a FAQ
* Start using Correction Marks for incorrect information
* Link to Biographical information & Resume
* Publish mission statement, linking policy, e-mail policy, corrections policy, and a set of ethical principles.
* Disclose any and all conflicts of interest

kentbye's picture

Transcribing Logistics

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I have to exert some sort of order and control on this volunteer transcription process, and so I have adapted this non-disclosure agreement that I found online.

I want to open-source the text of the interviews, but I need to keep the sound recordings and audio confidential for a number of reasons. I hope to be able to release the audio and video at some point in the future, but there are a number of things that need to happen before I will be able to do this.

I hope that the following agreement will be sufficient.
If you have any additional insights or feedback to provide me, then please let me know.



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