aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, December 30, 2005
Prediction: “Little Red Book” liar will be named
On Saturday, Dec. 24, The Standard-Times reported that story—on Page One—under the headline, “Federal agents’ visit was a hoax.”
Again, we didn’t name the student, at the request of the university. We also worried about the student’s mental state and about the careers of professors Williams and Pontbriand, who were deeply embarrassed by the story and the wide play it got in the news media, on the Web and talk radio.
“I wasn’t involved in some partisan struggle to embarrass the Bush administration,” Dr. Williams said. “I just wanted the truth.”
Now I’m thinking it would be good and kind to allow the student his anonymity but because this has become too big a media event that’s not likely. Someone will dig up and publish the name.
Standard-Times editor Bob Unger writes about the “Little Red Book” hoax and reports the student who falsely claimed he was interrogated by homeland security agents after checking out Mao’s book sent this e-mail to reporter Aaron Nicodemus: “The fact is that my being panicked about this hole (sic) event led me to unfortunately prop up my story (i.e., fabricate it), for that I have to apologize to you and to my professors. I have spoken to my family about the whole issue and the fact is that they were understandibly (sic) angry. My name has been dishonored within my family and so I will spend the rest of the winter trying to restore even a little bit of it back, at least.”
Wales on journalism’s future
Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder and foundation head, in the UK Times Online today:
“In my vision of the future of the newspaper industry and of journalism in general, people who think that traditional media organisations are going to go away are just kidding themselves,” he says. “That doesn’t make any sense to me. On other hand, people who think that journalism can just stay the way it is are also just kidding themselves.
“What we will see is a set of hybrid models with an increasing amount of citizen participation in the gathering of news and in feedback and in reporting and analysing the news. And at the same time, we’ll have professional organisations managing the process - basically being the core framework.”
He drives a Hyundai:
The “outlaw” Jimmy Wales, it turns out, is a very reasonable revolutionary. A finance graduate, he ended a six-year spell as a futures trader in Chicago in 2000. According to one report, he earned enough money in the commodities markets to “support himself and his wife for the rest of their lives”.
Mr Wales says that is true - but only because he “lives in a normal house and drives a Hyundai”.
Mine is about to turn over 100,000 miles and has only ever needed one tune-up and a thermostat…
Ads on Wikipedia?
I’d have no problem with ads on Wikipedia, it’s the ad policy I’d be interested in:
Jimmy Wales told Times Online that despite widespread “resistance to the idea” of advertising on Wikipedia, “at some point questions are going to be raised over the amount of money we are turning down.”
Wikipedia would be in a prime position to exploit the current boom in online advertising. It expects to record around 2.5 billion page impressions this month and traffic volumes are doubling every four months. According to figures released this month by Nielsen/Netratings, it was the ninth-fastest growing site on the web in 2005.
However, “wikitopeans” - the members of the public who create Wikipedia’s articles on a voluntary, unpaid basis - are likely to oppose any suggestion of commercialisation of the site.
UPDATE from the BoingBoing update noting a Wales clarification:
I personally remain opposed to having ads in Wikipedia. It’s just that a serious NPOV discussion of the matter necessarily would involve us being really serious about what we are turning down and why. This is exactly what I’ve been saying for years. If you know why the press likes to run inflammatory headlines every few days, well, please let me know. I find it all a bit baffling to be honest.
A statement from me “I am personally opposed to having ads in Wikipedia” somehow becomes “Wikipedia chief considers taking ads”.
Krugman today AND an argument FOR TimesSelect
I’ve noted that when I quote a TimesSelect columnist, I get a little traffic spike from those searching for the column for free. I have therefore included my argument in favor of subscribing to TimesSelect in this post. If you’re here for Krugman, I hope you’ll stay and read why he’s worth $4.16 a month.
A year ago, we didn’t know for sure that almost all the politicians and pundits who thundered, during the Lewinsky affair, that even the president isn’t above the law have changed their minds. But now we know when it comes to presidents who break the law, it’s O.K. if you’re a Republican.
Kos on the Times v Wall Street Journal influencing public opinion:
The Wall Street Journal is not stupid. They’re smart. They’ve put their news content behind a pay wall and have done quite well revenue-wise for their troubles. BUT, they also want to influence public opinion. And being a key component of the Right Wing Noise Machine, the WSJ editorial board has made sure their opinion material is accessible to everyone. [...]
The New York Times, on the other hand, is the textbook definition of stupid. They take the one part of the paper that is a commodity—the opinion—and try to charge for that.
Is it really stupid to try to charge for your commodity? What else do you charge for?
As a citizen rather than as a partisan, I think hard news is more important than opinion. I want opinion based on hard news. Keeping the news pages open is more important. I applaud the Times for that.
As a left-leaning partisan, I note how the left abandons the columnists they profess to admire over a measly $4.16 a month. It seems a reasonable price point to me to help keep a valuable media asset afloat.
TimesSelect may well fail and I’d prefer an advertiser model (though I note that bloggers object to that too) but I sure don’t blame them for trying. I quote again from Business Week’s important story on the challenges facing the Times:
THE CONSTANCY OF THEIR COMMITMENT to high-cost journalism has put the Sulzbergers in an increasingly contrarian position. Many of the country’s surviving big-city dailies once were owned by similarly high-minded dynastic families that long ago surrendered control to big public corporations that prize earnings per share above all else. Editorial budgets at most newspapers, as well as TV and radio stations, have been squeezed so hard for so long that asphyxiation is a mounting risk. The proliferation of Web sites and cable-TV stations has produced an abundance of commentary and analysis, but the kind of thorough, original reporting in which the Times specializes is, if anything, increasingly scarce.
In effect, the Sulzbergers have subsidized the Times in valuing good journalism and the prestige it confers over profits and the wealth it creates.
We say we want that in our media institutions, but we flat-out want it for free. Sounds like the left has an issue with money to me.
I’m as big a fan of citizen produced media as the next guy, but I’ve got just as much praise for the MSM. It’s a wonderfully synergistic ecosphere we’ve got these days, and I’m on the side of those who’d like to see what newspapers like the Times do continued.