Sep 08, 2010

aggregators and opinion labeling

A couple of interesting media-related bits this morning. First, the Nieman Journalism Lab is running a piece by Kimberly Isbell of the Citizen Media Law Project that gives an in-depth look at the legal issues around news aggregators. She reviews the different types of aggregators, existing case law, and issues around copyright, fair use and the definition of "hot news." And while there are no clear cut answers re. legality (are there ever?) I like her conclusion...

We are in the midst of a sea change in the way in which journalism is practiced in the United States. The past few years have seen an explosion of innovative approaches to both the practice and business of journalism. At a time of great flux in the media ecosystem, it would be premature, and likely counterproductive, to create rules which would have the effect, if not the purpose, of privileging one journalistic business model over others. In order for experimental business models to flourish, we need legal rules that promote flexibility and free access to information, not closed systems that tilt the playing field in favor of incumbents.

Second, Jonathan Weber of the Bay Citizen has a great post up about what their partnership with the New York Times looks like, and takes on the Times' new public editor re. the boundary between reporting and opinion, and the differing styles of the gray lady and the Bay Citizen.

The whole idea of a reported column is that it marries facts and point of view. Journalism today embodies a whole range of styles, some with more point of view and some with less, and while clear labeling of what's what is a good goal, it's not realistic to think that there can be some kind of calorie counter measuring the amount of opinion in a given piece.

As always, both are worth reading in full; of course now that you've read the key bits through this user-curated aggregator that layers on a specific point of view you probably don't need to.