WCHL finds no news on blogs

Check out these two items that both appear on the WCHL website today. One story asks "Can hard news be found on blogs?" concluding with this ridiculous statement: "So the next time you read a blog online, remember that you could be getting information from a twelve-year-old rather than a professional."

As if in answer to their own question, they also have a report about the NC Legislature acting to remove term limits for the Mayor of Chapel Hill - a story we broke here on Orange Politics last week.

Now I've never claimed to be a journalist (although I am a professional, thankyouverymuch), but that doesn't mean my opinions aren't both informed and informative! It's just this kind of lumping the entire online world into some adolescent MySpace stereotype that will keep adults from being able to protect themselves and their children from what they see as the dangers of the Internet.

Next time WCHL calls me for an interview or asks me to be on the forum I'll remind them that by asking a blogger, they might be getting information from a 12-year-old.



I think that's a very interesting topic that they've touched upon. Blogs are now ubiquitousness enough that it's time to assess their worth. ...And their statement is completely true, if not a bit fearmongering.

It's a slanted statement, but ultimately valid. Instead of being offended, I think bloggers should instinctively react in a more productive manner by analyzing it. The statement implies a mistrust of blogging because of anonymity and the lack of a code of ethics/professionalism. But that's simply putting a negative connotation on the exact promise of blogging. The hope of blogging (as far as its news capabilities, rather than social/personal) has been autonomy and to NOT be beholden to a larger corporate scheme.

It would be unfair to deny that blogging has inherent dangers--the ability to cloak one's identity and a much greater latitude from accountability. But for me, the response is that is the cost of not being beholden to Gannett, News Corporation, Vivendi, or some other corporate entity.

But the statement paints with such a broad brush stroke, it's about as accurate as saying "that paper you're reading may be nothing but newsertainment from a corporate advertising vehicle." It doesn't further the conversation about blogs or about journalism. Besides, that whole 'blogs vs. journalism' thing is so 2004.

If they think blogs are not legitimate sources of news, then I'll thank them not to report on stories that they probably wouldn't even be aware of if not for this blog.

Who cares if the information is from a twelve year old? Is it good information?

Stephen Yellin was 16 when he started doing his election profiles on dailykos as MrLiberal. They weren't perfect, but they certainly compared favorably to similar coverage found in print media. (Never heard any decent election coverage on radio, beyond local stuff.)

I believe WCHL was trying to warn listeners that you can't believe everything you read. Many adults who don't read blogs much or go online often may instinctively trust what they read. Why shouldn't they? They've relied upon printed media for decades. They trust journalist and editors to write the truth.

Occasionally that trust has been misplaced. Often times that trust is quite deserved. Blogs have forced people to become better at vetting what they read for themselves. This is an important power shift. When you are more media literate you need the gatekeepers less and advance democracy.

I think its a shame that so many media outlets write articles that are sound so blatantly threatened by new media. (aka Blogs, podcasts, vloggs) Its a time of radical change in the media biz. Lots to be excited about and scared of.

At 10:55am on June 20 I'm getting a "Page not found" error when going to the links http://www.wchl1360.com/mp3/blogs1.mp3 and http://www.wchl1360.com/mp3/blogs2.mp3. Hmmm.

Those links were broken this morning when I posted this as well.

Though I understand your iindignation, Ruby, OP is not the norm in the blogging hemisphere. The code of conduct and interaction you enforce on this blog is missing in most mainstream blogging forums and certainly in the blogging universe occupied by many average American Joes.

It's unfortunate too. When I have done blog searches looking for intelligent discourse at a state or national level, they are very hard to find. For every decent, well moderated blog out there, there are hundreds if not thousands of blogs with no moderator, no standards of discourse, and most importantly, no community that is accountable to and known to one another. "Anonymous" must be the most popular name on the planet!

Blogs like OP are rare, and that's the reality.

However, it's apparent that some blogs are resources for journalists, and they should be willing to give credit where its due and acknowledge the value of that source material, the same way they credit other sources.

I don't think their line was meant to further the conversation. It was meant to entice, which it accomplished. They (presumably) had two articles that were meant to be the actual dialogue. What's been latched onto is merely a small hook which is unabashedly attention-getting.
One might say "So the next time you read a caption to a story, remember that you could be getting information from an intern rather than a professional journalist."

While the Blogs VERSUS Journalism may be passe, I think that the evolution of journalism is a constant discussion that needs to be followed. Free press and accountability are still much too new and fragile, in my opinion, to be forgotten.

Also, for my taste, there is too much animosity between all media. From a News & Record reporter friend of mine: http://joekillian.blogspot.com/2005/11/out-of-my-head-they-report-you-de...

I don't know of many blogs that focus on delivering news , if that's what CHL means by "information." The ones I visit select news and encourage discussion - and that's exactly the kind of information I'm looking for.

I'd be happy as a clam if those discussions included 12 year olds. Given the sorry state of so-called journalism today, their involvement would likely be a step up.

Where to begin...

I assume full responsibility for that story making it outside the doors of this station. It was a shallow piece of nonsense that served no purpose and contained no information, no News. Please accept my apologies.

If only Jim knew how accurate this statement is... “So the next time you read a caption to a story, remember that you could be getting information from an intern rather than a professional journalist”

Not to play a fiddle for myself, but we are on a shoestring over here, and sometimes after 12 hours I have no choice but to go home and run the dogs, leaving the stories that aren't finished for editing in the morning. When that happens, though, they can sometimes slip by the person who's uploading stories onto the website.

So when I came in this morning and read that 'story,' i tossed it. It was only after the morning show that I checked the website and took down the links to the audio.

The intern who wrote it is in agreement that a news career is not in the cards.

I have lots and lots to add to the discussion about the relationship between blogs (especially this one) and traditional media, but if I do that, I'll be late to the Live at Five.

the bottom line is that I am sorry, and that the views (and a position is taken in that story) does not reflect what this station stands for. Ruby, I hope we haven't alienated you from working with us - I don't mind telling you that I fought to get you involved and remain convinced that the Forum would suffer without your perspective.

The same goes for all of you out there...you Please, oh Please come speak out in our Commentary section!

Thanks Daniel. I was pretty suprised that this could happen under your watch, I'm glad to hear it wasn't. I know you appreciate the power of blogs that that WCHL appreciates OP.

Your intern's name isn't Chris C, is it? ;-)

Thanks for your post Daniel. I appreciate your explanation. It was mature, honest, and professional. Looking forward to more of your thoughts about the media and blogs.

Ruby is actually a 64 year old man. Don't reply to any of her posts.

The WCHL website states:
"It seems like no one reads the newspaper or listens to the radio anymore. "

We often hear, see or read one media genre criticize
another, but this is different. This is a radio station
lamenting that no one listens to the radio. Great for
their sales of advertising! Would you like to buy a series
of drive-time ads for your car repair business on our
radio station that no one listens to anymore?

I listen to Ron Stutts on WCHL every morning Dan, and I read the N&O every day that it isn't thrown into the ditch next to
my driveway, so I don't fit the WCHL observations, though
of course, I'm just an anecdote.

We are proud of OP and thank Ruby for moderating
a blog that has as its participants many of the
people who are actually involved in making the local news.

Let's give Dan Siler credit for explaining, apologizing, and clearly accepting responsiblity for what went wrong. How often do you see that any more in public or private life. This is consitent with the professional approach he takes on the air. WCHL and Orange Politics both have important roles to play in the community.

Yeah, the line about no one listening to the radio anymore really blew my mind. (I know folks listen, or we'd be sunk. It remains a treat to hear our station when my mailman drives by.)

Of course, the young intern is of the ipod, i've-had-access-to-the-internet-forever generation. Increasingly I see that their idea of the news is influenced by CNN...the people who would interrupt any of the lesser Secretaries to bring you footage of any plane crashed anywhere in the country, so long as there are pictures. Uninterrupted raw video feeds slapped together with running, ignorant commentary. OJ Simpson...the first Gulf War...Monica Lewinsky.

If they can't see it, it's not really happening. Healthcare reform? Preventative, protective zoning? Taxation? they just don't sink in - and yet neither does the standard bread and butter of the television news: car crashes and police reports. Those work for the average, fearful suburban. For teens, the news is coming from online or from the Daily Show (with some exceptions). For that reason, I do think that blogs are the one area where younger people Might have a more critical eye than their parents.

That said, the modern media does turns to the blogosphere for agenda-setting. It's a great proving ground for figuring out what sparks any kind of interest. Additionally, it pools the knowledge and resources of people who give a damn about what's going on. That helps plug the cracks stories might otherwise fall into.

Interesting that this conversation didn't spark more talk back when Rebecca brought it up. (http://orangepolitics.org/2006/05/going-meta/) I know several of us spoke with her about our relationship with OP. That was a specific case, and like Anita says, this is not your standard site.

Anyhow, 1360 does read OP. We are being more forthright about that; until recently I nixed the practice of citing OP based on time constraints, not on selfishness. As far as putting the source in our online addition...Hell, who am I to turn down crosslinks to www.WCHL1360.com ?

The trouble comes down to resources. Enterprising a story takes time that we don't often have, and that's where places like OP come into play. For that: Thank you


Yup. Golf clap for Dan!


Yes hear here all around. And now how about an OP thread on a possible new Carrboro affordable housing policy. The 7/4 CHH has an interesting story today based on Robert Dowling's comments. I"d love for Ruby to start a thread on this and see if OP can help advance the discussion along and inform people and give CHL a great story to follow in the process (with thnx to the Herald of course... :). Here's the link to the story:

Great tutorial on the affordable housing conundrum.

BTW... posting topics unrelated to a discussion on a thread is considered hijacking. There are several ways to propose a topic with out fragmenting a discussion.

All you have to do is Register and then login to write a post to get a thread rolling. Then Ruby decides if she wants to approve it. If you do the heavy lifting of writing the story its much more likely to get up on OP.

Forgive me if you already know this stuff. :)

Brian beat me to it. ;-) I'd love a new thread. See the instructions here: http://orangepolitics.org/contact/guest-posting or the "How to post on OP" link in the sidebar. Thanks!

Dan forgot to mention one of WCHL's most important,
though luckily infrequently needed benefits; that is,
local communications during an emergency. In the
big ice storm of Dec, 2002, when much of the towns was
without electricity for six days (try that when it's cold
and gets dark at 5:30) WCHL was the town's lifeline,
and fulfilled in spades Jim Heavner's committment
to return WCHL to a local station, not a controlled-from-
above station that played pre-programmed music and talk.

Do blogs report news? That's an interesting question. In response I would say that I rely more on blogs to interpret the information that news reports.

In case anyone's interested, I had a TA, Martin Kuhn, who loves researching the "blogger's code of ethics" and how blogging is interrelated with maintstream media. His blog is here: http://blogethics2004.blogspot.com/ He doesn't update very frequently (not since last year), but it's got a lot of good information about the ethics of blogging.

That's DOCTOR Kuhn to you! Seriously, I was on Martin's PhD committee and it was in my seminar that he began the BCoE work using a blog of course. His findings are useful as is the Online News Association's Blogger's Code of Ethics, Dan Gillmour's Center for Citizen Media and now Jeff Jarvis' just announced New Assignment.net



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