Carnival Of Blog Coverage

Monday, May 01, 2006

Carnival #6: Scandal In The Blogosphere

Scandal has been a persistent theme in mainstream media coverage of the blogosphere the past couple of weeks.

The controversies have led to the resignation of a blogger at a religious university, the loss of a journalist's assignments as a blogger and columnist at a major daily newspaper, and a lawsuit against a blogger who criticized a government office in Maine. Another ongoing blog lawsuit involving Apple Computer also generated plenty of attention.

Bill Hobbs is the blogger who resigned from Belmont University, a religious school in Nashville. The Nashville Scene, an alternative newspaper, played a role in his downfall and complained about being "Blogged To Death" because of it.

The opposite happened in Los Angeles: A blogger who writes under the pseudonym Patterico chastised Los Angeles Times columnist/blogger Michael Hiltzik for using pseudonyms dishonestly -- by acting as "sock puppets" to praise and defend Hiltzik while pretending to be someone else. The end result: Hiltzik first lost his blog and later his column.

Associated Press, The Mercury News, The New York Times and The Washington Post covered the story. Bloggers Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine and Laura Heymann at Concurring Opinions were among those who reacted to the news. Instapundit Glenn Reynolds and Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters think the Times overreacted by pulling the blog and the column -- even though Morrissey said he is no fan of Hiltzik's work.

The Boston Globe had the story of the Maine blogger who was sued for allegedly making false statements about his state's tourism department and posting on his blog proposed advertisements for the department. The ad agency filed the suit. The blogger in question responded at the Maine Web Report, and blogger Ed Cone described the case as an example of "How Not To Fight A Web War."

E-Commerce Times, Internet News, The Motley Fool and Technology Review were among the publications that took an interest in the Apple lawsuit against a blogger who revealed details about an Apple product before its launch. The company alleges the violation of trade secrets. A blogger at ZDNet cited the case as evidence of "Why Tech Companies Hate The Blogosphere."

Other coverage of the blogosphere the past two weeks, by category:

-- Online Journalism Review wondered, "Can Newspapers Do Blogs Right?" Probably not, but that doesn't keep them from trying -- or deter media professionals from discussing the future of newspaper blogs.

The Palladium-Item in Indiana just added five blogs to its offerings, and the Houston Chronicle took another increasingly common route by hiring a conservative blogger who already has a loyal audience. Such steps are not limited to newspapers. BBC also decided to try its virtual hand at blogging. Even TV Guide is in the game.

-- Whether or not newspapers can do blogs rights, New Voices certainly thinks blogs have a future. They featured prominently in the $17,000 community journalism grants announced by the institution, which is affiliated with the University of Maryland.

-- Folks in the mainstream media have a love-hate relationship with blogs. They tend to hate them but love to talk about them. Comments by Jill Abramson of The New York Times and columnist Ellen Goodman chattered about the blogosphere at recent events. NewsBusters wasn't too impressed with Abramson's speech.

-- Daniel Henninger of The Wall Street Journal thinks "the world of blogs may be filling up with people who for the previous 200 millennia of human existence kept their weird thoughts more or less to themselves."

Instapundit accused Henninger of engaging in the very type of name-calling he condemned. And Dan Gillmor of the Center for Citizen Media countered, "If you don't like it, don't read it."

-- Blogs tend to be a popular topic at journalism conferences. KnoxViews has a recap of a recent one at the University of Tennessee. The topic also arose at a recent European media forum.

-- You know blogs are hip when "blog editor" becomes a trendy job in the MSM. Some good editors apparently are needed, if two recent commentaries about the writing style of blogs is correct.

-- Blog writing also came under fire in an opinion package published by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Bloggers Hugh Hewitt and Jarvis also contributed essays to the package. blogger Daniel Rubin added his voice to the debate after the series ran.

-- Howard Mortman continued his series on the blogs read by media stars. Jeff Zeleny, national political correspondent of The Chicago Tribune was the latest to share his list.

-- A Florida newspaper is hosting a Survivor-style blog festival.

-- The first annual Milblog Conference was largely one big griping session, with slaps at the mainstream media, anti-war protestors and even the military because of its discussions about restrictions on blogs. But there were some positive discussions, too, as noted in a BBC piece on how blogs connect family members with their children at war.

A milblogger penned a commentary after the conference. And days before it, The Boston Globe reported on the blog debate over the tenure of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

-- The military may want to restrict how soldiers use blogs, but the CIA recognizes them as an intelligence resource.

-- Few milbloggers think of liberal blogger Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos as a soldier -- or as a Republican. But he was both at one point in his life, as he explained himself at American Prospect Online.

-- A blogger in Pennsylvania convinced the state Senate to pass a bill to limit protests at military funerals.

Government and politics
-- "Given that formal rules for bloggers don't really exist, and there isn't really any oversight over blogs like there is over traditional media, it seems to me that blogs are set to become a natural tool for manipulating an election." So wrote Rob Enderle and TechNews World, and then he went on to predict how it might happen.

-- Bloggers probably wouldn't admit any attempts to manipulate elections, but bloggers in Indiana certainly are confident that they have the power to shape state and local politics. Bloggers in Albuquerque, N.M., tried to demonstrate their power recently by holding a blog-in at a city council meeting.

-- Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut is under fire from bloggers in his own party. They are making their preference for Ned Lamont well known and appear to be having an impact in the race.

-- In Ohio, congressional candidates are making a point of meeting the bloggers, as the blogosphere gains power in the Buckeye State. America Online also now has a home in Ohio. The title, Blogging Ohio, gets straight to the point.

-- On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans are so determined to use the blogosphere to their advantage that they're even fighting over who knows more about them.

-- Carol Darr of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet participated in an online chat at the Web site of The Chronicle of Higher Education. The topic: applying campaign finance law to blogs. Adam Bonin took her to task, as he has before, at Daily Kos.

-- Twins Aaron and Matt Margolis have won enough of a following as both national and local political bloggers in Boston to merit a profile in The Boston Globe. A less-flattering look at angry liberal bloggers by The Washington Post sparked plenty of critical commentary. The American Thinker has a roundup of links.

-- A recent study in Europe, meanwhile, concluded that bloggers have a "disproportionately large influence on society, particularly the media. The Blogometer offered a roundup of blog reactions to the report.

-- I'm thinking my social studies classes would have been a lot more fun if blogging had existed in the 1980s.

-- St. Norbert College in Wisconsin is offering a blog service for students, in part in an effort to boost admissions. But a Catholic legal expert thinks blogs pose grave safety and legal issues to students.

-- Some young people see blogs as a good place to mourn. Bloggers in New Hampshire also paid tribute to a favorite college professor.

-- Blog censorship in China has been in the news lately, what with the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao visiting America. Two columnists opined against it.

-- The corporate world in the Czech Republic now includes blogs.

-- Businesses are starting to adopt blogs and wikis, a type of collaborative software, for the same reason they did e-mail -- to improve workflow.

-- The market for video blogs appears to be booming.

-- A look at the rewards and risks of corporate blogging. There's also buzz about business blogs in Wisconsin.

-- The Wall Street Journal hosted a discussion about whether blogs can make money. Jason Calacanis, who made millions of dollars by selling Weblogs Inc. to AOL, tracked the debate that ensued in the blogosphere.

-- Blogs can help drive book sales.

-- Is blogging a career boost or a career obstacle? Read and decide for yourself.

-- Sphere is a new blog search tool.

-- AOL launched a series of blogs focused on company stocks.

-- Blogger burnout is a perpetual problem. Is that what's happening in China?

-- Blog spam is on the rise.

-- The Economist pondered a definition for blog.

-- Hungry? Take a spin through the culinary blogosphere. Building or buying home? Check the blogosphere for tips and news.

-- Both golf and hockey fans have blogs of their own, too.


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