M. Alex Johnson – Journalist at Large

An analog journalist in a digital world

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter

Judge allows media to live-tweet Sandusky hearing

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Senior Judge John Cleland has reversed himself and says he will allow news organizations to report the preliminary hearing for former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky  through Twitter, email and text messages.

Pennsylvania law bans “transmission of communications from the courtroom by telephone, radio, television, or advanced communication technology,” but at a hearing Monday requested by news organizations, Cleland appeared to carve out an exception for live electronic text reporting, deciding that the ban applied to “neither ‘tweeting’ or the simultaneous transmission of a reporter’s account or impression of events as they occur in the courtroom.”

The state rule is intended to bar “an audio and/or visual record” of events, Cleland ruled — not the actual reporting of the news.

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Written by Alex

December 12, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Reporting: For some churches, the Internet clicks; for others it doesn’t

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Over at msnbc.com, I have a long piece examining how religious institutions regard the Internet and especially social media:

[T]he Catholic Church has a long history of being an early adopter of new forms of media, going back to the 1920s, when Catholic priests pioneered radio evangelism, Campbell said.

At the same time, other religious institutions, especially traditional U.S. Protestant denominations, are still sorting through the challenges as well as the opportunities posed by the Internet, and particularly social media, according to church leaders and administrators.

“I think there’s a lot of groups trying to figure it out,” said John Davidson, a fundraising and ministry consultant for churchextension.org, which supports the ministry of the Christian Church-Disciples of Christ.

I talked to the Rev. Bobby Gruenewald, the “innovation leader” at LifeChurch.tv, a very sophisticated worldwide online ministry. He pinpoints the divide this way:

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Written by Alex

November 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

(Updated): Exploring the Visible and Invisible Web

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Monday night, I was part of the weekly journalism skills training series run by the Western Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Cheryl Phillips, data enterprise editor at The Seattle Times and board chairman of Investigative Reporters and Editors, and I tag-teamed Web-based reporting.

As promised, here’s the link to my downloadable PowerPoint presentation.

‘This is about social networks that are beyond the reach of Mubarak’

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Cross-posted from Technolog: read in context

Large parts of the Internet essentially went dark about midnight Egypt time after the government of President Hosni Mubarak, a longtime ally of Washington, ordered service providers and cell phone companies to shut down.

While it looks like Egypt has been cut off — attempts to get to pretty much any Web site in Egypt are unsuccessful, and Twitter.com is unavailable inside the country — protesters and sympathizers have been able to get their message out through a variety of means because “what the government does is very effective for stopping the most basic users, meaning average users, the folks who probably aren’t Twitter users,” says Philip N. Howard, director of the Project on Information Technology and Political Islam at the University of Washington and author of “The Digital Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Information Technology and Political Islam.”

“Most of the folks who are tweeting are kind of the digital elite who can set up proxy servers and Twitter clients and get their message out,” he says. “It only takes a few thousand of those folks to feed the rest of us news about what’s going on.”

Here’s the text of our full conversation with Howard:

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Written by Alex

January 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

The Twitter Snowball Effect, the Zodiac and NPR

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Update, Saturday, Jan. 15, 1:40 p.m. ET: At the bottom, I’ve appended a response from a Minnesota Planetarium Society board member.

Twitter has resounded with the news this week that there’s now a 13th sign of the Zodiac, called Ophiuchus. Regardless how you feel about astrology itself, it’s easy to demonstrate that the “news” is bunkum — a textbook product of what I call the Twitter Snowball Effect.

Tracing the story back, we find that the excitement was sparked Thursday by items in Time.com’s NewsFeed and the Huffington Post, which reported that “astronomers from the Minnesota Planetarium Society” had found that because of the moon’s gravitational pull on Earth, the alignment of the stars was pushed by about a month.

With the Minnesota Planetarium Society as the only attribution, the items printed the new Zodiac, which slotted Ophiuchus into late autumn between Scorpio and Sagittarius (and transformed me from a Cancer into a Gemini).

In fact, the Minnesota Planetarium Society said no such thing.

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Written by Alex

January 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

Cat scratch fever

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Jim Davis wants you to know that he really, really — really — regrets yesterday’s “Garfield” strip, which some people thought might be offensive to veterans.

That’s “Garfield” — representative of all that’s safe and bland in the comics world — and “offensive to veterans” in the same sentence.

If that seems unlikely, there’s a reason. It turns out the strip offended nearly no one, veterans included. All it did was create a manufactured mini-controversy based on journalists’ assumptions that it would — substantiating my hypothesis that we’re frequently skipping basic reporting steps in our eagerness to stay up to Web speed.

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Written by Alex

November 12, 2010 at 10:08 am

But … but … where do I tweet this?

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If Twitter is down, is there anyone to tweet it?

Add to: Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Yahoo Buzz | Newsvine

Written by Alex

August 5, 2010 at 1:47 pm

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