Print 29 comment(s) - last by KristopherKubi.. on Jan 17 at 10:02 AM

Hmm, maybe I've missed the bigger picture here

A few days ago I went off the deep end and psycho-analyzed Gizmodo's prank at CES 2008, and its philosophical grounds for doing so. 

All that went out the window this morning when I read an article about a Polish teen who used an IR remote to derail a few trams at a local depot

It's probably not likely that this kid knew of the Gizmodo prank at the time, or that he even intended to hurt anyone, but it brought me to the larger conclusion that the next kid who wants to do this sort of thing doesn't need to look very far to know he can get away with it. 

Taking away someone's CES press badge is not punishment. I still think that's lip service.

Fortunately nobody was killed in the event, and my condolences go out to anyone who was hurt in the ordeal. 

As a personal message to Brian Lam: I respect your decision to do what you did. I personally think you were even entitled to do so from a legal and moral standpoint.  However, I do think you should be very clear to those who look up to Gizmodo that such actions won't land Gizmodo in trouble, but it could have deep consequences for people with less clout.

Update 1/14/2008: As forecasted, CEA gave the offending owner of the IR nuker a lifetime ban of CESGizmodo, as a publication, faced no consequences.  I asked a CEA liaison how the organization intends to prevent this individual from entering the show next year.  The CEA official claimed the organization has banned other people before.  As long as he attempts to sign up under the same name, he will not be allowed back into the show.

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New media vs Old Media
By MatthiasF on 1/13/2008 9:56:19 PM , Rating: 3
New media (bloggers, online journalists, etc.) should take pause at the ethical rules of old media. They exist after several centuries of mistakes.

Gizmodo broke two entire sections, while you guys seem to be defending them and in turn breaking several yourselves. Specifically, being accountable and independent.

They did something wrong and you've written two blog posts supporting the bullies in this situation. You can't argue what they did was right and you haven't had the balls to say what they did was wrong either, but for some reason you aren't demanding accountability for THEM.

Instead you're making the victims out to be the aggressors just because they're a corporation. More like a corporation not in YOUR industry. Gizmodo's a company two, eh? They did this to make money, not to make a statement, so why aren't you harping on them?

Because you're not acting accountable or independent, or even trying.

You want to be considered journalists, you need to follow the rules of journalism. Gizmodo broke them and caused harm, and you exaggerated it with your support. For that, you will not be anything more than a blogger and the stigma you guys try to fight against is proven right again.

RE: New media vs Old Media
By KristopherKubicki on 1/13/2008 11:20:08 PM , Rating: 1
The ethical rules of new media assume that I care if I get labeled a journalist or a blogger or just a guy on the Internet. Also, neither of my personal blog posts (not to be confused with the content in the clearly labeled "news" section) endorsed what Gizmodo did.

I'm just trying to figure out if what they did was deplorable or understandable.

SPJ Guide to Ethics, "Be Accountable":
— Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
— Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
— Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
— Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

RE: New media vs Old Media
By MatthiasF on 1/14/2008 11:50:26 AM , Rating: 3
In your first article you said all journalists cause harm, as if excusing Gizmodo, but this isn't the case as I pointed out in the ethics guidelines. In fact, I believe the opposite is true, in that it would be hard to find a significant publication that allows it's staff to do harm. This type of behavior isn't tolerated in old media, not even in the sleaziest of tabloids.

Tabloids might sensationalize or even flat our report lies, but they don't create events that do harm against a celebrity to entertain their readers.

Do you really want sites like Dailytech to be relegated to something less respectful than a tabloid?

If not, then you have to report following the guidelines (opinion be damned) in one article and make the editorial in another. You gotta stop mixing the two. Taking a stand against other sites breaking the rules while also breaking the rules yourselves becomes counter-intuitive.

I really like the site. You have a lot of bright reporters and you hit interesting topics all the time. But sometimes you guys get too personal with your reporting and it taints some of the content. There's a reason why editorials are separate in newspapers and magazines. You guys need to consider following suit.

RE: New media vs Old Media
By KristopherKubicki on 1/14/2008 12:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
I appreciate the feedback and dialog.

I think all media causes harm to some degree. Harm to who, and with what lasting effects, differ. Case in point: the CTA meltdown in Chicago is partially blamed on the Chicago Sun-Times' leaked memos of the negotiations between the governor and the mayor. Was it the Times' intention to gridlock the city? I would at least like to hope not.

Aside from some blotter reporting football scores and crime statistics, its very easy to say that almost all journalists cause harm in one way or another. And in the case of the Times, the gridlock they partially created gave the publication more things to write about. I honestly see very little distinction between what the Times did and what Gizmodo did with the exception that Lam's stunt was more sophmoric and likely has fewer consequences.

How about when ABC publishes the last manifesto of a deranged serial killer from VT? I can pull dozens of examples in the last year that have caused serious harm -- none of which I condone. Old Media certainly tolerates this, and even encourages it if they get a Pulitzer out of it.

Tabloids might sensationalize or even flat our report lies, but they don't create events that do harm against a celebrity to entertain their readers.

I can think of hundreds, (thousands?) of examples of this. Princess Diana?

As Lam put it, CNET does things one way, Gizmodo another. DailyTech, as I'm proud to say, does things in another way. I think if you follow the site since it's inception, we've really amplified some of the things that make other publications great and well respected: encouraging debate, airing unpopular angles, and ignoring some of the rules of conventional media (like embargos, scope restrictions).

Perhaps an article detailing what Gizmodo did, followed by a blog entry, would have been the correct way to poll discussion from readers. I thought the discussion was pretty well covered at other publications on the web, and I took it upon myself to continue the discussion elsewhere.

I think you are well versed in theory and practice when it comes to media - and I highly encourage you to continue these posts in public or private here at DT. If you have any particular questions about why DT does the things it does, or why I in particular do some of the things I do, please feel free to drop me a line or a comment, I'm happy to answer.

RE: New media vs Old Media
By Mr Roberto on 1/16/2008 7:54:40 PM , Rating: 2
"I think all media causes harm to some degree."

I suggest that causing harm or not is not the real issue (not in this case, at any rate), but that FABRICATING an issue, so that it can be filed on your website and thereby drive traffic, is.

In the example you quoted (and another elsewhere), the traditional news outlets were acting on information they found. In the Deepthroat case, the reporters brought down an administration by acting on information they were given.

In Robert Blakely's case, the information came from himself. I would have thought that distinction would have been glaringly obvious by now. Apparently, this "new media" thing operates on another set of rules?

RE: New media vs Old Media
By Mr Roberto on 1/16/2008 7:58:05 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry. I meant, Richard Blakely.

RE: New media vs Old Media
By Spyvie on 1/13/2008 11:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
This is the new media, not a newspaper or a TV show at all... a blog is something like those things but with the very useful addition of criticism from it's readers immediately visible to everyone... just like the rest of the web. The other important characteristic of this new media is it's unprecedented ease of publishing or broadcasting. Powerful tools in the hands of many have fostered an information culture with an evolving set of rules, and has completely decentralized control of that information. I don't know how we can be sure if all of the old rules apply and who we should apply them to.

RE: New media vs Old Media
By Spyvie on 1/13/2008 11:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
To me they can have a goofball stunt if they want, but it should be clearly labeled as such. Not unlike a humor columnist or even the funnies would be in the paper, or even a comedy segment on a local newscast. In which case we wouldn't be thinking about journalistic principals at all, we would just be a little shocked at the writers behavior and wondering about the consequences.

RE: New media vs Old Media
By Mr Roberto on 1/16/2008 8:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
And what if said "goofball stunt" costs companies real money, and employees their jobs? That no one got fired in this particular case is no defense, surely. It could easily escalate and lead to more damage in the future if such behaviour continues to be condoned.

Everyone who says there has been no real damage done in this case probably have never worked a trade booth or delivered a marketing presentation. There are costs involved.

Apart from that, it's one thing if the "goofball stunt" were done by a visitor. Or someone who was not stupid enough to boast about it in public afterwards. That the person(s) and publication involved did both speaks volumes.

RE: New media vs Old Media
By Mr Roberto on 1/16/2008 7:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
Can I just say that there is a distinction between journalism -- ie, reporting on an event -- and creating an event by, say, pulling a prank? In which case, all this "philosophical debate about journalism" nonsense would be moot. Unless someone is telling me that in the US it is fine for a reporter to deliberately instigate an incident just to get a scoop, and then be rewarded, applauded and defended for it.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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