The Case of Crystal Cox: the Issue of Bloggers as Journalists, Continued

INTRODUCTION
This post started as a comment to a comment on another blog that sited my post on the DBME Blog, dated December 10, 2011, in its ‘Related Articles’. As I wrote my comment, I began to feel that it contributed enough new insight into this issue that I started to consider publishing it as another blog post on this issue. I have made some minor changes to my ‘responding comment’ for this post since I’ve done additional research since commenting.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the commenter (on the article on eff.org) who used my post as part of his/her ‘Related Articles‘, (Posted on December 14, 2011 by zandocomm). This commenter’s feedback and insights inspired me to research this issue further and  put my thoughts to post on this issue once again.

legal Guide for Blogger © eff.org

Legal Guide for Blogger © eff.org

MY COMMENT AND A BIT MORE
I appreciate the expansion upon the blog post I wrote initially, The Daring Digital Decision: Bloggers Are NOT Journalists, that is listed in the ‘Related Articles‘ from a comment on the blog post, The Crystal Cox Case and Bloggers as Journalists. It clarifies what I feel are some of the more germain issues to this case. There are some very valid points made by the commenter and everyone else in my follow up research.

In particular, what I find most important are the fact that, (from the commenter) “Two important things appear to be going on in this case. First, courts occasionally identify a reluctance to extend journalistic protections to non-traditional “media” sources such as bloggers because of a perceived lack of a limiting principle. How can everyone potentially be a journalist? courts seemingly ask. This sentiment is frequently echoed by mainstream journalists who, rightly or wrongly, balk at the perceived threat of dilution of legal protections for traditional journalists posed when (as here) self-proclaimed journalists might go too far and risk protections for established media. As EFF and many others have pointed out, the proper approach to this question is to focus on what amounts to journalism, not who is a journalist. Journalism is not limited to a particular medium; instead, it focuses on whether someone is engaged in gathering information and disseminating it to the public. To the extent that laws are unclear or out of date – such as Oregon’s retraction statute which does not clearly include (or exclude) Internet journalism – legislatures should be encouraged to expansively update them to ensure the protection of individuals seeking to communicate information to the public.

“Second, and lost in much of the discussion about this case over the past week, Cox’s case seems to have much to do with an underlying discomfort and concern about how information is distributed online, whether or not it is actionable. David Carr’s recent article in the New York Times illustrates the phenomenon well. In it, Carr quotes plaintiff Kevin Padrick as lamenting the effect of Cox’s “long-running series of hyperbolic posts” and telling Carr that “his business as a financial adviser had dropped by half since Ms. Cox started in on him, and any search of his name or his company turned up page after page on Google detailing his supposed skullduggery, showing up under a variety of sites.”

THE BIGGER ISSUE
Both points lead to what I feel is the bigger issue. Traditional media journalism does not, per se, have the viral affect that blogged information can. Therefore, veracity of information or the lack of it can be magnified exponentially. As a result, the information posted can spread like wild fire and have a previously unseen impact on the parties involved. As we have already seen, social media has outdated the need for traditional war as the medium for a national revolution. The implications of what blogging can do, as a part of ‘journalistic’ media, reach beyond our imagination.

I totally agree that there seems to be something askew in this case. The issue of shield law has to do with protection of confidentiality of sources. The judges ruling skirts the real issue. This is about the Internet and whether or not to deal with it as part of the present  definition of journalism (which is confined to traditional media) rather than focusing on the journalist, Crystal Cox in particular as the Supreme Court case decision did.

The commenter continues, ” . . . the proper approach to this question is to focus on what amounts to journalism, not who is a journalist. Journalism is not limited to a particular medium; instead, it focuses on whether someone is engaged in gathering information and disseminating it to the public. To the extent that laws are unclear or out of date – such as Oregon’s retraction statute which does not clearly include (or exclude) Internet journalism – legislatures should be encouraged to expansively update them to ensure the protection of individuals seeking to communicate information to the public.”

CONCLUSION
We have not heard the end of this issue. In fact, we have only seen the beginning. Blogging as a form of ‘journalism’ is NOT going away. More and more individuals will increasingly use this form of new media to voice their opinion and report what they consider newsworhty. In my opinion, the standards required for traditional journalists need more than ever to be upheld, (education, credentials, and ethics). But it will become increasingly difficult to monitor and distinguish truth from fiction when so many individuals blog and posted information can go viral before a retraction of error or slander can possibly undo the damage.

SOURCES AND OTHER INFORMATION:

The Crystal Cox Case and Bloggers as Journalists

Crystal Cox and Bloggers as Journalists

Kevin Padrick

Related Articles

When Truth Survives Free Speech

Legal Guide for Bloggers

Are All Bloggers Journalists?

The Problem with Pre-Internet Laws

Should We Rethink Shield Law?

According to the Law

A Broader Definition of ‘Journalism’

The facebook page, Room for Debate

How Do You Do It? – My Super-Secret (shh!) 6 Tips for Blogging Success

Check out these mind-blowing statistics on this blog:

  • 1,085 Posts
  • Over 72,000 viewers to date
  • In nationwide syndication
  • Publishes on the Kindle
  • Publishes 7 days a week and mostly twice on weekdays (but not on holidays)

Those stats are for the extremely popular blog, Fearless Competitor. Then the question invariably comes up. “We struggle to post once a week. How many writers do you have for Fearless Competitor?” – most expect 8 or more.

The answer is One. One man. The Fearless Competitor!

The next comment is something we hear frequently. How the Hell does one person create so many great posts? I struggle to post once a week!

How Do You Do It?

(In fact, Mike Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer at Hubspot said to me “Jeff, at Hubspot we have many writers for our blog and it publishes frequently. But you are almost as prolific and you’re just one person. I have no idea how you do it.” When you can stump Mike Volpe, you’re doing something right. And Mike invited me to appear on HubspotTV, now called Marketing Update.)

In this post, I’ll share 6 tips on how YOU can learn to be a VERY prolific blogger too. And for each tip, we share an example post from Fearless Competitor, so you can see how it is done.

1. Create one or more weekly events, shows, etc.
Create a regular weekly show – same day, same time each week. Keep doing it. We created the B2B marketing show “Laugh and Learn with Find New Customers“. It runs every Friday at 11am ET. If you post 5 times a week, you’re 20% done.

2. Find inspiration in everything
Read a great article or find a great TV show? Read an interesting blog article? Is there a lesson in it? Then write about your thoughts. Check out ‘5 Lessons a B2B Marketer Can Learn from “Breaking Bad.”’

3. Report on the news
What’s happening in your industry? (Act-On Software buys MarketBridge; Eloqua files to go public.) Something else happening? Share what you think about the news. Check out “The Life Lesson from Plaxico Burress

4. Invite guest posts
Have top experts in your industry? Contact them and invite them to write guest posts for you. Check out “Developing an Integrated Content Marketing Strategy That Works” by Joe Pulizzi, co-author of Get Content, Get Customers.

5. Re-energize old posts
A very cool feature of WordPress.com is the ability to copy posts. Find a really good post you wrote in 2009 and copy it. Then edit it and freshen it up. Bingo. Brand new post! Check out “How to Gain Customer Trust – Insights by Guy Kawasaki” – which I published a couple of times.

6. Use Slideshare.
Take a presentation you did, upload it to Slideshare and record an audio track for it. Then match your audio up in Slideshare. (Contact me if you don’t know how to do this.) Slideshare has a very cool embed feature, so the viewer can see your slideshare right in the blog post. Check out “The Power of B2B Lead Nurturing.” for a great example of embedding a presentation in a blog article.

We also suggest you use your keywords (Like lead generation company) and use them in your blog posts. (Google loves frequently updated blogs.) so it really helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And Hubspot found an active blog gives a company 57% more leads.

We hope you found these tips helpful. What do you think? We love your comments and sharing. Good luck with your blog.

Sources:

Laugh and Learn with Find New Customers

The Power of B2B Lead Nurturing

How to Gain Customer Trust – Insights by Guy Kawasaki

Developing an Integrated Content Marketing Strategy That Works

The Life Lesson from Plaxico Burress

5 Lessons a B2B Marketer Can Learn from Breaking Bad

6 of the Best Guest Posting Tips

Guest posting can be a very lucrative venture for all parties involved. The owner of the blog is provided with free content, and the writer of the content is given acknowledgement of their wisdom on the chosen topic. In this aspect, guest posting seems to benefit both parties equally. However, it can be just as difficult to find high-quality blog owners who will allow guest posting, as it is to find high-quality writers to make guest appearances on your blog.

Keeping in mind a few helpful guest-posting tips can be beneficial for all involved and will help to produce the highest quality content that will reflect well on both the blog owner and the content creator.

Posting Tips for Guest Bloggers

  1. Aim High – Look for highly traveled blogs or those with impressive page rankings. These links will also be highly valuable portfolio material.
  2. Research the Blog – In order to create what is fresh content for the blog, you will need to know what content has already been created. If the blog is a lengthy one, check for tag clouds or keywords on the topics that are the same as your posting idea.
  3. Catchy Title – Catchier content. Be sure that you supply an eye catching title for your content, and make just as certain that the content lives up to the title. A good blogger knows that even the most boring topic can be made interesting with the right language.
  4. Give Your Best Stuff Away – This may be a hard concept to swallow for some bloggers but you want your guest posts on any blogs to be the most shining examples of your work. Not only will this garner the blog owner increased traffic or interest in their site, but it may also cause others to take notice, and perhaps even offer you paying gigs.
  5. Interact – Reply to commenters and pay attention to your re-tweeters. Get involved and make sure that you are available to ponder any issues about your blog posts with others who may be doing the same. Building a rapport with readers is valuable regardless of the blog posted on. Thanks to social media, people with similar interest or interest in you, can find you with a simple click once you have engaged them on site.
  6. Promote Your Posts – Promoting your own post is never more important than it is when posting on someone else’s site. Show them that their effort to give you a great link in exchange for great content has not gone unnoticed. Tweet, share, Digg, and do all you can to make sure the posts receives all of the coverage that is in your power to create.

Sources:

VACATION: Escape from Digital World

Although my recent vacation to Colorado was not intended to be for this reason, it did turn out to be something of an escape from the digital world. I actually wondered if I would be able to go two weeks without the tremors of withdrawal from daily facebook contacts, exchange of e-mails, online bookkeeping, blogging, etc.

Escape

Escape from the Digital World © Beso.com

I am delighted to report that I did abstain without incident or discomfort. But I do have a confession to make. I had at my disposal both an iPad and an iPhone. They proved themselves to be essential traveling companions. In addition, the situation necessitated my learning how to use them. I now can text, download apps, do banking and enjoy their benefits.

There were many incidents when both proved themselves to be not only indispensable but also assets to our enjoyment. Let me elaborate. We spent a week in Denver, a lovely cosmopolitan area that has a downtown that has married the best of old and new architecture, is culturally rich and diverse, and because of my knowledge of Google searches, we were able to partake in quite a few of Denver’s offerings.

iPhone

iPhone, named 'Minnie Me' photo © Apple

We had met an Ethiopian gentleman at a 7-11 where we made our daily morning walk coffee stop. We got to talking and I inquired about Ethiopian food. Since I have an adventurous and curious palette, I was excited about experiencing Ethiopian food.

A simple Google search for ‘Ethiopian restaurant in Denver, Colorado’ took me to a list of places in Denver. After reading the reviews on several listings, it was easy to decide where to go. The food was fantastic. The service was excellent. The price was very reasonable.

Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant

Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant

They make bread that is like nothing I have ever tasted before in my life. It is in the shape of a pancake but has a spongy consistency with the taste of sour dough. One of these ‘pancakes’ is placed beneath the platter of food and several others are served on the side rolled up like cigars.

Reviews of Habesha Restaurant

Reviews of Habesha Restaurant

The food is eaten by hand in the same tradition of Indian food. One rips a piece of the bread from the platter benefiting from the contents atop it, vegetables and or meat as ordered. It is as delicious as it sounds.

Habesha Restaurant found on Google Places

Habesha Restaurant found on Google Places

Also in Denver, I needed to find some Asian foodstuffs as I had run out of seaweed and other treats. Once again a Google search did the trick. I found the largest Asian foods store in Denver. I could rival many in the NY area.

Pacific Merchantile Company

Pacific Merchantile Company

Pacific Merchantile Company's Google Place page

Pacific Merchantile Company's Google Place page

One minor but crucial search was for a Bank of America. That was a bit more challenging since the Google search did not reveal one essential factor. There are no actual branches. There are only kiosks within shopping centers or office buildings and much harder to locate.

The most significant use of our digital companions involved our fly fishing trip to Basalt in the mountains near Aspen. No search for where to go was necessary since we had found fly fish heaven the year before on the introduction to my beloved sport.

Fly Fishing in Basalt, Colorado

Frying Pan Angler is the best place to go for all your fly fishing needs.

But when I went online to review the place I go to for guides and equipment, I noticed only two reviews. One of them was less than glowing. It was listed first even though it was from 2009. That was easy enough to resolve. I added my own review(s) and made the owner of the Frying Pan Angler aware of the situation and suggested how they could easily overcome that outdated and unflattering review.

Frying Pan Angler reviewed as it should be.

Frying Pan Angler reviewed as it should be.

All told, I did manage not to read any e-mail. I had left an auto responder message saying that I had gone fishing. I did not check to see if there had been phone calls on my business number. I had given the same ‘gone fishing message’ there as well.

In conclusion, not only did I escape from my daily addiction to hours on the computer but also for a change, the digital world served me. I was not its slave.

Sources:
Google Searches
Google Maps
Google Places
Local Online Business Directories

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