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net and freedom of speech---accountability."
Another points out that Internet censorship
is not just a problem for people in the devel-
I was very disappointed by what I con-
sider to be blatant cultural bias in David
Talbot's article. The article cites govern-
ment actions to filter or otherwise block
Internet access by various Islamic coun-
tries, China, and Vietnam. But there was
no mention whatsoever of actions by
OECD countries to block online gambling
(as in most U.S. states and some European
countries) or hate sites (as in most Euro-
pean countries) or other types of content
that is considered illegal or inappropriate
according to national laws or customs (as
in most countries around the world). I grant
that the OECD countries do not usually use
technical means to block websites, instead
relying on laws. But such laws, and their
enforcement, can be just as effective as
technical means. Anonymity can be used
to evade national laws as well as to evade
technical barriers, so the issue is pertinent
for all countries.
THE FUTURE OF JOURNALISM
Editor in chief Jason Pontin's diagnosis of the
problems plaguing print publications in the
age of blogs and citizen journalism ("A Mani-
festo," May/June 2009) ignited a contentious
debate over how to save the traditional media
and whether such an action is even desirable.
The first reply to the expanded, online version
of Pontin's manifesto thought his recipe for
media's survival was a bit like rearranging
the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Some very nice points. Still, these are
really just minor adjustments, a bit of fine
tuning that may get print orgs through the
short term, but unless traditional publishers
can overcome their editorial ego they will ulti-
mately fail. A new paradigm is brewing and
unless editors can accept the collaborative
nature of their relationship with the reader---
and do everything in their power to cultivate
it---everything else is meaningless.
■ mturro on 05/04/2009 at 9:26 . .
Which received the response:
Pontin's observations about over-
saturated circulation, advertising anarchy
and commoditized content get at the root
of what's troubling the mainstream media.
He's not arguing for a return to the good old
days, but rather pointing out that quality
journalism does have a place in our society,
along with other forms of media, and that
business models need to change to support it.
This is not a rant against unstoppable forces.
It is an argument for accommodation and
adaptation that preserves value.
■ pgillin on 05/05/2009 at 8:11 . .
Another commenter sees a technological solu-
tion around the corner:
Seems to me that everyone is looking in
the wrong direction. Laser and inkjet print-
ing technology keeps getting cheaper. With
some innovation, a printer that incorpo-
rates duplexing and folding could provide
an on-demand printed version of a daily
newspaper, ready to go with a morning cup
of co ee.
■ zozazumi on 05/05/2009 at 4:03 . .
A reader stresses the importance of commu-
nicating to the public what professional jour-
nalism is all about, and how valuable it can be
when done well.
As a former print journalist who now
teaches at the Southern Alberta Institute
of Technology in Calgary, one of the things
I try to teach my students is that doing real
journalism is hard work. It takes two full
years to get across to them the di erence
between simply sitting down in front of a
computer and tapping something out, and
doing the sort of true research that jour-
nalism demands. That research---meeting
people face to face, asking good questions,
deciding what is credible and what is spin,
separating new information from old, mak-
ing it interesting---is tough. But it is some-
thing good journalists are paid to make
If publishers then give this content away
instead of charging for it, readers are per-
suaded that news is essentially worthless
and anyone can do it. Add in the fact that
many powerful people also find journalism
too intrusive for their tastes, and you have
a craft that is under stress as never before.
So along with finding a business model
that will allow real journalism to survive,
we have to figure out how to teach our read-
ers what journalism actually is, and how to
tell the di erence between it and the tidal
wave of undi erentiated information flood-
ing our lives every day. And we need to use
every available means to make these argu-
ments before the doomsayers' prophecies
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