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Dorian Benkoil Dorian Benkoil
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Bob Cauthorn Bob Cauthorn
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Ben Compaine Ben Compaine
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Dorian Benkoil senior consultant at Teeming Media. An award-winning journalist and editor, he was a foreign correspondent for AP and Newsweek, and international and managing editor for ABCNews.com. At ABC News he moved to the business side, handling sales integration and business development, before joining Fairchild Publications as General Manager for their Internet division, becoming editorial director for mediabistro.com, then a consultant for Teeming Media in New York. He graduates this year with an MBA from Baruch's Zicklin school of business. Learn more about him at Benkoil.com or his blog - MediaFlect.com.

Robert Cauthorn is a journalist, former vice president of digital media at the San Francisco Chronicle, and was the third recipient of the Newspaper Association of America's prestigious Digital Pioneer Award. He launched one of the first five newspapers web sites in the world and is generally considered to have delivered the first profitable newspaper web site in 1995. Cauthorn has been in the middle of the transition from old media to new and is recognized as frank-talking critic when he believes newspapers stray for their mission. In mid-2004 he became the president of CityTools, LLC a new media startup based in San Francisco.

Ben Compaine has divided his career between the academic world and private business. He was a journalist when manual typewriters were considered state of the art, but also led the conversion of his college newspaper to cold type. He has started and managed weekly newspapers. His dissertation at Temple University in 1977 was about the changing technologies that were going to unsettle the landscape of the staid and low profit newspaper industry. Since then he has focused his research and consulting on examining the forces and trends at work in the information industries. Among his most well-known works (and the name of his blog) is "Who Owns the Media?".

Vin Crosbie has been called "the Practical Futurist" by Folio, the trade journal of the American magazine industry. Editor & Publisher magazine, the trade journal of the American newspaper industry, devoted the Overview chapter of executive research report Digital Delivery of News: A How-to Guide for Publishers to his work. His speech to the National Association of Broadcasters annual conference was one of 24 orations selected by a team of speech professors for publication in the reference book Representative American Speeches 2004-2005. He has keynoted the Seybold Publishing Strategies conference in 2000; co-chaired and co-moderated last year's annual Beyond the Printed Word the digital publishing conference in Vienna; and regularly speaks at most major online news media conferences. He is currently in residence as adjunct professor of visual and interactive communications and senior consultant on executive education in new media at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and meanwhile is managing partner of the media consulting firm of Digital Deliverance LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.
About this blog
Two forces have shattered the news media. Technology is the first. Although media technology is undergoing its greatest change since the day in 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg first inked type, for more than ten years now the news industry has mistaken new technologies merely as electronic ways to distribute otherwise printed or analog products. Estrangement is the second. The news media has lost touch with people's needs and interests during the past 30 years, as demonstrated by rapidly declining readerships of newspapers and audiences of broadcast news. How we rebuild news media appropriate to the 21st Century from the growing rubble of this industry is the subject of this group weblog.
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Rebuilding Media

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April 3, 2008

The Price of Objectivity

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Posted by Dorian Benkoil

At the Brian Storm (of MediaStorm.org) Hearst Foundation New Media Lecture at Columbia J. school. Brian talks about the fallacy of objectivity, or at leas the fallacy of being unwilling to be an advocate, pointing to Darfur, and that it was extremely hard to produce a piece for the non-advocacy Council on Foreign Relations about what’s happening there. “I think Bashir is a bad person,” and should go, he says of the Sudanese leader.

“If you’re a journalist and you don’t have an agenda, you don’t have a pulse,” Brian says much later. Sometimes you have to push hard to get [an audience] to give a shit on the things they should care about,” whether its the Sudan, Rwanda, post-Katrina New Orleans or danger to elephants.

Fascinating to hear him toe this line, which must be anathema to many in these hallowed journalistic halls. Brian notes how when working at MSNBC he was not allowed, for example, to put music in documentary work -- something he does regularly now (and a question about which sparked the discussion).

“Ethics, I do have them,” he says, implicitly arguing that advocacy is actually a more ethical position.

Objectivity, I would argue, is damn near impossible. Where you point the camera, even how you frame the shot, let alone the quotes you choose or the point you make when writing, or what-not, are all choices. With a genuflection to Nanda Kumar of Baruch College (where I just guest lectured in his class) I ask: Is Google an objective search engine? No. Choices are made in how to write its algorithm.

Fairness is possible, and disclosure of ones’ biases helps achieve that aim. But objectivity? Ever seen Rashomon?

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Public Service Media


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