Tuesday, September 27, 2005

ASSIGNMENT / CLASS NOTES: Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005

For Thursday:

Be prepared to discuss the ethics case studies in Thursday's class. We will also list to an audio tape of Peter Phillips talking about Project Censored.

Please try to get your copy of the McChesney book soon, we will need to start reading from it in a few more days.

On Thursday we will assign reading of the AP Stylebook's "Briefing on Media Law", pages 340-380, for a Tuesday, Oct. 4 discussion.

As I meet with each of you indivdually over the next week and a half, I will outline the Media Giraffe Project and how writing for MGP will be integrated into our class work during October.

-- bill



In today's class we viewed EPIC, a multimedia online video scenario which projects what may happen to news gathering between now and the year 2015 as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other companies deploy personalization, search and aggregation technologies. EPIC was produced by two reseachers at the Poynter Institute, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Here is a link to the description of the project (and within it a link to the presentation itself)


After viewing EPIC, we discussed its implications. Here were some general comments:

-- Scary, the prospect is of nobody overlooking, or editing the news. Shouldn't someone, a person or people, be in charge? Otherwise the personalization engines will just serve you information that confirms and reinforces your own beliefs and prejudices.

-- What about the politics of the owners/managers of Google? How will that affect the way the algorithms work? The idea of two big companies (Googlezon and Microsoft) controlling all aspects of news personalization is troubling.

-- Taking facts from stories and then recombining them according to the preferences of individuals seems to raise major concerns about facts being taken out of context. Does truth get lost in the process? Editing by computer is seen as unreliable and untrustworthy.

-- "It makes me not want to go onto Google for anything," said one student. (out of fear of what they are doing)

-- In discussion, students were deeply ambivalent about personalized news. They like to read the same paper everyone else reads -- gives them a sense of community. Even thought they may read arts and not sports, they like that they have the option to read sports if they want to. They are concerned this might be lost, or made difficult.

-- Posted by Bill Densmore

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