Review: Moonbattery

General Subject/Idea:
The blog Moonbattery is about the latest world news, American issues, or any other kind of topic related politics, social, and economic subjects.

Political Slant:
Moonbattery seems to be a politically right-winged blog, with critique, commentary and discussion of left-leaning political factions in an ironical way.

What else…
Sources:
In general the blog posts provide linked sources to the original article, but these sites don’t always seem like a credible news source. There are a lot of posts which just have some pictures or opinions on a subject and don’t cite any sources.
Information:
The blog is a bit particular and is not comparable with a local newspaper or informative website as the articles are to a great part full of irony.
What I didn’t like:
I think the whole blog is too one-sided and doesn’t really have much to do with the real world. It seems like the author of the blog just try to find any left-wing issue to make fun of or to complain. Moreover the advertisements all over the blog are pretty distracting.
A selected Link/Post
: This post is just an example how moronic Moonbattery’s blog posts are: http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2011/05/separated-at-bi-79.html. The post is just about ex-con University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh professor Stephen Richards, who gets compared to Chumley the Walrus. A small link forwards the reader to some news post from Moonbattery (again!) about Stephen Richards. It doesn’t seem that they use on this post any credible sources either.

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Review: Jihad Watch

General Subject/Idea:
The Jihad Watch blog is dedicated to bring the theology of jihad, which denies unbelievers equality of human rights and dignity, and the role it plays in modern conflicts to public attention. The political blog is criticized to be an islamophobic website.

Political Slant:
It’s hard to detect the political slant of the blog: I think the blog is not about right, left, libertarian etc. but rather to raise awareness about the activities of the global jihadists.

What else…
Sources:
The blog cites sources by linking to the original article and putting quotes in quotation marks.
Information:
The blog is not comparable with a local newspaper, as the reporting is about Islamic topics and does not cover any other political topics.
What I didn’t like:
The structure of the blog is pretty simple, what is shown by a seemingly infinite scroll down menu.
A selected Link/Post
: Suitable to the current event of Osama bin Ladens death, I choose one of the countless blog posts which appeared in the last 24 hours: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/05/jerusalem-muslims-riot-over-bin-ladens-death.html. I selected this post, as it might support the statements of opponents who say the blog portrays Islam and it follower in a negative light.

Review: Hit & Run

General Subject/Idea:
The actual website is an online version of the Reason magazine and the Hit & Run blog is hard to find. Anyway, the Hit & Run blog covers the same as the magazine itself: articles and columns on current developments in politics and culture.

Political Slant:
Reason
and hence also the Hit & Run blog describes itself as a refreshing alternative to right-wing and left-wing opinion magazines by making a principled case for liberty and individual choice in all areas of human activity.

What else…
Sources:
The blog cite sources by linking to the original article and highlighting of quotes.
Information:
In my opinion the blog is very up to date and covers current topics, so it can keep pace with local newspaper.
What I didn’t like:
I think the Reason magazine should place its blog somewhere more visible. It’s hard to find, if you don’t particularly search for the Hit & Run blog.
A selected Link/Post
: I like this post  http://reason.com/blog/2011/05/02/reason-morning-links-osama-dea because it provides a handy overview of key topics from the day. If the reader gets attracted by one of the headlines she or he just has to follow the link and gets to a selected article to a reliable news source.

Blogging and Journalism

Are bloggers journalists? That’s a really good question and in my opinion it depends on two things: The type of the blog and on each individual blogger. I actually can’t better describe my view than Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which got stated by David L. Hudson in his article about blogging on www.firstamendmentcenter.org. Leslie said: “just like some telephone users are journalists and some are not; the same thing with bloggers. The medium doesn’t answer the question. It has more to do with the function that the person is performing …” I wouldn’t consider someone as a journalist who is just giving opinion about the links she posts in her blog or writes just a personal weblog about her life. But according to Mark Glaser’s article on pbs.org there are independent blogs who are doing more reporting, breaking more news and hiring former journalists to staff their publications.

I don’t think it is bad, that bloggers have been responsible for breaking and carrying news stories that have resulted in senators losing their jobs and possibly changed the course of the last presidential election. A blogger might not be a journalist but she is ethically obliged to a strict adherence to principles and standards of journalism like accuracy, truthfulness, transparency and independence. It doesn’t make a difference if it is a blogger or a journalist, who doesn’t stick to the standards. Both will lose trust and gain bad reputation – a journalist will lose her job and a blogger will lose readers.

I assume that a blogger who learned the profession of a journalist has the same rights and protection as a newspaper and television reporter. Society must give a journalist, who has studied this profession for years some credit. If someone “just” blogs without having a degree of journalism they should in general not have the privilege to certain rights and protections. Again, there should be also a distinction between certain bloggers from case to case. If someone is a respected and trustworthy blogger for years she should get some credits for it and get exceptionally protected by the “shield law” (on a case-to-case basis). For the one who never posted a news story before but stumbled onto a breaking news story it is not reasonable to protect this person by a “shield law”.

It might not be fair, that a blogger gets denied to get into a political event. But again, someone who has a degree in journalism has a privilege to go to those events. Maybe there should be a clause that a certain percentage of bloggers are allowed to get access to an event like that. For me it doesn’t matter if it is a fashion or a political event: a reporter, journalist or not, has to stick to the truth in any case.

Reflection of Cognitive Surplus, chapter 2 “Means”

With the protests of Korean citizens about the re-opening of the market for U.S. beef, Clay Shirky gave a perfect example that the internet allows everyone, no matter their age, race, religious beliefs or gender to have a voice about anything. I also like Shirky’s example about PickupPal.com: social media as part of the real world is indeed improving our life, as people are able to find the solution to the problem in the web. Shirky has a lot of good points and examples in his book, nevertheless, I have the feeling that he is too convinced about the new media “internet” and its advantages over TV or even books. I think that reading a book can also have its benefits compared to the internet. The internet is a place of abundance and it is often really hard to find the right information. Therefore it is good that a publisher narrows down the choice of books.

I mostly agree with Shirky’s points that the separation of “cyberspace” and the “real world” is becoming increasingly irrelevant. If I think about my life without internet about 15 years ago, I notice that a lot of things have changed and cyberspace and the real world often cannot be distinguished anymore from each other. Nowadays I get invitations from my friends to events and parties via Facebook and I share my pictures with them via certain applications in the web. I go shopping for clothes or travel deals online, instead of going to the store or the travel agency.

Differences about the current revolution and the revolution of the printing press are for example that also amateurs are producers and don’t need “help or permission from professionals to say things in public”. Furthermore, as data is made of numbers, it is the same for everybody and doesn’t need a copy. Everyone in the world can retrieve an equally perfect version from a digital production.

The idea of operating in a culture of “abundance” differs from once of “scarcity” in terms of how we treat things. When something is rare, it seems more valuable and we don’t want to waste it by experimenting with it. If we have something in abundance, we can experiment and be creative, because we don’t need to be scared to waste it.

I can’t consider it as a good thing that the web outpaces traditional media regarding the aspect that it causes job losses in the traditional media industry. But on the other hand it is a good thing as news reaches the receiver far more quickly. Personally, I only use the internet as news resource as it saves time and it is in general for free. With the search function of an online newspaper I am able to look for news on a specific date or topic.

Web feed reading with Google Reader

I never thought that it is so easy and comfortable to use web feeds by using Google Reader. Google Reader is pretty self explaining if one has a good knowledge of other internet tools and applications. It cost me a lot of time in the past to check on my favorite web pages for new posts. But with Google Reader I just need to visit one webpage and have an overview of the recent posts. I actually only used web feeds to keep me updated with news from online newspapers via my web browser, but from now on I will use Google Reader. As I said, Google Reader is pretty easy to use, so I don’t have any questions for the time being.

Reflection of “Gin, Television, and Cognitive Surplus

I really enjoyed reading the first chapter of cognitive surplus and in many points I totally agree with the statements and views from Clay Shirky. It is definitely true, that in the last decades the television was one of the main leisure activities for many people and I also observed the shift from watching television towards using the web 2.0. I see the point, that watching TV is only about consuming and people don’t want to only consume but also produce and share.

Anyway, I can’t understand the point that Shirky considers that “doing something”, like the creation of LOLCATS is better than “doing nothing” like watching TV. As it is a waste of time to watch silly TV shows it is also a waste of time to create LOLCATS or play world of warcraft, even when people are able to produce and share. There is a better use of the internet and before people get so bored that they even create Lolcats, they should think about a more useful leisure activity. If they want to create or share something, they should do such as some art and craft work or spend their free time with friends. I know this activities cost a bit more effort than just go online and do things in the virtual world, but it’s definitely worth it.

I have the feeling, that the internet uses more and more of our cognitive surplus, even more than the TV did. Years ago, when I was still in high school I watched a large amount of television, but from year to year my consumption decreased. Maybe, because the work on a computer got more and more important in my life due to studying and working in an office. Furthermore, I have the feeling that if I find the time to watch TV (sometimes when I just want to do NOTHING or just want to relax) there is nothing in the TV program which I am interested. Therefore, I rather use the internet to watch a movie. I just need to go to Hulu.com or Kino.to and I can watch the movie exactly when I wish to. If I want to produce and share, I use my email account and go on Facebook, but usually I don’t use websites to share content with people I don’t know. In general I only take part in a web site if I need some information, such as asking questions in a forum.

I don’t really understand what Shirky means when he says that “More is different”, but maybe it has something to do with the growth of the web and the internet users. Internet users can now reach far more people through the internet and they don’t even know each other, compared to an earlier stage. If someone creates or shares something in the internet, it is different from past times where someone shared and created something for only a small amount of people.