Citizenship Papers

Friday, October 12, 2007

Transcript

How will citizen journalists affect the media’s ongoing struggle to evolve or risk becoming obsolete? Who bears responsibility for a crowd-sourced story? Where’s the profit in it? Bob investigates.

Comments [21]

Billy Maz from Dallas, TX

I agree with Susan on the Natchitoches, Louisiana issue... The locals say it as she says or "NAK-a-dish".

Nov. 15 2007 11:22 AM
Peter Fleck from Minneapolis

Why not release the raw tape of the interview so we can all judge the error?

Oct. 27 2007 11:31 AM
Matthew Chamberlin from Miami

So, on October 15, the tete a tete between Messrs. Garfield and Rosen abruptly ends with an indignant Garfield upbraiding a now invisible Rosen.

Don't do this to us, guys! How did it end? Did Rosen apologize? Was Garfield completely above reproach? And what about...Naomi?

Throw us a bone here, people!

Oct. 26 2007 04:39 PM
Ben Curties

Why do you say that, Ted?

Oct. 18 2007 01:30 PM
Ted

Please deposit the buzzword "crowdsourcing" into the nearest bathtub and drown it.

Oct. 16 2007 08:27 PM
Bob Garfield from undisclosed

I have gone back and reviewed the raw tape from the interview. It appears as the sequencing mistake is just as you describe it: I assumed the “whole thing fell apart” part followed the “what went right” part. If any error could be deemed a natural one, this would seem to be it. Naturally, I am very sorry I got the order of things incorrect. In my 30-year career, the number of such mistakes I’ve made can be counted on Antonio Alfonseca’s two hands.

Now then:

1) As another commenter observes, there is no “gotcha,” because the incorrect sequence has little or no bearing on the overall discussion. If I had properly understood the sequence of events, my script would have been slightly different, but the thrust of the section on AssignmentZero would have been he same.
2) There is no “gotcha” because the tone of this section is not especially negative or judgmental, much less confrontational or gloating.
3) Your behavior remains disgraceful. On the basis of an unfortunate but utterly understandable chronology mistake, you have publicly attacked my integrity. I await your apology.
4) Your principal accusation, that I am a “gotcha” journalist, is partly correct. Sometimes I am an explanatory journalist, as in the piece in question. Sometimes I am a satirical journalist. Sometimes I am a purely objective reporter. And sometimes, as a watchdog and critic, I indeed aim to catch others in their trespasses. Gotcha.

Oct. 15 2007 02:50 PM
Conrad Pino from San Leandro, CA

At some point the buzzmachine.com URL suggested by Bob Garfield will drop the relevent article from it's front page.

The permenant URL follows is http://www.buzzmachine.com/2007/10/13/on-on-the-media/

Thank you Bob.

Oct. 15 2007 03:47 AM
Susan from Washington state

You mangled the name of the town in Louisiana. Natchitoches is NAK-uh-tush.
Nacogdoches, close to what I heard on the show, is in Texas.

Oct. 14 2007 10:53 PM
Burt from NJ

I was intrigued by the site mentioned in the piece - topics.com - but apparently this site does not exist? A google search yielded nothing along the lines of what you describe.

Oct. 14 2007 10:10 PM
Shane from NYC

Many thanks James and Bob for posting the website.

Shane

Oct. 14 2007 07:27 PM
Bob Garfield

topiX.com

Oct. 14 2007 07:03 PM
James from Connecticut

Try http://www.topix.net.

Oct. 14 2007 05:03 PM
Shane from NYC

Can someone tell me how to find Topics.com the crowdsourcing site mentioned in this segment with the CEO Chris (inaudible last name). I couldn't find it anywhere and would love to find out what people are thinking about in my home town.

Thanks

Oct. 14 2007 03:46 PM
Bob Garfield from undisclosed

I would direct anyone interested in seeing my response to Jay Rosen's shocking accusations to head for buzzmachine.com. That's where I first encountered them, and that's where I confront them. Suffice for the moment to say his remarks are disgraceful and his analysis wildly incorrect.

Oct. 14 2007 01:00 AM
J Rosen from Manhattan

For good measure he threw in something else that's wrong. "Rosen also believed that the nature of the story didn't lend itself to narrow divisions of labor." I didn't say that, and it isn't correct. If he had asked me that question, I would have said that we didn't have the division of labor part right at the start but we got closer to it at the end with interview week and the 70+ Q and A's. This would have saved him from his error.

But that didn't fit his narrative, "much heralded crowdsourcing journalism project falls apart in practice."

See:

http://www.tiny.cc/qaXh6

Oct. 13 2007 08:20 PM
Jay Rosen from Manhattan

For good measure he threw in something else that's wrong. "Rosen also believed that the nature of the story didn't lend itself to narrow divisions of labor." I didn't say that, and it isn't correct. If he had asked me that question, I would have said that we didn't have the division of labor part right at the start but we got closer to it at the end with interview week and the 70+ Q and A's. This would have saved him from his error.

But that didn't fit his narrative, "much heralded crowdsourcing journalism project falls apart in practice."

Jay Rosen
(www.pressthink.org)

For details see:

http://www.tiny.cc/qaXh6

Oct. 13 2007 07:46 PM
Jay Rosen from Manhattan

The problem is it didn't happen that way. The project didn't "begin auspiciously with participants quickly conducting interviews with 70 stories," as Garfield said. It began with... "we kinda thought that if we divided up our trend stories into smaller parts people would self organize." When that didn't happen we had to think it through, re-design the site, and rework the project. It was out of that reworking--exactly what is supposed to happen in an experiment--that the (successful) plan for the interviews came.

Thus the "auspicious beginning" that OnTheMedia reported was actually the conclusion. Because of this error, his "Then quickly everything unraveled..." is a fictional construct. Gotcha Garfield got the sequence wrong. I answered his questions in the order he posed them--PR first, then the real story--and he just adopted that sequence as event chronology without checking. (It's an error quickly caught by reading my post and clicking a few links, but when Gotcha journalists think they got the goods they stop reporting.)

(last part coming up)

Oct. 13 2007 07:45 PM
Jay Rosen from Manhattan

But gotcha journalists are mindful of the demand to be fair. They know they have to make it sound like the good and the bad, what worked and what failed, have been equally weighed, and so they put into their stories the surface cues that they believe signal fairness, and this is what creates the freedom to blast, to needle, to demolish, to raise that big eyebrow of doubt-- and to play gotcha which is more fun than PR.

So now to Garfield's goof. The On the Media segment says...

"that failure to finely calibrate expectations, along the lines of remove child before folding stroller, helped sink the highest profile experiment in journalistic crowdsourcing. That was Assignment Zero, the much heralded brainchild of NYU prof and blogger Jay Rosen."

Actually, AZ wasn't "much heralded" at all. David Carr and Joel Achenbach wrote about it before launch but that's about all the press it got. But Garfield needs that for his gotcha moment, coming here...

"That project began auspiciously with participants quickly conducting interviews with 70 stories, then quickly everything unraveled."

This is where I come in, with the soundbite from Garfield's second question. "What went wrong?" I ask myself. I am then heard saying we kinda thought that if we divided up our trend stories into smaller parts people would self organize. But they didn't and so "our scheme fell apart."

(end part three; this 1500 character limit is soooo user-friendly, isn't it?)

Oct. 13 2007 07:44 PM
Jay Rosen from Manhattan

For the "what went right" part I explained what I explained in this PressThink post: "When the editors of Assignment Zero hit upon the idea of asking contributors to pick from a list of key sources and do a single interview, returning the results as a cleaned-up but otherwise raw Q and A, the division of labor clicked with participants and the 'ask' worked." (Those weren't the words but that was my answer.)

For the what went wrong part I explained what I told Len Witt in an earlier Q and A: "In the beginning we thought, naively, that people would sort of figure out how to collaborate on parts of the story if we broke the story into parts. Wrong. They didn’t."

What I didn't focus on at the time (though I should have, because it's happened before with me and him) is that Garfield is one of those journalists who lets his gotcha mind think for him at times. And that's how he made his goof.

You see in reflex-driven gotcha journalism, which On The Media allows him to practice, "what went right?" is the PR question, the puff ball, the chance for a source to show off and spout off about the wonderful things he's been a part of, and the glorious success of his plans and schemes. What went wrong is, of course, the real question, the "journalism" part. That's where the professional reporter has to exert himself on behalf of the listeners and zero in.

(end part two)

Oct. 13 2007 07:43 PM
Jay Rosen from Manhattan

This is what I posted at my blog about a mistake in this segment. It stands as my comment on it.

NPR's On The Media did a feature on crowdsourcing built around interviews Bob Garfield did at the Networked Journalism Summit, including one he did with me.

Unfortunately he got the story--and facts--wrong, misreporting the sequence of what happened in Assignment Zero, probably because he had my part in the narrative all picked out before he did his interview with me.

Garfield asked me to start off by first telling his tape recorder what went right with Assignment Zero, and then what went wrong. Okay, I said. (end part one)

Oct. 13 2007 07:42 PM
Preen from Da Bronx

my gd cleaning lady (yes we have them in the bronx) broke my shower radio and didn't even tell me so I had to find out this AM trying to hear on the media. so I had to decide what part of the show to miss during my shower. since wnyc is begging for money, you'd think I'd shower during the begging and listen to the story but Brooke was begging! I swear it was like an episode of "behind the music to hear her talk about the depalma interview. yes, I showered during the interview and rushed out to hear the begging, dripping.

Oct. 13 2007 08:03 AM

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