Journalism award for YouTube music list


The Swedish journalism awards were handed out on a gala event last night in Stockholm. Prizes were given in four categories and Dagens Nyheter’s Fredrik Strage won the Innovator of the Year category for his list called “The 100 biggest rock moments on YouTube”. The number one moment was a concert with The Cramps in Napa State Mental Hospital in California, June 13 1978.

– At least 30-40 percent of the video clips on the list are there on the initative of readers who have influenced me and given me tips, said Strage in DN.

Strage is always an entertaining writer and one of the leading music journalists in Sweden. Unfortunately I haven’t paid much attention to his Youtubiana list, but others have. Most of the blog links to the list comes from competing daily Svenska Dagbladet who even copied the format with its own top 33 YouTube moments from the political scene. And I like how SvD have been entirely transparent about where they got the idea – “this is a concept we stole from Fredrik Strage but applied on our favourite topics”. Today SvD congratulates Strage, adding (tounge-in-cheek) that it must mean that the SvD blog is the winner in the rip-off of the year category.

So you can say there has been progress in a journalistic sense on several levels. Not only that the award goes to a journalist who uses the readers to co-create the content, it is also purely online based content. On top of that, a few years ago you would never see a competing paper copy a concept like that and then openly give credit back to the original, with links and all. Something truly has happened to journalism.

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Reporter twitters funeral of 3-year old

twitter logo Social media tools like for example microblogging platforms have a lot of advantages. News organizations like CNN use it to engage viewers in conversation and big brands like GM and Jetblue also communicate via Twitter. But there are of course occasions when these channels are not appropriate to use and Berny Morson, a reporter at The Rocky Mountain News, demonstrated poor judgement on Wednesday this week when he decided to tweet the funeral of a 3-year old boy that was killed by a pickup truck the week before.

Covering a tragic indicent like the loss of a small child, and in particular the very emotional setting during a funeral, requires a great deal of respect for the privacy of the people involved.

“We’re at this emotional service and there was this reporter non-stop text messaging,” Mike McPhee, a Denver Post reporter said. “How would you not notice?”

With tweets like “the father is sobbing over the casket”, Morson in my view clearly crosses the line for what is ethical. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.

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Journalists are like elk hunters

I am currently at the StockholmMediaWeek event, listening to a panel debate about people who get caught in the media meat grinder. Former State Secretary Lars Danielsson is perhaps one of the Swedes who have been hurt the most in recent years after he was blamed with being the main person behind the Swedish government’s poor handling of the Asian tsunami disaster. On the stage beside Danielsson is also two experienced media consultants, Bo Krogvig of Springtime and my former colleague Paul Ronge.

Lars Danielsson

Some of the more memorable advice and quotes regarding crisis management:

– PR: As long as a question remains unanswered, media will continue to dig.

– PR: compares journalists with elk hunters, they don’t hate the elk, but they don’t have very much sympathy for the dead elk either. In other words, trying to play on the journalist’s empathy for the “victim” will get you nowhere (my interpretation).

– BK: The part that is first with the truth wins.

Bo Krogvig and Paul Ronge

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10 disturbing trends in mass media

Peter R. Kann, Chairman of Dow Jones, lists ten disturbing trends in mass media. From Wall Street Journal (subscr. req.) via Robert:

1. The blurring of the lines between journalism and entertainment.
2. The blurring of lines between news and opinion.
3. The blending of news and advertising, sponsorships or other commercial relationships.
4. The problems and pitfalls inherent in pack journalism.
5. The issue of conflict and context.
6. The exaggerated tendency toward pessimism.
7. The growing media fascination with the bizarre, the perverse and the pathological — John Mark Karr journalism.
8. Social orthodoxy, or political correctness.
9. The media’s short attention span.
10. The matter of [the media’s] power.

Citizen journalism no hit with the journalist union

The Swedish Union of Journalists (SJF) calls Metro’s editor-in-chief Sakari Pitkänen the “grave-digger of journalism” after initiating a project involving citizen journalists in areas in the Stockholm region that today are not covered by daily news media. SJF says about the project:

“It’s an insult not only to journalism, but also to readers/citizens.”

The Swedish Union of Journalists has about 18,000 members, a figure already surpassed by the number of Swedish bloggers. Let’s face it, like SJF say, journalism is a profession, but journalists are not the only ones that should be allowed to comment on different topics. What’s so wrong with involving citizens in the public debate, as bloggers, readers or “citizen reporters”?

“It’s about collecting and supplying relevant information that the ordinary citizen don’t have time and resources to sort out.”

Sure, but I think today’s media consumers are able to distinguish the difference between information on an unknown website, a semi-professional blog, and a news article by a well know journalist. And, value it accordingly.

Sakari Pitkänen responds to accusations that he is devaluing the journalist profession:

“If there was something to devalue, then that’s what I would be doing. But there’s not. There is no journalism out there today.”