Careful with that 'citizen journalism' label

Out in Colorado, New West writer Howard Rothman is critizicing YourHub.com for allowing shills for local politicians to "post whatever they like in 'news stories' and 'columns' which carry no costs like a traditional advertisement and have a degree of implied authenticity that elevates them beyond anything a paid ad could dream to achieve."

Is he right?

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A traffic mashup

Back in the last century when I was at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, we built one of the first online traffic maps. It definitely wasn't the first even in the local market -- a local tech development firm had already built one as a demonstration. We considered using theirs, didn't like their terms, and assigned a programmer to create our own. It took some time, some socket-level Perl programming, some artwork and some creative uses of ImageMagick. MNDOT was happy to provide the data. A few weeks later we had it online.

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Newspaper site user factoid

The NAA's "Power User" online survey, which Rusty Coats pioneered when he was with MORI, has been repeated and results will be announced in a few weeks. The profile of a heavy newspaper website user: $73,000/year income, 91% recent online shopper, and 68% broadband.

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Editorial page, we hardly knew ye

Someone needs to open the windows at the Chicago Tribune and let some air in. Perhaps from the perspective of an editorial writer, the blogosphere is all about uninformed opinion. Note that the editorial repeats the oft-told right-wing lie about Al Gore as well.

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Fear -- and hope -- in Moscow

Looking over the agenda for the 13th World Editors Forum, which will be held this summer in Moscow, Jeff Jarvis reacts: "I smell fear." Well, I do too. Not everywhere, but in many newsrooms there's a real fear of citizen journalism, ranging from a concern that it will somehow undermine quality and credibility to a paycheck-centered fear that publishers are conspiring to lay off reporters in favor of unpaid citizen labor.

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Connections 2006, Orlando

Some weeks you're the windshield, other weeks you're the bug. I feel like I've had one of those weeks. Tomorrow morning I'm heading to Orlando for the Connections conference, the annual get-together of the Newspaper Association of America New Media Federation. Here's hoping it'll be a windshield week. I'll be saying goodbye to the NMF board (my last term is up), handing out some awards, and moderating the "buzz session" in which the attendees are the program.

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In the tank with the hungry fish

Several of our folks from Morris DigitalWorks went up to Vancouver last week for the Open-Source CMS Summit and some stayed for Northern Voice, the Canadian blogging conference. It may seem bizarre for a big U.S. media company from the South that creates and sells closed-source software to be in that particular situation, but it makes sense to us.

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