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CyberJournalist Napster Survey

Is it ethical for journalists who cover Napster to use it?
Sure, why not? The case against Napster is still pending.
No way -- two federal courts have already said downloading songs could infringe on copyrights.
Um, uh, I don't really want to think about it, I just want to download free music.


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Content is King
As administrator of the Online Journalism Awards, Columbia University professor Sreenath Sreenivasan has learned some valuable lessons about what makes the best online journalism. Among them: Size matters; "bells and whistles" don't. Check out his full list of nine lessons -- a good primer before entering this year's content. (Reminder: Deadline is July 16.) 

Online Publishers Association Formed
Twelve Internet content companies have formed a new group to represent the interest of online publishers "before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public." The founding members of the Online Publishers Association (OPA) include CBS MarketWatch, CNET Networks Inc., Conde Net,, The Industry Standard, Cities,, New York Times Digital, Salon Media Group Inc.,, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, and the Wall Street Journal Online. It's not entirely clear how this group will separate itself from the Online News Association, but it appears as though it will focus more on advertising and business issues, while the ONA concentrates more on credibility and quality of work. 

Chew on This has introduced a new, innovative feature called "CUD: Something to chew on. . ." -- which is basically a themed page containing short articles, quizzes, tidbits, media and links related to a particular topic, such as marriage. CUD also includes a new element, Dingaloids, which appear at the end of lines of text and look like this: This is an exclamation dingaloid This is a parentheses dingaloid This is a question dingaloid. When a user mouses over one of these small graphics for two seconds, a message pops up. Generally, the messages are smart-alecky quips. A clever idea, but the way the Dingaloids are being used they don't add much to the content. Perhaps if starts incorporating reader comments into the Dingaloids they will get more useful and interesting.

Big Victory for Writers
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that media companies must get permission from free-lance authors before posting their articles to electronic databases -- a victory for both writers and copyright protection on the Internet. Many publishers now say they'll delete all free-lance stories from their electronic archives; the National Writers Union and free-lancers, meanwhile, are encouraging publishers to not do so and instead to negotiate with them.

Novel Use of the Net
The Wall Street Journal's free site has been running a" The first installment ran in the print edition and online, and subsequent chapters have been published online only. A Journal spokeswoman says the site is running the serial in part because "gives us a chance to reach a new audience of women, women at home."

An Awarding Proposition
During last year's Online Journalism Awards ceremony Slashdot's Robin Miller complained that the entry fee ($100, or $80 for members) was too high and may have prevented smaller sites from entering. He told the audience that for 2001 he would pay for entries for five sites that otherwise couldn't afford it. Now he's keeping that promise and asking for submissions. Check out what others have suggested and post your own work.

New Online Content Group?
New York Times Digital's Martin Nisenholtz is reportedly among a group of big-name industry executives who are planning to launch a new trade group to represent the interests of Web content creators, according to AtNewYork. The group will be known as the Online Publishers Association (OPA).

Sex Sells
A German Web site publisher offered a ticket to a sold-out Madonna concert in exchange for sex with sex columnist Shelley Masters. Thema1 publisher Bernd Heusinger said 120 readers applied to the "In Bed FOR Madonna" campaign for a chance to win the ticket to attend the Berlin concert as his guest. Thema1 is a bit like the Drudge Report, Slashdot and The National Enquirer rolled into one. Enough said.

Wireless reporters
The Fresno (Calif.) Bee has installed a wireless telephone network around its offices and production facilities so calls follow employees wherever they go, in what E&P calls a "an apparent first for newspapers." The costs are minimal and the reporters are far easier to reach. No more being tied to the desk while waiting for that crucial call!

Bye-Bye Internet
The Industry Standard has dropped "Internet" from its slogan, changing it from "The Newsmagazine of the Internet Economy" to "Intelligence for the Information Economy." "We really liked our old moniker, but the term 'Internet Economy' has in many people's minds become inextricably linked with the world of dot-coms, and we've always been about much more than that," Editor in Chief Jonathan Weber writes in the magazine. "Make no mistake, we're still big believers in the importance of the Internet." Yeah, right. It's lucky when they started the magazine they didn't go with one of the title suggestions, "The Internet Standard."

Net Threat
The head of the Center for Digital Democracy warns that Big Media will use its control of the broadband Internet to "wall" content and thus "severely damage the vitality of the digital world."

Reporter's requests exposed
ExpertSource, a service designed to help journalists anonymously find sources, failed to protect its database, leaving journalists' requests viewable through Google. "The entries included thousands of reporter names, phone numbers and details on stories they were pursuing," The Wall Street Journal reported. The problem has since been fixed

Tribute to
The Washington Post's Joel Garreau took a nostalgic look at the recently expired, calling it "the great-granddaddy of all the online newspapers and magazines you see today."'s readers, meanwhile, share their opinions about the site in Jim Romenesko's MediaNews Letters.

SAJA Award Winners
The South Asian Journalists Association announced winners of the 2001 SAJA Journalism Awards contest. CNET and were the winners in the new media categories. Read the winning entries and the runners-up.

Suck and Feed Cease
Two of the oldest original content sites on the Web, Suck and Feed, were "placed on immediate hiatus" due to lack of money. The Web pioneers' edgy content -- at times clever, at times random and rambling -- will be missed.

Meet Other CyberJournalists
Check out our new feature, a collection of links to Weblogs and personal sites of online journalists. Got a favorite site or a site of your own? Send it in!

Content Cutbacks
As online news sites have cut editorial staffs, they've also cut original content. looked at this disturbing trend. Several people quoted pointed out that sites need to offer something special to keep readers -- and readers are already noticing the difference. "It's thinner, it's shallower, it's more mass market," one person says of "It's just not as good."

Shoddy Synergy
News sites appear to be having trouble seperating fact from fiction these days -- at least when it involves movies by corporate parents.'s Pearl Harbor package and Webcast included images from the movie produced by Disney's Touchstone Pictures, as J.D. Lasica reported for the Online Journalism Review. followed that June 6 by featuring on its cover a live chat with Tom Hanks about D-Day, timed to coincide with the broadcast of the "Band of Brothers" D-Day documentary on HBO. The site failed to mention that both CNN and HBO are own by AOL Time Warner. As Saturday Night Live's Church Lady character might have said, How conveeeenient!

Tips & Jobs Galore!
Check out the new, expanded Tips and Jobs sections. Check back often for updates. And send in your tips and links to good tips you've read. Thanks!

Wild West Online
In the Wild West atmosphere of online opinion-slinging, journalists are being sliced, diced, skewered and smoked as never before," writes The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. "...What is it about the Web that fuels such slashing attacks?" One reason he gives is that online columnists get "little or no editing." 

Get Your News Buddy
Reuters will be launching an instant messaging News Buddy in June. The "interactive agent" will provide news headlines for free to those who add it to their buddy lists, while offering links designed to increase traffic to Reuters' Web site. Clever idea. And with the popularity of instant messaging, one that other news organizations would be smart to follow.

Online Journalism Awards
Time to get your applications ready for the Online Journalism Awards -- deadline is July 16. It will be interesting to see how they turn out after so many dot-coms have gone out of business or cut resources. Even so, they've added two new awards categories: Feature Journalism and Innovative Presentation of Information. explored some of these issues.

War Stories
The Newseum has put together an exhibit on war reporting, much of which can be viewed online -- including an essay by Harold Evans, video interviews with war correspondents and a Flash presentation of the coverage of seven wars.

Pearl Harbor Packages
Both and used the much-anticipated movie "Pearl Harbor" as an excuse to produce impressive packages on the bombing. Check out the Flash reenactment of the bombing produced by, in conjunction with Newsweek. offered up eyewitness accounts, historical media clips, a quiz and a message board.

Virtual Voting
CourierPost Online partnered with the editorial department of its print brethren, The Courier-Post of New Jersey, in its push for statewide online voting. They commissioned a private company to create a sample, secure, online ballot, which walks users through an interactive vote of presidential, congressional and local candidates. A clever, original use of the Web -- and one of the few original projects by a newspaper's editorial department.

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