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Hypergene MediaBlog » When sources become media

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Tuesday, 16 Mar 2004

When sources become media

The outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban now has a weblog, Blog Maverick. And in this post, he uses it to fact check Dallas Morning News columnist Kevin Blackistone.

He starts off the post, “The best thing about a blog… is that I get to respond to the media.” And then he proceeds to compare an email exchange between him and Blackistone, with the column that ultimately got written. His analysis: “The sad part of all of this is that despite his disregard for the facts, Blackistone is one of the better columnists. That speaks volumes about his profession.” Ouch.

At last week’s MediaMorphosis conference, San Jose Mercury News technology columnist and weblogger Dan Gillmor talked about how he expects his sources to post their version of an interview. Cuban has done the same thing. Publish the evidence and let others decide.

Journalists should expect more of this in the future. The audience now has a voice, and this includes sources. (See our chart of the new media ecosystem in the We Media report).

As JD Lasica once wrote, “Part of the attraction of blogging is its transparency. By posting transcripts, exchanges with reporters and private emails, people get a much closer look at the guts of the research, writing and reporting that makes up the journalism process.”

This will make some in the industry very uncomfortable. But ultimately, this will lead to more transparency in the reporting process, which is good for everyone — journalists, sources and the audience.

However, we wish Mark Cuban had done one thing: open his blog to comments from the public. Without comments, the audience is forced to send emails directly to Cuban (a filter), Blackistone (a filter), or place our feedback elsewhere on the blogosphere (distributed feedback). All of those options are fine, but wouldn’t it be more honest, and in a sense transparent, for Cuban to capture and display feedback publicly?

Also see
Rick Klau’s review of Cuban’s blog
Track comments about Cuban’s site on Blogdex

Last thought: Why did Cuban choose to join Jason Calacanis weblog network? Certainly a man of his financial means doesn’t need Calacanis’ help to launch a blog. Rumor is Calacanis is going to launch more celeb blogs soon. We’re looking forward to others joining the fray.

Update
Jeff Jarvis makes a similar point about transparency : “...when you are not transparent, people will assume their definition of the worst. If you are transparent, you show the effort you put behind trying to serve them and you also give them the respect to include them in the process. That is a moral of weblogs. It’s a moral the news business needs to figure out.”

Posted on Mar 16, 2004 | 4:59 pm EST
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