NPR Ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin, “I was wrong.”

NPR Ombudsman, Jeffrey Dvorkin: “I was wrong.“
About blogs and bloggers, that is. Here’s his apology from “Media Matters” on the NPR Website:

Mea Culpa

Finally, an apology: In an e‑mail to a listener, I dismissed those people who criticize NPR based on information they get from blogs. That e‑mail to Professor Ann Little (to whom I apologized) was posted on one of those blogs, The response from people who read this and other blogs was pretty impressive.

While the tone from some who wrote was rough, I get the point.

Blogs are, as I now appreciate, as legitimate a method of communicating information and opinion as traditional media. I was wrong to suggest that much of political blogging is “astroturfing” (see definition below). Indeed, a recent Pew poll points out that an increasing number of Americans are getting their information from non-traditional sources. That fact has now been made abundantly clear to me.

You were right. I was wrong.

In future, I will pay closer attention to those who feel inclined to contact me, regardless of where they get their information. Political life in the United States is changing and so, it seems, should be how and where political journalism chooses its information.

I also found out what “astroturfing” means:

astroturfing n. The use of paid shills to create the impression of a popular movement, through means like letters to newspapers from soi-disant ‘concerned citizens’, paid opinion pieces, and the formation of grass-roots lobbying groups that are actually funded by a PR group (astroturf is fake grass; hence the term). This term became common among hackers after it came to light in early 1998 that Microsoft had attempted to use such tactics to forestall the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust action against the company. (The Jargon Dictionary).
Jeffrey Dvorkin
NPR Ombudsman
This is a welcome break in the non-stop litany of name-calling by the mainstream media on the role of Weblogs in journalism. What’s that? The sound of scales falling from eyes. I predict we’ll hear much more of it in the coming months.

(source: Romenesko)

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