Journalism sold to Mac Publishing, LLC

Rob Griffiths over at has sold his site to MacWorld. The move includes Griffiths becoming a full-time editor for MacWorld who will continue to focus on the hints site, magazine columns and some article writing for Mac World. The move is clearly good for Griffiths and it appears from a detailed question and answer document on his site that things will stay pretty much the same for now.

The good news is that Griffiths has a long history with Mac World and ample opportunity to make judgments about how he fits with the culture there. We can hope that the rosy prognostications are accurate and that his site will continue as the high quality site for OS X information it has become.

Deep Throat revealed?

W. Mark Felt, a former FBI Official, told Vanity Fair that he was the anonymous source known as Deep Throat. The report counter's both Felt's 1999 denial to the Hartford Courant saying that he would have done better had he been Deep Throat.

In 2003 a University of Illinois journalism class published the results of a four-year investigation in which they name Fred Fielding, deputy counsel to former President Richard Nixon as the most likely source for the information.

James Mann argued the idea that Deep Throat was from the FBI in his May 1992 article for the Atlantic Monthly. In the article he quotes from Felt's 1979 memoir about finding a replacement for J. Edgar Hoover:

It did not cross my mind that the President would appoint an outsider to replace Hoover. Had I known this, I would not have been hopeful about the future. There were many trained executives in the FBI who could have effectively handled the job of Director. My own record was good and I allowed myself to think I had an excellent chance.

Mann goes on to suggest that the fierce independence of the FBI was threatened by Nixon's appointment of an outsider to head the agency that would ultimately investigate the June 17th break-in at the Watergate Hotel.

Update: The story has been confirmed by Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post.

Freeedom to publish

Despite the First Amendment, America has anything but a free press. Despite the ever greater power of the media in America, truth and freedom seem less apparent. Special interest groups, including but not limited to, the big corporations that own most mainstream publications, exert direct and indirect pressure over the images and words that appear. ... To be able to regularly photograph or write from the heart for an American magazine is a rare privilege these days.

Galen Rowell, 2001

In his 1993 book From Freedom to Slavery Gerry Spence outlines the new government-corporate conglomerate that is eroding the under pinnings of American democracy. The consistent willingness of many in our country to give up their rights to corporations and to sit idly by as citizens are stripped rights in the name of patriotism.


Dan Gillmor says esentailly the same thing Adam Curry told the BBC a few days ago. Curry was talking about podcasting, the online radio equivalent of weblogs, when he said podcasting will kill the business model of radio. Gillmor's article suggests a similar shift will happen in the newspaper realm.

I agree that podcasting and weblogs will have powerful influences in toppling the traditional media business model. All too often, however, this is taken as an excuse for producing a poor quality product. Podcasts-a-plenty are full of folksy poorly produced blots of sound. Of the many podcasts that have at one time or another crossed my iPod the only ones that have stayed are IT Conversations, Career Opportunities and New York Public Radio's On the Media. All three share several things in common. Among them high production values and they are the right length. What is the right length? Long enough to cover the subject and short enough to keep it interesting.

I suspect I am not alone in that after the first "wow" factor wears off listening to someone who is not good at radio will loose its allure quickly. There is a reason Rush Limbaugh has a radio show. It is not his politics. There are conservatives behind every corner these days. The reason his show is on the air is he knows how to put together a good radio program. The same will be true of weblogs and podcasts. The good among them, those that find a stride and figure out how to put a professional polish on the product will likely replace many of the mainstays of the media machine.

On The Media on blog swarms

WNYC's On The Media covers blog swarms. They start by talking to Wall Street Journal editorial board member Brett Stevens who was in the audience for the statements made by Eason Jordan. Asked about leaving the story to blog space Stevens made all kinds of excuses and failed to even discuss the fact that by the very nature of being off the record it is a matter of professional credibility not to jump into the fray.

A perfect opportunity to focus the debate on the right way to share information and the personal responsibility of those involved to be honorable. Instead it was used as a puff piece for blogging. Even in the discussion with Rony Abovitz, the blogger who originally posted the blog comment from the off-the-record-session, he was never asked about writing about something that was clearly off the record. He also furthers the myth that Jordan could have had the tape released by placing a call to the World Economic Forum.

Rather disturbing

The New York Times has an article that retells how blogs played a role in forcing Eason Jordan resignation from CNN. The most disturbing part is buried at the bottom of the story. The comments Jordan made were at a session that was officially "off the record". Honestly, I haven't followed much of what was going on with this because it seems a non-story.

It is, however, disconcerting that a journalist, be it citizen journalist/blogger or professional journalist, does not respect the idea of being off the record. Stop for a minute and consider if Deep Throat had any reason to believe that Bob Woodward would not keep his word and protect the source would he have talked?


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