Category Archives: Comment

Noted: “A third kind of freedom inherent in open-source systems”

The freedom to audit. In addition to being free and forkable, open-source systems also have to be accountable: “The open-source movement champions an approach to product development in which there is universal access to a blueprint, as well as universal … Continue reading

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Do Knight’s regrets inspire charity?

News of the Knight Foundation’s $20K speaker fee to exposed plagiarist Jonah Lehrer moved quickly through the media web, provoking negative press and, ultimately, an expression of regret by the foundation itself. This alone, however, has not inspired critics of … Continue reading

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KUSF is dead. Long live KUSF!

The public outcry following the University of San Francisco’s secretive and unilateral shutdown of the legendary KUSF-FM was enormous. A planned public meeting staged by USF on January 20 changed location three times to accommodate the anticipated crowds. Ultimately, the … Continue reading

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Noted: “New F.D.A.: Transparence and Flexibility”

A NYTimes article about the changing culture of the FDA illustrates the power of quality public information and an engaged citizenry: During the Bush administration, the Food and Drug Administration was mostly a place of black-and-white decisions. Drugs were approved … Continue reading

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Shield Law Wouldn’t Apply to Non-Journalist Journalists

While I’ve previously rhapsodized about open-media platforms such as WikiLeaks as an idealized, power-balancing mechanism for democracy, all that is only possible assuming that the expectations and practices of a free society remaining intact. That is far from a safe … Continue reading

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WikiLeaks has changed everything.

The WikiLeaks/Afghanistan story is a watershed moment for journalism in the online era. It didn’t just recalibrate the official Afghan war narrative. It also exposed a raw nerve about the leadership role of legacy news media in serving democracy’s vital … Continue reading

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Toward a Post-Privacy Society: The $1,500 Cell-Phone Tap

Tangential to the Wikileaks story is this fascinating AP news item. Is a world without secrets a technological inevitability? Not without a fight, I reckon, but extrapolate a few human generations out, and the sociological consequences are fascinating: Hacker builds … Continue reading

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Amazon & E-Books: Inventing Their Own Trend?

Is this whole e-book thing a self-fulling prophecy of the mass-market, mass-media world? If so, what does it say about the quality of the text produced by the companies that service those markets, the role of such text in society, … Continue reading

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Noted: “Uproar at”

Columbia Journalism Review weighs in on a controversial Pepsi-sponsored nutrition blog at It’s a fascinating parable on the negative impacts of commercial sponsorship on information media: “At least two well-respected science journalists and a handful of scientists have canceled … Continue reading

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Net Architecture and the Future of Journalism

Our best hope for journalism is that it adapts to the Internet as a medium, by adopting a decentralized organizational structure, in sync with the Internet’s basic/essential architecture as a network. In the network, power and access are distributed, everyone’s … Continue reading

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