Monday, December 29, 2008

Could Joe be right (for once?)

Readers in my locality know that there's a particular blogger who I am more often than not at odds with; the "Joe" in question is one who delights in attempting to hasten the demise of our local newspaper. This story is for him.

It came to me over the last few days from the folks at Pew Research. According to this report, the internet has overtaken the newspaper as a main source for national and international news. More striking are the figures for the Millennial Generation (ages 18-29) where the internet and television are dead even as a news source - 59% of young people cited one or both as a main news source.

A graph showing the percentage of Americans who receive their news from various sources, from the Pew Research Center.

After skimming through the report, I had two immediate conclusions.

One is that the claim of media bias in the news may pale in comparison to the chasm in conservatism vs. liberalism on the internet.

The second is that, with the lack of journalistic standards practiced in some quarters, people (particularly the youth) may be more ill-informed than ever.

In this age of wireless technology and video streaming, certainly it's possible to witness events in real time and make up one's mind about what goes on within the range of the camera taking the video. However, the vast bulk of news isn't from eyewitness accounts, but from someone reporting the news. In olden days, we counted on newspapers to relate the story but often the information was at least second-hand if not more remote. This improved to some extent with the advent of radio and television; the former allowed newsmakers to speak directly with the people while the latter could be present where news was being made.

Now we have the technology that allows people to be their own reporters in real time. Certainly, the age of videotape allowed news gathering by non-professionals (one example was the Rodney King beating, caught on videotape by a person playing around with a camcorder) but that still needed the prism of someone at the evening news deciding it was a story worth relating. With the advent of Youtube and other video streaming repositories, that filter is eliminated to a much greater extent.

On the other hand, as a society we still must by necessity gather our news via a second-hand source who relates events to the reader, listener, or viewer through their eyes. Obviously my post is one example - I'm taking an event which happened (a survey of adults concerning their preferences for learning about the national and international news affecting them) and shaping it in a second way, the first being what Pew Research chose to report on. In this instance, I'm adding my opinions to the mix about what I feel was newsworthy and why it was so. Unless we happen to be witness to a momentous event in person, practically everything we gather as information will by necessity come as at least second-hand knowledge, regardless of whether we read it in the newspaper, hear it on the radio, or see it on television or the internet.

And here is where a nonbiased view and accuracy come in; that is, journalism in the truest sense of the word. Sadly, that seems to be lacking more and more in the 24/7 news cycle we now live in. What good is all the incredible amount of information we can gather if it's presented in a slanted manner which highlights only one side of the story? Even worse, if people act in a particular manner on information which is later found incorrect, the future direction of society can be altered negatively.

In 2008, America had a Presidential election where even the most hardened observers noted the coverage of candidates was slanted negatively toward one and positively toward the other. (Pew did some research of election news and how the candidates were perceived within that coverage.) While there were opportunities to hear what the candidates had to say directly in joint appearances - to the extent that a moderator shaped debate questions he or she felt were appropriate for the electorate to hear - there was still spin afterward as spokesmen and network coverage talking heads let everyone know what they needed to think about what they just saw.

While I'm fairly pleased that the medium I dabble in most is beginning to penetrate a greater audience, the truth remains that those who look for news generally just go to the website of whatever news source they trust instead of flipping to their channel or buying that particular paper at the newsstand. It's unfortunate that Pew apparently didn't ask further whether the internet sources used by respondents were connected in that manner; however, much of my sourcing to do monoblogue comes from sites affiliated with either newspapers or television networks, and for the near-term future bloggers will rely heavily on those same sources to put their own spin on things.

If we denizens of the internet really want to be informative and take advantage of the growing audience, we need to put an emphasis on accuracy and hold ourselves to the journalistic standards which seem to be missing from more and more news outlets who've become cheerleaders for one side or another. It's a goal I strive for when I report on events and if more sites would take that into account when they place what they do for all of us to see, we could turn America into a more well-informed nation.

Crossposted on monoblogue.


Daniel said...

Very good.
And. Very right.

joealbero said...

While I enjoyed reading your Post I couldn't help but wonder why you didn't mention the Daily Times, (for example) lack of accuracy. Take the Tim Spies story back when he was running for Council and they took every word from the Mayor as accurate, yet they lied and even defamed him.

Another would be the Kratovil, "We solved the crisis" and then they actually went on line and changed the words of the article and made no correction and or retraction.

Another example would be today's Post by GA Harrison. I could go on and on about accuracy. Forgive me for being so forward but look at the WWTP. The Daily Times knew I had a major story there, yet they refused to participate. I handed them the story and even showed the the pictures proving I was right and perfectly accurate. They refused for weeks to do a story until WMDT finally covered it and actually won the biggest award available in the local MSM for that exact story. The Graffiti was yet another one. The Daily Times didn't want their readers to know just how bad it was so they covered it up until the story started getting so big, enough pressure was put on them to finally tell it. Mind you, it got very little space but they did finally tell it.

Today, sbynews has grown to a point in which they follow our lead on most every local story, as does WMDT & WBOC. Sure, you can say I'm patting myself on the back but truly I'm not going there. The Blogs have made their place in the local MSM and you can't deny the volume I get daily any more, the comments that follow and the results from exposing so much wrong doing. There was a day when they could try to brainwash others by saying we were those nasty bloggers all the time and people believed it. Until people started realizing that we were right, we had told the truth, we had photos and evidence, people started visiting more often and now we own the Internet marketplace.

There will come a day when we start advertising and put a major hurting on the local MSM, hence financial offers to partner with sbynews recently. I've already been to the table once with one of the local MSM Companies and after rejecting their offer they want to meet again after the 1st for further talks. Not that I'm considering but I am interested in what they have to offer.

Here's the question I have for you Michael. Do you believe Salisbury News or Joe Albero had anything to do with Barrie Tilghman choosing not to run again for Mayor? Lynn Cathcart and Mike Dunn flat out said they weren't going to run again because of the Blogs.

Much will be said after January 21st with the lawsuit against me from Barrie Tilghman. We are extremely confident we will win that case but for what it's worth, believe it or not, I'm actually following through with this case for all of you.

The Chief Webster case was a joke to start with but Barrie Tilghman, an Elected Public Figure, that's the one we need to defend. Many may not have liked what I said about her in the past but none of it was defaming and no one has ever thrown evidence forward to suggest such. In order for her to win she has to prove that I intentionally lied about something and did so to purposely harm her. That just didn't happen.

That being said, how many of YOU can afford to defend yourself against multiple lawsuits? My guess is, not many, if any. If Barrie Tilghman were to win or let's just say I chose to pay her off because it would actually be cheaper to do so than pay lawyers to defend a $10,000.00 case, where would it leave ALL of YOU?

So don't think I'm being cocky when I say I'm doing this for all of you, because I am. $10,000.00 doesn't mean squat to me and many of you know that. Many Journalists respect what I'm doing because the Mayor is abusing her power by suing me. Keep in mind also, I never counter sued the Chief or the Mayor, in which I could have. I didn't want this case to be about ME. I wanted this case to defend every Blogger in Maryland, if not the entire United States. Both cases are being followed by Harvard Law, so you know.

Anyhow, we are the future. We do check our sources and while it's easy to nay say anything we say or do, we truly don't make many mistakes, as you attempt to almost suggest Michael.

My writing style is very different from yours as I have never stated I do a good job at it at all. I simply tell it like it is and get the information out there. You should also keep in mind that many people look at our articles and then read many comments connected to the article and think that what a commenter said actually was a part of the article or something I said. I correct many people daily on that fact and once they go back and read it they see what I'm talking about and ultimately agree.

We are in a tricky state right now with what we can or can't do or say. An example of that would be, I am invited to all Press Conferences by the WCSO, States Attorney's Office, County Executives Office, yet not the City's and or the SPD. Not that I care. It's just that sbynews is even recognized and read by most, (if not all) of the local Judges daily and certainly by ALL of the local MSM. I believe you mentioned something about a college education. Come on now. Does a college education make you a better businessman than myself? I retired at 40 years old Michael. Not because anything was ever handed to me. I worked and earned everything I have today on my own. I was never given a penny from my Father or Mother to go into all of the businesses I have been in. Anyone who says opposite of that is a jealous liar, period. Sbynews started from nothing and has built its way up to a level in which everyone else in the MSM keeps a keen eye on our every move. If you don't agree, just watch WBOC at night. It's Salisbury News on Television when it comes to your local news. Sure, on certain days we're going to have the same kind of stuff but I know for a fact they read our articles and within 5 minutes of them getting posted, they're on the phone with our sources. Once they're done talking to them I get the standard phone call with a laugh about how WBOC even admitted that they had just read our article and were following up on the story. It happens all the time.

So I would suggest to many of you that you stop looking at me as this bad guy all the time and respect the fact that what I am doing with the Mayor's lawsuit is to help all of you in the long run. And Michael, when sbynews breaks a story and gets it out there first, many of the details are left out and filled in later and or with comments. Every news source will tell that exact same story in a different way, so which one is accurate Michael? Don't hate me just because we broke it a day in advance.

I think it's time we ALL start getting along and break new ground in 2009. I'm very used to it not being that way, so if everyone chooses not to I'm cool with that too. However, together we can all build an empire with what we have to offer and perhaps even put a lot of cash in our pockets by doing so. Apart, some will simply stay the same size and never grow. I'm sure many are happy with that too. My quest is to educate the local public about what's going on in our part of the world.

Let's see who is interested in a better kind of communication in 2009 and who's not.

In closing, (I know, finally) I believe the MSM not only gets it wrong often, I believe they customize what they want you to hear. Some times it's for political reasons and other times, (especially since the Blogs came out) it's because they didn't get it first. I also do not believe you need a college education to tell a story. Most Bloggers don't have a degree in journalism. You don't need a degree to work a camera either.

Happy New Year to ALL of you.

streiff said...

Joe, I'd say Michael didn't mention those things because the story isn't about you.

If you act responsibly, you don't have to defend yourself from lawsuits. I fail to see how what you did carved out any new legal principles for anyone. Rather it was a fairly tawdry and discreditable affair all around with all the significance of a playground squabble, one should hardly be bragging about it.

Have you given any thought of how your credibility has suffered from this episode?

joealbero said...

Well, let's see. My hits are way up and continue to grow daily. So as far as this lawsuit hurting my credibility, I doubt it has done so in any way, seriously. I have been invited to more events than ever before and my sources continue to grow daily.

I personally believe you're not seeing the big picture here at all. A Mayor of a City can't stand being exposed in any way, shape or form. So she sues this person, only after being heavily inbvolved in perjury charges against me. That didn't fly and go her way and while her lawsuit sat on a shelf for more than a year, now all of a sudden she's taking another route.

The Mayor would be smart to pack her things and go away quietly. She has made her choice and we will defend our position. Again, she is an elected public figure, period. Now, if YOU would like to have anyone and everyone in politics thinking they can sue you for having your own opinion, so be it. My rights will not be taken away, nor should yours. I disagree with you completely.

streiff said...

Joe, I don't intend to get involved in a slanging match with you but as to your points:

1. You *say* your hits continue to grow. As your Sitemeter isn't open to the public we have to take your word for it. Be that as it may, we're happy to see sites increase their traffic. This isn't a zero-sum exercise.

2. Credibility is not the same as traffic. Indeed, the opposite is often true. A lot of people slow down to look at a 6-car pile up, that doesn't mean they're interested in medicine, engineering, or auto safety.

3. The article isn't about you, Joe. It is about the internet.

4. I've followed your case pretty carefully and I just don't see the landmark rulings that mean anything to the rest of us. I'm happy you avoided being penalized but I think you suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot by your own conduct and I don't intend to do the same.

5. There is a lot of Maryland out there outside Salisbury.

joealbero said...


If there's so much of Maryland out there, why did Blognetnews rank Salisbury News as the #1 Most Influential Blogger of the Year?

Secondly, it's not that difficult to look around and see how well Salisbury News does. There's no need for me to open my Site Meter for all to see. When I'm ready to go to the next level, you'll have top pay to advertiose on Salisbury News to get to see the real numbers. It's about marketing and success, obviously something you have no experience in. I do not mean that as an insult.

Your 6 car pile up example proved to me that you're clueless.

"Could Joe be right (for once?)" The article was about me because I've been stating for years the Daily Times would fail and would bring them down. That's what Michael was talking about. The trend continues to go my way, like it and or agree with it or not.

As far as youi following my case closely, that's a bunch of crap. I have not defamed the Mayor norf did I do so with anyone else. The Mayor is using ber bully tactics to gain attention. Who in their right mind would sue someone for $9,999.00 if tghey were truly defamed? The only reason she did so was because IF she had sued for more she would have to present her case in front of a Jury. Her ONLY hope is to influence a Judge politically and there's no Judge around in either Wicomico County or Worcester County that's going to fall for her BS.

Let me say this though. IF I have done wrong and IF I have defamed the Mayor, I deserve to lose, period. I'm NOT the type oftay in denial. IF I have done so, IF the Mayor were to win, the first thing that will happenb, (should we feel this was politically driven) would be to apeal the case. No matter what is said or dcone, for $9,999.00 you could BUY the Front Page Advertising I have received around the state of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

So pound your chest all you want, even if I lose, YOU and every other Blogger will shut down so fast it isn't funny. This would allow every Public Figure to go after any and all Bloggers for anything. That's why the laws are in place now protecting us with FREE SPEECH. Take that away and you'll see lawsuits everywhere and most of you will NOT be able to afford it.

So say what you want, I am setting the bar with this case for ALL Bloggers, not just my own.

In closing, you can sit on the outside and claim we don't get the volume of hits I state we do. That's cool. However, I have NEVER seen you post a comment with this name on my Blog, therefore you obviously follow it pretty well yourself. IF you are a local and IF you talk to ANYONE you know who owns a computer, you'll clearly see that EVERYONE goes to Salisbury News. Many may not like my style, many may not agree but I can assure you of this. If ANYTHING is happening on the Eastern Shore and someone wants to find out about it, they go to Salisbury News and they get exactly what they're looking for. There are very few nay sayers out there. The ones that are have very few hits and are usually the same 5 people going back to eachothers site acting like they're somebody, yet they're all pussies because they're anonymous. I respect many here because they're not all anonymous and that's really cool. My hat is tipped to ALL of you for registering. I respect what you have to say because ultimately you are accountable for your words. I may not fully agree with you but I certainly respect what you say.

Have a wonderful 2009 everyone.

streiff said...

to your points

1. I don't know? Why? Is it the same reason that you were crying like a little girl when we were cleaning your clock? I'd have thought you would have learned from that bitter experience how little the ranking means. If you want me to take it back, just let me know.

2. No one is demanding that you open your sitemeter. But when you boast about your traffic and don't open it people are free to draw their own conclusions.

3. Joe, you always get in trouble because of your lack of reading comprehension skills. Read the story again. Ignore the title. Then tell me it is about you.

4. No one is pounding their chest save you. You got your tit in a wringer because of your own actions. You got out of it because you were being sued by an idiot. Your actions are what causes bloggers everywhere difficulty in being taken seriously. Instead of boasting about beating a nothingburger lawsuit maybe you should examine how you do business and how dysfunctional that process is.

The mug shot was cute, though.

5. The fact that I don't post on your site and you do post here tells me all I need to know.