Read & Respond – Week 2

Here’s your first read and respond. These will serve as supplements to the assigned readings listed in the syllabus for the week (Briggs’ introduction and chapter 1 this time around). They’ll most typically be links to articles; we’ve got two here.

It’s common to struggle with coming up with a specific focus for your blog. You want to pursue your interests, but you need a theme that connects with a community and has the potential for updating long after you’ve left this course. Remember the rules for what to avoid:

  • Diaries/”My Crazy Life” themes (you’re writing for a community, not family and friends, so don’t assume they think you’re inherently fascinating. feel free, however, to link who/what you are to a larger world, so long as the focus isn’t you and your shenanigans)
  • Themes that depend on you positioning yourself as an expert or advice guru (even if you are, you have no/few readers at the moment – you need make yourself part of the conversation before you start handing down life lessons)
  • Reviews of games, restaurants, movies, etc. (but you CAN engage with the larger discussion about these things)

Briggs has further suggestions for you. In particular, check out his interlude by innovator Greg Linch. See that last point in Linch’s list of innovator traits? “It’s not about you.” What can you write about that gets beyond yourself and joins a meaningful conversation?

Briggs also discusses the value of RSS readers, which we’ll be getting into this week in class. Start looking for blogs to follow NOW. Who’s writing about your interests? Who’s writing and reporting like you’d like to? Beyond this, there’s some useful discussion of coding and HTML. Don’t Panic! The next time you create a blog post, note those two tabs in the top right on the window; take a deep breath and click the “HTML” tab to see the code behind your post. It’s not so bad, is it? Give his simple coding exercise on p. 27-28 a try.

Once you’re done with Briggs, I want you to take a look at this link from 10,000 Words on nifty ideas for RSS feeds. We’ll just be using them for reading (at first), but it’s useful to know how much potential they hold. In essence, RSS feeds deliver the Internet to you in a digestible, scannable form. What could be bad about that?

Well, Ted Koppel has some thoughts on the subject in “The Case Against News We Can Choose.” Granted, Koppel’s more directly addressing 24-hour news stations, but his ideas certainly are relevant to the online world of information. How do his points inform our work in this class?

Finally, I want you to shift gears to the bigger internet picture with this useful overview of the current “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) debate. It may seem wonky, but read the whole thing because its outcome may well directly affect you. Not merely from the act itself, either: Companies such as Google and Facebook have threatened to go dark if SOPA goes through. Think that might affect your life?

So have at it! You will need to respond to these readings in a comment on this post no later than noon on Monday, Jan. 16. A few things to make sure of:

  • Post as your WordPress/Blogger identity so I know who you are.
  • Specifically address the readings, but don’t summarize them – build on them!
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23 Responses to Read & Respond – Week 2

  1. thecoalfist says:

    The first article from 10,000 words touched on the subject of RSS feeds, which is honestly new to me. I’ve seen the option to “subscribe via RSS feed” on some of my favorite sites but never took advantage of that possibility.

    As I read through the article, I was a little unimpressed with the possibilities via RSS. There were some visually striking possibilities, like the custom newspaper or interactive timeline, but the whole time I was reading I felt a sense of “Do I NEED that?” The answer, of course, is no, I don’t, but I suppose I don’t NEED to be able to check my Twitter from my phone every five seconds any more than I NEED to have emails come instantly to my phone.

    But, I also think part of why the article was underwhelming for me is the fact that I never followed blogs before. The RSS feeds are aimed at making the blogging experience more efficient, and I kind of see programs like Dipity as a “TweetDeck” for blogs. From this angle, I do see the merit in RSS and I expect to become more infatuated with the idea as I expand my interests in blogs.

    Koppel’s article made me feel in similar need of “broadening my horizons.” His political views aside, I think he makes some great points about how reporting and journalism as “we” (as a society, not a generation; biased news outlets have been around much longer than I) know/knew it is dying.

    The idea that there are always two sides to a story has always been an inherent understanding of mine, but it is interesting to step back and realize how few people really care to read anything other than what they want to read (I need only to look at my conservative father or liberal grandmother to notice this haha). While this article didn’t exactly open my eyes to anything new, it did make me think about how necessary it is (and will be) for me to maintain an objective perspective when reporting news and information, despite a growing pressure (necessity?) to be biased.

    The two articles concerning the SOPA legislation touched on a dark subject that, if passed, will legitimately change the lives of Americans.

    Before this, I only knew SOPA as “some anti-piracy shit that my techie roommate is pissed about,” but I now see how serious of an issue it is.

    After reading the first article by Fulton III, I became downright emo caliber depressed. I know he was trying to draw some abstract analogy which didn’t really hit home with me, but what DID hit home is the fact that SOPA is very real. I am an optimist, but I couldn’t help but feel a little pessimistic about this legislation. How can we defeat the giants that are going to dictate this bill’s fate?

    Along came the second article by Chris Bowers which made me feel a LITTLE better and helped me realize that we (the casual internet users) are not alone in our opposition. It’s relieving to see that Google, Facebook, etc. oppose SOPA and are willing to take dramatic efforts to stop it.

    Still, I left the two SOPA articles with an elevated “threat level,” if you will. I fear that we are going to use a nuke to kill a deer here and make too drastic an effort to stop a problem (piracy) that isn’t quite as terrible as many people think. I don’t know how it is a politicians’ right to tell us what websites we can view and for what purposes we can use the internet, but I will certainly be checking out more SOPA information to formulate a more knowledgeable opinion.

    But first, I need to finish downloading this new Lamb of God CD before this shit passes :D.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      You asked “How can we defeat the giants that are going to dictate this bill’s fate?” I’m curious to hear your thoughts on week 3’s readings on the blackout and response.

  2. I spent the first 18 years of my life not needing Facebook or Google to survive. But after reading about the possibility of losing access to them, I’ve become concerned. In many cases, Facebook is the most convenient way to get in touch with friends/classmates and Google is a handy tool when it comes to getting homework done. Without them I feel that my productivity would severely decrease. I didn’t really understand the reasoning behind passing SOPA, but I do understand that it’ll hurt the way we function. I think it’s important that we have systems (like Google) in place to sort through all the information out there because there is so much to take in. If we were constantly bombarded with information about everything, we wouldn’t absorb it as well as we should. So I think it’s necessary to have filters to only give us the information we want when we ask for it. Of course, I don’t think it’s appropriate to ONLY accept certain information, because you won’t make headway in life by listening to and discussing the same things over and over again. It would be nice if we could become open to the idea of receiving all information (or both sides of the story/issue). This way we could get all the information, but only when we’re ready for it. That way we take it in a process it with maturity and understanding.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Interesting comment on filters, which brings up a question: How do we KNOW what information to ask for in the first place? Also, don’t forget to incorporate the Briggs reading for the week.

  3. I used RSS feeds before I really realized what they were. When I signed up for Google, through messing around with various options, I saw that I could make a giant pile of all the newspapers and websites I liked to read. And there, my Google Reader was born.

    I have entire news outlets on my reader, though. I have the Charleston Daily Mail, The Charleston Gazette, NYT, Washington Post, HuffPo, the DA, and others. I don’t subscribe to a certain section because I don’t want to limit myself to only politics or entertainment or sports. I know this isn’t the case with everyone, but I am a news junkie. So I don’t feel as though I’m missing out as much – yes, they’re on my reader, but the entire paper is on my reader, as it would be if I picked up a newspaper or went to the individual site.

    As for the case for news we can choose, haven’t we always chosen our own news? I understand that if you pick up a newspaper, you might see a catching headline occasionally that will draw you in, but we still choose what we read in the end. And though it’s obvious that FOX and MSNBC aren’t necessarily unbiased, I think there’s something to be said for embracing their biases, as we all know nothing can be completely unbiased. Are we pandering and pacifying people and telling them what to think? I’d like to think we’re giving them the options about what to think and hope they’d make their own decisions.

    With SOPA, I think this debate is pretty complex. For journalists, this probably hits close to home because of the avid endorsement of free speech. The idea of a blacklist seems very old-fashioned when people would use fear to move something forward. What really got me interested here is the potential for major websites to temporarily shut down. It’s not every day that Google or Facebook make such a bold statement in terms of legislation. That would affect millions of people and solicit attention.

    This weekend, the Obama administration issued a statement saying it won’t back SOPA if “it encourages censorship, undermines cybersecurity or disrupts the structure of the Internet,” three White House technology officials said. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-14/white-house-won-t-support-internet-censorship-in-online-anti-piracy-bills.html) That’s a pretty significant step in all of this – so hopefully this act won’t come to fruition. I guess we’ll see after the scheduled Jan. 18th blackout.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      That’s a good point about choosing the news – you can certainly pick your TV station, and if you’re lucky enough to live in a two-newspaper town, you’ve got the option there too (as well as the option not to buy a newspaper). The issue that’s been brought up, however, is that with so many choices and so much specificity available, we can very easily choose “The Daily Me:” An account that serves mainly to confirm your own preferences and biases from a variety of sources (rather than JUST Fox/MSNBC). I like your point about embracing biases, and it’s been interesting to see how media has responded to this reality. Some have embraced, others have tried to distance themselves.

  4. Anan says:

    I think the first page of the chapter 1 in Briggs is the best example to teach us bloggers how to avoid the second behavior — “positioning yourself as an expert or advice guru”. We need to make ourselves into the conversation and balance our own interests and readers’ interests. That can make our blogs attractive and make them not just satisfy ourselves. With the development of technology, people not only rely on the mainstream media, but also focus more on Internet to get news. As Steven Berlin Johnson’s quote in Briggs – “There is more volume, diversity, timeliness and depth” in the future news, internet journalists should try to provide news satisfying all these features to meet readers’ diverse interests, because readers have more choices than before. Thus, we need to both update with the high-techs and the new news environment. “You can do this, and future is now.” This is how we can encourage ourselves.

    About the RSS’ eight creative ways, generally most people use it catch their favorite ones, but the disadvantage is that RSS is not that convenient and widely-used as email. And without timely updating, users will miss the news.

    The NetCoalition, made up by Internet giants like Facebook, Twitter, eBay, etc,, is taking actions to stop SOPA, Which will definitely disrupt most people’s daily life and harm the commerce, for these websites are almost used all over the world. Actually, SOPA is kind of harming internet users’ privacy and their freedom of express and burden internet corporations’ work, which eventually hinder the development of this industry.

  5. Mary Power says:

    Linch’s innovator traits include basic things we’ve learned in journalism school- tell a story, listen, work ethically. The end of the list “Know it is not about you,” almost surprises me in terms of a journalism class. Knowing it is not about you seems redundant in journalism because you are telling a story. But the line seems to have blurred, which Koppel discusses in terms of television personalities. It has never been easier for journalists to directly respond to fans, share opinions, and to have instant communication about topics. Trending topics on twitter have become news and News Reporters can instantly be contacted via their confirmed accounts with stories and opinions.

    The tools shown on the 10,000 words article are just cool. The fact that you can produce a book or newspaper specifically for one subject/community RSS feed is very cool as well as a strikingly similar example to the original “The Daily Me.”

    We all talk a lot about how dangerous focused news can be, and how it no longer encourages people coming together to compromise on opinions or to at least hear an opposing view. But I know, even as a journalism major who has been made aware of these dangers, that I don’t turn on Fox news one morning of the week for my own sake. Though maybe I should. Pigeonholing ourselves into communities of like-minded individuals is so simple and much less work.

    Koppel points out the destruction of the international news structure he was brought up through and how news has turned more focused toward opinions and specific communities. We talked about how a community is something you should be focused on in a blog because that community is an audience. Koppel’s thoughts point out how blogs should flourish in this new 21st century environment- blogs are specific and community focused, and people are focused on specific information and connecting with their own community.

    SOPA is just shocking to me and I could go on for a while about its basic dangers. Putting a generation that is not necessarily aware of the implications of the Internet (not that any of us truly are yet) in charge of policing it seems shortsighted. But I digress. A bunch of like-minded individuals making use of the ability to anonymously and instantly publish can seem frightening- look at the comments made toward Grawker. But the beauty of the Internet is this ability for everyone to create and share. Also, my personal addiction to sites like Google and Facebook might cripple my social life for at least however log it takes for MySpace to try and make a comeback.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      You discuss dangers of “focused news,” but are there also strengths? Surely it’s very possible to settle into a comfortable echo chamber, but it’s also true that when the mainstream media is focused on a story, we’re no longer stuck with that as the only perspective. Or is all this choice really just an illusion?

      Remember to incorporate the week’s Briggs readings in your future responses.

  6. Matt Murphy says:

    I’ll admit I’ve never used RSS feeds as a way to get news. I know what the concept is, and how to set up a feed, but I’ve never actually relied on RSS myself. Apparently, though, most other Internet users have some sort of RSS feed enabled on their browser(s). (So I’m thinking I need to catch up?)

    Using RSS does seem to be great for narrowing down news and blog posts on particular subjects. Because of the huge amount of information presented online, RSS makes it so much easier to develop a feed or feeds based on what the user wants to know about. In addition, RSS has the potential to allow readers to pull information from a variety of sources, all with differing views and political connections, perhaps giving the user a more balanced view of the news (as opposed to just getting news from what most of the public claims as the “liberal” media.).

    However, that same potential RSS has to give the user a wide variety of news can also be detrimental to the reader. Should the reader only select feeds from far-left or far-right sources (especially bloggers and news talk show hosts), it’s probable that the user will be faced with a false sense of the news, and will deny themselves balanced and accurate reporting. This is part of the key to Ted Koppel’s work, when he warns against the public being able to acquire news from a few sources or individuals (like getting news from Bill O’Reilly versus the local newspaper).

    As for SOPA, I’m still not clear on the exact ramifications of the bill. I’ve heard of it plenty of times before, and I know the general arguments for and against it, but I’m not sure what the bill exactly calls for. Regardless, because several large social media sites and other websites have threatened a blackout should it appear the bill could pass, certainly it would disrupt many American’s work on the Internet and/or quickly raise awareness about the law. Personally, I’m not convinced that, at least right now, I would really care that most of those sites would not exist. I don’t consider myself Internet-dependent. However, I do feel that the law is a major violation of free speech, and that should always be protected.

  7. erinfitzi says:

    While I read the chapter from “Journalism Next,” it was hard to shake the fact that it was a textbook, which I guess stands as a proving point that the industry has changed and what didn’t matter years ago matters now. Basic function and knowledge of the Internet is huge and should have been part of our education back in grade school, not in an upper level undergraduate course. The business with bytes would have been so helpful to me about 15 years ago when I got a computer. I’m highly considering lending this book to my mother so she can read this and get at least the basic information in the first chapter.
    RSS feeds are something that I have never utilized, but after reading the chapter and playing around with an RSS feed, I realized it would actually save me time and energy. But with the Internet being pretty fast anyway, what time do I need to save? It’s an exercise in personal interests because you have the whole broad Internet, but you choose to only have a portion available to yourself instantly. I would like this because there are things that I”m only interested in, but I should recognize that I’m not being objective and should go farther than just my RSS feed for information
    Koppel talked about how broadcast news is no longer a public service but a profitable commodity. Right now the Internet is struggling with this dilemma, but perhaps in a different way. The Internet is so vast, with so much information. Now, with news organizations posting to the web first and broadcast/print later, all kinds of news are available at any time of the day. Because of the volume of stories available, the Internet has become a place of selection. The reader needs to choose what news to consume and when, which could be considered along similar lines like the un-objectivity of what Koppel discussed in the article. The Internet provides everything, but it’s up to the viewer to be objective, which might not be so easy.
    Regarding the SOPA legislation pieces, I wish Facebook and Google and such would go ahead and do the blackout type maneuver. While online piracy does need to stop, the language of the bill is clearly infringing upon rights. To regular Internet users, this bill may be more known, but so few still know the impact of such a bill if it were to pass. For example, my mom goes on the Internet to order stuff off of ebay or Amazon and she also uses Facebook, she doesn’t stray too far from those sites. She probably has no idea the SOPA discussion is even happening, and I’m unsure of what her stance would even be. To her and my dad, the Internet is a dangerous place that steals identities and are riddled with viruses. (My dad is literally convinced that iTunes is a virus.) But if the big sites that even people like my parents go to, like Amazon, Facebook and Google, they might stop to listen.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      I enjoyed your perspective in the first paragraph, but could you explain what you meant in saying “it was hard to shake the fact that it was a textbook”? Regardless, I’d argue the mark of a good explanatory text is feeling that it could help your mother understand something, so well done, Briggs.

      Really interesting point on RSS feeds: “What time do I need to save?” Sometimes I fall off my RSS for vast periods of time – has the technology outlived its usefulness? On the other hand, it’s still helpful (to me, anyway) to have my blog information presented in a single uniform format rather than in multiple places and styles … but maybe that’s just me.

  8. Ted Koppel’s ideas are relevant to the work we do in this class because we are expressing our thoughts and opinions while connecting with a large amount of people every day. The availability of social media, such as our personal blogs goes along with the trend of how journalism has changed because it’s more opinion based than fact based. People want to hear confirmation of their own ideas and beliefs so that’s why biased news reporting is so profitable and reading a wide array of posts is more entertaining than fact based. People watch certain news programs or subscribe to specific blogs because in today’s society the public seeks out their own interest, which is why news has become so choosy. It is up to us whether we decide to make our blogs a pure summary and presentation of facts in a case or a discourse on our own personal beliefs on an issue.

    If the SOPA bill passes it will affect my life because I’m used to having the freedom to browse whatever sites I please. For a large majority of the population, including myself, using Facebook, Google, and Youtube is a daily occurrence so taking these sites away will change the way the Internet is used. Many people keep in touch with distant family members or old friends primarily through Facebook or Twitter. Google is one of the most popular research outlets as it is extremely simple to use, readily accessible, and contains information on any topic you can think of. Without this resource, students and individuals in general would have to utilize other forms of research methods that are not as quick and easy such as going to the library. My generation is used to having this information at their fingertips, and I feel that would hinder how much work gets done because as technology advances, people become lazier. In addition, websites that serve for entertainment purposes, such as YouTube will leave us bored and indifferent. I think SOPA has good intentions to prevent the illegal download of copyrighted music or movies but in the process would hamper positive aspects of the Internet such as the sharing of intellectual findings, new ideas, and the work of aspiring artists leading us towards a technological “dark age.”

    • aaaaaargh says:

      So if audiences today are used to choice and hearing what they want to hear, how to we get out a balanced account? What exactly would “a pure summary and presentation of facts” look like? Also, don’t forget to respond to the week’s Briggs reading.

  9. In the first reading, it talked about all different ways to blog. It gave a list of 8 different ways to spruce up your timeline. It had some good ideas in it and I am going to try and use some of them throught this semester.

    In the second reading, It talked all about “news you can use.” It was all about how now that the news is a huge business, the news channels tend to use a lot more opinions and show only things that their viewers want. This causes newscast to no longer be fair and bias. They will always favor one side or another.

    The third one was all about COICA and SOPA. I agree that passing these laws would go against the right to free speech. I don’t think that anyone should be blacklisted and the passing of these laws would be a huge blow to online journalist.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Try to expand your responses, Matt. We know what they’re about already, so get into discussing them rather than simply summarizing the links (and don’t forget to address the week’s Briggs reading as well).

  10. Greer Hughes says:

    (I apologize this is a couple of hours late… I only just bought the book this morning)

    From Brigg’s Intro
    The idea of an individual being so powerful in the new age of journalism is daunting, but also makes me feel optimistic. Daunted by the responsibility that comes with being a journalist (in my personal opinion), but optimistic about the future of journalism and that news and content will be what we (those that have access) want it to be, not just what the big bosses want it to be.

    From SOPA
    I’m largely against censorship and I strongly oppose SOPA. The federal government should not be able to take down domain names because of their content – it’s a violation of free speech. SOPA will not stop illegal downloading, as users can still access a blocked site just by entering its IP address, instead of its name. If the government tampers with the structure of the Internet it could make it potentially less secure and less reliable. The internet contributes more to the US economy than the entertainment industry! The websites I use the most are at risk of being shut down, and I could even go to jail, just for posting a song on my Facebook page. The government should not have this much control.

  11. amarie1025 says:

    For the first reading, I was surprised at how many different sites and tools there were for RSS feeds of tweets. Tools that help you organize your RSS feeds can be useful in many different ways, especially for a journalist who is following or covering a certain aspect of the story and wants to get all the information from their sources into one complete timeline of sorts. But with anything, when there is good, the opposition is not too far away. RSS feeds can also be detrimental to the person or source who has tweeted incorrect information that could be misrepresent a high-profile public figure. It makes it super easy for people to convict a source before they have had time to edit or explain their actions.

    When I first began reading the article from Ted Koppel, I did not find it as intruiging as I thought I would, but then I came across a very influential and meaning quote that I thought was one-hundred percent correct and correlated with the class and our discussion from last week. On page two of Koppel’s article he stated, “Broadcast news has been outflanked and will soon be overtaken by scores of other media options. The need for clear, objective reporting in a world of rising religious fundamentalism, economic interdependence and global ecological problems is probably greater than it has ever been. But we are no longer a national audience receiving news from a handful of trusted gatekeepers; we’re now a million or more clusters of consumers, harvesting information from like-minded providers.”, I couldn’t agree more. Throughout my four years at WVU and taking all of the necessary media ethics classes and whatnot, this is one of the topics that only continues to become more elaborate and brought up in conversation more frequently. Social media is changing the game, changing the world of journalism. Not only from when Koppel started at ABC in the ’60’s, but even since I first came to WVU. Twitter wasn’t something that everybody had, in fact most of my friens made fun of it because they were still so obsessed with facebook. Now those same friends are cluttering my timeline with nonsense. News basically breaks on social media sites and the internet because it is so accessible.

    If this whole SOPA debate concludes with the government passing such laws and big name providers such as Google do ” go into the dark” this will greatly effect myself as well as billions of other globally. If companies such as facebook also face the threat of going into the dark if such laws are passed, who knows what other social media sites may do. It will effect the whole evolution of journalism. Social media sites and other sites such as Bing or Google have geared the journalism world into a fast-paced easily accessible with an easy-to-use approach. My generation is not used to having to do things the “old-fashioned” way. I don’t think I would mind but I do feel as though it may possibly slow us (the world) down and in times like these I don’t think we can afford to slow down right now.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Thoughtful response to Koppel in particular. How can broadcast stay on top of the changes you describe? Is there anything it’s doing right to this end now?

      As I’ve said elsewhere, don’t forget to address the Briggs reading in your response as well.

  12. mcarper says:

    RSS feeds are a valuable tool for entrenching one’s self into a community. To truly be a part of a community, one must be wary of the many voices within a community, especially the voices of opinion leaders. In almost every case, communities will exist both on and offline, and to stay abreast of the news and issues that matter most to a particular community requires checking blogs and tweets and news pages. With an RSS feed, that process can simplified. By subscribing to the major news sources within a community, a blogger can always be in the loop and up to date. While I personally do not care for an overly elaborate RSS reader, I can see how some people might enjoy it and if that makes the RSS experience better for them, great.

    In addition to subscribing to RSS feeds, I would also recommend using Google Alerts for sweeping up the articles on your community that may come from outside of your typical news sources. Google Alerts has connected me to some really interesting content, but you really need to dial-in your chosen keywords to keep from being flooded by irrelevant news.

    As for SOPA and PIPA, I am very concerned that their passing will cripple the internet. I can understand the concern that major companies have for piracy, but it seems that this legislation is drafted and supported by individuals that simply do not understand the internet. The internet is built on sharing, and that sometimes leads to questionable applications of Fair Use and often leads to outright copyright infringement. However, the studies that link piracy to profit loss are either exaggerated to the point of losing credible or fundamentally flawed. In the book publishing world, my particular field of choice, some authors and publishers advocate that piracy increases sales, and there is at least one scholarly study that demonstrates correlation between free eBooks and sales increases.

    The companies supporting these bills should be focused on giving their customers the best experience possible. Almost every song ever recorded is available for download from the Pirate Bay, yet iTunes churns out profits. Nearly every video game is available for download from the Pirate Bay, yet services like Steam or GOG.com are generating record revenue. Movies and television? Netflix and Hulu.

    The problem is not piracy. The problem is a lack of understanding. Some people may disagree with how the new generation is consuming content, but that doesn’t change the fact that the market is shifting. We expect choices. We expect flexibility. We expect ease-of-use. We expect customization. If you ignore how the internet works and you develop a service that doesn’t treat paying customers well, your content will be pirated, but if you give us a service we like, we will pay for it, gladly.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Useful points in this response – can you provide links to some of the information you present? Remember the deadline, and don’t forget to respond to Briggs in your responses as well.

  13. Ben Scott
    I thought Briggs had a really neat take on RSS feeds. He states that journalists are “merchants of information,” and that statement couldn’t be more true. RSS feeds can help a journalist when it comes to reporting. A responsible journalist could purposely subscribe to blogs with opposing views so that journalist can put his views in perspective and keep an unbiased (or at a least middle ground) view.

    I think the SOPA debate is something that everyone should really pay attention too (as well as participate in). While I am all for copyright laws, I feel that this potential bill oversteps the boundary of copyright. The article “A Blacklist By Any Other Name, or, Washing Your Mind Out with SOPA” points out several flaws that the writers of the bill may not have even thought about. One thing the article points out is how difficult it will be to actually police the internet. The internet is extremely vast. Getting the manpower needed to police the entire internet is likely something that cannot be achieved. In all honesty, I am not terribly worried about this bill getting passed. If the government can’t even decide on a budget how do they expect to pass a bill? Also, the White House has issued a statement that says, “we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.” https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petition-tool/response/combating-online-piracy-while-protecting-open-and-innovative-internet

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