Sunday, October 16, 2005

Yahoo! Creates "Solo Journalism"

This a.m., as I was sitting here having my coffee, I saw an ad on the Yahoo! homepage that read :
Journalist Kevin Sites reveals the human side of global conflict

Who the heck is Kevin Sites?

Clicking around a bit, I came to this page that said nothing and everything about Kevin Sites.

Apparently, he's a "one of the world's most respected war correspondents" now turned "Solo Journalist," travelling the world, sometimes with a crew, sometimes simply armed with the latest in digital technology (hard to tell from the copiously written blurb exactly which), reporting on everything. Kevin was the guy who filed the report for NBC on the Marine sooting the Iraqui insurgent.

What is most telling on the site is the "Our Mission" sidebar. I'm not all that interested in who Kevin Sites is (although he does look like the typical 18-34, six-figure-salaried young gun), I'm interested in this thing that Yahoo! calls "solo journalism." They are using all the right buzzwords: latest technology, transparency, vulnerability, empathy, solutions. It's alot of buzz. Yahoo appears to be looking to create a hybrid of the citizen as journalist and the journalist posing as Your Buddy in the war zone--the new Edward R. Murrow. Kevin's not only going to follow the professional journalists code of ethics, but he's going to be one of us...empathic, vulnerable, and using the latest gizmos that High Tech has to offer.

And he's going to ask us for our input and solutions...kind of like a blogger. He's interactive.

But, serioulsy, how transparent can he be? How much of the "common man" can Kevin Sites be under the ageis of Yahoo? Is it any different from what he did for NBC? If the People are distrustful of journalists in general (not just those working for MSM) are they really going to see thru Kevin Sites and trust him specifically? Will his journalistic integrity be bolstered by his association with Yahoo? (It does, though, seem like Yahoo is trying to become its own brand of MSM with its direct reporting of news, rather than simply aggregating articles from other sources as it has done for awhile.)

When he filed the report on the Marine, it was all about ratings. Let's not lie about it. Broadcast journalism looks for ratings. And they got big ones for his report. Now, Yahoo!, realizing the interactive, participatory nature of most people who obsessively search the net for Information, are creating a hybrid of MSM and the blogger community to go beyond citizen journalism to create Solo journalism.

Is it all just marketing? You betcha! and pretty savvy marketing too! Just look at Kevin. He looks just like the grubby grungeboy next door! So pensive--so full of sturm und drang... As transparent as Casper the Ghost is he.

If you want honest reporting on a desperate situation, check out >Eric Reeves's stuff on Darfur. Reeves receives "no external funding support" for his work.

I wonder if Kevin Sites can say the same--or is he just a tool for Yahoo's moneymaking machine?

, , , , , , ,

No comments: