Need category to track where is institutional link to the blog?  How hard to find it on website? We’ve discovered things don’t fit neatly into subject boxes, so yes, to expand sample & code categories:  1) ongoing j-blog 2) single-event j- blogs  3) feature j-blogs (short term).  4) independent j-blog [not affiliated with any media outlet – kept either by journalist employed by media outlet or not].

Next mtg. Tues 2-4.    

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Link analysis

June 29, 2006

Working on finding the best incoming / back link analysis tracking tool.   Yahoo Site Explorer seems to be better than Google’s, yet this not comprehensive. 

Side note: realised that in Google, incoming links to a site can be searched by just typing “link:domain.xx” into the normal search index; it’s not necessary to go into advanced search function.  For example link.ryerson.ca will turn up a host of pages that link to Ryerson – but NOT as comprehensive as yahoo.

On the positive: it’s turned up links to the Global TV news crew blogs, none of which I’d found before. 

On the negative: it doesn’t turn up instances where our mediasphere blog gives an incoming link (are we non-existent if we have no links to us?), and it chronicles a whole bunch of technorati searches that i can’t understand (e.g. if you search Market Murmurs there are several technorati tag searches that come up for things that MM would likely be talking about [Tim Horton’s…Bottled Water…etc.] , but none of the postings links to Market Murmurs, so i just don’t know why they appear there).

Method:

  1. type in URL in search box.
  2. The results will show both “pages” and “Inlinks.”   If you click on “pages,” that breaks the website address down into every individual sub-page of the addresss you searched [that is NOT what we need]. 
  3. If you click on “inlinks,”  results come up and can be sorted using 4 variables:  a) from all pages / except for this domain:  if you select “except for this domain,” it will show all incoming links excluding those from the domain you searched;  b) If the URL entered is a unique domain name (like www.ryerson.ca)  it gives the further option: show inlinks to entire site / only this URL.  But if the address as entered is already specific  ( e.g. http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/murmurs/index.html) the latter option isn’t available – in other words you can’t jump to search all of CBC’s incoming links like this, but you can screen out CBC links to Market Murmurs. 

Abby and I were talking about the “user” issue.  She mentioned that she sees “reader” as being passive whereas a user takes something, crafts it, produces it, responds to it. 

My background as an adult education literacy worker & a journo I think means that I have come to see reading as very active – in the literacy worker context, reading IS making meaning, is coming to the place where one is able to voice one’s needs, aims, and understand oneself as a social, involved, engaged, heard being — but surely, that isn’t the experience of those who have been forced to learn to read, and who found no pleasure or acceptance in it.

In the literacy work I did in Sask. women’s prison all that became clear to me.  A lot of women had terrible experiences with reading because they associated it with being forced to learn English and abandon their Aboriginal language.  So there was a lot of waiting and letting the person drive things and that was my own learning about reading. 

In the best-case scenario there, the “reading” context wasn’t only learning what the words on the page mean in a closed circuit between letters and a person’s mind; the reading also involved trying to create a context of mutuality and support between myself as a teacher (teacher-learner) and the learner (learner-teacher).  Sometimes it worked– one day Angelique would announce, “I’m ready to learn philosophy — what you learned in school, show me…..” [“What was wrong with them?  They sound like very unhappy men, wandering around Greece, abandoning their people.”]; or Lori said, “I’d like to do a project on wolves,” or Angela remembered Neil.

Other days, just mistakes, resentment, bitter power relations, starting to talk a lot softer.   

Witnessing that reading of words, or the refusal and despair about reading words, the cultural baggage around English, all the emotions around the learning, the entrhrallment of learning to read words that meant something to oneself, also became reading people in a new way.   [The technique we used for learning to  read was that the learner would narrate their life story.  It would be written down and then typed up in large print.  It became the text for learning to write and read new words].   

That context reminds me always of an interview w. James Baldwin: Interviwer:  “Before you knew you were a writer, who did you think you were?”  Baldwin:  “A witness.  A very despairing witness.”   I think this is about not only professional writers, but all of us in our ability to act on the world with language — before you knew you had the power to describe and name things back to the world, who did you think you were?   

My issue with the “user” is around a sense of consuming and commodifying what one is receiving so it is automatically categorized, numbered.    To me there’s a sense of closed circuit between the individual and the object being taken up.  

But I can see how just as easily, someone might make this argument about reading — Abby noted that reader can sound like a closed circuit betwen a person and a text.     

What would be the words to name that kind of activity….

June 28, 2006

USER

June 28, 2006

Every article i am reading is rife with this word and it’s starting to really grate on me. Maybe some of us still want to be READERS?  Not USERS?  I feel like the lead character in that British series, The Prisoner:  “I am not a number. I’m a free man.”

There is something so, yes, obviously utilitiarian about this vision of a way of being in the world.   Where is the sense of inner understanding…agency….attentiveness…hearing….co-creation…..becoming human with this type of mode?  Did the idealistic journos of the past go to the line to bring into being a world of….users…..? It brings out such the hard core, anti-enlightenment medieval anchoress always trapsing barefoot to Italy inside me…– what about my hazelnut — ?       

On the one hand, this seems Orwellian to me, though reflected in contemporary contexts where it seems the internet is consulted as the omniscient source.  [Not Orwellian in the sense of Wigan Pier – in the sense of 1984].  The dirth of eyewitness and personal accounts of things, the distance of news discourse from events themselves, the filtering of levels of government, “media events.”   Quoting from Hartley, a short history of cultural studies, quoted in Bruns:

“Hartley describes this [gatewatching]filtering guiding work as ‘redaction,’ the social function of editing,’: it means “bringing materials together, mixing ingredients to make something new- a creative process in its own right.”  Where redactional practices are used, he writes, “reporting is the processing of existing discourse.  But redactional journalism is not dedicated to the same ends as public-sphere journalism inherited from previous media; it doesn’t have the same agenda-setting function for public affairs and decision making as does traditional editing by editors (which is why I am avoiding the more familiar term.'”

On the other hand – something about this explication of reporting is linked to earlier notions of memory, rhetoric, reading [legere, gathering].  Picking, gathering what is known to be in existence: the world of ideas is already contained, finite:  a finite number of representations or parts of the real that the person re-arranges.  St. Paul, etc: One’s prowess as rhetor in the particularlity of the arrangement, not in the originality.

But google isn’t all the elements of the universe – it only seems that way.  If we believe it to be so – how is this kind of technology shaping our view of possibilities, horizons [lonergan notion – “the field is the universe, but my horizon defines my universe”].

The place of the modern scientific notions of objectivity in this?

There’s a few helpful references on Vu d’ici / Seen from here, as pointed out on Bruno Guglielminetti’s blog with SRC, to Québécois J-bloggers and bloggers at Chatelaine.

I was focussed on print j-blogs for awhile and it's quite a gear shift to see what's happening in the broadcasting blogosphere.  In her article The Mission of the J-blog: Recapturing Journalistic Authority Online, Susan Robinson came up with some categories of types of j-blogs [acronyms are my interim coding]:

  • RN:  "Reporter's notebook with tidbits and incidentals."
  • OCW: "Straight column of opinion for the web."
  • QA: "Question and answer from editors."
  • RF:  "A readership forum."
  • CD:  "A confessional diary written by the reporter about his or her beat."
  • RU:  "A round-up of news summaries that promote the print publication."
  • RM:  "A rumour-mill blog that the reporter uses as an off-the-record account."  

The canuck print J-blogs I've seen are of the OCW / RN / RU type.  Even in the off- the-cuff feel of a blog, the sense is edited and controlled.  But I've noticed a CD feel in a few TV reporters.  This from Global's Mike Edgell, about a story he reported :

"That 8-year-old watched as his friend was shocked near death on a hydro line downed by a storm. The witness was brave and eloquent for an 8 year old, telling me he had been praying for his friends recovery. You know that phenomenon on a road trip when you forget driving a stretch of highway and then realize after the fact – wow what did I miss. I realized after the fact, what this kid must have endured. Caught up in the race to my deadline …my focus was on telling the story but it wasn’t until after it aired that I thought about what that kid is left with – a horrifying experience." 

And then:

"In my career so far, I have met people who have been victimized in every way possible I think. Sometimes they pop into my head months or even years later….i think of that woman who was chopped in pieces by her boyfriend and the interview I did with the killer before he was arrested and how many lives he affected. I think about an immigrant family in ottawa that lost everything it had built in Canada in a fire with no insurance. There are so many."     

I'm a little stunned and sad by that. 

Totally, totally different from the print peeps, and also from some of his reporter colleagues' blogs at Global.   

Plans to start manually mapping links between sites. Right now I'm focussed on capturing links and copying some text.  After we bantered about a first draft of survey, Abby working on survey and waiting for ethics clearance.  Need to sit down together and do a web tour of the blogs we will include for certain in the study. 

Joyce passed a book title on: Watching the Watchdog: Bloggers as the Fifth Estate, by Stephen D. Cooper, Marshall U.  We'll have to get a hold of it. "In one sentence, the thesis of this little book is that the blogosphere is in the process of maturing into a full-fledged social institution, albeit a non-traditional one: emergent, self-organizing, and self-regulating" [from the publisher's website].