prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Archive for November, 2010

Online Recipes, Public Domain, and Internet Vigilantes

Posted by prof e on November 14, 2010

Last week we talked about Dog S*!t Girl and the Chinese crush video…two early examples of the effectiveness of Human Flesh Search Engines for uncovering and punishing misbehavior, both off- and on-line. Wikipedia even has a page on Internet Vigilantism that discusses the phenomenon and references the two examples above and several additional examples.

Now it appears that a new virtual firestorm has overtaken the internet…or at least the corner of the net that is populated by food bloggers and online magazine publishers. According to an article in the Los Angles Times, a food blogger by the name of Monica Gaudio had one of her articles lifted and reprinted by the food magazine Cooks SourceCooks Source is published in print, as well as on Facebook. But don’t go looking for their Facebook page or website because both have been removed after hackers and netizens have come to the aid of Gaudio by blasting Cooks Source (and its managing editor Judith Griggs) for not only misappropriating an online article and using it without permission, but because of the clueless (and rude) email response that Griggs sent to Gaudio after Gaudio asked for both an apology and that a $130 donation be made to Columbia School of Journalism in lieu of payment. According to Gaudio’s blog, this is the email that she received from Griggs at Cooks Source:

“Yes Monica, I have been doing this for 3 decades, having been an editor at The Voice, Housitonic Home and Connecticut Woman Magazine. I do know about copyright laws. It was “my bad” indeed, and, as the magazine is put together in long sessions, tired eyes and minds somethings forget to do these things.
But honestly Monica, the web is considered “public domain” and you should be happy we just didn’t “lift” your whole article and put someone else’s name on it! It happens a lot, clearly more than you are aware of, especially on college campuses, and the workplace. If you took offence and are unhappy, I am sorry, but you as a professional should know that the article we used written by you was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than was originally. Now it will work well for your portfolio. For that reason, I have a bit of a difficult time with your requests for monetary gain, albeit for such a fine (and very wealthy!) institution. We put some time into rewrites, you should compensate me! I never charge young writers for advice or rewriting poorly written pieces, and have many who write for me… ALWAYS for free!”

Well, it appears that the online “spanking” may have been well deserved if the facts of the case are as they have been presented. In any case it will be a lesson for any future online publisher who is tempted to “borrow” someone else’s work without permission.

There are several big ideas here that should be noted: 1) copyright is copyright, both in print and online, 2) information travels at the speed of light on the internet, and the viral potential of social media is an amazing thing to behold, and 3) vigilantism is no substitute for the judicial system. The attack on Cooks Source and Griggs may be deserved…but do we really want angry mobs delivering their version of justice before all the facts have been reviewed?

Additional sources for your consideration:


Posted in interactive media, new media, print, websites | 10 Comments »

Political Ads: Stimulus for Local TV Stations

Posted by prof e on November 2, 2010

Political advertising is finally coming to a close in most markets and you can hear the collective sigh of relief from nearly everyone. Everyone that is except for local TV stations who have been raking in the dough as candidates have spent a reported record $3 BILLION! Most of that money has been going to local TV buys and for most local stations the revenue has been just what they’ve needed to counter the hard-hitting recession. Besides major sporting events, e.g. Olympic games, Superbowls, World Series and college sporting events, political ads are a regular boost to TV stations’ budgets. But these are not always a sure deal. Just ask Fox who had the rights to the World Series this year. The  short series left a lot of advertising revenue on the table.

There are several reasons why so much money has changed hands. First, there were a lot of hotly contested races between Republican, Tea Party, Democratic and Independent candidates. Second, there was an influx of money from outside organizations such as labor unions and corporations. Just this past Spring a Supreme Court ruling (Citizen’s United v FEC) opened the door to more spending from outside interest groups. And third, there seem to be more and more candidates who self-finance their races. Meg Whitman, former CEO of eBay, spent a reported $142 M of her own money.

In the end it all adds up to a big paycheck for TV stations around the country…including Colorado where the Senate race between Bennet and Buck is too close to call. So when you turn on the TV tomorrow, just think of all the TV station owners and managers who may be shedding a tear or two that the political spots are gone…at least for the next 18 months or so.

Posted in advertising, politics, tv | 14 Comments »