Saturday, September 17, 2005

Calling all citizen journalists

I'm writing this morning from Lake Placid, where I'm attending the N.Y. Press Association's publishers' convention. I'm sitting in the bistro of the inn where the convention is being held, next to a window overlooking Mirror Lake. The sky's just getting light and, while it's overcast, it's not raining. It's a lovely sight. Lake Placid is a nice little town, lots of great little shops. Our first seminar isn't until 11 AM this morning, so I'm planning to walk the 2.7 mile trail around the lake.

Being new to the role of publisher, there's so much to learn, and the workshops have been quite informative.

One of the seminars I was most interested in was about — you guessed it — blogs. Weblogs — blogs for short — are actually part of a broader phenomenon the seminar presenters call citizen journalism. They talk about it as "unbundled journalism" or the decentralization of journalistic functions. The way journalism has traditionally worked, news organizations tell people what the news is, and the rest of us are consumers of the news. With the widespread access to the internet, that model is changing rapidly. It may even disappear altogether.

The seminar presenters yesterday challenged us to re-envision our news organizations as part of the public conversation, not as 'owning' or defining the news. That's a really big and difficult challenge for most publishers, who tend to see it as turning 'the way things work' right on their head. It's also somewhat threatening, because we fear being usurped. The way I look at it, this is happening with or without us, so journalists and publishers had better figure out how to embrace it and adapt what we do to it, or risk being left in the dust. (If you're interested in this, check out the website IReporter.org.

After attending that seminar yesterday I went online and looked at my last post and felt embarrassed by how snarky I was. I apologize. I was feeling frustrated by all the repetitive snipes at the supervisor and two councilwomen, and the rather low level of public discourse we've been witnessing in the early stages of this year's local election campaign. I asked the speakers at yesterday's seminar how to deal with that sort of thing, and they advised me to (1) work to encourage others to post more meaningful comments and (2) just delete the ones that are bogging down discussion like that. But I really hate the idea of deleting comments. I'd rather just ignore them if I can. What do you think?

I came away from that seminar yesterday with a whole bunch of ideas. What if Times/Review started a community website where we can feature the blogs of maybe six or ten people— or more? Different people could rotate in and out of the role of blogger. There could also be topical discussion forums there. What do you think of that idea? Do you have any other ideas for a site like that? Anybody interested in participating? Please post here or send me an email and let me know.

I've been out of town since early Thursday morning. What's going on? Anything new? There's been lots of rain from Ophelia, right? How much? Have we had any flooding? High winds? Any intrepid citizen reporters out there willing to post some local news?

Meanwhile, I think I'll take that walk.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

denise

I think you should only delete a comment if it is illegal,immoral, or has "BAD" language in it.

Did you stop to think that maybe Rose, Barbara and Phil were BASHED because there is truth in all the
muck!!!!!!!1

Anonymous said...

The fact that Cardinale's hand-picked deputy went so effortlessly to work with an alleged criminal in the garbage and sandmining business trying to put a trash train in Calverton speaks volumes about what his adminstration is all about....

What's noteworthy is the fact that Cardinale replaced her with another friend who put together the last great give-away at Grumman for just $17,000 an acre with Cardinale and shoe salesman turned supervisor Vinny V.

Citizens need to join together to stop them from SELLING OUT our Town again

Anonymous said...

Denise,
Thanks for trying to have a sensible blog site. However, it appears there are those that want to continue with the 'slams'. Too bad the rest of us are turned off by their antics. It truly is boring and small-minded.
Maybe after the election season this site may begin to have real opinions being posted rather than the self-serving ones that appear now.
For instance, maybe we can talk about the renovation of downtown and the plans that are being brought before the town board. Frankly, I have not been following the presentations but I hope they are address the flooding problem that occurs when we experience high tides and nor'easters.

Anonymous said...

My question:

Why is a supposed ENVIRONMENTALIST working on a TRASH TRAIN project??

Anonymous said...

I have just read your article on "Dunleavy beats Sanders" Lets be clear about a few things here.

It was a close election, but Sanders did not know when to quit! She went against the Republican Party. Forced herself on the ballot, this surly effected the vote!

Blass lost her composure? what does this mean? is it... she broke down under pressure and cried...?

unfortunately, sometimes our elected officials have to make life and death decisions. That's Life!!!if Blass cannot handle the job then please leave. Like the person who wrote before I am another person who voted for Duleavy....with hard decision to be made in the future is Barbara Blass really qualified to make a life and DEATH DECISION...I THINK NOT!!

Anonymous said...

Denise,

You might want to read Darren Johnson's "in defense of 631politics.com" posted at on his site, in response to your September 15th blog.

In it he talks about "new journalism" and the impacts that it is having in society. I am sure that if you read it, it will provoke intelligent discussion at your conference.

It is sunny today and again somewhat humid. The rain over the past several days has been welcome to homeowners, but I hope it won't harm the grapes and interfere with the harvest, which is an important part of our economy here in the North Fork.

Enjoy the conference!

Anonymous said...

when the idea of a senior citizen/recreation center was proposed. It was a great idea.

Ed recomended to put it down town. another great idea.

Barbara and Rose wanted it in one of the old buildings at EPCAL.
at a cost of $600,000 dollars.
(it really cost over $700,000.)

Ed said if we put it down town it will help revitalize he area, most of the seniors will live near it and will bring business there and cost less money. ? What a great idea

In the end the vote was 4-1 to put the center at EPCAL.

"NO ONE USES THIS CENTER"

DIGUSTED

Anonymous said...

when the idea of a senior citizen/recreation center was proposed. It was a great idea.

Ed recomended to put it down town. another great idea.

Barbara and Rose wanted it in one of the old buildings at EPCAL.
at a cost of $600,000 dollars.
(it really cost over $700,000.)

Ed said if we put it down town it will help revitalize he area, most of the seniors will live near it and will bring business there and cost less money. ? What a great idea

In the end the vote was 4-1 to put the center at EPCAL.

"NO ONE USES THIS CENTER"

DIGUSTED

Anonymous said...

Let Barbara cry:

The Cardinale and Blass-Sanders Alliance infatuated with special interest NIMBY civic and Staten Island developers is History

Time to Clean up the Town and bring real JOBS and a safe downtown back

Anonymous said...

Exactly...

Blass-Sanders spent too much time worrying about the turkey-lady, birdwatchers and fake environmentalists at the expense of the rest us.

They lost sight of the PEOPLE and what we really need, like better and safe schools, lower taxes and jobs.

Let's pray we get some new thinkers in Town Hall soon who CARE for a CHANGE

Anonymous said...

Denise,
And the hits just keep on coming. It would be something if their posts were factual instead of being laced with near facts. For instance, I do not recall the proposal to have the senior center located downtown. Perhaps the poster could indicate where that information could be found?
Please folks some real discussion.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I keep reading that this blog has idiots responding, telling lies and it is not the facts!!!

I will bet that those responders do not go to town meetings....or watch channel 22....and don't care about anything but themselves...

for the information of the last blogger..if you check the town minutes when the center was being proposed, it will all be there. Better yet....ask Councilman Deniseski.

how about this for some real discussion...do you trust the current town board to respond in an emergency!! I know the answer....that's why I also voted for Mr Dunleavy!

Signed...Mindless idiot!

Amy said...

Hi, Denise

Thanks for taking the time to talk to Adam Glenn and I after our presentation on citizen journalism yesterday.

I see what you mean about the comments issue. I did mention deleting irrelevent, obscene, etc. comments as an option, but only as an option. It's really up to you to decide what works well in this weblog.

Here's another option: you could declare a policy for this blog that if people are asserting factual statements that they cite the source of their information. Then you could reserve the right to hold or delete comments which do not back up their assertions.

As a matter of fact, that might be a small first step toward encouraging readers of your weblog toward citizen journalism.

You also could choose to not allow anonymous comments. Accountability can go a long way toward improving the quality of discourse.

...Or you could try any number of strategies. The point is, it's your blog. It's up to you to decide what works best here, for your audience and for you. Fortunately, this is a medium in which experimentation is fairly easy.

I'll keep reading your blog. Let's keep in touch.

- Amy Gahran
http://ireporter.org
http://contentious.comliddgv

Anonymous said...

Denise,

There was no need to turn to Amy Gahran for advise on the direction of your blog. You incited it. Perhaps you should read your entry entitled, "So Many Opinions." You asked for a gossip column and you got one. You encouraged people to comment on small town diatribe. You liked the response and half-heartedly tried to difuse it. The soap box position does not work. You can't ask for more "meaningful comments" when your posts don't do any better.

Anonymous said...

Denise:

I have never heard of a blog!But I am amazed to say that there is some very serious charges being made here. Is there a chance that these charges are true!!!

I would like to list some and see If there is a way to check them out.

1.Did the Supervisor violate the zoning laws of Riverhead.

2. Did the supervisor order the town highway department to pave the parking lot of a private business that is a law firm he is envolved with, and who was it?

3.It appears that Jill Lewis the former Deputy Supervisor has violated the ethics code of the town! is this so?

4.Did Rose and Barbara vote exactly alike...100% of the time?
(this could be verified)

5.Did Rose actually use her sick leave to perform her town duties, as stated by Ed Romaine on wriv?

I guess this is enough to start.!!

I would appreciate if anyone could direct us in the right direction to verify these alleged charges.

thank you,

need to remain Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Although we disagreed with their policies, we did not question that Barbara and Rose have always tried to do what they thought, in their heart, was best for the people of Riverhead.

Now that the People have spoken (and there is no way to interpret the primary other than a rejection of Cardinale's vision of Golf Villas for millionaires at EPCAL), we hope they will not let Cardinale sell the Town out again in rushing through the Wilpon deal before the election in another fire sale.

Anonymous said...

Denise,

The comments by Amy are refreshing!

Maybe you could blog about an issue like downtown development and get residents to opine about what they think the vision should be. What do they think will work and why? A discussion might actually move this town forward, instead of this senseless political name calling.

It's only my opinion, but these are out of place comments, that provide no discussion forum.

Maybe the offenders should set up their own blogs and call it Trash Rivehead!

My suggestion is to keep to an issue and if there are offenders delete their messages.

Leave the politics to a different forum.

Anonymous said...

citizen journalism is a great idea.

It is election time... and if I or any else has information that one or more of our elected officials is violating the public trust, then a blog is a great place to make it public.

Imagine,ANYONE could let a journalist know of a wrong doing or nasty deed!!! with the simple use of a BLOG.

The real trick is to properly check he information.

The blog could allow a news paper to have literally hundreds of reporters on the street.

Dishonest government could be wiped out over night for fear of being caught by the "undercover blogger"

The poor dishonest politicians of our land would not be able to trust anyone.

Imagine... honest efficent government for the people by the people!!

Now....did PHIL really pave the parking lot of a business associate??

Anonymous said...

BlassSanders are victims sent off-course by Cardinale's machinations.

Cardinale tried to sabotage any economic development at EPCAL as soon as he took office to sell off the property to Wilpon (with whom he had been speaking before he took office)at a fraction of market value, as well as increase the value of property at Westhampton's Gabreski where another Cardinale friend is a major landowner. Cardinale sent the town on a wild goose chase to get the Airbus project to have the people think no-one was interested. As soon as Cardinale changed the zoning at EPCAL, Steve Levy announced the creation of a new development zone at Gabreski where thousands of new high-tech jobs(that could have come to Riverhead) will be created.

The Girls were played.

Anonymous said...

I AM REALLY MAD!!!!!

IF MR CARDINALE REALY DID THIS TERRIBLE THING,THEN I THINK AN INVESTIGATION IS WARRANTED. THE PROBLEM HERE IS HOW DOES ONE PROVE SUCH AN CHARGE.

I REALLY BELIEVE THAT MR CARDINALE WOULD NOT RISK IT ALL TO MAKE MONEY LIKE THIS.

MR CARDINALE IS VERY WELL OFF FINANCIALLY. HE DOES NOT NEED ANY OF THIS.

PERSONALLY I DO NOT TRUST WILPON AS FAR AS I COULD THROW HIM!!!

PROVE YOUR STATEMENT BLOGGER!!

Anonymous said...

Just keep in mind how Cardinale cut-off the Public's right to comment on Wilpon:

First, he made sure Wilpon did not present any materials until the same night of the hearing. Wilpon then arrogantly offered us a take it leave it ultimatum without letting anyone properly analyze what was planned or if it was good for our Town.

Then, when Wilpon refused to disclose his personal financials to the public, Cardinale asked that the Town's law firm give an "opinion" about his qualifications---the same firm that is getting the legal work based on favorable opinion. A conflict???

The bottom line is that we, THE PEOPLE, were effectively kept out of the process, so Cardinale could push a bad project through.

Remember, looking back, the last $17,000 an acre giveway Cardinale put together a few years ago would probably generate $100 million for our Town today.

We can play "what if" all we want. The point is we need to make sure the Town does not get burned again.

Milt said...

Concerning
"What if Times/Review started a community website where we can feature the blogs of maybe six or ten people— or more? Different people could rotate in and out of the role of blogger..."
Take a look at http://prattnews.com and notice:
1. Virtually ALL news comes from citizens, not payed journalists (the local newspaper already provides that niche)
2. Content Management Portals technically provide better ways of structuring content than blogs (although they may include blog like components)
3. We use open source server software to keep the costs down (namely Ez Publish)
4. Comments can be moderated or not where moderated keeps the "potty mouths" and potential slanderers out but hinders participation due to required registration. We are Still trying to decide the best way to do this too.
5. We make use of RSS to provide hooks for our webfeeds

Like many others we are a "fan" of Amy Gahran's ideas and follow her blogs closely.
We look forward to following your efforts in your blog too. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Where's Cardinale's response....he must still be trying to figure out how to work the Internets

Anonymous said...

Denise:
the US government for years had in operation what we now call a blog. This was before the internet. It was called the "HOTLINE COMPLAINT". A complaint was either phoned in or faxed in to the inspector general's office in Washington DC. The caller was asked for his idenity, but most callers were anonymous.

The results were unbelieveable. Reports of stealing government equipment to complaints of abusive behavior and sexual harassement, Fraud and criminal activity poured in. Each complaint no matter how trivial is investigated.
This practice continues today,and with the use of the internet, the government could respond almost immediately if the need arises.

Local Government does not have a system like this. If a clerk or secretary could use a BLOG to report such activity, then we might be making history.

one thing is certain, dishonest politics would become public pretty fast. Your job as a journalist would be to sort it all out.

another thing though...your blog can not be a restricted. If you want "Anything Goes"information then you can not label it as political swipes or trashing someones integrity. Weather someone is a Man or Women, Gay or Streight... Having an affair or what have you....if that person is doing it as an elected official, they are fair game....restrict the blog and it will die!!!!!!

I think I have a powerful tool thanks to you denise...a streight line to the media if I do not like something...

"Secret Agent Blogger"

Anonymous said...

Yes...the attacks on Cardinale and BlassSanders keep coming...but there's lot to be Angry about

Can anyone tell us what Cardinale has actually accomplished for us in two years?

shall said...

Dear anonymous,

Yes, I can think of numerous things Cardinale has accomplished.

Just a few:

Sold the Suffolk Theatre & put it back on the tax rolls, where it will be restored with private funds, not the taxpayers dollars.

Passed an Ethics code.

Opened up government. Anyone who wants to see what's going on can watch it. See for yourself who is contributing and who is not.

Provided the first stage of parking for the courts.

Passed the master plan, including a TDR program, which will preserve farmland, and control development.

Preserved hundreds of acres of farmland (just look at the real estate transfers).

The proposal for downtown are fantastic, finally it looks like something is going to happen there.

I'm sure there is more, but these are the first things that come to mind.

Frankly though, this is the first time I've seen this blog, and it appears that people are primarily using it for name calling, and making unsubstantiated accusations.

I had hoped to find a place for intelligent discussion, and exchange of ideas. Instead this reminds me of a high school slam book.

It is amazing the foolish,hurtful, and false things people will say when they are anonymous. I have to say though that Mr.Anonymous sounds very familiar, read the nasty letters to the editor attacking Phil from Houranay(he's suing the town), and you will see a remarkable similarity.

Anonymous said...

Some achievements:

Losing hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Suffolk Theatre

Ethics where Cardinale's son-in-law appears before Town Boards and his deputy supervisor leaves to work for an alleged criminal in the garbage buisiness who wants to build a Trash train in Calverton

A master plan that includes a CEMENT FACTORY in Calverton and Psychiatric Home on Main Street.

More and more LAWSUITS against the Town

Good work??? I think NOT.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget another Cardinale
Legacy--

THE MOST DEPRESSED DOWNTOWN on
all Long Island...

Where elderly grandmothers
are assualted at the Library

And alleged prostitutes killed by a homeless guy are left to die in the woods

Mark Houraney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Maybe short little Smurfs could come to the rescue. They could be called "Guardian Smurfs" and they could wear cute little beannies too.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog very much and want to add a positive note. I think that Densieski, Dunleavy and ?????Johnson or Woodson would do great things for Riverhead. Good luck to all!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree that Ed, Dunleavy and Johnson would do great things for this town.

Dunleavy's 20 years of experience as a Riverhead Police Officer will be a benefit to all residents I think he will be able to help address, in a professional manner, the health and safety issues that face this town now and as it grows. I also think his perspective and relationship with the police department will be benefical in implementing a diaster plan for this town in the event of a diaster.

Darren represents the young working families who are struggling to hold jobs and pay their taxes. He is intelligent, articulate and committed to the community. His organization of the Integrity Party reflects his drive and determination!

And Ed will carry on doing what he does best - represent the views of the people and not be afraid to stand his ground. He will not be a puppet for special interest groups.

So, despite all the negatives I have read in this blog, there are some positive things that could happen that will make us all feel better about government and our town.

Anonymous said...

Finally some sanity! I think Eddy is going to be a great supervisor. He is a real leader. Even though I do not agree with everything he represents, at least he sticks to his guns and does not just tell you what you want to hear! He is a true Riverhead WORKING resident. He will represent all of the residents of Riverhead, not just the ones who donate to the politicians. Go Eddy and give them ???

DDay said...

Denise, is it possible to add SPELL CHECK?

D Day said...

Reading these sophomoric attempts to deceive is becoming intolerable but I may explode if I don't respond to just one of them. In response to this: [at least you do not hide the fact that you are a {democrate}. I am a republican. I backed Phil Cardinale, when I believed he was the best man for the Job...he has since proven me WRONG...Sanders and Blass always voted together....not 30% of the time or even 70% of the time but 100% of the time ..... and they sided with Cardinale and turned their back on the Party they pleged to support. ]

9/14/2005 08:48:00 AM>

My understanding was that these individuals pledged to act on behalf of the voters by whom they are employed, NOT a political party. And there's the rub. The party leader thinks they owe their loyalty to him. Because they have voted to do what is best for the town even though it meant voting along with the Supervisor , Rose and Barbara were targeted for punishment. If Ed had his way, Barbara too would have been dumped by the party. When Mr. Densieski is odd man out he would like you to think that he is 'independent'. Often, and in Ed's case usually, he is in the minority because he is simply WRONG. For example, who was virtually the only elected official in all of New York State who saw no problem with the LNG scheme for Long Island Sound? It was Ed Densieski. That's not independence, it's short sightedness.
Mr. Densieski does not really care what becomes of our town. He has said that zoning bores him! He has favored the quick sell out, the short term gain without regard for the long term consequences. Be aware that he is being aided and abetted by the woman who abandoned her post in town hall to assist the object of her personal indiscretions. She was then and is now a Republican. What do they both hope to gain from their support of Mr. Densieski? Jill Lewis' special friend Mike Cholowsky paid bribes to convicted former Republican leader John Powell to allow his illegal sand mine to operate. Cholowsky then wore a wire to convict Powell. He was involved in the bribery and payoffs in Crookhaven and got off for testifying against Powell.
What is he looking for now? Oh, that's right...a trash train! All aboard? I think not!
It appears that Mr. Densieski's support comes from those who have not gotten what their personal agendas demanded from this Town Board. Mark Houraney did not get his airport. Mike Cholowsky does not see his trash train rolling down the tracks. Bruce Stuke did not get obedient 'girls' who would vote HIS way rather than allow Mr.Cardinale to suceed in moving our town forward in the many ways he has.
It has been encouraging to see this Town Board work together (for the most part) without regard to the wishes of the old 'shadow government '. It would be a terrible shame to see the governance of our community returned to the hands of those party leaders who have never run for public office. They serve themselves, not the town.