Webzines: The Birth of e-Cit. Journalism

Thumbing through Chicago Magazine, of all things, I found an excellent article (written by David Bernstein) profiling Jamie Kalven, son of a prominent First Amendment scholar who found himself fighting his own press-rights battle this summer as the first Chicago-area journalist to be served a subpoena by the City of Chicago in recent history.

Since 2001, Kalven has published the Webzine “View From the Ground,” a fine collection of journalism that should have been — but never was — published in the mainstream media.

Kalven has been documenting his observations and those of the residents of Stateway Gardens, arguably the most decrepit of South Side projects and at this point almost completely torn down. He has not been shy about openly criticizing gang or police conduct, most notably the conduct of a group of plainclothes officers known as the Skullcaps.

Now that a case charging members of the Skullcaps has gone to court, city attorneys subpoenaed Kalven for his notes, which he is protesting on First Amendment grounds. In July, a judge denied the motion for Kalven to submit his papers.

Coincidentally (or, perhaps not) as many as 8 elite Special Operations officers stripped of their powers this week, reportedly for involvement in various thefts in and around Stateway Gardens.

An investigation into a corrupt police force in Chicago? Who woulda thunk?
This is a great story, the only must-read I’ve ever seen in Chicago Mag to be honest — also highly recommended is Kalven’s “Webzine,” View From the Ground.

Donald Rumsfeld: Anti-American Fascist?

In my general (unspoken and impossible) boycott of political blogging, I’ve passed up many opportunities to conjure up nausea by evoking even images if not quotes of Don Rumsfeld. As reported widely throughout the blogosphere, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann delivered a KO-punch for the ages, evoking Murrow. Like his “Nexus of Politics and Terror” report last October, I cannot pass up hosting this commentary. Lay it down once and for all who the real fascists are. Is the U.S. media finally figuring it out, or is it just the “hacks” like Olbermann and Stewart? At least the blogosphere is flexing its muscle(s).

MP3 Blogging Controversy

Pitchfork Media, a top indie music review site (profiled in this month’s Wired) of which I’ve been a fan since 1999, is embroiled in a shake-up concerning the posting of MP3’s and the etiquette inherent to linking through to said files.

On Tuesday, Pitchfork secured an exclusive right to post “Summer Song,” from the upcoming Decemberists record.

According to Stereogum:

…[T]here are a number of tacit rules that the music blogging community seems to agree upon. Most are pretty obvious (e.g., if a label asks you to take an MP3 down, you take it down!)…. Don’t deeplink to other bloggers’ MP3, right? I think we can all agree that if some blogger takes the time to share a song, and put it in an editorial context, one must link to his/her post (not the file) as a courtesy…. Ah, but there are exceptions: we all freely deeplink to songs on official band websites, MySpace, corporate sites…

Pitchfork, clearly NOT a corporate site, was forced to shut down its download hub after many corporate media music sites — including AOL, USA Today, and Rolling Stone) went ahead and deep-linked to the file (not Pitchfork’s site/post), in effect circumventing Capitol’s exclusive licensing to Pitchfork and offering the file as if it were licensed to them.

Personally, I’m not so comfortable with deeplinking thru to even corporate sites, however, I do often post MP3 files that I have downloaded myself (legally) and host on my own server for others to stream (by RIAA definition — illegally).

For example, click here to visit AOL Video’s exclusive on Bob Dylan’s new video starring Scarlett Johanssen.

Click below to listen to Leonard Cohen performing “Tower of Song” with U2, from the I’m Your Man soundtrack (I own this, but even streaming it without paying royalties is considered illegal).

Finally, there’s Live365, on which I’ve broadcasted (WOOZradio) for 7 years. Early in the Napster/RIAA controversy, they worked out a sweet deal to ensure that the proper royalties were being paid and that all broadcasters were producing legal ‘casts.

The main issue with the Pitchfork controversy from my p.o.v. is that — it should be just as illegal for AOL, Rolling Stone, etc to provide access to Pitchfork’s licensed MP3 posting (without linking through to the page on which the file is posted) as it would be to host said file without proper permission / license.

Dave @ Rawkblog has more on Pitchfork’s legal & “illegal” MP3 hosting, its implications, as well as aural evidence of the soon-to-drop Joanna Newsom bombshell, Y’s.