Archive for the 'Weblogs' Category

Jim Lehrer on journalism

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

From Jim Lehrer, probably one of America’s finest journalists (and host of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS): yet more journalism guidelines.

For journalists, obviously, but also for bloggers who claim (or aspire) to be journalists.

Rocky Mountains PBS: Jim Lehrer in Denver

Jim Lehrer, anchor of “The NewsHour,” was in Denver December 8 for a Rocky Mountain PBS 50th anniversary luncheon. Lehrer spoke to a packed room at the Pinnacle Club about his career with “The NewsHour,” his work moderating presidential debates, his new novel — and even his early days as a Continental Trailways ticket agent in Victoria, Texas. Watch portions of Lehrer’s talk by topic or watch the entire speech below.

From his speech:

I was asked whether I had any personal guidelines we use in our practice of journalism on The NewsHour. Here’s part of what I sent them. Our guidelines, my guidelines.

  • Do nothing I cannot defend.
  • Cover, write, and present every story with the care I would want if the story were about me.
  • Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story.
  • Assume the viewer is as smart, and as caring, and as good a person as I am.
  • Assume the same about all people on whom I report.
  • Assume personal lives are a private matter unless a legitimate turn in the story absolutely mandates otherwise.
  • Carefully separate opinion and analysis from straight news stories and clearly label everything.
  • Do not use anonymous sources or blind quotes except on rare and monumental occasions.
  • No one should ever be allowed to attack another anonymously.
  • And finally, I am not in the entertainment business.

Those are our guidelines.

Can you spell “highest standards”?  Setting up a blog is the easy part.

StudiVZ company blog hacked

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Recently acquired German social network StudiVZ has had a number of security issues over recent months.

In an interview today (Jan 10) with German weekly Manager Magazin, Holtzbrinck Networks CEO Konstantin Urban said:

StudiVZ is a company that has grown extremely fast in recent years, has billions of pageviews, and has a need for massive server capacity. It’s not surprising that there were some technical problems during the time after the company got started.

Of course things had to be revamped, and StudiVZ has done just that. Data security has been established. A short while ago, Chaos Computer Club tried unsuccessfully to hack the system. The site is stable now. …

Translation mine.

Well, as for the security part of what he said, someone must have disagreed.

The official StudiVZ company blog, which is run on Wordpress, has been hacked. At 12.00am, Thursday morning German time, the following message appeared:

Dear StudiVZ folks,

The new official owner of your personal data, Konstantin Urban of Holtzbrinck Ventures, seems to know as much about data security as the wanna-bes whom you have entrusted so many details about yourselves in the past: nothing. He impertinently claims Chaos Computer Club has “unsuccessfully attempted to hack the system” and therefore everything is really secure now.

“Of course things had to be revamped, and StudiVZ has done just that. Data security has been established. A short while ago, Chaos Computer Club tried unsuccessfully to hack the system. The site is stable now.”


Unfortunately, that is completely wrong.

Chaos Computer Club does not participate in these types of “Why don’t you try to hack us?” gimmicks such as the contest announced by Studivz. Regrettably it sometimes happens that some morons claim to act “on behalf of CCC,” as may have happened in this case. However, this has nothing to do with Chaos Computer Club.

Chaos Computer Club is currently dealing with matters of greater importance, e.g. the lost trust in voting computers, the dangers of biometric passports, and the fight against total surveillance from data retention in telecommunications. Maybe you, too, have better things to do than to voluntarily throw your data at a profit-oriented collecting society, and you take care of your own life, the world outside, and the real problems of mankind.

Many thanks

This is a machine-generated message in the interest of public security. It is valid without a signature.

Translation mine.

Whoever is behind this message, at least we know they have a sense of humor.

The posting has been taken down (the entire blog has been offline for the past three hours), though screenshots are already available elsewhere.

Some bloggers speculate that this exploit was may have been used in the attack.

Over at the Blogbar, someone in the comments asks whether the attacker was able to access and change the admin password, knock on the doors of other databases, create dumps, manipulate data etc.

I guess we will find out soon.

Mistakes happen. And I’m usually all for cutting young startups some slack when something gets screwed up (and they do everything they can to fix it). But man, has this been a long series of security mishaps at StudiVZ.

Web Monday, January 2007: Bielefeld, Berlin, Kiel, Stuttgart, Vienna, Bremen, Cologne, Karlsruhe, Jena, Frankfurt, Silicon Valley

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

With a total of eleven Web Mondays, January is shaping up to be our busiest month yet.

You know what to do:

  • Mark your calendars, spread the word, bring your friends, bring your colleagues (heck, bring your boss)!
  • Share your insights, give a remarkable talk, or demo your hot, new, curve-jumping, paradigm-shifting, patent-pending, world-changing, revolutionary, first-mover app!!
  • Have fun inventing the future of the internet!

January 15:

January 22:

January 29:

One of my key goals for the development and further growth of Web Monday in 2007 is better sharing across what will soon be 20 different locations.

I would like to take the opportunity and encourage everyone to make sure their demos, presentations and talks at every event get recorded or otherwise properly documented (photos, podcasts, videos — you name it) so we can make them available online.

Yes, Web Monday is about to get its own blog shortly (and podcast, I assume).

Happy New Year!

Philipp Lenssen SEO tutorial

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Philipp has a nice tutorial today: The Basics of Search Engine Optimization

Basically, you’d want to:

  1. Write good content.
  2. Be accessible.
  3. Engage in the community.

Yes, it’s that simple.

Blogging and journalism

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Following the recent Microsoft/Edelman PR campaign, I revisited a few sites I had bookmarked over the last year. From what I read in the various ethics codes, it seems pretty clear that accepting gifts of significant value (e.g. items provided for review purposes) is not considered ethical behavior for journalists.

For example, below is a section from the NPR News Code of Ethics and Practices:

VI. Personal Gain, Gifts, Freebies, Loaned Equipment or Merchandise, etc.

1. NPR journalists may not accept compensation, including property or benefits of any kind, from people or institutions they cover. NPR journalists may accept gifts of token value (hats, mugs, t-shirts, etc.). Unsolicited items of significant value will be returned with a letter thanking the sender but stating our policy on gifts. NPR journalists pick up the check when they can (i.e., they are not wined and dined by sources); NPR journalists pay for our own travel in accordance with NPR’s travel policy. There are certain instances – such as conferences and conventions – where food is provided as a convenience for the press as a whole, and in such instances it is acceptable to take advantage of this. In addition, NPR journalists may accept paid travel and meals for speaking engagements and awards ceremonies that are approved under the standards in Section V of this document.


4. NPR journalists pay their own way in newsgathering, except in unusual circumstances (like going into battle with the military). The Managing Editor or Vice President for News must approve any exceptions. NPR journalists may accept free passes to movie screenings, performances or similar activities that are attended for the purpose of doing reviews or stories for the air.

6. NPR journalists cannot keep any equipment or items of value provided by a company for test-use for story purposes. Such items must be disclosed to the journalist’s supervisor and are to be disposed of in accordance with the ethical practices stated in this document, which usually means returning such items to the provider.

Very unambiguous language. Note that disclosure is not always enough.

Now, not every blogger is a journalist, nor should they be. However, for bloggers who do consider themselves journalists or who work in what can most accurately be described as a journalistic setting, I believe these time-tested journalism ethics best practices apply and it is important that they be adhered to.

Unless, of course, you think as a blogger you’re above the rules, or the right rules haven’t been written yet, or journalists don’t always stick to the rules either. That’s fine, too. It’s blogging, after all, so anything goes. Just don’t come complaining about how bloggers aren’t taken seriously. You can’t have it both ways.


Sunday, December 31st, 2006

In the short few minutes between activating the plugin and writing this blog post, Akismet has already caught 14 spam comments.  I wonder how many spam comments that is over a year?  You do the math.

Wordpress 2.0.5

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

Looks like it’s been a smooth upgrade to Wordpress 2.0.5 (from 1.5.2, mind you).

Anyone get hurt?

Construction work ahead

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

I got an email from my web hosting company a couple of weeks ago urging me to upgrade my various blogs to a more recent version of Wordpress.

That, and the fact that I still haven’t installed Akismet (and am paying dearly for that in the form of spam, spam and yet more spam) means I need to take some time to get things back in order again. And that time is now.

Oh, and while I’m at it I will also retire my Startupgermany blog. But more on that later.

German college student social networking site — Case study in corporate communications

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Karsten Wenzlaff has written an in-depth article on, the largest German social networking site for college students with an alleged 1M users, that covers a lot of the recent criticisms regarding both the founder’s as well as the company’s behavior and communications: StudiVZ - The glamour is fading (or a chronic on how lack of PR can ruin a good idea)

Via Basic Thinking: Social Networks : StudiVZ als gute Case Study

The comments of crowds

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

Jeremy Keith is experimenting with comments: The comments of crowds

… Traditionally, comments are visible, thereby influencing future comments. That’s good if you’re trying to stoke a conversation, but lousy for getting some honest feedback.

So here’s what Im going to do:

I will occasionally open up some posts for comments. You will be presented with the usual form: name, email, url, etc. I would greatly appreciate getting your opinion. However, your comment will not be published immediately.

Comments will remain open for a set period of time; sometimes a week, sometimes a month. At the end of this time, all the comments will be published at once. At this point, it will no longer be possible to add a comment.

Nice blog, see for example this post: Backlash 2.0

Wintertime — and the coding ain’t easy. Sharks are jumping and the bubble is high.

Web 2.0 isn’t a cluster of technologies, it’s a way of thinking about data, design and user experience.