It Will Be Facebook’s Virtual World

Will we just live -- and work -- in it?

Oculus Rift

Virtual reality is an idea that’s more poised for major social takeover than the lay-person might realize, and Facebook’s control over its future is, given the website’s relationship with its users, cause for concern.


Open Access Has Corporate Journals on the Run

Researchers create alternatives to for-profit academic publishing

Photo Credit: Open Access

It’s not often that a small group of determined colleagues take on corporate power and win, but in academic publishing exactly that is happening. The colleagues are the scientists, researchers, and professors of the Open Access Publishing movement. The corporate powers are the well-monied and politically savvy publishers like Reed Elsevier, whose thousands of journals have provided a vital nervous system to the worldwide research community. But the proponents of Open Access didn’t win by standing up to the publishers, or pushing a legislative fix. Instead of fighting, they decided to leave the publishing system and reconvene the party elsewhere. […]


Pratap Chatterjee on Task Force 373, Timothy Karr on net neutrality


Download MP3 This week on CounterSpin: The WikiLeaks Afghan War Diaries prompted waves of media coverage, though much of that amounted to “move on, there’s nothing to see here.” But digging into the documents might reveal more about the Afghan War than we knew—like the existence of something called Task Force 373, set up to capture or kill specific al Qaeda or Taliban figures. What does it really do, though, and where does it fit in with what we know about U.S. war policy? Journalist Pratap Chatterjee will join us to talk about that. Also on CounterSpin today: A few […]


Did Google Kill the Newspaper Star?

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/FindYourSearch

While the Internet in general is sometimes fingered as the newspaper industry’s problem, these days the search engine Google seems to get more attention, and vitriol, from corporate media. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd (4/15/09) summed up the media industry’s complaint: Robert Thomson, the top editor of the Wall Street Journal, denounced websites like Google as “tapeworms.” His boss, Rupert Murdoch, said that big newspapers do not have to let Google “steal our copyrights.” The AP has threatened to take legal action against Google and others that use the work of news organizations without obtaining permission and sharing a […]


Open-Source Journalism

New technologies bring citizens into the newsroom

On December 6, 2008, a 15-year-old in Athens was shot and killed by a police officer. The event sparked nationwide riots and protests, with news spreading rapidly through word of mouth and new media platforms like cell phones and Internet sites. Meanwhile, reported Andrew Lam at New America Media (12/16/08), some 500 media professionals were gathered in Athens for the Global Forum for Media Development, discussing the future of media. They saw traditional media playing a marginal role in coverage of the breaking news, as unorganized citizen journalists reported continuously from on the ground. Greek columnist and TV commentator Pavlos […]


Recasting the Web

Information commons to cash cow

If the Bush administration lets large media conglomerates and local telephone companies have their way, the Internet as we know it—that free-flowing, democratic, uncensored information superhighway—could soon be a thing of the past. The Internet itself is not going away. Rather, technological advances, changes to the rules governing its use and the continued consolidation of media empires are combining to turn it into a conduit of commerce, booby-trapped with barriers and incentives designed to keep users where dollars can be wrung from them. As a result, a lot of freely accessible information and websites may become difficult or impossible to […]


The Online Threat to Independent Journalism

On the Web, Where Does News End and Ads Begin?

Journalists pushing their newspapers and broadcast companies to move into online publishing say the Internet promises an exciting new type of media—interactive, democratic, instantaneous, multi-modal and many-layered. Yet there is new evidence that the very qualities that make online publishing so intriguing to journalists are spawning subtle new approaches to advertising that may threaten the fragile journalistic tradition of independence from advertiser influence. In this new digital environment, advertisers—who have always itched to have a say in the content of news coverage—are finding fertile ground for blending marketing and news. Some journalists are beginning to fear that on the World […]


New (Right) Technologies:

In the Right Lane of the Information Superhighway

Al Gore may get credit for coining the term “information superhighway,” but it’s Newt Gingrich and company who are burning rubber on it. House Speaker Gingrich and his fellow Republicans have clearly stolen the thunder of their Democratic counterparts in applying state-of-the-art information technology to further their political agenda. Since seizing power in November, the Republicans have taken new initiatives to get out their message through electronic media. Gingrich, who refers to himself as a “conservative futurist,” quickly inaugurated a new on-line system that will make Congressional information available over the global computer network known as the Internet. Gingrich’s media […]