Oregon Indian Tribe Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage, Bangs a Gong, Gets It On

Oregon was one of the states which, in the last few years, passed an amendment to the state constitution, disallowing same-sex marriage. Since 2004 it has been illegal to marry a person of your own gender in the state. (And regardless of your feelings about homosexuality and the law, screwing around with a constitution, a document whose role is to guarantee rights, not limit them, seems an asinine runaround.)

Well, recently and for the first time in Indian Country, a tribal government has passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. That tribe is the Coquille, an Indian polity and people on the Oregon coast, about an hour’s drive west from where I live in Eugene. The reason that the Coquille were legally able to pass this law was the fact that, as of the 1831 Cherokee Nation v. Georgia Supreme Court decision, incorporated Indian nations are defined as “domestic sovereign nations and marriage is a domestic act.


Updated Twitter-News Media Survey Results

Here is the updated results from my survey of the news media’s use of Twitter. It has 29 respondents, as opposed to 21 during the initial period.

survey title:
How the Media Uses Twitter Edit Title

Total Started Survey: 29
Total Completed Survey: 29 (100%)
How do you use Twitter for your news organization?

1. What is your role at your organization?

Editor-in-chief 10.7% 3
Managing editor 10.7% 3
Publisher 0.0% 0
Online editor 28.6% 8
Web producer 14.3% 4
Section editor 3.6% 1
Reporter 17.9% 5
Other (specify below) 14.3% 4
Other (please specify) view comment 5
1. owner
2. Entrepreneur
3. Public Relations
4. managing editor/multimedia
5. Director of Coverage

answered question 28
skipped question 1

2. How long have you used Twitter at your organization?

Less than a month 24.1% 7
One to two months 31.0% 9
Less than six months 31.0% 9
Less than a year 10.3% 3
Over a year 0.0% 0
Since it debuted 3.5% 1
Other (please specify) 0

answered question 29
skipped question 0

3. What is its main use?

Promotion and traffic generation 25.0% 7
News delivery 35.7% 10
Dialogue with readers 25.0% 7
Lead generation 14.3% 4
Other (please specify) 0

answered question 28
skipped question 1

4. How many of others’ updates do you follow?

None 10.3% 3
Fewer than 5 20.7% 6
Fewer than 10 10.3% 3
Fewer than 25 13.8% 4
Fewer than 50 10.3% 3
Over 50 34.5% 10

answered question 29
skipped question 0

5. What additional Twitter applications do you use?

None 34.5% 10
Twitterfeed 24.1% 7
Twitteriffic 13.8% 4
Twitterlicious 0.0% 0
Twittergram 0.0% 0
Netvibes app 3.5% 1
Facebook app 17.2% 5
Other (specify below) 6.9% 2
Other (please specify) view comment 3
1. twitbin,twitstat
2. twittbin
3. Plus Facebook app and widget in Moveable Type blog

answered question 29
skipped question 0

6. Who proposed the use of Twitter at your organization?

Editor-in-chief or managing editor 22.7% 5
Online editor 45.5% 10
Sub- or section-editor 4.6% 1
Publisher 0.0% 0
Reporter 9.1% 2
Non-editorial employee 18.2% 4
Other (please specify) view comment 8
1. I did.
2. Online producer
3. me!
4. friend
5. De Pers
6. Public Relations
7. (Me)
8. self

answered question 22
skipped question 7

7. Who is responsible for Twitter use at your organization?

Online editor 47.6% 10
Web producer 28.6% 6
Other editor 4.8% 1
Reporter 19.1% 4
Other (please specify) view comment 6
1. individual choice
2. Me.
3. me!
4. Me
5. Public Relations
6. online folks

answered question 21
skipped question 8

8. How useful has Twitter been to achieving the goal for which you began using it?

Very 28.0% 7
Somewhat 52.0% 13
Not very 20.0% 5
Not at all 0.0% 0
Other (please specify) view comment 2
1. Unsure; not enough time has lapsed.
2. Not really long enough to say yet… early days!

answered question 25
skipped question 4

9. How many Twitter accounts does your organization have?

1 50.0% 14
2 17.9% 5
3 10.7% 3
4 3.6% 1
5 3.6% 1
More than 5 14.3% 4

answered question 28
skipped question 1

10. How likely do you think it is that media organizations will make Twitter, and other microblogging applications like it, a part of their day-to-day business in the future?

Very 35.7% 10
Somewhat 46.4% 13
Not very 17.9% 5
Extremely unlikely 0.0% 0
Other (please specify) view comment 1
1. But in a more refined form, I think, once it is more widely understood and developed. (NB. Most Guardian Twitter accounts are set up for personal use)

answered question 28
skipped question 1

When Does the MSM Lose Its MS?

A lot of the criticism of the traditional (or mainstream) media in the last few years was one of unacknowledged bias and fear of dialogue. Social media, such as blogging and media sharing sites, were said to be the corrective for the MSM, as well as “citizen journalism.” But what happens when these giants of MSM start using blogging, comment fields, RSS, citizen journalists, Twitter and various other tools that were once thought of as the province of the new citizen media? Should it be acknowledged that they’ve learned and changed?

An interesting element in the results of my survey on the news media’s use of Twitter was the fact that he top answer to the question on how the organizations used Twitter was for News Delivery, at 43.5%. Dialogue with Readers was a distant second at 26.1%. So only a quarter of the respondents use this social media tool for its most prominent feature, and the one that might be considered the least “old media.”

Under the question about how many other Twitter accounts an organization followed, the top response, at 29.2% was Over 50 (!). A quick glance at the MSM Twitter accounts on I’m With the Press indicates the great unlikelihood that this is accurate. Randomly: CNN: 1. Spokesman-Review: 6. Times (London): 133. Times (Johannesberg): 0. Contra Costa Times: 0. Financial Times: 0. Radio New Zealand: 0.

Yea for those (like the Times of London) that do follow others’ updates, but boo to the rest. It’s not much of a lesson learned if you use social media but without any desire to find out what the big deal is. (Social media has the word “social” built right in.)

Use social media for promotion? Don’t mind if I do. But if that’s all you use it for, you’re stone cold MSM.

That is all.

Update: Huffington Post’s cofounder bragged about how he’s never going to pay his contributors, thus showing us how the “alternative” media can get its MS on. That’s always been my reservation about “citizen journalism” organizations. It’s very rare indeed that they don’t sell advertising, make business agreements with other for-profit companies and do various other types of revenue gathering. It’s rarer still that the people who give them both their information and their “alternative” cache get paid.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb. If you are reporting for someone else who is getting paid while you are not, you are a sucker.

Survey Results: News Media Use of Twitter

I’ve conducted a survey of the use by the news media of Twitter, the microblogging service. These results are what I’ve gotten after a week of having the survey open. I’m going to keep it open in the hopes that those in charge of using Twitter for their newspapers or broadcast companies will jump on. If that happens, I’ll issue an amended report.

This survey was based on my attempt to find and subscribe to the updates for every Twitter account I could find that was maintained by a general news organization. I came up with 72, which you can see at I’m With the Press. A number of these accounts are moribund.

I had 21 respondents to 10 questions. I am listing out the questions and the top responses below. Full data will be available to download.

1. What is your role at your organization?
Online editor: 30%

2. How long have you used Twitter at your organization?
Less than six months: 38.1%

3. What is its main use?
News delivery: 50%

4. How many of others’ updates do you follow?
Over 50: 33.3%

5. What additional Twitter applications do you use?
None: 42.9%

6. Who proposed the use of Twitter at your organization?
Online editor: 50%

7. Who is responsible for Twitter use at your organization?
Online editor: 50%

8. How useful has Twitter been to achieving the goal for which you began using it?
Somewhat: 47.1%

9. How many Twitter accounts does your organization have?
One: 55%

10. How likely do you think it is that media organizations will make Twitter, and other microblogging applications like it, a part of their day-to-day business in the future?
Somewhat: 55%

Well, let’s hear it for the Online Editors out there. The only really odd response was the claim that over 50 Twitter updates were followed, since that is not borne out by casual observation. It might be useful in the future to aim a more complete survey at those only editors. It might be illustrative to find out how size of the organization effected the use of Twitter, for instance.

Full results for download: News Media Use of Twitter full survey results.

Update: Jemima Kiss of the UK paper the Guardian, did her own (rather more thoughtful) analysis of the survey results. I think she’s right, that this is obviously only a start. I hope someone at a J-school designs and conducts a really complete survey of the news media’s use of Twitter.

My Fantasy News Organization

Sheer “citizen journalism,” though it has its place, is insufficient to the demands of a new way of doing journalism. It has also so far proven to be largely untenable economically. Corporate journalism is too consolidated and shareholder concerns have robbed it of its mission. At this point ad-driven lust for the “local” is a symptom of this wide-spread disease.

What’s needed is a way to use adaptive professional journalists, who can utilize the new suite of communications technologies, in conjunction with old-fashioned story sense, to both break news and do good enterprise work. Yeah, there’s Politico and Iraqslogger, the latter being subscription-only now. But honestly, these are the very subjects that established media organizations already do to death, to the expense of so many other important areas of coverage and neglected stories. And plus, they both bore me. The only outfit I can think of that is doing anything close to what I am conceiving is Alive in Baghdad (with their Alive in Mexico outfit, both getting hammered financially now) and, to a lesser degree, Chris Albritton’s Back to Iraq.

The difference in the organization I would create would be how it was constructed and what it was modeled on. I would build an organization that would look like a general-news, non-tech version of ReadWriteWeb, CenterNetworks or TechCrunch. It would be a lean, mobile organization, full of people who were devoted to employing social media tools in the service of old-fashioned news gathering. Each organization member would be a combination of field producer, reporter, editor, anchor and web producer. No room for passengers. The revenue model would combine advertising sales with content licensing.

Headquartered in Central America, the Latin American News Bureau would take that region as its focus and area of coverage. Thanks to the War in Iraq and the War on Terror, along with the Greatest Hits mentality of too much of corporate-owned media, LatAm is now the most underreported place in the world. Thanks to Bono and Brad Pitt, even Africa, the perennial red-headed step child of the news media, gets more coverage than Latin America, and Central America gets the least of all. But the area sure does not lack for stories. There are sea changes happening in the politics of the area and in the religious life of the region and neither has been covered to the depth they deserve in the American media.

There’s a need, there’s room, there’s the technology and there’s a model for a new kind of news organization.

Additionally: If I were “drafting” some “players” in this fantasy league, I’d choose Clark Boyd of PRI’s The World, Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb and Jon Dube of Cyberjournalist to start.

Update: In addition to Alive in Baghdad & Alive in Mexico, another example of this sort of shenanigans is New Correspondent.

Traditional Media on Twitter

The established media, and by this I mean daily newspapers and non-specialty broadcast news organizations, are starting to pick up on Twitter. But most of the big ones-New York Times, NPR, CNN, BBC-are clearly using it solely as a promotional tool. The way you can tell that is by the fact that they do not follow a single update. Some bigger groups, like France24, actively cross-pollinate with their readers, and most of the smaller ones, like the Nashua Telegraph, do.

In lieu of putting together a list of these Twitter accounts I have, instead, created a separate Twitter account. I’m with the press.

If I’ve missed a general news print or broadcast organization that is using Twitter, please let me know. I am notably deficient in alphabets other than the Latin, so if you know of a credible mainstream news source in Russia, India, China, etc., that uses Twitter, please let me know about that as well. I only added one Twitter account per organization for those, like the BBC who have dozens.

Foreign Correspondents

In an excellent essay in the Washington post, “Demise of the Foreign Correspondent,” Pamela Constable writes about the “false economy” of newspapers and television news operations cutting out foreign bureaus.

In a speech at Columbia University last week, veteran TV news anchor Walter Cronkite warned that pressure by media companies to generate increasing profits is threatening our nation’s values and freedom by leaving people less informed.

Hrrm. That sounds familiar.

There’s a lot of talk about how bloggers can fill that gap. And I agree. But not given the way most currently work. In order for bloggers to become an effective network of news gatherers (as opposed to a latent one), two things have to happen.

First, they need to be paid. People work better for pay and they take the job seriously.

Second, they need to get off their asses. There’s a great deal to be said for multi-lingual bloggers who provide a digest of what their national or linguistic blogosphere is saying and for those who do the same for local press. But in the end, if you don’t get out and see what’s going on (and some do, of course), you are ultimately of limited value.

Cross-posted to Foam Finger Media.

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