Thursday, October 13, 2005

'It's Your Times' . . . Use It, NOW!!!

“From each according to her knowledge
To each according to his curiosity”

OK, it’s a start . . .

“Big Media” invites the “little people” to get involved. Not perfect, but, hey – who’s perfect?

First, the “rules” (a.k.a. “What Not To Say”):

“Please be sure your comment is appropriate before submitting it.

 "Inappropriate posts include content that:

* Is defamatory or libelous
* Is abusive, harassing, or threatening
* Is obscene, vulgar, or profane
* Is racially, ethnically or religiously offensive
* Is illegal or encourages criminal acts
* Is known to be inaccurate or contains a false attribution
* Infringes copyrights, trademarks, publicity or any other rights of others
* Impersonates anyone (actual or fictitious)
* Is off-topic or spam
* Solicits funds, goods or services”

Yeah, OK . . . we get it: “It’s not the dub dub dub.” It’s not FREEEEEEEEE speech. But, for a corporate entity, I’m impressed.


I keyboard – therefore, I am . . .

. . . and, then, the “SITE POLICY”:

“Welcome to It's Your Times, the community issue blog from the St. Petersburg Times. This is a free and open space for citizen journalism and community discussion, but there is a code of conduct.

“You will be the reporter and contributor on these pages. You will be able to introduce information and ideas that you may feel have not gotten the attention they deserve. Everyone's postings will have the same status and will rise or fall on the basis of their quality. Everyone's contributions will be saved. This will be like the perfect town hall meeting where anyone can speak at any time and everyone's input will be equally respected.

“Respect is an important aspect of this community blog. Ideas are what will prevail, not personalities and not attacks. If people post inappropriate material, it will be removed. If the poster feels the removal is incorrect, that person may appeal, but they will probably be required to rewrite their comments in a respectful manner. We will not edit any posts. We want a discussion, even an argument, but not insult.

“We will summarize comments on a regular basis so new visitors will not have to read every posting to learn what is new and interesting. All accepted comments will be available, but the summary will serve as a gateway to them. The summary also will be a place where we will ask questions or introduce ideas we've run across. We're part of the community, too.

“You will need to register with us in order to participate. Here's why

“We've invited pertinent elected officials and other prominent members of the community to join the fray. We hope they will use this opportunity to speak directly to the public in the precise context they intend.

“We think this will be an excellent place for the community to address ideas that can't fully fit into a newspaper but need thorough discussion just the same. This will be an interesting opportunity to take journalism to a new place. It's Your Times.”

. . . and, as they say, these are the “Times” that try men’s lives . . . but I’m OK with that. Coz’ at least they’re tryin’.

So, sign up blogsville. Don’t let this opportunity pass. A “Big-Time” Media Entity is invitin’ you to participate. DO NOT LET IT PASS.

To quote ALL the Adam Sadler movies:

“You Can DO It!”

And by doin’ it, you can make life better. More bearable. Livable. Likeable. Loveable. “Red and yellow, black and white.” Conservative AND Liberal. Even you moderate, middle of the roaders. Get involved. Use that First Amendment. Use it NOW! You do NOT have to be right. What you have to be is available. The best ability in America, right now, is avail-ability. Use your VOICE. And the world will be a better place. I promise. Or double your money back.


Anonymous Jeremy A. Verdusco said...


Your criticism of the Times site seems over cynical. Show me a local MSM site that has a richer site. (Disclosure: I do work for the Times. But I'd like to think that I can judge by how useful I find the site.)

It's been my experience that TV station Web sites are minimalist when it comes to depth of content and interaction - two strong points of the Times site.

As far as the code of conduct for citizen input, I think that's fair. When parents take kids out in public, they reinforce good behavior through rules and rewards. Likewise, this is a public forum. There are rules for civilized discourse; that's all there is to it. Follow the rules, and you'll be rewarded (published). Writers who don't want to follow the rules can publish their work independently.

Is it right that a company should be compelled to publish hate speech or false accusations on its dime?


Friday, October 14, 2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Jim said...


Let's be specific; here's what I wrote:

" . . . for a corporate entity, I’m impressed."

Then I encourage people to participate in “It’s Your Times”:

"Don’t let this opportunity pass. A 'Big-Time' Media Entity is invitin’ you to participate. DO NOT LET IT PASS."

Overall, there are 642 words in my comment, 442 of which are taken DIRECTLY FROM – which means I shared with readers, unedited, the Times' “What Not To Say” and the “SITE POLICY.”

The kicker is that in a subsequent TBM comment, I use "It's Your Times" as an example of the potential of “real” media and bloggers to work together:

FROM: Media Shift: Survival of the Fittest
"One possibility is a synergy between the 'real' media and the emerging media – that is: blogging, the as yet embryonic promise of the so-called 'Citizen Journalist.'
"(See TBM’s 'It's Your Times' . . . Use It, NOW!!!)"

And, finally, the emphatic headline: “It's Your Times . . . Use It, NOW!!!" Sounds positive to me.

Your final question: "Is it right that a company should be compelled to publish hate speech or false accusations on its dime?"

Who suggested that? Not me.

To reiterate, using my originally posted words, as written, and repeated here:

" . . . for a corporate entity, I’m impressed."

The Times is an elephant. I am a mere gnat. I’m confident “Florida’s Best Newspaper” can withstand a few zings in what was overall a positive piece.

"Buzz-buzz; flap-flap."

Friday, October 14, 2005 6:07:00 PM  

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