Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Distributed Journalism in Action

Posted by Richard Koman - February 1, 2005

by Richard Koman for SiliconValleyWatcher.com

If you want to see why blogs really are the future of journalism, head on over to The Daily Kos, where you can see distributed journalism in action. The story in question is who is "Jeff Gannon" and what is the "Talon News Agency." It was Gannon, you see, who was the sole reporter with access to the memo exposing Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent.

Enter bloggers. Daily KOS is contributors are fanning out across net researching who Jeff Gannon and Talon are, why they were leaked the document, and what connections they have with other conservative information bureaus. Here's a look at how the work is being spread around:

  • Tomatoobserver is researching Time of Grace Ministries
  • Mnemosyne is checking and running phone numbers
  • conntexdem is researching Bruce Eberle
  • baltimoretim is researching precisely what the process is for obtaining a White House press credential
  • fauxreal and ladydawg are researching morning gaggles here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/29/215946/913
  • sean mykael is looking into Free Speech Foundation. Myrkury has graciously stepped in to advise on legalities of non-profit status (thank God). We may need people in a couple different states to physically pull paperwork soon. (Diary here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/30/14024/9923)
  • mlk and Marisa are constructing a sort of visual database "family tree" of relations, groups and individuals. This is a big project and someone might want to volunteer on that diary: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/30/152558/079. Additionally, Marisa is asking for data entry help.
  • spiderleaf is creating a timeline about the CIA memo leak/Novak/who knew what when, references to it in press, and analysis (Diary here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/31/122222/689)
  • NYBri is preparing to start the FOIA request process and could use some volunteers (diary here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/1/31/153513/309)
  • Louise volunteers to match timeline of Gannon at press briefings with his written "scoops"
  • Radically Bitter is compiling very, very useful DNS data
  • KansasNate is making sure important stuff is getting fed into dkospedia
  • Nonemptysubsets (gotta love that handle) is downloading web sites since they're disappearing so fast. Requests taken.
  • Sidinny will set up a diary called "Altered Realities" that will keep track of what's been changed on the visited sites, what's been scrubbed and what it all means. However, he's on kidwatch and can't do much more than set the diary up, so needs help with volunteers who will do the analysis.
  • London Yank is looking into any connection with NORTHCOM/Psyops

There's also this intriguing statement from the project editor: "Jeff Gannon IS a pseudonym. I'm absolutely certain of this and when we're done with this whole thing I'll explain how and why I'm certain. For now, please just take my word for it."

These folks may or may not turn anything up, but it's a fascinating display of what distributed journalism looks like, and is quite possibly scratching the tip of a rather fishy iceberg.


Reach Richard Koman at rkoman (at) gmail (dot) com. Personal blog: richardkoman.typepad.com

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