Nieman Journalism Lab: Emily Bell thinks public service media today has its most important role to play since World War II.

Okay, I'm going to be crystal clear here.

dangerousmeta! has been a hawk soaring over the landscape of the internet for almost nineteen years now. I've been able to pick off fat rabbit/articles at will.

Today, I can no longer do so.

I will not contest with hard paywalls, and I only use soft paywall sources if I must. If I cannot guarantee a reader can follow me, I will likely never use the source. And that throws me into ad-stuffed, autoplay video, bajillion-tracking-cookie secondary sites. Triangulation with other sites is also now necessary, to be sure I'm getting an accurate picture. Time? You have NO bloody idea, until you do what I still try to do. It's unsustainable now; it's only going to get worse.

I am no longer a hawk. I'm a parakeet in a little bloody cage with a bowl of stale seeds, a giant bag of money sitting on top. Pennies are dropping in the bag, further crushing my cage. If I paid up for services, stacked bundles of dollar bills in the corners, I could maintain or extend my cage a bit ... see a little bit more ... but it is STILL A CAGE.

Look at Amy Siskind's "The List". That's the kind of range I used to have, except my interests soar far beyond just politics. Count up all the subscription costs for her to do what she does, and you're over $1k/year. Privilege talking, without even a blink of recognition of the fact. To do what I used to do, I've already projected over $2k in subscription costs and I'm still finding sources I'd like to reference but cannot. I don't think even a hardened news junkie would ever shell out that much. I can't do that here - I do this in spare time. And I've never monetized in my entire history - in fact, I take a perverse pride in that (folks have said since '02 that it couldn't be done). Far too late now, with reader numbers where they are. And who'd be able to afford to follow me everywhere?

What the linked article is missing, and I am calling out here, is that NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times and more are foundationary organizations.

Virtually the entire national conversation is based on these - not the free sites - and they are out of reach for me (for the most part) except on the first days of any given month, because of paywalls.

As a citizen of the US in these troubled political times, as a human being on this globe, certain news needs to be freely accessible. Thank goodness for AP, Reuters and The Guardian/US. They're about all I've got left for definitive sourcing.

But for how much longer? Because I cannot comment on what's being passed around from the prime sources, my irrelevance grows. The days of my purposefully limited blog style have been numbered; journos always felt bloggers were vultures in the '00's. Well, now I'm like the last dodo bird still singing in what's left of the jungle. When the commercial interests pave me over, you'll never hear a sound. But for today, I'm snapping my beak at their approaching ankles, and I must confess it feels good.

News orgs should have thought of package deals by now, but they're too busy desiring to create their own Fox News-like echo chambers. Or perhaps it's just another great idea they haven't thought of yet.

Just plain mean-spirited.

Ever notice, if you click on a Washington Post article in an RSS aggregator, you can read the title, read the summary ... but if you open the page, WaPo takes you to their home page (washingtonpost.com) for their $1 access fee 'ask', with the page you want barely visible and the actual specific URL obliterated? If you don't pony up, you can't even grab the URL to the article unless you dig back in your RSS feed (time consuming).

Bloggers used to be a value-add, bringing more eyeballs in. Bah. I'm going to drop WaPo from my NEWS list, to my PROBATION list.

Another prime source of good info out of reach. I used to post based on their summaries; now it'll take too much time. Another that I have to observe, then triangulate second-quality sources to try to attract eyeballs with. We still have AP, though the writing's uneven.

I have no problems with news orgs charging for access. They could offer some creative methods for bloggers like myself to access their wares, but I suppose blogs like mine are dodo birds in this day and age. I do not pay for subscriptions because I want to accommodate all my readers, affluent or not. It is getting hard, very hard to find and use quality free sources. I strongly feel that as a voting citizen of the US, a human on this changing globe, a certain 'minimum' amount of news should be free. You shouldn't have to pony up $10/month ... or even $1 for a digital peek ... to find out Kim's launched a missile at your home town, or Vlad's made someone local a big (glowing) green salad.

Thank goodness for the Guardian in Britain. I just contributed. You should, too.

In These Times: A Different Way of Doing Journalism.

Today, most publications are built on one of two models: Rely on advertisers or rely on billionaires.

Ripe for disruption. This is what I had hoped weblogs would do; when Deep Horizon caught fire, I tried getting folks near the Gulf to report from their local experience and newspapers, but alas ... fewer bloggers with less interest than in the 00's. We could easily circumvent the 'biggies'. We just don't have the will to do so. Imagine hearing from Rust Belt blogs, or Appalachian blogs, during election 2016. Might have come out much differently.

Later: I type things like this, I hear Saruman's voice coming from Theoden: "You have no power here ..."

Nieman Journalism Lab: This new initiative deploys humans to review, research, and rate U.S. news sites.

I've been link-and-commenting a long time, and I can tell you that if it is not judging on an article basis, it's virtually useless. I can't think of a single thing this does that a one-second Google search and a few minutes of reading wouldn't do. I find clickbait and needless sensationalism at all news orgs now. I fear the subtle, small insertions of BS more than I fear the macro org philosophies. David Brooks at the Times, for instance ... the token 'reasonable' conservative. Partisanship as sugar-coated 'healthy' cereal.

Further, when you tell people the National Enquirer isn't 'real news', has it ever affected their popularity? Fox News? PragerU? I mean, really. When you push people who've posted a bad piece over to Snopes, what happens? A week later, they do the same again.

You need an audience that cares about accuracy of their news, who will expend one fingersworth of energy to Google a source and have the wits to parse what they find. I think that genie left the bottle a long time ago; people want news that agrees with their preexisting views (as fed to them through the boob tube).

Bottom line: If a social media org won't allow links from an red or amber news source, readers will just go elsewhere - you watch.

FactCheck.org already exists, and is a great resource. But few read it, fewer refer to it. The sensationalism of BS beckons to news orgs; they see $ signs.

America likes imagining their news as reporting on Patriots vs. Steelers; as if Republican/Democrat is a big football game. Filter one side away, they'll howl.

Some in Red states believe Russia is more their friend than 'traitorous' Democrats right now. Therein lies the problem that must be addressed. And it's not RT doing that, not Russia. Flag waving American media are doing that.

I long for the days of the Fairness Doctrine.

The American Scholar: Zombies and Plagues and Bombs, Oh My!

Really? See if you get as tired of this as fast as I did. There's a 'know-it-all' quality to some of the convo here, and it annoyed me. Young journos need to exit their echo chambers. Have you seen gun manufacturers marketing for 'zombie' assault rifles, shotguns, etc.? You can even buy a pink 'zombie' AR-15 for your daughters (or sons, if they like pink).

We have one serious pandemic, or even another fuel crisis, I do worry we'll have nuts shooting people all over this nation. "Zombie" as alternative text for "not of my tribe."

I see 'zombie' marketing as a nefarious method of lowering the bar on shooting your fellow citizens through using 'self-defense' as an excuse for murder. Zombie films promote, more than any other form of film or entertainment, pre-emptive violence. There are people who are on the edge of actually believing this stuff, and are preparing for "zombie apocalypse". Marketers are encouraging it. And I oppose it in every way possible. It is of no benefit to our culture. NONE. I correlate this with conspiracy theorism - bored people expending a lot of energy over nothingness, self-generating paranoia, churning their brains into malleable muck that can be easily led by others.

What disturbs me even more is how calm these ladies are about the news media and their profit model, how news latches onto sensationalism for $ ... and they seem to just accept it without outrage.

[Caveat: I watch no zombie films, know none of the tropes ... except for one. I once camped at Blairstown, NJ (filming site of the original "Friday the 13th") before it got famous. A less-frightening, more boring camp spot, you cannot imagine.]

Later: Good god, even the CDC?!!!!!