At Bloomberg, reporters could sit at their desks and use a keyboard function to see the last time an official of the Federal Reserve logged on. And the Justice Department obtained the records of The Associated Press from phone companies with no advance notice, giving it no chance to challenge the action. The absence of friction has led to a culture of transgression. Clearly, if it can be known, it will be known.
In pretrial hearings at Fort Meade, Md., basic information has been withheld, including dockets of court activity, transcripts of the proceedings and orders issued from the bench by the military judge, Col. Denise Lind. A public trial over state secrets was itself becoming a state secret in plain sight. Finally, at the end of last month, in response to numerous Freedom of Information requests from news media organizations, the court agreed to release 84 of the roughly 400 documents filed in the case, suggesting it was finally unbuttoning the uniform a bit to make room for some public scrutiny. Then again, the released documents contained redactions that are mystifying at best and at times almost comic. One of the redacted details was the name of the judge, who sat in open court for months.
The lack of information being provided publicly is making it difficult for journalists and the public to follow the ongoing trial of Bradley Manning.
As news surges on the Web, giant ocean liners like AOL and Yahoo are being outmaneuvered by the speedboats zipping around them, relatively small sites that have passionate audiences and sharply focused information.
David Carr, The New York Times, News Trends Tilt Toward Niche Sites.
Carr writes that Internet scale used to matter as companies like AOL and Yahoo cast a general interest net far and wide in order to create a “frame” around Web content.
However, these companies are no longer the frame. Instead, the browser is, and news readers and viewers know exactly how to manage their media diets.
Now, instead of big general interest sites, small hyperfocussed, niche content sites are running circles around them because they can shift quickly without bureaucratic friction slowing them down.
“Innovation usually requires the “two pizza rule” — a working group should be no larger than one that could be well fed by two pies — with the emphasis on lightweight hierarchy, rapid decisions and constant reiteration of those decisions as the market responds,” Carr writes. “When that kind of approach is suddenly plopped into a huge, heaving bureaucracy, everything that made the brand cool in the first place and the site a good place to work seems to evaporate.”