WikiNews consolidates tsunami humanitarian links

The blogosphere is teeming today with items about where you can send your contributions to aid in humanitarian and relief efforts in the wake of the strongest earthquake in 40 years and the resulting tsunami. Keeping track of each of these blogs would be dicey at best, even with the massive amount of trackbacking and cross-linking that’s going on.

It’s a situation that puts the strengths of a wiki on display. Rather than thousands of independent posts that characterize coverage in the blogosphere, a wiki makes it easy for many people to contribute information, aggregating it in one place. That’s precisely what’s going on over at… Read More »

Blogs offer unique disaster coverage

Several years ago, I attended a session by EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow. In describing the difference between reading news reports by journalists and newsgroup posts by individuals, Barlow said it was the difference between looking at a map and being on the ground.

Blogs take this distinction to a new level, given (among other things) the ability to add graphics. Yesterday’s New York Times reports on how bloggers used these capabilities to report on the tsunami disaster. These weren’t reporters flying in to cover the tragedy. These were individuals who were on the scene when the disaster happened—and they happen to have blogs.… Read More »

Earthquake/tsunami relief efforts

Just how influential the blogosphere really is may be revealed as bloggers post information on how to contribute to the relief efforts in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunamis in Southeast Asia, India and other affected regions. Fellow communicator Angelo Fernando sent along this e-mail message:

I thought I’d tap my fellow bloggers network to spread the word on some relief efforts for Sri Lanka, since the tsunami hit on Saturday. My parents and my wife’s parents live there. I still write for a business magazine there, though I live in the US.

As you may have heard, the scale of the disaster is so great that it will take a…

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BW advises drug companies to disclose everything

In the wake of reports that popularly-prescribed painkillers produce potentially serious cardiac-related side effects, drugmakers have embarked on public relations campaigns to protect their reputations. What they really need to do, according to Business Week Chief Economist Michael Mandel, is come clean.

Writing in today’s Business Week Online, Mandel suggests:

Starting right now, the pharma industry needs to embrace, enthusiastically, a culture of transparency. That means releasing and aggressively publicizing the results of all research studies, including negative ones. It means keeping patients and doctors alerted to even ambiguous…

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Blogs vs. newsgroups

As I promote blogs as a communication vehicle, I’m often hit with this question: “Aren’t they just the same as newsgroups?”

No, they’re not, but since I don’t have an elevator speech in my pocket to address that question, I usually stumble through my explanation of the differences. Thanks to Dana VanDen Heuvel, I can now offer some concise points of distinction between blogs and newsgroups. In his blog focusing on technology in marketing and advertising, VanDen Heuvel lists five differences. It’s not a comprehensive list (I’ve covered similar comparisons before), but I like several of the points VanDen Heuvel makes.

For instance, “You… Read More »

Drug companies issue Moore alert

When a company hunkers down into siege mode, there’s one message you can count on the company delivering to its employees: “Please refer any calls from the media to Corporate Communications.”

That’s the instruction drugmakers are issuing to employees in the wake of reports that documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (“Roger and Me,” “Bowling for Columbine,” “Farenheit 911”) is turning his attention to the healthcare industry. His new targets reportedly include insurance companies, HMOs, the US Food and Drug Administration, and drug companies. At least six of those drug companies issued internal communications advising employees to watch… Read More »

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