CMC Magazine September 1, 1995 / Page 8
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 1995 23:50:31 -0400 From: Martin Middlewood <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: letter to the editor It seems that most people are missing two points regarding Phil Elmer Dewitt's cyberporn cover story. 1) Dewitt & Time are hiding bad journalism. In the rush to garner a cover story, both parties (Elmer-Dewitt & Time) didn't want to "risk" their exclusive coverage of a sensationalistic topic by letting experts see the report. Time could have brought in experts under a non-disclosure agreement and avoided this problem. 2) Elmer-Dewitt and Time also fell prey to not understanding some basic things (like the difference between Usenet, BBSs, and the Internet. They also were trapped by the "social scientist" measurement approach, believing that measuring something is more important that what's being measured. Furthermore Time by focusing on the sensationalist aspects of the study only in passing mentioned that pornographic traffic was less than 1% of all Internet traffic. I would estimate that if you looked at all films/videos, or even all the print media, that you'd come up with numbers greater than 1%. And Elmer-Dewitt, a seasoned journalist who's covered technology for many years, has made a series of cub reporter's mistakes on this one. The entire story is regrettable, and Elmer-Dewitt and Time should no longer avoid stating publicly, "Yes, we made a serious mistake."
CMC Magazine welcomes letters on subjects relating to this magazine's contents or computer-mediated communication in general. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters will be checked to make sure that that the email address in the letter corresponds to the writer of the letter before publication (to avoid forged mail).
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