I'm sad to see CNET's yellow and green go

cnet Earlier this week, Dan Farber posted a preview of CNET’s new, improved look. The main changes are to the logo (the pipe between the “c” and “net” is now gone, as you can see to the right) and the color scheme (yellow and green have been replaced with red, black, and grey). I’ll admit that I like the new design, because it is cleaner and simpler. At the same time however, a part of my own personal web history is dying along with the yellow and green.

When I was in junior high (grade seven if I remember correctly), living in Inuvik, NT, I had a summer job at the Inuvik Centennial Library. Part of my job was to scan in old yearbooks and other volumes so that they could be viewed (and presumably searched) using a computer. The other part of my job was to assist library patrons in using the computers and the web (this was around 1996, so the web was still new to most people). Both of these jobs meant that I had a lot of free time, either waiting for the slower scanner to do its thing, or waiting for people to need assistance. To pass the time I would read whatever technology news I could find online. In 1996, that meant CNET’s News.com.

Every morning, I was greeted by the yellow and green coloring of CNET’s properties. My passion (or addiction) for following tech news started at that library, reading News.com. I daresay I became quite fond of the yellow and green!

Over the years I have visited News.com less frequently, of course, due to the appearance of blogs like TechCrunch and aggregators like Techmeme and FriendFeed. Occasionally I’ll still check it out, but usually I find myself clicking through from Techmeme. News.com is no longer the destination for me.

For a trip down memory lane, check out the Wayback Machine. The version of News.com from December 22, 1996 is particularly trippy!

So long, CNET yellow and green, and thanks for all the fish.

Ethics, bloggers, and mainstream media

In the last couple of days CNET has come under fire for stealing a story that was scooped by popular gadget blog Engadget. As Jason Calacanis explains:

So CNET’s Gamespot and News.com finally gave credit to Engadget after
stealing their big scoop about the XBOX 360. CNET lifted the photos
from our site (we have technical proof) and didn’t even bother to ask
or give credit. That’s low.

Of course, CNET not putting this up earlier today cost us hundreds of
thousands of page views which results in a loss of hundreds-if not
thousands-of dollars. Not to mention the fact that CNET takes credit
for the story with their readers.

While CNET did give credit to Engadget, they did not print a
correction. I think that’s rather unfortunate, and it has even prompted
some in the blogosphere to say that a boycott of CNET should take place.
I’m of the opinion that bloggers should not boycott CNET, but rather,
they should continue to call out MSM when they fail to properly credit
sources. That’s how the blogosphere built such a reputation (remember
Rather anyone?), so why change now?

In a somewhat related story, Wired News yesterday released their Source Review:

MIT Technology Review Online on March 21 retracted two stories written
in whole or in part by Michelle Delio, citing the publication’s
inability to confirm a source. On April 4, InfoWorld edited four
articles by Delio to remove anonymous quotes.

Wired News has published more than 700 news stories written by
Delio (under the names Michelle Delio and Michelle Finley) since 2000.
In April, we assigned journalism professor and Wired News columnist
Adam Penenberg to review recent articles written by Delio for Wired
News.

The article goes on to ask for help with the articles Delio wrote
for which sources are still questionable. I think that’s great. If
Wired can launch an investigation into one of their writers, clearly
CNET could have printed a correction.

Read: Engadget