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Archive-name: internet/media-coverage-faq/part1
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_ _ _ _ __ __ __ _|_    ALT.INTERNET.MEDIA-COVERAGE    _|_ __ __ __ _ _ _ _
                  |            CHARTER & FAQ            |
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By J.D. Falk <> and Tristan Louis <>.
Contributors include David Lesher <> and many others. 

The current version of this document can always be found at the following:
		(and, of course, *.answers FAQ archives around the world.)
	EMail   Send a message to <> with a subject
		line of "gimme media-coverage.FAQ.1" (no quotes, body will be
		ignored.)  Segment 2 would be "gimme media-coverage.FAQ.2"
	USENET	Posted three times per month to,
		alt.answers, and news.answers

Release 9508.01


I. What is

	1. Which topics are appropriate?
	2. How do I contact the media?
		A. Press releases
		B. Letters to the Editor
	3. Statement on advertising
	4. Statement on copyright
	5. Official archives

II. Journalists' Common Questions

	1. What is the Internet?
	2. How does it work?
	3. What can I do with it?
		A. Electronic Mail (EMail)
		B. USENET Newsgroups
		C. Chat (IRC)
		D. Remote Access (telnet)
		E. Information Gathering (FTP, Gopher, and WWW)
	4. Who is on it?
	5. Where can I find statistics?
		A. Statistics about the Internet
		B. Statistics about Journalism and the Internet

(SEGMENT TWO -- in the next file or message)

III. Other 'net resources

	1. Related newsgroups & mailing lists
		A. About journalism and/or the media
		B. Local groups
		C. Not actually related (but look like they could be)
		D. Assorted interesting groups & lists
	2. World Wide Web, Gopher, FTP
		A. Sites with lists of other sites
		B. Assorted interesting sites
_ _ _ _ __ __ __ ___ ___ ____ _______________ ____ ___ ___ __ __ __ _ _ _ _

	"The people who write the news are on the online services.
	 The people who make the news are on the Internet.
	 Where would you rather be?"
	                     -- Andrew Kantor, Internet World
_ _ _ _ __ __ __ ___ ___ ____ _______________ ____ ___ ___ __ __ __ _ _ _ _

I. What is

	The newsgroup was first created on
June 15, 1994 by the newsadmin at for "Discussion of
how/why/when/where the media covers the internet and its functions."  This
definition was later adjusted to read as follows: 

> Discussion of the internet as it relates to television, radio, newspapers, 
> and magazines.  
> There seems to be a growing number of media spots/sound bytes on the internet
> these days, and I'm attempting to provide a place for this type of discussion.
> The original idea for this group came from someone in news.admin.misc.

	So far, this purpose has held true -- regular readers of the group
post pointers to articles or upcoming television or radio events, and then
critique them later.  In many cases, the authors of the article or report
will join in the discussion -- and this, of course, is the future of media
relations with the public. 
	Many of the groups' regular participants work in the media in one 
form or another, and are polite enough to make that clear at the end of 
their messages; however, it should not be taken that they speak for their 
respective companies unless otherwise noted (though a slight bias is to 
be expected.)

I.1. Which topics are appropriate?

	As described above, just about anything to do with how "The Media"
reports on the 'net is germane to this group.  Critique a new magazine,
cc: your letters to the editor, etcetera.
	Often, these critiques will lead towards other discussions,
including politics, origins of the 'net, semantics, etcetera.  This is
fine, though good netiquette demands that it be crossposted and
followed-up to other groups before it gets out of hand.
	It is _not,_ in any way, shape, or form, for press releases or job
requests (and, yes, we've had both.) There are other places for press
release type material (see below) and there are many *.jobs groups.
	It is also not for advertisements of any type, though we'll let
short things like "look at the new issue of Massive Media Mogul Magazine
for an article on the politics of electronic communication" get past
because they're actually useful. 

I.2. How do I contact the media?

I.2.A. Press releases

	It is considered /extremely/ bad netiquette to send large messages
to people, or to add them to mailing lists, without asking their
permission first.  This also holds true with press releases. 
	Before beginning to send press releases to anybody, contact them
with a short, polite message asking if it would be okay to send press
releases to that account.  Even if it's not, they will probably be able to
tell you which EMail address to send 'em to for the specific publication
or show that they work for.

I.2.B. Letters to the Editor

	The EMail addresses for "letters to the editor," comments,
questions, subscriptions, or anything like that will usually be found
within the first few pages of the publication (usually in the same section
that lists the "snail" mail addresses and fax numbers.)

I.3. Statement on advertising.

	Though the debates about commercializing the 'net and allowing 
advertising and so forth still rage on, there is a general consensus 
among experienced 'net users that off-topic advertising (that which does 
not relate to the purpose of the group) should not be allowed.
	There are two main reasons for this.  One, nobody wants to be
forced to read advertisements for products which they would not be likely
to be interested in.  Two (and this one is the most important one of all),
nobody wants to have to _pay_ for the privelege of reading such 
	Because of that (and because this document is as close as we want
to get to "rules"), please understand that is
not and will never be the right place to advertise your products.  We
don't mind seeing a short message like "Hi, I'm the editor of Massive
Media Mogul Magazine, we'll have a big article on USENET in our next
issue" from time to time -- but be warned that your article _will_ be
	Anything longer (especially press releases) is not appreciated.

I.4. Statement on copyright

	Copyright laws are an ever-changing, usually misunderstood mess 
in the United States, and when you remember that the 'net is worldwide 
then the mess is even worse.  So it is possible, though not likely, that 
what I've typed here is wrong.  Still, please try to abide by it.
	It is illegal to reproduce an article in its entirety and post it
to or any other group without permission from
the copyright holder(s) (usually the publisher and/or author.) It is
becoming quite common for the author of an article to post it to the group
themselves as soon as they get permission from the editors, and this is
encouraged so long as the article in question is actually related to the
Internet and/or USENET.
	It may or may not be illegal, but is definately rude (and should
be illegal), to quote people's postings to or
any other group in your own articles without permission from the author. 
The mere fact that this group is open to the public is not enough -- you
must still ask permission first.

	For more information, check out the Copyright Law FAQ in: 
	FTP /pub/

	There's also a much longer Copyright FAQ at:
	FTP /pub/ca/carollt/law/copyright/faq/

I.5. Official archives

	The newsgroup archives are accessable at:

	These archives have been processed into HTML, and date back to
June 5, 1995.  There is also a .ZIP (compressed) file containing the
original textual data of each of those messages. 
	Please note that inclusion in the archives does NOT mean that the
message was appropriately posted to in the
first place; in fact, an unfortunately large number of off-topic messages
are archived there.  For best results, always refer to this document when
deciding if your message would be appropriate or not.
_ _ _ _ __ __ __ ___ ___ ____ _______________ ____ ___ ___ __ __ __ _ _ _ _

II. Journalists' Common Questions

	Often, journalists will post a message asking for information
about the 'net.  To get you started, here's a few answers, plus pointers 
towards some of the best resources for more information.

II.1. What is the Internet? 

	The Internet is a network of networks. A network is a group of
computers hooked up together. In the late sixties and early seventies, the
American government decided to create a network that would hook up several
computers throughout the country. This network, know as Arpanet, was the
precursor to the internet. Shortly thereafter, more universities started
to hookup to this network. Because each of the universities were running
different networks, this new Wide-Area Network (WAN) was called the
Internet for Inter (between) Networks. 
	The Internet is not the information superhighway.  It is not 
cyberspace.  It is the Internet.

II.2. How does it work?

	The fundamental base of the internet is a computer tool called
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol). TCP/IP is
essentially the computer language of the Internet. Much like you and I are
currently conversing in English, computers need a common language. TCP/IP
allows computers to exchange information easily. 

II.3. What can I do with it?

II.3.A. Electronic Mail (Email)

	The most popular tool on the internet is Email. It's just like
	writing a letter and taking it to the post office except for a few
	things: you don't have to worry about stamps and envelopes and
	your letter will get anywhere in the world in 3 days or less. In
	most cases, your mail can take no more than 3-4 minutes to get to
	the other side of the globe. 

II.3.B. USENET Newsgroups

	In the early eighties, some young internauts decided that writing
	to someone by Email was great but that it would be better if you
	shared information through some sort of newspaper. Thus was born
	Usenet, the discussion area of the internet. Take your local
	newspaper and imagine that it is broken down into about 10,000
	sections, (called "newsgroups") each of them covering a different
	subject. That in itself would be pretty impressive.  But, what
	makes usenet _truly_ amazing is that not only can you read the
	stories written in each of those newsgroups (they are called
	'posts' or messages) but you can reply via email to the authors or
	post your follow-up on the article for all readers of the
	"newsgroup" to see. Usenet, in other words, is like a giant
	"interactive" newspaper. 

	Please note that there is an ongoing debate about whether the
	term "Internet" is truly all-inclusive enough to include Usenet.
	The main argument against it is that not all Usenet-capable
	computers are connected to the Internet, and vice versa.
	Therefore, it is best to not confuse the two terms.

	For more information, check out the Bible of USENET at:
	FTP pub/usenet-b/info/bible-faq

	Another invaluable reference is entitled "How To Find The Right
	Place To Post," and can be found at (one line):

II.3.C. Chat (IRC)

	Of course, usenet was all good and great but someone decided that
	it lacked _instant_ interaction.  So, he or she created Internet
	Relay Chat (IRC for short), which can easily be called the CB
	radio of the internet. IRC was built in a vein that is somewhat
	similar to usenet (see above for description of usenet) with each
	channel covering a particular subject.  There are literally
	thousands of IRC channels ranging from the raunchy (#hotsex) to
	the holy (#christian) where people converge to chat for hours on

	Of course, there's a FAQ for IRC as well, at:
	FTP  /irc/support/alt-irc-faq

II.3.D. Remote Access (telnet)

	If your computer is connected to the Internet, you can (in
	general) log onto it remotely from another Internet location. 
	This is called "telnet" or "rlogin".  For example, at Internet
	trade shows, the sponsor generally sets up a bank of terminals
	connected to a local computer.  Visitors use them to check mail,
	file reports, etc. 

II.3.E. Information Gathering (FTP, Gopher, and WWW)

	One of the great things about the internet is the amount of
	information that is available. There are essentially 3 different
	ways to read stored information across the internet: FTP, Gopher,
	and the World Wide Web (WWW).  FTP, which stands for File Transfer
	Protocol, allows you to exchange computer files. To get such files
	you connect (via the "ftp" command) to an ftp site, a computer
	which stores files.  Both programs and references are stored on
	ftp sites.  Many sites allow anyone (hence the term 'anonymous')
	to read/copy these. 

	Internet users often compile sets of information called FAQs
	(pronounced "faks" -- FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions,
	though the term now means any informational document, frequently
	asked or otherwise) and place them on sites so that other users
	can access them easily.  In the past few years, many companies 
	and governments have also started to make more and more
	information available online, such as text of bills under

	A gopher server is essentially an ftp site organized in an easy to
	use menu. By moving arrows up, down, left and right, you can go
	through menus of information without having to worry about the
	internet addresses for the computer on which the information is
	physically stored, or even the filename used to store it.

	As powerful a tool as gopher is, it is currently being majorly
	overshadowed and may someday be completely supplanted by the World
	Wide Web (WWW), which takes the interconnectivity of gopher
	servers and adds quite a bit more flexibility. The most attractive
	feature of WWW is that it allows one to mix graphics, text, and
	even sound, music, or moving video on what appears to be one
	"page," or screen of information.  Instead of being a simple 
	menu-like interface as with Gopher, the World Wide Web can be
	organized in hypertext paragraphs, where all you need to do is
	click on (or otherwise select) a phrase, graphic, etcetera to
	retreive more information on it. 

	The most popular and best-known viewer program for the World
	Wide Web is called 'Netscape.'  Also, for those who do not have a
	fast enough connection or powerful enough terminal to handle all
	the graphics, 'Lynx' is a text-only World Wide Web browser.  
	There are a growing number of other browsers currently avaliable,
	including Cello and SuperMosaic, but Netscape, NCSA Mosaic, and
	the University of Kansas' Lynx are the standards by which all
	others are measured. 

	For more info on the World Wide Web, use your WWW browser and
	access the one of the WWW FAQs at:

	For more information on Netscape, try:

II.4. Who is on it?

	Anybody and, eventually, everybody.  Contrary to popular
	stereotypes, the Internet is used by as amazing a variety of
	people as one is likely to meet on the streets of any large city
	-- and also people who avoid meeting people on the streets of large
	cities.  Interests and personalities vary widely, and as such the
	only possible pigeonhole into which _all_ 'net users can be 
	placed is "they all have at least a rudimentary knowledge of 
	computer use."

	Some people only have access to Email and Usenet while others have
	what is generally defined as "full access" (access to all the
	services). If one considers Email and News as "being on the
	internet," it is easy to estimate a population of about 20
	million coming from all walks of life. On the other hand, if full
	access is considered, I would hazard a count of about 3-5 million
	hackers, students, academics, and dedicated users.  This number is
	growing daily, even if you don't include the major online 
	services; for example, in Washington, D.C., USA metropolitian
	area, there are approximately twenty-five totally seperate companies 
	offering that type of "full access," with new ones showing up all
	the time. 

II.5. Where can I find statistics?

	Hearkening back to its roots as a network for educational 
	research (but not all the way back to its /real/ roots, military
	communications), the Internet is full of statistics on different

II.5.A. Statisics about the Internet

	Well, as we said above, it's pretty much impossible to garner 
	reliable statistics about the users.  However, each specific site
	has to be registered with a reliable, nonpartisan system (this
	being the InterNIC), we've found some stastics on the makeup of
	the networks and computers connected to the Internet.  A study
	release by the Internet Society in February, 1994 stated that of 
	the networks connected to the Internet:

		53% were commercial
		27% were research (including commercial research)
		9% were governmental
		6% were defense related
		5% were educational

	Note that all of these statistics are extremely out of date now.

	More statistics about the Internet and related networks can be
	found at the following sites:

	Internet Index
	Business Statistics

II.5.B. Statisics about Journalism and the Internet

	Paul Ross <>, a freelance photo-
	journalist, did a data search of the worlds' newspapers and
	magazines in the commercial database service Dialog, looking for
	the number of articles written about the 'net during the 1990's,
	and came up with the following numbers: 

		Year    Mentions
		1990     2,579
		1991     3,289
		1992     5,578
		1993    11,244
		1994    79,513

	He points out, though, that this listing is not representative 
	of /every/ publication, and there is probably some duplication and
	omission (for example, no New York Times.)

	Another Paul, Paul Kainen <>, replied:
		"Extrapolating these numbers, by the year 2000, I predict
		 the extinction of all life on the planet since we'll be
		 buried in 100's of feet of newspapers to accomodate the
		 Internet stories!"

	A more complete listing of Paul Ross's research is avaliable in a 
	seperate file, avaliable via the following:
	FTP, /pub/jdfalk/media-coverage/coverage-stats
_ _ _ _ __ __ __ ___ ___ ____ _______________ ____ ___ ___ __ __ __ _ _ _ _

This document is Copyright (c) 1995 by J.D. Falk and Tristan Louis, all
rights reserved.  Permission is granted for it to be reproduced
electronically on any system connected to the various networks which make
up the Internet, USENET, and FidoNet so long as it is reproduced in its
entirety (either in two parts as here, or combined), unedited, and with
this copyright notice intact. 

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