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  Slow ‘Second Life’ News Day For ‘The Register’?  
 
 
Posted 2006-10-20 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
UK tech site The Register raked CNET News.com's Daniel Terdiman over the coals yesterday, insinuating that the correspondent's coverage of Second Life has been influenced due to ties with Linden Lab's CEO. Reg writer Ashlee Vance wrote that Terdiman "has spent years puffing up the Second Life online game with breathless coverage and grew close to Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale as a result." Vance claims that Terdiman "removed a reference from [Rosedale] on his resume after being confronted by The Register" and notes that despite the removal, "Terdiman continues to heap happy press on Second Life, and Rosedale in particular." Vance's article doesn't give Terdiman an opportunity to respond directly to the suggestions of a conflict of interest, leaving readers with a rather one-sided rant.

I contacted Terdiman via IM to hear his side of the story. "[Vance] emailed me to ask my why Rosedale was a reference on my resume," Terdiman explained. "So I told him I put that resume up about 2 years ago when I was a freelance journalist in the market for a new job. I had interviewed Philip several times for Wired News stories, and I felt he could be a reference about my reporting, interviewing and writing skills." Vance asked if Terdiman had accepted any payments or consulting fees from Linden Lab--he hadn't. "He basically accused me of being entirely one-sided in my coverage of Second Life," Terdiman told me. "I said I'm a culture writer and that, as such, I find SL fascinating, but that I had also written some critical stories. He asked me to prove it, and I told him about two specific stories: Age play, and one about looking hard at the infrastructure problems." Terdiman's Second Life stories can be found via a keyword search at CNET if you haven't had the chance to form your own opinion about his writing.
 
     
 
   
 
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Comment posted by Prokofy Neva
October 20, 2006 @ 7:06 pm
     
 
Tony, Daniel Terdimen has chosen to house his news operation on the Millions of Us island -- and that tells us of a dependent relationship, IMHO.

MOU is of course one of the three or four leading metaversal consulting agencies spun off by LL -- MOU is run by Reuben Steiger, formerly Reuben Linden.

You'd have to be smoking crack not to be able to cover the ageplay story critically, merely by passively reporting on what a furor it has caused -- and rightly so.

So that's not a good test of someone's critical coverage -- the story writes itself.

You're right that Daniel having his interviews with Philip on his resume is hardly any sort of smoking gun for bias, but it does seem that CNET has been a "friend of the family" for the longest time, getting early tips on stories, being rather gentle all the way around. I'd love to see these news operations move out of the feted nest.
 
     
 
     
   
 
 
     
 
     
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