As newsrooms disappear, veteran reporters are being forced from the profession. They dedicated their lives to telling other people’s stories. What happens when no one wants to print their words anymore?
Web pages are ghosts: they’re like images projected onto a wall. They aren’t durable. Contrast this with hard-copies—things written on paper or printed in books. We can still read books and pamphlets printed five hundred years ago, even though the presses that made them have long since been destroyed. How can we give the average independent web writer that kind of permanence? Joel Dueck on building a website with Matthew Butterick's Pollen, allowing it to also be published as a printed book.
In an interview with Lucky Peach, Lockhart Steele (previously) talks about "flooding the zone" in the blog era:
One of the things that I try to say to the team at all of our sites is, Hey, let’s not be afraid to still be weird. Because as you get bigger, you can get forced to just be so mainstream. You have more people coming to your site, so you have more readers who are going to be confused by your obsessions, who are going to be like, What’s the joke, I don’t get it. And you have to be okay with people not getting it.via Super Punch
That's the argument made by Ben Thomas earlier this week. Thomas charges that overenthusiastic viral sharing of half-baked scientific projects can make it more difficult for more well-planned projects to achieve success, particularly when high-profile crowdfunded projects go on to flop badly. Worse, the public backlash when real, messier science fails to live up to the flashy, unrealistic claims that media and social media hype blows up can have repercussions even for scientists who are funded by traditional grants. Signe Cane has a useful criticism of Thomas' piece with advice for non-specialists on how to try to separate cool things in real scientific work from cool things that are mostly hype and exaggerations. On the flip side of crowdfunding, Jacquelyn Gill shares her experience of using crowdfunding to fund her scientific research, ultimately concluding that it was a hell of a lot of work for relatively minimal payout. And Terry McGlynn, another ecologist, expresses some reservations about the effects of crowdfunding and other publicly marketed initiatives on science more broadly.
"China’s Web Doorkeeper", Lu Wei, may be the most powerful man on the Internet (NYT), and he has "ratcheted up restrictions in what is already the world’s most sophisticated system of online censorship." He addressed the 7th China-US Internet Industry Forum yesterday and everybody was listening (SCMP). But there is one big question: Will he joining the country’s print and broadcast watchdog's new campaign to “crack down on the irregular and inaccurate use of the Chinese language," specifically puns and wordplay (Grauniad)? If so, he may have issues with Google searches that match up his name with a new category of take-away food in Taiwan called "lu-wei" (“lu” means braised and “wei,” flavors) (Inquirer).
"But having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive too. I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past."Monica Lewinsky gives her first major public speech to speak out against online abuse. Full transcript here.
Producer Michael Shamberg Wants to 'Invent the Future' With BuzzFeed Motion Pictures - "I don't think there's ever been a Hollywood R&D model like we have here." (previously 1,2,3) [more inside]
How Naspers CEO Koos Bekker beat the New York Times at its own game by Michael Moritz [more inside]
Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is currently researching crowdfunding for civic and community purposes. Some of the issues he covers includes the ethics of crowdfunding (including Kickstarter's seduction guide debacle and Gawker's attempt to crowdfund a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack), a case study of Kansas City's crowdfunding campaign for their bikeshare program, a timeline of online crowdfunding since 2000, and how the Statue of Liberty was made possible via crowdfunding.
What I think we forget–or worse, never even realized—is the extreme privilege often inherent in “digital literacy.” Yes, much of the Internet is free. But it takes time and energy to develop the skills and habits necessary to successfully derive value from today’s media. Knowing how to tell a troll from a serious thinker, spotting linkbait, understanding a meme, cross checking articles against each other, even posting a comment to disagree with something–these are skills. They might not feel like it, but they are. And they’re easier to acquire the higher your tax bracket. - The New Digital Divide: Privilege, Misinformation and Outright B.S. in Modern Media
The Nielsen Family Is Dead. Nielsen Now Tracks (Almost) Everything You Buy: Credit, Debit and Bank Data Now Combined With TV, Online Viewing. Nielsen Offers Focus on ‘Zero-TV’ Homes. Nielsen Agrees to Expand Definition of TV Viewing. The 23,000 U.S. homes Nielsen currently samples are going to see some changes this year. [more inside]
"Its not like we all sat in silence and stared blankly at our TVs waiting for the Internet to show up. We have probably always had vernacular webs of communication." Digital studies scholar Robert Glenn Howard talks about vaccines, the Christian right [PDF], AC/DC guitar tutorials and other "born-digital folklore" on the "vernacular web."
As this research report will show, North Koreans today are learning more about the outside world than at any time since the founding of the country. North Korea is consistently ranked by Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders as the country with the least free media in the world. This ranking reflects the country's complete lack of an independent domestic media, its legal restrictions against accessing foreign media and the harsh punishments it metes out against citizens who violate those restrictions. Yet, since the late 1990s the information environment in North Korea has undergone significant changes. Although the media environment remains extremely restricted by international standards, North Koreans' access to outside media has grown considerably over the past two decades. Many inside the country continue to develop new ways to access information while avoiding the ever-present risk of detection and punishment.
Eating Only Dessert: Why your information diet is probably terrible - "[Clay] Johnson is the author of The Information Diet, a book with a unique core metaphor: heavily processed information, like heavily processed food, isn’t healthy but for some reason we can’t get enough of it. Email. Social networks. Blogs. Online video. People today consume more information than ever before, and typically only consume the things they really, really like. Johnson compares this to a bad diet. “If you only ate what you want then we’d probably put the dessert section at the top of the menu, rather than at the bottom,” he says. “I think the same thing is happening with journalism: we’re going straight to dessert every time.”" PBS Newshour interview with Johnson (~6 min. video with full transcript). Previously: Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear they're right?
Fungible: A treatise on fungibility, or, a framework for understanding the mess the news industry is in and the opportunities that lie ahead. The younger the person you ask, the less likely it is you’ll find that link between wanting to know what’s going on and grabbing a paper or opening up a news website. They use Pinterest to figure out what’s fashionable and Facebook to see if there’s anything fun going on next weekend. They use Facebook just the same to figure out whether there’s anything they need to be upset about and need to protest against.
Is SEO killing America? Clay Johnson about how media gives us what we want, not what we need, and how it's destroying democracy. If you don't have time or can't watch a 17 minute video, read this article discussing and summarizing the video.
Artist and film-maker, Hito Steyerl, asks us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our digital equivalents. Digital images are Things (like you and me) - a plethora of compressed, corrupted representations pushed and pulled through increasingly policed and capitalised information networks. If 80% of all internet traffic* is SPAM - a liberated excess withdrawn** from accepted channels of communication - perhaps it is in The Poor Image we find our closest kin? [more inside]
10 Things Our Kids Will Never Worry About Thanks to the Information Revolution. An optimist's take on how the lives of future generations will improve based on technology.
Is the internet rewriting history? Teaching the difference between truth and propaganda online via BBC [more inside]
On the Media's Bob Garfield demonstrates How to Turn a Fan into an Enemy in Under 140 Characters.
Newstweek: fixing the facts. Newstweek is a device that injects fake news into unsecured wireless connections. More info at hackaday.
Why Gawker Nick Denton is a genius - he can smell the page views!. The redesign he's championed (previously) is a convoluted nightmare which breaks the web and left blog posts unindexed Google. Page views are in the toilet. He may loose that bet. It doesn't matter, Nick Denton is a genius. Look, pictures of a naked man!
How (crowd) curation is making a comeback in search and how Facebook is using it to "remake whole industries."
Right Wing astroturfing A non-scientific analysis of the patterns in forum board discussions on a variety of topics. The gist: discussions of issues in which there's money at stake (like climate change, public health and corporate tax avoidance) are often characterised by amazing levels of abuse and disruption by rightwing libertarians who are pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Discussions of issues in which there's little money at stake tend to be a lot more civilised than debates about issues where companies stand to lose or gain billions.
With it's new redesign Gawker, and it's affiliates, will be moving away from being blogs. They want to be like Television.
"Israel is our only hope as the post-American president is aiding and abetting a nuclear Iran. Barack Obama is enabling Iran’s Islamic bomb" - Pamela Geller
As the "ground zero mosque" story approaches bipartisan consensus, thanks to unexpected statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (joining a growing opposition), several journalists trace the origins of how the Park 51 community center became(warning: CNN) a toxic subject. What they found was Pamela Geller, a blogger at Atlas Shrugs, who has some very interesting vlogs. You may previously know her from this cozy 2006 interview with Bush's infamous anti-UN UN ambassador John Bolton.
Internet as Social Movement: A Brief History of Webism. An editorial from N+1 magazine.
Restoring Journalism Maureen Tkacik talks about her life as a journalist, the nothing-based economy, and the future of journalism. She suggests abandoning authority and productively channeling narcissism. (via 2p & dd) [more inside]
Misreading Tehran: Leading Iranian-American writers revisit a year of dreams and discouragement. "With a full 12 months now between us and the election, the time is ripe to start revisiting the hype and hope in a year of writing: which stories were overblown, what stories were missed entirely, and what can be gleaned about Iran's annus horribilis from a more thorough understanding. FP asked seven prominent Iranian-Americans, deeply immersed in both the English- and Persian-language media, to look through the fog of journalism at what actually happened in Tehran -- and why so many of us got it so wrong." [Via]
No Secrets: Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency. A New Yorker profile of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his "media insurgency."
"The Times and Sunday Times newspapers will start charging to access their websites in June, owner News International (NI) has announced. Users will pay £1 for a day's access and £2 for a week's subscription. The move opens a new front in the battle for readership and will be watched closely by the industry."(BBC) Some early reactions from other newspapers. Interview with Times editor about the charges. Previously
Corey Arcangel is perhaps the internet's most infamous hack, masher-upper, digi/net artist. His work stands for a growing culture of artists who run wildly through animated GIF landscapes populated with corrupted data-compressed bunny rabbits and tinny, MIDI renditions of Savage Garden ballads. As the Lisson Gallery, London, opens its archives to Arcangel's curatorial eye, could digi/net art be set to infect the real, fleshy world, like a rampant Conficker Worm? Has YouTube become the truest reflection of our anthropological selves? Are we destined to roam the int3erw£bs like the mythic beasts of yore, hoping, in time, that digi art can free us from the confines of this fleshy void? [...previously]
Crap Detection 101 Howard Rheingold offers a fairly in-depth primer on media and internet BS detection. Lots of links to resources for enabling critical analysis of various information sources included.
My, how the tables have turned: Many of the same daily newspaper correspondents that not too long ago turned up their noses at us online journalism pioneers, claiming we weren't "real" journalists, now fill my email box daily with their resumes, looking to me and others like me to provide them with work. ... Memo to my remaining daily print colleagues and their nostalgia club: Get over it and get over yourselves. It’s not that the Internet is Mr. Wonderful. Much of it mimics the same bad qualities that drove the public away from daily newspapers. You lost the public to us because - there's no nice or sugar-coated way to say it - you guys really suck at what you do. [more inside]
Politics, the Press, and the Public. Bill Moyers speaks with Glenn Greenwald and Jay Rosen about the role of the establishment press in America’s dysfunctional political system.
NPR's On The Media presents a short set of pieces about comments on news websites and the challenges of "digital democracy," with discussion from Ira Glass about responses to a show about teenage runaways, and New Republic editor and critic Lee Siegel, who posted anonymously to respond insultingly to comments on his own blog. And a Roanoke newspaper editor discusses how one paper sees the integration of comments into online news sites and whether it's a valuable reader service. [more inside]
"When copies are free, you need to sell things which cannot be copied." Kevin Kelly (previously) describes eight "generative" values that increase in value as the price tag on making copies goes down. He also has some advice for creators who want to make money off the long tail. Via
I was going to share the many amazing videos that StSanders has uploaded to youtube featuring guitar gods like Van Halen and Santana shredding, since they have inexplicably only received scant mention on mefi so far. But StSanders' account has been suspended all all videos have been removed! [more inside]
They claimed they would destroy all television with their business. $100 million and one cast member of First Kid later, all they had were massive amounts of failure, tremendous parties with Bryan Singer, and many, many, many allegations of sexual molestation. Now they hide in the Spanish Riviera and hire Chinese sweatshop workers to mine for World of Warcraft items. Check as well the original 2000 LA Times expose on the company, to say nothing of the "gay pedophile version of Silver Spoons" which remains their finest artistic achievement. via boingboing [more inside]
People of the Web --very well done short video profiles of interesting people online. Mike Rogers of blogactive is on the front page now. Links to previous profiles are on the right, including Kirk Cameron, Caleb Shikles, Sherman Austin, and Josh Wolf.
News Sniffer. It's a site dedicated to monitoring news articles and discussion threads at the BBC. For censored comments from BBC news threads: Watch Your Mouth. And now it has implementation that tracks changes in news articles, to see how things are edited: Revisionista. Here's a couple of examples.
Amateur Hour. Internet journalism and the traditional media. Nicolas Lehmann in the New Yorker.
WSJ: Moguls of New Media Have nearly a million friends on MySpace and you get $5000 endorsements. Make a comedy podcast with cocktail recipes and you get endorsed by Steve Jobs and get interest from advertisers. Post seemingly impossible self-potraits on Flickr and you get hired by Toyota. The Wall Street Journal looks at these and many more "whos' who of new media". from BlogHer
Shock and gore. The people behind "the world's goriest website", why they do it, and what it says about us.
Narrow Casting: This article describes the trend of narrowcasting, a media consumption pattern in which users increasingly turn to specialized, often web-produced media content and away from professionally mass-marketed content shown on TV and sold in record and video stores. [Via Aldaily.com]
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