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January 06 2012

15:30

This Week in Review: Lessons from Murdoch on Twitter, and paywalls’ role in 2011-12

Murdoch, Twitter, and identity: News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch had a pretty horrible 2011, but he ended it with a curious decision, joining Twitter on New Year’s Eve. The account was quickly verified and introduced as real by Twitter chairman Jack Dorsey, dousing some of the skepticism about its legitimacy. His Twitter stream so far has consisted of a strange mix of News Corp. promotion and seemingly unfiltered personal opinions: He voiced his support for presidential candidate Rick Santorum (a former paid analyst for News Corp.’s Fox News) and ripped former Fox News host Glenn Beck.

But the biggest development in Murdoch’s Twitter immersion was about his wife, Wendi Deng, who appeared to join Twitter a day after he did and was also quickly verified as legitimate by Twitter. (The account even urged Murdoch to delete a tweet, which he did.) As it turned out, though, the account was not actually Deng, but a fake run by a British man. He said Twitter verified the account without contacting him.

This, understandably, raised a few questions about the reliability of identity online: If we couldn’t trust Twitter to tell us who on its service was who they said they were, the issue of online identity was about to become even more thorny. GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram chastised Twitter for its lack of transparency about the process, and The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple urged Twitter to get out of the verification business altogether: “The notion of a central authority — the Twitterburo, so to speak — sitting in judgment of authentic identities grinds against the identity of Twitter to begin with.” (Twitter has begun phasing out verification, limiting it to a case-by-case basis.)

Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times argued that the whole episode proved that regardless of what Twitter chooses to do, “the Internet is always the ultimate verification system for much of what appears on it.” Kara Swisher of All Things Digital unearthed the problem in this particular case that led to the faulty verification: A punctuation mixup in communication with Deng’s assistant.

Columbia’s Emily Bell drew a valuable lesson from the Rupert-joins-Twitter episode: As they wade into the social web, news organizations, she argued, need to do some serious thinking about how much control they’re giving up to third-party groups who may not have journalism among their primary interests. Elsewhere in Twitter, NPR Twitter savant Andy Carvin and NYU prof Clay Shirky spent an hour on WBUR’s On Point discussing Twitter’s impact on the world.

Trend-spotting for 2011 and 2012: I caught the front end of year-in-review season in my last review before the holidays, after the Lab’s deluge of 2012 predictions. But 2011 reviews and 2012 previews kept rolling in over the past two weeks, giving us a pretty thoroughly drawn picture of the year that was and the year to come. We’ll start with 2011.

Nielsen released its list of the most-visited sites and most-used devices of the year, with familiar names — Google, Facebook, Apple, YouTube — at the top. And Pew tallied the most-talked-about subjects on social media: Osama bin Laden on Facebook and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak on Twitter topped the lists, and Pew noted that many of the top topics were oriented around specific people and led by the traditional media.

The Next Web’s Anna Heim and Mashable’s Meghan Peters reviewed the year in digital media trends, touching on social sharing, personal branding, paywalls, and longform sharing, among other ideas. At PBS MediaShift, Jeff Hermes and Andy Sellars authored one of the most interesting and informative year-end media reviews, looking at an eventful year in media law. As media analyst Alan Mutter pointed out, though, 2011 wasn’t so great for newspapers: Their shares dropped 27 percent on the year.

One of the flashpoints in this discussion of 2011 was the role of paywalls in the development of news last year: Mashable’s Peters called it “the year the paywall worked,” and J-Source’s Belinda Alzner said the initial signs of success for paywalls are great news for the financial future of serious journalism. Mathew Ingram of GigaOM pushed back against those assertions, arguing that paywalls are only working in specific situations, and media prof Clay Shirky reflected on the ways paywalls are leading news orgs to focus on their most dedicated users, which may not necessarily be a bad thing. “The most promising experiment in user support means forgoing mass in favor of passion; this may be the year where we see how papers figure out how to reward the people most committed to their long-term survival,” he wrote.

Which leads us to 2012, and sets of media/tech predictions from the Guardian’s Dan Gillmor, j-prof Alfred Hermida, Mediaite’s Rachel Sklar, Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman, and Sulia’s Joshua Young. Sklar and Sonderman both asserted that news is going to move the needle online (especially on Facebook, according to Sonderman), and while Hermida said social media is going to start to just become part of the background, he argued that that’s a good thing — we’re going to start to find the really interesting uses for it, as Gillmor also said. J-prof Adam Glenn also chimed in at PBS MediaShift with his review of six trends in journalism education, including journo-programming and increased involvement in community news.

SOPA’s generation gap: The debate over Internet censorship and SOPA will continue unabated into the new year, and we’re continuing to see groups standing up for and against the bill, with the Online News Association and dozens of major Internet companies voicing their opposition. One web company who notoriously came out in favor of the bill, GoDaddy, faced the wrath of the rest of the web, with some 37,000 domains being pulled in two days. The web hosting company quickly pulled its support for SOPA, though it isn’t opposing the bill, either.

New York Times media critic David Carr also made the case against the bill, noting that it’s gaining support because many members of Congress are on the other side of a cultural/generational divide from those on the web. He quoted Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler: “It’s people who grew up on the Web versus people who still don’t use it. In Washington, they simply don’t see the way that the Web has completely reconfigured society across classes, education and race. The Internet isn’t real to them yet.”

Forbes’ Paul Tassi wrote about the fact that many major traditional media companies have slyly promoted some forms of piracy over the past decade, and GigaOM’s Derrick Harris highlighted an idea to have those companies put some of their own money into piracy enforcement.

Tough times for the Times: It’s been a rough couple of weeks for The New York Times: Hundreds of staffers signed an open letter to Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. expressing their frustration over various compensation and benefits issues. The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone reported that the staffers’ union had also considered storming Sulzberger’s office or walking out, and Politico’s Dylan Byers noted that the signers covered a broad swath of the Times’ newsroom, cutting across generational lines.

The Atlantic’s Adam Clark Estes gave some of the details behind the union’s concerns about the inequity of the paper’s buyouts. But media consultant Terry Heaton didn’t have much sympathy: He said the union’s pleas represented an outmoded faith in the collective, and that Times staffers need to take more of an everyone-for-themselves approach.

The Times also announced it would sell its 16 regional newspapers for $143 million to Halifax Media Group, a deal that had been rumored for a week or two, and told Jim Romenesko it would drop most of its podcasts this year. To make matters worse, the paper mistakenly sent an email to more than 8 million followers telling them their print subscriptions had been canceled.

Reading roundup: Here’s what else you might have missed over the holidays:

— A few thoughtful postscripts in the debate over PolitiFact and fact-checking operations: Slate’s Dave Weigel and Forbes’ John McQuaid dissected PolitiFact’s defense, and Poynter’s Craig Silverman offered some ideas for improving fact-checking from a recent roundtable. And Greg Marx of the Columbia Journalism Review argued that fact-checkers are over-reaching beyond the bounds of the bold language they use.

— A couple of good pieces on tech and the culture of dissent from Wired: A Sean Captain feature on the efforts to meet the social information needs of the Occupy movement, and the second part of Quinn Norton’s series going inside Anonymous.

— For Wikipedia watchers, a good look at where the site is now and how it’s trying to survive and thrive from The American Prospect.

— Finally, a deep thought about journalism for this weekend: Researcher Nick Diakopoulos’ post reconceiving journalism in terms of information science.

Crystal ball photo by Melanie Cook used under a Creative Commons license.

December 29 2011

15:20

How Did My Predictions for 2011 Turn Out?

It's not too hard to make predictions. What's harder is to honestly evaluate how you did. In that spirit, I'd like to ask your help.

Early this year, I predicted how 2011 would go in digital media. I'd love it if you gave me a letter grade with a Tweet to @dbenk (#gradeDBenk), message to Dorian Benkoil on Google+, or a comment below.

2011 year small.jpg

Meanwhile, I'm assigning myself as judge, jury, executioner and palanquin bearer. I'll try to be as tough as I am for the business school graduate students I teach in media and entertainment technology management.

The Battle of Open Vs. Closed: B+

For 2011, I foresaw a battle of "Open vs. Closed" orientations from media companies in the digital sphere, positing that all the year's trends could be squeezed into this one.

I think I got the basic issue right. Yet, rather than a "battle," it looked more like a scramble. Media production and distribution companies tried to both charge for content and give it away.

The New York Times, Hulu and others tried to finesse both open and closed models, sometimes adjusting as they went.

The New York Times instituted a pay fence and kept trying to thread the needle between keeping traffic up by giving its work away, while making its most avid fans pay.

The Financial Times eschewed Apple's restrictive iPad policies and put its efforts instead into an HTML5 app that lives on the web but lets only subscribers get the full content offering. Walmart launched a web-based video service, Vudu.

Amazon, too, went the web app route with its Cloud Reader that, unlike its iPad app, lets consumers order directly from Amazon, something Apple doesn't allow through apps it approves for the App Store.

Hulu solidified premium offerings, saying you could get its content on the iPad or iPhone only if you paid for the app, and integrated its paid service into other devices such as the Roku box. Fox delayed its offerings on the free Hulu service by eight days. Hulu claims to be closing in on 1 million paid subscribers for the year.

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Amazon's new Kindle Fire tablet is on the open-source Android platform but has "branched" the operating system to make it friendly with the device and the Amazon store and app market. That's both open and closed.

I had also predicted continued "open" vs. "closed" battles in Washington. Sure enough, prosecutors are finally making their case against the soldier who allegedly sent protected information to WikiLeaks.

On the policy front, the Federal Communications Commission instituted rules that protect the concept of Net neutrality, saying Internet service providers can't block or slow traffic. The FCC is now facing lawsuits from Verizon and others, as well as attempts in the Senate to block the regulations.

I didn't predict legal wrangling over copyright. To combat those who are illicitly providing content for which its producers want to charge, law makers (and nearly all media companies) are pushing SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act.

Opponents said SOPA would choke much of the creativity and sharing that has made the Internet so rich, and industry lobbyists fanned the flames on both sides.

Boycotts were called for SOPA supporters like GoDaddy and 3M, and opponents are discussing a counter bill, which The Atlantic has nicknamed OPEN. We'll see more of these battles next year.

The Battle Over Privacy: A-

There were, as predicted, intense discussions in Congress and federal agencies over whether to tamp down on the current open Internet practices in the name of protecting people's private information.

Industry groups, the Interactive Advertising Bureau a leader among them, fought a rear-guard action that appears to have held up the most draconian measures, such as ones that would have required advertising on the web to always ask a user's permission to institute even basic measurement. (Disclosure: My company has done work for the IAB.)

IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg said industry efforts at self-regulation, under which publishers and advertisers agree to uphold best practices and disclose what information they are collecting and sharing, means the effort at strict regulation "seems to be on the wane."

Still, if Congress ever gets over its gridlock on bigger matters, it may come back to the privacy issue especially after the November elections.

Google vs. Apple: A

Anyone who's paid attention can probably agree that these two Goliaths are fighting tooth, nail, finger, leg, foot and gun.

Google's Android operating system has overtaken Apple's iOS in phones, and is making inroads in tablets, with a big leg up from Amazon's Fire.

But Apple says core features of Android, such as certain finger gestures and internal coding, were stolen by its rival up the road in Silicon Valley.

Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson he'd "spend my last dying breath if I need to" and all of Apple's $40 billion in cash "to destroy Android," which Jobs said was "stolen" from the company he founded. "I'm willing to go to thermonuclear war on this," he said.

Apple won parts of a lawsuit against HTC this month over infringement of iPhone-related patents, though not at the deep coding level, and suits are continuing against other makers of Android phones such as Samsung. (Apple can't easily go after Google because it doesn't actually make the devices and it provides Android openly, for free.)

Google's Chrome browser installs have overtaken both Apple's Safari and the open-source Firefox, according to StatCounter. That gives Google a leg up in desktop browsing, and offerings such as its web apps, which compete with iOS apps.

Google's Chromebook computer, meanwhile, failed to make a dent even as Apple reached a 15-year high, with 5.2 percent of the world PC market.

Social Media Will Not See a Dip: A

It's hard now to believe that some were predicting a slowdown in social media this year.

Comscore found that social networking by this fall took up one of every five minutes spent online globally and reached 82 percent of Internet users over age 15 at home and work, according to eWeek.

Facebook reaches more than 55 percent of the world's user base, Comscore said. Founder Mark Zuckerberg told public TV interviewer Charlie Rose a few weeks ago that the company could reach 1 billion users in the near future.

Twitter, running second, well behind Facebook, also continues to grow, and LinkedIn has seen an increased presence as a professional network and a traffic referrer to media websites.

While some greeted the advent of Google+ with a beleaguered sigh, the site is said to be gaining on LinkedIn's 94 million visits with 66 million last month, according to Comscore.

Meanwhile, platforms and applications with heavy social elements, such as Tumblr, Foursquare, Instagram, News.me and Flipboard, picked up users and interest; Facebook acquired Gowalla; and it's rare to see a consumer-facing web product without a strong social element.

Social is still the rage, and a big buzz machine. Columbia University Journalism School's Social Media Weekend, in which I'm participating, has dozens of signups days after opening up seats at $200 each.

Social media are still being integrated into ads, measurement platforms, apps and more.

= = = = =

So, I think I did well enough to pass. If I weight my average so the top is worth more, and you believe my ratings, I'm somewhere around an A-.

I'd love to know your thoughts, and it helps if you #gradeDBenk. I'll give more of my thoughts, looking ahead to 2012, in my next column.

An award-winning former managing editor at ABCNews.com and an MBA (with honors), Dorian Benkoil handles marketing and sales strategies for MediaShift, and is the business columnist for the site. He is SVP at Teeming Media, a strategic media consultancy focused on attracting, engaging, and activating communities through digital media. He tweets at @dbenk and you can Circle him on Google+.

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December 28 2011

15:20

Idea Lab: Year in Review 2011

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It's been an eventful year on MediaShift's Idea Lab, marked by mergers, beta releases and site redesigns for the many innovators in digital media. This past year also saw the Knight Foundation announce 16 winners of its News Challenge contest, up from 12 grantees in 2010 -- and the total prize money hit $4.7 million, thanks in part to a $1 million contribution from Google.

A couple of themes that ran big among the winners this year were data and mobile. We saw the rise of the hacker-journalist, and many projects were focused on making sense of the stream of data -- think PANDA, ScraperWiki, OpenBlock Rural, Overview, SwiftRiver and DocumentCloud.

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We also saw new interpretations of journalism, such as NextDrop, a mobile platform that helps people in India find out when water is available; Poderopedia, a crowdsourced database that visualizes the relationships among Chile's elite; and the Awesome Foundation, which not only has an awesome name, but is using mini-grants to give others a chance to start up projects of their own.

Here's a look back at just some of the highlights on Idea Lab in 2011.

Just out of beta

Several Knight News Challenge winners announced considerable strides in their projects. The PANDA project, which aims to make basic data analysis quick and easy for news organizations, pushed out a first, and then a second, alpha, adding a login/registration system, dataset search, and complex query support, among other features. It has also been working to integrate directly with fellow News Challenge winner ScraperWiki. "This is speculative at the moment, but has the potential to make the API useful even to novice developers who might not be entirely comfortable writing shell scripts or cron jobs," explained PANDA's Christopher Groskopf.

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In December, LocalWiki, a 2010 Knight News Challenge winner, announced the first major release of its new LocalWiki software and launched its first focus community, serving Denton, Texas. The LocalWiki project is an ambitious effort to create community-owned, living information repositories that will provide much-needed context behind the people, places, and events that shape our communities.

In addition, SocMap.com, another 2010 Knight News Challenge winner, launched a "tweets" and "places" features on its site, along with plans to debut "local initiatives," "local questions," and a city-planning game in early 2012. And the Cartoonist, which aims to bring newsgames to the masses, showed off a working prototype of the Cartoonist engine for the first time during a demo day hosted by a Georgia Tech research center.

m&a alive and well

There's been no shortage of examples of innovation on Idea Lab, and innovation can, and did this year, lead to acquisitions. Spot.Us, a journalism crowdfunding project that was launched in November of 2008, announced that it was acquired by the Public Insight Network, which is part of American Public Media. "I hope that as Spot.Us and PIN merge, we can continue to push the boundaries in transparency and participation in the process of journalism so that media organizations can better serve the public," Spot.Us founder David Cohn wrote in a post announcing the acquisition.

And earlier in the year, DocumentCloud announced that it had found a long-term home for its project. The startup, which is a catalog of primary source documents and a tool for annotating, organizing and publishing them on the web, merged operations with Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a non-profit grassroots organization committed to fostering excellence in investigative journalism. "IRE has a long and established history of supporting investigative reporting, and we'll be a proud part of their ongoing work to provide journalists with tools that support their reporting," Amanda Hickman, DocumentCloud's former program director, announced.

hacking away

Thumbnail image for hacktoberfest-circle.jpg

The end of September brought with it a four-day hackathon in Berlin organized by Knight-Mozilla, and bringing together programmers and journalists from all over the world. Dan Sinker, who heads up the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership for Mozilla, wrote about the event, which jokingly became known as "Hacktoberfest," and followed up with some reflections on data journalism and opportunities for learning.

Just weeks later, Zeega participated in WFMU's Radiovision Festival, where creative developers and digital storytellers came together for a day of hacking and coding called "Re-Inventing Radio." At the festival, Zeega shared an ultra-early alpha version of its Zeega editor and three projects for people to experiment with.

Brought to you live

In November, we decided to host a live chat on Twitter on the use of SMS and texting technology by journalists, news organizations, radio shows and more. MobileActive's Melissa Ulbricht and Sean McDonald of FrontlineSMS were two Knight News Challenge winners who participated in the live chat, in an effort to explain how services and projects are using SMS to help connect people to important news and information in communities where Internet access is limited.

MobileActive released its Mobile Media Toolkit earlier this year, which provides how-to guides, wireless tools, and case studies on how mobile phones are being used for reporting, news broadcasting, and citizen media.

mobilemedia.png

awards and accolades

A key lesson learned this year was that bigger doesn't necessarily mean better when it comes to new media. The Tiziano Project beat out both CNN and NPR at the 2011 Online Journalism Awards, taking home the Community Collaboration award for its project 360 Kurdistan -- an immersive, nonlinear platform for exploring the culture of the region from the perspectives of both local and professional journalists.

The 2011 award from the Knight Foundation will help the Tiziano Project further develop the 360 technology into a scalable platform that other organizations can use, according to Jon Vidar, the project's executive director. "We will then curate these future 360s on an interactive map and develop a communication layer that will sit on top, allowing visitors to participate in a universal dialog with our students," he wrote in a post.

And November saw Knight-Mozilla announce its 2011/12 News Technology fellows. ScraperWiki's Nicola Hughes and Dan Schultz, a 2007 Knight News Challenge winner and tech wizard extraordinaire for our MediaShift and Idea Lab sites, were two of the innovators who were selected to participate in helping newsrooms around the world develop prototypes for digitally delivering news and information.

No doubt there will be more fantastic innovations and awards to come in 2012! We're looking forward to sharing them with you here on Idea Lab.

December 20 2011

23:23

Net2 Featured Projects 2011: Expert Patient 2.0

The first project to appear in our “reflections on 2011” blog series is Expert Patient 2.0, a project submitted to the NetSquared Project Gallery in June 2011. To better understand the idea behind the project, and learn more what happened since it was submitted to the Project Gallery I talked to Dr. Manuel Serrano Gill, an M.D/Ph.D from Spain who is a president of the Education Health and Society Foundation -- a non-profit national institution, based in the Murcia Community in Spain.

If you have any questions to the interviewee or myself, please do not hesitate to ask. Also: feel free to reach out to Dr. Serrano or to the NetSquared team if you would like to support the Expert Patient Project or collaborate on it.

 

Where It All Starts

Expert Patient is based on exploring how illness management practices are embedded into people’s everyday life, and encourage patients who are currently undergoing a treatment, or successfully finished it to share their experience with others. The overall aim of the project is to empower the patients who suffer from obesity or diabetes by enabling them to act as active participants of the treatment process. Expert Patient 2.0 wants to take the offline therapy meetings to another level -- we can talk and exchange best practises quicker and more effectively in the new 2.0 reality. This is where technology comes into play.

 

2.0

The goal of Expert Patient 2.0 is to translate Dr. Serrano’s expertise into a successful online illness management system. The project would be located on an interactive platform and would involve webinars, video testimonials, articles, forums and online meetups. Even though Dr. Serrano’s project originates from Murcia, Spain it already has an international dimension, as similar activities are taking place in Russia. The project’s aim is to be come truly global (reach-wise), and very local.

 

What Happened since?

Since Dr. Serrano submitted his project to the NetSquared Project Gallery, he has spoken about the concept at many conferences including one on new horizons of medical care in Novosybirsk, Russia, and has been actively looking for collaborators. 

Leave a comment below or contact the Net2 team -- we will connect you with the Expert Patient 2.0 team!

 

Coming soon are the blog posts about other great projects and ideas that were submitted to the Net2 Project Gallery in 2011. Want to know which ones? Stay tuned!

 

June 26 2011

05:03

On Twitter, Facebook - BET aims for ‘most social awards show ever’

Lost Remote :: The 2011 BET Awards will kick off this Sunday night at 8 ET with multiple levels of social engagement. BET’s new director of social media, JP Lespinasse (formerly with the NBA), says the network’s “mission is to make this the most social awards show ever.

BET targets the needs of young Black adults from, as they say "an authentic, unapologetic viewpoint of the Black experience."  In addition, outstanding mega-specials such as the BET AWARDS, which is the #1 Awards Show on Cable Television, keeps viewers regularly tuned in for the latest and greatest in black entertainment.

Continue to read Natan Edelsburg, www.lostremote.com

June 05 2011

10:17

Social Habit 2011: how far apart are influence measures of Klout, Hexagon, Radian6 from actual reality?

BrandSavant :: The Social Habit 2011 study by Edison Research - While 24% of social networking users named Facebook as the “most influential” to their purchase decisions, no other site or service broke 1%, including Twitter (which was just at 1%, actually). So, for this particular question, Facebook was named 24 times more often.  But all of the new crop of sites and services that measure sentiment, buzz and influence, from Klout to Crimson Hexagon to Radian6, rely heavily on Twitter, the Internet’s great easy button, as their most easily accessible source of unstructured social media data.

How far apart are the measures you derive from these services from actual reality?

Continue to read Tom Webster, brandsavant.com

March 01 2011

11:32

50+ New WordPress Themes: March 2011

A few things can be learned from this latest roundup of new WordPress themes, all released within the past five months or so.

First of all, there’s a definite trend toward more premium themes, with fewer high-quality free themes available.

Minimalist and simple, clean themes are definitely the favorite of designers at the moment, representing the vast majority of the themes in this roundup.

There’s also been an increase in jQuery integration in themes, though this has been a growing trend for awhile now.

A large percentage of themes in this list have at least some jQuery integration built-in, and some have quite a lot.

Free Themes

High quality free themes are getting rarer. Sure, there are still plenty of great options out there, but it seems like fewer free themes are being released at all, and finding the high-quality ones is even harder. Below are more than twenty high-quality free themes released in the past five months or so.

Imbalance

Imbalance is a minimalist, grid-based theme. It’s jQuery-powered, and is perfectly suited for a blog, magazine, or portfolio site.


Blogum

Blogum is simple and minimalist, with a grid-based layout. It includes a jQuery image preloader, built-in support for social bookmarking, and clean typography.


Studio Dessign

Studio Dessign, from Dessign, is another modern, grid-based theme. It has a black and white color scheme, valid code, and simple typography.


Big Square

Big Square is a clean, minimalist theme that focuses on big images, and is perfect for any blog or site that uses a lot of images in their posts.


Placeholder

Placeholder, from WooThemes is a new “coming soon” style theme. It includes a countdown timer, e-mail opt-in, and social buttons to so your visitors can stay updated and share your site with their network.


Skeptical

Skeptical is another free WooThemes theme, with custom typography and an alternative sidebar option. It also supports Google Fonts, and has four alternative color styles, as well as options for a custom background color or image and link color.


Portfolium

Portfolium is a dark portfolio theme, ideal for artists, photographers, designers, and other creatives. It also includes a blog page template, for more text-based content.


Suburbia

Suburbia is a clean and elegant magazine-style theme, with a grid-based layout and two featured posts on the home page. It’s widget-ready and includes a logo uploader.


Sight

Sight is a more traditional magazine-style blog theme. It includes a jQuery featured post carousel, custom widgets, custom logo upload, and two pagination types.


Style Dessign

Style Dessign is a clean, black, white and gray, grid-based design. It puts the emphasis on images for each post, and has a very modern feel.


iTheme2

iTheme2 is a Mac OSX-styles theme. It auto-adjusts the theme layout using media queries, has a customizable feature slider, and two theme skins.


Spectacular

Spectacular is a great free theme released by Smashing Magazine. It’s been released in both HTML5 and HTML4.01. The design has a vintage feel, with tons of textures and a fantastic retro color scheme.


Jenzoo

Jenzoo is a professional theme that includes a number of individual page templates (front page, portfolio page, blog page). It also includes a functional contact form, drop-down menus, Google Analytics integration, and a logo uploader.


JournalCrunch

JournalCrunch, designed by Site5 and released by Smashing Magazine, offers a grid-based layout and theme options page. It includes nine shortcodes, a built-in Latest Tweets widget, jQuery-based drop-down menus, PrettyPhoto lightbox, and forms, and a custom homepage template.


Video

Video is a dark, clean theme aimed at video bloggers or others with a lot of video content. It includes custom taxonomy, as well as custom pages for video details, video listings, and other specialized content.


Cenutis Magazine

Cenutis Magazine is a very simple magazine theme with a content slider, six banner ad slots on the home page, and a social bookmark widget. It also includes post thumbnails, a PSD logo file, and a featured news section.


Woody Magazine

Woody Magazine is a dark magazine theme, with a built-in content slider and Mygallery, as well as featured news. It includes five banner ad slots, theme options, and a social bookmark widget.


Latest Tribune

Latest Tribune is a black, white, and red news theme, with multiple featured content sections on the home page. It has two top navigation bars, a content slider, and space for banner ads.


Numberto Magazine

Numerto Magazine is a streamlined, minimalist magazine theme, with a muted color scheme. It includes two columns and five widgetized sidebars, as well as threaded comments, and post thumbnails.


Computis Magazine

Computis Magazine is a dark magazine theme, with a built-in content slider and two columns. There are five sidebars, five banner ad slots (that can be turned off), and threaded comments.


Kalixo Magazine

Kalixo Magazine is a magazine-style theme with a woodgrain background and a grid layout. It has two columns and two sidebars, a PSD logo file, and threaded comments.


Yellow Magazine

Yellow Magazine is a clean, streamlined magazine layout with a gold color scheme. It includes a content slider, two columns, two sidebars, and social bookmarks.


Gamelison Magazine

Gameliso Magazine is a gray and red theme with a unique content slider. It includes admin page options, two columns, two sidebars, and is widget-ready.


Natolinis Mag

Natolinis Mag is a clean, black and white theme with red accents. It includes plenty of banner ad slots (all of which can be turned off), a built-in content slider, and two columns.


Premium Themes

There are dozens, maybe even hundreds, of new premium themes being released on a monthly basis now. Designers and developers are experimenting more with the capabilities of WordPress not only as a blogging platform, but also as a CMS (and even as a specialized CMS). Below are more than thirty great, quality premium themes, ranging in price from around $20 to more than $100.

Newsy – $39

Newsy is a three-column news theme, with eleven layout options and ten color variant skins. It has two sidebars, a header slider, and supports Google Fonts.


Rezo – $39

Rezo is a premium theme designed specifically for restaurants, bars, and cafes. It includes a homepage feature slider, various layouts for a menu page, a lightbox gallery, and Google Map shortcode functionality.


Photobox – $39

Photobox is a gallery theme, aimed specifically at sites with a ton of images. It includes custom header and footer menus, and multiple layout options (4-column, 3-column, and 2-column).


Edmin – $39

Edmin is an elegant, unconventional theme, with a unique layout. It includes a homepage slider, custom fields, and threaded comments, among other features.


Polar Media – $49-$69

Polar Media is a grid-based theme with an emphasis on images. It’s aimed at news sites and personal blogs, though, rather than photo blogs or similar sites.


Restaurant Pro – $49-$69

Restaurant Pro is a theme designed specifically for restaurants, with flexible options for things like your menu page, advanced design control, and fast setup.


Me’gusta $49-$69

Me’gusta is a simple, green and white theme, aimed at green businesses. It includes advanced design control, support for multiple sliders, portfolios, and blogs on a single page, and 21 advanced widgets.


Memoir – $39 (for all themes)

Memoir is a beautiful premium theme with a photo background, and four unique color schemes. It includes shortcodes, complete localization, page templates, and ePanel theme options.


Magnificent – $39 (for all themes)

Magnificent is a flexible theme with seven unique color schemes, automated thumbnail resizing, and advertising management. It also includes ePanel theme options, a shortcodes collection, page templates, and more.


Supreme – $25

Supreme is a new theme from Natty WP, designed for news, magazine, personal, or community sites. It includes 28 different jQuery staging effects for the layout, as well as six custom page templates.


Elefolio – $70-$150

Elefolio, from WooThemes, offers a custom homepage and portfolio section, as well as custom typography. It includes nine custom color styles, custom widgets, and tumblog functionality, too.


Auld – $70-$150

Auld is a tumblog theme for WordPress, from WooThemes. It includes ten alternative color styles, custom typography and widgets, and jQuery post alignment.


BrestLite – $19.50

BrestLite is a magazine-style theme with four color schemes, a featured Coin slider, and WP 3.0 custom background and menu options. It also includes some CSS3 features and a customizable layout.


Jai – $35

Jai is a clean style portfolio template, aimed at photographers. It has an extensive admin panel, a built-in color picker for unlimited color schemes, seven homepage slider styles, three header fonts, and a lot more.


Anolox – $35

Anolox is a premium portfolio theme with three homepage layout options and five color variations. It also includes five custom widgets and an ajax contact form.


Through the Lens – $30

Through the Lens is a versatile theme that’s suitable for a blog, photography site, portfolio, and more. It includes seven different color schemes, and CSS3 styling.


WikiBase – $65-$99

WikiBase is a specialized WP theme for creating a knowledgebase or wiki site. It has a customizable homepage, page templates, and a theme options page where you can change the color scheme, logo, Favicon, and more.


Events – $65-$99

Events is a special WP theme for creating event websites. It includes a customizable homepage, a featured events function, custom taxonomy, and bulk uploads.


Hand Crafted – $35

Hand Crafted is a beautiful, clean theme with three color variations. It’s 100% valid HTML5, integrates Google Fonts, and includes a Flickr widget, Twitter integration, and built-in pagination.


Clearly Modern – $35

Clearly Modern is a flexible, 12-column-grid-based theme. It includes sliders, galleries, custom shortcodes, multi-level drop down navigation, and more.


Duotive 2WO – $35

Duotive 2WO is a very versatile theme that includes 17 color schemes and 274 background images. It also has 8 portfolio styles, 5 blog styles, and 10 gallery styles, and WPML support.


Origami – $35

Origami is a highly-customizable theme, with one-click Cufon font replacement, three slider options, and more than fifty shortcodes. It’s built on the 960 Grid System, and include 12 custom widgets, 18 color pricing and other grids, and three button sizes with 18 color options.


Blogue – $29-$49

Blogue is a simple, minimalist theme that puts the focus squarely on your blog’s content. It includes a theme options page, jQuery slideshow to display featured posts, and four color schemes, among other features.


Space – $35

Space is a clean theme with nine color schemes, three slider options, and more than twenty shortcodes. It also includes four portfolio layout options, two blog layout options, and six custom widgets.


Sniper

Sniper is a corporate WordPress theme with eight custom widgets and four widget areas. It also includes nine portfolio/gallery templates, and a custom blog template.


Grounded – $35

Grounded offers 24 Cufon fonts, 2 navigation style options, and 3 sliders. It also includes twelve page templates, eight image frame options, and nine widgets.


Seso – $35

Seso is a clean, minimalist theme with a widgetized front page and jQuery effects. Included are both an HTML and an HTML5 version, dynamic sidebars, and custom widgets.


Widezine – $35

Widezine is a fluid layout theme with a fully-widgetized homepage and nine custom widgets. It includes two skins (light and dark), a custom admin panel, and full documentation.


Sophis – $30

Sophis is a vintage-style theme, with five premade skins. It includes a color-picker for the background, shortcodes, and a Nivo Slider.


FreshStart – $35

FreshStart is a clean theme with multiple templates and nine custom widgets. It includes a simple slider for your portfolio, shortcodes, and five color schemes.


Child Care Creative – $40

Child Care Creative is a specialized theme aimed at child care or similar businesses. It has a kid-friendly design, two different homepage layouts, header options, and more.


Layover – $35

Layover is a minimalist theme that can be used as a foundation for a custom design, or as it is. It includes shortcodes, slider options, pricing grids, and more.


Compiled exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.

Know of a great new theme released since last fall that we missed? Let us know in the comments!


If you find an exclusive RSS freebie on this feed or on the live WDD website, please use the following code to download it: O1Rs1S



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January 19 2011

13:59

Camps: Setting the stage for 2011

Earlier this week, we shared some of the lessons we learned from running the 2010 Camps Pilot. Not only did we learn a lot, we also got pretty darn excited for all that this network of changemakers can do! I’m writing today to share some of our ideas with you, ask for your feedback, and hear what you think about Camps 2011.

Cultivating the bottom-up

Communities have been solving their own problems for millenia. The networked nature of the web provides us with ways to harness new resources towards local issues, and our web-based platform provides us with a relatively easy way to surface and curate project success stories to our global audience. Together, harnessing human capital on the web, coupled with a networked approach to cultivating and supporting action networks offline creates an environment where there are entry-points for actors at both the local and global level. Funders, technology companies and volunteers are able to plug-in wherever most appropriate, based on their own capacities, interests and aspirations.

The Camps program is designed to provide both a space for people to share and learn, but also to develop new solutions. At the organizational level, we see our role as the ‘context providers’ -- whereby, we create a framework for community organizing while providing some of the tools, resources and support in order to increase the likelihood of success of all participants. By design, we recognize that the energy, ideas and innovations come not from us, but from the bottom-up, and it’s the activities happening at the local level that can change the world. As regional events play out, our job is to curate the stories that emerge from the network, and to work with our partners to harness resources where there is need.

More breadth and depth

The 2010 Pilot saw events in 6 cities, in 4 countries (with over 500 engaged participants). We think the resources and lessons can scale further and have set new goals for 2011. Specifically, we’re aiming to mobilize at least 1000 people this year at regional events in as many as 10 countries around the globe.

You can check out the previous post in this series which included highlights of what we learned in the 2010 Pilot. What’s important to note here? We learned a lot, and will be bringing those lessons with us as we co-develop the Camps program this year with participating organizers. We’re committed to bolstering more resources towards the effort with our technology partners and sponsors, while addressing some of the barriers to collaboration we identified last year (including translation issues). As usual, we’ll be addressing these issues with the organizers, partners and participants, but if you have ideas or other examples we can learn from, please drop us a line any time!

From Local To Global: Surfacing Local Success Stories via NetSquared Challenges

Part of the NetSquared platform for the last 5 years has been the open innovation “Challenges” that open up a call for ideas to the world of innovators working at the intersection of technology and social change. Projects like Ushahidi, See-Click-Fix, and Frontline SMS: Medic received some of their initial funding through participation in the NetSquared Challenges and we are excited about the idea of combining the Challenge process with Camps taking place in local communities around the world.

Here’s the idea in a nutshell: Each Camp could administer a local NetSquared Challenge to surface great ideas for new tools, mashups, or strategies that local organizations are developing to extend the reach and impact of their work.

We are hopeful that by surfacing innovative Projects, mobilizing participation at the local and global level, and providing various entry-points for local participation, we can best leverage our position as a global social enterprise to harness resources on behalf of these projects. We’re excited about the potential of a community-driven approach, as it provides the communities we serve with the means to design social-benefit projects that address contextually appropriate solutions, while leveraging the knowledge, passion and interests of NetSquared’s mission-driven global network.

We are looking for your feedback to help shape the Camps 2011 plan! If you have thoughts on including Challenges or anything else, just leave a comment to let us know!

January 07 2011

17:30

This Week in Review: The FCC’s big compromise, WikiLeaks wrestles with the media, and a look at 2011

[Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week's top stories about the future of news and the debates that grew up around them. —Josh]

A net neutrality compromise: The Review might have taken two weeks off for the holidays, but the rest of the future-of-news world kept on humming. Consider this more your “Holidays in Review” than your “Week in Review.” Let’s get to it.

The biggest news development of the past few weeks came just before Christmas, when the FCC passed a set of Internet regulations that were widely characterized as a compromise between net neutrality advocates and big Internet service providers. In essence, the rules will keep ISPs from blocking or slowing services on the traditional wired Internet, but leave the future of wireless regulation more unclear. (Here’s a copy of the order and a helpful explainer from GigaOM.)

In the political realm, the order drew predictable responses from both sides of the aisle: Conservatives (including at least one Republican FCC commissioner) were skeptical of a move toward net neutrality, while liberals (like Democratic Sen. Al Franken) fervently argued for it. In the media-tech world, it was greeted — as compromises usually are — with near-universal disdain. The Economist ran down the list of concerns for net neutrality proponents, led by the worry that the FCC “has handed the wireless carriers a free pass.” This was especially troubling to j-prof Dan Kennedy, who argued that wireless networks will be far more important to the Internet’s future than wired ones.

Salon’s Dan Gillmor said the FCC paid lip service to net neutrality, paving the way for a future more like cable TV than the open web we have now. Newsweek’s Dan Lyons compressed his problems with the order into one statement: “There will soon be a fast Internet for the rich and a slow Internet for the poor.”

From the other side, Slate media critic Jack Shafer, a libertarian, questioned whether the FCC had the power to regulate the Internet at all, and imagined what the early Internet would have been like if the FCC had regulated it then. The Los Angeles Times’ James Rainey told both sides to calm down, and at the Knight Digital Media Center, Amy Gahran used the story as an object lesson for news organizations in getting and linking to the source documents in question.

WikiLeaks and the media’s awkward dance: The long tail of this fall’s WikiLeaks story continues to run on, meandering into several different areas over the holidays. There are, of course, ongoing efforts to silence WikiLeaks, both corporate (Apple pulled the WikiLeaks app from its store) and governmental (a bill to punish circulation of similar classified information was introduced, and criticized by law prof Geoffrey Stone).

In addition, Vanity Fair published a long piece examining the relationship between WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and The Guardian, the first newspaper to partner with him. Based on the story, Slate’s Jack Shafer marveled at Assange’s shrewdness and gamesmanship (“unequaled in the history of journalism”), Reuters’ Felix Salmon questioned Assange’s mental health, and The Atlantic’s Nicholas Jackson wondered why The Guardian still seems to be playing by Assange’s rules.

We also saw the blowup of Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald’s feud with Wired over some chat logs between alleged WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning and the man who turned him in. It’s a complicated fight I’m not going to delve into here, but if you’d like to know more, here are two good blow-by-blows, one more partial to Wired, and another more sympathetic to Greenwald.

Greenwald has also continued to be one of the people leading the inquiries into the traditional media’s lack of support for WikiLeaks. Alternet rebutted several media misconceptions about WikiLeaks, and Newsweek attempted to explain why the American press is so lukewarm on WikiLeaks — they aren’t into advocacy, and they don’t like Assange’s purpose or methods. One of the central questions to that media cold-shoulder might be whether Assange is considered a journalist, something GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram tried to tackle.

Other, more open critiques of WikiLeaks continue to trickle out, including ones from author Jaron Lanier and Floyd Abrams, a lawyer who argued for The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case. Abrams’ argument prompted rebuttals from Jack Shafer and NYU prof Clay Shirky. Shirky in particular offered a nuanced comparison of the Pentagon Papers-era Times and the globally oriented WikiLeaks, concluding that “the old rules will not produce the old outcomes.” If you’re still hungry for WikiLeaks analysis, John Bracken’s rounded up the best of the year here.

Looking back, and looking forward: We rang in the new year last week, and that, of course, always means two things in the media world: year-end retrospectives, and previews of the year to come. The Lab wrapped up its own year in review/preview before Christmas with a review of Martin Langeveld’s predictions for 2010. PBS’ MediaShift also put together a good set of year-end reviews, including ones on self-publishing, the rapidly shifting magazine industry, a top-ten list of media stories (led by WikiLeaks, Facebook, and the iPad). You can also get a pretty good snapshot of the media year that was by taking a look at AOL’s list of the top tech writing of 2010.

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds examined the year in newspaper stock prices (not great, but could’ve been worse), while media consultant Alan Mutter explained that investors tended to stay away from debt-laden newspaper companies in particular.

As for the year to come, the Lab’s readers weighed in — you like ProPublica, The Huffington Post, and Clay Shirky, and you’re split on paywalls — and several others chimed in with their predictions, too. Among the more interesting prognostications: New York Times media critic David Carr sees tablets accelerating our ongoing media convergence, The Next Web forecasts a lot of blogs making the Gawker-esque beyond the blog format, Mashable’s Vadim Lavrusik predicts the death of the foreign correspondent, TBD’s Steve Buttry sees many journalism trade organizations merging, and the Lab’s Martin Langeveld thinks we’ll see John Paton’s innovative measures at the Journal Register Co. slowly begin to be emulated elsewhere in the newspaper industry.

Two other folks went outside the predictions mold for their 2011 previews: media analyst Ken Doctor looked at 11 pieces of conventional wisdom the media industry will test this year, and the University of Colorado’s Steve Outing outlined his wishes for the new year. Specifically, he wants to see News Corp. and The New York Times’ paid-content plans fail, and to see news execs try a value-added membership model instead. “This will require that news publishers actually work their butts off to sell, rather than sit back and expect people to fork over money “just because” everyone should support journalism,” he wrote.

Rethinking publishing for the tablet: One theme for the new year in media that’s already emerged is the impending dominance of the tablet. As The New York Times’ Joshua Brustein wrote, that was supposed to be the theme last year, too, but only the iPad was the only device able to get off the ground in any meaningful way. Several of Apple’s competitors are gearing up to make their push this year instead; The Times’ Nick Bilton predicted that companies that try to one-up Apple with bells and whistles will fail, though Google may come up with a legitimate iPad rival.

Google has begun work toward that end, looking for support from publishers to develop a newsstand to compete with Apple’s app store. And Amazon’s Kindle is doing fine despite the iPad’s popularity, TechCrunch argued. Meanwhile, Women’s Wear Daily reported that magazine app sales on the iPad are down from earlier in the year, though Mashable’s Lauren Indvik argued that the numbers aren’t as bad as they seem.

The magazine numbers prompted quite a bit of analysis of what’s gone wrong with magazine apps. British entrepreneur Andrew Walkingshaw ripped news organizations for a lack of innovation in their tablet editions — “tablets are always-on, tactile, completely reconfigurable, great-looking, permanently jacked into the Internet plumbing, and you’re using them to make skeumorphic newspaper clones?” — and French media consultant Frederic Filloux made similar points, urging publishers to come up with new design concepts and develop a coherent pricing structure (something Econsultancy’s Patricio Robles had a problem with, too).

There were plenty of other suggestions for tablet publications, too: GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram said they should focus on filtering the web, MG Siegler of TechCrunch asked for an easy-to-use newsstand rather than a system of standalone apps, and Alan Mutter suggested magazines lower the prices and cut down on the technical glitches.

Three others focused specifically on the tablet publishing business model: At the Lab, Ken Doctor gave us three big numbers to watch in determining where this is headed, entrepreneur Bradford Cross proposed a more ad-based model revolving around connections to the open web, and venture capitalist Fred Wilson predicted that the mobile economy will soon begin looking more like the web economy.

Reading roundup: A few items worth taking a look at over the weekend:

— The flare-up du jour in the tech world is over RSS, and specifically, whether or not it is indeed still alive. Web designer Kroc Camen suggested it might be dying, TechCrunch’s MG Siegler fingered Twitter and Facebook as the cause, Dave Winer (who helped develop RSS) took umbrage, and GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram and The Guardian’s Martin Belam defended RSS’ relevance.

— Add the Dallas Morning News to the list of paywalled (or soon-to-be-paywalled) papers to watch: It announced it will launch a paid-content plan Feb. 15. The Lab’s Justin Ellis shed light on Morning News’ thinking behind the plan. PaidContent’s Staci Kramer also broke down a Pew report on paying for online content.

— For the many writers are considering how to balance social media and longer-form writing, two thoughtful pieces to take a look at: Wired’s Clive Thompson on the way tweets and texts can work in concert in-depth analysis, and Anil Dash on the importance of blogging good ideas.

— Finally, NPR’s Matt Thompson put together 10 fantastic lessons for the future of media, all coming from women who putting them into action. It’s an encouraging, inspiring set of insights.

January 06 2011

09:42

January Net2 Think Tank: Wishes and Predictions for 2011

Recently, Joe Solomon shared his expectations for 2011 in his NetSquared blog post, Reflecting On 2011 - The Year Online Organizers Got Real. In the post he explains how he expects those working in nonprofit online organizing to increase their impact by shifting from an emphasis of online tools to real, offline events. 

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December 29 2010

19:05

Trend for 2011: Collaborative story-telling on social media

For the January edition of UBC Reports, entitled The Next Big Thing, I was one of the UBC researchers asked to look ahead to trends for the coming years.

My contribution considers the potential of collaborative story-telling via social media tools such as Twitter, where we tell stories together, one tweet at a time.

Journalism surrounds us. Much of it is, literally, ambient, and being produced by professionals and citizens alike. Citizens – the former audience – are committing acts of journalism as they share experiences, photos, videos and links on social media services like Facebook and Twitter.

The major challenge facing ambient journalism is that so much of it. But fears of information overload are no new. In fact, similar concerns emerged as thousands of books were published thanks to Gutenberg’s printing press.

We are at a similar stage with social media. Traditionally the journalist has been the mechanism to filter, organize and interpret information and deliver the news in ready-made packages. But the thousands of acts of journalism on social media make it impossible for an individual to identify the collective sum of knowledge contained in the micro-fragments. Instead, researchers are working to develop media systems that can process, analyze and contextualize the data.

In 2011, we can expect a range of new tools and services vying to be the best in negotiating and deriving meaning from these streams of connected data.

Read the full piece at UBC Reports.

December 20 2010

07:23

December Net2 Think Tank Round-up: Reflecting Back On 2010

Earlier this month, we asked you to share your your reflections on the world of technology and social benefit in 2010. We wanted to learn which nonprofit-technology-related content, innovations, events, and ideas stand out as being the big game-changers for the year. Below, we've compiled all of the community responses for this month's Net2 Think Tank!

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December 17 2010

19:30

This Week in Review: Taking sides on WikiLeaks, the iPad/print dilemma, and the new syndication

[Every Friday, Mark Coddington sums up the week's top stories about the future of news and the debates that grew up around them. —Josh]

The media and WikiLeaks’ uneasy coexistence: The current iteration of the WikiLeaks story is about to move into its fourth week, and it continues to swallow up most future-of-journalism news in its path. By now, it’s branched out into several distinct facets, and we’ll briefly track down each of those, but here are the essentials this week: If you want the basics, Gawker has put together a wonderful explainer for you. If you want to dive deep into the minutiae, there’s no better way than Dave Winer’s wikiriver of relevant news feeds. Other good background info is this Swedish documentary on WikiLeaks, posted here in YouTube form.

The big news development this week was WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s release from British jail on bail Thursday. As blow-by-blow accounts of the legal situation go, you can’t beat The Guardian’s. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is trying to build a conspiracy case against Assange by connecting him more explicitly to Bradley Manning’s leak, and Congress heard testimony on the subject Thursday.

— The first WikiLeaks substory is the ongoing discussion about the actions of the legions of web-based “hacktivists,” led by Anonymous, making counterattacks on WikiLeaks’ behalf. Having gone after several sites last week (including one mistakenly), some activists began talking in terms of “cyber-war” — though GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram cautioned against that type of language from all sides — and were urged on from jail by Assange. NYU professor Gabriella Coleman gave a glimpse into the inner workings of Anonymous, and they also drew plenty of criticism, too, from thinkers like British author Andrew Keen. Media consultant Deanna Zandt offered a thoughtful take on the ethics of cyber-activism.

— The second facet here is the emergence of Openleaks, a leaking organization formally launched this week by WikiLeaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg as an alternative to Assange’s group. As Domscheit-Berg explained to several outlets including Forbes, Openleaks will act as a more neutral conduit to leaks than WikiLeaks, which ended up publishing its leaks, something Openleaks won’t do. Wired compared it with WikiLeaks’ rejected 2009 Knight News Challenge proposal, in which it would have functioned primarily as an anonymous submission system for leaks to local news organizations. Openleaks won’t be the last, either: As The Economist noted, if file-sharing is any guide, we’ll see scores of rivals (or comrades).

— The third story is the reaction of various branches of the traditional media, which have been decidedly mixed. WikiLeaks has gotten some support from several corners of the industry, including the faculty of the venerable Columbia School of Journalism, the press in Assange’s native Australia, and Northeastern j-prof Dan Kennedy and numerous other British and American professors and journalists, both in The Guardian. But it’s also been tweaked by others — at the Nieman Foundation Thursday, New York Times editor Bill Keller said that if Assange is a journalist, “he’s not the kind of journalist that I am.”

Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald ripped what he called the mainstream media’s “servile role” to the government in parroting its attitudes toward WikiLeaks, then later argued that the government’s prosecution of WikiLeaks would be a prosecution of investigative journalism in general. Arianna Huffington also chastised the establishment media, arguing that they’re just as much establishment as media. Likewise, Morris’ Steve Yelvington listed five reasons the media hasn’t shown outrage about the government’s backlash against WikiLeaks, including the point that the segment of the American mainstream media concerned about national issues is a shell of its former self.

— All of this provided plenty of fodder for a couple of conferences on WikiLeaks, Internet freedom, and secrecy. Last weekend, the Personal Democracy Forum held a symposium on the subject — you can watch a replay here, as well as a good summary by GRITtv and additional videos on the state of the Internet and online civil disobedience. Micah Sifry offered a thoughtful take on the event afterwards, saying that longings for a “more responsible” version of WikiLeaks might be naive: It’s “far more likely that something far more disruptive to the current order — a distributed and unstoppable system for spreading information — is what is coming next,” he wrote.

And on Thursday, the Nieman Foundation held its own one-day conference on journalism and secrecy that included keynotes by the AP’s Kathleen Carroll and Keller (who distanced himself from Assange but defended The Times’ decision to publish). If you want to go deeper into the conversation at the conference, the #niemanleaks hashtag on Twitter is a good place to start.

Will the iPad eat into print?: The iPad news this week starts with the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute, which released a study that suggests, based on survey data, that iPad news apps may cut into newspaper subscriptions by next year. There’s a ton of other interesting data on how iPads are being used and how users are comparing them to print newspapers and newspaper websites, but one statistic — 58 percent of those who subscribe to a print newspaper and use their iPad for more than an hour a day planned to cancel their print subscription within six months — was what drew the headlines. Alan Mutter said publishers have to like the demographics of the iPad’s prime users, but have to wonder whether developing print-like iPad apps is worth it.

Several news organizations introduced new iPad apps this week, led by CNN. Poynter’s Damon Kiesow talked to CNN about the rationale behind its photo-oriented multitouch design, and MocoNews’ Ingrid Lunden looked at why CNN might have made their app free. Steve Safran of Lost Remote liked the app’s design and sociability. Also, the New York Daily News launched a paid (though cheaper than the New York Post) app, and Harper’s added its own iPad offering as well.

Meanwhile, Flipboard, the inaugural iPad app of the year, launched a new version this week. Forbes’ Quentin Hardy talked to Flipboard’s CEO about the vision behind the new app, and The Wall Street Journal wrote about innovative iPad news apps in general. The Washington Post’s Justin Ferrell talked to the Lab’s Justin Ellis about how to design news apps for the iPad. In advertising, Apple launched its first iPad iAd, which seems to be essentially a fully formed advertisement app. One iPad app that’s not coming out this week: Rupert Murdoch’s “tablet newspaper” The Daily, whose launch has reportedly been postponed until next year.

Looking ahead to 2011: We’re nearing the end of the December, which means we’re about to see the year-end reviews and previews start to roll in. The Lab got them kicked off this week by asking its readers for predictions of what 2011 will bring in the journalism world, then publishing the predictions of some of the smartest future-of-news folks in the room.

All of the posts are worth checking out, but there are a few I want to note in particular — The AP’s Jonathan Stray on moving beyond content tribalism (“a news product that refuses to provide me with high-quality filtering and curation of the rest of the world’s information will only ever be an endpoint”), NPR’s Matt Thompson on instant speech transcription (“the Speakularity”), tech pioneer Dave Winer on adjusting to the new news distribution system (“That’s the question news people never seem to ask. How can we create something that has a market?”), and a couple of paid-content predictions on The New York Times and by Steven Brill (who has skin in the game).

The prediction post that generated the most discussion was NYU professor Clay Shirky’s piece on the dismantling of the old-media syndication system. GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram expanded on the idea, connecting it explicitly to Google News and the Associated Press, and asking, “In a world where the power to syndicate is available to all, does anyone want what AP is selling?” USC’s Pekka Pekkala explained why he sees this as a positive development for journalists and niche content producers.

As if on cue, Thomson Reuters announced the launch of its new American news service, one that seems as though it might combine traditional news syndication with some elements of modern aggregation. Media analyst Ken Doctor gave some more details about the new service and its deal with the Tribune Co., and Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan was skeptical of this potential new direction for newswires.

Reading roundup: A few good pieces before I send you on your way:

— First, one quick bit of news: The social bookmarking service Delicious was reportedly shutting down, but a Friday blog post seemed to indicate it may live on outside of Yahoo. Here’s a short ode from Mark Luckie at 10,000 Words and a list of alternatives from Search Engine Land.

— At the London Review of Books, British journalist John Lanchester has written an essay making a case for why and how the newspaper industry needs to charge for news online. Anti-paywall folks aren’t going to be crazy about it, but it’s far from the stereotypical revanchist “Make ‘em pay, just ’cause they should” pro-pay argument: “Make the process as easy as possible. Make it invisible and transparent. Make us register once and once only. Walls are not the way forward, but walls are not the same thing as payment, and without some form of payment, the press will not be here in five years’ time.”

— A couple of close looks at what news organizations are doing right: The Atlantic’s web transformation and tips on multimedia storytelling from NPR’s acclaimed Planet Money.

— A North Carolina j-prof and Duke grad student came together (!) to urge news organizations to incorporate more of the tenets of citizen journalism. They have a few specific, practical suggestions, too.

— British journalist Adam Westbrook gave his goodbye to mainstream media, making a smart case that the future lies outside its gates.

— Finally, Jonathan Stray, an AP editor and Lab contributor, has a brilliant essay challenging journalists and news organizations to develop a richer, more fully formed idea of what journalism is for. It may be a convicting piece, but it offers an encouraging vision for the future — and the opportunity for reform — too.

December 07 2010

18:00

Our first annual Lab reader poll: Tell us what 2011 will bring for the news

I like to think of our readers as our greatest resource; it’s almost alarming how many brilliant, nerdy, forward-thinking, occasionally-combative-but-usually-generous people we are lucky enough to have in our audience. So we’d like to pick your giant collective brain.

With 2011 coming around the corner, we thought it would be fun to ask you what you saw coming in the new year. Below are 25 questions that ask what the world looks like inside your crystal ball. We’ll add up your answers and report the results in a few days. Then, in a year, we’ll report back on what really happened. (Accountability journalism!) Fill out your answers below and hit submit.

December 01 2010

10:59

December Net2 Think Tank: Reflecting back on 2010

It's December and that means a new year will soon be upon us! As we head into 2011, let's take a moment to reflect on the big accomplishments from 2010! When you look back at the world of innovation and social benefit this year, what are the key things that come to mind? Share your reflections with the NetSquared Community!

Topic:

Share your favorite NPTech content, innovations, events, and ideas from 2010! What was your most popular event or post from the last year? What new tool could you not live without? Do you have a favorite post or a defining theme that dominated 2010? 

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