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January 03 2012

15:20

How We Created a Startup Culture at ASU's Cronkite School

It was a few days before the end of the fall 2011 semester, and a friend at a small southern university was bemoaning the lack of innovative spirit among her students. She'd built in an entrepreneurial module into her class, but only a small percentage of the students took the bait to even try to come up with a business idea.

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By contrast, on that very same day, my office was buzzing with students seemingly in no hurry to pack up for the holidays and head home. And, interestingly, only one of them was my actual student. One was a Cronkite School of Journalism freshman who had heard me speak to her class and wanted to run an idea past me. A Cronkite sophomore had a major media company interested in a Microsoft Word plug-in he had come up with and wanted to make sure it was actually doable. Another was a business major at Arizona State University's Carey School who needed some advice on developing an iPad application that he got $5,000 in seed money to build. An ASU engineering major wanted to make sure he could get on my schedule before the end of the year to talk through plans for his new business for the coming year.

As I was looking into the earnest faces of the students who paraded in and out of my office that day, with their Power Point presentations and legal yellow pads filled with sketches for their big ideas, I thought about what made the difference between my friend's institution of higher education and my own.

encouraging innovation

At ASU, innovation and entrepreneurship are being pushed everywhere you go. Funding contests abound such as the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative, which funds up to $20,000 per student team; the ASU Innovation Challenge, in which each student team can win up to $10,000 for an idea; the Performing Arts Venture Experience gives away up to $5,000 for student ideas, and the new 10,000 Solutions provides up to $10,000 to fund good ideas from students, staff, faculty and community members on how to impact local and global communities.

Additionally, Cronkite School students (and faculty) are encouraged to submit ideas for Knight News Challenge and J-Lab Women Entrepreneurs grants, and those winners are heralded as much as winners of journalism contests.

Professors at Cronkite and other schools bake pitch session into their syllabi so students are thinking of the practical as well as the theoretical. I recently sat in on a pitch session at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation where nutrition and health majors were trying to answer two questions with fresh ideas: How do we get Americans to drink more water, and how do we get sedentary office workers to move more?

The university also tries to make it easier for like-minded entrepreneurs to find each other. Each of the four ASU campuses have Changemaker Centers where students from different majors can hang out and kick around the "what if" questions. I've always kept an open door policy at my own lab, Cronkite's Digital Media and Entrepreneurship Lab, where students from any major can pop in to talk, and they do. In the past academic year, I've helped a public policy major think through an iPhone app to help track lost pets and a social work major create a proposal for a volunteer matching site for high school students and non-profits. Journalists for local media companies stop by to hash out ideas as well, and I am really excited about a couple of projects in the works.

University President Michael Crow employs Entrepreneurs-in-Residence who help student startups get their footing but who also help faculty working on innovation and entrepreneurship at such a large university find and support each other. It helps that professors at the College of Technology and Innovation know that I'm looking for Objective C engineers to hire or that faculty at the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning might be interested in collaborating on a mapping project.

like minds unite

Lastly, like minds like being around each other. At Cronkite, we've hosted News Foo for two years running, and a fall Where Camp attracted several dozens of data nerds for a weekend hack fest. Cronkite students are encouraged to attend local startup weekends around the area and conferences out at the university's Sky Song business incubator. It was at such a startup weekend last spring that one of my graphic design students hacked together his latest venture that is attracting angel investments; a few weeks ago, he dropped out of school to move to Silicon Valley to give it a try.

Several adjunct professors at Cronkite are working on startups, and the school employs both a technologist-in-residence and an entrepreneur-in-residence. Next door to my lab, a startup Network, Magicdust Television, has launched a hybrid digital media/television show called RightThisMinute that is produced in the Cronkite building and employs Cronkite students.

So it's no wonder that a lot of students at Cronkite and other ASU schools have the entrepreneurship bug, and especially a penchant for social entrepreneurship. Yeah, it's a cold, cruel world and a god-awful economy, but the message over here, at least, is that such a reality only provides another opportunity to do something about it.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Nick Bastian.

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.

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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

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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.

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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 27 2011

15:20

If We Were Starting NPR's Project Argo in 2012

For the past two years, I've been working on Project Argo -- a collaboration among NPR and 12 member stations in which the stations launched 12 niche websites on a platform we developed (built on WordPress), each putting their own spin on a common editorial model. As the pilot phase of Argo comes to a close, and we turn our attention to spreading and operationalizing what we've learned more broadly throughout the public media system, the question I get more than any other is, "If you were to start back at the beginning, what would you do differently?"
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I'd reframe the question slightly. If you work in digital media, you know how much this world is still in flux. The pace of change means that trends, tenets and ideas can spring up, calcify into conventional wisdom, and fade away all in the span of two years or less. So instead, I'll lay out a few things we might change if we were starting the pilot in January 2012, and some of the ideas that we hope to push on in our work with stations over the next year.

1. PLAY MORE WITH LENGTH AND FREQUENCY

Although we emphasized the importance of a considered take from the get-go with Argo, we also stressed that the bread-and-butter of blogging is writing short and often. But as many have remarked, the quickest of quick takes have migrated into status updates on Facebook and Twitter, or blips on Tumblr. And alongside that migration, we've seen blogs become less about the instant and more about the Instapaper. A steady rise in popularity for Argo's highest-trafficked site, MindShift, accompanied its move to less-frequent, longer-form blogging. CommonHealth, another of the network's most popular sites, has scored some of its biggest audience hits with 4,000-word opuses like this one.

2. FIND PARTNERS AND BUILD TEAMS

Part of the Argo team's aim was to replicate a pattern we'd seen again and again in our combined decades of working in independent and commercial news organizations: A single person with a singular vision builds a sizable community around a topic from the ground up. And we saw plenty of that this year. But several of our stations also tweaked the model of the single, full-time blogger that we began with, splitting the position between two part-time bloggers, or augmenting the site with contributions from freelancers. And by and large, this has worked quite well for the stations that have taken this approach. In the meantime, we've seen several popular veteran bloggers expand their operations into teams. Ezra Klein's eponymous one-man operation at the Washington Post became the four-person micro-site Wonkblog. Politico's legendary Ben Smith added Dylan Byers to his roster (very shortly before announcing a move to Buzzfeed). And, of course, "Andrew Sullivan" has been the euphemism for a multi-headed team of collaborators for some years now.

That single person with a singular vision can still make a hell of a splash, of course. (Obligatory year-end reflection shoutout to my colleague @acarvin and my daily inspiration, Maria Popova.) And it's easy to convince yourself you're actually collaborating when all you're doing is sharing one another's widgets. But among the things we'll be looking for in 2012 are opportunities to foment genuine, effective partnerships.

3. LOOK FOR EDITORS

When we were hiring our set of reporter-bloggers for Argo, we stressed that it was vital to hire rock stars to helm these sites. In their quest to find rock stars, hiring managers asked variants on one question over and over -- "Is it more important to hire someone with strong, proven reporting chops, or native bloggers who live and breathe the medium?" (Understanding, of course, that it's not a dichotomy. Plenty of folks have both traits.) Today, though, the advice I'd give is, "Find folks who could be awesome editors." As I told Andrew Phelps at the Nieman Journalism Lab, I shifted from calling our site hosts "reporter-bloggers" at the outset of the project to calling them "reporter-editors."* They do have to be strong, speedy writers. And they must be able to report. But the qualities that lift the best blogs to a higher plane are news judgment, pattern recognition, and an instinct for planning and programming -- the hallmarks, in short, of terrific editors.

When I look at the amazing strides the Atlantic has accomplished online over the last few years, I suspect that much of it comes from having a masthead of double-threats who edit as well as they write -- folks like Alexis Madrigal (and very soon -- permit me a squeal -- Megan Garber).**

4. TREAT CONTEXT AS CONTENT

The three people who paid attention to what I was writing and thinking about just before I started working on Argo probably got some severe whiplash as I took on this role. One of my passions in journalism as far back as I can remember -- the thing I spent a year at the Reynolds Journalism Institute studying -- has been context. For years, I'd been writing about the need to invent a timeless journalism, deeply embedded in context, that eschewed the hyperactive, short-term-obsessed imperatives of news and took advantage of the web's capacity to unite episodic and systemic information. Suddenly, these lofty thoughts gave way to paeans to the listicle and headline-writing tips. I'm happy to trace for you how this effort relates to that larger quest, but I can't deny that the future-of-context mantra has been on the back burner during this effort to build successful niche communities.

This is why it makes me so thrilled to see Argo's sister project, StateImpact, double down on context in their approach to blogging. They are proving that marrying well-tended topic page overviews with regular blog posts can be a formula for success. While Argo's prominent "skybox" promotion modules highlight blog posts, a similar convention in the StateImpact design is engineered to highlight topic pages instead. StateImpact reporters take care in producing these pages, writing authoritative, attention-grabbing headlines for them, promoting them with strong thumbnail images, and treating them, generally, as content (not merely as archives, sidebars, or after-matter for users who want to know more). Partly as a result, the topic pages have become some of the most popular material on the StateImpact sites. And instead of fading away once the initial rush of interest in a story is over, these pages grow more valuable over time.

StateImpact joins sites like Salon and SBNation in starting to blur the line between stories and topic pages. And I like it. I don't think we have a silver-bullet successor to "the article" yet, but I'm eager to move this vein of experimentation forward.

5. THINK BEYOND THE RIGHT RAIL

The "right rail" or "sidebar" has been a mainstay of the news story page for years. Often-automated, haphazardly programmed, it tends to be the dumping ground for material that organizational politics and wishful thinking deem to be essential. Over the years, that space has gotten freighted with more and more stuff -- random widgets, text ads, house promos -- further subdividing the thin trickle of attention that usually accrues to it.

When we started the Argo sites, we tried to keep the right rail on our pages fairly tight. But as time went on, that space began to sprawl (as it's wont to do on every website). We stuck widgets there; stations added their own widgets; partnerships yielded new widgets; all despite scant evidence that the space was capturing much user interest.

Now, with mobile devices on the uptick, we can no longer take for granted that the right rail gets even a token eye fixation from users. And designers have been quietly snuffing it out. When NPR redesigned its Shots blog earlier in 2011, the right rail became a much more minimalist enterprise, both on the front page and on story pages. (The redesign has correlated with a healthy uptick in all our favorite metrics for the blog.) Adweek's gorgeous story page design integrates sidebar material much more organically throughout the page. Recently launched tech site The Verge is doing something altogether different with the concept of the story page, and the right rail is not a part of it.

CONCLUSION

Again, not all of these thoughts would have led us down a different path in 2010, when we launched Argo. But they point towards some differences in the type of project we'd launch today. I ran this list by my confreres Joel Sucherman and Wes Lindamood, and they liked it, but I'm sure they'd each pick a different set of points.

A consistently astonishing aspect of working in digital journalism is that you always feel like you're at the beginning of something. And in a way, you always are. May our world shift even more in the year to come.

* Yes. I know. And I agree. "Reporter-bloggers" pains me as a term; it risks reinforcing the false dichotomy between "bloggers" and "journalists" that drives all sensible people crazy. But many folks still need reassurances that even we Micro-Aggregated Cyberpeople place great value on reporting, and if a little hyphenation can spare me from having to engage with a 12-year-old stereotype involving pajamas, so be it.

** Alexis himself reminds us all once a week on Twitter that the secret sauce behind the Atlantic's steady march of awesomeness online is actually J.J. Gould and Bob Cohn.

December 06 2011

21:28

GroupM lowers global ad forecast but still spendings will rise +6.4pc

The good news: GroupM (still) believes that advertising spendings worldwide will continue to rise. The only question is: who will get the money? Media? Facebook & Co?

ClickZ :: Spending on advertising worldwide will rise 6.4 percent in 2012 to $522 billion, according to an annual forecast by GroupM. The prediction is a slight downward revision from a forecast that GroupM made this summer. In July, the WPP media group predicted a 6.8 percent global bump in 2012. Digital media should provide 43 percent of the global growth in 2012, according to the report, despite increasing by the same percentage in 2012 as it will in 2011.

Continue to read Douglas Quenqua, www.clickz.com

July 27 2011

10:43

The Me Media - is traditional media working hard to bend new media to their will?

What makes the new media interesting?

Huffington Post :: For some, it's the many new voices who can now find an audience. Whether it's a blog, podcast or Twitter feed, the new media is less about the consumption of content and aimed much closer to the reality that anyone who has something to say can now publish their thoughts -- in text, images, audio and video -- instantly for the world to see (and it costs next-to-nothing). Along with that comes an equalized back and forth with the audience.

It's that pure concept that drives the thinking and revision of definitions of media and journalism by people like Clay Shirky, Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis and others.

But the real question about new media is this: Is new media really something new and different or is traditional media working hard to bend it to their will?

Continue to read Joel Mitch, www.huffingtonpost.com

Visit the site of Clay Shirky

Visit the site of Jay Rosen

Visit the site of Jeff Jarvis

June 14 2011

11:56

Michael Lazerow: the days of, ‘Do we publish on Facebook? Do we tweet?’ are over

Betabeat :: “The days of, ‘Do we publish on Facebook? Do we tweet?’ are over,” Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow told Betabeat. “Either you do it, or you’re crushed. Do it or go out of business.” Hearst Magazines must have got the memo, because its Digital Media unit just announced a partnership today to use Buddy Media’s platform to enhance its presence on Facebook.

Continue to read Nitasha Tiku, www.betabeat.com

December 16 2010

13:03

Community editors should be an integral part of the newsroom, says Media Wales’ Ed Walker

Community editors must not be sidelined in the newsroom, Ed Walker, online communities editor at Media Wales, told news:rewired delegates today.

Responding to @datamineruk, who described how digital staff at her workplace are based in a different part of the newsroom to other journalists, Walker said he sits next to an experienced senior reporter and can tap into his knowledge.

Walker founded Blog Preston, where he found that tapping into readers’ local knowledge helped to generate traffic to the site because it produced content that people want to discuss. A regular topic was local character “Toxic Terry”, a man who drinks petrol on the high street in Preston. Rumours of his demise sparked a spike in traffic, which only ebbed when someone saw him alive on the high street.

Walker had a number of suggestions about what makes a successful online community. One is focusing on popular topics like local history and getting input from experts. He also suggested making journalism a two-way street using interactive features like pothole maps.

Neil Perkin, founder of Only Dead Fish, said he has learned more about communities from being a blogger for four or five years than anything else. He unveiled a list of things to avoid when building communities:

  • Not having a clear objective – if you have clarity on your purpose, the people in that community have a reason to be there.
  • Avoid fixation on numbers – social media a source of referrals but don’t chase numbers at the expense of saturation.
  • Don’t broadcast at your community – to quote Clay Shirky, it’s about creating an environment for supporting people.
  • Forget the idea that it’s all about the technology – it’s about the people. Understand who are the authoritative people in your market. People like something to do and respond to openness.
  • Avoid not being a part of it yourself.

Anthony Thornton, group digital editor at IPC Inspire Men and Music, started his presentation with the depressing figure that 99% of attempts to start a community end in failure. Anthony, who was instrumental in the launch of the online version of the NME, said that communities exist already, it’s just a matter of finding one.

He also discussed how building a community around a book that he was working on helped it to gain a place in the Sunday Times’ Top 10 Bestsellers list. The book, which focused on the indie band the Libertines, was embraced by fans after Anthony connected with them on Myspace ahead of publication. Sharing cover ideas and other content helped fans form a relationship with the book giving it an edge over a rival title, which was published at the same time.

November 05 2010

18:30

Google's Schmidt Talks Mobile Revolution, and How Digital Media Could Empower A 'Rogue Evil Person'

On Wednesday night, over 200 movers and shakers from the fields of finance, law, and policy crowded into a meeting room at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York to hear a talk by Google CEO Eric Schmidt and the new "director of Google Ideas" (and Council fellow), Jared Cohen. The event was part of the Council's ongoing CEO Speakers series, which has brought a steady stream of corporate moguls through the doors of the organization's elegant Park Avenue headquarters.

This, however, was a mogul evening with a difference. Schmidt and Cohen based their talk on their co-authored article, The Digital Disruption, in the current issue of Foreign Affairs, the Council's flagship publication.

Screen shot 2010-11-04 at 11.36.00 PM.pngIn both the article and the talk, Schmidt and Cohen made a strong and irrefutable argument that digital media is altering world affairs.

"I'm extraordinarily excited about the scale of the mobile revolution," Schmidt said. "... There are four to five billion mobile phones of one kind or another and we are approaching a billion smart phones."

Schmidt added that the effect of Moore's Law's_law will be to transform smart phones into the world's dominant communications platform in the near future.

The implications of the mobile revolution, he said, "are just beginning to be understood. But remember that these devices are more powerful than supercomputers were a few years ago, and we are putting them in the hands of people who've never had anything like it before."

But Schmidt's conclusion about the cultural impact of this revolution was more tentative.

"We'll run a test and discover if everyone else is as obsessed with Britney Spears as Americans are ... and the answer is probably yes," he said.

Digital Media Cut Both Ways

Schmidt acknowledged that digital media have had negative as well as positive effects in the U.S. Some American journalists cite Google News' role as an aggregator of free news content as a factor in the collapse of their profession's business model. Schmidt agreed that the new media environment has its downside. "More speech doesn't necessarily mean better speech," he admitted. The new order "is not necessarily producing a better democracy -- just a louder one."

At several points, Schmidt referred to the engineering mindset that has defined Google culture. These engineers have suddenly (and often unintentionally) found themselves at the center stage of world diplomacy. Google has been under considerable pressure to reconcile its business practices in politically restrictive markets such as China with the complexities of freedom of expression concerns.

In 2005, in the video embedded below, Google co-founder Sergey Brin told a class of Berkeley students, "Technology is an inherent democratizer."

But Schmidt's remarks at the Council suggested that things aren't quite that simple. "Technology is neutral," he said.

There is great potential for digital media to advance the cause of government transparency and human rights; but at the same time, he noted considerable potential for harm. Online media empower the individual in unprecedented ways, he said.

"The nature of the technology is to unite the citizens, but it can unite them in favor of a repressive government," he said. His worst fear, he added, was digital media's possible "empowerment of the rogue evil person."

Contrasting Impact of Digital Media

Screen shot 2010-11-04 at 11.29.32 PM.pngIt appears that Google's leadership realize that they need greater breadth in addressing foreign policy concerns. Clearly, the hiring of Jared Cohen
is a cornerstone of their strategy. Cohen was brought into the Bush Administration's State Department as a 24 year-old wunderkind to work on international media policy issues, and he made an easy transition to Hillary Clinton's team. Cohen represents the timely addition of a "wonk" to Google's "geek" culture, a bridge between the Washington policy and West Coast tech communities. He is unusual in both circles due to his extensive grassroots experience.

At the Council, he gave a first-hand description of digital media's benefits during Iran's "Twitter revolution," but contrasted it with meeting a "Guatemalan family extorted by cellphone from an MS 13 gang member in prison in Los Angeles." (Cohen's 2008 appearance on the Colbert Report provides a good introduction to his approach.)

Cohen's August appointment to the directorship of Google Ideas signaled Google's intent to craft a more nuanced form of corporate foreign policy that could evolve in closer consultation with foreign policy circles in Washington and New York. At the same time, his fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations indicates that CFR may be ready to take the digital revolution more seriously. (It was telling that the Council told members such as myself that they were allowed to liveblog the meeting, while at the same time preventing us from using electronic devices into the meeting room itself.)

The Council, like the State Department, has been reenergizing its online presence and can now point to activity on Facebook and Twitter. But while America's foreign policy community and tech community may share values and goals, there's a ways to go before the wonks and the geeks speak the same language. In the meantime, digital media is disrupting the world faster than either can measure.

Anne Nelson is an educator, consultant and author in the field of international media strategy. She created and teaches New Media and Development Communications at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and teaches an international teleconference course at Bard College. She is a senior consultant on media, education and philanthropy for Anthony Knerr & Associates. She is on Twitter as @anelsona, was a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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September 14 2010

12:18

Americans spending more time consuming news, research suggests

A report carried out every two years by the Pew Research Center suggests Americans are spending more time consuming news now than 10 years ago.

The research, released this week, found that rather than replacing traditional media with digital platforms, consumers spend an additional 13 minutes daily getting news online as well as 57 minutes on average getting news from traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers. In the year 2000 the survey reported a total of 59 minutes was spent by audiences consuming news, with no time reportedly spent consuming news online by respondents until 2004.

According to the report, this is one of the highest totals measured since the mid-1990s, which does not take into account time spent getting news from mobile phones or other digital devices. Only eight per cent of respondents get their news from their mobile.

The news consumption survey recorded the responses from more than 3000 adults from 8 to 28 of June. Other findings include an increase in ‘news-grazers’ who consume the news on a less regular basis from 40 per cent in 2006 to 57 per cent in 2010. The survey also found an increase in the use of search engines for news gathering, rising to 33 per cent from 19 per cent in 2008.

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September 07 2010

17:12

Channel 4′s latest web project reinvents quotations for the Twitter age

Quotations are ubiquitous, from Facebook and Twitter to media coverage and watercooler chats. But the experience of finding a quotation online is often messy and reliant on amateurish sites that seem to rely on the same old quotes – and that’s the problem a new Channel 4 project is aiming to fix. By Jemima Kiss


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jemima Kiss, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 2nd September 2010 12.05 UTC

“My favourite quotation is £8 10/- for a second-hand suit,” Spike Milligan once said.

Quotations are ubiquitous, from Facebook and Twitter to media coverage and watercooler chats. But the experience of finding a quotation online is often messy and reliant on amateurish sites that seem to rely on the same old quotes – and that’s the problem a new Channel 4 project is aiming to fix.

New Zealand quotations (1)
Photo by PhillipC on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Quotables wants to reinvent the quotations dictionary. Co-founded by Channel 4 and the Arts Council, there’s a focus on literature but also some priority C4 areas including comedy, news, the arts and independent British cinema. C4′s new media commissioner for factual, Adam Gee, said that despite the number of quotations sites already out there – from Wikiquote and ThinkExist to BrainyQuote and QuotationsBook – there’s room to do much better, because many of those reuse the same databases and rehash the same misattributions and inaccuracies.

Charlie Brooker: “Snakes. They’re like bits of rope, only angrier.”

“We had the realisation that the way we interact with quotes online is really lacking in many respects,” said Gee. “It’s not a fun experience or an easy experience, and when you do find something you have no idea if it is accurate or not. Quotables is starting from a blank sheet, built from the preferences of an active community.”

Oscar Wilde and Socrates will make the cut eventually, but there’s as much of a focus on events, TV and popular culture; the end of Big Brother has been a focus for Channel 4.

Albert Einstein: “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Gee said there are four dimensions to the project. He hopes Quotables will become to quotes what Delicious is to links, a standard utility for saving and sharing. There’s also a buzz element, capturing trends in quotes on different days; Tony Blair was a hot topic yesterday. And over time it value as a reference tool will increase, as will its community.

David Gibson, from the Edinburgh Fringe: “I’m currently dating a couple of anorexics. Two birds, one stone.”

Is the popularity of short quotes a symptom of how the internet is rewiring our brains, impairing our ability to process long-form content? These are 75-word quotes. “By having these nuggets from great works of literature, great speeches, great articles, we’re encouraging the entirety to be read and that’s part of the ongoing programme of functionality. One aspect is we’re building a batch upload process of independent publishers so they can upload a selection of the best quotes from recent publications, and it gets published alongside links to Amazon or their own online shops. But concision is really about encouraging a more considered, careful submission so people don’t submit a whole paragraph – what is the essence you are put across?”

Quotables was conceived and commissioned by Channel 4, built by Mint Digital and co-founded by the Arts Council and Channel 4. Gee describes it as halfway between a standard Channel 4 commission and an investment, more like that of 4ip. The aim is to make Quotables a sustainable, standalone business and it already has an office base and small team in Glasgow. Gee would not say how much had been invested in the project.

Terry Pratchett: “Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for the night. Set a man on fire and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life.”

“It’s not extravagant but it’s not tight. And it has been budgeted for the long view. The emphasis is on building a lovely experience and a core of enthusiastic users and around them a community people enjoy being a part of.” He said that as well as advertising, there are plans to help the project sustain itself by adding merchandising – “Moo-style” hard products.

“People have been very generous in sharing the repositories of inspiration,” said Gee. “Quotables has the edge over what’s out there at the moment; the fact you have proper tools for the quotes – the ability to edit tags, the ability to correct things, for finding duplicates, proper attribution and more accuracy. And a system of lists as well as tags so you can keep your own stuff sorted.”

All of which reminds me of a line my Dad used to say was by Virginia Woolf, along the lines of: “Efficiency cuts the grass of the mind to its roots.” I’ve never been able to find it – does anyone know?

There’s more from Quotables on its blog and you can subscribe to daily quotations from Quotables on Twitter.

Woody Allen: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”

• Elsewhere, Channel 4 is working with Six to Start on a project with the working title ABC – Arts Buzz Culture. “It’s an early-warning cultural radar system, particularly picking up on online buzz around discovering and sharing arts and culture events,” said Gee. If you frequently find events are sold out or are over by the time you’ve heard about them, this will be for you. It’s a working prototype, and the design side is being developed with Rob Bevan of XPT. “It’s a difficult design job – you’ve got to make it seem very simple and not overwhelming. The creativity and brilliance of the design is hidden in its simplicity, in many ways.” It’s personalised, social – and due out in 2011.

Dolly Parton: “I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I’m also not blonde.”

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August 23 2010

17:35

Smartphone, HDTV Boom Begets Gargantuan E-Waste Problem

The digital media revolution promises to improve the quality of our lives though an expanded capacity to communicate, collaborate, learn and make informed decisions. Yet our seemingly insatiable demand for digital media is driving a proliferation of consumer electronic devices and IT infrastructure, which are significantly contributing to a tsunami of toxic electronic waste.

This week U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson announced that promoting citizen engagement and increasing government accountability on enforcement to improve the design, production, handling, reuse, recycling, exporting and disposal of electronics is of the EPA's top six international priorities. In light of this, publishers, device manufacturers, bandwidth providers and other players in the digital media supply chain should rethink their marketing narratives and redouble their efforts to identify, quantify, disclose and manage the toxic e-waste impacts associated with digital media -- before regulation or catastrophe require them to do so.

The issues and dilemmas related to digital media and e-waste can be complex and confusing, but if they are ignored or only paid lip service to they will be sure to wash up on the shores of our lives... and in our politics, in short order. If you want a quick take on some of the key issues associated with e-waste, take a few minutes to watch this short animated Public Service Announcement co-produced for Good Magazine by Ian Lynam and Morgan Currie:

To learn more, read on. In the weeks ahead we look forward to your questions, comments and suggestions about how issues associated with the environmental impacts of the digital media revolution's e-waste detritus can best be addressed. Here are some thought starters to get the conversation rolling.

FAQ

How much toxic e-waste is being created and what are some of its environmental and social impacts?

According to market analyst firm ABI Research, approximately 53 million tons of electronic waste were generated worldwide in 2009, and only about 13% of it was recycled. The Electronics Take Back Coalition (ETBC) estimates that 14 to 20 million PCs are thrown out every year in the U.S. alone. There has been a recent surge in e-waste created by aggressive marketing encouraging consumers to "upgrade" basic voice-only mobile devices to 3G and 4G smartphones and mobile game consoles. There has also been an enormous surge in CRT monitors and TV sets set into motion by the switch to large flat screen displays and DVRs.

The EPA estimates that over 99 million TV sets, each containing four to eight pounds of lead, cadmium, beryllium and other heavy metals, were stockpiled or stored in the U.S. in 2007, and 26.9 million TVs were disposed of in 2007 -- either by trashing or recycling them. While it's not a large part of the waste stream, e-waste shows a higher growth rate than any other category of municipal waste.

Overall, between 2005 and 2006, total volumes of municipal waste increased by only 1.2 percent, compared to 8.6 percent for e-waste. Particularly troubling are the mountains of hazardous waste from electronic products growing exponentially in developing countries. The United Nations report Recycling - from E-Waste to Resources predicts that e-waste from old computers will jump by 500 percent from 2007 levels in India by 2020 and by 200 percent to 400 percent in South Africa and China. E-waste from old mobile phones is expected to be seven times higher in China and 18 times higher in India. China already produces about 2.3 million ton of e-waste domestically, second only to the United States, which produces about 3 million tons each year.

According to the Electronics Take Back Coalition, e-waste contains over 1,000 toxic materials harmful to humans and our environment, including chlorinated solvents, brominated flame retardants, plasticizers, PVC, heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, plastics and gases used to make electronic products and their components such as semiconductor chips, batteries, capacitors, circuit boards, and disk drives. E-waste can also contain tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, of which Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act requires reporting if they originated in Congo or a neighboring country.

Not all e-waste is exported to China, India or Africa. The Electronics Take Back Coalition reports that some recyclers and many federal agencies in the U.S. send their e-waste to recycling plants operating in federal prisons operated by UNICOR, a wholly owned subsidiary of the federal Department of Justice. One criticism of UNICOR is that by paying prison workers as little as 23 cents per hour, they undercut private commercial recyclers. Another criticism is that reliance on high tech chain gangs may frustrate development of the free market infrastructure necessary to safely manage the tsunami of e-waste that the digital revolution is intensifying.

How much e-waste does the consumption and production of digital media generate?

Digital media doesn't grow on trees. Its creation, distribution and use requires massive quantities of energy, minerals, metals, petrochemicals and labor. Rather than relying on proprietary estimates of product lifecycles or limited forensic evidence we need reliable standards-based lifecycle inventories of the energy and material flows that make our broadband connectivity and digital media experiences possible. Proponents of digital media often tout the benefits of the digital media shift in terms of the number of trees that will be saved, but shifting to digital media has an environmental footprint and toxic impact that bear greater scrutiny.

The digital media industry has a long way to go before it can declare itself sustainable, or justify its environmental footprint based on cherry-picked data, anecdotal evidence and unfilled promises. Companies like Apple and HP that tout their commitments to sustainability fail to make a even a "greenish" grade in the most recent Greenpeace Greener Electronics Scorecard..

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

Until media companies, device manufacturers and service providers are inspired to make standards-based environmental product declarations through market pressure or regulation, it will be impossible for consumers to make informed decisions or compare the climate change or e-waste impacts associated with specific products or services. A look at the overall growth trends in a few key categories is enough to justify more serious attention to the issues at hand and to the toxic tragedies that loom over the horizon.

A shift in preference from traditional media to digital media is one key trend. According to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report, Global Media and Entertainment 2010-2014, digital media's share of consumer spending is growing at double digit rates and is expected to reach 33 percent of their entertainment and media spending by 2014.

Growth in the number of broadband mobile connections and wireless devices is also a determining factor. Smartphone manufacturer Ericsson estimates that the world will reach 50 billion mobile connections within this decade with 80 percent of all people accessing the Internet using their mobile devices. Ericsson estimates there are over 500 million 3G subscriptions worldwide with more than 2 million mobile subscriptions being added per day.

At current rates of growth some pundits believe we may soon face a zettaflood of data, and the number of broadband wireless connections, smartphones, e-books, tablets, game consoles and "wireless devices with IP addresses will outnumber humans on our planet by an order of magnitude. The World Wireless Research Forum predicts 7 trillion devices for 7 billion people by 2017 - a thousand devices for every man, woman and child on the planet.

In short we are rapidly becoming a world of digital media hyper-consumers that need to develop a better understanding of the connections between our rabid digital media appetites and their lifecycle environmental impacts before they become our undoing.

Unfortunately, at present there is no reliable way to determine and compare the greenhouse gas emission or e-waste impacts associated with digital media consumption. While the impact of an individual decision or transaction may be negligible, the aggregate impact of billions of connections and trillions of transactions cannot be left unexamined and unmanaged.

What laws and sources of international, federal, state and local government support for e-waste management are in place and on the horizon?

The U.S. lags behind the EU, which has recently created two new policies on ways to deal with e-waste: the Restriction on the Use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. At present the U.S. is also the only member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development that has not ratified the Basel Convention, which is intended to regulate the movement of hazardous waste across international borders.

In addition the U.S. does not have a comprehensive national approach for the reuse and recycling of used electronics, despite efforts to introduce federal legislation such as Senate Bill 1397 - Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act. However, electronics manufacturer take-back laws have gained traction at the state level.

An important report on e-waste recently issued by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) titled Electronic Waste: Considerations for Promoting Environmentally Sound Reuse and Recycling states that 23 states have passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling, including several states that introduced legislation in 2010 (in yellow below).

States Passing E-Waste Legislation

All of these laws except California use the Producer Responsibility approach, where the manufacturers must pay for recycling. A guide to current and pending e-waste legislation is available on the Electronics Take Back Coalition website.

The Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona recently published an award-winning paper titled E-wasted Time: The Hazardous Lag in

Comprehensive Regulation of the Electronics Recycling Industry in the United States
that addresses the status of electronics recycling regulation in the U.S., as well as how the regulatory climate influences industry practice.

How can consumers and manufacturers of digital electronic devices, providers of broadband connectivity and data center services address digital media/e-waste dilemmas through voluntary initiatives and coalitions?

The EPA provides a guide to locations where electronics can be donated for reuse or recycling through the Plug-In To eCycling Partnership, Responsible Recycling and Recycling Industry Operating Standard RIOS certification initiatives. The Electronics Take Back Coalition and the Basel Action Network (BAN) have developed a competing voluntary program called e-Stewards that identifies recyclers they deem to be environmentally and socially responsible.

Both the Electronics Take Back Coalition and Greenpeace have developed scorecards that rate companies on their policies and the actions they are taking to address e-waste issues. Such sites are far from perfect, but can help can you sort through the confusing combination of apathy, indifference, marketing spin and unfulfilled green promises that predominate in today's consumer electronics marketplace. Before you buy or dispose of a cell phone, e-reader, tablet, PC, display, DVR, set-top box, game console, charger, plug strip, batteries, printers, or other electronic devices ask the manufacturer if there is a standards-based Environmental Product Declaration or Lifecycle Analysis for the product and check if the brand and the product is rated by Greenpeace and EPEAT.

Over the next five years our challenge is to stem the tide of e-waste being exported from the U.S. to the developing world, and develop a legal framework that will support mining and managing the mountains of toxic e-waste in the U.S. and in the developed world. According to Interpol the illegal trafficking of electronic waste (e-waste) is a serious crime and a growing international problem, posing an unacceptable environmental and health risk, in particular in developing countries in Africa and Asia. According to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson: "It's time for us to stop making our trash someone else's problem, start taking responsibility and setting a good example."

Going forward our greater challenge will be to change the prevailing business models and digital media marketing narratives that ignore the toxic tide and rethink the design of next generation digital media devices, media products, data networks and data centers so that they are greener by design, eliminate conflict minerals, use less energy, last longer and can be disassembled, upgraded and recycled responsibly.

*****

Please use the comments area below to share your questions and suggestions. More importantly, use your social networks to engage the marketing and product development executives of digital media companies, device manufacturers, carriers and other key stakeholders -- including elected officials and EPA regulators. Engage them in an informed dialogue on how we can communicate sustainably and decouple the production and consumption of digital media from the scourge of e-waste in a timely and effective manner.

MediaShift environmental correspondent Don Carli is senior research fellow with the non-profit Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC) where he is director of The Sustainable Advertising Partnership and other corporate responsibility and sustainability programs addressing the economic, environmental and social impacts of advertising, marketing, publishing and enterprise communication supply chains. Don is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Industry Studies Program affiliate scholar and is also sustainability editor of Aktuell Grafisk Information Magazine based in Sweden. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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July 30 2010

15:50

Turn your Twitter stream into a people parade

Twitter visualisations come in many forms, but IS Parade is arguably the most inventive yet…. As an example, check out this visualization of @cyberjournalist Twitter followers.
Powered by Guardian.co.uk

This article was written by Jemima Kiss, for guardian.co.uk on Wednesday 28th July 2010 10.59 UTC

Twitter visualisations come in many forms, but IS Parade is arguably the most inventive yet. Start a ‘parade’ of tweets across your csreen either by keyword, or by Twitter ID.

Use your own Twitter ID and you’ll see a parade of your own followers, which is a bit of an ego boost at least…

You can set up your own real-time parade by getting friends to tweet the same keyword, and then setting up a parade to follow it.

Not the most fuctional Twitter tool yet, but it does draw you in. All done by a Japanese agency to promote Sharp’s new IS series Android netbook/smartphone.

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May 07 2010

04:59

SCL Is Looking for a Digital Media Coordinator

 

The Southern California Library is an archive and educational/cultural center in South Los Angeles that documents and provides access to histories of communities in struggle for justice. Combining our rare collections, technology, and innovative programming, we engage people in learning from these histories—so collectively we can better understand and address critical conditions facing our communities today, such as poverty, incarceration, policing, and homelessness. We work with local residents, community-based organizations, students, educators, and researchers, especially in communities of color that have historically been marginalized. For more information about the Library, see www.socallib.org.

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April 15 2010

08:00

#Tip of the day from Journalism.co.uk – digital media for students on Facebook

Student journalists: If you're a student or would-be journalist with an interest in digital media, the Online News Association has set up a Facebook fanpage just for you. Tipster: Laura Oliver. To submit a tip to Journalism.co.uk, use this link - we will pay a fiver for the best ones published.

March 19 2010

15:16

How the Young Turks thinks it will ‘destroy the old media’ (Audio)

Heard of the Young Turks? No? Well, according to its founder you will soon, because it’s going to demolish the mainstream media in America. In fact, it could win an online poll against Jesus, he said.

The ‘first live, daily webcast on the internet,’ the alternative show has had over 207 million views on YouTube. It charges $10 a month for its full content option; and takes $2.5 for every 1,000 views on YouTube.

During one of the liveliest parts of the day at yesterday’s Guardian Changing Media Summit, at the final keynote roundtable, Cenk Uygur said:

“Old media is a lot of trouble. It’s a question of what’s going to survive and what’s not going to survive. Are newspapers in America going to survive? Hell no, no way.”

Newspapers might have only ten per cent of the advertising revenue next year (down from around 50 per cent in the 1950s, Uygur said) but that was too much in his opinion: “It shouldn’t be anywhere near 10 per cent. As they say here in Britain that’s mental.”

Shaking off a heckler, Uygur said that his online talkshow’s content could easily compete: “NBC’s content is nowhere near as good as mine”.

But the best quote: “Our viewers are awesome; we call them the TYT army: we can never lose an online poll. We can do an online poll against Jesus and we will win.”

Listen to the audio here – and the panel and audience’s response:

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March 09 2010

09:02

Media Release: Social networks to fall under Advertising Standards Authority’s remit

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) could see its remit extended to cover marketing activity on companies’ websites and social networks, it was announced yesterday.

Says the Advertising Association’s (AA) release, which can be downloaded at this link:

The Advertising Association (AA) has submitted the industry’s recommendations to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), for the extension of the non-broadcast Advertising Code in digital media, which will be administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). This landmark move for advertising self-regulation seeks to address societal concerns and will increase protection for consumers and children.

Marketing communications activity in paid-for space online is already covered by ASA. But the extended remit could come into force by Q3 2010.

A release from the ASA states:

Currently, the ASA’s online remit covers paid-for marketing communications such as pop-up and banner ads, paid-search and viral ads. However, nearly two thirds of the complaints that we receive about online marketing activity are not presently covered by the code. The proposed extension of our remit will plug this regulatory gap, ensuring that consumers enjoy the same level of protection on websites as they do in paid-for space.

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December 17 2009

23:56

The holy grail of digital media

Holy_Grail_God_small_0

God: What are you doing now?
King Arthur: Averting our eyes, oh Lord.
God: Well, don’t. It’s just like those miserable psalms, always so depressing. Now knock it off!

A bit of link bait that title I know. But imagine that you had followed the link and before you could read the first line of text a video ‘overlay’ appeared and covered the whole page with adverts. You could try it. Hit refresh then close your eyes and count to 30.

That’s the idea behind ex-CNN.com chief David Payne’s new venture ShortTailmedia. Beet.TV reported on the plans for this bug hitter, just out of beta

The company, an ad network of sorts,  allows publishers to insert television spots or “pre-roll” video advertising into users experience as they call up text pages to read.

So essentially its like your first click is ‘end of part one’ and then you have to watch an advert before you get to see the page and get to enjoy ‘part two’

Payne himself has called this the holy grail of digital media. But in this world of timeshift recording will it really work?

We are still having the debate about people skipping ads through when they use DVR’s. Do we really need to strong arm that part of the TV experience back in?  Do we really need something that produces ‘unit’ (their words) that  “are part of a recent movement to bring bigger, more interrupting ad units online”. More interruptions to my browsing? Oh yeah. That’ll endear me to you.

It sounds like a bit of dud to me. So it’ll probably be a huge success.

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