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January 18 2012

16:27

Three alternate ways to access Wikipedia

Wikipedia is among a number of sites blacking out today in protest of SOPA and PIPA, two bills before Congress that many in the tech community fear will infringe upon free expression and do serious harm to the Internet. You can read more about Wikipedia’s position and the bill here. And here...

15:59

Daily Must Reads, Jan. 18, 2012

The best stories across the web on media and technology, curated by Lily Leung


1. Google joins anti-SOPA campaign (AdAge)

2. Inside Jerry Yang's departure from Yahoo (All Things D)

3. AP tweaks social media rules on incorrect tweets (Poynter)

4. Social media ROI metrics remain 'chaotic' (Online Media Daily)

5. New York Post launches Kindle Fire app (FishbowlNY)

6. Fox News puts Twitter hashtags to work during GOP debate (Lost Remote)

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06:54

SOPA Rep. Lamar Smith blasts Wikipedia blackout, says law to go forward in February

paidContent :: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tx), who is leading a push to pass a controversial anti-piracy bill, issued a statement today scolding Wikipedia over its plan to go dark with its English-language website for 24 hours in protest of the legislation. In a separate release, Smith said the House Judiciary Committee would go forward with a mark-up of the legislation in February.

Continue to read Jeff Roberts, paidcontent.org

Tags: SOPA Wikipedia

January 17 2012

20:16

Jan 18th, "blackout" day: Google will protest SOPA using popular home page

CNet :: Google, the Web's top search company and one of technology's most influential powers in Washington, will post a link on its home page tomorrow to notify users of Google's opposition to controversial antipiracy bills being debated in Congress. The company confirmed in a statement that it will join Wikipedia, Reddit, and other influential tech firms

Continue to read Declan McCullagh | Greg Sandov, news.cnet.com

17:05

Daily Must Reads, Jan. 17, 2012

The best stories across the web on media and technology, curated by Lily Leung.


1. If Twitter is anti-SOPA, should it blackout like Wikipedia? (gov20.govfresh)

2. Phone hacking possible at Daily Mirror during Piers Morgan's tenure (Huffington Post)

3. Beta testing part of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's web makeover (Poynter)

4. Will original, web-only shows win over TV viewers? (ReadWriteWeb)


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January 16 2012

20:35

NBC Universal "is not at all neutral" - SOPA and conspiracy theories

New York Times | Media Decoder :: A pair of bills (SOPA, PIPA) that would strengthen antipiracy laws — and that could essentially censor the Internet, according to heavyw eights like Google — have received scant coverage from the major television networks. The parent companies of the TV networks are among the chief supporters of the bills, having lobbied Congress to write them in the first place. Those two facts, taken together, have caused conspiracy theories to flourish online about corporate interference in news coverage.

[Chris Hayes, Up:] (NBC Universal) is not at all neutral in this legislative battle.

Continue to read Brian Stelter, mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com

20:12

January 18th "blackout day": Wikipedia to shut down on Wednesday to protest SOPA

The Next Web :: Today, founder of the non-profit behind information archive Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, announced that the site will go dark for 24 hours on Wednesday, January 18th, in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). 

Wikipedia-anti-sopa-jpg

Continue to read Drew Olanoff, thenextweb.com

Tags: SOPA Wikipedia
11:22

SOPA: You run a WordPress site and want to join the Jan. 18 blackout?

ZDNet :: Gaining steam is the notion that sites like Facebook and Google need to black out to create ultimate awareness/impact with the general public about these two acts, but let’s not discount the smaller sites and communities around the Web! If you are one such site or community and you want to join the blackout that will occur on January 18, head on over to the main site of your Web site’s platform and search for a plugin!

Joining the Internet blackout movement on January 18th in protest of SOPA/PIPA can be as easy as downloading and installing a small plugin on your site in case you use WordPress, writes Stephen Chapman, ZDNet and publishes a howto.

Continue to read Stephen Chapman, www.zdnet.com

10:09

SOPA author Lamar Smith involved in copyright infringement

VentureBeat :: Lamar Smith, author of the Stop Online Piracy Act, has gotten caught up in his own case of copyright infringement. Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of Vice investigated an archived version of Smith’s official site, texansforlamarsmith.com, using Wayback Machine, a time capsule that captures different variations of websites as far back as 1996. This led to the discovery of an original background image that did not credit its owner, photographer DJ Schulte.

If the controversial SOPA bill is passed, what do you think would happen?

Continue to read Sebastian Haley, venturebeat.com

Tags: SOPA
08:37

Can Google sue Rupert Murdoch over his SOPA tweet?

Technorati :: Much like “big beef” sued Oprah Winfrey in the 1990's, Google could sue Rupert Murdoch over his comments in reference to the SOPA debate. In court and in the media, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association tried to show that Oprah Winfrey deliberately aired false, sensationalized claims about food safety in order to boost ratings. The alleged defamation by Rupert Murdoch against Google is alarming, especially in light od Mr. Murdoch's recent tweets about Google's business practices.

Continue to read Stpehen Alexander, technorati.com

Tags: Google SOPA
07:41

"SOPA is not a national thing" - Vikram Kumar, New Zealand: threat to our national interests

The National Business :: Kiwis get all upset at the slightest suggestion of a foreign government trying to influence our domestic law-making. The US government and others do so to further their national interests. We now have the mirror opposite situation.

I’d like to see the NZ government work within accepted diplomatic boundaries to at least express concerns at two US laws in the making- SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act before the House of Representatives) and PIPA or the PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act before the Senate).

Continue to read Vikram Kumar, www.nbr.co.nz

Tags: SOPA

January 15 2012

09:19

#SOPA - Murdoch slams Obama for supporting Google, the online "piracy leader"

Gizmodo :: Rupert Murdoch's latest tweets accuse President Obama of supporting Google—the "piracy leader"—and the rest of his "Silicon Valley paymasters." The accusations follow a White House blog that expressed doubts about the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

Rupert-murdoch-google-piracy-leader-jpg
Rupert-murdoch-sopa-obama-jpg

Om Malik tweeted a response:

Rupert-murdoch-om-malik-response-jpg

Click on the screenshots to jump directly to the tweets.

Continue to read Jesus Diaz, gizmodo.com

Tags: Google SOPA

January 14 2012

22:12
19:21

Wikipedia considering joining SOPA blackout protest

CNet :: As anger towards the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act grows, more and more people and organizations are joining the fight against the bipartisan Congressional legislation. Earlier this week, the news site Reddit announced it would shut down for 12 hours on January 18 in a bid to make its displeasure known about SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act. And now, there are strong signs that Wikipedia may express its community's protest sentiment, although it's not yet known in what form.

Continue to read Daniel Terdiman, news.cnet.com

Tags: SOPA Wikipedia
18:42

The White House: Combating online piracy while protecting an open and innovative Internet

The White House :: Right now, Congress is debating a few pieces of legislation concerning the very real issue of online piracy, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act and the Online Protection and Digital ENforcement Act (OPEN). We want to take this opportunity to tell you what the Administration will support—and what we will not support. Any effective legislation should reflect a wide range of stakeholders, including everyone from content creators to the engineers that build and maintain the infrastructure of the Internet.

While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.

Official White House response - Continue to read Victoria Espinel | Aneesh Chopra | Howard Schmidt, www.whitehouse.gov

Tags: SOPA
09:07

Rep. Lamar Smith says he will remove controversial SOPA item

paidContent :: In a late Friday press release, the Congressman leading the much-maligned Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) said he would remove a key part of the bill until further study takes place. Lamar Smith (R-Tx) said he intends to remove the part of the bill that calls on Internet Service Provider to block access to foreign websites. Critics had said the proposed rule would tamper with the architecture of the internet and that it mimicked the censoring practices of China and Iran.

Continue to read Jeff Roberts, paidcontent.org

Tags: SOPA

January 13 2012

15:20

Mediatwits #33: CES Jumped the Shark?; SOPA Battles; Google+ in Search

Welcome to the 33rd episode of "The Mediatwits," the weekly audio podcast from MediaShift. The co-hosts are MediaShift's Mark Glaser and Rafat Ali. This week we have a special show focused on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) happening in Las Vegas all week. Apple isn't there and Microsoft did its last keynote presentation there. Is the show losing momentum? Are we all burned out on gadgets and flatter TVs? We talk to two tech journalists on the CES floor, Rob Pegoraro and TechDirt's Mike Masnick, about the various new TV sets, tablets and smartphones. Plus, Masnick gives us an update about how the CEA and many folks at the show are overwhelmingly opposed to the two anti-piracy bills, SOPA and PIPA, before Congress.

Meanwhile, search giant Google caused a stir by integrating Google+ much more deeply into its search results. The new "Search Plus Your World" has been criticized as unfairly giving Google+ an advantage over Twitter and Facebook in search results. Google responded by saying that it was upset that Twitter didn't renew its contract to be included in search results. Will this move bring more trouble to Google, with the Feds already investigating the company over privacy issues?

Check it out!

mediatwits33.mp3

Subscribe to the podcast here

Subscribe to Mediatwits via iTunes

Follow @TheMediatwits on Twitter here

Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio's Music Alley.

Here are some highlighted topics from the show:

Intro

1:00: Background on the CES show

3:00: Journalists weary and tired of CES now?

4:00: The pain of CES

4:45: Rundown of topics on the show

Report from CES

portrait-with-cables.jpeg

5:15: Special guests from CES: Rob Pegoraro and Mike Masnick

6:10: How is this show different than previous shows?

7:50: Masnick: Thin TVs are impressive

10:40: Pegoraro: Color e-ink readers might boost e-readers

13:30: Masnick: Hard to see disruptive technology at first

CEA opposing SOPA

16:10: Many people at CES are opposing Stop Online Piracy Act, including Consumer Electronics Association

19:20: Why SOPA went too far

20:00: Pegoraro: History of greedy, restrictive bills put forward by entertainment industry

22:05: Masnick: When entertainment biz loses fights, they often still win

mike masnick hands.jpg

Google integrates Google+ in search

24:00: Mark gives background on move by Google

26:40: Why can't Google put social, private search in a new tab?

29:10: Facebook, Twitter are feeling left out of Google search

More Reading

CNET's Best of CES at CNET

CES XV at RobPegoraro.com

Tech Charms: Flying Cameras, Musical Purses at WSJ

Desperation Of SOPA/PIPA Supporters On Display At CES at TechDirt

Boo-Freaking-Hoo: RIAA Complains That 'The Deck Is Stacked' Against Them On CES Panels at TechDirt

Author of Controversial Piracy Bill Now Says 'More Study' Needed at WSJ Digits

Google's Results Get More Personal With Search Plus Your World at Search Engine Land

Is adding Google+ to search a red flag for regulators? at GigaOm

Search Plus Your World -- As Long As Its Our World at SearchBlog

Compete to Death or Cooperate to Compete? at SearchBlog

Weekly Poll

Don't forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time about the CES show:


The Consumer Electronics Show is...

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

15:20

Why Unions Should Not Support SOPA

A version of this post first appeared on the MIT Center for Civic Media blog.

I was supposed to speak on a panel about SOPA recently with the Northeast chapters of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. It was to serve as an educational discussion for local members, but at the national level, both unions have already officially endorsed SOPA. I spent the weekend preparing remarks, but the panel has been postponed, or possibly canceled, on account of AFTRA and SAG failing to provide representatives to discuss the bill. I can only hope this is an indication that they're reconsidering their public support of one of the least American bills to gain serious traction in Congress, as a number of other companies have done in the face of public backlash.

freespeech.jpg

The thing is, unions should never have supported this bill to begin with. At their best, organized labor is one of the most surefire ways to create a more equal, sustainable instance of capitalism.

They are the people who brought us the weekend and ended domestic child labor, a more recent phenomenon than we might like to admit. In recent times, the middle class has been under siege for years by politicians erasing taxes on the rich while simultaneously cutting benefits for the poor. Unions have the power to make things more fair, and as a result, they're under constant attack.

But at their worst, unions can behave as reactionary organizations that respond purely to the financial interest of their members, or even just their employers' commercial interests, at the expense of the general good of society. It appears that disruptive technology we know as the Internet is putting them in this position. National unions' stances on net neutrality, and now SOPA, have created a fault line between progressives who cherish free speech and unions focused on short-term paychecks rather than long-term investments in democratic communications. The Occupy movement has worked together with organized labor, for example, but wouldn't support this train-wreck of a proposal for government censorship (see the comments on the AFL-CIO's blog post mentioning SOPA as but one example).

costs outweigh benefits

Granting the government the power to create arbitrary blacklists and extralegal censorship will cost society at an order of magnitude more than union members stand to benefit. SOPA would break the Internet and set up a censorship regime that circumvents existing legal channels to serve one industry's financial desires. Bastardizing the technical infrastructure of the Internet and forcing payment system providers and search engines to cut off service to an organization without a trial is extralegal, and a misuse of these channels. One thing that's been somewhat lost in the uproar over SOPA is that legal channels are already in place to enforce anti-piracy law. As the MIT Center for Civic Media's Ethan Zuckerman pointed out to me, U.S. law already permits seizure of domestic domain names that are used for piracy, and 150 domains were seized in November alone. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is already U.S. law, and entertainment companies have spoken to its effectiveness.

The Writers Guild of America West has realized some of the implications of SOPA, and although the group is still concerned about piracy, has since come out against the bill in meetings with members of Congress:

They discussed concerns with the bill's implications for competition and an open Internet. Although the WGAW strongly supports combating piracy, the competition, First Amendment, and due process concerns the bill creates must be addressed.

But other, larger, unions remain behind the legislation. I can't be the only person who was surprised to see several top unions, including the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), SAG, and AFTRA, on the list of organizations supporting SOPA. I'm not sure how SOPA or PIPA would help the actual members of these unions, other than further enrich their employers' CEOs. But the AFL-CIO stands up for it.

I sympathize with the members of these unions, because it's plausible that online piracy is hurting their livelihoods. But a Congressional Research Services report found that the absolute number of jobs in the entertainment industry has actually increased since 1995, and disputes some of the other numbers the entertainment companies and unions are using in their letter to Congress.

It's also possible that many of these jobs are going away because their employers have based their businesses on the sale of physical goods, and haven't done a great or timely job of adjusting to obvious consumer shifts in consumption of content. Their very industries, represented by the trade groups these unions have aligned themselves with, such as the MPAA and the RIAA, have relied for years on reselling "Star Wars" and Beatles albums to the same customers every time the physical format changes. Digital content has brought about the era of the hit single and unlimited streaming, both of which break from the "you must buy this entire album" business model. This is a natural market shift that has nothing to do with piracy. I think it's important to consider that the disruptive technology these trade groups are railing against isn't just file-sharing. They've failed to adapt to simpler, legal shifts in their customers' preferences. (For more on this point, see "Why the Movie Industry Can't Innovate and the Result is SOPA," recommended by my friend Ted Fickes).

Even with regards to piracy, the director of business development at Valve, which sells expensive, pirate-able computer games as convenient digital downloads, said it best: "Pirates are underserved customers.When you think about it that way, you think, 'Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it.'" Rather than partner with entertainment trade groups to stifle innovation at an unprecedented scale, creative unions should be working with web startups to enrich the emerging creative-as-producer business models.

how sopa hurts free speech

Besides the financial arguments around piracy and business models, SOPA could hurt unions' ability to organize and negotiate in other, more profound ways. To quote Matt Browner Hamlin, a senior fellow at Citizen Engagement Lab and former deputy director of New Media at the SEIU:

The Internet is a medium of communication and organizing that is evolving in ways we can't predict. It is a democratic medium where you don't have to be a massive corporation to have your voice heard. We should promote the ability of workers to engage in this transformative medium and empower them to find ways to use it to help themselves on the job. SOPA would fundamentally change how the Internet works and thus disempower workers from creating and sharing ideas, from organizing for their rights, and from having a counter-balance in the fight against the boss.

Another friend and SEIU veteran, Joaquin Guerra, points to echoes of this same debate from 2007, when the Communications Workers of America stood in the way of discussion on net neutrality. It was another recent example of a union standing on the wrong side of free speech to benefit their employers, and I guess, by trickle-down economics, themselves:

The topic was net neutrality, the idea that the Internet should not be controlled by telephone and cable companies. It was nowhere to be seen at the conference. The reason, according to a conference organizer, is that "the unions" have a problem with net neutrality.

"The unions" in this case is basically one union, the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Like it or not, CWA is the key to whether the Internet will continue to be open, or whether the telephone and cable companies will turn it into an instrument under their control. The prospects are not encouraging.

To put it more strongly, given the influence the union wields with Democratic legislators in Congress and in state houses, the prospects are downright discouraging. Democrats who traditionally take progressive positions on issues are also Democrats who don't want to cross organized labor. When there is a conflict, labor wins. And if labor is allied with the company, it's no contest. CWA and, to a lesser extent, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), could free Democrats to vote for a free and open Internet. But in a demonstration of the Stockholm syndrome, they won't.

I do sympathize, because disruptive technologies are truly disruptive. They can eliminate entire categories of employment virtually overnight. As my brothers and I emailed about what to get each other for Christmas this year, it struck us that we no longer needed to spend much on entertainment gifts. We get most of our music from Spotify, our video from Hulu and Netflix, and all of our book requests were followed by, "Used is fine. Get it for a couple of bucks on Amazon." My brother joked, "How anyone makes money in this country in 10 years is beyond me, but I suppose we can all buy handmade jewelry and chocolates from one another."

It's not clear where the next gravy train is. If I knew the answer, I'd go start that company. Plenty of people are starting these companies. But an important thing to keep in mind is that you can't un-invent technology. John Philip Sousa's railing against the gramophone and the entire concept of a recorded music industry didn't prevent those technologies from defining the 20th century. But, importantly, it also didn't eliminate the allure or the market for live music.

The answer to disruptive technology is not to employ the United States government to enact SOPA. Rather than help their companies collect collateral damage on younger companies that have made the Internet a prosperous, profitable, and relatively open creative space, unions should look seriously at alternatives to SOPA in fighting online piracy. I doubt that regulation is as viable a solution as creating compelling legal businesses around the globe, but if a law must be passed, the OPEN Act might be a better place to start. You can read some pros and cons for this approach over at TechDirt.

SOPA is good for one group, and one group only: members of Congress raising cash from the entertainment and now, by necessity, tech industries.

Members of the unions still supporting SOPA (the AFL-CIO, SAG, and AFTRA) should make it an internal issue, immediately, to persuade their leadership to take their name off this bill.

Image courtesy of Flickr user yoshiffles.

January 12 2012

01:57

Jon Stewart & SOPA (please)

Got to see The Daily Show taping tonight (more on that in a minute) and in the pre-show conversation with Jon Stewart, an audience member said he was sent by The Internet to ask about SOPA. Stewart professed (not feigned, I think) ignorance, asking whether that was net neutrality, and excusing himself, what with their “heads being up their asses” in the election and all. But he said he’d do his homework and he looked at writer Steve Bodow when he said that. Let’s hope he comes out loud.

Confidential to Mr. Stewart: The problem here is that [cough] your industry, entertainment, is trying to give power the power to blacklist and turn off sites if they’re so much as accused of “pirating” (their word, not ours) content. This changes the fundamental architecture of the net, giving *government* the power and means to kill sites for this and then other reasons. That threatens to destroy this, our greatest tool of publicness (book plug). So please, sir we need your force of virtue to beat down this, another evil. On behalf of The Internet, thank you.

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.

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