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September 04 2012

16:01

September 21 2010

09:31

Inc.com: TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington on breaking news and building trust

Great interview with TechCrunch founder and serial entrepreneur Michael Arrington on his approach to publishing, journalism and work.

On breaking news:

We break more big stories than everyone else combined in tech – and that’s not prebriefed news or something that was handed to us. I judge my own performance based on that. When we break a story, that’s a point. When someone else breaks a story, we’re minus a point. And I want to be positive points.

On dealing with sensitive information:

Negotiating with companies over how news breaks is a big part of what we do. I don’t think traditional journalists would do this or admit to it, but a source might say, “Yeah, we just got bought, but can you please not write about it for a week, because it might kill the deal?” Unless I know lots of other journalists are sniffing around, I generally defer to the entrepreneur. We probably lose half of those stories, but it’s the right thing to do. It builds trust. People aren’t going to tell you things if they don’t trust you.

Full post on Inc.com at this link…Similar Posts:



March 31 2010

10:30

The Scary Truth About Your iPhone

IT'S A CELL PHONE, a camera, a media player, and a handheld computer all in one. But what makes the iPhone such a great tech toy also makes it a perfect example of the often murky, sometimes downright sketchy origins of our electronics. Here's a glimpse of what's really in an iPhone 3GS—and any number of other gadgets, from laptops to game consoles:

We've loaded this iPhone up with 10 apps you won't find on a real smart phone. Click on an app to learn where your phone's electronic components really came from.

Supply Side Bad Apples Miner Threat Tantalized Negative Charge Tin Soldiers Screen Slaver MicroPolluter BadVibes Locked In Reset iPhone    

Supply Side

Apple spends an estimated $100 on the iPhone's 1,000-plus parts. It keeps a tight lid on where in the world they come from. If you deconstruct the gadget, you'll find fewer than 130 parts with a brand name or "made in" label on them.

Bad Apples

iPhones are made in Shenzhen, China, by the Taiwanese company Foxconn, which has been criticized for its working conditions, including long hours and harsh discipline. Apple's own review found that more than half its audited manufacturers did not meet its labor standards for things such as child labor.

Miner Threat

A 16GB iPhone 3GS contains 12 gold-plated parts. Producing 1 ounce of gold creates 80 tons of waste. Layers of middlemen make it difficult to trace the source of the gold (or any other metal) in an iPhone, making it easy for minerals from conflict zones to slip into the supply chain.

Tantalized

The iPhone includes a tantalum capacitor. After a United Nations report linked its manufacturer, Kemet, to the illegal mineral trade in eastern Congo, the company vaguely announced it "supports avoiding" tantalum from the region.

Negative Charge

Rechargeable batteries have energized demand for lithium. Getting more will mean digging up 3,000 square miles of pristine Bolivian salt flats, home to one-half of the world's lithium reserves.

Tin Soldiers

Tin is used to solder circuit boards. Some 27,000 tons are extracted from Congo annually, earning armed groups an estimated $93 million or more.

Screen Slaver

The 3.5-inch LCD screen is reportedly made in Taiwan and China by Wintek, which faces allegations of low wages, forced overtime, and ripping off migrant workers.

BadVibes

High-density tungsten is used to make cell phones vibrate. Three-quarters of the world's supply comes from China—not known for its mining safety record—and 1,400 tons are dug up annually in Congo.

MicroPolluter

Making a 0.07-ounce microchip uses 66 pounds of materials, including water and toxic chemicals such as flame retardants and chlorinated solvents. Greenpeace gives Apple a 5.1 out of 10 for its efforts to eliminate hazardous chemicals and minimize e-waste.

Locked In

The list price for a 16GB iPhone 3GS is $599. It's yours for $199 thanks to a subsidy from monopoly provider AT&T—which proceeds to fleece you with a two-year contract.

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November 24 2009

19:13

The New Journalist in the Age of Social Media

I'm at Day 2 of a remarkable two-day conference that is bringing nonprofits, citizen journalism and social media together in ways I've never seen before.

I'm jazzed, hopeful and intrigued by the challenges ahead. The passion in the room is palpable. The 40 people who convened at the Visioning Summit yesterday in San Francisco, and the 30 participants who are steering the program today, consist of some of the most talented and forward-thinking innovators — nonprofit execs, strategists, journalists — that I've come across in recent years.

Above is the presentation I gave at this gathering, organized by a group of nonprofits in a project called the New Media Lab (there's no public presence yet, just a private wiki). And while its focus is squarely on the role that journalist/media producers will play in our project, I've taken the liberty of extrapolating it to the new roles that journalists should be expected to take up in an age of social media if you work for a startup, whether it's for-profit or nonprofit.

Called Doing Good 2.0: The next-generation's impact on communication, media, mobile & civic engagement, it looks at the forces driving Web 2.0 and the next-generation Internet, the role of mobile, the new cultural norms that social media is ushering in, and the role of the New Journalist: how we need to still tell compelling stories about people and causes but how we also need to expand our repertoire in this new arena by wearing multiple hats:

• entrepreneur
• conversation facilitator
• social marketer
• futurist
• metrics & research nerd
• journalist/storyteller

Here are some of the questions we've just begun to tackle:

Should nonprofits create their own media?

What should be the business model for social cause organizations in the future?

How can the media producers funded by this project work with nonprofits to build a sustainable business venture that connects to their core constituencies?

How do you turn passive audiences into engaged communities?

What happens when you bust the silos that keep us from working together across sectors?

I've signed on as a paid advisor to the yearlong project, which will happen largely virtually. The idea is that the alternative, progressive nonprofits — the National Wildlife Federation, National Civic League, Freespeech.tv, Mother Jones and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy — will assign point people to work with producers selected by San Francisco State's Renaissance Journalism Center.

Leveraging free and open source tools

Some of the ingredients that will be sprinkled into the project's secret sauce: use of mobile; an emphasis on social media; use of high-quality video across multiple platforms (Web, cable and broadcast TV); and business plans from Manas Consulting to make it all self-sustaining.

The goal, in a phrase, is to "help non-profit partners find innovative ways to get their members to engage in conversation, volunteer, subscribe, donate and advocate."

The role of the "New Journalist" — which we're calling media producers — in this project is paramount: The producers (who hail from SF Gate, the Miami Herald, an Emmy-winning documentarian and others) will be sitting down this afternoon to map out how to weave a tapestry out of all these moving parts.

"This is a project for those who like to play around, who are comfortable with things shifting fast and often," Jon Funabiki, founder of Renaissance Journalism Center, told the producers.

During my talk I showed off this heart-tugging video from aglimmerofhope.org as a compelling example of storytelling for a cause and showed off a suite of free open source and social media tools and platforms. I also pointed to a few ahead-of-the-curve ideas for partnerships:

ahead-of-curve

Among those in attendance: Funabiki; fellow IdeaLab contributor David Cohn, founder of Spot.us; Jed Alpert, co-founder of MobileCommons; Arthur Charity, author of "Doing Public Journalism"; management consultant Richard Landry; social entrepreneur Ron Williams, and many other smart folks. Jon Schwartz, who runs a string of progressive nonprofits, is funding the project, and Halcyon Liew organized the proceedings.

With a little bit of luck, we'll figure this out. I'll report back on our progress in the months to come.

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