Monthly Archives: November 2009

Happy happy gobble gobble

Just wishing everyone observing the American Thanksgiving a very good, peaceful, restful and enjoyable holiday.

I’m still burrowed in the work of launching a sports site I’ve mentioned here before, and hope to finish that in the coming days.

My posting here has been more sporadic than I intended as I work on that project, but I want to return to more active blogging as soon as possible. There’s been a lot going on in the journalism and media realms, as usual, and there’s so much I want to explore when I get the time.

So my thanks to you for your patience.

In the meantime, help yourself to some links on journalism, media and work, plus some miscellany, that have caught my eye on the fly . . .

Walt Disney vs. the news industry: How bad management is killing newspapers and their websites (Online Journalism Review)

Journalism, Technology Starting to Add Up (MediaShift Idea Lab)

How Demand Media’s Business Model Can be Applied to Niche Sites (Poynter)

Reinvention: Now the job requirement for Boomer women (Vibrant Woman)

It’s Not the Recession, You Just Suck (Outspoken Media via Mike Wells)

Local Bookstores, Social Hubs, and Mutualization (Clay Shirky)

Coffeehouses: Bringing the buzz back (Wall Street Journal via Evgeny Morozov)

 

 

Advertisements

A little media blogging on the fly . . .

I do want to return to blogging a bit more substantively about many of the topics I’m linking to below. But I’m trying to launch a site and grapple with some serious server meltdown issues that are preventing this from happening. The life of a Web entrepreneur is a glamorous one, I tell you. What I offer here I do so without comment or elaboration — for now:

Newspapers Not Evolving Enough for Digital Demand:

“I have wanted to work for a forward-leaning digital company for a long time. Part of this is recognition that newspapers have limited resources, they are saddled with legitimate legacy businesses that they have to focus on first. I am a digital guy and the digital world is evolving rapidly. I don’t want to have to wait for the traditional news industry to catch up.”

We Need ‘Philosophy of Journalism:”

“Every journalism student should be required to take a course in ‘Philosophy of Journalism,’ to develop the intellectual instincts and reflexes that will make the approach to truth of both practices a permanent part of his or her intellectual makeup. Imagine a world in which every column about the Obama administration’s battle with Fox News came with profound context about the large issues involved. A sweet, rather than tweet, thought.”

Does Political Journalism Focus on the Trivial?

“In the 60s journalism was a craft, not a profession, and more identified with ordinary people. Now, we’ve lost some of our idealism. The media and politicians are going down together in terms of cynicism.”

‘The Daily Show’ crew serious about media criticism:

“Too often, King said, journalists’ political coverage — and that of media critics — ends up being sanitized and nothing but a perfunctory he said/she said exchange. ‘If you were going to talk about whether the earth is flat, and 99 percent of scientists are saying it’s round, and 1 percent are saying it’s flat, you wouldn’t bring on the 1 percent guy. That viewpoint is factually inaccurate and they shouldn’t bring him on just to give the illusion of balance.’ “

Fertile Ground for Startups:

“Startups are playing an increasingly important role in American business, and they may play a central role in any recovery. As of the end of 2008, companies infused with venture capital were responsible for generating 12 million jobs and 20% of U.S. gross domestic product, according to a recent survey published by the National Venture Capital Assn.”

The War for the Web:

“It could be that everyone will figure out how to play nicely with each other, and we’ll see a continuation of the interoperable web model we’ve enjoyed for the past two decades. But I’m betting that things are going to get ugly. We’re heading into a war for control of the web. And in the end, it’s more than that, it’s a war against the web as an interoperable platform. Instead, we’re facing the prospect of Facebook as the platform, Apple as the platform, Google as the platform, Amazon as the platform, where big companies slug it out until one is king of the hill.”

Some evolving redefinitions of journalism

Rounding up some items that have caught my attention recently on journalism, media and the Web. Here are a good half-dozen links, with a few addressing the fluid role of a journalist, and what it means to be doing the news, during this time of great change:

Why the mainstream media is dying:

“What really cracks me up is how often I still hear people say that bloggers are mere ‘aggregators’ and the ‘real journalism’ gets done at places like the Times. Because time after time, blogs are simply beating the shit out of the newspapers. They’re the ones who still dare to go for the throat, while their counterparts at big newspapers just keep reaching for the shrimp cocktail.”

Top 50 Journalism Blogs:

“If you are a seasoned journalist, you may have become disillusioned in how this field has changed over the past decade. With the changes wrought by online venues and phones that can report instant messages and photographs, many amateur and professional journalists alike are asking, ‘What is a journalist, and where is this field headed?’ ”

A Shield for Bloggers: Just who is a journalist today?:

“I think at the end of the day if you’re an online journalist working for a company or on your own and you on a regular basis report and distribute the news, you’ll be covered. I don’t know what the language will look like, but that’s the objective. There are modern-day pamphleteers here that you should be able to get covered.”

Don’t Save Journalism — Save Honest Communication:

“Journalism as a word is loaded because of the ministry it invokes. The profession that, since Watergate, has laid claim to it. That ministry is now a diaspora. Much like after the Gutenberg revolution the ministry lost its authority in interpreting the bible. Martin Luther showed us how. In reaction many journalists cling even tighter to that word. But the word needs to be redefined.

A Blog is a Better Social Media Hub Than Twitter:

“The most influential people on Twitter are either already celebrities, create their own content, or both. Who do you see most often retweeted? Major news outlets like CNN, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Mashable. Guy Kawasaki. Robert Scoble. Of course there are many reasons these people are influential, but a very basic reason is that they are creating original content somewhere other than Twitter. They are most often using Twitter as a super-news-feed, and as a way to drive people back to their blog, web site, etc.”

The Internet and Well-being: Flogging a Dead Horse:

“For anywhere from 2-12 of the population, the Internet can produce compulsive behavior, ranging from constant online gaming to online shopping addiction. But for most, the paradox is that there really isn’t a paradox.  The Internet destroys time and space and allows us to remain connected with those we already share an offline relationship as well as to meet others who can present us with different life outlooks and perspectives.”

Finding a work discipline that works

While reading about the abundant and various ways that acclaimed novelists work — specifically, how they develop the discipline and routine to complete highly individual and creative tasks — I’m encouraged by the fact that there’s not one good way to do anything well.

But can Web workers — or anyone in this age — who handle a myriad of tasks on a regular basis find one way of getting them done and not succumb (too often) to the time- and occasionally mind-killing choices available on the Internet? Lately I’ve been sucked into the maw of distraction and I’m trying to claw my way out.

I’m a big fan of Merlin Mann’s prescription to “Write about what you are passionate about. Find out what your voice is and blog the shit out of it.” Clearly this requires concentration of mind and habit and quite often means, for me, to organize research well in advance and write offline. When I accomplish this, it’s because I adhere to the solid practices I crafted as a print journalist, and this is serving as a very familiar foundation.

Yet as I alternate site-building and management work with writing words under my own name, this juggling act runs counter at times to Douglas Rushkoff’s rule to “Pay as much attention to your process and tools as to your output.” These are plural, and not singular, processes, tools and tasks, and at times it seems they are proliferating beyond my ability to grasp them. The biggest challenge is getting things done without feeling overwhelmed.

In a lightning-paced environment that presents constant disruptions and more opportunities to procrastinate than ever before, I occasionally have trouble resisting the temptation. Twitter, take me away!

No wonder contemporary writers often follow the most extreme measures of their predecessors and close themselves off from the world. I think of the bleak setting of Annie Proulx’ “The Shipping News” and place myself in it, at least for an hour or two.  The sooner to get my mind back to a warmer climate!

Fresh and familiar takes on journalistic change

Because of my ongoing Web site-building project, I haven’t been able to post here as often or substantively as I would like. But below are some recent links to journalism and media topics that have been on my mind as I work toward a launch date that’s just around the corner.

(Some shorter, quicker notes I’ve been posting on my latest experiment in thinking out loud.)

There’s not an awful lot that’s new here for those well-versed in the online journalism field, but the constant drumbeat of change is perhaps driving the need to restate the obvious, or extend continuing debates:

An Epitaph for American Journalism:

“We need an aggressive, dynamic, highly technical kind of entrepreneurial journalism. One which will both teach and honor people who build new websites, create new companies, know how to finance them, grow them and sell them.

“Journalism has for far too long derided the business side of the business as ‘dirty’.  That is wrong. Plain wrong. Journalism is first and foremost a business. And without the income, there is no journalism at all.

“We have to abandon our notions of the noble ink-stained wretches forever in search of ‘the truth’ and embrace and learn to love making money.  (Turns your stomach to hear that, doesn’t it, you old ink-stained wretches?)  Too bad.”

Forces beyond anyone’s control:

“When the history of the decline and fall of newspapers is written — and wouldn’t it be grand if some genius came up with something to save us all! — there will be lots of blame assigned to complacent journalism executives. But I hope people understand that there were huge technology-driven social forces at work that couldn’t have been turned back by anyone.”

(via Andrew Sullivan)

Auletta on Internet disruption:

“When I hear people in traditional media today whine about, ‘Oh, woe is me, they’re doing these terrible things,’ I have no sympathy for that at all.”

Wild guesses won’t solve journalism crisis:

“With all due respect to my dedicated and talented colleagues, we need to try something different. Next time, we need to hear from people we don’t know, exploring things we don’t know about and examining potentially useful solutions we have yet to consider.”

Narrative is dead! Long live Narrative!:

“We needed a way of communicating that encouraged the evaluation of facts instead of the balancing of rhetoric. It’s a shift that requires a radically different theory of the press. . . Narrative isn’t under assault. The economic hegemony of mass media is, and with it go the fortunes of journalists who made a living via an advertising subsidy that went away.”

Guest Kit: ‘Life After Newspapers:’

“Something came over me, and I felt the urge to shout. So I did, tentatively at first, and then louder until I was screaming at the top of my lungs, ‘FREEDOM!’ over and over like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Then I remembered: in the very next frames of film, Gibson has his guts slowly spooled out of his body by the executioner. But, damn, this sense of liberation feels good. While it lasts.”