Podcasting Grab Bag, Dec. 4

Another roundup of interesting podcasting tidbits that caught my attention over the last month.

TOP OF THIS LIST: Post details: pseudo podcasting, by DJ Chuang, Nov. 19. This frank, detailed article cuts through the hype of podcasting. As I’m discovering, this new medium is actually a fairly complex undertaking. Podcasting combines many technologies and skills, so just about any would-be podcaster should expect to navigate some kind of significant learning curve. Chuang offers advice for novices based on his experience, and also compares text blogging to podcasting. Well done! Thanks!

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Hear Me on \”The Bitterest Pill\”

I’m so flattered! A few days ago I submitted my very first audio comment to one of my favorite podcasts, The Bitterest Pill by Dan Klass. Well, in yesterday’s show he played my comment! Not only that, but he paid me some very kind compliments too about how I structured my comment. Hey – I’ve got the content issues down, now I just need to work on tools and technique.

Anyway, check it out. Here’s the show. (Go there and click the link that says Click to hear the podcast, or right-click it to download the MP3 of the show to your computer.)

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Tools Grab Bag, Dec. 3

Here is a bunch of cool tools, tips, and techniques that caught my attention over the past month.

TOP OF THIS LIST: Pretty purple states. Lately, dualistic, polarized thinking and debate of all kinds has been bugging me big time. The recent slew of inane “red state/blue state” chatter concerning the US election is simply one example of this. Why can’t we embrace complexity and spectrums wholeheartedly? Why can’t we talk about shades of purple, rather than divide our political landscape into red and blue?

Well, that’s exactly what Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman of the Univ. of Michigan have done. Check out Maps and cartograms of the 2004 US presidential election results. They use cartograms (maps distorted to represent weighting by factors such as population) to visually convey a far more nuanced and accurate version of the 2004 election results. The electoral college may be a flat red and blue, but the reality of the US electorate has a subtler palette. Bravo!

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Media & Journalism Grab Bag, Dec. 3

Catching up on a backlog of links… Here are several items about news, media, and journalism which caught my attention over the last month.

TOP OF THIS LIST: Media / Political Bias, an essay by Andrew Cline in Rhetorica. Thoughtful discourse by a former journalist who explores, in details, the various kinds of bias that exist in journalism. This completely bypasses the false liberal/conservative dualism and goes right to the heart of the matter.

Brief excerpt: “Is the news media biased toward liberals? Yes. Is the news media biased toward conservatives? Yes. These questions and answers are uninteresting because it is possible to find evidence – anecdotal and otherwise – to ‘prove’ media bias of one stripe or another. Far more interesting and instructive is studying the inherent, or structural, biases of journalism as a professional practice – especially as mediated through television. I use the word ‘bias’ here to challenge its current use by partisan critics. A more accepted, and perhaps more accurate, term would be ‘frame’…”

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Why Stephen Downes Hates \”Webfeed\”

I’d thought the furor over the “webfeed” nickname had finally died down. Then, a couple of days ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Stephen Downes, posted a vociferous denunciation not just of “webfeed,” but of the very idea of offering another terminology option in this area.

Since Downes posted his thoughts as a comment to a CONTENTIOUS item on another topic, I’m reposting that discussion so far here . It’s a good discussion (albeit one I’ve already had many times), and worth its own blog item….

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Loving My New iBook

A few weeks ago I realized that my valiant Dell Inspiron 2100 laptop, which I’ve used heavily for the last 4+ years, has seen better days. It’s looking worn, the display is getting funky, the letters have worn off some keys, the hard drive is buzzing, the battery doesn’t work, it overheats, the power cord keeps falling out, and the lack of a built-in CD drive is a recurring frustration.

So I bought a new Apple iBook G4. Yummy!…

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Be Smart About E-Mailing Press Releases (Online Media Outreach, Part 9)

Reality check: Although webfeeds will probably become the best way to distribute press releases, right now most journalists don’t yet know what webfeeds are or how to use them. I believe this will change in the next year or two, which is why I recommend launching press release feeds now.

Of course, it’s important to work with today’s reality as well as tomorrow’s direction. Therefore, you should distribute press releases by an opt-in e-mail list. Journalists like options, and right now e-mail is a popular preference – despite its considerable drawbacks.

Many organizations already distribute releases by e-mail – but fundamental errors abound. If you’re going to offer an e-mail list for press releases, it’s important to be smart about it…

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