links for 2009-08-13

  • Zach Seward starts a new Nieman Labs series about what's in a new secret AP strategy document:

    "In a break with tradition, The Associated Press plans to prevent members and customers from publishing some AP content on their websites. Instead, those news organizations would link to the content on a central AP website — a move that could upend the consortium’s traditional notions of syndication…."

  • "Following Columbia j-school dean Nicholas Lemann's speech, we heard from CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien. O'Brien started off by telling us, "If you've been reading the headlines you know it's a difficult time to be in news… same story when I entered the business in 1988." Besides making the point that the media has had similar struggles in the past, O'Brien also offered advice about starting a career in journalism. Her main tip for us was to "live without debt" and "live within your means." This provoked an audible response among the crowd of aspiring journalists since many of us (including myself) are taking on substantial debt to attend j-school and living within our means isn't really an option.

    "After her speech, O'Brien opened up the floor to questions. I raised my hand to ask her if, in light of her view that we should live without debt, she thought it was a mistake to take out loans for journalism school." (Columbia j-school costs $47K

  • "As the power grid becomes more automated and its control systems are networked on a large scale, the security of the system has become a critical issue, especially with the development of a new interactive smart grid and with recent reports that the current grid has been compromised by hackers. Current industry security standards require “the identification of and documentation of the critical cyber assets associated with the critical assets that support the reliable operation of the bulk electric system,” using a risk-based assessment. Violators can be fined as much as $1 million a day. Audits for compliance with the Critical Infrastructure Protection Standards began last month"
  • "This is a topic that I've spent a great deal of time thinking about, because we happen to run a site chock full of user generated questions and answers. The last thing I want to do is exploit Stack Overflow users for corporate gain, even accidentally. That's horrible.

    "So if you spend a lot of time creating content for Stack Overflow or anywhere else on the internet — I think you should be asking yourself some tough questions:

    * What do you get out of the time and effort you've invested in this website? Personally? Professionally? Tangibly? Intangibly?
    * Is your content attributed to you, or is it part of a communal pool?
    * What rights do you have for the content you've contributed?
    * Can your contributions be revoked, deleted, or permanently taken offline without your consent?
    * Can you download or archive your contributions?
    * Are you comfortable with the business model and goals of the website you're contributing to, and thus directly furthering?

  • "To date, most of the research on recruitment and incentives comes from far simpler domains such as frequent-flier programs and cell-phone subscription campaigns, where goals and incentives are usually aligned. But the volunteer economy has many more variables. What are the signs that a participant will be enthusiastic and well-informed? How do leadership qualities manifest? Do recruits bring in networks of potentially productive friends? Researchers comb through petabytes of network behavior searching for telltale patterns. One of the current studies rates the probability that a person who's gifted in one domain is likely to perform well in another."
  • A new service for paid content. Problem 1: Their link for new info leads to a pdf file. Huh? I find it very hard to take seriously any media-related business that doesn't just post its info on a regular web page.
  • Mark Cuban exhorts news sites to start blocking access to links to their content coming from aggregators. Oh man, the sad thing is a lot of news orgs will listen to him…..

    A commenter notes: "The day after the news providers start blocking aggregators is the day a browser plugin is published to hide or spoof the referring site. I would bet that the next major release of Firefox and Chrome would then incorporate it by default, with IE avoiding it until the loss of market forced them to relent."

  • "He is right in one regard: People who go to aggregator sites don’t really click through to the original story. But he misses the profound and game-changing aspect of that fact: They don’t want to read the original story. Habits have changed on the Internet, where information comes faster and from many more sources. Hence, news needs to be short and it needs to be aggregated, which is precisely what brand-specific news sites lack: News from diverse outlets that can be consumed quickly. Here’s the rub: People don’t want news (there’s too much of that), they want aggregation (ie, efficiency and ease), which there isn’t enough of. Oh, yes, and free."
  • AHA! This might be a way to get around how too many redirects could "break the web"

    "In our conversation, Garrick Van Buren noted that many content management systems already assign a numerical shortkey to each post that could be used for a short URL. “The really, really big benefit in that case is that it’s no longer a redirect,” he said. “It’s just one more URL that points to same place.”

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