links for 2011-01-24

  • "In general, I think David hit it on the head when he said that at many schools, the journalism that students produce is “museum work.” It is work that is produced in a vacuum, only to be read and seen by the professors, students and sources.In the last 5 years, journalism schools have taken a step in showcasing student work on their websites, and in some cases, like my experience at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, producing entire websites or in-depth web projects. Students are progressively able to learn to produce for the web and the web, learning multimedia and social media skills. At Columbia, almost every class had a dedicated website that either covered a neighborhood or specific topic. The problem is few people actually visited these websites because of a lack of outreach or as soon as they gained momentum they were killed off at the end of class."
  • By helping to free our local data, by re-inventing themselves as local data hubs, and by working with local businesses and local voluntary organizations, city newspapers could be part of the new conversation. They could then face the future a little more optimistically. 
    Let’s be honest. They don’t have much left to lose. 
  • "A medium has a niche. A sitcom works better on TV than in a newspaper, but a 10,000 word investigative piece about a civic issue works better in a newspaper.
    When it arrived the web seemed to fill all of those niches at once. The web was surprisingly good at emulating a TV, a newspaper, a book, or a radio. Which meant that people expected it to answer the questions of each medium, and with the promise of advertising revenue as incentive, web developers set out to provide those answers. As a result, people in the newspaper industry saw the web as a newspaper. People in TV saw the web as TV, and people in book publishing saw it as a weird kind of potential book. But the web is not just some kind of magic all-absorbing meta-medium. It's its own thing. And like other media it has a question that it answers better than any other. That question is:
    Why wasn't I consulted?"
  • Every day, I run into stories that might as well include these promotional bullet points:Please go to Google to find the web site of the company I mentioned in this article.Please go to Google to that report cited in this article.

    …etc.

  • "This phenomenon of private equity and bank owners asserting their controlling stakes in news companies has been little discussed publicly. In part, that’s because the new owners have been largely silent; one journalist expressed dismay today when he went to the Alden site, and found a single page. To get into the site, you need a client log-on.

    Several years into their new ownership, we’re seeing increasing impatience among the new owners with the old leadership. A growing conventional wisdom among them: too many newspaper CEOs just aren’t moving faster enough to grasp the mostly digital, multi-platform future. In fact, some of the new owners are meeting directly, without company leadership, with technology players who are offering shortcuts to the digital future. That’s one sign of the impatience.Another is the replacement of leadership, today Singleton and Lodovic, with new talent.

  • fascinating podcast on the evolution of a new way for people to transfer money where they don't have good access to banking.
  • Computer code is not yet art, but it could be.  At RailsConf 2010, Neal Ford discusses aesthetics, constraints, creativity, and why the Ruby on Rails community is closer to art than other programming communities.
    Code differs from art in that art is ambiguous, while code can't be.  Painting became more artistic when photography eliminated the need for realistic painting. Code must always compile and execute to be worthwhile.  Some of his characteristics for art are that it demonstrate expertise, that it's for enjoyment's sake, that it has a recognizable style, and that it has a special focus outside of ordinary life.  People in the Rails community have creative drive, recognition of excellence, and a distinct style, which makes them closest to realizing this idea of code as art.
  • "A  friend of mine has a favorite one-liner he likes to tell: "What is the perfect day for Mubarak? A day when nothing happens." Egypt's status-quo-oriented president doesn't like change, but his Groundhog Day fantasy weighs heavily on Egyptians. Mubarak has survived assassination attempts and complicated surgery. After he spent most of the spring of 2010 convalescing, everyone in Cairo from taxi drivers to politicians to foreign spies was convinced it was a matter of weeks. And yet he recovered, apparently with every intention of running for a sixth term in September. Egypt's prolific jesters, with their long tradition of poking fun at the powerful, might be running out of material."
  • "Many of Twitter’s trending topics have been fueled by black tweets. Coley has been responsible for several (hash)youcantbeuglyand and (hash)dumbthingspeoplesay also sprang from his iPhone. He has a desktop computer at home, which he used to apply for his supermarket job. But he uses his phone for 80 percent of his online activity, which is usually watching hip-hop and comedy videos or looking for sneakers on eBay.
    This trend is alarming to Anjuan Simmons, a black engineer and technology consultant who blogs, tweets and uses Facebook “more than my wife would like.” He hopes that blacks and Latinos will use their increased Web access to create content, not just consume it.:"
  • I'm glad to hear this, since SoundCloud is the closest thing we have for YouTube for audio.
  • "Mac Tonnies’s digital afterlife stands as a kind of best-case scenario for preserving something of an online life, but even his case hasn’t worked out perfectly. His “Pro” account on the photo-sharing service Flickr allowed him to upload many — possibly thousands — of images. But since that account has lapsed, the vast majority can no longer be viewed. Some were likely gathered in Plattner’s backup of Tonnies’s blog; others may exist somewhere on his laptop, though Dana Tonnies still isn’t sure where to look for them. All could be restored if Tonnies’s “Pro” account were renewed. But there’s no way to do that — or to delete the account, for that matter: no one has the password Tonnies used with Flickr, which is owned by Yahoo."
  • "GroupMe's biggest advantage is the so-called "normal factor." While companies like Foursquare have to sell users on the benefits of sharing their location, and Twitter took years to convince the world that tweeting is useful for things beyond broadcasting your breakfast choices, group text messaging isn't such foreign concept. Users don't even need smartphones to do it.

    "For some people who don't really understand Twitter or the concept of a status update, they do understand conversing with their friends or conversing with the families," Martocci says.

  • Great to see African bands getting high-profile US MSM exposure :-)
    (tags: africa music)
  • Poynter listed me as one of the 35 top social media influencers. Cool!

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