I’ve long been frustrated with how stuck-in-the-mud much of the news industry and many journalists regarding their own business models or career path. Seems to me, the key skill to survive and thrive in chaotic, disruptive times is adaptability.
Here’s a great example of adaptability: How the much reviled flavor-of-the-month web startup Chatroulette has found a way to make money off its inevitable tide of exhibitionists:
Fast Company: Chatroulette Founder Andrey Ternovskiy Raises New Funding: “50,000 Naked Men”
“Chatroulette can’t fully wean itself off nudity yet. “You’ll still see some naked men, about one every hour,” Ternovskiy says. Of the roughly 500,000 visitors Chatroulette receives daily, about 10% are males itching to show their business. So Ternovskiy parlays that business into profit.
“Everyday, about 50,000 new men are trying to get naked,” he says. “What we’re doing is selling the naked men to a couple of websites–it’s an investment for us.”
When users flag someone enough times for indecent behavior (by clicking a button), the offender is automatically transferred to a partner site. Thanks to deals with adult dating services like FriendFinder.com, Chatroulette is earning cash hand over fist from the referral traffic.
“Basically, once we detect a person is naked, he’ll be kicked from our service to another website,” Ternovskiy says. “So, we’re actually getting revenue from naked men right now.”
Over the last month I’ve fallen behind on noting here what I’ve been writing at the News for Digital Journalists blog on the web site of the Knight Digital Media Center. Here’s a quick roundup of what I’ve covered there since late February…
UPDATE FEB. 2: Apple rejected Sony’s new e-reader app from its app store — a move that makes Murdoch’s lavish investment in The Daily look even riskier…
On Wednesday morning, News Corp. will hold a press event to unveil the first-ever iPad-only newspaper, The Daily. The little that we know about this project raises some pretty big questions, and I suspect that after the announcement most of those questions will remain. Here’s what I’d like to know:
How can this possibly be worth such a massive up-front investment?… Continue reading
A couple of podcasts I listened to recently reminded me that, in a sense, everything is technology. Including your house. Including your eyes.
Give these a listen and you’ll see what I mean:
Dan Sawyer spotted this gem recently on XKCD:
The truth about the Kindle 2
By the way… XKCD is a brilliant and poignant webcomic, one of my favorites. It’s also CC-licensed. Go check it out.
A picture is worth 10,000 words… especially if you can play with it! This week I’m in Los Angeles, where I’ll be leading a group presentation on online interactive and visual tools that can make news, stories, and context more vivid and compelling than ever. Also presenting are:
- Mark S. Luckie, the multimedia journalist behind the killer blog 10000words.net. He’s also associate producer for EW.com/Entertainment Weekly and former online producer for the Los Angeles Times and Contra Costa Times.
- Don Wittekind, assistant professor in the visual communication sequence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Our session is part of American Tapestry: Covering a Changing America” — an event at the Knight Digital Media Center for the leaders of the News21 project. The participants are mostly journalism educators who use this project to give new journalists multimedia experience. Our goal in this session is to show them cutting-edge and unusual tools to spark their — and their students’ — imaginations.
Here’s what we’ll cover…
The Dallas Morning News Tech Blog speculates on the next step in holographic election coverage...
Someone might want to tell CNN: TV is a two-dimensional medium. Holograms don’t work there — not even in high-definition. That’s even more true for holograms that aren’t really holograms.
On election night, CNN debuted a new type of eye candy into its coverage: three-dimensional video interviews with reporter Jessica Yellin and rapper Will.I.Am, both speaking from Chicago. As the TV camera moved around the studio, the angle of the projected image changed, creating the illusion of an in-studio 3D projection.
Here’s what it looked like (Note: CNN’s embedded video just went flaky, but that article on CNN contains a playable version.)
And here’s why this stunt was such a bad idea…
|Berbercarpet, via Flickr (CC license)
|Journalism sudents need the right tools — and skills — for the kinds of careers and opportunities they’re really going to be making for themselves.
Picking up on my post yesterday, Univ. of Florida journalism professor Mindy McAdams challenged me (and her other readers) to translate my quick list of what j-schools should be teaching into a something more testable and measurable that could be translated into a curriculum.
Here’s my first shot at that:
- Content management systems (including blogging tools): First, I’d have the students run a group blog on a topic of their choosing for a year to get comfortable with the content and commenting apects of blogging. (A group blog is likely to get more activity and discussion than individual blogs.) This blog should be based on an expandable, customizable tool like WordPress. Then the students should be taught the basics of information architecture, and from that figure out how to expand or customize their blogs to deliver or integrate new kinds of content or services. This could be as simple as finding and installing WordPress plugins to add features, or integrating content from other places (such as Flickr or del.icio.us). The goal would be to get them to not just understand, but demonstrate that on their own they can envision, research, evaluate, and act upon options to do more with their content online. There’s a lot you can do without getting too geeky. They need to gain the confidence that many options are within their personal grasp — they don’t always need to get permission or beg someone else to do things for them.
There’s a lot more on my list, of course…
|RabbleRadio, via Flickr (CC license)
|Prudishness and journalism were never a good mix.
Today I started pulling together a bunch of stray threads that have been nagging at me for some time. Anyone who reads my work knows that I have longstanding admiration for quality journalism — and growing frustration with the culture and attitudes of professional journalism.
It occurred to me that a lot of the things that frustrate me about journalistic cynicism, idolatry, and sanctimony are remarkably similar to what frustrates me about sex negativity in American culture.
So I’m writing an essay to connect the dots. There are a lot of dots to connect, it’s going to take me a while. And I’m still thinking it all through.
One think I’ve learned is that my readers can always help me think tough things through. So in that spirit, here are some excerpts from what I’ve drafted so far. Bear in mind that this is JUST a draft, I WILL be refining it. I know it sounds more preachy and strident than I’d like. Also, I need to make it more fun and flow more. All that will be worked on
With that said, here’s the draft…