…As if the news business wasn’t already Kafkaesque. Well, AP is an appropriate choice for this.Â
Having done some critical coverage of several boneheaded AP strategies in digital media over the last few years, I think they see eye to eye with NK regarding the dangers of criticism, and how to respond to it.
I’m not kidding: See the response from Paul Colford, AP’s director of media relations, to a 2010 KDMC story I wrote about the controversial AP News Registry program
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:
“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,”Â Ternovskiy says.Â “So, we’re actually getting revenue from naked men right now.”
Thought you were going to escape the holidays unscathed? Think again! I’m actually in the holiday mood this year, and I’m not afraid to inflict it on others…. Muahaha…
This is an early animation by Terry Gilliam, from Christmas 1968. Laughing Squid posted it to Tumblr this morning.
Every since my brother introduced me to Monty Python when I was about eight, I’ve been enamored with highly visual absurdist humor. And I especially adore Terry Gilliam’s ability to upend our assumptions of space, time, place, scale, and intention.
We live in an unpredictable world, where meaning shifts drastically as context changes. We’re forever falling into a new picture frame, and parts of other pictures intrude rudely upon ours. Laughter is the best way to stay afloat amidst chaos. And there is always, always chaos.
Is a journalist ever off-duty? I tend to think not — and yesterday I feel like I neglected my duty. It’s bugging me.
It was Memorial Day, I decided to go for a long bike ride to see the beach at Alameda. I needed the exercise, and the weather was perfect. I was enjoying myself greatly — but as I was biking back along Crown Beach in Alameda, I saw police, firefighters, and onlookers gathered. I asked what was happening, and they told me that a man was stranded offshore. A firefighter pointed out into the water, and I could see a head bobbing above the waves, about 150 feet out.
“It’s shallow out there, he’s standing,” said the firefighter. And indeed, the man didn’t seem to be struggling. But he wasn’t waving or shouting for help, either.
The question is whether the Dailyâ€™s secession from the Web is a matter of convenience or ideology for its creators. Did they put their energy into spiffing things up for the iPad â€” the hard, fun, innovative part â€” figuring that they can circle back to beef up their Web offerings later? Or do they feel that it is their calling, their mission, to leave the Web behind?
My prediction: If theyâ€™re pragmatists about the Web, theyâ€™ve got a chance â€” they can adapt and evolve their product so itâ€™s a little more up to date, less hermetic and more inclusive of the public that lives online today. But if theyâ€™re ideologues â€” if they really believe that what is essentially a magazine â€œpasted on a screenâ€ is the future of journalism â€” then theyâ€™re in deep trouble, and the Daily will only be Murdochâ€™s latest and most spectacular digital money-sink.
But some of comments from journalists who read that story indicate some pretty common misunderstandings that people in the media business often have concerning feature phones.
I’m not faulting my colleagues for these misunderstandings. It’s understandable — they’re as drenched in smartphone/tablet hype as anyone who gets tech news. So I hope no one takes this post as disrespect.
However, since news orgs ostensibly have a mission to serve their entire communities (not just the people who can afford high-end mobile devices), and since advertising and similar revenue models generally work better when you reach more people., I thought I’d point out and clear up some of these feature phone fallacies…
Radio Lab: What does technology want? “In this conversation recorded as part of the New York Public Library seriesÂ LIVE from the NYPL, Steven Johnson (author ofÂ Where Good Ideas Come From) and Kevin Kelly (author ofÂ What Technology Wants) try to convince Robert that the things we makeâ€”from spoons to microwaves to computersâ€”are an extension of the same evolutionary processes that made us. And we may need to adapt to the idea that our technology could someday truly have a mind of its own.”
What, exactly, are journalistic fences supposed to accomplish? (Image via Wikipedia)
Recently Kellie O’Sullivan, a third-year communication student studying at the University of Newcastle in Australia, asked me some questions about citizen journalism for a class assignment. I get questions like this a lot, so she said it was fine if I answered her in a blog post.
The way she framed her questions made me wonder: Why are folks from news organizations and journalism/communication schools still so hung up on building fences to divide amateur from professional journalism? Does this reflect insecurity about their own status/worth, or simply a lack of understanding of how much these endeavors mostly overlap and complement each other?
Seems to me that we’d all gain more by focusing on the practice of reporting and journalism (especially being transparent and open to discussion, correction, and expansion of news and information). In my opinion, doing journalism is more important than what kind of journalist you consider yourself to be, or how others label you.
More than a year ago, in June 2008, I wrote about how Nokia’s clueless approach to serving the US smartphone market basically handed that market to Apple on a silver platter by the time the 3G iPhone launched.
“Nokia is looking to collect patent royalties of 1 or 2 percent for each iPhone sold, according to a note from Piper Jaffrayâ€™s Gene Munster, which â€” given the roughly 34 million iPhone units already in the hands of users â€” would amount to $200 million-$400 million. Thatâ€™s not a lot of money to either company, of course. But Nokia is clearly hoping it can be more successful in the courtroom than itâ€™s been in the marketplace.”