Media & Journalism Grab Bag

Here are a few items on the theme of media, journalism, and news that have caught my attention lately…

TOP OF THIS LIST: Out of the Rubble, A Public Housing Drama Rises, a three-part video feature from the Washington Post, Dec. 22, 2004. First-rate storytelling that works well on a very small screen.

Now that we’re entering the age of TV programming delivered to mobile phones, I hope more news organizations start producing and deliver more of this kind of content.

Read the rest of this list…

  1. EPIC 2014: A truly thought-provoking and eminently controversial Flash presentation of a possible dystopian media future. By Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson. This is intended not as a prediction, but as a starting point for discussion. It begins with this challenging vision: “In the year 2014, The New York Times has gone offline. The Fourth Estate’s fortunes have waned. What happened to the news?”
  2. More on EPIC 2014: Listen to the Jan. 15 edition of Web Talk Radio, which features a fabulous interview with Robin Sloan, one of the EPIC 2014 creators. Sloan discusses how journalists and others reacted to the scenario when it was initially presented to small groups, and how that shaped the final presentation. Yet another example of why it’s important to ask, “What if?” Click to download the MP3 audio file, or get the streaming version (Real Audio or Windows Media).
  3. The Future Of The New York Times, Business Week cover story by Anthony Bianco, John Rossant and Lauren Gard, Jan. 17 (free registration required). Speaking of the Gray Lady’s fortunes… What caught my attention in this feature was the wrap-up: “The New York Times, like all print publications, faces a quandary. A majority of the paper’s readership now views the paper online, but the company still derives 90% of its revenues from newspapering. ‘The business model that seems to justify the expense of producing quality journalism is the one that isn’t growing, and the one that is growing – the Internet – isn’t producing enough revenue to produce journalism of the same quality,’ says John Battelle, a co-founder of Wired and other magazines and web sites.” It’s worth also reading Joi Ito’s commentary on this feature story. Food for thought.
  4. Wave of Destruction: Photos and videos from the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Yet another example of how the internet can surpass, or at least complement, traditional news media – even in terms of delivering multimedia content. This is a personal project by Geoffrey Huntley. Bandwidth and hosting generously provided by OzForces. (Thanks to For Immediate Release for this link.)
  5. Anatomy of news waves: Check out Airline Fare News Boom, Web Pro News, Jan. 9. This article offers intriguing advice: “How do you know a news wave when you see one? Frequent Google News.” I don’t 100% agree with this strategy, but it can be a useful indicator.
  6. A Tidal Wave of Sleaze, News Hounds (“We watch FOX so you don’t have to,” Dec. 28, 2004. Granted, FOX wasn’t the only US news organization that seemed to have screwy priorities in the initial days of tsunami coverage, but this is a great roundup of how screwy those priorities could get.
  7. Indiana Gazette, Dec. 29, 3004 reprint of the AP story “Asia Rushes to Bury 67,000 Tsunami Victims.” You know, news organizations that litter their site with waaaaaayyyyyy too much cheesy advertising should really think twice about running such weighty stories online. Here, the jarring contrast between the story and all the ads was frankly creepy and insensitive.