Dan lays it down tough, but he says some things that really needed saying, that needed amplifying.
I'm still pretty freaked over the general decline of the overall enterprise of public affairs reporting, investigative reporting, civic and civil society reporting and analysis, as these behemoth media monopolies falter like a single-species pine forest hit by the bark beetle.
But Dan is at least reminding us, reminding me, of something I knew, suffered with as the status quo, never quite reconciled myself to as the years rolled by, but found myself increasingly powerless to do anything about it to fight those monopolies, at least until the blog movement and the idea of citizen journalism came along.
Not that the pretty feeble but courageous citizen journalism and non-profit journalism efforts caused the massive monopolies to shiver in their boots. That mild contribution to the monopolies' death is just a thousand cuts, with the IDEA of the real masses, the huge reading publics accessing content for free online. Those readers were fed by an advertising-subsidized content machine, however, a machine created and delivered in an industrial, mindless assembly-line, tape-recorder-journalist-as-low-wage-line-worker model, not with a a critical thinking and analysis (even semantic parsing!) information age model (one could argue the Internet model is SEO-driven, nearly-bot-written content thinly scraped to follow trending topics... but that's a subject for another post!).
But the real death blow is being struck by the hand that fed the monopoly powers: advertisers cutting back in the face of the Great Recession.
Posted on June 16, 2010 at 12:27 AM in Advertising, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Current Affairs, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Long Tail, Television, UCD, Web & Interface Design, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
So I figure, why not look in at them here? Let's look beyond the practical vo-tech employment concerns and wax a bit philosophical.
First, to Robert Niles:
By Robert NilesWhat's the value of journalism?
The short answer is, of course, "whatever someone will pay for it." But a more thoughtful response gets at why people are willing to exchange something of value for news information.
Economics 101 teaches that if more people want something, and the scarcer it is, the higher the price. With millions of new websites competing for people's attention, advertising rates across all media have plunged, threatening news businesses that depend upon advertising income.
[Hmmm. Tell the Econ 101 argument to poets, and they may beg to differ.
While journalists have long had to contend with the idea that their best work has the value of the Daily Fishwrap, the thing that people pile up unread, throw away daily, or use to line birdcages, poets have lived with this deep knowledge, that their very best work, their best of the best, work that strives for standing the test of time, or ephemeral, contingent, and quickly forgotten work like performance art, has an economic value of precisely ZERO, since before the time of Gutenberg.
Posted on February 11, 2010 at 04:56 PM in Academia, Books, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Copyright & Intellectual Property, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Literature, Long Tail, Personal, Photography, Poetry, Social Media, Sustainable Living, Teaching, Television, UCD, Web & Interface Design, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
I've been around the social media block long enough (Geocities, Friendster, Tribe.net, anyone?), and this seems to apply to the seemingly "invincible" search engines as well (WebCrawler, AltaVista?): the one thing that seems as constant as death and taxes online is that the social sphere (the wisdom of crowds or mob rule) is fickle.
You may be up one day, but most surely, a day will come when you will be down (think about it, Blackboard!).So while I never really got into MySpace, the larger story of the MySpace failure is a cautionary tale for any 800 pound gorilla entertaining dreams of invincible bigness.
(Note, it is not really dead, but it is acknowledged in this article that its 100M users are no longer contesting Facebook for leadership at 300M users.)
One could argue that as surely as MySpace rose, it would also fall, as surely as a small town church will split into two churches, as surely as Friendster begat Tribe begat MySpace begat Facebook (which will begat ???).
But back when this question of ascendancy between MySpace and Facebook was still in more open contention, I never once doubted Facebook would come out on top (and this wasn't just because MySpace often resembled the old Geocities pages either!).
But people argued with me. And I knew they were wrong, despite their very earnest and rational arguments, proofs, numbers.
It bugs me: How did I know they were wrong? I am wont to reflect on these things. I wouldn't just cite my online research background in social ecosystems, user experience design work, or some other thing from my resume' (an argument based on authority or expertise, which seems to be a cheat in this instance, since I have never designed a site as successful as MySpace or Facebook).
So truisms and arguments from authority or expertise don't count, at least for this exercise.
So how did I just KNOW? How did all those other 300M users just know? What did we know?
Posted on December 05, 2009 at 05:04 PM in Advertising, Citizen Journalism, Copyright & Intellectual Property, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Film, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Music, Privacy, Radio, Research, Social Media, Stock Market, Web & Interface Design, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Zittrain also pointed to Amazon Mechanical Turk, where people can be put to near-automated work that makes them effectively zombies for largely non-useful purposes such as giving five-star reviews for devices they’ve never used. In this case he thinks government regulation, like the FTC’s new blogging disclosure policy, could be a good thing — at least in the sense that it pressures Amazon to police tasks on its platform.
Posted on December 01, 2009 at 11:17 PM in Academia, Books, Civil Rights, Copyright & Intellectual Property, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Literature, Long Tail, Politics, Privacy, Research, Science, Sustainable Living, Teaching, Web & Interface Design, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The bit I really listened to and took the most away from is about three-quarters of the way through the interview, when Clay starts talking about the way the Pirate Bay lawsuit morphed into the Pirate Political Party in Sweden, with ramifications for the European Parliament. I am definitely going to run out (figuratively, letting my fingers do the running) and find out more about that!
Also (and this relates to a recent post/discussion we were having on our Scatter/Gather work blog), the rest of the discussion from that point forward explores some of my favorite themes about how periods of great growth and intellectual energy are released in times when the sacred and the profane exist in very close proximity to each other. Except that isn't really the way Shirky put it (although others explore this connection, what in the field of Rhetoric you find in Bakhtin and his talk of the discourse of the "carnival")
The simplicity of Twitter, of course, is its genius. It has the power to do so much by doing so little. But that’s not the only thing that’s simple about Twitter. The service itself was only intended to share 140-character messages with the world. Its significance is its evolution. Everything from @replying and retweeting to using hashes and symbols can be attributed to the users. It has brilliantly allowed users to define it – almost entirely. As Shirky points out, “Most of the uses of Twitter were not imagined by the designers of the service – they were managed by the users of the service.”
Posted on November 28, 2009 at 10:55 PM in Academia, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Copyright & Intellectual Property, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Economy, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Long Tail, Research, Social Media, Web & Interface Design, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Society for New Communications Research Announces 2009 Fellows` Choice Award Winners for Innovator, Visionary, Brand and Humanitarian of the Year
SAN JOSE, Calif.--(Business Wire)--The Society for New Communications Research (http://sncr.org), a global nonprofit research and education foundation and think tank focused on the latest developments in new media and communications and their impact on business, media, culture and society, today announced the Society`s Fellows` Choice Award winners for the Visionary of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Brand of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year as part of the SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards program.
The 2009 SNCR Fellows Choice Award winners are:
* Visionary of the Year: David Plouffe, President Obama`s campaign adviser, for his successful use of social media communications tools and technologies in the 2008 U.S. presidential election campaign strategy
* Innovation of the Year: The Kindle, the popular software and hardware platform developed by Amazon.com subsidiary Lab126 for reading e-books and other digital media
* Brand of the Year: Ford for its innovative use of social media to improve the way the company communicates with its stakeholders
* Humanitarian of the Year: The Iranian Political Bloggers for their courageous use of blogging tools and Twitter to try share their experiences with the world and to try to effect political change in Iran
"The SNCR Fellows have chosen an incredibly impressive variety of individuals and organizations for this year`s award winners. These special award winners have the vision and success to provide a valuable example to others and we are honored to be able to acknowledge them through this awards program," commented Jen McClure, president, SNCR.
The Society for New Communications Research is a global nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education foundation and think tank focused on the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect ontraditional media and business models, communications, culture and society. SNCR is dedicated to creating a bridge between the academic and theoretical pursuit of these topics and the pragmatic implementation of new media and communications tools and methodologies. The Society`s Fellows include a leading group offuturists, scholars, business leaders, professional communicators, members of the media and technologists from around the globe - all collaborating together on research initiatives, educational offerings, and the establishment ofstandards and best practices. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 408.266.9658.
Media: Jen McClure, 650-387-8590 email@example.com
I've been checking out the screenshots and early weekend implementation of the new CNN.com redesign. Several of my journalist and non-journalist friends have been weighing in on links I've posted on Facebook (although my CNN buds have been keeping fairly quiet, as is proper. I did same in public forums when I worked there).
Disclaimer: I was a cyberculture columnist for CNN.com from 2002-2005, where I often had to advocate for certain "bloggish" types of discourse that were not generally permitted on the site because the online common wisdom or ways of knowing (crowd-sourced consensus on cyber-topics, usually) couldn't be traced to some important person quoted as saying "X" (an absolute requirement for CNN.com at the time), or because online "conventional" wisdom didn't necessarily jive with journalistic copyediting standards of "The Row" at that time.
Times have certainly changed, both in the network and with the site's embrace of citizen media (something I was also an early advocate for), and now, in its turn toward the site stylings of online "opinion writing" found at Huffington Post and The Daily Beast, among other blog and news aggregators (more on that below).
For what it's worth, a full archive of my CNN.com columns can be viewed here. I was employed by Turner Broadcasting from 2001 to the end of 2006, when I moved to NYC to take a position at Razorfish, ironically, the company responsible for the CNN.com 2007 redesign (UX and creative). I was not involved in the redesign at either company.
That should cover all necessary disclaimers. All I'm doing here is giving my impressions on the 2009 redesign (largely positive, I'll tell you why), in spite of my friends' initial reactions on Facebook (largely negative, I can speculate why), and what I think may have been lost from what I considered a visually stunning "liquid" (the gray modular look) redesign as proposed by Razorfish and executed by CNN.com in 2007.
What follows is my opinion and my opinion only, and in no way represents the views of any of my employers, past or present.
You may have noticed – you could hardly miss it – the blizzard of anniversary stories last month about the fall of Lehman Brothers, an event that helped spark last year's financial meltdown. The coverage reminded me that journalists failed to do their jobs before last year's crisis emerged, and have continued to fail since then.
It also reminds me of a few pet peeves about the way traditional journalists operate. So here's a list of 22 things, not in any particular order, that I'd insist upon if I ran a news organization.He's got me at Number 1, which just happened to be one of my pet peeves too, especially when I worked in TV-Land.
Sad shift work, really, was what it was, for 24-hour news staffers who couldn't get those days off. I didn't mind the national election rituals. But certain non-holidays that lead to a pre-set mandatory programming mantra of cliche's could just make me run around the room screaming. Like the hurricane preparation story, as the hurricane is of course "bearing down," right before it starts to "wreak havock."
How about the Super Bowl Sunday bizarro land programming as a national holiday?OK, maybe it isn't a refuge of "lazy and unimaginative journalists" at all. Nope, I'm sure it isn't. They dread those godawful assignments. The mandate for such "coverage" comes from on high, editorial/management, that you MUST stack a show a certain way on those cliche' days. Mother's Day. All the stories about these days have to have several invocations of "We" in them, and the on-air staff have to chuckle or sigh sadly along with the same remarks from the year before.
Posted on October 07, 2009 at 12:08 AM in Academia, Books, Citizen Journalism, Civil Rights, Cyberculture, Democracy Theory, Education, Free Speech, Hypertext Theory, Journalism, Long Tail, Poetry, Politics, Religion, Research, Satire, Teaching, Television, UCD, Web & Interface Design, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)