Journalism in six words

From Meranda Writes:

Doing more with less since 1690.
We’ll always have Paris … or Britney.
It’s how I change the world.
Get it right, write it tight.
They’ll miss us when we’re gone.
Feed the watchdog, euthanize the lapdog.
Who, what, when, where, why, Web.
Facts, schmacts … how is my hair?
Dirty commie latte-sipping liberal scum.
Please stop griping, now start typing.
We’re sorry about all the trees.
No news is not good news.
How many inches is the truth?
Seek the truth, not the money.
We don’t make this shit up.
Dead wood floats. So can we.
A journalist’s work is never done.
History’s first version, updated every minute.
It beats working for a living.
Speak truth to power, or else.
But this IS my day job!
Mainstream media: We’re your grandfather’s blog.
Filling the space between the ads.


Been there. Done that. Rinse. Repeat.
Every day something new to learn.
Speak up or hold your peace.
Who’s watching your government?
Nothing is worth more than today.
Tomorrow this will be forgotten.
I couldn’t make this stuff up.
As read about on Romenesko.
Blogs: Repurposing real journalism since 1997.


When brands hire bloggers

(from Techdirt and WSJ)


“The Wall Street Journal has an article focusing on a blog set up by Miller Brewing Company called Brew Blog. The blog isn’t used as a blog about what’s going on at Miller Brewing. Instead, Miller hired an experienced reporter, James Arndorfer, 37, and told him to just cover the beer industry as if he were a beat reporter.

“In other words, it’s reporting news — and even breaking stories on the competition.

“In fact, it revealed that main rival Anheuser-Busch was planning a new brew called Budweiser American Ale even before A-B was able to make the announcement itself, forcing the trade publications to scramble to cover the scoop.

“This is certainly a recognition of how content is advertising. The blog clearly isn’t ‘advertorial.’ It’s full-on reporting about the industry, in a way that’s interesting and relevant to those in the industry.

” ‘They are trying to aggressively go around the gatekeepers in newsrooms and the trade press,’ says Stephen Quigley, an associate professor of public relations at Boston University. ‘It’s something you couldn’t do five years ago, before the proliferation of blogs.’

“What may be even more interesting, though, is what the article says about journalism. In an age in which journalists are whining that their jobs are disappearing, here’s yet another example of where suddenly there are new types of jobs for journalists appearing every day. But, even more interesting, is a quote at the end of the article highlighted by David Card. It’s from Harry Schuhmacher, the editor and publisher of a fee-based trade publication on the beer industry:

” ‘I tell Miller you’re subsidizing a free publication, and it hurts the trade press,’ he says. ‘But they don’t care.’…Mr. Schuhmacher adds that he writes fewer positive pieces about Miller than he once did because he knows Brew Blog will always publish the same stories.

“Think about this for a bit. People complain that when you have a company-sponsored publication it will inevitably be biased — but the sponsorship of that site is totally open and in the clear.

“The site’s content stands for itself. Yet, at the same time, a supposedly ‘objective’ traditional journalist is admitting that he writes fewer stories about Miller because he’s upset that it’s competing with his own publication.

“From that, it would certainly seem like the Brew Blog is a lot more credible (it’s biases are out in the open), while this fee-based trade pub admits that story choices are sometimes based on personal vendettas.”


BBC: Multi-platform newsroom

Press Gazette reports on the structure of the converged newsroom:

“In the short term, he said, most journalists working in the BBC newsroom will continue to work primarily in the media that they have traditionally worked. Over time, producers will increasingly work across television, radio and online as staff are put through a training programme.

“A centralised Media Wire desk now monitors audio and video feeds and passes stories on to the most appropriate outlets, and assignments will be controlled from a centralised planning desk.

“Each desk will have a web conversion producer often drawn from the previous online operation, who will be responsible for extending stories originally produced for broadcast platforms online.

“In addition, one senior editor will serve as the overall multimedia editor for the day, responsible for coordinating the needs of different media, allocating resources, taking legal advice and resolving any conflicts.”


Blogs are now mainstream media

Conclusions of Universal McCann’s Wave 3 survey of 17,000 active internet users in 29 countries, aged 16-54 (via

1. SOCIAL MEDIA is a global phenomenon happening in all markets regardless of wider economic, social and cultural development. If you are online you are using social media.

2. ASIAN MARKETS are leading in terms of participation, creating more content than any other region.

3. VIDEO clips are the quickest growing platform, up from 31% penetration in Wave 1 to 83% in Wave 3; 57% have joined a Social Network, making it the number one platform for creating and sharing content; 55% of users have uploaded photos; 22% of users have uploaded videos.

4. The WIDGET economy is real: 23% of social network users have installed an application; 18% of bloggers have installed applications in their blog templates.

5. BLOGS are a mainstream media worldwide and as a collective, rival any traditional media: 73% have read a blog. The blogsphere is becoming increasingly participatory, there are now 184 million bloggers worldwide. The number one thing to blog about is personal life and family.

6. CHINA has the largest blogging community in the world with 42 million bloggers – more than the US and Western Europe combined.

7. Social media impacts your BRAND’s reputation: 34% post opinions about products and brands on their blog; 36% think more positively about companies that have blogs.


For the full report, download PDF, 3.98MB

Dell, Starbucks: Crowdsourcing ideas

Jeff Jarvis looks at Dell and Starbucks in setting up brainstorm forums to solicit ideas from customers. (via Guardian)

“When Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz returned to his company to put it back on track – as Dell had done a year before – the two chiefs compared notes. Now the coffee empire has opened its version of Dell’s IdeaStorm at MyStarbucksIdea

“The Starbucks discussion is fascinating. Various caffeinated customers in a hurry suggested that they could encode their standing orders and credit on to cards so they could wave them like London’s tube/bus Oyster cards upon entering, putting their order in and charging them automatically, which would allow them to skip (and shorten) the line. Others suggested separate lines for simple orders of brewed coffee. What the customers were really telling the company was that the length of its lines is a problem. But note well that they didn’t complain about this. Instead, they came up with solutions. It’s a sign of the gift economy online. Customers are willing to help. They want to be partners.

“The top suggestion at MyStarbucksIdea as I write this – with 53,000 votes and 600 comments – is loftier: to bring cafe society to the cafes. “Use the power of media and wireless new media in particular to foster a sense of conversation about the arts, current events, etc,” one customer proposed. An enthused commenter responded: “Great conversation will also renew the image of Starbucks as being not only a coffee community but also a global community where humanist ideas and great artists, writers, comedians etc could also attract a lot of people and turn Starbucks into a cultural, humanist hub!” Sounds like the Guardian, with extra froth.

“I would love to see this platform for mutual engagement also taken to government. I’m not suggesting we transform parliament into an online forum. But why shouldn’t constituents share their good ideas and use the organising power of the internet to gather movements around them? When I blogged this thought, Salesforce’s Benioff chimed in, calling it a ‘killer idea’ but cautioning: ‘Salesforce Ideas is a democracy, as the saying goes, red in tooth and claw. But you have to invest in a conversation – it’s not going to work unless there’s a real back-and-forth.’

“The prime minister’s office, working with MySociety, has made a start on such a digital democracy at, where citizens have submitted more than 29,000 petitions since 2006 (half rejected as duplicates or for legal and other issues), drawing signatures from about four million people.

“But the real question for companies and institutions is how willing they are to let their constituents into the process of doing their jobs. Can customers help design products? Can citizens write legislation? Can readers suggest stories newspapers should cover?”


Links: Jeremiah Owyang | Elisabeth Gillespie | Muhammad Saleem.

How Journalism Will Survive

Lisa Williams, the founder of Placeblogger, and H2Otown draws an interesting parallel of the tech industry in the 80s and 90s and the news business today:

“When our central institutions blew up, people asked many of the same questions I hear among journalists today. Without these institutions, who will fund the mission? How will we attract the talent we need to make the transition? Just as journalism without newspapers seems inconceivable now, it seemed inconceivable to many then that innovation could continue without the might, resources, and sheer heft of the companies that formed the core of the high tech industry. Who would write the next operating system? Create the next generation of microprocessors? Today, journalists ask how democracy will fare in a country without a robust free press. Then, technologists asked how the United States could retain its leadership position without big, powerful computing companies.

“There’s no underestimating the pain of the tech implosion: people who got laid off expected to be out of work for a year or more; people lost their houses, got divorced, left the industry entirely; lucky ones took early retirement packages. To make matters worse, many of them had deep loyalties to the companies they worked for and spoke with pride of the “HP way,” the “IBM way.” The breakdown also wasn’t sudden: from beginning to end the dismantling took nearly a decade.

“We decamped from the Titanic and dispersed in every direction in a fleet of kayaks: small, self-propelled, and iceberg-proof. We learned to be loyal to our friends and to the ideas and ideals that we had genuine passion for: because it was our friends who were going to pull us out of the cold water, and our ideas that would get us going again after a setback.

“What we discovered, of course, was that innovation survived the death of its institutions….On the decks of a career Titanic, you don’t have much choice but to sit back and let others ensure your safety and set your course. With a career in a kayak, you can and must set your own direction and learn the skills to keep yourself safe. You’ll discover what thousands upon thousands of tech workers discovered: you can do great work outside of an institutional, big-company context, and you can make a living doing so. High tech companies didn’t own innovation; the innovators did. News organizations don’t own journalism: journalists do.”


Additional links on the same topic at “Are newspapers doomed (do we care?”:

1. Nicholas Carr: “The Great Unbundling: Newspapers & the Net
2. Clay Shirky: “What Newspapers & Journalism Need Now: Experimentation, not Nostalgia
3. Jay Rosen: “Newspapers & the Net: Where’s the Business Model, People?”
4. Jon Talton: “When I Hear the Term ‘Citizen Journalist,’ I Reach For My Pistol!
5. Charles M. Madigan: “Why Almost Everyone is Wrong About Newspapers & the Internet
6. Mary Stuckey: “How Technology and Online News Saved Political Rhetoric
7. Colette Bancroft: “Reading Ain’t Dead: Books, Newspapers, and the Net
8. Caryle Murphy: “Foreign Correspondents & the Information Revolution
9. Jennifer Saba: “Look at the Numbers: Why Print Will Continue to Matter to Newspapers

About-turn on blogging in Malaysia

Malaysia’s ruling party, United Malays National Organisation (Umno), has made it a requirement for future candidates to have blogs.

Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Umno secretary general of the party’s youth wing, told AP all those vying for national youth posts “must have blogs to introduce themselves and their programs ahead of party elections in December.”

“All candidates must have blogs, if not, they are not qualified to be leaders. The last election showed that we lost the cyberwar. We need to embrace the technology now,” Abdul Rahman said.

Abdul Rahman’s comments follow in the wake of shock losses by Umno and its component parties in the National Front (BN) coalition in the recent general elections. The losses were partly attributed to the growing influence of new media on the Malaysian political makeup.

In 1999, an article exploring that very possibility by me, was dismissed even by local pioneers of new media.

Back then, one interviewee commented that the incumbent government, and Malaysians in general, were not ready for the kind of transparency and accountability that new media brings to the democratic process.

But just two weeks ago, the chief secretary to the government indicated the winds of change have begun to blow:

“Gone are the days when public officials could choose to ignore the media, complaints, telephone rings or even letters to editors. The Public Service today has to respond not only to the conventional media but the alternative media. In the past the alternative media was associated with ‘young punks’. This no longer holds true as the alternative media, you know, knows no limit: be it age, time, geography. Everyone and I say almost everyone has a blog to his or her name. The speed of information is such that countries and companies today need web based crisis management plans to address effects of negative blogging in times of crisis. Even the Prime Minister himself has initiated a website where the public can write directly to him on any and all issues. The website, which was launched on 1 March 2008, enables the Prime Minister of Malaysia to interact directly with the civil society, the public at large and all of Malaysia’s stakeholders. If the Prime Minister is taking and making all efforts to engage the public individually and directly, surely this clearly sets the standard of service for the public and private sectors.”

This sharply contrasts with some reckless comments from other government leaders that incensed local bloggers prior to the elections.

Exhibit A: “Bloggers are liars. They use all sort of ways to cheat others. From what I know, out of 10,000 unemployed bloggers, 8,000 are women. Bloggers like to spread rumours, they don’t like national unity. Today our country has achievements because we are tolerant and compromising. Otherwise we will have civil war. Malays will kill Chinese, Chinese will kill Malays, Indians will kill everybody else,” then Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor in reaction to an Indonesian blogger/tv journalist Nila Tanzil as reported by Sin Chew.

Exhibit B: “The government will not be affected by blogs and other Internet forums that may be created during campaigning for the upcoming elections. While the younger generation are tech-savvy, they tend to believe newspaper reports over comments made on the Internet. The Internet is used mainly to book budget airline tickets or to get entertainment news. My children are young professionals and enjoy surfing the Internet. But they don’t read blogs,” former information minister Zainuddin Maidin as told to China Press.

Exhibit C: “There are no laws in the cyberworld except for the law of the jungle. As such, action must be taken so that the ‘monkeys’ behave,” Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who has since taken a new tack.

Adding fuel to the about-turn enthusiasm by the National Front government for all things Internet-ish, one academic in his post-election analysis went so far as to suggest “70 per cent of the results were influenced by the new media, especially blogs”.

University Malaya’s Media Studies Department lecturer Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah said the findings were based on a survey of 1,500 respondents from all states.

“We must be more open (to new ideas) as the opposition was already using the new media since 1998 with 45 bloggers, rising by 50 percent in 1999 and reaching 7,500 bloggers by the middle of 2004,” he told Bernama.

Abu Hassan said the National Front had only two websites and one blog in 2004, while the opposition had “thousands” of websites allied to the opposition. He added the opposition had “indirectly trained” some bloggers to become politicians and who eventually won parliamentary seats, an obvious reference to bloggers-turned-politicians Jeff Ooi and Tony Pua.

An independent election media monitor initiative, organised by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)indicated that despite the obvious mainstream media bias, voters had rejected the propagandist approach.

CIJ Executive Director Gayathry Venkiteswaran recommended that the Malaysian media change along three lines:
1. Return to the ethical and professional standards of fairness, objectivity, balance and accuracy;
2. Have more competition in the form of more media being allowed;
3. Do away with the laws that restrict the media.

(Under Malaysia’s onerous Printing Presses and Publications Act of 1984, all publications in Malaysia must apply to renew their publishing licenses annually. The Home Ministry oversees publication permits, and there is no judicial review of its decisions.)

Whether the current cold embrace of new media by the incumbents will eventually win over Malaysia’s most caustic online critics remains to be seen. But at least some change, however paltry, is better than none.

(Picture credit: Funny Images 4, weblover,

Why Twitter May Die predicts the death of Twitter, Joost and SecondLife and the rise of other unheard of services like Trulia, Scenecaster and Kaltura in “10 net services that will succeed and 10 that may fail”

Succeed: Trulia | SceneCaster | CafeScribe | OverlayTV | | Hulu | Huddle | Kaltura | ModiFace | Cognitive Code

Fail: Joost | Twitter | Zillow | Chumby | eCirkit | Flock | Spock | Jobster | Squidoo | Second Life

Paul Theroux says VS Naipaul “true monster”, again

From TimesOnline:

When the bestselling travel writer Paul Theroux fell out with his old mentor VS Naipaul he produced a damning memoir Sir Vidia’s Shadow. But a new biography of the Nobel laureate makes him think he pulled his punches.


I did the best I could. I have an excellent memory. But I’ll admit I took a few liberties with geography, made a Malaysian dinner guest into a Kiwi and gave her a funny hat, omitted that I’d won an airgun competition at Naipaul’s house, dressed Lady Antonia Fraser in a more fetching outfit. And, because of the persistent lawyers, I blurred or omitted examples of Naipaul’s outrageous behaviour.

I wanted to write about his cruelty to his wife, his crazed domination of his mistress that lasted almost 25 years, his screaming fits, his depressions, his absurd contention that he was the greatest writer in the English language (he first made this claim in Mombasa at the age of 34). “I am a new man,” he assured me once, “as Montaigne was a new man.” But did Montaigne frequent prostitutes, insult waiters and beat his mistress?

Slash, change; slash, change. Even so, when my book appeared the reviewers howled at me for my audacity. “An unfair portrait”, “a betrayal” and the usual jibes – all of them portraying me as an envious upstart. Just a few weeks ago, in a sycophantic piece about Naipaul by a rival newspaper, my book was described as an example of “literary pique” because I had suggested that Naipaul was a monstrous egotist.

Now French’s biography amply demonstrates everything I said and more. It is not a pretty story; it will probably destroy Naipaul’s reputation for ever, this chronicle of his pretensions, his whoremongering, his treatment of a sad, sick wife and disposable mistress, his evasions, his meanness, his cruelty amounting to sadism, his race baiting. Then there is the “gruesome sex”, the blame shifting, the paranoia, the disloyalty, the nasty cracks and the whining, the ingratitude, the mood swings, the unloving and destructive personality.


You suck at Photoshop #10

The episodic Photoshop videos by Donnie Hoyle that are part tutorial, part divorce rant that everyone is Digging about.

The rest of it (caution: strong language): Ep 1 | Ep 2 | Ep 3 | Ep 4 | Ep 5 | Ep 6 | Ep 7 | Ep 8 | Ep 9 |

Next Page →

Feedburner RSS
Subscribe by RSS
RSS logo
Subscribe by email

Facebook TrinetizenTwitter TrinetizenLinkedin Trinetizen