Apple-Amazon Book War Intensifies

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Apple is investing in a new market -- e-books. The company plans to release an electronic book to compete with Amazon, a company that has control over the market with its Kindle.

Despite the fact that Apple has not entered the market yet, the company is finding itself competing with Amazon.
The latest sting in this "book war" came when Amazon pulled books from Macmillan, 0ne of the largest publishers in America.

The dispute was over pricing on e-books on the site. Amazon sells its books for $9.99 or less. Apple planned on selling its books for 30 to 50 percent more.

However, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, "The prices will be the same."

Jobs believes people will use Apple's e-book store as a way to drive up Amazon's prices.

During the launch of Apple's iPad, Jobs touted other publishers that we need to watch out for. These were Pearson's Penguin Group, News Corp.'s HarperCollins and Hachette Book Group, and CBS's Simon & Schuster.

Currently, each publisher is selling through Amazon, but that is not expected to last long.


Smaller Organizations Use Social Media To Be Heard

Friday, January 29, 2010

It is common to be following or a fan of major companies on Twitter and Facebook. For instance, CNN Breaking News has 2,870,755 followers on Twitter and Starbucks currently has 5,620,853 fans on Facebook. Though the masters of the media are popular on social networking sites, smaller companies are also using these sites. Of course the large companies are overly dominating, but small companies such as City Year are doing what they can to get noticed.

City Year is located in Boston and is dedicated to helping solve the problem of failing schools. It was founded by two Harvard students who believed that people could change the world and were inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. City Year has been around for about 20 years. Every year, City Year hires young leaders called corps members to serve full time as tutors, mentors, and role models to make a difference in the lives of children and transform schools and neighborhoods. These corps members are from 17 to 24 years-old. There are more than 1,550 corps members in full time service across America helping students’ attendance, behavior, and coursework. Though City Year is based in Boston, they have been working on improving schools in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Miami, Washington D.C., Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis, San Antonio, Columbia, Cleveland, and Sacramento. City Year has also gone global by working in London and South Africa. To achieve growth and goals, City Year must significantly increase applications.

One way City Year has increased recruiting is by using social media, such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. City Year has their own account on Twitter, channel on YouTube, and page on Facebook. Though they only have 3,188 followers on Twitter and 5,967 fans on Facebook, the number is growing and it has spread awareness and information about City Year greatly.

It just goes to show that small organizations, such as City Year, can become successful and well known through social networking. Social networking is changing media, and it is important to keep the smaller organizations running.


Football Coaches Victims of Libel

State champion football team Sacred Heart-Griffin Cyclones may be successful on the gridiron, but off the field they're fighting a different type of battle.

In Springfield, Illinois, the football coach at Sacred Heart-Griffin High School and his assistant coach are suing the former defensive coordinator for libel. In case you are not fully aware of the media law slang, libel is something that can damage a persons reputation or misrepresent them in a false light.

The accused has made comments on Facebook about the head and assistant coaches, using labels such as "pedophile" and "thief," according to the State Journal-Register. These online insults, which the coaches claim have been going on for the past three years, have now led to a $200,000 libel lawsuit.

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School holds a simple, yet powerful mission statement: "Academic Excellence in a Community of Faith." I can only hope that this regrettable lawsuit gets resolved before the good name of the school and the community are damaged any further.


The iPad and the Future

Many in the newspaper industry have been searching for a new technology to come along that could save the industry and bring it back to its once-thriving status. With the release of Apple's new iPad, many have proclaimed that salvation has arrived. However, some are critical of the praise, questioning if the iPad will truly reverse the current downturn.

Writing for the Online Journalism Review, Robert Niles points out that the iPad does include many improved features. It contains a larger screen than an iPod or iPhone, and claims to come equipped with a display better than that of a Kindle or other e-readers. He also contends that a few innovators within the business will find creative and successful ways to utilize the iPad. However, for the most part, Niles remains unconvinced, writing "people have been rejecting and, in increasing numbers, continue to reject paying for content offered by newspapers' newsrooms, in any medium."

How then, are newspapers to adapt to the 21st world? According to Niles, newspapers are failing simply because of their content, and to get back on track must follow a few simple steps. First, they must place a greater focus on technological savvy and specialization in hiring new employees. In his model, Niles projects that writers must specialize their reporting to narrower categories. This alone however, will not be enough. Ultimately, newspapers will have to drop their objective reporting for more colorful and pointed pieces.

Niles certainly has a valid and well-argued point. Media outlets such as Fox News have been extremely successful through subjective reporting and commentating and more and more people admit to obtaining their new from John Stewart. Perhaps newspaper's objective writing style and general content truly has lost the interest of readers within the 21st century. However, I believe that it is still too early to estimate the impact the iPad will or will not have on the industry. As its popularity increases, I'm certain that those innovators in the industry will find a way to successfully use the iPad and future technology to bring a breath of life back to the industry.


iPad Might be Replacing Textbooks

Scrollmotion has been working to begin transfering textbooks to be compatible with the new iPad. Publishers that would be considering this transfer include McGraw Hill and Kaplan. This would also include online quizes, video, and other media items that are good resources for users of the textbooks. It is also able to take notes. This idea of switching textbooks to virtual media is a great idea. It helps cut down on the cost of printing textbooks and would send the idea of electronic textbooks soaring. The idea is the problem of reselling useless textbooks. Publishers would most likely not be willing to let students resell the electronic textbook. This can be a problem for many of the poor college students.


Presidential Speeches Forever Changed

Thursday, January 28, 2010

President Obama gave his State of the Union address, yesterday evening. By early this morning, several journalist and news sites had done some pretty creative things with the address that have never been done before.

PBS NewsHour had broken the speech down into segmented clips that focused on and provided links for specific topics. The New York Times combined the speech with reactions and comments from Twitter and Facebook. NPR and The St. Petersburg (FL) Times focused on the most important topics and did a little bit of fact checking.

This is a big deal. Not only is the media covering the most important presidential speech of the year, they are contributing to it. The media brought together people from across the nation with same opinions. The media gave people more resources that enable them to understand the address topic-by-topic. Finally, the media checked the accuracy of the speech.

No longer do people have to give blind faith to what the president says because he is the president. No longer is the discussion of what the president spoke about a friend-to-friend, neighbor-to-neighbor, coworker-to-coworker discussion but a national one. Now, everyone can participate and are not left in the dark, because they did not understand what the president was talking about.

This will change presidential speeches for the better, because now the people can really get into it, understand the issues, and be involved.


The Apple iPad

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Well its finally been revealed, the ipad, more effectionately known as the Tablet was first shown off Wednesday morning in San Francisco by Steve Jobs. The iPad has a screen about ten inches, is a half inch thick and weighs in at about a pound. The iPads price starts off at about $499 and can range up to $829 for the 64 gigabyte version.

So whats the point of carrying around a big iPod touch. Well, for those who now carry a laptop, a phone, and maybe a book can have it all in one device. The iPad will be easier to carry and use then a laptop because it has a keyboard on the screen. The size of the screen will also come in handy for those individuals who like to read. The large screen size and the iPads ability to connect to the internet mean that reading will not strain the eyes.

Some critics of the iPad say that the device costs to much and is to fragile, along with the fact that the battery does not remove and there is no proper keyboard to use. However, for those who would like to try the device, me included, say that the device is more than sturdy to stand up to the uses that would be required from it.

I think that for media purposes the iPad will make transmission and reception of media messages faster and more accurate. Bloggers have an easier way to update their blogs on the spot due to the larger touchscreen with bigger keyboard buttons.


What's a Five Letter Word for Ingenuity?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Apple isn't scheduled to announce anything until sometime on Jan. 27, but developer Stand Alone Inc. has already come up with first official application for the Tablet: Crosswords.

The Crosswords game is currently being used on the iPhone and lets users download and work on the crossword puzzles from more than 30 newspapers, including the New York Times and the Onion. Stand Alone is currently working to reformat the program to fit the 10-inch screen of the still questioned Tablet.

Stand Alone claims that Apple has given them no specifications on anything about the Tablet. While the existence of a game doesn't give us proof that the Tablet is real, Brian Alaska, a PR representative from Stand Alone, said that "the tablet device is almost guaranteed in our opinion. Thus, the developer has prudently begun work on a new design for the game..."

What's interesting to me is that by using Crosswords, many print media sources already have a jump on this new product from Apple. People that download this may also want to subscribe to the New York Times or other online newspapers.

Many people are skeptical about this new product though, including blogger Barb Dybwad, and are wondering if this is just hype. With everything that has been said about the Tablet, how can Apple ever hope to live up to what consumers already expect out of this product?


Jersey Shore 2?

The Jersey Shore is MTV's newest hottest show since the Real World was cool and Laguna Beach was still worth caring about. With the seven member cast shocking the country with their tan six packs, perfectly primped hair, and fist pumping leaving their audiences wanting more we must ask the question, "Will there be a season two?"

All across the United States magazines, celebrity news stations, and fans have been following the debate about the next Jersey Shore. However, sources are saying the Guidos and Guidettes are asking for a few more incentives. The initial salary deal for the cast has gone from a $5,000 per episode per cast member contract to $10,000 per episode per cast member. This will double the $420,000 season two MTV was hoping to air next fall. Nicole "Snookie" Polizzi, Pauly D Vecchino, Vinny Guadagnino, Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola, Ronnie Magro, and Mike "the Situation" Sorrientino are asking for all the money they can get and the negotiations are looking positive for them.

The Jersey Shore has sky rocketed MTV's ratings. In the last episode there was a reported 4.8 million viewers and that's the situation.


Left-Wing Radio Still Flies

With the demise of Air America last Thursday came shouts of joy and despair as politicos on both sides of the aisle contemplated what many considered to be the death of progressive talk radio.

Columnist Brian Stelter denounced these doomsday predictions by pointing out that Air America was merely one of many different avenues used for progressive talk radio hosts. Rachel Maddow and Al Franken were both former Air America employees who became much more influential after leaving the network.

Air America was almost six years old and its collapse has been blamed on poor management and financial misfortunes. Production at the network ended last Thursday night, just an hour after employees were informed that they no longer had jobs.

According to Stelter, a political based media form must be, "run as a business rather than as a crusade." Air America got so caught up in the waves of ideology that it lost sight of the shore, but as its boat sails off into the horizon, its legacy lives on in progressive media.


Internet: A Stronger Force Than Realized

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hope for Haiti Now

What were your plans last Friday night? For over 36 million people, their plans included viewing a live broadcast of "Hope for Haiti Now," a Haitian earthquake relief benefit in which over 100 celebrities entertained viewers.

"Expect this to dominate both the Internet and the television tomorrow night," wrote Mashable's Samuel Axon, regarding Friday night's broadcast of "Hope for Haiti Now." Axon was right. The event aired all over the world via television and live streams on the Internet.

The big surprise was not how much the benefit raised, almost $60 million, but rather how many viewers it received. Sixteen million viewers tuned in to watch the event from their television screens. However, a whopping 20 million people caught the benefit online. Axon also stated that over 30 networks were involved in the "Hope for Haiti Now" broadcast, including MTV, CNN, CBS and other major networks.

The fact that more viewers caught the broadcast online than on television goes to show how much the times have changed. The Internet has come a long way already, but is still becoming an increasingly powerful force in terms of how they present the latest news to the world.


Air America Filing for Bankruptcy

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Air America Radio shut down unexpectedly Thursday January, 21 due to bankruptcy. Air America the liberal version of conservative talk radio. Air America had programs that featured talk show topics trying to establish a leftwing voice in the radio business but has been unstable financially since its outset. The company was bought in 2007 out of bankruptcy by Green Family Media headed by Stephen L. Green and Mark J. Green and has been under their financial control until filing for bankruptcy on Thursday.

A few of the major programs that are lost by the bankruptcy are shows hosted by Al Franken and Rachel Maddow. Franken became a senator for Minnesota and Maddow now has her own show on MSNBC. The company also featured shows hosted by Ron Regan, former president Ronald Regan's son, Jack Rice, Jon Elliott, and Richard Greene. Air America stopped airing new shows Thursday and will now run reruns of old programs until the company is liquidated under Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Others are feeling the effects of the bankruptcy as well seeing as Air America has around 100 radio outlets in the United States stretching from west coast to east coast. Director of KPTK-AM 1090 in Seattle Cary Curelop said, "The was a needed outlet for the left on the air." She accredited Air America as being the forced that helped her outlet get going.


The Web of Tomorrow

The way people use the Web is changing. According to Mashable's Co-Editor, Ben Parr, there are four trends emerging in Internet usage:

  • The Web will be accessible anywhere

  • Web access will not focus on the computer

  • The Web will be media-centric

  • Social Media will be the largest component of the Web

Thanks to the introduction of wireless connection and smartphones with 3G and 4G networks, people can easily connect to the Internet anywhere. With the advent of smartphones, people can access the Internet from their phones. People are shifting from using that clunky box that sits on their desks to portable hand-held devices with a three-inch screen. In a column on CNN, analysts found that most people are using laptops, but there is an emerging trend in using smartphones. Parr predicts by the end of this decade, computers will only be a small portion of how people access the Internet. The way people interact with the Web will change as well. Parr says our dependence on sites such as YouTube and Hulu will increase rapidly. Voice-to-text technology will replace the keyboard and touchscreens will replace the mouse. Social media plays a major role in the way we access the Internet. In a study conducted by Nielsen, social media usage has increased by 82 percent in the last year. One of the main reasons people get online is for the social interactions provided by social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Parr says the number one reason we will use the Internet is to connect with friends.


Landing The Dream Journalism Job

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The economy is definitely in the pits right now, and the world of journalism is seeing it first hand. Though the issues give them much to talk and write about, it is hurting them greatly. Journalism jobs are scarce everywhere, but there are ways to make yourself more marketable.

Since on-the-job training for entry-level positions is almost unheard of, earning a bachelor of arts in broadcasting or journalism is a more than great. Broadcasting companies usually hire those who have a degree and experience in the field. Another key is being an intern for a station. If someone aspiring for a job in this field can show them their skills and how hard they will work, hiring them when an opening comes can be an easy "yes" from their boss.

These skills that someone must show while being an intern aren't easy however. One most definitely cannot be the type of person who is shy and likes to sit back and watch. Working in the journalism field takes a lot. Flexibility is crucial. The hours and places are all over. This requires one to be able to control their stress and time in an efficient manner. Critical thinking skills are also a must in this field. Perhaps the most important key, is just working hard every single minute of every single day. The journalism field has no time for slackers.

Since many people's dream jobs is simply just that, a dream, it is often wise to look at other options in the field. It is common for people to want anchor and reporter jobs on TV news broadcasts. There are also news analysts and commentators. People can also be anchors and reporters on the radio. Producers, assignment editors and news directors may not be on camera, but play a key role. Though the newspaper business is declining, writing for newspapers and magazines are also jobs that many people are interested in doing. Another job that is not as well known is working for public relations in museums, schools, and nonprofit organizations which can include announcers, research correspondents, and production assistants.

Being in the journalism field can be rough. One may not get their dream job at ESPN or the Washington Post, but there is hope. Even though openings are hard to find and compete for, with the right skills, background, and mind set, landing the right job can become a little easier.


The Media Bailout

Friday, January 22, 2010

The future of the newspaper and journalism continues to get darker and darker, especially with the bankruptcy of Affiliated Media, Inc. The debt ranges from $500 million to $1 billion. Affiliated Media, Inc. is the holding company of the second-largest newspaper publisher, the MediaNews Group. With that being said could newspapers be in even more trouble than before?

I believe that newspapers and journalism are both in some serious trouble. With a media company so large getting into this kind of trouble it really makes one think, "Is it reliable?" The best way to explain what I mean is to compare this to what happened to this nation's banks. People trusted banks, and put all of their savings into them. Then, what happened those banks needed a government bailout to survive. The same this is pretty much happening all over again but with media companies. How ironic is it, though, that now the banks are bailing Affiliated Media, Inc. out?

For 80 percent of ownership of Affiliated Media lenders, headed by the Bank of America, will take on $930 million of the debt. PRNewswire has an official Affiliated Media news release of this plan. To sum it up: by swapping the $930 million in debt for 80 percent of ownership Affiliated Media is able to restructure and fix its problems. The good news is that it is only Affiliated Media the holding company that will undergo restructuring. The newspapers and everyone working for them will come out unscathed. Now for the bad news, Chairman and CEO, William Dean Singleton, and President, Joseph J. Lodovic IV will not be going anywhere.

Does it make sense, to anybody, to let the men who were in charge and watched this debt accumulate, stay in charge?


Entrepreneurial Skills Vital

When you think of a journalist, you may typically think of a stereotype created by the movies: a man wearing a long, tan trench coat carrying a notepad in his hand, conveniently running into breaking news around every corner. In today's world, though, this couldn't be farther from the truth. The world of journalism as we know it is changing and so are the skills a journalists needs to possess.

On Friday, January 8th, 2010, CUNY, City University of New York, hosted a conference call for more than two dozen educators around the world. These people may not agree on everything, but they do share one similar goal: to teach entrepreneurial skills to college students who want to become journalists. Not only is it important to have these skills to simply understand the importance of the economics of news, but to better your communication and people skills, which are of high importance as a journalist.

At Arizona State University they are now requiring journalism majors to take entrepreneurship courses to graduate. ASU feels that this will emphasize the importance of journalists possessing entrepreneurship skills that will teach them how to talk with people in other departments, which will then carry over to the work world.


No Excuses For Mistakes

Writers and journalists constantly battle with mistakes and typos. Locating and correcting these mistakes can take time and to remain efficient writers depend heavily on sometimes inadequate or unreliable methods of locating and correcting mistakes. However, recent technological developments are allowing mistakes to be corrected with greater efficiency and accuracy. An article by Craig Silverman published today in the Columbia Journalism Review introduces and reviews three new applications that are being developed and used to ensure readers the highest quality of writing possible, free from mistakes and typos.

An innovative new application by gooseGrade, soon to be, allows writers and readers to work together to fix errors found in online content. By an administrator applying the gooseGrade application to a website, a reader can identify errors in a three step process: first by highlighting the error, second by identifying the type (spelling, punctuation), and third by correcting the error in a text box. The administrator can then correct the error based on the request. Currently available for any website or blog, this technology offers a huge benefit for major news organizations, who are plagued by numerous errors and typos in their online content, and often cannot find the time or manpower to review and correct the content.

Another technology currently being developed brings a social networking aspect to the proofreading process. Called Bite-Size Edits, this website is made up of writers who've created an account and who collectively edit the content uploaded to the site. When a writer uploads the content, the website breaks it down into "bite-sized" pieces and sends it to other users, guaranteeing that each piece of text gets reviewed by two other users. While its creators understand that this does not replace a thorough, final proofreading of a document, they advocate that it offers a fast way to be proofread and could be an effective tool in the editing process.

These new applications certainly have the possibility to ease a portion of the burden from writers and journalists, and could allow news organizations to produce online content of a higher quality. I agree that journalists should become familiar with these new applications, however, we can never lose the importance of old-fashioned proofreading. If anything, these new technologies simply hold us to a higher standard of excellence within our writing, in which several steps of proofreading and revising will be required.


False Thoughts of Demand Media

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Journalists everywhere have begun debating whether Demand Media is truly bad for journalism. It turns out that Demand Media is actually better for journalism. An odd thought considering that it is hurting social media more than actual journalism. The question most might have right now though is what Demand Media is. Demand Media is founded by former My Space CEO's Richard Rosenblatt and Shawn Colo. The company started out buying abandon domains and websites. They then acquired Puck, which founded Blog Burst.

The reason people fear this as a threat to journalism was the fact that it was somewhat of a "fast food content." This was saw as a threat since people who actually took time and effort on their articles, would be pushed out of their bussiness. This has touch nerves in Jeff Jarvis and others who do not consider the fact that their blogging is dealing with marketing content, unlike that of which tends to disrupt journalism. So Demand Media seems to become the next step in the ever-changing field of journalism.


Tough Job Market for New Journalists

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

While the future of journalism is evolving into such a broad branch, there is the actual difficulty of actually getting a job in the field of journalism. Most people are becoming freelance writers in this industry, and so a recent article was published informing those who have become freelance writers, what are some keys that they would be advised to do to successfully get their work published.

Flexibility is the key, when going into this field. You are not able to get the positions that are hoped for and that is why flexibility is important. Recently a 2009 graduate of University of British Columbia decide to actually go abroad to find work in the journalism field. She worked for the company Journalists for Human Rights, a Canadian non-profit company, for about a year. After that year she returned home and received a year contract as a reporter with CanWest News Services, which is a wire service for many Canadian newspapers.

It also means that you might not go to your field you want another student from UBC, began as a TV reporter but now is reporting on the radio. She hope to eventually return to television, but as of right now she feels that it will not be any time soon. The job market for journalist seems to be making it more difficult to get the job in the field you want. It is more of becoming a entrepreneurial business. People have to get themselves out there than depending on companies to do it for them.


China to Censor: Text Messages?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Given China's history of censorship and the country's well-publicized recent battle with Google, one is rarely surprised by new reports of censorship in China. Providers of mobile phones in China recently announced plans to monitor the texts of citizens for "illegal or unhealthy content," immediately stopping a person's cellphone service if such content is detected.

The phone companies will pass any potential violations on to the police for review and prosecution. If a customer is relieved of the charges, his or her phone service will begin again.

This crusade is officially part of an effort to keep pornography from the country. Over 5,000 people were arrested in China last year on internet pornography charges.

Phone services haven't been explicit on what constitutes a punishable offense, but services will monitor a specific list of words provided by officials. Every communication using these phone services will be monitored, including conversations between a husband and wife.

China's going farther than expected for this one. With no idea about what words and phrases to avoid, people are sure to get their phones disconnected often. A majority of the 'criminals' investigated by the police will be innocent. Anyone who is actually talking about something illegal will use codes or slang. This is an absolutely useless endeavor and will cause much more harm than good... but isn't that always the way?


Tonight Show Controversy

Conan O'Brien is close to signing a forty million dollar deal to leave the "Tonight Show" according to As part of the deal O'brien would be barred from bad mouthing his former bosses at NBC and would be allowed to take another television spot within one year.

According to the controversey started when NBC tried to push back the time of Conans show from 11:35 to after midnight. Of course this would upset Conan who took over the show from Jay Leno. In my opinion Jay Leno is better than Conan. I know people who agree with me and people who disagree. What needs to be understood here is the "Tonight Show" is more tradition and an established institution than any other show on television. NBC should have chosen their host and stuck with them or stayed with Leno. Almost everyone over the age of fifteen knows of the "Tonight Show." In order to stick with tradition something has to be done to appease all parties.


Freedom to Link

NewsNow has launched a campaign to support the freedom to link in light of a recent dispute with News Corporation. The news aggregating site based in the UK gathers its articles by creating links from their site to different online news sources. The reason that News Corporation has a problem with this is that NewsNow charges users for a special subscription on its site, providing tailored feeds built to your specifications or e-mail alerts for breaking news. Essentially, NewsNow is making a profit on articles that News Corporation has created.

But is linking like this stealing? The internet is widely viewed as public domain, and Struan Bartlett, founder of NewsNow, believes that "linking is a public amenity." What's public is meant to be seen and commented upon. Linking is just how we are able to get to it.

Jeff Jarvis argues that "By trying to cut off links, News Corp is also endangering journalism." He believes that linking is a benefit to journalists because it creates ways for readers to find their stories. It is also a way for writers to ethically source the material that has been used.

Whether or not News Corp has a right to deny someone the ability to link to their sites in public domain has yet to be determined. It seems that they are trying hard to prevent other sites from using their material, and trying to control what is not controllable.


News Sources Show Bias as O’Brien Battles NBC

Msn recently ran an article detailing NBC's decision to remove Conan O'Brien from the late night time slot he has occupied for the last several months. O'Brien replaced comedian Jay Leno as the host of NBC's "Tonight Show," which has aired during an 11:35 p.m. time slot for 17 years. Leno was rescheduled to appear during prime time.

Since then, NBC decided to give Leno has time slot back, offering O'Brien the opportunity to do his show at an even later hour: 12:05 a.m. O'Brien refused and according to the article, will no longer be working for NBC.

Ironically, since news of this dissension reached the public, O'Brien's ratings have improved exponentially.

O'Brien and David Letterman have both used their shows to publicly take jabs at Leno and NBC. In contrast, NBC executives have spoken out praising Leno's character and villifying O'Brien's.


‘Old’ Companies Embrace New Media

Monday, January 18, 2010

In John Welsh's "These Digital Times," Welsh presents five reasons why companies should be embracing new social medias. In addition to Facebook, which many companies are already using, Welsh suggests that business employees set up personal Twitter accounts. There are two reasons as to why Twitter is potentially helpful in the workplace. Employees can post 'tweets,' spreading the word about the various services their business offers. Since anyone on Twitter can access someone's 'tweets,' this is a great way for a company to become a household name. Another way using Twitter can benefit a business is when searching for employees. A company can view a potential employee's 'tweets' and use them to help determine how they could benefit the business. This process assists a company in finding the best possible employee.

Another reason Welsh promotes using social medias in large companies has to do with communication within the workplace. A social network like Facebook can help to increase the exchange of information between employees of a company. Better communication makes for a better business, because the employees will have a chance to cooperate more often and more effectively with one another.

A fourth reason Welsh believes business should adopt social medias into their workplace has to do with a company's ambitions. Social networking sites can help businesses achieve their short term or long term goals. With new social medias, company's can decide what avenue of networking will help them obtain the best results. A company's short term objective may be to create a stronger bond between the business and the clients. A networking site such as LinkedIn can promote that bond by allowing clients to give feedback on a company's services. In return, the business can communicate their ideas with clients before they are put into action.

The last reason Welsh suggests that companies should instigate a use of social networking sites in the workplace has to do with getting ahead of other businesses. There are many ways to communicate with people outside of the company that are available through social medias now, that were not available a few years ago. These new medias help businesses emerge from the traditional ways of advertising, that other businesses are still using, and embrace new ways of contacting potential clients.


How To Help Haiti By Watching Football

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The news world is constantly changing, especially when it comes to helping causes such as Haiti. After the era where you had to actually watch the news to get the news, I remember the day where I would be watching a show and a news story would scroll across the screen. Years later, not only would the breaking story show up, but then a number or a website would scroll across after that one could contact to send money to the relief effort. Well now, journalism has taken it one step farther. While watching the NFL, Minnesota Vikings vs Dallas Cowboys game today, a box at the bottom of the screen popped up. This box gave the opportunity for one to text the number 90999 to the U.S. Department of State, and by texting this number, $10 would be taken from your phone bill to help Red Cross Haiti relief efforts. On Friday, it had raised over $8 million, and the number continues to rise substantially.
Besides the advertisements on television for texting 90999 to help, blog spots have also made a huge difference in this project. About 3% of all blog posts (including this one) have something to do with the earthquake in
Haiti, with "tweets" from Twitter being the leader. The Red Cross on Twitter has gained more than 10,000 followers since the earthquake, which is clearly much more than the usual 50-100 a day.
Whether it is popping up during a football game or on your Twitter homepage, the advertisement to text 90999 to help the Red Cross seems to be everywhere. Journalism, along with technology, has taken the relief effort one step further, helping an astounding number of victims from the earthquake.


Is Journalism Without Bias a Dying Breed in the Sporting World?

ESPN has been the master of sporting news and anything pertaining to sports since it debuted on September 7, 1979. Its magazine and web site are breeding grounds for a plethora or articles all pertaining to sports and the athletes and people who are involved in them. It employs many journalists who cover either their specific sport of interest, and even some journalists who are willing to write on a variety of sports. But what was once a field with little bias is changing. The stories and the way they are covered are now riddled with journalists who are lest interested in facts and more interested in giving their opinion.

One example of this is ESPN's Senior National Columnist Gene Wojciechowski's article about former Tennessee and now USC head coach Lane Kiffin. Wojciechowski was openly critical about Kiffin, and not just about his coaching statistics, but about his personality and character. Saying things like, " If there were a stock car race between all the frauds, egomaniacs and two-faced weasels I've ever covered, Lane Kiffin would have the pole position all to himself." and "Kiffin is and used car salesman with a whistle." Wojciechowski takes issue with Kiffin on a moral level and bashes him throughout the article because he feels Kiffin is morally flawed. He goes past the statistical analysis and published his feelings on the subject.

The same as Wojciechowski, University of Tennessee student Erin Exum wrote an article for titled "Students: Good riddance, Lane Kiffin." She also takes issue with Kiffin's character and attacks how he handled the situation from a biased point of view. In the article Exum calls Kiffin "about as faithful as Tiger Woods." She writes a side of the story that is clearly from her point of view and therefore biased.

Skimming through ESPN magazines and getting on the web site these days one cannot help but discover that a sports world for journalism without bias is becoming non-existent. It is happening in the biggest sporting news medium in the world. ESPN is the standard by which sports reporting and journalism is held to, and if ESPN is leaning towards bias then it is becoming a trend that may be killing old fashioned statistical analysis without bias.


Haitian Earthquake Allows Media to Broaden Horizons

Rather than just posting facts or updates about the damage from the January 12 earthquake in Haiti, many news sites have begun covering the story from different angles.

Some websites choose to show picture to illustrate the damage the earthquake left. The NYTimes displays an aerial view of Haiti on their website, in which a person can use the 'swipe' tool to view the before and after image. Other websites like MSNBC include galleries of disturbing images from the aftermath of the earthquake. PicFog even allows 'tweeters' to upload images regarding Haiti via their Twitter accounts.

Apart from the graphic images that have been flooding the web the past few days, some sites include audio and video footage of the earthquake damage. Radio Station World allows people to listen for updates directly from Haiti, while CNN shows footage from street cameras as the earthquake actually hit.

Some of the more ambitious websites even set up tools to help with the recovery in Haiti. CNN's iReport features a "Looking for loved ones in Haiti," section. This allows anyone to upload images of missing loved ones, read stories on families who were reunited throughout the week, as well as view live reports and shout-outs from Haiti. GeoCommons allows viewers to study Haiti through maps. GeoCommons' map shows the possible fault line, the epicenter of the earthquake, and the locations of tremors after the initial shock. It also displays reports from Haiti on the destruction and recovery process. Twitter also played a major role in the coverage of the haitian earthquake by allowing users to 'tweet' reports from Haiti, or spread the word on new developments with thousands of other 'tweeters' throughout the world.


The Cost of Online News

With the recent increase in online news reporting many news companies such as the Washington Post, New York Times, and other leading news companies are deciding when online reporting deserves a price tag and stretching the boundaries of journalism. Recently with the increase in online blogging and easy access of online news journalism companies have had to think outside the box to harness an entrepreneurial system for currently free media and news on the Internet.

According to an article by the New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. seems close to adding a subscription feature to the New York Times online media outlet that includes a monthly fee. Historically New York Times has been one of the leading news media sources that have been reliable and an ethical source for Americans since 1851. The original price of a Times news paper was a penny. Today's prices are slightly higher with a daily price of $2.00 for metro as well as national and $5.00 to $7.00 on Sundays. The decision to add a price tag to the online resource was debated for over a year. The online presence if the Times has been strong since 1996 allowing readers to access thousands of articles with only a few exceptions for articles that need registration information to access. However this registration information never included a credit card number or monthly fee only basic information to allow the New York Times to keep track of what kinds of people are reading their stories. The company looked to the Washington Post for ideas on how to gain back the value of the online news circuit. They have decided that there will be three types of pay strategies. Each with a a different level of access to articles with increasing amount of monthly fees attached.

The Washington Post also copyrighted their website in 1996 along with Times. Unlike Times however, the Post requires a $9.95 monthly subscription fee to access online articles. Other national renowned online news companies such as the Chicago Tribune and databases such as Google News have not yet made the change to a paid membership option yet either but with the continued trend of online news sources it will only be a matter of times before these sources will change the times.

However the Times will increase revenue drastically from its online sources Tom Friedman, an A-list columnist, says that he will lose many of his readers in India and China. Although this is a setback Time believes that this will be beneficial to their ever evolving industry and their company. With the continued trend of online sources applying these fee are going to force the Times to expand and explore other ways to entice their readers to continue to be loyal to their media.


Relationship Between Science, Journalism, and Blogging?

It is very hard to believe that scientists would have anything to contribute to the world of journalism, but they do. Since 2006, starting with "The Science Blogging Anthology", science blogs have become very popular. This shift from the scientific journals to science blogs mirrors journalism's shift from print media like newspapers and magazines to the online blog. The science community has had great success with blogs and blogging. This success can be translated over to the journalism.

Many of the principles of the science blog relate to the "8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow's Journalist", starting with experimenting. Scientists experiment with ways of sharing information and helping other scientists in different fields and areas do the same. A journalist to should also learn to be familiar with all the different medias and be able to use them accordingly to the different stories they want to tell. Journalist should also become social journalists connecting with their audiences and reaching out to individuals. Science bloggers believe a key to success is diversity, which also means reaching out to the individual. Science blogs, also, rely heavily on networking, and journalist should also be community builders, if they want to see any success. Finally, both scientist and journalist should listen to the feedback of their readers.

The success the scientific community has seen following these principles should be incentive for future journalist to put them into their memory banks. Even though, scientists and journalists are trying to deliver different types of information to audiences, the these tips are universal for almost any blogger online.


New York Times to charge for online subscriptions

Recently, the newspaper industry has been struggling to generate revenue, and it has been forced to come up with new ways to promote readership. Consumers have started getting news from websites offering the information for free, leaving less newspapers delivered. Newspaper companies are now publishing online editions of its traditional print counterparts. However, newspapers are still failing to turn profits. Many papers are discussing charging for online subscriptions, including the New York Times. Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is getting close to announcing plans for setting a subscription fee, according to New York Magazine. After a year of debate, the Times has settled on adopting a metered system similar to the one the Financial Times has put in place. This system will allow subscribers to view a certain number of articles for free before being prompted to subscribe for a fee. They have not announced the cost to subscribe.
The Times is concerned about losing readers , but they feel this is the only viable option to make money.
Several people will end up subscribing to the online edition of the paper. Obtaining the paper online is no different than receiving a hard copy, it just comes in a different format. People will subscribe to the online edition because of its accessibility and availability, given the increased use of smartphones and wireless internet connection. However, the question remains, will this help the Times make money?


Can Apple's Tablet Help Print Media?

With all the hype about one of Apple's latest gadgets, the Tablet, many people involved with print media are wondering how it will affect them. A lot of rumors have been flying about this new product, and according to a story in Business Week all that Apple has said officially is that it plans to release a "tablet-based device in early 2010." It would also have an advanced touch screen and be close to the size of a MacBook.

In a recent article posted by Vadim Lavrusik, he discusses his opinion on the Tablet. His hopes are that it will make mobile news more user friendly, force news publishers to become more innovative in their site design, and create a potential for users to be willing to pay for this new content. He fears though that many news businesses will not be quick enough to adapt to this technology and that publishers will try to use it to boost their print sales. We also must not forget that many users are not willing to pay much (or at all) for a lot of this content, so profits from these new mobile sites will not be very large.

Print media's history of accepting changes in technology has not been a good one. With the advent of the internet many of these companies did not see the importance of posting news articles online, and lost many younger readers because of it. We simply do not have the time or patience any longer to sit and read a newspaper. Slowly the news media has caught up, and newspapers like USA Today and even The Des Moines Register have Twitter feeds. If print media throws everything it has into creating more user-friendly and interactive sites for the technology in products like the Tablet I have no doubt that they will succeed in getting more tech-savvy readers, and maybe even profit from it.

As part of a new generation of media consumers that rarely picks up a newspaper, I am excited for this new technology. We want to not only read the news, but to be able to have pictures, video, and audio to go along with it. We want to be able to ask questions and have them be answered by the reporter or blogger quickly. We want to leave our own opinions about an article and comment on the opinions of others. If print media accepts this early enough they will be able to reconnect with a seemingly lost generation of news readers.


News Reader Responsibility

Have you ever wondered how the news media chooses stories. Or what happens as they create the order of stories for the evening. Well, here is a little tip. It is all about the money. They want stories which will give them the best ratings. It just so happens that those kinds of stories almost always are disaster pieces. For instance, in Haiti which has recently been the site of a massive major disaster has been receiving assistance from all over the world to aid in the relief effort. The media has a responsibility to report these to the rest of the world. However, there are cases where the media should take a second look at what they are reporting because it is something the world does not need to hear. For instance people had a desire and a want to listen to news about Tiger Woods. This is perfectly ok to report on but when the story is major news a month after it happened we should ask ourselves, there has to be something more important going on in the world than Tiger Woods cheating on his wife.
I guess what I want to get across with this message is we as active news listeners need to filter through the news stories and look for ones that have actual meaning in the world. By doing this I think the United States would gain more knowledge of the rest of the world and its problems.


Journalism: A Changing Field

It is no secret that in today's world of journalism there are suddenly many major changes being made. What many people don't realize, though, is that these changes are actually not so sudden. These changes to journalism have been referred to as "The Big Thaw," meaning that we have been able to see these changes coming for a long time, like watching a glacier, but some have chosen not to make the necessary adjustments.

The journalism industry as we know it is changing rapidly. Some companies have been pro-active and started converting to news medias, while others have chose to stand back and watch "The Big Thaw," and are quickly getting left behind. Currently, journalists are starting to use new forms of media, such as Facebook and Twitter, as major news sources. These new tools help to speed up the process of getting news out to the public and will soon bring the world of journalism up to speed of "real-time reporting."

With everything in the world of journalism changing, from cell phones with wireless capabilities to other new technologies, journalists themselves will have to change the way they operate in the future in order to keep up with this chaotic industry.


Finding a Business Model for Newspapers

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Daily newspapers are facing decreased readership, especially among young audiences. According to a recent article by CNET writer Lance Whitney, a new Harris Poll shows that only 23% of those surveyed ages 18-34 read the newspaper daily. Even scarier, 17% claimed to not read newspapers at all. Where are readers obtaining their news? Online, where for the most part, content remains free. This fact scares journalists and media giants, who are scrambling to find a business model better suited for today's audiences.

One solution, posed by many, involves charging readers for online content. However, the same Harris Poll also revealed another shocking fact: 77% of all surveyed (all ages) answered that they would never pay for online content. Of those who answered they would be willing to pay, 19% said they would only be willing to pay between one and five dollars per month, and only 5% said they would be willing to pay more than ten.

What does this information mean for daily newspapers and their online content? According to a 2009 Time article entitled "How to Save Your Newspaper", newspapers traditionally received their income from three sources: news stand sales, subscriptions, and advertising. However, by applying this model to online content, a newspaper relies solely on advertising revenue, which can be a risky proposition.

The solution? An idea proposed to me in a conversation with an employee at the Ottumwa Courier seemed to solve a number of problems associated with paying for online content. His idea involved each reader creating an account with a newspaper's website and selecting only the sections of the paper which the reader wants. Under this system, each subscriber would pay for only the news that he/she deemed fit, and newspapers would thwart complaints over customers having to pay for an entire paper, much of which they may or may not read. I agree that this system would have many benefits. Not only would it would allow newspapers to save money by cutting out unwanted sections, it would lead to overall greater customer satisfaction.

While the future of newspapers may be in question, it is certain that the coming years will bring many creative and innovative changes to the industry.


Which Comes First — Newspaper or Blog?

Friday, January 15, 2010

At Penn State, a group of students have beaten the school paper at informing the student body on their blog, Onward State. This blog, which was created just a mere 14 months before, is run by only 20 students compared to the school paper which is ran by 200 students. It does seem impressive that this group of students is able to report stories much faster than that of an average paper. They reported a story 4 days before the paper was able to. Chase Tralka has even admitted that the paper has stolen items from the blog to use for publication. This is easily setting an example for the possibility of the future of journalism.

People are wanting the news as soon as it happens and blogging seems to the way to make that possible. At NYU they also have a blog set up and this seems to be similar to Onward State. It is called NYU Local, and deals with issues involve the students. Another idea is that the closer the news, the more important it will be to those that it will affect.

The true question that this brings up is how this will affect the future of newspapers. Many have begun using online sources to access the articles that are online. This not only is convenient but helps reduce the amount of paper that needs to be produce. While almost all newspapers have gone to the web, there is still the transition from news articles to blog entries that could possibly replace the idea of journalism completely. The only negative thing that was said was the fact the blogger can post anything, which would mean that the traditional idea of named sources, unbiased opinions, and printing information that is inaccurate or false would not be necessary for the blogger to post. This would make the article riskier to believe, and ultimately make it harder to trust the media.


Journalism’s Short-Term Rescue

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Books and articles detailing the collapse of American journalism are many. Books coming up with original and concrete proposals for fixing it are few.

University of Illinois professor Robert McChesney and journalist John Nichols have just such a new book that details plans they believe could revitalize American journalism and free it from the censorship — yes, censorship — of free-market economics.

The Death and Life of American Journalism is just out from Nation Books and includes what many will deem a radical proposal for saving journalism: The federal, state and local governments should pay for quality journalism.

It’s the kind of proposal that makes the hair rise on the backs of many, including most journalists. But McChesney and Nichols insist that the same public interest that requires that governments fund educational systems and highways should also compel the use of tax dolalrs to support quality journalism — which is, after all, the life blood of democracy.

It’s a compelling argument that should and most likely will spur considerable debate in the years to come. Plenty of folks will find plenty with which to quibble in the book.

For their part, McChesney and Nichols argue that funding systems could be created that would assure the editorial independence that journalists need to do their work. And, they add, such a system would be much more robust than the current market system that “censors” unmarketable information.

But here’s some short-term proposals for pulling journalism out of its funk. In an age when it’s clear that market-based approaches to journalism are failing to provide the financial support necessary to main the kind of quality system that democracy needs, McChesney and Nichols suggest:
  • Slashing postal costs to as little as 5 cents per copy for small-circulation journals at an estimated cost of $200 million annually.
  • Creating a “News AmeriCorps” that would initially hire up to 2,500 new journalism graduates to staff weeklies and small dailies in struggling American communities. It would cost $90 million annually and be similar to the Federal Writers Project of the 1930s that employed such literary greats as Zora Neale Hurston, John Steinbeck and Saul Bellow.
  • “Dramatic” expansion of high-school journalism and media programs that would give millions of young people a taste of what journalistic work is like. Most great journalists got their first experiences when they were in high school and had the chance to tell the stories of their schools (five of the students on my high school paper eventually went into professional journalism), but these programs have been slashed in recent years and teachers are often inexperienced in journalism or too timid to advise newspapers that seriously report school news.
These are simply short-term fixes that don’t address the longer-range challenges facing the industry. But they serve as an example of the specificity of McChesney’s and Nichols’ work here.


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