Posts from March 22, 2005

Pathetic little troll

Pathetic little troll

: There is a pathetic little troll I banned who is coming into various posts typing “poop” and snickering like the first grader he is. This the guy who has the bad taste to call himself Gandhi. He went overboard once too often. If he had taken his meds and behaved, I might have let him back. But instead, he went on a “poop.” So intelligent. So mature. So friggin’ pathetic. He is no longer welcome here. Just to the kind of guy I am, I’ll link to him here so you can go read his fine prose in his house. And my advice to him: Get a life. But get your meds first.

: Just Barking Mad uncovers the whole conspiracy.

: UPDATE: I continue to play wack-a-mole with this little boy with no life. And to answer his questions stupid innuendo: I have no financial relationship whatesoever with anyone he lists (apart from making contributions to SoA… and he doesn’t seem to understand that so I’ll make it clearer: no one but my employer pays me); I’ve explained many times that ITM are the friends of one of the early bloggers in Iraq with whom I communicated; I never heard of the other organizations he tinfoil-hats about; and I do still wish this poor, pathetic little troll would get his meds.

GoogleNews II: What’s missing?

GoogleNews II: What’s missing?

: Below, I ask you to list questionable/wacky/offensive sites included in GoogleNews. Here, I ask you to nominate sites that are not included but should be. Please leave comments on this post.

GoogleNews: Whose news?

GoogleNews: Whose news?

: Let’s start reporting on GoogleNews. As you find questionable sites scraped by Google, please list them in the comments on this post. See post below on Google’s nazi site. If Google isn’t transparent, let’s report on Google. Obviously, we won’t all agree on what’s questionable but let’s use our collective effort and wisdom to judge GoogleNews’ judgment. I’m not suggesting that there should be an orthodoxy of news or certification of news, but some of these sites are just ridiculous.

Case in point:

Geologists in the East and West coasts are busy understanding a new theory that shows possible underground UFO bases all around the world….

According to this theory, the UFO bases need to be deep under the ground because the UFO crafts need to be close to the mantle of the earth. Servicing of these crafts can be done in that electromagnetic environment only.

Film at 11.

Antisocial media

Antisocial media

: Engadget reports that iPods are banned in a school as antisocial. My son just told me that in his school all the kids bring iPods to lunch but — get this — they’re not allowed to bring books to lunch. Now, to be reasonable, I’m assuming that’s because books are big and clunky and iPods aren’t. Time to digitize the textbooks (and lighten those backpacks!). [via InstaPod]

Schiavo today

Schiavo today

: The judge refuses order that Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube be reconnected.

One moral to this story: You can’t game the system. After all the grandstanding in Congress and at the White House and on TV news, it still came down to one judge charged with following the law. It’s a system and most of the time, it works. If you don’t like the outcome, that doesn’t mean you can win by gaming the system.

Version A, Version B (for Bias?)

Version A, Version B (for Bias)

: I hear more rumbling about the Associated Press’ announcement that it will issue two leads on stories to its newspaper clients.

The grumbling comes out of the examples given in the Editor & Publisher story:


MOSUL, Iraq (AP) A suicide attacker set off a bomb that tore through a funeral tent jammed with Shiite mourners Thursday, splattering blood and body parts over rows of overturned white plastic chairs. The attack, which killed 47 and wounded more than 100, came as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad said they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government.


MOSUL, Iraq (AP) Yet again, almost as if scripted, a day of hope for a new, democratic Iraq turned into a day of tears as a bloody insurgent attack undercut a political step forward.

On Thursday, just as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad were telling reporters that they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government, a suicide attacker set off a bomb that tore through a funeral tent jammed with Shiite mourners in the northern city of Mosul.

And there should, indeed, be grumbling about that: One straight, one overdone and eeyorish, reading into this attack something that’s not there.

It looks as if they need to issue a third version: Version C (for Conservative):

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) Despite a horrendous terrorist attack that killed 47 and injured more than 100 innocent Iraqis in a funeral procession, the nation’s march to democracy continues as Shiite and Kurdish politicians in Baghdad said they overcame a major stumbling block to forming a new coalition government.

Pretty good, if I do say so myself.

That’s one problem with this AP plan: Adding writerly atmosphere will add, uh, perspective and that will add complaints.

But for most news media, I’ve said that we need more perspective so long as we are more open about it. Not for the AP, though.

I have a different problem with this plan: It wastes readers’ time.

The problem with too much newspaper writing these days is that the writer shows off his writing for so many paragraphs you can’t find what the story is about until well after the jump. It’s a game of lead-lead-who-can-find-the-lead?

Meanwhile, online, we have clearly learned that readers want to find the information they’re seeking quickly and directly and they hate whatever gets in their way. That lesson should be learned not only online but also in print: Stop wasting readers’ time showing off your writing and get to the point.

And that is all the more relevant to the stories we’re talking about here: The news the AP delivers is — not to put too fine a point on it — commodity news. This is the news everyone will have precisely because the AP does such a good job delivering it.

New organizations spend too much resource redoing that news even though the audience already knows it — thanks to online, TV, radio, SMS bulletins, blogs… — and that not only costs money that could be put toward the efforts that make these news organizations uniquely valuable (i.e., reporting and local news), it also tarts up a simple news story and makes it less convenient: It adds leads just like the example above.

We won’t see many of these leads online because the AP is delivering them only to newspaper clients, so it will be hard to compare and contrast here. But I’m sure you’ll manage to find a way.

Between crisis, panic… and opportunity

Between crisis, panic… and opportunity

: The Guardian stitches together a bunch of quotes about American media in crisis:

“It’s somewhere between crisis and a panic,” says Todd Gitlin, professor of journalism and sociology at Columbia University, New York. “The generation that lived through Woodward and Bernstein and Vietnam has almost gone. They had an idea that they could make a difference and that they were a force. It might have been pompous but it was there.” …

“There is a perception that the media has failed,” says Michael Wolff, a media commentator and Vanity Fair columnist. “There is a general understanding that something has gone radically wrong here.” It is a feeling coming from both outside the industry and from within. Gitlin was recently invited to a meeting at the Times to discuss how to combat the erosion of confidence and stagnant sales. “There was a real sense of urgency,” he says. “They were asking some fundamental questions. It was not a casual exercise.”

I think we’re moving onto the next phase, having gone through the stages of denial, resistance, and panic.

Whether at those darned conferences or in conversations with people I know, I now see big media looking — some eagerly, some desperately — for ways to embrace the new ways. It’s more than a blogs-are-hot fad moment. I’m starting to see a realization that this is about a new relationship with the public, new ways to gather news and information, new ways to involve diverse viewpoints, and — at long last — new business models.