Posts from May 27, 2005

Security blog

Security blog

: Rick Francona, a security analyst at MSNBC I’ve shared desk space with at the network, has a new blog on the Middle East and security.

Blogs and books

Blogs and books

: I’m giving a talk at Book Expo, the big publishing convention, this week on how all the constituencies of the word biz can use citizens’ media. I want to brainstorm about the ways that blogs can help authors, agents, publishers/editors, marketers, and retailers — from finding new talent to writing books online with your audience to building a direct relationship with your readers to creating communities.

I’m eager to get any of your ideas for how blogs and books should interact. Please comment away. Thanks.

News exec blogs

News exec blogs

: Scott Anderson, an online exec at Tribune (and a Howard Stern fan…. we have so much in common) has been blogging inside the venerable Tribune Tower but now his blog is public and it’s on my RSS feed now.

So what they told you when you entered puberty was right…

So what they told you when you entered puberty was right…

: …Viagra can cause blindness.

Future

Future

: Yesterday, at a press conference to announce a new initiative to improve journalism education, Hodding Carter, head of the Knight Foundation, said:

The great dirty secret in journalism and journalism education is that we are inherently conservative in the way we do things.

Preach it, brother. Yes, change is feared and resisted. He also said:

What has struck me is not that things are changing but that the change is cascading… We are in the midst of an absolute revolution.

Amen.

The initiative is funded by Carnegie and Knight and involves five universities: Northwestern, USC, Berkeley, Harvard, and Columbia. It will place journalism students at news organizations to work on reporting projects without the pressure of deadline or bottom lines — this to be led by my friend, Merrill Brown. It will help establish programs in specialized journalism (e.g., science and engineering journalism at USC). And it will create a task force to speak out on issues in journalism.

Oprah and the terrorists

Oprah and the terrorists

: Debbie Schlussel, conservative columnist and Howard Stern fave, writes a pretty damning indictment of Oprah’s mollycoddling of terrorists: Schlussel says Oprah wants us to understand mass murderer Mohammed Atta and understand a Palestinian human bomb and not mention that the murderers in Beslan were Islamic but instead came from the mountains. Maybe if you gave the terrorists cars, Oprah, they wouldn’t be mad anymore.

The future of newsgathering

The future of newsgathering

: Ernie Miller sends us to a really wonderful post by Lenslinger, a TV cameraman who is watching himself be replaced by… us. He covers a media event (planned implosion of building; film at 11) and sees that “a new breed of onlooker rose up to record it”:

I speak not of the swarthy camera pirate with his heavy lens and professional press pass, but of the mild mannered college professor with the brand new camera-phone, the smiley housewife with the shiny Sure-Shot, the cocksure columnist with a thesis already brewing in the laptop. They are more than erstwhile tourists. They are the rabid bloggers, the plugged-in pundits, the citizen press corps – whip-smart individuals whose very nature drives them to post pictures, links and commentary on the sudden collapse before the dust even finishes settling over once fertile ground.

From Tripod Row, the viewís indeed a little scary. Squinting civilians peering into tiny lenses, breaking bedrock principles of camera-handling with every unnecessary sweep and pan. No one expected the democratization of media to be pretty, but the attendant lens abuse is enough to break this cinematographerís heart. But that ship has sailed, a nautical phrase as apparently outdated as Wide-Medium-Tight and Steady Sequenced Video. What use are lofty production values to the herky-jerky nature of todayís internet footage? Does proper composition really matter when the end product is viewed on a one inch screen? Of course it does – but only to us broadcast dinosaurs. This new hybrid breed of digital scribe gives little thought to such matters, instead relying on quick image uploads and push-button publishing to make up for his lack of camera acumen.

Itís enough to make those of us in the media scrum to talk of the End Times….

I could quote the whole post but instead go over to his site and read the rest.

Of course, this isn’t just about TV video. This is about photography and audio and text and reporting. He’s going through the ding-ding moment I went through, as a print guy, a few years ago.

I always said that when I was a critic, the only thing that separated me from the audience was that I got the stuff early (and couldn’t skip over the bad parts). But now bloggers get books and tapes for review before release. So nothing would separate me as a critic from them as an audience; we’re all us.

What separates a professional journalist from a journalist? Oh, that’s what journalists of all stripes are fretting over. Training? Maybe. But if we could learn how to hold a camera steady or get a quote right, anybody could. EThics? Oh, I dislike that one; we all have ethics, even if don’t have them enshrined in codes, and often those with the codes are the first to forget the essence of their ethics. Money? That’s starting to flow to the just-plain people.

We all have the tools now. Ding, dong, the priests are dead. Jittery video at 11.

: MORE: Matthew in Australia watches the coverage of a woman charged with drugs in Bali and notes, similarly:

I mean, how many consumer-level video cameras and flipped-out LCD screens did you see hovering above the sea of journalists alongside the bulkier, broadcast-quality stuff? A lot! There was one Indonesian guy in a red shirt who, not weighed down by carry bags, lenses and boom mikes, was running after the police car with a video camera no larger than the size of his palm. And he was the only one keeping up! That’s pretty full-on.