Media Influencer

helping people break out of pigeonholes since 2003

Quote to remember

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When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.
- Gordy Thompson, manager of internet services at the New York Times in 1993 quoted by Clay Shirky in Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable

Content is for container cargo business

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Doc Searls on content in 2005:

The word content connotes substance. It’s a material that can be made, shaped, bought, sold, shipped, stored and combined with other material. “Content” is less human than “information” and less technical than “data”, and more handy than either. Like “solution” or the blank tiles in Scrabble, you can use it anywhere, though it adds no other value.

And again in 2007:

Stop calling everything “content”. It’s a bullshit word that the dot-commers started using back in the ’90s as a wrapper for everything that could be digitized and put online. It’s handy, but it masks and insults the true natures* of writing, journalism, photography, and the rest of what we still, blessedly (if adjectivally) call “editorial”. Your job is journalism, not container cargo.

Content is media industry term. The number of people talking about content grows every day as they assume roles that before only media could perform. With more tools and ways of distributing, photos, videos, writings, cartoons etc. are being ‘liberated’ from the channel world. Alas, often sliding into the platform and silo world. As far as I am concerned there are only two platforms – the individual user and the web.

The news are olds

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The Times they aren’t a changing uses NYT archives against its news:

It is the conceit of newspapers that each morning there are new stories to tell. Using the New York Times’s own archives, unchangingtimes.com sets out to prove that everything news is old.

via Joho the Blog

Bloomberg’s headline economy

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And I don’t mean economical headlines! Bloomberg uses a company name in a headline for an article that has nothing to do with the company. The company in question is large and with a recognisable brand – Johnson & Johnson.

We’ve questioned Bloomberg in the past about their indiscriminate use of the Johnson & Johnson name, and we’ve always been told that it is “Bloomberg style” to put company names in their headlines – and the bigger the company, the wider the readership.

So, here we have a professional news organisation being shameless about its audience-grabbing motives. And commercially ‘justified’ behaviour. How on earth is that more credible than a random blogger?!

These days I get rather impatient with people who complain that blogs are not authoritative because they are written by people. The point is that they do not pretend to be anything but opinions of individuals. Often those opinions are far more authoritative than journalists can muster and even when they are mistaken or misleading, it can be easily discovered and disputed. Bloggers’ credibility comes from the filters they provide to their readers. When I am criticising or praising something on my blog I’ll always link to the source of my opinions. You, dear reader, can make up your mind about them and over time get an idea of where I am coming from and whether I am credible. It is the same as with one’s favourite film or food critic. Reviews are based on the individuals opinions that are transparent and testable. So, here we have my equation coined a while ago, when I first realised this:

bias + transparency = credibility

Back to matters at hand. Thanks to JNJ BTW blog, the J&J people can point out Bloomberg’s dishonesty headline economy.

It’s ultimately a case of Market Value – not News Value – that factors heavily in Bloomberg’s editorial equation. Johnson & Johnson has a market capitalization of nearly $190 billion. Abbott Laboratories’ market capitalization is about $83 billion and Boston Scientific’s is about $20 billion. You can do the math.

There we have it. Corporate comms guys who have had yeeears of experience dealing with the journos and have been journalists themselves, can talk about it on their own blog.

Anyway, next time you see Johnson & Johnson or other companies referenced in a Bloomberg headline, be mindful that there may be other “market” factors at work in the editing.

Rock on! as they say…

Disclosure: Yes, yes, I have had my fingers in the blog. :)

Quote to remember

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[I]t wasn’t Google, but the tsunami of disintermediated content that blew up that business model [ed Times Select]. If you looking for the institution to blame it was the internet and it’s end-to-end design principles. Google had nothing to do with it. Well maybe it had a tiny bit to do with it; but it pains me how people are unable to distinguish the value of Google from the value of the content it is now the intermediary for. This is like confusing the card catalog for the library, or Sony for the Shastakovich.
- Ben Hyde in Do you feel lucky, Punk?

Quote to remember

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First, readers are smarter than most journalists give them credit for; Second, thanks to blogs and such, they’re getting smarter. The thing about the new information economy is we all have to be smarter, and that’s happening, because we’re largely on our own for filtering news and opinion. I, for one, thing that’s a good thing. It’s actually BETTER for democracy.
- Howard Owens in a comment on The L.A. Times responds

The hard-line opinions of journalists are no substitute for the patient fact-finding of bloggers

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Michael Skube is having a fit about the demise of what sounds like beautiful, beeeaaauuudiful journalism in Blogs: All the noise that fits.

The more important the story, the more incidental our opinions become. Something larger is needed: the patient sifting of fact, the acknowledgment that assertion is not evidence and, as the best writers understand, the depiction of real life. Reasoned argument, as well as top-of-the-head comment on the blogosphere, will follow soon enough, and it should. But what lodges in the memory, and sometimes knifes us in the heart, is the fidelity with which a writer observes and tells. The word has lost its luster, but we once called that reporting.

Who’d have guessed that he’s describing journalism in the above?! Skube reads like an old journalist pro (and I use that word in the loosest possible sense) who bemoans the fact that his hard-earned ‘right’ to be published is being trampled upon by the barbaric hordes of bloggers. Well, the Big Editor in the Sky is no longer, there is just the internet with the online equivalent of printing press. With distribution bundled in. The bargain of the millennium. But the likes of Skube want to convince the world (or what’s left of those who haven’t taken to blogging) that this is bad for the luxury brands of MSM. We already know that, Michael. The real luxury is not having someone like you misrepresent what people are, do and mean by your selective ‘fact-sifting’, out of context quoting, and sloppy reporting. I am not accusing Michael Skube of such practices here, I’ll leave that to Ed Cone, I am targeting the entire profession here. I am an equal opportunity ranter.

It always amuses me – right after it annoys me – how his type (Andrew Keen et al) only trawl through the bad stuff online and construct their argument around the worst they can find. Granted, nowadays they find a parenthesis or two to reluctantly admit that bloggers have some influence.. but no matter, if things continue this way, we are all dooomed. DOOOOMED! Well, yeah, dude.

Instead of supporting their arguments about the plebeian nature of the blogosphere and the rubbish we are all inundated with, they merely demonstrate their lack of skill in navigating blogs and finding the daily gems. So Jay Rosen of PressThink put together a blowback that’s worth bookmarking – a collective effort of many to list examples of a blogger doing a journalist’s job. It has also been published in LA Times. For the record.

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