Archive for the ‘Publish2’ category

Web 2.D’oh! Roundup

16, June, 2008

The Weekly Print ‘n’ Read Feature

Last week I introduced a new feature, the Web 2.Oh. . .Really? Print ‘n’ Read (sm). Each week I highlight one piece of journalism so worthy of extended attention that it’s actually worth printing out and reading later on, away from the computer.

So fire up the ol’ inkjet and click “print” for Nicholas Carr’s “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

This selection is either incredibly on-point or ironic, depending on the state of your particular neural network.

Carr’s story offers the rather obvious conclusions that: (1) adult brains can be remapped through repeated activity; and (2) this includes activities like the constant click-and-dive of typical web use. Ergo: Web use makes our brains more acclimated to skimming wide rather than reading deep.

But, as Carr points out, forever has it been thus. When Neitzsche shifted from writing longhand to writing with a typewriter, it changed the way he thought:

“You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” Under the sway of the machine, writes the German media scholar Friedrich A. Kittler, Nietzsche’s prose “changed from arguments to aphorisms, from thoughts to puns, from rhetoric to telegram style.”

Which is to say, printing out and reading this article about the effect of web use on your brain may help preserve your current style of brainwork. My small contribution to the status quo.

n.b. Do not miss digital journalism bodhisattva Scott Karp’s response to Carr’s article. Karp’s determined, mapcap journey through the world of analog and digital journalism to track down the magazine, the article, the quote attributed to him, and the proper context for that quote is likely to remap your prefrontal cortex  all by itself. I’d tell you to print it out too, but I’m afraid your printer may pull a HAL.

Great Moments in Digital Journalism History, Cont’d

A blog entry last week in which I gave positive reviews to The Washington Times’ renovated website provoked a response from a reader whose confession may mark a key moment in newspaper history: A reader who canceled a subscription to the print edition because she thinks the website stinks.

I am not making this up. Witnesseth:

Karen LH Says:
9, June, 2008 at 9:38 pm

The Washington Times redesign is a disaster. We actually cancelled our subscription over it. . .

[A moment of silence, please, while we all ponder the baffling implications of this.]

Who says newspaper advertising is dead?

On Wednesday, CMS launched a national advertising campaign to promote its Hospital Compare Web site, which provides data on the quality of care in hospitals across the U.S., USA Today reports.–From California Healthline

And finally: A solution to social network overload

Know a candidate for this job? Growing company now hiring a Facebook Secretary

On the Dangers of News Metastasis

6, May, 2008

Scott Karp, CEO of the news aggregation/journalists’ social bookmarking service Publish2, has a post on his blog that has finally allowed me to identify the disease that is killing mainstream journalism.

Karp reproduces a horrifically detailed snapshot of the volume of news stories generated after the Microsoft/Yahoo talks fell apart. Karp reports a total of 2,000 stories and counting. Suffice to say that the list appearing on his blog is about 40 screens deep and many items link out to yet more stories.

One look at the images and I made the diagnosis: The news business, due to both genetic and environmental factors, is dying as malign matter reproduces in an out-of-control way, destroying healthy tissues nearby and threatening the survival of the patient itself.

This is, of course, the definition of metastatic cancer. Let me belabor that metaphor just a bit.

The malign matter is poor and mediocre news.

The genetic factors are the deeply imprinted DNA of the news business; the environmental factors are obvious.

The reproduction of the diseased matter is out of control because people who run news organizations believe they need to create “their” “branded” versions of news events for “their (!)” readers. (They also operate in packs and lack the courage to ignore what the competition is doing and try to find something more important to do.)

The disease process is destroying healthy tissues nearby and threatening the patient’s life. If the reduced number of writers and editors who truly can add value to a particular news event–and can be economically sustained by emerging business models–are all sent lurching after the same big stories, the institution of journalism becomes weaker and loses value. Who would fight to sustain such a low quality of life?

Karp lays out the case against undifferentiated news content fully, so read his entry for a master class on the matter.

His recommended treatment: What he calls “link journalism”–having writers and editors curate the best content on a topic regardless of source, and focus their energies on the few stories where they can make important contributions.

But that, unfortunately, is what might be called “alternative medicine”–a technique so far out of mainstream practice that it is ridiculed and dismissed by conventional practitioners. [If you doubt this, ask any mainstream journalist sititng nearby what he or she thinks of curating the best links for most stories and pursuing the few stories they can do their best work on.] No, the conventional practioners prefer the protocol they are currently pursuing: surgery, poison and radiation.

You know: Killing the patient in order to save him.

ENN: The Most Trusted Name in Election News?

4, February, 2008

Publish2, a social network for journalists, has launched the Election News Network, an effort to leverage (I hate it when I use that word) the collective wisdom of journalists to cover the campaign activity between now and November.

The short version: Publish2 is a social bookmarking tool (think del.icio.us for journalists, newsrooms, bloggers, and others who cover the news, whether paid or not). Participants will bookmark what they think is the best news coverage of the election news using a special one-click browser-based tool.

Those bookmarks will be aggregated into an RSS feed which can be published on any news site, blog, etc. The first-of-its-kind feed will reflect a network of journalists’ views of the best election coverage (think Digg for well-informed, literate people).

As Scott Karp, proprietor of Publish2, explains in the Publish2 blog::

There’s a huge opportunity to help voters find the best election coverage in the sea of election content. Yeah, you can do it by yourself — but on the web, the larger the network, the more influential the linking — time to break down those traditional media silos.

As is so often the case, journalists have written a lot about social networks but haven’t done much about them. While Publish2 is still in private beta, Super Tuesday will be the first live proof-of-concept effort to gather and publish the collective brainpower of journalists.

Several news organizations have signed up–knoxnews.com, the New England News Forum, among others. Meantime, journalists–liberally but thoughtfully defined–can sign up to contribute their bookmarks to the feed for tomorrow’s action, and for the rest of the campaign season.

Interest revealed: Scott and I had lunch at Austin Grill some time ago. He paid. We’ve also been known to exchange bleary IMs after midnight.