de.tech.ting

Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

Today's celebrity Twitter fight: Kara Swisher vs Joshua Topolsky

Posted by andreaitis on March 25, 2010

It’s not Sandra Bullock vs Jesse James or House minority leader John Boehner vs Healthcare Reform, but in tech/media circles, this is a big f’cking deal.  A Twitter rumble that roared.

In one corner: Kara Swisher, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and co-producer and co-host (along with Walt Mossberg) of the website and conference for D: All Things Digital.

In another corner: Joshua Topolsky, Editor-in-Chief of Engadget.com, which he leads with a self-described “firm yet awesome hand.”

It all started when Josh fired the first shot  yesterday at Walt Mossberg.  In addition to All Things D, Mossberg is the principal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal.  In 2004, a Wired magazine profile referred to him as  “The  Kingmaker,” noting that few reviewers “have held so much power to shape an industry’s successes and failures.”

Being both awesome and firm, Josh was not intimidated.   What he was, actually, was Howard Beale.

A few hours later, Kara Swisher fired back.

At issue:  Walt Mossberg’s review of the new Tivo Premiere.

I have been testing the new Premiere, and it worked as advertised, with conventional cable programming and with the available Internet sources TiVo (TIVO) supports. But, in my tests, it showed some flaws and, in my view, it doesn’t go nearly far enough in tapping the Internet.

via New TiVo Mixes TV and Internet, but Falls Short

Walt published his review yesterday.  According to Topolsky’s twitter rant, there was an embargo on this story. That means that Tivo and their public relations department told journalists they could not publish any information about the Tivo Premiere until a certain day and time.  In his twitter tirade, Topolsky makes two charges:

1. Walt Mossberg broke the Tivo embargo.

2. Walt Mossberg (and Kara Swisher) get too many exclusives, preventing Topolsky from participating on a level playing field.

Disclosure:  Walt Mossberg reviewed True/Slant when we first launched our alpha site, on April 8th of  2009 —  a T/S text review and a video review.

Fact:  From that experience I know that Mossberg typically posts his reviews on allthingsd.com on Wednesday nights around 8 pm, and then later on wsj.com.   Engadget’s review of Tivo Premiere was posted at 9:57 pm on Wednesday.

Fact:  Companies do often designate exclusives, so one source will ‘break’ the story first.  Walt Mossberg has worked as a reporter for 40 years.  Forty years!!  He gets exclusives because he’s earned them.  I don’t know that he had an exclusive with Tivo, but it would not surprise me and should not surprise you.

Fact:  Topolsky contradicts himself in the Twitter rampage, saying first:

“Work  should be judged on work, not timeliness.”

And then:

“You and Walt are used to special arrangements. That’s nice but not fair, and not how I feel like playing.”

Which leaves me thinking: If you want to be judged on the work, then any special arrangements should not matter.

The level playing field is the interwebs,  where all of the Tivo Premiere reviews are readily available.  There’s not going to be a coalition of journalists who decide to ban exclusives.  Seriously, Josh, would you turn down an exclusive?

The bigger question in all this is whether embargoes matter anymore.   It’s the second time this week I’ve been talking about embargoes.  A few days ago a former co-worker pinged to ask how to handle embargoes with journalists, knowing they are rarely respected these days.  It’s too easy to break an embargo, the pressure to be first too great, the ability to publish or tweet too tempting.   When the world was  on a limited publishing cycle with print, an embargo made more of a difference.  I could only get the story — tangibly get the story — from a particular source.  Now, it’s much more about the journalist, the reviewer.   The credibility and brand of the reporter is paramount, much more important than the date of publication.   Timeliness and relevance are still important, of course, but a few hours don’t make a difference in most cases.   Except for the Google juice.   And that’s, perhaps, the substance of Josh’s complaint.    Walt Mossberg is a brand unto himself.   Walt Mossberg + wsj.com?  Super-big brand.  Engadget is a brand as well, but likely wants and needs SEO traffic more than Mossberg.

Exlcusives won’t go away.   Embargoes?  Maybe, if brands stop trying to control journalists and start taking control of their own messaging and interaction with consumers  (see T/S Ad Slants).

Josh, you’re passionate about what you do.  You get extra bonus points for being Jimmy Fallon’s resident tech-expert. You’ve got cool glasses.   But you also have bitter trousers.   That’s right, bitter trousers.

Still, I agree with your point.  It’s the work that matters.  These days, I think that’s more true (true-er?) than ever.  So let it go and do the work.  Oh, and start prepping for your Webby acceptance speech.

Here’s the in-your-face exchange.  Read it and I’m sure you’ll agree we’ve all learned something from this:  Tivo’s the big winner here with more press than they anticipated, and we totally need more info about the alleged “lesbian collective.”

UPDATE!!
Last night, Josh Topolsky spoke with Walt “The Kingmaker” Mossberg and then issued this apology on twitter:

To which Kara Swisher replied:

So we wake to another day, and all is well in Twitterland.   Walt Mossberg gets exclusives, Josh Topolsky rants about them (though perhaps only in his head from now on) then comes to his senses with class and grace, and Kara Swisher proves the depths and bounds of loyalty.

More Twitter Fights:
*  Celebrity Twitter Fight!  Steve Case vs Sarah Silverman
* Clerks, Cop Out director Kevin Smith vs Southwest Airlines in ‘too fat to fly’ Twitter rant

Posted in Business, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

And the #biggaybattle winner is…

Posted by andreaitis on January 6, 2010

This #biggaybattle between Neil Patrick Harris and John Barrowman has been nothing short of  legen – wait for it – dary.

It got its own name courtesy of Neil Gaiman, and  a full-fledged meme on Twitter:  #biggaybattle#voteNPH, #votebarrowman

It has celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Alyssa Milano and Kevin Smith mixing it up with the regular peoples on Twitter.

It has fan art

John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris in #BigGayBattle (art by Jean Kang)

John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris in #BigGayBattle (art by Jean Kang)

…and sparkly fan art:

John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris in sparkly #BigGayBattle (art by Jean Kang and sparkly friend)

John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris in Sparkly #BigGayBattle (art by Jean Kang and sparkly friend Alix)

…and a YouTube video:

[youtubevid id=”A5TygZjr3Lc”]

It’s endorsed by the ACLU.  The poll, not a candidate, of course. Because that would be wrong.

ACLU on the #BigGayBattle

ACLU on the #BigGayBattle

It even got a big gay Wall Street Journal story.

And to think it all started with a simple Who is (Gay) Man of the Decade poll on afterelton.com.

So, afterelton, who gets the glittery title and tiara?  Did the USofA take down the Brits?  Did @actuallyNPH out-tweet @team_barrowman?  Did Dr. Horrible crush Doctor Who?

The answer:  YES!  Neil Patrick Harris is officially the Gay Man of the Decade.  I can hear the chanting now.  N-P-H…N-P-H…N-P-H.   Will John Barrowman request a recount?  A sing-off or a duel or a Dancing on Ice throwdown?

We can only hope.   <3  #biggaybattle 4evah.

Posted in Entertainment, twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Rupert Murdoch angry at 'content kleptomaniacs' and crazy like a fox

Posted by andreaitis on November 9, 2009

Rupert Murdoch - World Economic Forum Annual M...

Image by World Economic Forum via Flickr

Two pieces of news from the Murdoch empire:

1. New York Post circulation continues its downward death spiral.

Nearly every paper in America has lost circulation, but The Post more than most — down almost 30 percent in 2.5 years, to 508,000 in the most recent reporting period, against 544,000 for The Daily News. The slide accelerated after The Post’s price returned to 50 cents last year. And this year, The Daily News has surged far ahead in online readership.

[New York Post editor] Mr. Allan, who called it “a joyous occasion” when The Post took the lead, now takes a more subdued view of the competition, saying in an e-mail exchange that “whether we are a little in front or a little behind has no impact on our forward business plan.”

Sober Mood at New York Post as Circulation Spirals Lower – New York Times

2. Rupert Murdoch suggests he will remove News Corp. websites from Google and other search engines.  At least, that’s what the headlines are blaring.   Are they jumping the gun?  I think so.

If you listen to the first five minutes of Murdoch’s interview with Sky News political editor David Speers, you hear the following:

-  Speers delivers a classic and very public introductory suck-up,  referring to his interview subject (and big-time boss) as “the world’s most powerful media owner.”

-  Rupert Murdoch says users should not have had free content, that “we’ve been asleep.”  He sees the paywall as long overdue, but says we’ll be surprised by how minimal some of the fees will be.

-  He wants a different kind of audience – not drive-by consumers but loyal and engaged users with high-frequency habits.  Or, at least, users who will open their wallets.

“What’s the point of having someone come occasionally, who likes a headline they see in Google?… The fact is, there’s not enough advertising in the world to go around to make all the websites profitable. We’d rather have fewer people coming to our website, but paying.”

- At this point, Speers raises the Google index question.  When he asks Murdoch why he hasn’t removed News Corp. sites from Google’s search index, Murdoch replies “Well, I think we will.  But that’s when we start charging…”

BUT Murdoch doesn’t stop there.  He goes on, indicating that perhaps he didn’t fully understand Speers’ question.  They clearly were not communicating on the same, uh,  Google wavelength.

“…We do it already with the Wall Street Journal. We have a wall but it’s not right to the ceiling. You can get usually the first paragraph of any story, but then if you’re not a paying subscriber of wsj.com there’s immediately… a paragraph and a subscription form.”

Does that sound like he doesn’t want News Corp. content to appear in Google or Microsoft search results?  Nope.

Speers follows up, asking  if this is the model we should expect to see.  Murdoch’s clear as mud answer: “Maybe, maybe.” He mumbles something about the Fair Use Doctrine and taking it slowly.

So all those headlines shouting about Murdoch pulling his sites out of Google?  Not quite accurate.

When you take another  look at the comment from New York Post editor Col Allan, it all starts to make a bit of sense: “…whether we are a little in front or a little behind has no impact on our forward business plan.”

It seems Rupert Murdoch is saying size doesn’t matter.  It’s quality of audience, not quantity. The only quantity he wants is the dollars from subscribers, in both micro and macro payments.  Perhaps he’d rather build audiences that are meaningful, loyal and consistent because these are audiences that can be sold and targeted to an advertiser.

Will he pull all of his sites out of Google?  I doubt it.  When he refers to “content kleptomaniacs”  I’d venture he means not the initial link, but the pay-off link to the full story that is currently not providing a pay-out to the content creator or publisher.

Rupert Murdoch is bold and brash.  He is not stupid.   He is approaching the digital news  problem the same way he approached his move into television:   just because this is the way it’s being done doesn’t mean it’s the way it has to be done.

Remember when ABC, NBC and CBS were the only three networks?   Remember when CNN and MSNBC were the only dominant news players on cable?

I worked at Fox while Rupert Murdoch was transforming it.   I remember when he announced he was going to start a new cable news channel.  I walked through that studio as it was being built.  Murdoch is a challenger, even when the status has barely reached the quo.   I’m not counting him out just yet, and neither should you.

Watch the first five minutes of his interview with David Speers and you’ll see what I mean.

[youtubevid id=”M7GkJqRv3BI”]

Posted in Business, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

WSJ Rules of Engagement

Posted by andreaitis on May 14, 2009

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Staffers at The Wall Street Journal were the lucky recipients this week of rules for “professional conduct.”   These rules included a long and specific list related to social media and social networking.

Dow Jones spokesman Robert Christie declined to comment to E&P today on why the updated rules were put out at this time, saying they speak for themselves. But it is clear they are in place for those involved in social networking on the likes of Facebook or Twitter, requiring editor approval before “friending” any confidential sources.

“Openly ‘friending’ sources is akin to publicly publishing your Rolodex,” the rules state, adding, “don’t disparage the work of colleagues or competitors or aggressively promote your coverage,” and “don’t engage in any impolite dialogue with those who may challenge your work — no matter how rude or provocative they may seem.”

New ‘WSJ’ Conduct Rules Target Twitter, Facebook

I get why you shouldn’t ‘friend’ a source.  That’s pure common sense, the same way a cop wouldn’t ‘friend’ an informant’ or a lawyer wouldn’t ‘friend’ a key witness.  But don’t aggressively promote your work?  Sure, you don’t want to spam people but promoting your work on social media sites is one way to, y’know, get people to read it.  To draw attention, create a debate, engage the audience.

I think this one is my favorite though:

“Business and pleasure should not be mixed on services like Twitter. Common sense should prevail, but if you are in doubt about the appropriateness of a Tweet or posting, discuss it with your editor before sending.”

Don’t mix business and pleasure on Twitter.

Discuss a Twitter message with an editor before tweeting it.

Um, really?   Does the person who wrote these rules have anything other than a cursory knowledge of Twitter, Facebook and other social media?   Did anyone raise a hand and say, “The point’s over here and you’re missing it”?

For an industry that is supposed to support free speech, inquiry, discourse,  and — at its core — curiosity, I just don’t get how they don’t get it.

I do agree with one point, however.  Common sense should prevail.  Unfortunately, there’s not much common sense in these rules of engagement.

You can see the entire list of rules for online behavior, along with the other rules of conduct included in the e-mail.   What’s your favorite?  And what rules did they miss?

Posted in technology, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.