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Archive for the ‘media’ Category

New from True/Slant: Live Topic Streams, Alerts and Popular Posts

Posted by andreaitis on October 2, 2009

It’s the True/Slant trifecta today as we launch three new features: Live Topic Streams, Alerts and Popular Posts.  Lewis provided the overview; I’m following up with the inside view.

Live Topic Streams:  See all  T/S activity on a specific topic as it’s happening.  Our dynamic news streams include new posts, active conversations, active contributors, called-out comments, recommended posts, popular posts and more.  There are lots of ways to get to Live Topic Streams:

– Our Topics index page is now Live Stream central.  Click on Topics in the global nav (the black bar above) and select your topic of interest.

– Related Live Streams are just below every contributor post.   Scroll down Matthew Greenberg’s post (after reading and commenting, of course) to see the related streams.

More on TrueSlant 10-1-2009 9-19-48 PM

– Popular Live Streams (last 24 hours and all-time) are in the right column of Topic pages:  Health Care ReformEntertainmentBusiness

Alerts: T/S email alerts let you follow contributors, topics and conversations without missing a beat.

Get email alerts when your comments are Called Out by a Contributor:
1. Log in at trueslant.com
2. Click your name in red near the top of the page
3. Click on your Alerts tab
4. Select your preference next to When My Comments are Called Out

Get email alerts when there are new posts from Contributors and Topics you follow.
1. Log in at trueslant.com
2. Click “Follow” below a Contributor’s name or a Topic
3. Select timing for your email alerts – Immediate, Daily or Weekly

Already following Contributors and Topics? Here’s how to set up your email alerts:
1. Log in at trueslant.com
2. Click your name in red near the top of the page
3. Make sure you’re on your Dashboard tab
4. Scroll down to the list of Contributors and Topics you’re following and select timing for your email alerts – Immediate, Daily or Weekly

Get email alerts when there are new comments on a specific post
1. Log in at trueslant.com
2. Click on “Track comments via email alerts.”  You’ll see this at the bottom of a post or an existing comment thread
3. That’s it, once you click you’ll get email alerts when new comments are posted

Create default settings for Alerts:
1. Log in at trueslant.com
2. Click your name in red near the top of the page
3. Click on your Alerts tab
4. Select your preferencesMost Popular Posts 10-1-2009 9-31-26 PM

Popular Posts:

You can now see Most Popular Posts for specific contributors and the True/Slant network overall.  Look for this module in the right column on the T/S homepage and on most pages throughout the site.    Check the right column for T/S contributors Rick Ungar and Laurie Essig to see it in action.

That’s enough for today.   At this point, in the olden days of journalism we’d all go across the street for a drink.  In the new days of journalism we bask in the glow of  Pygmy hippo born in Rotterdam zoo (aka, jesus christ that’s cute) and Please tell Tufts about your roommate’s sex life.

Thanks for joining us here at True/Slant.  We appreciate it.

Posted in media, technology | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Traditional media makes an untraditional move

Posted by andreaitis on May 26, 2009

First, the June 1 cover of The New Yorker is created using a $4.99 iPhone app.

Now, the New York Times has hired a social media editor.

Right about here someone should yell “Stop the presses!”.

As readwriteweb.com notes:

It has come to this; the flagship institution of traditional journalism now has an editor level position dedicated to new media.

Little is known about Preston’s personal use of social media, she’s either using aliases or is remarkably quiet around the web, and details are still forthcoming about the new position she’ll fill. The Times has done a remarkable job of engaging with social media so far, though, and we have high hopes for this new post.

Preston has worked at the New York Times for more than a decade, and spent the last two years running the regional weekly sections and content for nytimes.com/intheregion.  She’s also an adjunct professor at Columbia University and a book author.   When RWW did some due diligence on her social media prowess, this is what they found:

She has a private Twitter account that she’s just begun to open up this morning – but apparently she hasn’t published any tweets there yet, ever. She is following almost 160 people so far, though, far more than are following her to date. So she could be using it for listening.

She’s also got a private FriendFeed account, a private Yahoo account and an unused Tumblr account. The BackType comment search engine can’t find any comments she’s left on blogs around the web.

After this announcement, her Twitter followers shot up to over 2000, and she was actively engaging with twitterers in her debut as Social Media Editor.

Two  steps forward in this expect-the-unexpected week.  Are they gimmicks, shallow nods…or a real effort to move beyond the page?  Does it really matter?  It’ll get people talking and thinking and perhaps push others to do something unexpected and untraditional.   Traditional media needs to try and test and tamper, to experiment and maybe even blow up now and then.    You gotta light the match before you start the fire.  And lord knows, there’s plenty of paper to burn.

Posted in media, technology | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jim Bellows, The Last Editor, Gone at 86

Posted by andreaitis on March 7, 2009

Jim Bellows

Jim Bellows

I saw it on twitter first. I know, I know, it sounds trite already (or, uh, twite). It resonated, though, because our CEO worked for Jim Bellows at one time, and knew him well. I’ve heard the stories. Bellows was a truly great editor, by all accounts — even his own in his book The Last Editor. He loved what he did, and he loved the people who did it with him…whether he was working in print, TV or the Internet.

LD says Bellows was known for repeatedly asking the following: “Young man, what do you want to do with the rest of your life?” And, LD says, you would think about that question, from then on. Bellows had an impact, one that was resoundingly felt by those who worked with him. And it transcends. I was not fortunate enough to meet Jim Bellows, but LD talked about him and shared stories. And when we started down the startup path in July, LD sent me a copy of Bellows’ book. “Read this,” he said. So I did. And in reading it I got a sense of who Bellows was, and the joy with which he approached every step along the way.

I found this clip of Jim Bellows from March of 2008, almost exactly a year ago.  He was at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner Almost-20th Reunion Party at the LA Press Club.  To get a sense of the man, listen to the words of those who worked for him:

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Highest praise, said with great affection.  What did Bellows have to say for himself?  The Editor & Publisher obit includes excerpts from a 2002 interview on the PBS NewsHour:

TERENCE SMITH: What’s the future hold in this business that you’ve been in so long, in journalism? Is the answer the Internet, will newspapers still be around, will they still be on newsprint?

JIM BELLOWS: You’re going to have a newspaper that’s delivered there at your home every day, but it’s not going to be market quotes, it’s not going to be baseball statistics; it’s going to be commentary and opinion, but you’re going to be able to get that other material that you want by the computer world and everything else.

TERENCE SMITH: Jim, what worries you, if anything, about journalism today? When you look at the news business and you look at everything from newspapers to the 24-hour news channels, any cause of concern?

JIM BELLOWS: The newspapers now are too tame. And you need more people with passion who are willing to take risks and have a commitment to making a difference.

TERENCE SMITH: Too tame when you look across the country, too tame? Papers that… you see papers that ought to be more adventurous?

JIM BELLOWS: Yes, and they ought to take risks, which they’ve got to, it’s productive to be helpful to people to make a better life and make sense out of the news.

To make a better life and make sense out of the news…

I had planned to post pictures of our new office tonight, before hearing this news. I am still going to post them, because I think Jim Bellows would have enjoyed LD’s latest adventure. He would appreciate True/Slant. I can picture Bellows standing in our office, asking LD yet again what he wants to do with the rest of his life. LD would look him straight in the eye and say, with conviction, “This is it.” I imagine Bellows would mumble in response, with a glint of pride and pleasure. And he would look out the windows of our new office, see the future and nod with approval.

To Jim Bellows…for always raising hell.

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Jim Bellows, The Last Editor, Gone at 86

Posted by andreaitis on March 7, 2009

Jim Bellows

Jim Bellows

I saw it on twitter first.  I know, I know, it sounds trite already (or, uh, twite).  It resonated, though, because our CEO worked for Jim Bellows at one time, and knew him well.  I’ve heard the stories.  Bellows was a truly great editor, by all accounts — even his own in his book The Last Editor.  He loved what he did, and he loved the people who did it with him…whether he was working in print, TV or the Internet.

LD says Bellows was known for repeatedly asking the following:  “Young man, what do you want to do with the rest of your life?”  And, LD says, you would think about that question, from then on.   Bellows  had an impact, one that was resoundingly felt by those who worked with him.  And it transcends.  I was not fortunate enough to meet Jim Bellows, but LD talked about him and shared stories.  And when we started down the startup path in July, LD sent me a copy of Bellows’ book.  “Read this,” he said.  So I did.  And in reading it I got a sense of who Bellows was, and the joy with which he approached every step along the way.

The Editor & Publisher obit includes excerpts from a 2002 interview with Bellows on the PBS NewsHour:

TERENCE SMITH: What’s the future hold in this business that you’ve been in so long, in journalism? Is the answer the Internet, will newspapers still be around, will they still be on newsprint?

JIM BELLOWS: You’re going to have a newspaper that’s delivered there at your home every day, but it’s not going to be market quotes, it’s not going to be baseball statistics; it’s going to be commentary and opinion, but you’re going to be able to get that other material that you want by the computer world and everything else.

TERENCE SMITH: Jim, what worries you, if anything, about journalism today? When you look at the news business and you look at everything from newspapers to the 24-hour news channels, any cause of concern?

JIM BELLOWS: The newspapers now are too tame. And you need more people with passion who are willing to take risks and have a commitment to making a difference.

TERENCE SMITH: Too tame when you look across the country, too tame? Papers that… you see papers that ought to be more adventurous?

JIM BELLOWS: Yes, and they ought to take risks, which they’ve got to, it’s productive to be helpful to people to make a better life and make sense out of the news.

To make a better life and make sense out of the news…

I had planned to post pictures of our new office tonight, before hearing this news.  I am still going to post them, because I think Jim Bellows would have enjoyed LD’s latest adventure.  He would appreciate True/Slant.  I can picture him standing in our office, asking LD yet again what he wants to do with the rest of  his life.  LD would look him straight in the eye and say, with conviction,  “This is it.”  I imagine Bellows would mumble in response, with a glint of pride and pleasure.   And he would look out the windows of our new office,  see the future and nod with approval.

To Jim Bellows…for always raising hell.

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panel’ing

Posted by andreaitis on January 16, 2009

i participated in a panel this past week on the future of news and information.   it was my first public outing as a true/slant’r, and i have to admit i was a bit rusty.  all those high school theater performances and still, i get nervous.  a good warmup, though, for what’s to come.   david berkowitz has a  roundup of my  session.

mostly, i thought we barely covered the tip of the tech iceberg.  no one talked about twitter or google reader or iphones or other non-traditional methods for consuming news.    there’s a news generation gap: the people who get up in the cold, dark morning and pad down to the cold, dark front porch to bring in the newspaper … and the people who roll over, reach for the mobile phone and scroll through the news  while under the still- warm covers.   how do we close that gap?  that would have been an interesting discussion.

public speaking in this day and age is practically a contact sport  you are instantly analyzed, judged,  pummeled and (if lucky) applauded, all at the whim of wifi and mobile devices.  it makes it that much more challenging.   so next time, i’m definitely bringing my notes with me to calm my nerves.  and maybe a  small flask.  ;-j

i did wander through the harvard club after the panel.  prittee, prittee good.  and i was accosted by a man in the coat check area who was looking for a female ceo for his relationship-fixer-upper startup.  at first i thought he was waiting to meet someone in particular.  but no, it seems he was hanging out in the harvard club just hoping to meet a woman who might want to be  ceo of an alleged startup.  i guess all you need on your resume is estrogen.  any takers?

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dude, where’s my journalist?

Posted by andreaitis on January 13, 2009

a couple of things happened over the last few days that got me thinking:

1.  i was on a call to prep for a digital breakfast panel on the future of news and information.  it’s put together by gotham media ventures, and will be at the harvard club.  fancy.   the call was supposed to be a quick intro but lasted twice as long because, rather than just prepping, we got into the actual conversation ourselves.

2.  fredwilson wrote avoiding the big yellow taxi moment, a post about newspapers, journalists, reporters and the yet-to-be-solved business model.  it prompted a lively and insightful discussion with  over 150 responses — including a comment  from our ceo.

3.  i spoke to a sportswriter who is now teaching journalism at loyola college in maryland.   i asked her:  how do you teach journalism today?   she said she is asked that question more than any other.

it occurred to me this morning that there is a correlation between what’s happening in the video world and what’s happening in the print world.   we used to watch tv by network — must-see-tv on nbc — we were loyal to the network.  now, i can watch tv on my pc or when i’m mobile using hulu, or i can use boxee and watch anything i want on my tv.  i become the network.   my loyalty is not to the tv networks of old, but to the shows and personalities.    i watch house and  jon stewart and true beauty.    (btw, ashton kutcher and tyra banks might be geniuses.)

it’s the same with print.  i talk about andrew sullivan’s  ‘why i blog’ and michael hirschorn’s ‘end times.’ both are connected to the atlantic, but that’s not how i reference them.  i am aligned with the writer, not the publication.  my loyalty is to the human brand.  this isn’t 100%, of course.  there is credibility attached to certain media brands, tho that’s been impacted by an influx of fakes and phonies like jayson blair and stephen glass, among others.

which leads me to my next thought:  are journalists a dying breed?   to me,  ‘journalist’ was a word uttered with wistful reverence.  it was aspirational, something to work for and earn, almost like being knighted.   in all my years in news, i never called myself a journalist; i thought of myself as a storyteller.  but i know i did the job with integrity and ethics.  i know i was careful and thoughtful in my reporting.  i was never cavalier; the details mattered.

there are different pieces to being a journalist: the research, the angle, the hunches, the facts, the writing, the presentation….the parameters when you’re chasing the story, and the boundaries when you’re telling the story.   it’s the training, the skills that build solid reporting and credibility, that allow you to responsibly push those boundaries.

anyone can  ‘report’ today.  we all know that, and we’ve talked about mass quantity and the credibility spectrum.  but below the surface is this question: will the next generation learn the skills of basic reporting?  will they want to, or will they feel it’s unnecessary because they can instantly publish?  we learned so much of the craft from actually being in a newsroom, eavesdropping on phone conversations and hanging out in the bar.   every newsroom in every media company had such a bar.  we didn’t even use the name, just called it ‘across the road.’    i’m not sure digital communication can replace that physical presence.   and those bars?  some aspiring journalist would do well to take a tour of those bars and pubs.  there are stories to be heard and stories to be told, and they won’t be there forever.

it’s possible today to  be a ‘reporter’ without ever leaving your house.    i’m just not sure that’s a good thing.   the role of the journalist will be redefined and reshaped as the industry continues to change; we’re just at the beginning of that transformation.  and up-and-coming journalists?  i guess the ones who will make it will understand the steps they need to take along the way.  at least, i hope so.   because, content isn’t king anymore.  credibility is.

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Another Thing Sarah Palin Can See From Her House

Posted by andreaitis on December 16, 2008

Disney forms joint venture to launch channel in Russia

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — DIS 23.78, +1.01, +4.4%) said Tuesday it is forming a joint venture with Media-One Holdings Ltd. to begin broadcasting a Disney-branded television channel in Russia. Disney, which will invest cash and provide programming, will have a 49% stake in the joint venture. The launch of the channel is expected in 2009, pending Russian regulatory approval.

Disney forms joint venture to launch channel in Russia – MarketWatch

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board meeting day: a brief debrief

Posted by andreaitis on December 12, 2008

it was raining.   which might not be a big deal for you, but for me it always leaves the possibility of unhappy  hair expansion.  so much so  that sarah palin could probably see my hair all the way from her house.   in alaska.

but the day is off to a good start.  i and my umbrella step onto the sidewalk, turn to look for a taxi and one pulls up right in front of me.  must be a good sign, i think.  until he goes the wrong way… twice… makes an illegal u-turn in the middle of irving place… and is on his mobile phone the entire time, completely ignoring me.  and, by the way, are ALL taxi drivers constantly on their phones these days?  is that some common code to drive passengers crazy??

but i digress…

at the office, we are printing the final three copies of the board deck when the printer decides to take a breather right in the middle.   and then it starts  printing the deck all over again from the beginning without finishing the first copy.   and then, yes, it stops again.  but i quickly step in, assess the situation and magically fix the persnickety printer:   i, um, realize it needs more paper.

so, decks printed.  projector tested.  water provided.   no muffins or snacks – we’re a startup in tough economicl times; they should applaud our food frugality.  we hope.

our ceo is doing a final check in the conference room.  we’re in the back  discussing the whereabouts of burt reynolds and his hairpiece and the merits of smokey and the bandit.   y’know, important and relevant pre-board-meeting conversation.  when suddenly our ceo strolls back with one of our investors,  tim forbes (from, yes, forbes).    and very nicely he tells us he’s  pleased with what he’s seen so far.   this, before the board meeting even begins!   we immediately forget burt reynolds (where is he, anyway?).    after the board meeting, tim’s comment is echoed by one of our other investors,  jon miller (formerly of aol and currently of velocity interactive group).  which is a long way of saying the meeting went very well.  the powerpoint performed as expected, and the conversation was good.  i’m sure we’ll have tough meetings at some point, but it feels pretty good to have two solid ones behind us.

but here’s the strange part…
after the meeting, when we were debriefing, there was some excitement… and relief… but it was tempered.  i thought we would feel light, buoyant,  but that wasn’t the case.  we were all quietly absorbing what had happened.  why, i wondered, after such a positive board meeting do we not feel exuberant?  and i think it’s this:  we’re setting expectations, big ones.  not intentionally, really.  we try to stay focused and we hold ourselves to a high standard, but it’s different when you know the board is now also holding you to that standard.  expecting it.   more pressure on us to push forward harder and faster.

which isn’t a problem since we’ll do that anyway.  but i know the board will walk into the next meeting and expect everything to be at a certain level, from our progress to our powerpoint.  so while part of my brain is excited and happy the meeting went as well as it did, the other part of my brain is thinking about whether  i should present the next update as an interpretive dance…

at least i’ll have a couple of months to stress about it.

startup’ingly yours –
andrea

ps:  burt reynolds is here.

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startup’ing, the second trimester

Posted by andreaitis on December 9, 2008

there is a rhythm to the startup cycle, at least for us.  the first three months or so were the dreamy times: everything fresh and new, imagining what we might build and how it might work, all 3…then 4 of us conspiring together in gleeful anticipation.

then, in the fourth month, there was a noticeable shift.   just as we were launching our first bits of functionality, the mood changed.  personalities became…sharper.  not in a bad way, it just suddenly became simultaneously apparent that this is all real.  big, and real.  seeing some working parts pushed us along, and we each became intensely focused on our particular role, what we had to bring to the project.  for the guys, that meant they were grumpy at times.   i, of course, was a ray of sunshine.  as always.  ;-p

we’ve continued to launch other bits and pieces in a closed alpha, and that initial burst of intensity has eased into a good, constant buzz.  we’ve got a name, a tagline and a logo.  we’re working on site design now, and prepping for our second board meeting.  and, still, seeing signs along the way.   when we were at the jeff jarvis news summit a few weeks ago i happened to notice a display in the hallway: the new york herald tribune.   our tagline — “News is more than what happens” — is a quote from jock whitney, publisher of the new york herald tribune.  there’s more to that story for another time, but here’s a look at the display…

we’re finishing up our second trimester in a good place.  more after the board meeting…

buzzingly yours –
andrea

ps:  oh!!!  i saw fred wilson TWICE last week.  once in the elevator, and once when i went with our New Guy to the sandwich place around the corner.  i think i was a little less dorky, but fred wilson would have to confirm that.  of course, he doesn’t really know my usual level of dorkiness so it might be hard for him to judge…

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denton vs goliath

Posted by andreaitis on August 8, 2008

gawker’s nick denton to the la times:  i scoff at your puny web site

he can, too.  la times set a traffic record: 127 million pageviews.  but, um, so did gawker media: 257 million pageviews.

henry blodgett put it best: “In five years, what’s left of the LA Times and New York Times will look more like Gawker (in terms of staffing and publishing velocity), or they won’t exist.”

funny how we still hear the term new media….except when we do, it’s usually from someone embalmed in old media.

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