Posts Tagged ‘TrueSlant’

Ode to True/Slant: First year of a news startup in rhyme

Posted by andreaitis on April 8, 2010

One single year has come and gone
Since the Alpha launch of
Launches tend to be crazy, that’s the default
Ours was no exception courtesy of Mossberg-comma-Walt

But let me back up, start with some history
Of how True/Slant first came to be
LD had the idea, he needed a check
He got the first round with a powerpoint deck


We sat in an office;  year 2008, month July
Just three of us then: Lewis, Coates and I
In the back right corner we commandeered our space
Our office christened once the whiteboard was in place

We talked, we drew, we diagrammed and graphed
We walked to the corner for lunch at ‘Wich Craft
We posted on Techcrunch for a CTO
Enter SMcNally; he had us at “Hello”

Like speed-dating we interviewed for UI and Design
Surely we met with at least eight or nine
Then James rolled in, the last one to show
With his Williamsburg skinny jeans and glasses; he had us at “No”

He was smart and clear but he did not hob-nob
J argued back.  As LD says, “That’s what got you the job.”
With the Athletes on board we could really begin
The beat was on: No Sleep Til Brooklyn

During this time I came to realize
A VC’s Fred Wilson was very nearby
Up one floor, in fact, and me a big fan
That’s how my Fred Wilson Watch began

Read the rest of this entry »


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

Just can't get enough? Follow True/Slant on Facebook and Twitter

Posted by andreaitis on April 5, 2010

Here we are on Facebook:

Friend us.

And don’t miss  all of our Twitterage:

Follow us.


Every time I think of you I know we have to meet.
And I just can’t get enough.  I just can’t get enough.

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(thank you, everyone)

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

Google Search is the new Kodak Moment

Posted by andreaitis on February 8, 2010

I just read T/S’er Kashmir Hill’s post Super Bowl upset: Google puts on the best ad.    In it she says:

Getting the millions of people watching the Superbowl to feel all warm and fuzzy toward the company “that does no evil” may have been one of most strategic plays of the evening.

She’s right on all accounts, but the words that jumped out at me  are “warm and fuzzy.”   There aren’t many products people feel warm and fuzzy about these days.   Apple causes gotta-have-it Mac attacks, and the  iPad certainly led to obsessive reporting and was cleverly and very publicly punk’d by Jason Calacanis.    But warm and fuzzy?  Not so much.  In fact, I can’t think of a product that has elicited such emotional ties since Kodak.   Take a look at this Kodak commercial from the 1960s.  If you make it to the end without sobbing you’ll hear “One little girl.  One precious childhood saved for years to come, in pictures.  You can do it too.  All it takes is a camera, Kodak film, and thoughtfulness.”     Yes, that’s right:  Thoughtfulness.

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In this commercial from 1985, you’ll hear Barbra Streisand singing ‘Memories” while the hypnotic voiceover urges “When the moment means more, trust it to Kodak video tape.”

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George Eastman was an entrepreneur by his mid-twenties, way back in 1880.  He had a simple goal for the Eastman Kodak company:  “to make the camera as convenient as the pencil.”

Eastman’s faith in the importance of advertising, both to the company and to the public, was unbounded. The very first Kodak products were advertised in leading papers and periodicals of the day — with ads written by Eastman himself.

Eastman coined the slogan, “you press the button, we do the rest,” when he introduced the Kodak camera in 1888 and within a year, it became a well-known phrase.

via History of Kodak

Like Google, Kodak was used as a verb.   While Google’s verb-alization came organically, Kodak included it in the advertising headline “Kodak as you go.”   That phrase didn’t stick, but “Kodak Moment” did.   It’s a phrase still used today even though Kodak no longer plays a central role in our lives or our memories.  In fact, I suspect some people use “Kodak Moment” without really knowing where it originated.   Kodak created an emotional connection with its customers, and fed that through its advertising campaigns.   As Kodak struggles to find its place in an increasingly digital world, Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hayzlett is trying a new approach.

Mr. Hayzlett has abandoned the warm-and-fuzzy branding ads once typical of Kodak. Well-known slogans have included “You push the button — we do the rest” and “Share moments, share life.” Instead, he favors more product-specific ads. “We have to have ads that drive sales,” he says.

As part of Mr. Hayzlett’s effort to give Kodak a hipper image, the company was featured last year in the reality-TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice,” and recently signed on for another season.

via Kodak Ads Get More Aggressive – The Wall Street Journal

The implication here is that “warm and fuzzy” cannot be hip.   Last night, Google blasted that theory to bits.  Google beautifully and simply told the story of boy meets girl, with Google Search helping them every step of the way toward happily ever after.   Google created an emotional connection that only further cements its place in our lives and now, gently,  in our hearts.   That Google commercial?  A Kodak moment, for sure.

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Posted in Business, sports, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

How True/Slant is celebrating the holidays

Posted by andreaitis on December 16, 2009

Image representing as depicte...

Image via CrunchBase

I finally figured out why I like so much.  It’s a cross between an online dating service, craigslist and a charity.   Immediate proof here on our True/Slant Giving Page;  deductive reasoning below.

A couple of days ago True/Slant contributor Michael Salmonowicz wrote about, an online charity connecting individual donors to classrooms in need. Michael made a donation to help a fourth grade class get a subscription to an educational magazine.  He posted part of the note he received from one of the fourth graders:

Did you know a reticulated python is 35 feet long? Did you know that French people sleep longer than people from other countries? These are a few of the interesting facts I learned from reading Time For Kids.”

A couple of months ago, I made a donation to help an all-girl inner city public high school class attend a student performance of “Lincoln, Armstrong to Obama: American History through Jazz.”   Below is the thank-you note I received from the “fun, spunky, outgoing Spanish teacher looking to take her students on a musical journey through history.”

Yay! We did it! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to funding our class trip. It is quite inspiring to see so many people getting involved to help improve and enrich education for our children.

The students cannot wait to go to the performance. Some students are not too familiar with jazz but love music, so this will be a great opportunity for them to extend their musical repertoire while learning about American history.

Thanks again for all your support! Stay tuned for the pictures (coming after 01/08/10 since that is the date of the performance).

With gratitude,
Ms. P.

donorschoose1On, the teachers post their requests themselves.  You get a sense of their personality and teaching style, and they often include pictures of their students.  That’s the online dating service part.  You get to scroll through the projects, listings from all over the country.  That’s the craigslist part.  Then you can select a project to support to help them reach their goal.  That’s the charity part.

donorschoose2The average public school teacher spends $500 – $700 on classroom supplies out of his or her own pocket, and students still go without critical supplies they need to learn.  We’ve created a True/Slant Giving Page at to help support these low-income classrooms. On our Giving Page you’ll see requests that range from the necessary to the imaginative, including pencil sharpeners, paper, books, art supplies, a rug to sit on for story time and a basketball hoop.   You can select a project, help fund it, and make a real difference to the kids and the teachers.   One day they’re sitting on the cold floor.  The next day they could be sitting on a map-of-the-world rug.

This is how we’re celebrating the holidays at True/Slant.  We all have teachers we remember, that one teacher who made such a strong impression it’s stayed with us forever.  We want other kids to experience that, to have an a-ha moment or two in the classroom, to embrace and enjoy learning.  After all, that’s what we do every day here at True/Slant.  We learn from one another, from our contributors and from our readers (who also contribute through comments).

We ‘d like to invite all of you to join us by visiting our Giving Page  to make a donation or purchasing a Giving Card so your friends and family can participate.  If you’d like to support this effort, please include the following at the end of  your blog posts, emails, in Twitter and Facebook updates, smoke signals and skywriting:

* * True/Slant is encouraging readers to donate at this holiday season.  Read more about it here if you’d like to help a classroom  in need. * *

A bright and happy holiday to all, from all of us at True/Slant.

Posted in Education, Parenting, technology, U.S. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Office of self promotion: T/S founder named to Silicon Alley 100 list

Posted by andreaitis on December 9, 2009

Here’s LD, clocking in at #42 on Silicon Alley Insider’s annual top 100 list.  This year, the list actually goes up to 113 and represents “people in the NYC digital community who did really cool stuff.”

No worries, world.   Our collective T/S ego remains in check.  And if it dares to swell a bit we simply have to pull up the other Silicon Alley Insider story about us, the one that called us boring five minutes after our alpha launch.

Ok, that’s not fair.  It was more like 12 hours after we launched.

Seriously – on behalf of LD – we’re excited to make the list.  Thanks, SAI.

dvorkin 2009 silicon alley 100_12-9-2009 12-48-02 PM

Top 50. Not too shabby, LD.

Posted in Business, social media, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Washington Post crisis of credibility continues (but don't Twitter that)

Posted by andreaitis on October 5, 2009

“If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.”

That used to be the Washington Post’s ad campaign.

Ironic, huh?

Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote a piece yesterday in response to the Post’s anti-social media guidelines for reporters.  The title, Do Ethics Guidelines Threaten Freewheeling Social Media?, suggests these rules are about ethics.  They’re not.

It would have been fine if Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said only this:

“What you do on social networks should be presumed to be publicly available to anyone, even if you have created a private account,” the guidelines warn. “If you don’t want something to be found online, don’t put it there.”

But he didn’t.  That good, basic common sense was just part of the guidelines that Brauchli summarized in a staff memo:

“Reporters and editors should not express views that can be construed as political, nor should they take sides in public debates.

There are prohibitions against “writing, tweeting or posting anything — including photographs or video — that could be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility.” The guidelines “apply to all Post journalists, without limitation to the subject matter of their assignments.”

I presume Brauchli is okay with this memo making the rounds.  If not, he wouldn’t have written them in an email, right?  Here, though, is the final kicker in Alexander’s column:

To Brauchli, the policies speak to neutrality, which he told me is “essential to maintaining our credibility.”

Neutrality is not the only thing essential to maintaining credibility. Transparency is also essential.  Authenticity, an open dialogue and an open mind to how news happens in today’s world.  And these policies contain more neuter than neutrality.  Newsweek’s Dan Lyons is currently engaging in a conversation right here on True/Slant as journalism students dissect one of his columns.  If Dan worked at the Washington Post, he’d be violating their “prohibitions.”

You’d think the Washington Post would have learned something from the off-the-record exclusive access for cashola lobbyist scandal.

I guess it’s true.  If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

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

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
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
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
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
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
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 »

True/Slant News Cruise

Posted by andreaitis on June 9, 2009

I read Jeff Koyen’s post The world’s 10 worst cruises yesterday with a sense of superiority and snark.  Who would go on an Adventures in Parrotdise Cruise? Or a Float2Paradise Psychic Medium Cruise?  Do I even know anyone who knows anyone who would go?   The only possible reason I could fathom dramamine-ing up for ShipRocked or Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man Cruise would be to cover it for a story.

Except… late at night,  as I was waiting for the Beta day adrenaline to dissipate,  my mind wandered.   Jeff identified the top 10 plus several more of these wacky theme cruises.  Clearly, people are going.  It must be a lot of people, making lots of money for the cruise lines, or there wouldn’t be so many of them.

And that’s when it hit me: a True/Slant News Cruise

Before you scoff and smirk, let me explain.  We’re a new business in a tough economy.  We know it’ll take a while for the advertising market to bounce back, so it makes sense to look at other revenue opportunities.  If James Carville and Mary Matalin can do it, why can’t we?

Here’s how it would work:

* Our 100+ contributors would be on board.  They would sit with passengers during meals and chat and be generally sociable.  Except for Taibbi.  We’ll exempt him from this part.

* We’ll set up discussions on various news topics, featuring our contributors.  We’ll also set up some debates.  Rick Ungar will argue with everyone.

* We’ll have News Tech 101 sessions, where we teach people how to find news on the Internet and their mobile devices, how to use Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, etc.

* We’ll have some special cooking seminars with Robin Dorian, Mike Hess and Susan Toepfer.

* At night, we’ll have a T/S Jam Session.  After all, we have some real-live musicians on the site.  Rozzo, Knowles and Carlozo, start working on the set list now.

These are just initial thoughts, but you can see the potential.

I’ll get to work on the business plan.  Who’s in, and what’re you bringing to the (floating) table?

Posted in technology, travel | Tagged: , , , | 22 Comments »

True/Slant Beta: What's in it for you?

Posted by andreaitis on June 7, 2009

On July 1st,  LD, Coates and I sat in a room.

End of August, Steve joined us.

In September we started to build…  A few contributors started to post in November… In April we launched our Alpha release… and now, on June 8th, we bring you our True/Slant Beta.

What’s in it for you?

Topics: We now have several places to easily find contributors and content by topic, including a Topics button in the black navigation bar and a By Topic tab in the contributor module, top right on our homepage.

Index pages: Improvements to Contributor, Headline Grabs and RSS pages, including a See All button for an easier way to scan.

Contributor Activity Feeds: Expanded activity feeds on contributor pages so you can follow their new posts, active conversations and see whose comments they’ve called out.

Account area: Log in and click on your name in red at the top of the page to see the new and improved account area.

Ads: Okay, this one’s for us but we’re excited to launch with ads from The Economist.

RSS 2.0 feeds: New and updated feeds available across the site for Topics, Contributors and more.

Search Results: Better searching, better results.  Try it.

New registration process: Simpler and streamlined.

And let’s not forget: Behind-the-scenes updates especially for our 100+ contributors, to make it easier for them to post, share and engage.  Also, behind-the-scenes updates especially for you, to make T/S  faster and stronger.

We consider our Beta release just the beginning.   If you’ve been with us before, we hope you enjoy these updates.   If you’re new to True/Slant, jump in and join us.  Sign up, follow a few contributors and comment on some posts.

Most of all, welcome to True/Slant.

Posted in technology, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a 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.

Posted in journalism, media | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »