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In the news…

Friday, January 20th, 2012

I promised myself when I started blogging again that I’d stay away from overtly political posts, but I saw a couple of articles in the news lately that I found interesting in various ways, so I thought I’d share:

BP Makes Amends
When the oil spill first occurred back in April of 2010, environmentalists claimed the damage could last for years, if not decades. Economists predicted economic doom for the Gulf region, already damaged by past hurricanes and other natural disasters. But now, less than two years later, we read this in the New York Times:

BP has performed quite admirably in [the] aftermath. It has spared no expense in cleaning up the oil. It has set aside $1 billion to restore the environment and coastal ecosystem. It underwrote an advertising campaign to lure tourists back to the Gulf Coast. Today, less than two years after the spill, the beaches are sparkling, most fishermen are working and many of the hotels are full.

At the urging of President Obama, BP also agreed to set up a $20 billion fund to compensate anyone who could show that they

Categories: News and/or Media, Political Rantings | 2 Comments »

The New York Times – Charging for Free Content

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

In case you haven’t read about it yet, the New York Times changed their online access policy, by offering what they’re calling digital subscriptions. Here’s how it works:

If you are a home delivery subscriber of The Times, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion and other features on your computer, smartphone and tablet. International Herald Tribune subscribers will also receive free access to NYTimes.com.

If you are not a home delivery subscriber, you will have free access to 20 articles (including slide shows, videos and other features) each month. If you exceed that limit, you will be asked to become a digital subscriber. On our smartphone and tablet apps, the Top News section will remain free of charge. For access to the other sections within the apps, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.

So, twenty articles per month for free, after which you have to pay to read. But wait, there are a couple of small caveats:

Categories: News and/or Media, Tech Talk | 5 Comments »


Thursday, March 25th, 2010

This obviously isn’t funny (although, in this case, no one got hurt), but the Associated Press deserves recognition for this gem of a headline:

Nano car bursts into flames, raising safety fears

Gee – ya think?!?

Categories: News and/or Media | 2 Comments »

The 119 words WGN reporters can’t say on television

Friday, March 12th, 2010

The CEO of the Tribune Company has posted a list of 119 broadcast news cliches that he doesn’t want his anchors or reporters to use anymore on the air.

But what’s even stranger is that Ian Chillag of National Public Radio has put them all in a single sentence:

In other news, stay tuned, because in our top story tonight, some really good (or bad) news: as expected, in a surprise move yesterday, informed sources say, a world class icon, diva, mother of all motorists, and famed undocumented alien, lauded for putting area residents at risk and in harm’s way, but at this point in time behind bars for allegations that — according to sketchy details that, to be fair, have officials and authorities under fire for speaking out — he reportedly engaged in shower activity with all of you folks at 5 am in the morning, underwent surgery, utilized an undisclosed vehicle in torrential rain in a near miss manhunt when it was time for a break, literally fled on foot, completely surprised his mother with a clash with bare naked police behind closed doors, definitely possibly completely destroyed a medical hospital under false pretenses, and is lucky to be alive after, the fact of the matter is, he lent a helping hand to a legendary incarcerated pedestrian lone gunman (the perpetrator who over in a neighboring state, perished in a perfect storm of no brainers and things that went terribly wrong, and was plagued by killing sprees in which he gave 110% only to have his senseless murders marred by the untimely deaths of guys and folks whose fatal deaths came in the wake of auto accidents, and while it may be a mute point, let’s everybody touch base on the fact that he was under seige in the wake of unrest after shots rang out in close proximity of the best kept secret on the campaign trail which had authorities reeling up in one place and down in another, and going forward, the alleged aftermath of the death toll for youths behind the podium exceeds those out there, down there, and out in that other place by a two to one margin), is seeking white stuff for those of you that want it, and thus, we’ll explain what he did when we’ll be back — we’ll be right back, after the break and after these commercial messages, and we say “we’re back,” “welcome back,” or “welcome back everybody.”

For more on this story, film at eleven…

Categories: News and/or Media, The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

Journalism is Dead! Long Live Journalism!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Two weeks ago, I got on a 7:45AM New Jersey Transit to New York City. Just then, power problems developed in the tunnel under the Hudson River, causing massive delays throughout the NJTransit system. Four hours later, when it became obvious that I was still at least an hour away from getting to my office, I gave up and came home. During the entire ordeal, the train conductors kept apologizing for the inconvenience while assuring us that they would pass on any new information as soon as they received it. Meanwhile, the passengers were on their blackberries, iPhones, and other mobile devices, receiving status updates from various websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook posts, and even NJTransit itself. Those who were disconnected were treated to a steady stream of information as passengers called out the latest updates to each other and recommended courses of action for folks with various intended destinations. At the time, we joked that the train conductor should get himself an iPhone so he could tell us more than what NJTransit was telling him.

Last week, I dropped a friend off at Continental Airlines’ Terminal C in Newark Liberty Airport about an hour before someone walked the wrong way through a security checkpoint, causing officials to evacuate the terminal. About 10,000 people crammed the check-in counters and baggage claim areas, waiting for the go-ahead to re-enter the terminal and get on their delayed (possibly even cancelled) flights. My friend gave interviews to Fox News and The Star Ledger, and even received update requests from a CNN reporter who had found his Twitter feed. As with the train delay above, no one at Newark Airport or Continental Airlines was making any announcements or providing the inconvenienced passengers with any further information.

The two incidents raise the following question in my mind: has information dissemination, particularly in the case of breaking news, broken down completely, or has it changed in a way that renders the old methods obsolete and unnecessary? Certainly, both NJTransit and Continental Airlines could have made repeated announcements over their public address systems and placed public relations people in the terminals to talk to passengers and the media, but these actions would likely have yielded repetitive and less accurate information than what the passengers were finding on their own. Which is worse? Not saying anything or repeating an unhelpful message over and over again? Perhaps we’ve reached a point where these organizations realize that the passengers are informing themselves and have chosen not to bother competing?

I’ll note that in both cases, passengers joked about the lack of information coming from official sources, but did not complain about a lack of information per se. Maybe all that’s missing is a shift in public perception, where people expect to find information on their own (or from their fellow passengers) rather than have it spoon-fed to them by “an official source?”

“Crowdsourcing,” like most everything else on the Internet, will really only get big when it gets small. Wikipedia became the gold standard for research by using the whole planet to (attempt to) catalog all of the world’s knowledge. Now, we’re creating mini-wikipedias for specific events, like a security concern at an airport terminal. Given time, familiarity, and a build-up of trust, this model could eventually out-pace the concept of “breaking news” from the larger news sources.

Or so I heard on the web

Categories: New York, New York, News and/or Media | 10 Comments »

Random Acts of Blogging – 12/3/09

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

So many blog-worthy things going on in the world all at once! So, some quick thoughts on several things:

Adam Lambert emerged from his #2 finish on American Idol as one of the most promising singing talents in years. At the American Music Awards, he decided to make his performance a social statement, rather than make it about the music. He’s since been cancelled by ABC from Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. And the shows that are letting him on suddenly want to talk about nothing else but the AMA’s. I’m disappointed. Not because I have a particular opinion about his “cause,” but because he’s allowed his cause to overshadow his music, which I was looking forward to enjoying. On the upside, I think maybe he’s realizing his mistake. Here’s what he told Ellen Degeneres:

It was maybe a little too far. I think in hindsight I look back on it and I go, “OK, maybe that wasn

Categories: News and/or Media, Political Rantings, Random Acts of Blogging, Words about Music | 4 Comments »

Obama’s Speech – Reaction from the Constituency

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Since President Obama’s speech today was directed at the nation’s school children, I took an informal poll in my house (sample size: two)

Brandon (age 6), before the speech: The President is speaking at 12 noon? What about kids on the west coast? Will they still be asleep?

Brandon, after the speech: If the President asks for help all the time, then we can too.

Avery (age 9), after the speech: If the kids with all those challenges accomplished their goals, then we should accomplish our goals more easily than them. Not easily, but more easily.

Avery, when asked if Barack Obama should visit his elementary school one day: I’d rather he wait until next year and visit our middle school, because when you’re the youngest in the school, you get to sit closest to the stage during an assembly, and then I’d be the first one to shake his hand when the speech is over. If he visited our elementary school this year, I’d be way in the back.

Categories: News and/or Media, Political Rantings | 2 Comments »

A Fool to Some of the People, All of the Time

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Time Magazine Poll:

Categories: News and/or Media, The World Wide Weird | 2 Comments »

Sarah Palin: Crazy as a Clinton?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Like many Americans, I was confused about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

Categories: News and/or Media, Political Rantings | 5 Comments »

Celebrity Sighting – Chris Matthews

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I don’t often spot celebrities on the streets of Manhattan, usually because I’m too oblivious to notice them as I walk right past them. But today, on my way to New York’s Penn Station, I looked to my left and there was Chris Matthews talking on his cellphone. This is why I finally threw a digital camera in my laptop bag (hat tip: Ilya Burlak).

Anyway, I moved to a respectful difference and then snapped a picture:

Figures he was to my left… (bad political humor)

Categories: New York, New York, News and/or Media | No Comments »

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