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Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

My Fantasy News Organization

In Journalism, Latin America, News, Social media on September 27, 2007 at 4:20 am

Sheer “citizen journalism,” though it has its place, is insufficient to the demands of a new way of doing journalism. It has also so far proven to be largely untenable economically. Corporate journalism is too consolidated and shareholder concerns have robbed it of its mission. At this point ad-driven lust for the “local” is a symptom of this wide-spread disease.

What’s needed is a way to use adaptive professional journalists, who can utilize the new suite of communications technologies, in conjunction with old-fashioned story sense, to both break news and do good enterprise work. Yeah, there’s Politico and Iraqslogger, the latter being subscription-only now. But honestly, these are the very subjects that established media organizations already do to death, to the expense of so many other important areas of coverage and neglected stories. And plus, they both bore me. The only outfit I can think of that is doing anything close to what I am conceiving is Alive in Baghdad (with their Alive in Mexico outfit, both getting hammered financially now) and, to a lesser degree, Chris Albritton’s Back to Iraq.

The difference in the organization I would create would be how it was constructed and what it was modeled on. I would build an organization that would look like a general-news, non-tech version of ReadWriteWeb, CenterNetworks or TechCrunch. It would be a lean, mobile organization, full of people who were devoted to employing social media tools in the service of old-fashioned news gathering. Each organization member would be a combination of field producer, reporter, editor, anchor and web producer. No room for passengers. The revenue model would combine advertising sales with content licensing.

Headquartered in Central America, the Latin American News Bureau would take that region as its focus and area of coverage. Thanks to the War in Iraq and the War on Terror, along with the Greatest Hits mentality of too much of corporate-owned media, LatAm is now the most underreported place in the world. Thanks to Bono and Brad Pitt, even Africa, the perennial red-headed step child of the news media, gets more coverage than Latin America, and Central America gets the least of all. But the area sure does not lack for stories. There are sea changes happening in the politics of the area and in the religious life of the region and neither has been covered to the depth they deserve in the American media.

There’s a need, there’s room, there’s the technology and there’s a model for a new kind of news organization.

Additionally: If I were “drafting” some “players” in this fantasy league, I’d choose Clark Boyd of PRI’s The World, Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb and Jon Dube of Cyberjournalist to start.

Update: In addition to Alive in Baghdad & Alive in Mexico, another example of this sort of shenanigans is New Correspondent.

Posting about the Twitter News Media Survey

In Journalism, News, Social media, Twitter, Work materials on September 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Both Jonathan at Cyberjournalist and Jemima at the Guardian have posted on the survey of Twitter use by the news media.

A Survey on the Use of Twitter by the News Media

In Imwiththepress, Journalism, Social media, Twitter on September 24, 2007 at 6:56 pm

If you are a decision-maker at a news organization that uses the microblogging service Twitter, please take this survey I created for I’m With The Press.

Click Here to take News Media Use of Twitter survey

Please note this is a survey only for representatives of general news organizations. If you run an online-only news site, are a representative of a specialty news organization (sports, tech, business, etc.) or are not a member of a news organization at all, please do not fill out the survey. 

In a Book, Pt. II

In Social media, Writers on September 21, 2007 at 6:33 pm

Update: The coverage of the plan is here, on page 28 of the Wikinomics Playbook for 2008.

After my stunning debut in “Naked Conversations,” it looks like I’ll be in another book. This one is called “Wikinomics” and they quoted my idea for an Open-Source Israel Palestine Peace Process.

Interesting looking project. One of the authors, Michael Pilling, said, “this wiki is an online (CC-BY-NC-SA) collaborative book project – the final version is being printed.” So, not sure if it’ll be in the 3-D version or just on the site.

Traditional Media on Twitter

In Journalism, News, Social media, Twitter on September 17, 2007 at 12:27 am

The established media, and by this I mean daily newspapers and non-specialty broadcast news organizations, are starting to pick up on Twitter. But most of the big ones-New York Times, NPR, CNN, BBC-are clearly using it solely as a promotional tool. The way you can tell that is by the fact that they do not follow a single update. Some bigger groups, like France24, actively cross-pollinate with their readers, and most of the smaller ones, like the Nashua Telegraph, do.

In lieu of putting together a list of these Twitter accounts I have, instead, created a separate Twitter account. I’m with the press.

If I’ve missed a general news print or broadcast organization that is using Twitter, please let me know. I am notably deficient in alphabets other than the Latin, so if you know of a credible mainstream news source in Russia, India, China, etc., that uses Twitter, please let me know about that as well. I only added one Twitter account per organization for those, like the BBC who have dozens.

What You Can’t Do Online

In Communications, Real Life, Social media on September 5, 2007 at 2:30 am

I think the electronic tools of communication, publishing and interaction are just great. I use them a lot for my nonprofit work, in my writing life and the strategic use of them has become my work.

But there is simply no way to achieve electronic mimesis of pulling into a colonial Salvadoran town on a Sunday, walking, accompanied by an ex-assassin, into a Beirut-like sidestreet lined with broad, brown women and their men cooking over barrels, buying a pupusa revuelta and eating it, leaning against the chalky wall.

That’s what Life is for.

Twitterization & Facebookificationalizing?

In Social media on August 18, 2007 at 3:21 pm

If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, or both, consider adding me.

Curt on Twitter.

Curt’s Facebook page.


Where Have All the Tags Gone?

In Social media, Tagging on July 24, 2007 at 1:41 am

I’ve noticed a significant reduction in the use of tags on company blogs. Why? Part of it might be explained by the automatic production of tags for each category in the dominant platforms, WordPress and TypePad/MoveableType. But what else explains it? Inelegance of presentation? I like tags because I am promiscuous in my use of any tool that creates a funnel from the general public to the property I’m working on. What do you think?

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Open Source Israel-Palestine Peace Plan

In Social media, Society & Politics on July 24, 2007 at 1:34 am

Michael and the Wikinomics crew covered this plan here on page 28 of the 2008 “Wikinomics Playbook” (.pdf) and online here on the Wikinomics website.


I have accused others of being Pollyannas for their prophesying of ahistorical sea-changes in human nature based on innovations in communications technologies. (“E-commerce will eliminate poverty,” “Blogging will replace journalism,” etc.) But I have to admit to a certain amount of it myself. At one point I conceived the following project.

The Open Source Israel-Palestine Peace Plan

Since the “professionals” in Israel/Palestine are having a continuing lack of success at creating a workable peace plan that both will follow, why not give it to the people themselves, on both sides of the divide?

What I mean is, we create an “The Open Source Israel-Palestine Peace Plan.”

We set up a wiki and invite people (emphasizing Israelis and Palestinians) to create their own collaborative peace plan. Different people could work on various issues like borders, trade, right of return, etc. We could invite some scholars and academics with specialties to augment the citizen involvement.

We can get Socialtext or Wikipedia to host it. We can get buy in from groups like Global Voices Online, Jordan Planet, the Palestine Blogs Aggregator, Bitter Lemons and so forth. We can secure sponsorship from different companies and media organizations. That sponsorship could be used to stage three events: a launch conference, a mid-point conference for working groups and a public unveiling of the finished plan.

Would it produce a workable peace plan? I doubt it, but who knows? At any rate, it would be an interesting discussion. It might provide new ideas that would solve specific problems in creating a workable peace. It would certainly exert a strong pressure on both Palestinian and Israeli leaders to revisit the issues. They could hardly fail to respond to the implicit accusation that a bunch of mere citizens was able to craft a peace plan where they could not.

Nothing came of it, unfortunately, except for Ross Mayfield donating an account. (The Israeli and Palestinian I tried to press into service had other things to do, shockingly enough.) But I remain, I guess, a little bit of a gullible idealist because I still think it’s an awfully good idea.

Stagnagtion vs. Oblivion Wheels

In Social media on July 12, 2007 at 5:36 am

One of the dangers of social media use professionally is inertia. You find what you need, what works for you and you wear an ass-groove into the seat. Can’t afford to do that so I jumped face first into Twitter, which has turned out to be funner than I thought it would be, less vampiric and I already have several ideas on how to use it in a promotional context. Sokari, an old friend from CPB days, sent me an email asking me why I wasn’t on Facebook. I was, just didn’t use it much. So, I jumped into that and invited friends and professional acquaintances. Hopefully I won’t repeat my horrifying accidental LinkedIn dump of a year back. Not sure how valuable Facebook will be, but I guess we’ll see.

Of course, the other danger is eyeball-spinning confusion, followed by Dorian Gray-like collapse.

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