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Will the Blogerati Bless the NY TImes’ Virginia Heffernan? May 19, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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It doesn’t accept comments, but it posts more than once a day in reverse chronological order. I don’t know if it’s edited or not. Is it a blog? (Who cares?) As the upfronts come to a close, you can draw your own conclusions on NY Times TV critic Virginia Heffernan’s “Upfronts Journal.” It’s funny and insightful. Shows you what a pro can do. Brava.

It’s a shame the Times barely promoted it.

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Being Green in the Mouse House May 19, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The Journal outlines Disney’s comeback strategy for the Muppets. I actually thought the 2002 Henson-produced Muppets take on “It’s a Wonderful Life” was pretty good. Both grownups and my then 10 year-old niece were amused. Meanwhile, Henson mines the dregs of its character catalog.

Missing A Villain From My Youth May 18, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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gorshin1.jpg

Darn. A great character. As all real Batman fans know, Gorshin was doing a great, crazed maniac Joker, not the wimpy Riddler. But for some reason, Cesar Romero got the plum role.

Upfront Gobsmackers May 18, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I might try to collect some of the more entertaining quotes spewing out during the TeeVee upfront. How ’bout this one:

    What do rich people like to watch? “Nobody really knows,” says Alan Wurtzel, NBC’s president of research and media development, “but in general these viewers respond to high production values, sophisticated dialogue and story lines and a unique point of view.”

Uh, Alan, isn’t that your job – to know?

Recapitulating Phylogeny May 17, 2005

Posted by David Card in Search.
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As usual, Clay Shirky is wise. As usual, as an academic who gets paid by the pound, he is incredibly long-winded. Read this, it’s worth it. Why tagging links makes more sense than directories in the long run. (Think Google vs. the original Yahoo.)

There are places where directories work better: stable and restricted entities, expert catalogers and users. Where the ontology is familiar and agreed upon, it adds value.

Shirky ducks the apple the computer vs. apple the fruit issue. I’d say you suggest context options on the fly, based on links that aren’t completely based on popularity. Expert editors, maybe? Links of links? Links of links by expert editors? That’s for the PhDs at Google and Vivissimo and Endeca to figure out.

I’m a guy who once said the Internet wouldn’t catch on until there was a Dewey Decimal system. Yeah, then came search. Who needs XML when you’ve got mass audience/editors?

Oh, and actually, the quote is “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,” not ontology, but most people make the same mistake.

Why Humans Are Better Than Robots, Part LXXV May 17, 2005

Posted by David Card in Site Technologies.
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I’m assuming the fact the LA Times posted a story on unions at youth prisons in its “Corrections” section is a content management system error. If humans did this, well, maybe it’s a joke, son. “Correctional” officers, get it?

Adversarial Journalism May 17, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The NY Times spins the Newsweek Koran-in-the-toilet-retraction scandal: “Hey, this guy’s not liberally biased, he went after Clinton, too!”

But the way I remember it, Newsweek sat on the Monica story until Drudge was about to leak it. Maybe, ironically, Newsweek was too quick to publish this time?

And is the Times really saying: “Maybe he should have had more sources, but we all know it’s TRUE! And we – the adversarial journalism industry – should not completely lose what spine we have left in the face of the current Administration.”

I’m just speculating here.

NY Post Registration Works May 17, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I successfully registered. Not too much secret info required, email address as user name, optional opt-in newsletters, required confirmation of email address, all good.

Cover headline and picture today, well, I guess Newsweek deserves it.

Death of Paid Content? Part II May 16, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Yikes, I link to CNN’s and the LA Times’ opening up of formerly fee-based services in the morning, and what does the Old Grey Lady do in the afternoon but announce it’s taking some content back behind the wall. From its own story:

    Most of the material on the Web site, NYTimes.com, will remain free to users, The Times said, but columnists from The Times and The International Herald Tribune will be available only to users who sign up for TimesSelect, which will cost $49.95 annually.

    The new service, which is scheduled to start in September, will be provided automatically to home-delivery subscribers of the newspaper.

    TimesSelect will also provide subscribers access to TimesPast, the paper’s archives; exclusive multimedia, including audio and photo essays and video; TimesFile, a tool that will help users organize articles; and Ahead of The Times, which will allow subscribers to take an early look at articles that will appear in The New York Times Magazine, and the newspaper’s Travel, Sunday Arts and Real Estate sections.

I haven’t talked to the Timesmen yet. My initial take is that this is a great deal for print subscribers – archives galore. However, if the Times gets any significant traffic to its columnists, and they’re no longer available for free (at least on the day of publication), then this is a risky – probably even “dumb” – strategy in the face of blog-mania and exploding online advertising growth. I’ll post more when I get the scoop from the Times.

ADDED LATER. LINK TO TIMES PR.

Death of Paid Content? May 16, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Well, probably not. But CNN joins the LA Times in opening up formerly fee-based online content. The NY Times says CNN will charge for archives. The LA Times’ CalendarLive entertainment section is now free – a wise decision as entertainment content is its best hope of luring younger audiences. We’re about to launch a big consumer survey on paid content attitudes, and we’ll update our forecast in a month.