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Bah, Humbug December 24, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Yes, Gentlemen, It’s Status Quo December 23, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I was waiting for clarification. Now that Google promises there won’t be banner ads on the home page or on search results pages (presumably they’ll be on blogs or news), it’s clear the the only big change in the status quo might — emphasize “might” — be in IM. According to the Times.

    The Google-AOL deal involves a range of other forms of cooperation. Notably, AOL will allow users of Google’s new Google Talk instant messaging system to chat with users of AOL’s messaging network, the largest in the country. Until now, AOL has resisted linking its system with those run by its major rivals – including Yahoo and Microsoft, which recently agreed to link their own. It does connect to Apple Computer’s message system and several services aimed at corporate users.

    There will be a somewhat complex procedure to link the two systems, however. Google Talk users will need to add an AOL screen name to communicate with other AOL users.

And will the linkage include VOIP?

Party Like It’s 1998 December 23, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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More signs that Tech Is Back! at least in the minds of the beholders.

The Wall Street Journal’s list of most popular stories from its site features, by my rough counting, nine tech stories, up from seven in 2004. But the type and rank of the stories are more trend-indicative than the absolute numbers.

In 2005, right after a Katrina news tracker comes a Google piece (Sergey and Larry buy a jet!), then a Microsoft vs. Google story, an iPod review, and a blog piece (with Katrina tie-in). In 2004, the most-clicked story was tech-related, but it was about Best Buy’s data mining. There was a spam story and an anti-Microsoft whine in the top ten.

I’m not sure how to interpret the 2005 number five position of a fairly crackpot opinion piece by Norm Coleman (R, Minnesota) about warding off those scary folks from the UN and the EU as they try to take over our Internet.

Rats and Sinking Ships? December 23, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Uh oh. I’m hoping that NBC Universal’s plans to eventually own MSNBC — without Microsoft — won’t have a negative impact on MSNBC.com. The cable net is pretty much a flop, but the news site is an online leader. Say it: One brand, all channels. It’s a mantra.

The folks at MSNBC are saying the right things:

    Executives of both Microsoft and NBC said they remain committed to the success of the Web site, which will not be affected by the shift in the cable side of the joint venture, according to Charlie Tillinghast, president of MSNBC.com.

    “Itís business as usual” for MSNBC.com, he said in an interview. “In case anyone wondered whether one or both partners were fully committed to the venture, the fact that this agreement has been reaffirmed should dispel any of those perceptions.”

And of course, I’m usually the guy that says there are very few things that ownership can do that a good partnership can’t.

Clamming Up in Redmond December 22, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The most surprising thing about this Washington Post story, which is, as a Microsoft flak characterizes it “a rehash of stories previously published in other publications,” is that Microsoft refused to offer up an exec to respond.

    Microsoft bristles at this kind of talk and refused to make a top executive available for this story.

I am shocked. One things Microsoft has done best over the years is manage its commentariat brainwashing information exchange. Microsoft knows that the best way to get its vision across is to expose the brains of its very bright senior managers via access. (Ever tried to talk to Google? Or Yahoo?)

Redmond must be really PO’d at the way the AOL-Google deal came out.

Not Scooped with its Own Petard December 22, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Oops, dunno how I missed this. But since I started on this theme, I feel obliged to continue. According to the LA Times, the NY Times released the NSA US wiretapping story when it did so it wouldn’t get scooped by a book by the reporter. Ouch.

    But the newspaper held the story for more than a year and only revealed the secret wiretaps last Friday, when it became apparent a book by one of its reporters was about to break the news, according to journalists familiar with the paper’s internal discussions.

Supposedly, the Times previously decided not to release it pre-election.

Yes, Virginia, Journalism Is Still Hard Work December 21, 2005

Posted by David Card in Uncategorized.
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Boing-boing reminds me that Salon did a good piece on young webcam prostitutes back in 2001. While I take my foot out of my mouth, I observe that Salon – especially in 2001 – is a relatively big-budget operation hiring real journalists and editors, not a blogger reporter wannabe.

PS I’m also bothered by the role the Times played in the story. My inclination is to say it crossed the line from reporter to participant. Whether that’s a good thing or not is a much tougher question.

Possible Career-Enhancing Move? December 21, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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The boss agrees with me I agree with the boss on Icahn v. Time Warner. More or less.

Now That’s Spinning December 20, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Chicago Sun-Times editor John Barron spins quite a tale upon closing down its youth tabloid:

    But Barron said Red Streak was purely a defensive move to prevent the Tribune from encroaching on the Sun-Times’ readership, which he said is younger and more urban.

    “The Tribune was going after our demographics, and we weren’t going to let them do that without a fight,” Barron said. “The plot line for Red Streak from the start was to confuse the marketplace and not allow the Tribune to set up a successful paid-circulation tabloid.”

    When the Tribune dropped its 25-cent charge for RedEye on Oct. 3 and began offering it free, the Sun-Times viewed it as validation of the strategy, Barron said.

    “I hate to say mission accomplished … but mission accomplished,” Barron said.

Amazingly, both papers initially launched without web strategies.

Good Journalism Is Hard Work December 19, 2005

Posted by David Card in Media.
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I had similar reactions to two powerful — and controvsial — stories in the NY Times this weekend (and Monday).

One thing’s for sure: there’s no conceivable way this kind of reportage will be done by bloggers, “citizen journalists,” teevee, or anything else we’ve got these days. Pray that good newspapers figure out how to make it in a digital world.