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Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

Comments on the NY Times Front Page?

Posted by Jacqueline on October 13, 2007

Several very observant bloggers (or maybe their tipsters) have noticed that the New York Times had temporarily placed reader comments on the main page with a few of their articles (at the time of posting, the general opinion seems to be that it is a test, as the comments are not currently up).   It’s very “web 2.0” of them to allow user generated content to accompany the work of their journalists; however, the general opinion of the blogosphere seems to be divided about the decision.

Many are lauding the Times for being progressive and opening the conversation between readers and journalists (and it is true that sometimes citizen journalism is the best coverage, because it comes from people who are actually on the scene or witnessed the event), but this move has also garnered some criticism.

Josh Catone of Read Write Web took a moderate view – praising the Times for allowing the comments, but questioning the judgment of placing them in such a prominent position.

“However, giving reader comments such a prominent position is dangerous. Readers of news sites (and blogs) go to those specific destinations to read news in the voice they expect — not to see a public argument from commenters.

I would applaud an expansion of New York Times comments beyond blogs to general news stories — I think commenting is great; it gives readers an outlet for instant response and keeps writers honest. But publishing comments on the main page, especially so prominently under the main story, seems like a bad idea. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below (we won’t publish them on the main page, though!).”

I tend to agree with him – partly because if I’m reading a news article on the Times (or any other newspaper, for that matter), I’m looking for the who, the what, the where, the when, the why, and the how – just the facts, please.  Obviously, op-eds and such are different in regard to factual reporting, but perhaps the Times commenters shouldn’t be given such a major platform (although I’d assume that the comments that do appear are filtered). 

Several commenters on the various blog posts about this move by the Times have mentioned that reader comments shouldn’t have a more visible place than retractions and corrections, which definitely makes sense.  After all, others’ reactions are not as important as the actual facts of the piece, generally, and most newspapers tend to bury corrections, even online, where it seems that it would be fairly easy to add them on to the original article.  On the Silicon Alley Insider, commenter Brian says:

“When they start giving corrections the same placement and prominence as the story that contained the error, then they will be transparent and conversational. They are still burying corrections at the bottom of the story, in the archive, a day or two after it was originally published. They have a long way to go before they have fully embraced the ethos of the blogosphere.”

Perhaps the people who make such decisions at the Times and other papers are reading all these blog posts, and hopefully learning something from them – and at least they are trying to embrace the new media – even if you believe they are making a mistake with the reader comments, mistakes do happen on the way to innovation.

As always, if you have ideas related to digital media, community journalism, and how the web can improve media and the news delivery system, check out the Knight News Challenge.  You’ve only got a few days left to win funding for your ideas!

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Posted in Citizen Journalism, General, Journalism, New Media, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Open Source Innovating

Posted by Jacqueline on October 12, 2007

One of the many things that makes the Knight News Challenge unique is that you can make your entry open to the public, so they can read, comment, and help improve your plan.  Even people who don’t plan to enter the contest can participate this way, so if you have something to say about community journalism, online news, or just want to have a hand in what could be a revolutionary innovation, go here to sign up and begin.

Although in my previous post, I said it is not the critic who counts; however, a some constructive criticism can go a long way towards helping an entrepreneur get started.  Besides, it’s an easy way to do your part and help citizen and community journalism grow into something that truly changes the world. 

Posted in Citizen Journalism, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Custom-Blended News

Posted by Jacqueline on October 11, 2007

It’s no surprise that people want to customize their news – after all, things like Netvibes and RSS exist for essentially that purpose.  Steve Boriss of The Future of News has an interesting post up discussing how the web might finally make it possible for us to get exactly the information/news we want, nothing more and nothing less.

“By giving everyone both a communications and delivery platform, might the Internet break-up mass media into fragmented media, finally giving us only the news that we, as individuals, want — news that reflects our worldviews, our interests, our parochial concerns, our preferences, and our tastes?”

Read more…. 

Have an idea or working on a project related to the future customization of news?  Check out the Knight News Challenge and you could win funding (up to $500,000) for your innovative ideas.  It’s worth a shot – it only takes a few minutes to write up a proposal and anyone – of any age, from anywhere in the world – can win.

Posted in Citizen Journalism, General, Journalism, New Media, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Let Your Fellow Citizens Make Your Commute Easier

Posted by Jacqueline on October 10, 2007

While most people think of citizen journalism, at least at the current moment, they think of either the courageous bloggers in Burma (and other war-torn nations), or of those people who report on the minutiae of politics, especially local politics.  However, while calling it journalism might be a stretch, there are other kinds of citizen-generated content that are making an immediate impact on people’s lives.

Check out Clever Commute, a website devoted to the travel situation and traffic in the New York City area.  People use their blackberries and smart phones to share information about delays and reroutes, leading to a smoother commute for everyone involved.  No, it’s not really journalism, at least in the traditional sense, but it is breaking news.  And definitely essential knowledge for its users. 

Although public transportation systems have been offering mobile updates for some time, this is the only service that lets people reach their fellow riders (which makes things much more immediate and accurate than the typically slow transit authority updates).  Thus far, commuters using technology to help other commuters has proved to be a superior method of breaking traffic/transportation news, at least in NYC. 

Want to know more?  Check out this NY Times article on Clever Commute.

Do you have an outside-the-box citizen journalism idea?  Take a gamble and enter the Knight News Challenge – you just might win the cash and the resources to make it happen. 

Posted in Citizen Journalism, Digital Media, General, Innovation, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Social News in the Spotlight: Newsvine Bought By MSNBC

Posted by Jacqueline on October 7, 2007

Popular social news website Newsvine became part of the MSNBC family this past Friday, solidifying the place of community-driven news on the web.  As stated by the founders of purpose of Newsvine was “to build a perfectly different, perfectly efficient way to read, write, and interact with the news.”

According to MSNBC’s coverage of the deal, Newsvine was a perfect fit for their needs.

“Newsvine is local, small, nimble — they don’t come with a lot of things you don’t want,” he said, such as complicated partnerships and contracts. “There isn’t a lot to rearrange.”

Sreenath Sreenivasan, a specialist in new media at the Columbia University journalism school, said the deal was a good fit for both companies.

“As the news environment is changing so quickly, it’s important for more traditional media companies to take advantage of some of these newer technologies,” Sreenivasan said.

Although Newsvine is not as popular as other social news sites (like Digg, Reddit, and such), it has a dedicated community of users and they’ve created plenty of buzz by offering a unique combination of mainstream reporting, user-generated content, and social ranking.  Here’s the quote:

“But the site has generated significant buzz since its launch in March 2006 because of its inventive merger of mainstream reporting from The Associated Press and ESPN; the contributions of individual users, who are paid for their writing; and the social media model of user-driven ranking of the news.”

What does this all mean for citizen journalism?  Now it will have a home on one of the largest news sources on the web; however, they’re promising that the acquisition won’t destroy Newsvine’s independent spirit.

“Newsvine will now report to one of the largest such companies, but while Davidson said it may “expand a little bit” with msnbc.com’s support, growing from six employees to perhaps 10 or 15, he and Tillinghast both stressed that Newsvine would continue to run as an independent site.”

Related links – the coverage of the MSNBC-Newsvine deal on Techcrunch, Gigaom, and MSNBC itself.

Posted in Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Journalism, New Media, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Welcome To The Connected Age

Posted by Jacqueline on October 7, 2007

Thanks to the web, mobile phones, and related technologies, most of us are connected to each other all the time.  We are constantly consuming information about everything under the sun, and the internet has essentially transformed the way that we live and work.  As Anne Zulenka (of Web Worker Daily and Gigaom) says, if the early days of the web were the Information Age, we are now in the Connected Age.

“Today’s version of the web, whatever you want to call it, is notable because people and hardware and information and software and conversation are all mixed together into a hyperconnected network. Maybe instead of getting tangled up in discussions of what’s web 1.0 vs. web 2.0 vs. web 3.0, we might look instead at another shift: how the web enables us to move from one era into another, from the Information Age to the Connected Age. You can see this shift both in the practices of individual workers and in the strategies of technology companies.”

She compares the internet to a stew – there are many different ingredients (websites and applications), but they can all mingle and touch each other (links, mashups, etc.).  Each one makes the whole more interesting.

Working with the web is no longer the sole province of techies and nerds – we all get our news, do research, and communicate via the net – so it’s especially important for businesses to take note of how it is woven into our everyday lives.   For instance, people planning on entering the Knight News Challenge are probably already aware of our inter-connectedness, but a reminder of how attention and relationships are the new priorities doesn’t hurt.  After all, when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of websites trying to get noticed, it is the ones that enable people interact with each other and build a community around a shared interest or location that tend to stick. 

Posted in Digital Media, General, Innovation, New Media, Technology, Web, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Visions of Web 3.0 From Jason Calcanis

Posted by Jacqueline on October 4, 2007

Serial entrepreneur Jason Calcanis has written a decent definition of Web 3.0:

Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.

At first, it seems as if he’s saying that web 3.0 is the same thing as web 2.0, but without all the crap (and we all know that there will always be some useless content and spam on the net), and of course his definition fits into the direction of his current startup, Mahalo, but the idea of 3.0 building on the good aspects of 2.0 and taking them to the next level has legs.  It’s a little elitist though (only “gifted” people are involved?  How do we define this?).

One of the commenters, Arnaud Fischer, wrote:

“Right, that’s one way to put it. If Web 1.0 was about linking information then Web 2.0 is definitely about linking people. If Web 2.0 is about linking people, Web 3.0 will be about connecting and making semantic sense of people’s knowledge. Bringing together two disjointed pieces of content, computing, and creating new incremental value.”

Maybe we can combine these definitions somehow, because I think that Calcanis has left the inter-connected aspect, which is important – in the future, our networks will network.

How would you define web 3.0?

Posted in Blogging, General, Innovation, New Media, Technology, Web, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Web 2.0 Petri Dish on Read Write Web

Posted by Jacqueline on October 4, 2007

Today Read Write Web, one of the net’s foremost technology and digital media blogs (and I’ll admit that it’s a personal favorite of mine as well), posted about the current web 2.0 climate, comparing it to a petri dish – lots of experiments are taking place and no one really knows what’s going to happen.  Contributor Bernard Lunn says:

“The Web 2.0 world is looking increasingly like a giant petri dish. There are so many experiments, so much innovation and, as yet, relatively little real revenue. Within this petri dish are a few ideas that will turn into billions of dollars, at which point we will all say “why didn’t I think of that”? There are also lots of “what on earth were we all thinking” ideas out there. Numerically of course, there will be much more of the latter – but in $ terms the few big winners will mean it’ll all make some kind of sense in the end.”

Now, the Knight News Challenge is not about on awarding funds to companies based their earning potential (after all, they want more corporations that think about the double bottom line), but revenues are the lifeblood of any company, and it’s important for any entrepreneur who is thinking about building something web 2.0ish to realize that very few companies are actually making any real cash on the web.  However, the entry bar and general costs of doing business are still set extremely low, so there is not going to be a lack of people who are going to try to make the big bucks.

Lunn’s petri dish metaphor is extremely apt – lots of people experimenting with this and that, hoping to grow into something big and valuable.  He goes on to cover the current state of web 2.0 in a very realistic manner that is best described as cautious optimism, and ends with some advice to startup founders and other entreprenuers:

“1. Raise more money (a lot more) than you think you need. VCs have plenty of money to put to work and you need enough to ride out a cycle and really build something to last. Jason Calacanis said he raised enough for 5 years with Mahalo and he has seen a cycle come and go.

2. Get to cash flow positive quicker than you had planned. (And if you are already there, don’t take this as the time to start a major expansion built on borrowed money).

3. Accept that offer. Not the first one of course. Not the second one if you have good poker nerves. But take the third one. Live to venture another day.”

Perhaps his advice is little obvious, but really, the current financial climate is not the time to engage in major building on borrowed money.  What’s the solution?  Stay small and lean (with all the current technology, there is no need to have a huge office or other costly accoutrements, especially in a company’s early days of existence), or you could look for funding from non-venture capital sources, such as grants or contests like the news challenge (c’mon, you knew I was going to mention that).

Posted in Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Using Web 2.0 To Innovate: E-Democracy.Org

Posted by Jacqueline on October 3, 2007

E-Democracy.Org, a Minnesota based organization with a focus on “the use of the Internet to improve citizen participation and real world governance through online discussions and information and knowledge exchange” (check out their About page for a lot more information about them and their mission), has created a wiki for their entry in the Knight News Challenge, and it’s open the public.

Now, companies and other organizations have been using internal wikis to get things done for quite some time now (and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if other Knight News Challenge entrants used wikis to help put together their proposals as well), but E-Democracy.Org’s wiki is open to the public.  Besides being refreshingly transparent, opening up their project to the opinions of others could prove very valuable indeed – after all, sometimes it takes an outsider’s viewpoint to really make your plan and ideas great. 

Best of luck to them!  You can read more about E-Democracy.Org on their website and their blog.

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, Entrepreneurship, General, Innovation, New Media, Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Lines Between New Media and Old Media are Disappearing

Posted by Jacqueline on October 2, 2007

The times, they are a-changin’.  Traditional companies are adding some new media flavor to their pages (How many big newspapers have added blogs to their websites in the last year or so, for instance?) and websites are adding some of the positive characteristics of their print counterparts, such as clearly defined sections and easy front-page navigation.

No where is this more obvious then at the popular liberal news and opinion site, the Huffington Post (it seems a little wrong to call it a mere blog, although technically it is a group blog in the most sense of the word – content organized in reverse chronological order, and readers can comment on the articles).  Begun by media mogul Arianna Huffington two and half years ago, today the site has forty-three employees and a reach of 3.5 million unique visitors a month.  Most newspapers would love to have that kind of readership.

Characterized as an “an online version of a sprawling dinner-party conversation with a global crowd of more than a thousand well-connected friends.”, the Huffington Post currently sits at #5 on the Technorati Top 100.  However, the site is shifting towards a more traditional media model, as they’ve made a “recent move to hire a handful of well-known journalists to do old-fashioned reporting. “Our goal,” Ms. Huffington says, “is basically to become an online newspaper”.”  In addition, the company has tapped Betsy Morgan, former general manager of CBSnews.com, to be their chief executive officer.  Obviously, the Huffpo, as it is sometimes casually referred to, is not exactly a typical blog.

“Getting somebody like this to come to our site says a boatload about where the industry is going,” said Kenneth Lerer, who has been acting as the chief executive of The Huffington Post and will move up to chairman. He founded the site along with Arianna Huffington, the political commentator.”

-From the CBSnews article about Betsy Morgan’s move.

Although many writers and traditional media types have slammed the internet as the home of dilettantes, amateurs, and hacks, that is simply not the case when websites like this exist; besides, the future belongs to those who can adapt to the changing media climate, not those who try in vain to preserve the past.  In the end, there is room enough for everyone on the web – it’s not as if there is an end to the internet.

Have your own ideas for how to use the web and other digital technology to deliver the news?  Check out the Knight Foundation’s news challenge and you could make them a reality.

Posted in Blogging, Digital Media, General, Journalism, New Media, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »