links for 2009-07-20

  • Kevin: The Federal Communications Commission in the US has been charged to draft a National Broadband Plan, something akin to the Digital Britain plan in the UK. "The FCC collects broadband deployment statistics from industry. But, the statistics are gross. If one site in a zip code has broadband, the whole area is considered high-speed." There are gaps and serious deficiences with the industry reporting of broadband deployment. We've heard this before. For these reasons, they are thinking of trying to crowdsource the data. Watch this project for interesting ideas on how to crowdsource information.
  • Kevin: I'm a big fan of open-source, and as this post says, many small and medium newspapers have had great success with Drupal. The Newspapers on Drupal group is assembling a list of modules commonly used by newspapers
  • Kevin: Brian Reynolds says: "A common problem with current social games, Reynolds said, is that they don’t make players’ choices interesting over time, instead “burying the player in tedious repetitive clicking.” The challenge is improving the games’ progression curve, so players get steadily increasing rewards (points, virtual money and items) to encourage continued play. He believes simply refining this would instantly make social games more fun to play."
  • Kevin: An excellent post looking at how journalists have worked to build their own personal brands alongside the work that they do at publications. It's an important thing that will help journalists break out of their institutions and develop career opportunities broader than the papers or broadcasters that they work for.
  • Kevin: BBC World Service Director Peter Horrocks writes about how 'Fortress Journalism' is crumbling and how journalists main job is not longer to fight journalists in other fortresses.
  • Kevin: Jack Lail writes … "the McCormick Foundation funded three proposals from new media women entrepreneurs at $10,000 each so they can launch within a year."
  • Kevin: Alan Mutter writes about the passing of Walter Cronkite. He was the anchor that I remember (barely) from my childhood, but even those very early memories were of someone trustworthy and honest. Alan believes that we will never see another anchor like him in this age of multi-channel television. There are some great comments on this post, well worth reading if you are familiar with Cronkite's work.

    I'm not certain that we won't see someone like him again, but it will be much more difficult to see someone who has that position in the US journalistic landscape. It was a much simpler world back then in terms of that people had fiewer choices. There were three major broadcast networks. No cable. No internet. People had fewer choices. It's a good post. It will get you thinking.

  • Kevin: Kim Krause Berg writes on Search Engline Land: "Success in search engines was never quantity of pages vs. quality. It still is not. Rather, search engine market success is keenly tied to understanding user behavior and this is becoming more and more obvious every day."

    And I'd have to say that understanding user behaviour is what we need when it comes to building news sites and building new journalism businesses. We need to understand how users behave and also what they want. It's not about pandering to users' needs as much as finding out what their informational needs are and how journalism might go about meeting those needs.

  • Kevin: Derek Willis (who works at the New York Times) writes: "The folks at Sunlight today announced an effort to build a catalog for national and state datasets, going beyond what is doing at the federal level."

    There is a great opportunity here for journalists, academics, civically minded programmers and government transparency advocates in the UK to join forces on a project like this. It's about sifting through the masses of data to find the sources that are most relevant. It's not about replicating the data as much as it is about sifting through it and highlighting it. It's a fascinating idea, and I hope that we can work not only in the US and UK but elsewhere.