links for 2010-06-02

  • Kevin: Daniel Bennett looks at some of the problems with traditional content analysis in terms of blogs and their use of content from traditional media, and vice versa. Daniel also refers to a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism suggesting that blogs did very little original reporting, but he quotes Amy Gahran in highlighting flaws with the analysis because it focused on a part of the blogosphere that discussed mainstream news organisations. Other studies have suffered from selection bias and a very narrow definition of news such that they defined news as what newspapers cover. If you looked at other blogs, especially ones focused on niche coverage areas, blogs do often carry original information and analysis. It's one of the problems in defining the blogosphere in a monolithic way. Blogs cover a range of topics, not just traditional news. Focusing on that misses a lot of the complexity in the content published on blogs.
  • Kevin: Lots of fuzzy thinking from David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. To accuse web 'evangelists' of dogmatic, monolithic thinking and then lob grendades at the 'information wants to be free' brigade shows how polarised this discussion has become. The New Yorker is not a general news publication. It is a very high production value magazine. It is premium content, and I have gladly paid for it in the past. (I'm less willing to pay for its price here in the UK.) Comparing The New Yorker to almost any newspaper is like comparing a Porsche to mass produced family sedan. They are two entirely different beasts, and the economic models that sustain them will be different.
  • Kevin: Responding to an article by New York Times' journalist Nicholas Carr, Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb looks at inline links. Are they a detriment, a distraction, a problem for comprehension? Marshall says: "aybe links could be added tastefully and well to the footer of posts. It might not be as good for machines, but it could be better for the human brain. Linking may be what blogging is largely about – but let's be honest: if links to read more where always found and well-placed at the end of articles, wouldn't you get used to it as a reader?"
  • Kevin: Onnik Krikorian looks at how mobile phones, especially ones with multimedia capabilities, are being used for reporting. He highlights the Nokia N82, the phone I have, and the work of Guy Degen in Africa and the Caucasus with such a phone.
  • Kevin: An article looking at the global trends in mobile TV. "Free, on-the-go viewing is common just about everywhere except the United States and Europe, where operator resistance and a maze of conflicting technical standards and program licensing hurdles have kept the technology out of the global mainstream." It looks like it is gaining some critical mass in terms of key players in the US market to begin a roll out with major operators in that space coming together to pool spectrum (a major issue in developed markets) to provide mobile TV.
  • Kevin: Andy Carvin talks about an app for the iPhone and Android phones that allows people to upload reports about the oil washing ashore from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill. The app was developed by the CrisisCommons coalition of volunteer software developers. "Oil Reporter lets you to snap a picture of the oil or tar ball, describe the context and offer additional details regarding wildlife and wetlands impact. When you submit your report, the app detects your location using your phone’s GPS, so your report can be pinpointed on a map."
  • Kevin: I don't want to focus on the politics of this piece but rather a good overview of the use of free media tools by activists trying to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. There are a lot of low-cost and no-cost tools here that could easily be used by media organisations. It is really surprising to me that media organisations, especially ones struggling with their finances, continue to favour high-cost, proprietary solutions. Five years ago I might have understood because low-cost tools lacked the ease of use of some proprietary solutions. Now, the competitive advantage of proprietary solutions is much less compelling, especially on cost.
  • Kevin: Fred Wilson, of Union Square Ventures, pulls out another slide from Google Chief Economist Hal Varian's recent presentation about media economics. This one looks at the US advertising market and compares the share of total spend of US advertising. Fred says that the slide showing the internet growing from zero to 5% of US advertising spend in a decade is bullish.
    I see other interesting elements of this graph. Look at how the growth in TV and cable ad share almost mirrors the steady decline of newspaper advertising since 1949. What is really interesting is how the decline in newspaper advertising plateaus in the first part of the 1970s only to accelerate in the latter 70s and early 80s, which was the arrival of cable TV in the US. Again, it's another sign that the internet isn't solely responsible for papers' woes.