Interview with Rusty Lewis on sale of College Media Network. Bryan Murley gets the details on the recent transfer of ownership to Access Networks. It sounds like time to delivery was a major friction point at MTVu, and this will enable them to be more nimble.
Teasing WordPress posts with YQL, jQuery, JSONP and iframes. In Ivar Vong’s first post for the Daily Emerald web development blog, he discusses an ingenious workaround for bringing outside content to a College Publisher homepage. Using YQL for external data could be an intriguing user experience experiment. The CUNY J-School homepage currently uses Simple Pie to pull at least six RSS feed and, when the cache is being refreshed, the page load time can spike.
Lesson: Transparency is tough
It was important to the journalists that we were a very open and transparent company. From the start, we tried to put as much information out there as we possibly could, and the most efficient way was to put every journalist we accepted onto a mailing list. However, this meant that our blunders and critical feedback were visible for all those journalists to see. Lots of them hadn’t started writing, we didn’t know them, and they had simply signed up, so we were always aware that our emails were semi-public. As a result, when we decided to close up shop, our closing down email was “leaked” to Poynter, leading to all sorts of speculation.
It takes a lot of time to be open like this, and a lot of effort to communicate effectively. The lesson here isn’t so much that we did it wrong, but that it’s difficult to do well.
Awesome postmortem. Reminds me that I still need to do a debrief on CoPress.
Late Wednesday night, well technically the first thing on my birthday Thursday, we tagged Edit Flow v0.5.1. It’s a maintenance release fwithor things like backwards compatibility with WordPress 2.9.x, no email notifications for posts with status “auto-draft”, and having the editorial calendar follow normal WordPress user capabilities for editing posts (fixing this). It also means we’re going to start work on v0.6: support for custom post types, a more powerful editorial calendar, and custom post tasks a bit like Basecamp.
What Seed Media Group should be doing, what every media group should be doing, is become a tech-oriented company (one of the reasons PLoS is successful is that it is essentially a technology-rich publishing company, with an incredible and visionary IT/Web team working with the editorial team in driving innovation).
Quite similar to what Michael Young of The Times said in March. You are not a newspaper, you are a news organization. You are not a media company, you are a technology company.
This year, Edge’s World Question is “How has the internet changed the way you think?” which, at first glance, just re-emphasizes my perma-“so what” state. I started reading through the 16 pages of essays on the flight this morning, however, and even though the question may be mediocre some of the responses are world class. Stewart Brand has an especially astute observation on how the Internet better enables distributed collaboration:
I couldn’t function without them, and I suspect the same is true for nearly all effective people. By “them” I mean my closest intellectual collaborators. They are the major players in my social extended mind. How I think is shaped to a large degree by how they think.
Our association is looser than a team but closer than a cohort, and it’s not a club or a workgroup or an elite. I’ll call it a guild. Everyone in my guild runs their own operation, and none of us report to each other. All we do is keep close track of what each other is thinking and doing.
Absolutely the most perfect word.
What is happening is the superimposition of publicy on top of, and partly obscuring, privacy. Those raised in this brave new world are already living in a cultural context based on publicy, and therefore they are running afoul of social conventions based on privacy. That’s why young people find job offers rescinded when pictures of drunken or naked pictures are discovered on their Facebook pages. Their prospective employers are judging their actions from a privacy-based attitude, in which the facets of an online self are averaged, instead of being considered as a constellation of selves. Publicy says that each self exists in a particular social context, and all such contracts are independent.
Some will dismiss my theorizing as a simple reprise of cultural relativism, making the case that all cultures can only be understood in their own cultural terms. I am making part of that case, in essence, by saying that the mores inherent in online social contracts are self-defined, and any individual’s participation in a specific online public does not have to be justified in a global way, any more than the cultural mores of the Berber Tuaregs need to be justified from the perspective of modern Western norms.
What strikes me as slightly off-kilter about this future is that these new publics are defined by tools like Twitter, Facebook, and Gowalla, and those tools are the bedrock for the most active social spaces.
From Steve Myers’ interview with Jimmy Wales, published yesterday:
People do often come to Wikipedia when major news is breaking. This is not our primary intention, but of course it happens. The reason that it happens is that the traditional news organizations are not doing a good job of filling people in on background information. People come to us because we do a better job at meeting their informational needs.
Jason Fry adds further analysis today in a piece about rethinking sports reporting:
It’s a quietly devastating indictment of journalism. And Wales is absolutely right, for reasons explored very capably a couple of months back by Matt Thompson. Arrive at the latest newspaper story about, say, the health-care debate and you’ll be told what’s new at the top, then given various snippets of background that you’re supposed to use to orient yourself. Which is serviceable if you’ve been following the story (though in that case you’ll know the background and stop reading), but if you’re new you’ll be utterly lost — you’ll need, to quote Thompson, “a decoder ring, attainable only through years of reading news stories and looking for patterns”. On Wikipedia, breaking news gets put into context — and not in some upside-down format that tells you the very latest development that may or may not affect the larger narrative before it gives you the basics of that narrative so you can understand what that news means.
Along these lines, Wikipedia was the third place I looked for information after hearing about the swine flu outbreak last April; the first blog post I read and stories provided by the New York Times iPhone application proved inadequate.
How should a news wiki be executed? I have my ideas but the only real way to find out is to experiment.