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The 100 Best Blogs In The World?

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At least according to The Times of London Blogger Bryan Appleyard. Bryan not only gives us a great list (this is just part one) including some gems I had never heard of but gives a great explanation about what makes blogging so fun and addictive even for professional journalists:

The total number of blogs is thought to be approaching 200m, 73m of them in China. I can see no reason why there shouldn’t be hundreds of millions more, because, you see, blogging is like smoking or gambling — hard to give up. Ever since I started blogging (March 15, 2006), I’ve been trying to stop. It’s not that it’s time-consuming — I’m a casual blogger. Nor do I feel intimidated by the brutal worldwide abuse from other bloggers that every blogger of any prominence inevitably attracts. I don’t even feel it’s much of a burden: if I don’t want to post, I don’t post, and on a couple of occasions I’ve handed over my blog to others.

No, the reason I keep wanting to quit is the intimacy and exposure of the blogscape. (“Blogosphere” is the name everybody else uses, but I’ve invented my own, slightly better word.) I am, because of my blog, “out there” in a way that, three years ago, I would have found inconceivable, terrifying. I still do. I am also, thanks to Thought Experiments (the title of my blog), exposed to the tribulations of an enormous extended family of commenters, linkers, gypsies, tramps, thieves and, worst of all, intellectuals. Being a nuclear type myself, this is traumatic.

This post is well worth the time in clicking through six pages of of Times Online ads.

If you are a political junkie like me and can’t get enough of political blogs check out this one from Bryan’s list authored by the staff of the Brittish Embassy in Harare, Or how about a little irrevrent pop culture from Go Fug Yourself. If you are planning on bicycling around Copenhagen then Copenhagen Cycle Chic is a must read.

I can’t wait for part 2 of his list.

Blogworld Expo Speaker Interview: Jason Falls

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We’ve pulled together an extraordinary lineup of speakers and panelists for Blogworld Expo this year and are really excited as the event draws closer. To help you learn about our great participants, this is the first of a series of fun interviews with speakers we’ll be doing. This first is with Jason Falls of Doe-Anderson, who writes the splendid Social Media Explorer blog and is on a panel entitled “Putting Social Media in the Newsroom: How New Media can help Old Media Maintain Relevance”.  Here we go!

Q: In two sentences, highlight your background and professional experience to date. One bonus sentence: how’d you get started blogging?

I’m a public relations professional by trade who advises clients on the use of social media, including blogging, as an effective channel of communications with their customers. The biggest selling point I have is probably that I’ve proven that blogging can be an effective promotional and thought leadership tool since Social Media Explorer is really only a year old and I’m already presenting at Blog World Expo. I got started blogging, however, in 1998 when I started self-publishing my local newspaper column online for those outside my hometown to read.

Q: How often do you blog?  What platform do you use?  Why?

Social Media Explorer generally has new posts three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) but we often have timely or too much information and probably publish around four days each week. (I say “we” since Kat French, Doe-Anderson’s social media manager, joined me as a staff blogger a few months ago.) For the longest time, I published five days a week but I shifted to a quality over quantity focus in the sprint time and backed off my everyday emphasis a bit. We’re still fairly prolific, however.

I use WordPress because the open-source community makes the platform so powerful and robust. You can literally find a plug-in to make it do just about everything. And it’s free, which is always a bonus.

Q: Point us to one or two recent postings on your blog that you think were superb, and tell us a bit about your writing process. How long did it take for you to come up with the topic?  How long to write?

I’m always most proud of the posts that cause a great deal of conversation because the engagement level is the most meaningful measure of my blog’s success to me. The more conversation that results shows that I’ve caused people to think about an issue which always leads to learning and growth. If there is a promise I make to my audience, I think it’s that: you’ll think about things and pick up a few thoughts you didn’t encounter before.

That said, I think, “Is it time to re-think e-mail marketing?” from August 1 was a good pot-stirring post. I’m also partial to “Social Media Is The Responsibility of Public Relations” from mid-July. While a lot of the comments misconstrued my point – that PR, as the primary professional communicators in organizations, need to take responsibility for social media education, training and strategy, it sparked a good deal of discussion, disagreement and discourse.

For almost all of my posts, I come up with the topics in the course of daily thinking and work. I’ll file a topic away as something I want to spend more time thinking about and, when I have time, search for articles on the topic, research a bit online, take another day or so to just mull over the topic when I have time, then sit down to put the thoughts on paper. Once I sit down to write, I normally pound it all out in under an hour – the result of writing on deadline for years. But I’m normally chewing on 3-4 topics all at the same time, so it’s not a real linear process.

Q: How often do you leave comments on other people’s blogs?  How do you find their entries in the first place?

I comment frequently on several blogs. It’s not only good form in promoting your own blog but also actively participating in the greater conversation about the topic. My blog isn’t the only good social media blog out there. I like to read the others to balance my own thinking and discuss the issues of the day I may not be focused on. Finding the entries is fairly easy. I subscribe to just about all the social media blogs out there. New ones surface from pointers in posts I read. When I’m researching a topic, I also find some new blogs via search.

Q: Tell us a bit about your talk at Blogworld Expo. Topic, key points you’ll cover, etc?

The presentation I’m responsible for the most is the session, “Putting Social Media In The Newsroom — How New Media Can Help Old Media Maintain Relevance.” I essentially wanted to talk about how, in the face of a shifting media marketplace, many traditional media outlets are tapping into social media to change their approach to business and journalism. The audience shift away from newspapers and television to the online realm has many traditional media struggling to maintain their audience and their revenues. We’ll look at media outlets that are finding social media useful in turning the tides, talk about how other media outlets can capture that momentum using social media and talk about some of the potential issues media outlets will face moving forward.

Q: How do you recommend new folk best experience a major conference and expo like Blogworld Expo?

As much as there really is a great deal of knowledge to gain from the sessions, the most use I get out of Blog World Expo is the professional and personal networking that occurs just in the halls, the parties, at lunch and milling about the exhibit hall. So much of the connections we make blogging and through social networking occurs online. This is our chance to meet face-to-face, get to know each other and find those friends in the business that can serve as professional and personal counsel, folks to bounce ideas off of, potential business leads and more. Some of the best friends I have in the business I met at Blog World Expo last year, so I recommend folks stick out their hand, introduce themselves and get to know each other. You can do that the whole weekend and not meet everyone, but it sure is fun trying.

Q: Easy ones: Mac or PC?  Ipod or Zune?  Iphone or Blackberry?

I’m non-denominational, but use a Mac most of the time. I have a SanDisk MP3 player I like just fine. I’d prefer to have an iPhone, but my office supplies me with a Blackberry, which I find pretty useful.


Interview conducted by Blogworld Expo co-host Dave Taylor, who you can find on the podium giving a talk during the conference, on Twitter as @DaveTaylor or blogging about either tech support or business blogging.

Paid Content Latest Blog to be Bought By Old Media

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The Trend continues. Kara Swisher has the scoop.

In what will be seen as a new media coup, sources tell BoomTown that Britain’s Guardian Media Group is set to announce this morning that it will buy the company that runs the high-profile digital media news site paidContent for a price “north of $30 million.”

More and more Old Media is deciding it wants to be in the New Media business. Remember the recent $25 million dollar purchase of ARS Technica by Conde Nast.

What Do Loren Feldman and Don Imus Have in Common?

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More and more we see new media imitating old media which is yet another sign of new media’s inevitable move toward the mainstream. In this case Loren Feldman the popular and controversial video blogger has just lost a distribution deal with Verizon Mobile due to a series of videos he created back in 2007 called Tech****.

This offended and crossed the bounds of socially acceptable humor for many, including Sheegeeks publisher Corvida. She explains in a post today that as a Verizon customer she could not sit by when she heard about Feldman’s deal with Verizon.

For his part back at the conclusion of the series Feldman posted a seven minute rant explaining the entire series was an experiment and demonstration of some sort. He also explains that the first video in the series referenced Jews not African Americans.

So what do Loren Feldman and Don Imus have in common?

Something they said on air (the Internet in Feldman’s case) has cost them money. The comparisons end there.

To be honest I never watched the series in full until this morning. It is pretty clear the entire thing was an orchestrated controversy. But what exactly was the point? To drive page views? To prove that other people are really racists pretending not to be? To prove that just about anyone can create a viral effect and blog storm with a little forethought? Or just a very smart guy trying to be funny and knowing full well that some people would be offended by his humor?

Feldman is without a doubt the new media equivalent of Howard Stern. Hilliarious and loved by some even though they feel he steps over the line at times and reviled and without social redemption by others.

Comparisons to Imus are lazy. Imus says stupid and offensive things unintentionally. Stern and Feldman know exactly what he they are saying and pull the puppet strings of their fans as well as detractors.

It is far too soon to dub Loren a comic genius ala Lenny Bruce, George Carlin or Howard Stern but he is crazy like a fox.

So what do you say is Feldman a small minded racist or The King of all New Media?

More on this story at Techmeme.

Join Us Friday June 20th for BlogWorld Radio Our Guest Will Be Bob Cox of the Media Bloggers Association

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***Update 10:09 pm PST****

The link below now points to the archived interview Jim Turner and I conducted with Bob Cox today. A very interesting discussion and I encourage you to listen to the whole thing and share your thoughts in the comments below.

The Media Bloggers Association has posted an update here.

Join Jim Turner, me and our guest Robert Cox President of the Media Bloggers Association on BlogWorld Radio tomorrow at noon PST.

You can call in to 646-716-7047.

***Update 7:16 am June 20***

Poynter Online has a great rundown of posts concerning this controversy here.

If you haven’t heard there is a little drama going on with The Associated Press, A little blog known as The Drudge Retort ;a spoof of the famous or infamous Drudge Report as the case may be.

Very short version of the story, The AP sent several DMCA take down notices to The Drudge Retort. Some of those notices went beyond normal fair use standards. Rogers Cadenhead the publisher of The Drudge Retort complied with several of the notices and called the Media Bloggers Association for help.

Then all hell broke loose. The Blogosphere is railing against the AP. Jeff Jarvis has been very vocal. Sites like TechCrunch and Little Green Footballs are banning all AP content.

Mike Arrington and numerous others suspect a conspiracy between The AP, The NYT and The MBA.

Others are calling the MBA a flat out scam and even attacking the man at the center of this bruhaha Cadenhead.

Now some are coming to the MBA and Cox’ defense.

What is the real story? I don’t know and the truth is most folks in the Blogosphere don’t either but that doesn’t stop many from forming opinions and lynching parties.

So Join us tomorrow at noon PST on BlogWorld Radio where we hope to get the MBA’s side of the story from Robert Cox. Please call in 646-716-7047 and give us your take or leave a comment below if you have any questions you would like us to ask.

If ARS Technica is Worth 25 Million What is Huff Po Worth?

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Just about two months ago 24/7 Wall Street included ARS Technica in their 25 most valuable blogs list and set the price market price at $15 million. If today’s reports of ARS Technica’s sale to Conde Nast are true the price was actually $25 million. That’s a 66% increase over 24/7’s valuation. Does that mean Gawker Media which topped the list at $150 million is really closer to $250 million?

Does that make the Huffington Post worth $116 million =?

Is TechCrunch then worth $60 mil? (side note does this purchase of ARS Technica by Wired’s parent company put a new spin on the recent Wired TechCrunch dust up?)

One thing it certainly does is make everyone else on that list very happy today. It should make every other serious new media content creator happy as well.

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Are Traditional Magazines Unbiased?

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And are blogs inherently biased?

The answers to those two questions are no, and yes respectively. The recent Wired/Arrington dust up is just the latest in a very long series of charges and counter charges between blogs and traditional media.

I am not picking any sides in this particular story. I read TechCrunch almost daily not because I am a techy and I am certainly not a tech investor but because there is always something interesting there and TechCrunch is at the center of the tech-Blogosphere. Which is one of the important communities at BlogWorld & New Media Expo.

I Also subscribe to Wired. Along with Fast Company they are two closest traditional media outlets to the Blogosphere. Mostly in tech but they certainly touch on and report on several communities within the Blogosphere.

Back to the issue at hand. Traditional media outlets for at least as long as I can remember have charged that their biggest advantage over blogs is that they are unbiased and have ethical standards and blogs are not and do not. (Study’s have proven otherwise).

This charge has been made in every realm of traditional media, from politics, to sports, to tech, to reporting on the war in Iraq to you name the topic I guarantee you some journalist or editor in that community has written the exact same thing Betsy Schiffman wrote on her Wired blog (that’s ironic isn’t it) this Tuesday. Specifically the quote from Peter Sussman who serves on the Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists. (there can’t be any more credible source than that right?)

We asked Peter Sussman, who serves on the Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, for his take on the situation.

“The one thing that newspapers still have over new online outlets is the brand, the name and the standards. They’ve told readers that by the mere presence of a story on the Washington Post, that it’s been through a rigorous analysis or edit and it is up to their standards. The assumption is that unless you hear otherwise, the content you see in the Post has gone through that ethical screening.”

I am sure Betsy and Peter practice ethical standards and believe what he has said and try very hard to live up to those standards but here is the rub for Betsy, Peter, and every other traditional media type who has ever uttered this mantra……

WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU!

When I say we I mean bloggers, I mean blog readers, I mean every consumer of every form of news media that has ever been written or broadcast. We simply do not believe you are without bias. Why should we?

Time and time again bias in media has been proven, and when it isn’t proven we certainly have our suspicions.

Isn’t it one of the tenets of good journalism to be skeptical?

Why then do you not understand that the same rule applies to the consumers of traditional media content?

Ever heard the old saying don’t believe everything you read?

Ever heard the Mark Twain quote “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics?”

We have all heard the line about the “separation between Church and State” between editorial copy and ad-sales. Frankly that’s poppycock (I love it when I can figure out a way to throw poppycock into a post!). That’s why Consumer Reports the watch dog for consumers and the (allegedly) unasailable source of consumer product reviews had to quit taking advertising dollars. The moment you do, you create a conflict of interest. Mark Cuban addressed this in his keynote at BlogWorld last year.

We don’t care if the ad-sales guy brings in the money, and the journalist writes the story and the editors edit and verify their story. We all know the publishers job is to MAKE MONEY. You are not and never have been in the news business. You are in the advertising business. Every journalist who writes for you knows where his or her checks come from. That doesn’t make them bad people and I am not saying they don’t try very hard to be unbiased in their reporting. I am quite sure they do. We just don’t believe there is zero influence in your writing.

I have told this anecdote many times but for new readers here it is again. I have personally worked for more than one company that his written it’s own product reviews that have appeared in industry trade journals. Now that is about as bad as it gets but the fact is it is far more common than you might think.

But bias doesn’t start or end with advertising. We all have our inherent biases. Our political views, the industry we are in, where we live, who our family works for, the stock we own, how old we are, our gender, the type of family environment we were brought up in, our economic status and millions of other influences that shape our view of the world. Each of these things affects the way we see and cover any story. Journalists are no different. Sure there may be some superfreak out there without bias but that would be the rare exception to the rule.

Now here is where I will give journalism and journalists the credit they’re due. No doubt Journalists try to overcome their bias. Organizations like the Ethics Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists, in-house ombudsmen and editors are a fine example of those efforts.

Many bloggers could learn quite a lot about journalistic standards and would do well to try and adhere to them. However Michael Arrington and Techcrunch may be many things but anyone who is more than casual reader would have to admit that they do try to adhere to some form of journalistic standard. To Mike’s credit he does disclose which companies he invests in. There is no doubt they have broke many big stories and have offered their readers interesting and informative content.

Isn’t that what journalism is supposed to be all about?

How Big Could New Media Be?

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I was doing some research this morning on the difference between ad revenue online vs. print for the newspaper industry. For several years now print ad revenues for newspapers has been declining while online ad revenues have been increasing at double digit rates since at least 2004 (earliest statistics from NAA).

As The Recovering Journalist pointed out in March of 2006, online ad revenue is basically replacing print ad revenue in the newspaper industry.

That got me to thinking just how big could the New Media industry become?

If you have ever heard me get on my soap box you know I believe new media represents the reinvention of newspapers, magazines, radio and television all at the same time. Eventually I guess you could throw feature length films in there as well ($26.7 billion). But lets just stick with the first four for now. 

According to NAA the newspaper business is currently a $59 billion dollar industry.

Broadcast radio sits at $21.3 billion.

Broadcast TV $57 billion.

The best number I can find for magazine publishing is $70 billion annually. This is a tricky category due to the segmentation between consumer, B to B, other niches and tendency of the industry to include trade show revenue  with print advertising but this seems like a conservative number. (If anyone has better data I welcome your input).

That gives us a grand total $2.7 trillion dollars in annual revenue up for grabs. Do I expect New Media to steal every dollar away from traditional media? No but those, revenues will not remain static either. 

Predictions of on line ad revenues eventually equaling their print and broadcast counterparts are numerous so it is only logical to conclude that for new media content creators time is on our side and the revenues will eventually come. That doesn’t mean every blogger will be rich (more on that in another post) but it does mean a lot more will be able to earn living doing it regardless of the genre of their content. And many thousands of bloggers, podcasters, Internet TV and Radio broadcasters will in indeed make it big and become “rich”.

So if you are passionate about your content, keep working hard and one day you very well may be more than just “Internet famous”.

Gary Vee on The Big Idea with Donny Deutch

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Gary Vee is just the latest new media guest on The Big Idea. Remember the episode with Robert Scoble, the blogger bus and BlogWorld Exhibitor Mogo Mouse?

Check out the segment with Gary Vee here.

Gary has his second appearance on Conan May 12 coming up and his book coming out May 13.

On another note Donny knows New Media is a Big Idea. Wouldn’t it be cool to get Donny to do a Big Idea show from BlogWorld?

Sports Imitating Life

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At least one Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Buzz Bissinger is imitating many of his MSM brethren in his opinion of sports bloggers. Check out this video from the Bob Costas Now program where Bissinger begins a 10 minute segment personally attacking super sports blogger (and BlogWorld 2007 speaker) Will Leitch from Deadspin.

Costas starts off the segment with a short pre-produced piece touting the benefits the Internet offers sports fans:

instant scores, constant updates, any stat that’s ever been computed highlights, breakdowns and analysis of every game from thousands of writers in hundreds of cities. What sports fan could complain about that?

Then the darkside:

but there’s also this, the wild west of the Internet. The Blogsophere. A virtual bulletin board where anyone can post anything. Opinions photos, videos; all bluring the lines between news and gossip, truth and rumor, commentary and insult.

And other than Bob confusing message boards with blogs what exactly is wrong with that?

Well as you find out later in the segment it’s that “anyone” part that has Bob all uptight.

While Leitch is trying to answer a question from Costas; Bissinger interupts:

I am just going to interject because I feel very strongly about this. (looking at Leitch) I think you are full of shit. Because I think blogs are dedicated to cruelty, they are dedicated to dishonesty, they are dedicated to speed

Bissinger then goes on to quote a random Deadspin commenter as proof of the poor quality of blog writing and asks Leitch how can he be proud of it.

Huh? Bissinger maybe a talented writer. He does have a Pulitzer and I loved Friday Night Lights (the movie) but he obviously doesn’t have a clue about the Blogosphere which is sad really.

Costas then reads several more comments and calls them “posts”. Bob is also clueless.

Are Bissinger and Costas responsible for every letter to the editor, those printed and un-printed? of course not. Neither is Leitch.

Now I actually agree with their larger point that the level of discourse on the Internet can be offensive and depressing at times but that depends on the blog, message board, or website your reading.

The moderation policy of any particular blog may be a reflection of that publisher’s judgement but not their writing skills.

Personally I prefer blogs that have some reasonable standard of moderation, like not allowing racial slurs, harassing other commenters, excessive foul language, etc. But that’s my personal preference.

A good argument can be made in this age of transparency that allowing anything goes commenting provides a level of transparency that today’s content consumer demands.

Further into the segment Bissinger takes issue with Deadspin’s publishing of a photo of Arizona Cardinals QB Matt Leinart doing a beer bong. He doesn’t say it straight out but he implies that no newspaper would print such a photo. To be blunt that is BS. Every sports outlet covered the story and many printed the photo. So what is Bissinger’s real issue?

That blogs are scooping newspapers and broadcasters?

He’s right blogs are faster and that’s one of the reasons why they are thriving.

In fact every issue Bissenger has with blogs is territory long treaded on by newspapers including bad journalism, poor fact checking, sensationalism, rumor-mongering, and yes juts plain old bad writing. Having a journalism degree does not make you a good writer.

What made me really laugh was Bissenger’s claim that somehow sports writers were impartial and bloggers weren’t. Anyone who has ever read their local sports page knows the beat writer is a total homer and you can tell in many national broadcasts which team the announcer is rooting for.

Bissinger shouldn’t feel bad, and we as bloggers should understand that journalists like Bissinger and Costas still reflect the majority opinion among their peers.

What they and other journalists need to realize is that blogging is just a tool that they could and should be embracing. The most successful bloggers are great writers. Bissinger’s performance in this piece tells me that he would make a great blogger.

Costas shouldn’t be let off the hook either. He leads us to believe that bloggers and commenters sharing their opinions are bad for sports. That is just plain crazy talk. Sports are all about opinions. Who’s the greatest player, greatest team, best hitter, bets golfer, best goalee, shooter, softest hands, most intimidating, who missed the tag, who missed the base, which shot was after the buzzer, who got robbed and on and on.

All sports fans love arguing about sports. Blogs are the best thing to happen to sports since sports talk radio. Which brings me to the biggest reason blogs are thriving in every vertical but particularly in sports.

Every dedicated sports fan has at one time or another read something in the local paper, heard something on sports talk radio, or seen a commentator on ESPN say something that has gotten you all riled up. You called up the station and then the host cut you off. You yelled at the TV and then realized your spouse was looking at you like you were crazy. Maybe you even started to write a letter to the editor until you realized it was going to cost you 75 cents to mail it and it would never get printed anyway.

Now all sports fans have a voice. Most blogs will run your comments with a pretty liberal moderation policy and other fans will argue with you. If you have a lot to say you can start up your own damn blog and spout off about your team all day and night if you like.

If you are good, you can even find an audience of fellow fans to cheer you on and rivals to antagonize you. That is why we love sports! That is why we love sports blogs!

I would love to recommend a handful of great sports blogs for Costas and Bissinger to read over the next few months and then have them come to BlogWorld this September and tell us if their opinions have changed at all.

I would start with MetsBlog, Athletics Nation, and Gaslamp Ball ( go Pads!). Which sports blogs would you recommend?

**update saturday 8 am PST**

watching the segment again and noticed that as Costas is reading more examples of the nasty comments people make at Deadspin directed at former ESPN announcer Sean Salisbury the audience and the guests are laughing. So we hate them but we laugh at them. In truth many of us contribute in the same “locker room talk” depending on the crowd we are hanging with at the time.

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