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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Last night, Gawker Media held its first real company-wide meeting at the Crosby Hotel screening room, down in the hotel's swank basement. Honcho Nick Denton gave a speech from the stage—just like a real grown-up company, and also totally not. 'His pep talk amounted to showing a chart of upward linear growth and telling us it wasn't good enough," said one employee. 'But what do you expect from Nick—is he going to go around and rub everybody's shoulders?' No. He is not. Denton should feel good that he came off as a real hardass. Everyone knows where they stand now: grow (more!) or get out. And another principle he issued was that Gawker Media is to be considered a tech company—but it should also be considered a tech company with editorial products... that should soon just happen to get more traffic than the New York Times website or the Huffington Post. Gawker Media, of course, is essentially supposed to be the next Facebook. Along the way to that goal, there'll be some big news announced by the company. (But not yet.) So one highlight of the meeting was a top site editor taking issue with the conception of the company as a tech company. (Tech companies sell for a greater revenue multiplier than 'editorial' companies do, although Denton also announced the company was absolutely not for sale.) Gawker Media's tech build-up includes what is said to be a very intense commenter system. (What was your top takeaway from the evening? I asked one writer. "Soon writers will be obsolete,' the writer told me. 'Reddit?' said another. To be fair, that's a common refrain over the years at Gawker, but it is an ideal outcome for a tech company. Gawker Media loves talent, but they also know there's always more talent.) In any event, Denton did not relent to the editor's insistence that the company was an editorial property." (TheAwl)


"With my iPod headphones plugged in, the abbot of Shaolin keeps his expression perfectly neutral as his eardrums are assailed by the thumping beats of the Wu-Tang Clan. 'I don’t get it,' says Shi Yongxin in his heavily accented Mandarin, after politely listening to the pioneering 1990s rappers from the New York borough of Staten Island who, in homage to kung fu movies of the 1970s, described themselves as coming “straight from the slums of Shaolin'. 'I don’t get it,' says Shi Yongxin in his heavily accented Mandarin, after politely listening to the pioneering 1990s rappers from the New York borough of Staten Island who, in homage to kung fu movies of the 1970s, described themselves as coming 'straight from the slums of Shaolin'. We’re sitting in the restaurant of the Shaolin Temple, a Unesco world heritage site nestled in a wooded valley in the shadow of Mount Song in China’s central Henan province. This small monastery is the 1,500-year-old cradle of Zen Buddhism and the spiritual home of kung fu, where for centuries the temple’s monks have practised martial arts so they can uphold justice in society and cultivate their own search for enlightenment. Outside in the warm sunshine, tourists wander the temple grounds and watch incredible displays of strength and acrobatic kung fu, performed at regular intervals by the world-famous fighting monks." (FT)


"Hackers launched a denial of service (DDOS) attack on TPM on Friday, knocking the site off-line. TPM had posted mugshots of 14 individuals the FBI said are connected to the 'hactivist' group Anonymous earlier in the day. While there was no direct evidence that tied Anonymous to the attack, the group has launched similar attacks against media websites and law enforcement agencies in the past.The photos were received from federal officials on Thursday evening and posted in a slideshow and accompanying story on talkingpointsmemo.com on Friday morning. The website first went down around 4:43PM eastern time, but was back up at 5:19PM. By 5:23PM it was back down, and at time of writing has remained down since. [Update: the site was restored early Saturday morning]" (TPM)


"WHEN Rich Tong, the fashion director at Tumblr, the popular blogging platform, learned that the model Coco Rocha had started using it, he e-mailed her to say hello.  She later dropped by Tumblr’s Gramercy Park offices in New York, where Mr. Tong introduced her to Jamie Beck, a fashion photographer with her own Tumblr blog, fromme-toyou.tumblr.com. The two set up a photo shoot. Mr. Tong asked Oscar de la Renta, one of the first luxury fashion brands to have a Tumblr, OscarPRGirl.tumblr.com, to provide the gowns.  The resulting photographs, animated images that Ms. Beck calls 'cinemagraphs,' featured an elegant Ms. Rocha in her New York apartment flicking her kohl-lined eyes or letting a balcony breeze tousle her hair. They were posted on Ms. Rocha’s blog, oh-so-coco.tumblr.com, reblogged or 'liked' about 40,000 times, and viewed countless times by fashion fans around the world. 'For the most part, it’s great having things online,' Ms. Beck, 28, said of the high-fashion shoots she posts using Tumblr. “'It can be shared. Ninety percent of my work isn’t a super masterpiece, but if I can reach people who can appreciate it, then it’s successful.'" (NyTimes)

"Foreign Policy last summer, bemoaning their 'ignoble qualities of perfidy, cultural betrayal, and economic devastation,' few people thought the tyrants would fall any time soon. Then on Jan. 14, 2011, came a loud "THUD!" in Tunisia. A coconut dropped and smashed! Then another in Egypt on Feb. 11! Then on Aug. 24, rebels in Libya seized the 'Brother Leader's' compound, forcing the rat to flee into his underground tunnels and disappear. Pro-democracy activists are now vigorously shaking coconut trees in Africa and the Middle East, hoping that their leaders' rickety autocracies will also come crashing down. The so-called experts in the Western media were caught napping. These people are not ready for democracy, they once told us. Fox News couldn't even find Egypt on the map, and seemed befuddled by the 'senile and paranoid autocrat,' as I called Hosni Mubarak last year. More pathetic and clueless than anyone else, however, were -- and still are -- the hardened coconuts themselves. They never saw it coming and never knew what hit them. With cobwebs dangling from their ears, they remain stone deaf and impervious to reason. With an abiding faith in their security forces to protect and save them, they have spent inordinate amounts of time and money erecting layer upon layer of security between themselves and their people -- just in case one fails." (ForeignPolicy)

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