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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


""Last week’s coverage of the events in Boston showed how much the networked press needs to better understand two things: silence and timing. The Internet makes it possible for people other than traditional journalists to express themselves, quickly, to potentially large audiences. But the ideal press should be about more than this. It should be about demonstrating robust answers to two inseparable questions: Why do you need to know something now? And why do you need to say something now? Both questions demand awareness of what not to say, and when not to say it — knowledge the networked press is only beginning to develop. The broadest definition of the networked press is a system that attends to, represents, circulates, and amplifies publicly meaningful perspectives. Last week in Boston, this system included: reporters at traditional, mainstream news organizations; Twitter and Facebook users circulating real-time information; government, transit, and law enforcement officers issuing updates and alerts; consumers of TV, radio, and police scanner streams; and Reddit and 4chan users who tried, and failed, to identify the bombers. At best, the networked press told people important, time-sensitive information; it fostered empathy and thoughtful action; and it helped to create a sophisticated public ready to prosecute this tragedy and prevent future ones. But, sadly, there were lots of moments when this system failed spectacularly..." (Niemanlab)


"I just read ‘Levels of Life’ by Julian Barnes, his latest, and I’m a fan, of sorts. However, long ago, Julian Barnes wrote a book called Staring at the Sun, about a woman and her ordinary life sliced up in cartoonishly large leaps of twenty year intervals. At the time I remember thinking it implausible, these spans leaping ahead in twenty year lumps. For a leap, that seemed improbably enormous. Ah, the myopia of youth! All these years later I clearly see the possibility of vast chunks of time sucked away into a blurry tear in Time’s fabric. And now here I am, so much older and I look back on my life, and I see when the trajectory for adventure truly began. Right before my 30s I entirely gave up on anything conventional, and I have been ‘on the road’, so to speak, ever since. My first divorce was so long ago I don’t remember much about that marriage, like the dude’s name, but what I do remember is that after seven years of marriage there came a time of critical mass. It was stay and breed and do the wife thing, or bail and toodle off to parts unknown. I took the latter course, I packed up the husband and sent him off to Italy. 'I’m right behind you,' I lied when I kicked him out of the Toyota truck at JFK. And that was the last time I saw him. Tomorrow I’m headed for New York City, for my party, to celebrate my new book. I have invited all and sundry from all stages of my life, finally mixing everyone altogether, like the end of a great day of work for a painter with his pallet smeared with bright oils.  Today I examine my choices, and my expectations, and with the benefit of so much time passing, I can critically assess. Most notably I will say it has gone fast. Cresting the precipice of middle age was not even noticeable. There was no peak of Everest moment, no instant where I stuck a flag into a mountain top and felt my goals in my grasp. Far from it. Rather, I feel I am in a holding pattern, a sort of long stalling idle, where all my goals are still just ahead, just around the next mythic corner. I’m looking forward to seeing my old friends, a little concerned to reveal my aged self. Will any of us recognize one another?" (Christina Oxenberg)


"Very busy day and night in New York. For starters, this was the calendar: At the Waldorf -- Women of Distinction Luncheon Fashion Show by Bergdorf’s and almost 900 women attending the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s benefit honoring Michelle Swarzman and Molly Roberts with ABC’s Cynthia McFadden mistress of ceremonies. Right after sundown, over at Le Cirque, broadcasting, my friend, broadcasting executive Bill O’Shaughnessy was feted for the '75th Anniversary 0f WO’s Natal Day'  a dinner dance hosted by Matthew, David, Kate O’Shaughnessy. Same time, downtown at the Bowery Hotel on the Bowery, Artists for Africa were hosting their Spring Gala benefit and honoring my friend Tom McGrath for his work and support of African philanthropies. At the same time up at the Altman Building on West 18th, The Horticultural Society of New York was honoring another friend, artist Hunt Slonem with the Award of Excellence at the New York Flower Show Dinner Dance. Black Tie." (NYSocialDiary)

"If you’re the nautical sort, you probably interpret the news as a flow. If you hunt and peck on the typewriter, your news feed might resemble a pointillistic painting. But if you love to break ideas down into their sequential components, keep your socks folded and sorted by color in a dresser, compose everything you write with an outliner and consider a pair of tweezers a blunt instrument, then you probably view the news through the schematic eyes of Hilary Sargent, the creative force behind the ChartGirl website. Since November, Sargent has been sorting and reordering the chaotic sewer of breaking news into lucid and logical text-and-graphics charts. When the top story was General David Petraeus’s affair with Paula Broadwell, Sargent straighten the 'endless story angles' with an annotated chart depicting the major players in the scandal ‑ from Jill Kelley to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), fromHarvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa ‑ and plotting the salient interconnections. Better than a New York Times write-through of all known facts about the scandal, ChartGirl collected the known knowns, the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns in concise and puckish fashion. (Connecting Broadwell with Michelle Obama with a line, Sargent asked, 'Who has better arms?') In early December, with John McAfee on the lam, Sargent extracted from the event the three dozen most important institutions, individuals and plot elements (e.g., a tampon, four poisoned dogs, Vice magazine, “bath salts”) and arranged them like wheel spokes around a McAfee head shot to bring coherence to the tumult. Later that month, Sargent applied her news-mapping skills to the awfulness of the Westboro Baptist Church and to Donald Trump‘s feuds with such celebrities as Rihanna, Carrie Prejean, Rosie O’Donnell, Al Neuharth and Stephen Colbert. Since then, she’s diagrammed the news behind the Bill Ackman vs. Carl Icahn battle, the highlights of the Gardner Museum heist, and, last week, press corps Boston Marathon bombings hits and misses. If you see the world through the eyes of a press critic ‑ and I pity you if you do ‑ Sargent’s work sometimes reads like A.J. Liebling turned graphics freak." (Jack Shafer)


"Logan Sachon: When did you first learn about your trust fund? Lori Palmer: I think it was always something my grandmother said to me at my birthday 'And I put some money in your trust fund.' Which meant nothing to me for a long time. I didn’t really know how much was in the account until I was in my mid-twenties. There is $100K. (Which makes me nervous to say. Mentioning the dollar amount freaks me out.) Kanye West’s 'Gold Digger' was really big at the time and I remember singing it to my then-boyfriend, because he was the gold digger. I now realize that it’s nowhere near that kind of money. " (TheAwl)



"Last week, as the social media frenzy surrounding the events in Boston reached a fever pitch, The Awl’s Choire Sicha posed the question, “Is Your Social Media Editor Destroying Your News Organization Today?” If you haven’t read it, it goes something like this: 'Journalists who sit on a computer all day Tweeting everything they see on Reddit and Twitter and TV are not doing ‘work.’ This doesn’t bring value to readers or news organizations. Or maybe it does, I don’t know.”
The reaction from Twitter’s informal cabal of social media editors and producers to this biting (yet not-exactly-mean-spirited) attack on their livelihoods was fairly nuanced, with responses ranging from full-hearted praise to “@choire has no idea what he’s talking about.' Maybe this ambivalence is owing to the somewhat unsure thesis of the post. Or maybe social media editors and producers (myself included) just love to see their work reflected back at them, even if the reflection is a little ugly. But while I enjoyed the post, if only because reading articles about 'social media’s response to Boston' was bit of a coping mechanism last week, I think Sicha started with the wrong question. Before we determine if your social media editor is destroying your news organization, we might want to ask ourselves, 'What is a social media editor?'" (Pandodaily)

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