Quick review of CNET's Newsburst app, pointed to yesterday.
There seems to be plenty of interest, so let's do a Scripting News brunch in Chapel Hill on Sunday, 11AM. Location TBD.
Here is an example of the News-Record editorial staff asking for community input before finalizing its editorial.
Okay this is when it officially got totally out of control. An executive at General Motors is podcasting.
Great new Gene Kelly car ad mashup at Canter's. How do they do it?
Steve Rubel: "The moves that CNET, the LA Times, the Guardian and the others that follow will have profound impact on PR."
Feeder is an "application for creating, editing and publishing RSS feeds."
Matt Haughey has a clip from last night's West Wing where Christopher Lloyd played Larry Lessig. I didn't know that Lessig helped Belarus write its constitution. Is that true?
Professor Lessig comments on his WW fame. One of his former Harvard Law students is a writer for the show.
A weird email from John Kerry asking me to "stand by" Howard Dean. I had to think twice to realize that John Kerry is just a Senator now.
NY Times: "There may be some truth to the old idea that people can be scared to death or die from sorrow like characters in a romantic novel or a country song."
CNET's new centralized RSS reader, Newsburst, is unremarkable except for the fact that it's a reader that's branded by a leading news organization that's also a leading supplier of news via RSS. As a piece of software, it's very unimpressive, and even as a power play, it's unimpressive. But the potential is there, and other news organizations should be thinking seriously about following suit, and upping the ante.
Imagine putting your best news, with links to pages with your ads on it, in the right column of a River of News style aggregator with all your competitors' news on it (and weblogs of course, thank you). Now the readers no longer need to go to your competitors' home pages, you've just given them an incentive to come to you to get news from them.
All of this is perfectly legal in the world of RSS, and it's likely to cause some serious rock and roll in the news business when one of these guys steps out and gets gutsy, and offers the users something really tasty and useful. If you want to do this, let me know. (Hint: I'll be pretty close to Atlanta on Monday. )
Bottom-line: Aggregator software and the news business, looking forward, are very tightly bound. Every major media company is going to want to have an advantage in this area.
Last night I led a discussion, BloggerCon style, with about 30 people at the News-Record offices in Greensboro, NC. It was a broad group, an open meeting, including members of the community, many bloggers, staff and management of the News-Record, the editor in chief and the managing editor of the paper.
Greensboro is a small city in north-central North Carolina. The News-Record serves Guilford County, where Greensboro is located, and the adjacent counties. It's the third largest paper in North Carolina, owned by Landmark Communications, based in Norfolk, Virginia, which owns a string of newspapers, and The Weather Channel. It's a privately held company, thought to be very profitable. The News-Record itself is generally thought to be very profitable as well.
There's been a lot of buzz outside Greensboro about their move to citizen journalism using blogs. They have some big plans, but still most have not been implemented at this time. For example, the managing editor plans to document her choices for the front page in a blog. The editor of the editorial page wants to discuss his thoughts before the editorials run in the print paper. These are remarkable ideas to hear from professional journalists, and very visionary, and just some of the ideas we discussed last night. Now actually doing these things will make the difference, other publications argue that they can't document these things publicly, but you don't hear those arguments in Greensboro, quite the opposite, they welcome the ideas, and once implemented they will have an unprecedented degree of transparency, and should earn (and deserve) more trust from the community they serve.
Hearing them talk about adoption of technology isn't much different from what you'd hear in a conference room in Silicon Valley or Redmond. "If we don't move, someone else will get there first," says Lex Alexander, the editorial director of the News-Record's online efforts. Last night's meeting was open, there were two reporters from the Winston-Salem paper, down the road, a smaller affair than the News-Record.
Another observation: I never once felt the urge to explain how the mainframe guys failed to heed the call to personal computers. Greensboro decided to embrace citizen journalism by becoming citizen journalists.
I'll have more comments in the next few days and weeks, for sure. My meetup yesterday is being followed by a meetup on Sunday with Dan Gillmor, and Jay Rosen of NYU is making the trek down to Greensboro soon, so there will be lots of triangulation.
Today's podcast was recorded by Brian Russell of audioactivism.org. Many thanks!
Recall this cartoon from last summer's DNC. It seems so long ago.
Toward the end I was asked of the origins of podcasting, so I rambled for a good 15 minutes. Give the boy a bit of rope...
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