SmartyPig Widget

•May 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Check out my SmartyPig goals.

via SmartyPig Widget.

Cheers to Rob Bironas

•November 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This week’s fantasy task was no small feat.

Battling against my esteemed colleague Evan Wyloge meant that that the two teams tied for the last playoffs spot were going head-to-head.

In our previous match up, he had smoked me by 30 points, with one of the most mediocre performances I have ever turned in… I believe my players averaged 6 points a piece that week.

Pre-game projections had me up by a few, but then I made (once again) the wrong decision and started OchoCinco.. What a fantasy waste that toolbox is.

At the end of Sunday night, Robbie Gould’s 68 field goals had put Evan two points ahead of me, and he still had a RB to play Monday night.  All I had was my kicker, Rob Bironas…  Projected to bring me 3 points.  I was scared.

Then of course, Robbie B came through with his golden foot.  Also, Ryan Moats, for some reason or another, didn’t even touch the ball.

Final score: Me 123 – Him 114.

The kick is up and it is good.

Something to Make You Laugh

•November 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is my current favorite post on the genius website Texts from Last Night

“(919) dude, i was at the student union last night, trying to study, but some retarded sorority spent an hour voting on the color of the season’s shirts like it was a UN meeting – someone mentioned purple, someone objected, and half an hour later after 2 recounts, they decided on purple.”

You’re welcome.

Merrill Brown Addresses the Masses

•May 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

And by masses, I mean an intelligent, intimate group of Cronkite School faculty and students.

Brown founded Court TV and msnbc.com before taking up the cross of launching News21, a program of the Carnegie-Knight Foundation, which we at ASU are a part of.

Now, he has taken on the daunting task of figuring out how journalists can make money online.  He’s working with  Gordon Crovitz & Steve Brill for the startup company “Journalism Online, LLC.”   The business will provide a service for newspapers, magazines and other journalistic organizations that will teach them how to implement tools to make users pay for content.

It’s our goal to create an environment for data sharing,  Brown says.

Tim McGuire, former editor and senior vice president of the Minneapolis Star  Tribune,  says Merrill is much more clear about what Journalism Onliine is.  Prior to this discussion, McGuire felt the company’s mission statement was unclear.

Dan Gilmoor wants to know why the company isn’t more uptodate with what they’re doing, why the world doesn’t get what’s going on.

Brown says that the company is in its 7th week and still figuring things out as it goes.  Unfortunately,there is a serious lack of data on this subject.  He says they are starting a conversation that should have been started 10 years ago.

Legal issues are “complicated, archane and difficult.”  The definition of fair use is an evolving one, and it is evolving now, according to Brown.

Mcguire wants to remember for that 340,000 ppl in the Phoenix-metro area still get a print version of the Republic and that cannot be ignored (business model?)

Brown is adamant that it would really bother him if what they created became a way for publishers to cop out of reinvention.

When asked if  he thought endowments were a viable option for long-term sustainability,  Brown responded,  that they are  “a way to underwrite new ideas and push them towards sustainability… long term, these endowed ideas still have to develop business models and strategies.”

Spotlight on Bill Gannon

•February 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

LucasFilm’s Bill Gannon had a quick chat with Cronkite grad students yesterday and offered his thoughts on life, love and the pursuit of happiness…

He attributes his jump on the Internet bandwagon to Dan Gilmoor’s columns in the San Jose Mercury News back in the Mid-90s.  Prior to that, he was well-traveled in the print journalism world, covering all sorts of conflict all over the world.

He went to Yahoo in 2003 where he directed the efforts of the Home Page.  During Hurricane Katrina, he pulled all advertisements off  the page and worked with a Baton Rouge TV station to stream a live feed on yahoo.com of the news coming out of that station.  His colleagues affectionately began calling him the 7-million-dollar-man, because he cost the company that much in advertising. He also spearheaded efforts for online donations to victims, where Yahoo was able to raise 72 million dollars in 3 weeks. On top of that, his idea for a People-Connection is what brought about the David Filo programming codes that were able to help people find information on missing family and friends.

Now at LucasFilm, he is working to create/sustain/recharge the brand, focused mainly on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones product lines.

His Q&A session was fabulous.  He didn’t mince words and advised students about to graduate to do the following things:

1.  Have a conversation with Dan Gillmoor. Tap into the resources that the ASU faculty can provide.  He definitely believes that the Walter Cronkite School is better than Berkeley, where he taught.

2. Have conversation with each other. He doesn’t think students do enough of this and believes we have a lot to offer each other.

3. Master all the technical skills you can. Blog, Twitter, Flash, Dreamweaver… Learn it all and use it. It’s not going anywhere.

Livebloggin: Scott Rosenberg, formerly of Salon.com

•February 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Q & A Time:

Q: Does Salon have a viable business model for an online magazine?

A:  No, not really.  While Salon became a public company in 1999 and has stock options that bring in an annual stream of money, they are still operating in the red, which is being made up by several investors.  The frustration in not having a better business plan is what eventually led to Scott leaving Salon.

Q:  Who do you think is out there that Salon shares a segment with?

A: Slate.com came along about 6 months after we did and they were the closest competitor.  It was a problem for business people too, because what does online media mean? C-net and cnn.com? Yes, in a sense, but also no.  We could say we were unique because we were doing our own writing.

Q: What should journalism schools do to incorporate online with everything else?

A:  Propogation of ideas.

Q: How did you decide your target audience and how did you get the word out?

A: The target audience is “we have no idea.”  At the beginning, the founders of salon.com were not totally sure and looking to create a publication where they could do the work they loved to do and had a “vague notion” that there was a smart audience out there for that.  At that point in time, no one really knew how to target on the web. Turned out to be a semi-upscale news magazine, slightly older, slightly more affluent demographic.

Getting the word out came a bit easier. It was covered in the business section of the New York Times.  However, that was not how they got their traffic.  Links are the most effective way to get traffic.  During the dotcom bubble they did some advertising in television, but Scott doesn’t find it very effective.

If he was doing it today, Scott would still focus on links, but also work to get people to Twitter about it, as well as getting mentioned in blogs and on Digg.

You have to find influential people who are already online in the area you’re working in, to promote your project for you.

——————————————————————————-

Scott’s book, on the history of blogging, is due out in August.  He sees blogging as a spectrum, from a personal diary to political commentary. It covers all aspects of online expression.

—————————————————————————–

Journalism has to be interactive when it’s online.

Scott doesn’t understand the notion that being in touch with the readers would compromise the credability of your writing.

———————————————————————————

80 percent of the activity of people online is email/chat/social networking… essentially, people interacting with other people.

Journalism falls within a fraction of the other 20 percent.

—————————————————————————————–

Six journalists to 1 Business person:  The ratio meant that the writers would have to give up previous notions that journalists had a duty not to worry about the business side of things.

Scott says originally he called Salon an “involuntary non-profit.”

———————————————————————————–

Salon.com was first launched in November 1995.  Scott says the journalism was the easy part. Everyone on board was familiar with writing and editing, and had been doing it for years.

“Dealing with the web was not as difficult as you might think back then… It was fun. It was a challenge, but it was fun.”

“The hard part was the business part.” 

—————————————————————————————

 Salon.com is an online newsroom that has been around for 10 years.  It is solely an internet venture and possibly the way of the News future?

Scott was on the “first boat” of the news migration to the internet. It started in 1994 when the San Francisco area was putting out a strike paper… They also made a website to show off the journalists’ work.  They updated every day, until the strike ended in 2 weeks. It was such an exciting experience, they just did not enjoy traditional print media after that.

——————————————————————

Scott Rosenberg, founder of Salon.com is speaking to a group of Cronkite students and I’ll be live blogging the whole thing!

Stay tuned for more

Just put it in the cart!

•January 28, 2009 • 1 Comment

One of my dearest college friends tells a fabulous story about her dad, who lacks a little bit of discipline in the grocery store.  When he was responsible for the family shopping trips, anything the kids thought looked good got the approval stamp.  “Put it in the cart!” he would exclaim, regardless of sugar content, price, or nutritional value.   A far cry from shopping trips with her mom, who kept a strict eye on the healthy foods and carried her pre-cut coupons to save every additional penny.

Through various situations and jokes, “PUT IT IN THE CART” became a battlecry for the two of us, when we thought people around us were going overboard, either in the grocery store, during conversation, in their personal love lives or just about in any situation.   And now, given the top news story of the night , I am invoking my right to exclaim it once again.

An 800+ billion dollar “bailout stimulus plan” is on the table in Washington, and now we are only one congressional department away from pissing out another near-trillion dollars of money that American citizens are going to see coming off their paychecks for the next 100 years.  Did anybody forget that we signed off on 700-billion just about four months ago??? Does everyone remember that half of that money just mysteriously disappeared and then… oh yeah, wait for it…. The economy didn’t get better!

What the smokes is going on, guys? You can’t just “PUT IT IN THE CART” and hope like hell that things turn around.  We’re sinking an obscene amount of money into a system that very recently failed completely on the country! Here’s a thought:  DON’T pass another bailout.  Maybe we need to restructure the system instead of trying to prop this one up any longer.  Maybe the system needs to hit rock bottom.  Maybe times are just gonna have to get harder before they get better.  We were there, making the unwise decisions  during the 90s and early 2000s. We bought the houses we couldn’t afford, we racked up credit card debt we couldn’t pay off. And now the only thing to do is tighten the hatches and not spend money we don’t have til we get it straightened out.  These bailout packages are a big jump from FDR’s New Deal and they bank (no pun intended) heavily on the idea that rebuilding infrastructure is going to put enough money back into the economy to fix it all.  I appreciate President Obama’s attempt to create new jobs but I really don’t believe the “Trickle-Up” approach is going to trickle up high enough, now or ever.

I’m no financial expert, but it doesn’t take an IQ score of 160 to figure out that throwing a band-aid on a person in cardiac arrest is not going to solve the problem.  So congrats to the U.S. House of Reps…. Way to just Put it in the Cart, cross your fingers and hope for the best.