Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hundreds Feared Dead in Riots in Nigeria -

I hope that this story will merit equal attention to that given to the tragedy in Mumbai. Why shouldn't it? If, indeed, 300 people turn out to be dead in Nigeria, is that not worth twice the coverage given to 170 murdered in Mumbai?

If this does not get the same attention, we have a lot of questions to ask ourselves about news judgments, news priorities, technology, and strategic interests.

At the end of the day, it is horrific when anyone dies in any of these incidents and as human beings we are obliged to divide our attention span - whether measured in minutes or nanoseconds among all of them.

Each death is exactly equal to every other death whether the person carries an Indian, Nigerian or, yes, even a US passport.

If anything less than equality, we all bear and bare the shame.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death by Customers" -

This is not tolerable in our society. We need to grieve for the person who died and work with friends and neighbors to convince them that such animal behavior is simply not acceptable to us or anyone else. Walmart has an obligation to provide crowd control, and they could have prevented this based on this report, but the crux of the problem and the cause of this calamity is greedy people losing touch with humanity over some ultimately stupid purchase. Everyone who pushed anyone in that crowd - every one of them - shares full responsibility for this death, and I hope they each suffer a lifetime sentence of extreme guilt for what their negligence caused.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Remembering Tom Gish, A Voice Of Appalachia" - NPR

I sure hope we will continue to have, to support, and to celebrate the Tom and Pat GISH's of the world, however endangered their species has always been and continues to be.

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal comes to rescue of Citigroup" -

The Prince may still be the largest single shareholder in Citigroup. It is curious, given the amount of control that even 4-5% of ownership can wield, that this is not mentioned in any news report I have seen today on the US actions to bailout the company. Surely, the Prince stands to gain considerably by this move, and I think we all need to know this. And we should all know more, too, about who are the other owners of Citigroup. How many employees at Citigroup make more than, say, 150,000(USD)/year? Given how badly the company has been managed, shouldn't "we" who are giving them all this money insist as a condition of the action insist that no employee earn more than 150,000/year? Those who are unhappy with that cap can seek employment elsewhere. Imagine explaining to the bulk of Americans why 150,000/year is not enough?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Amanpour to Lead Daily Show on CNN" -

This is, of course, very positive news. Let's just hope that apparent increased interest in news from outside the US continues strong for US viewers.

"A Rewired Bully Pulpit - Big, Bold and Unproven" -

Whether it be for the White House and the Presidency or for any company in the US or the world, or any person, the free technology at our disposal allows us to create vast empires of the interconnected. We know it is cheap and we know that it works. What we do not know very well is how to manage it. I think the world is about to start climbing a steep learning curve of how to use all these tools constructively. It is far more than simply imposing rules on usage, etc; it is a fundamentally different way of looking at how we make the best use of vast groups of people to whom we are instantaneously connected, with whom we may agree or disagree, but whom we cannot ultimately control. I am not sure that the communications and media worlds, let alone US Presidents, have ever been confronted with such an immense challenge.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Associated Press staff to shrink 10 pct, CEO says" - Yahoo! Finance

In our interent world today, can we say that we are better informed than we used to be, and are we ready to replace the Associated Press with sifted and unsifted words read by people using the internet?

"Out of kilter: Stock slide hits NYT activists" - Reflections of a Newsosaur

Will we look back on the first decade of the 21st century and see it as the years when we lost The New York Times and replaced it with something or some other things? It increasingly is looking that way.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Is Out Of Town News On Its Way Out?" - NPR

The passing of a newsstand anywhere in the world is a very sad occasion. Let's hope this does not turn out to be another of those.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Live Piracy Map 2008"

What a great use of Google Maps technology..... It's astounding on so many levels that in 2008 we are looking at a map of the world and probably finding more incidents of piracy in recent months than in any other similar period of time in world history, even when pirates piracy were at their zenith (when? probably in the 18th or 19th centuries?).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Pendant la campagne américaine, le Web a eu plus d'influence sur la presse que sur les électeurs" -

The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

I noticed today for the first time that the site as a "minimize ads" button up near the top of the page. Maybe it is there because of the obnoxious Mac ad that appears there. The minimize ads button is a good idea but at least I need to wait a long time after clicking for it to take effect. It seems like almost as dumb an idea as accepting the Mac ads in the first place. Why cannot newspapers create a more seamless presentation of editorial and advertising content on their sites? I am not suggesting any compromise on the bright line between the two, but make it easier for the customer to consume it all without one working relatively well and the other slowing down the whole process. Why can't the consumer experience design the page and its presentation instead of us being forced to accept whatever each contributing party - editorial and advertising - sends down the internet pipe?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Print on newsprint at home?

Reading another story about the Christian Science Monitor moving out of print entirely, and seeing the publisher's comment about how we all enjoy reading the paper with a coffee, it made me wonder if anyone has come up with a version of newsprint that computer printers can handle? Imagine if you could program your printer to print out the very latest version of the paper for you in the morning just as your coffee is brewing? Instead of going outside to get a plastic bag full of newsprint, you simply stop at your printer and go from there?

A good omen?

Walking to get the newspaper today, this is what I saw here on Mt Boron. One end of the rainbow is in the heart of Nice, it passes over the observatory, with some interesting structural ties to the US through Gustave EIFFEL, and then drops into the Alpes Maritimes. In any case, rainbows are nice and its appearance today says a lot for me about the next President of the United States.

Sunday, November 02, 2008