Unrequired Reading {3.11.08}

November 4, 2008

Unrequired ReadingThese are some of the things that have caught my atten­tion lately. It’s a more eclect­ic mix than just the news busi­ness, but then so’s life:

  • Towards a New Cap­it­al­ism | Tom Glo­cer — “The cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion seems to have only a single des­tin­a­tion for fisc­al stim­u­lus: large mil­it­ary pro­grams, many of which appeal more to mem­bers of Con­gress than to career mil­it­ary lead­ers.  The new Pres­id­ent might dir­ect Fed­er­al spend­ing to two large and needy infra­struc­ture pro­grams.  First, the Nation’s high­ways, bridges, tun­nels, ports and rail­ways, and second, the digit­al high­way.  The US Inter­state Sys­tem is show­ing its age, and the coun­try seems to have skipped the era of fast trains like the Japan­ese Bul­let or French TGV entirely.  Mean­while, in the digit­al eco­nomy, while Korea, Japan and oth­ers build-out 10gb true broad­band net­works, the US still defines “broad­band” as 256kb. 
    It does not take a geni­us to fig­ure out that digit­al and phys­ic­al high­ways coupled with sig­ni­fic­ant invest­ments in edu­cat­ing a future work­force and keep­ing them healthy are key to not only stim­u­lat­ing a return to growth but also long-term eco­nom­ic prosper­ity.”
  • The com­ing war between Barack Obama and the press corps. — By Jack Shafer — Slate Magazine — “Obama will aban­don the habit of walk­ing on water he picked up dur­ing the past two years because you can’t build a moat around the White House the way you can a pres­id­en­tial cam­paign. His admin­is­tra­tion may stay on mes­sage and nev­er leak, but it won’t be the only cir­cus in town. Few Cab­in­et sec­ret­ar­ies, mem­bers of Con­gress, fed­er­al bur­eau­crats, fed­er­al grantees, sol­diers and sail­ors, or oth­ers draw­ing a salary from the U.S. Treas­ury get the love or respect from the pres­id­ent that they think they’re owed. They’ll leak because it will be in their interest to leak, and the press will feast. When they leak, he’ll do what every pres­id­ent has done. He’ll flip out.”
  • Medi­en: Hat Qual­ität­s­journ­al­is­mus im Inter­net eine Chance? | Welt Online — “Wenn aber die Gewährsleute von Kramp und Weich­ert recht behal­ten, stellt sich die Frage, wie Qual­ität­s­journ­al­is­mus kün­ftig fin­an­ziert wer­den soll. Die User sind gewohnt, dass Inform­a­tion­en im Netz nichts kos­ten. Und schon jet­zt lässt sich abse­hen, dass allein durch Wer­bung sich Online Qual­ität­s­journ­al­is­mus nicht fin­an­zier­en lassen wird.”
  • How The Times fol­lowed a trail to find Barack Obama’s aunt | Times Online — “The trail that led to “Aunt Zei­tuni”, the rel­at­ive of Barack Obama who was traced by The Times last week, star­ted with Mr Obama’s mem­oir, one of the most widely read polit­ic­al auto­bi­o­graph­ies of all time.

    The Demo­crat cam­paign has implied that the story might have come from Repub­lic­an sources – “the Amer­ic­an people are … pretty sus­pi­cious of things that are dumped in the mar­ket­place 72 hours before a cam­paign,” said Mr Obama’s chief strategist Dav­id Axel­rod yes­ter­day.

    In fact, the story came from a book that has been read by mil­lions, includ­ing just about every­one con­nec­ted to the Obama cam­paign.”

  • Next steps for news | Buzzma­chine — “Innov­a­tion springs from solv­ing a prob­lem — a spe­cif­ic prob­lem, not the grand prob­lem of the future of news and soci­ety.”
  • No news is no news | Buzzma­chine — “The news busi­ness is, iron­ic­ally, insu­lar…”
  • A Broken Media Looks Back At The Cam­paign — “Report­ers have all types of fun memor­ies from the cam­paign that they would like to share with you now that the cam­paign is over! Most of these fall into two cat­egor­ies: the “God these can­did­ates are more mor­ally bank­rupt than I could ever say out­right in the pages of my tep­id pub­lic­a­tion,” and the (more pop­u­lar) “I made friends with import­ant people!”
  • Bloated BBC out of tough with the view­ers, says Tory chief Dav­id Camer­on | The Sun — “The BBC should be judged on what it does to pro­mote excel­lence in all it does and should jus­ti­fy its exist­ence and fund­ing on the basis of its reach — how many people use dif­fer­ent parts of the product — rather than on nightly rat­ings fig­ures.

    We also need to look at how the BBC is reg­u­lated. The BBC Trust has been an improve­ment on the pre­vi­ous BBC gov­ernors.

    But if people have a com­plaint about stand­ards, should they not be able to com­plain to a body that is prop­erly inde­pend­ent of the BBC?

    And when decisions are taken about salar­ies paid to seni­or man­age­ment, should they not be reviewed by an extern­al body to avoid any charge of cronyism?

    The squeez­ing and crush­ing of com­mer­cial com­pet­it­ors online or in pub­lish­ing needs to be stopped. We need the BBC, but we also need healthy com­pet­i­tion to the BBC to boost choice and drive up qual­ity.”

  • Yahoo news is bra­cing for a day of heavy traffic | Inter­na­tion­al Her­ald Tribune — “While tele­vi­sion news has view­er­ship spikes on major cam­paign days, news sites usu­ally have big­ger bumps the day after. “Prime time on the Inter­net is first thing in the morn­ing,” Lufkin said. Aug. 29, the day after Barack Obama’s accept­ance speech at the Demo­crat­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, was the highest traffic day in the 13-year his­tory of Yahoo News, accord­ing to the site’s intern­al data, which recor­ded a 446 per­cent increase above nor­mal days.”
  • Tory Troll: Andrew Gil­ligan caught ‘sock­pup­pet­ing’ his crit­ics | Tory Troll — “There’s a cer­tain mad nobil­ity in this blog’s obsess­ive sup­port for the most unpop­u­lar vehicles in Lon­don. What’s next — a cam­paign to rehab­il­it­ate Rose West?”

    And again from com­menter ‘Ken­nite’ on Dave Hill’s blog:

    There’s a cer­tain mad, self-destruct­ive nobil­ity in the Ken Left’s dogged defence of some of the most dis­liked things in Lon­don — Sir Ian Blair, bendy buses.”

    Oh dear Andrew, you do seem to have been work­ing that phrase hard…”

  • Peter Wilby: What it means for the press | The Guard­i­an — The Daily Mail: “under­stands that one of a newspaper’s func­tions is to give its read­ers a sense of secur­ity, belong­ing and simple val­ues in an increas­ingly com­plex and unset­tling world. The Mail is a supremely con­fid­ent paper. Where oth­ers, trim­ming to focus groups, muffle their mes­sage, the Mail pro­jects it relent­lessly, and with great tech­nic­al skill, from almost every page.”
  • Brus­sels rules hit pub­lic TV reform | FT.com — “A draft seen by the Fin­an­cial Times includes sec­tions that sug­gest plans by the BBC, ITV and Chan­nel 4 to launch an inter­net-TV archive ser­vice, cur­rently code-named Kangaroo, could fall foul of the European author­it­ies.”

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