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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