journalism – Social media business strategies blog Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:53:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 When journalists trade newsrooms for business storytelling Tue, 17 Dec 2013 13:02:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 5 scribes
From left, Michael Copeland, Ben Worthen, Dan Lyons, Harrison Weber & Brian Caulfield

More companies are hiring scribes to ramp up ‘content plays’

Target audience: Journalists, brand managers, SEO specialists, PR and marketing pros, business executives, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers.

JD LasicaAfunny thing is happening to a lot of journalists I know: They’re bailing on Big-J journalism.

But while many are leaving the profession of journalism, they’re taking their craft with them. Faced with the Incredible Shrinking Business Models of the old media economy, journalists have begun taking their storytelling skills to the business world, particularly tech.

Companies are snapping up journalists left and right. Today every company is a media company — and who better to tell these companies’ stories than journalists trained in the art of storytelling?

Look at the roll call of A-list journalists who’ve traded newsrooms for businesses, venture capital firms and marketing startups:

• Michael Copeland, senior editor at Wired magazine and a former senior writer at Fortune and Business 2.0, joined Andreessen Horowitz in June to lead a new content strategy.

• Ben Worthen, a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was hired in March as Head of Content at Sequoia Capital in a content marketing play.

• Dan Lyons, who won a cult following as Fake Steve Jobs, was a senior editor at Forbes and a columnist at Newsweek before becoming editor-in-chief of ReadWrite — which he left in March for a content marketing job atHubSpot.

• Harrison Weber left The Next Web, where we was East Coast, Design & Features Editor, for WeWork, where he has launched FullStart, a new publication for entrepreneurs that combines storytelling and startup resources.

• Brian Caulfield, a journalist for Forbes, Red Herring and Business 2.0, joined Nvidia about a year ago as chief blogger.

• Tomas Kellner, a staff writer at Forbes for eight years, is now Managing Editor of GE’s daily blog, GE Reports, which takes a journalistic approach to covering innovation and technology breakthroughs.

• Rafe Needleman, the well-known tech journalist who was editor at large at CNET for eight years, joined Evernote in August 2012 to lead the team that runs its hackathons, workshops and outreach while writing an intermittent column.

• Erick Schonfeld, former editor in chief of TechCrunch, editor at Business 2.0 and writer at Fortune, joined DEMO as its executive producer in September 2012. He now gets to decide which startups make it on stage instead of just writing about them.

Notice a pattern?

More journalists opting for ‘brand journalism’

Robert Scoble at the 2013 Startup Conference. Photo by JD Lasica.

It’s not completely new, of course. In earlier eras, many a journalist jumped over the Chinese wall to join a PR firm or ad agency. During the dotcom heyday, many took a leap into online entrepreneurialism before the Big Flameout of 2000-2001.

Of course, you don’t have to leave traditional just-the-facts-ma’am journalism behind if you join a tech company. Katie Couric and David Pogue recently made a splash by leaving CBS News and the New York Times to continue what they’ve been doing — only they’ll now be doing it for Marissa Mayer at Yahoo! (Prediction: Pogue is a keeper. Couric’s fish-out-of-water story will last a year or two.)

And a handful of journalists — Om Malik at GigaOm, Matt Marshall atVenturebeat, Sarah Lacy at Pando Daily, Jessica Lessin at The Information, Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg with AllThingsD and their new unnamed venture — managed to make the leap to business CEO/publisher without leaving journalism.

But the new new thing is for journalists to bring their mad skills, if not their rigorous craft, to what’s known as content marketing, sometimes called “brand journalism.”

Why is it happening? In a word: Google.

“It’s like being 97% a journalist. The real difference between working for a journalistic organization and working for a company is I tend to only work on things that would help the company I work for.”
— Robert Scoble

Ever since Google rolled out its “freshness update,” companies have caught on to the idea that if they’re going to rank high in Google’s search results, they have to play the content game — by creating new content, delivered weekly, daily, even hourly, that generates lots of social sharing. That’s what Google demands today, so businesses need to feed the beast with interviews, Q&As, buzz-worthy infotainment and blog posts ranging from the erudite to the irreverent.

It all begins with generating interesting content — in other words, the kind of thing Robert Scoble has been doing forever. Scoble has been churning out blog posts and video interviews from his days at Microsoft to his current position as startup liaison officer for Rackspace and chief content creator at its Building 43.

And if anyone argues with you about whether someone is “really” a journalist — what? no news organization credentials? — all you need to do is heave a little sigh and say, “Who’s a journalist? Someone who does journalism.Look at Robert Scoble on any given day.” Though not necessarily at every single hour.

Scoble, who has a journalism degree, self-identifies as a journalist rather than a marketer. “It’s like being 97% a journalist,” he said by email. “The real difference between working for a journalistic organization and working for a company is I tend to only work on things that would help the company I work for. I doubt I’d go to Afghanistan and study their culture and how it’s rebounding since the war there, for instance.

“I’ve always seen myself as a hybrid: mostly journalist mixed with in with being a strategist, brand expert, general marketer and public face of a company.”

Lyons: Drawing on journalism skills, but without the independence

The line between journalist and marketer has gotten blurry in recent years. Journalists touting their posts on Twitter are committing random acts of marketing. Marketers conveying the story behind a new launch, product or service often create posts in a news-you-can-use format largely indistinguishable from Big-J Journalism.

Just don’t ask them to do an investigative report on their corporate bosses.

Dan Lyons said he draws on his journalism skills for his content marketing role at Hubspot. “I do virtually the same thing that I did as a journalist,” he said. “It involves storytelling, content creation, and trying to find and write great stories that get traffic. My ‘beat’ is media and marketing and tech, but it’s all through a lens of marketing. From my perspective the biggest change is how the company I work for goes about monetizing that traffic. In traditional media the money came from selling ads and putting them next to content. At HubSpot the traffic is about generating leads and converting leads to customers.”

Lyons, who spent 25 years covering tech, adds: “I still think of myself as a journalist, but I don’t know if I would call myself that officially. I think being a journalist — a real journalist — is a special thing, and requires real independence, which I don’t have.

“My job is to get people to be aware of HubSpot in hopes that some small percentage of them will actually buy HubSpot software. That’s not journalism. Yes, it involves storytelling, content creation, skills that you develop as a journalist. I interview interesting people, I write Q&As and book reviews. Some of the stuff I write I think I could be publishing in Newsweek or any other mainstream media outlet. But no, my job really is not journalism.”

Kellner: Storytelling is the key

Tomas Kellner with a MakerBot at GE

Tomas Kellner points out that some companies have been in the storytelling business for a long time. In 1947, GE hired Kurt Vonnegut to look around the company and find good stories. (Back then, they called it PR, not content marketing.)

Like Lyons, Kellner said he’s using his journalistic chops in running the GE Reports blog. “Every story needs to have some type of challenge, a protagonist, and something has to be at stake. You have to find it otherwise people will not read it. Many companies still tell their news through a press release, and you will certainly not find a flesh and blood protagonist there. But the press release is dead, or at least dying. The Internet made smart companies realize that they can tell their own stories online by hiring the best storytellers there are.

“The barrier between traditional media and the companies they used to cover has collapsed. Anyone can tell their own story in a compelling way and reach tens of thousands of readers now,” he said.

Having a “content play” these days starts on one end of the spectrum with initiatives like Sequoia’s Grove (“Founders helping founders”), its new portal for how-to content, videos and events; Adobe’s, a news and information site to attract C-suite customers, and Bob Evans, chief communications officer at Oracle (and, bingo!, former Editorial director of CMP and content director of TechWeb), writing a column for Forbes BrandVoice.

The further to the right you go across that spectrum, the less blurry the line becomes between marketing and journalism.

David Berlind, former executive editor of CNET and chief content officer for UBM Tech, entertained a few offers from businesses looking to create a content play before landing in July as editor in chief of ProgrammableWeb, owned by software company MuleSoft. “My paycheck comes from a vendor,” he said, “but what I like is that I get to run it as a fully independent, objective news engine that’s creating content. What we do every day is journalism.”

Still, he’s quick to add, “There are just not that many journalism jobs anymore. So who am I to judge when a journalist takes a job with a vendor? Their craft of writing and storytelling is in high demand in the business world, and a steady paycheck is a nice thing.”

Kellner agrees. “You’re definitely going to see a lot more companies hiring journalists.”

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55 expert tips to produce better & faster content Tue, 04 Jun 2013 11:22:51 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Hacking Media Produciton

Advice to streamline your media workflow

Target audience: Content marketers, Web publishers, PR execs, journalists, producers, businesses, media organizations.

David SparkIn just the first 20 episodes of my podcast “Hacking Media Production,” I’ve collected hundreds of tips from journalists and producers on how to produce content better and faster. What follows is my selection of the 55 creative content production hacks.

If you like what you see and want to learn more, feel free to click through on any episode to listen to the interview and see lots more tips on that subject. And if you want to learn lots more, please subscribe to “Hacking Media Production” via iTunes.

From “Using Crowdsourcing Tools for Cheaper and Better Production”

1If you can think of it, someone may do it for $5: The site Fiverr is filled with mini creative services available for $5 such as drawing a cartoon of your dad, recording a voice-over message in Sean Connery’s voice, or even a bogus video testimonial for your product.

2Crowdsourcing design work still requires an art director: Be aware that using services such as 99designs or Crowdspring will cost more than you expect because you’ll likely need an art director to spend hours of time managing the contest and interacting with the designers to get the final product you want.

From “Crafting Popular Research Reports”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Crafting Popular Research Reports3Write the headline first, before you conduct research: Don’t try to figure out how to make your research sexy after you’ve done the work. Your first task should be to write catchy story headlines that will speak to the research you’ve yet to conduct.

4Get more content bang from your research buck: Craft your study so it’s able to feed the creation of at least three or four different stories.

5Hire a statistician: Basic cross tabulations won’t tell the whole story of your research. You’ll need a real statistician to uncover stories and behaviors the average Excel user won’t be able to see.

From “How to Write a Pitch that Journalists Won’t Laugh At”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: How to Write a Pitch that Journalists Won’t Laugh At

6Don’t try to be clever: Being clever to dress up boring news doesn’t help. Neither does an opening icebreaker line such as, “Are you excited for the Super Bowl?”

7Be creative in what you’re offering: “Don’t be creative about how you package the pitch. Be creative about the news you’re trying to pitch,” said Harry McCracken, Editor-at-Large for Time.

8 Avoid disingenuous compliments: Many compliments to journalists today look as if they came through a database. Don’t think you’re fooling a journalist if you’re just referencing a recent story and saying how much you liked it.

From “Tips for Sharing Professional Photos at Live Events”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Tips for Sharing Professional Photos at Live Events

9Configure your Eye-Fi card for social sharing: This SD card can wirelessly upload your photos with appropriate labels and hashtags to a multitude of locations such as DropBox, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook. After you configure make sure you send a test photo to the feed and then delete it.

10Entice others to tag, specifically on Facebook: Photograph a few key connectors at an event and then tag them when you post the photos on Facebook. These connectors will know others at the party and will inevitably tag them as well, saving you a lot of work and exposing your photos to people who didn’t know you.

11Tweet out some of your photos in intervals: If you’re uploading 400 photos from an event, you don’t want to flood your Twitter feed with all those photos. Instead, use a service such as Twitterfeed and have it tweet out the latest photo in 10 or 15 minute intervals.

From “Using Historical Data to Create New News”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Using Historical Data to Create New News

12News is something people don’t know: That doesn’t mean it’s new information. It means it’s information that hasn’t been covered. Services such as Google Patents are a treasure trove of weird and interesting information.

13Focus on patent drawings: The text in patents are filled with painfully long legalese. You’ll find a more interesting story a lot faster if you just focus on finding interesting drawings.

14Look for the current news hook to attach to old information: If it’s Christmas, look for Christmas patents. If a certain company is hot in your industry, look at their patents or patent applications.

From “How to Pitch a Speaker for a Conference”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: How to Pitch a Speaker for a Conference

15Would people pay for it: This should be the barometer of whether your talk is something people will want to hear. People are traveling to the event and paying for a ticket. This presentation better be worth their time and money.

16Your presentation should not be Googleable: If the same information from your talk can be found in a Google search, then it’s not worth presenting, and therefore it’s also not worth paying for.

17Put the conference name in the subject of the email. This shows that it’s not a mass mailed email, plus it really shows you’re thinking specifically about a certain conference that this speaker would be appropriate for.

From “How to Run a Contest to Generate Free Content”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: How to Run a Contest to Generate Free Content

18Emotion-based contests work best: If you give contestants a chance to express themselves, that’s often all they need to participate. The prize may not be a motivating factor.

19Do A/B testing on your contest question: To make sure you’re pushing out the very best version of the contest, do A/B testing and then push your marketing efforts toward the version that’s doing the best.

20Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising on Facebook works: Contests have a very high click through rate on social networks with PPC advertising. Getting people to “Like” something because they’ll be entered into a contest is that little extra nudge most people need to actually click that “Like” button.

From “Tricks to Producing Corporate Comedy”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Tricks to Producing Corporate Comedy

21Easiest laugh is the recognition laugh: A big secret in corporate comedy is you don’t actually need to write a joke to get a laugh. You can often get laughs simply by acknowledging people within the company, especially people of power. Just mention that person in a non-business situation.

22Non-actors can only be themselves: If you’re trying to make people in your office funny, don’t have them play other characters. Let them be themselves, but in funny situations.

23Map corporate lingo to dialogue of scenario: Bring accounting terms in a “Star Trek” script, or maybe database architecture terminology to a pirate scenario.

From “Build an audience around content”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Build an Audience Around Content

24Web content is iterative media: You change your content based on the behavior of the audience. You’re creating your media property with your audience.

25Authentic and real wins in Web video: On traditional television, people work really hard at not being themselves. That’s not true with Web video. Be direct, open, and yourself.

26Strive for velocity of comments on video launch: A lot of comments in the first hour or two of a video will help make it more visible to people visiting YouTube. To help juice that initial push, let viewers know the host will be in the comments for the first two hours of responses.

From: “Tricks to Find and Report on Industry Trends in Real Time”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Report on Industry Trends in Real Time

27Real-time search tools level the reporting playing field: Even if you don’t live in the area where most of the news is happening, you can compete with those locals by using real-time search tools to effectively uncover breaking stories.

28Subscribe to vendor RSS feeds via SMS or instant messaging: This lets you know about breaking stories the moment they become available. Email is too slow because it often doesn’t come when the story breaks.

29Follow aggressive users of Delicious: For the sites and companies you care about, follow the Delicious users who are the first to bookmark their hot stories.

From “How to Sequence Your Video Quickly”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: How to Sequence Your Video Quickly

30Create a shot list: Sounds basic, but even the most experienced producers forget to do this. Write down on paper the different shots you want to be able to tell your story. You’ll need this when you go to edit your piece.

31Listen for the details: Listen to specific things mentioned in the interview and then go get shots of those items.

32Zoom rule of 1-2-3: In post-production, the rule is don’t enlarge a shot more than 123 percent or you’ll start to see pixelation.

From “How to Launch a Competitive Content Site”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: How to Launch a Competitive Content Site

33Don’t syndicate your content: While it may sound like a good idea, Google may perceive your site to be a spam site even if it’s the originator of the content. Your search engine ranking will plummet and it will take years to fix with Google.

34Make social media participation part of the job: Hire journalists to write and participate in social media. Pay them for getting involved with the audience.

35Put as much above the fold as possible: Whatever the audience wants, make it super easy to find and consume. If you can, create a condensed version of quick to find content in the upper left-hand corner.

From “Tricks to Building Your YouTube Audience”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Tricks to Building Your YouTube Audience

36Write a title for your subscribers first, and then one for everyone else: For the first version of your video have a simplistic title such as “Do this” that your subscribers will see first. The enticing title will drive a lot of traffic from your subscribers. After that plays for a week, go back and change the title and make it more search engine friendly.

37Content supersedes professionalism: Don’t spend as much time on professionalism but rather focus on the content itself. The content is far more important in driving views over the slickness of production quality.

38Collaborate with other YouTubers: Like rappers doing cameos on other rappers’ songs, find YouTubers in your same niche through a channel swap or just interviewing each other. You’ll be able to take advantage of your respective audiences.

From “Produce Just One Great Article Every Month”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Produce Just One Great Article Every Month

39Write evergreen stories that become industry staples: Don’t let time pressures dictate the release of stories. If you’re putting so much effort on a single article, let that piece be the definitive piece on that given subject for at least five years.

40Publicity across multiple issues, not just the current issue: If your stories don’t have a short shelf life, you can publicize back issues.

From “How to Create Really Fun Trivia Games”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: How to Create Really Fun Trivia Games

41Let your audience have fun not knowing the answers: Even if the audience doesn’t know the answers, the process of the game and the information learned from the game should be entertaining in itself.

42A good question invites fun speculation: Even if you don’t know the answer right away, a question can be presented in a way that the players can make educated guesses based on the information presented.

43Triple check your facts: Don’t always rely on one source. Make sure you have multiple sources verifying your information. One comment on a website, even if it’s Wikipedia, doesn’t cut it.

From “Produce a Daily Web Show in Two Hours”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Producing a Daily Web Show in Two Hours

44Have access to talent on all coasts: While some people are sleeping, those awake are doing research on the stories.

45Create timely content that’s evergreen: If you want your programming to be both popular and have legs, be timely on your content but let it have interest beyond the day it’s released. Weird news fits that description.

From “Using Storify to Produce Content”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Using Storify to Produce Content

46Uncovering the best of trending stories: When big stories hit, who’s providing the best information in terms of the best article, photo, and video? Storify is now analyzing trends and usage of its product to see which content gets used the most.

47Prompt your audience for content: Instead of just searching for reactions, many journalists are using Storify as an engagement tool by first asking questions of their audience. Those social responses are then reflected in their story.

From “Produce 100 Blog Posts in One Day”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Produce 100 Blog Posts in One Day

48Split your time between gatherers and publishers: If reporting at a conference, those at the conference will be the content gatherers and those in the back office can write and publish the content.

49Pre-write content: This is how you can “fake” 100 blog posts in one day. You start preparing the content beforehand. If you can, get embargoed content and write it off the blog. You don’t want to accidentally hit the “publish” button on information you agreed to embargo. It will ruin your chances of getting any embargoed content in the future.

50Take a picture of the specs: For accurate transmission of technical information to your back-office editors, photograph the specs in a trade show booth.

From “Producing Video for a Mobile and Social Audience”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Producing Video for a Mobile and Social Audience

51Lead the video with the most critical elements: Deliver on the promise of the headline immediately. If you don’t deliver this in the first four or five seconds of the video, you will lose the viewer.

52Break complex down into the simple: Take incredibly complex issues, look at the very core elements that make up the story, and just deliver that information. This is unlike 24-hour news media which must deliver an endless stream of information, often trying to fill hours of time.

53Sometimes you can let the raw video stand by itself: Given the success of “in the moment” YouTube videos, you can distribute raw video content without contextualization. Let the video speak for itself first and if appropriate cut another version with your editorial spin.

From “Secrets of Getting a Journalist to Quote You”

Hacking Media Production Podcast: Secrets of Getting a Journalist to Quote You

54You can get quoted while never speaking to a reporter: Email-based matchmaking services such as PR LEADS and Help a Reporter allow reporters to issue queries and get email responses which they can copy and paste into their stories. That means so many articles never include even a single phone interview.

55Respond fast: One reason you won’t get quoted is if you don’t respond fast enough. Journalists have deadlines. Sometimes they’re within hours, and sometimes weeks. Often they won’t clarify a deadline. Assume immediately. You’ll improve your chances of getting quoted with a prompt reply.

If you like what you read and want to learn lots more, please subscribe to “Hacking Media Production” via iTunes.

Creative Commons photo attribution to TenSafeFrogs, Happy Monkey, and Exit Festival. Permission to post photo by Pinar Ozger of Alfred Spector granted by GigaOM Events.  Stock photo of “Enter to Win” key courtesy of  Bigstock Photo.

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How WikiLeaks has changed the role of journalism Mon, 29 Aug 2011 13:05:22 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Kristinn-Hrafnsson
Kristinn Hrafnsson, spokesperson for WikiLeaks (photo by JD Lasica)


WikiLeaks official criticizes New York Times before international group of journalists

JD LasicaWikiLeaks has changed the role of journalism and “made journalists braver,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, the official spokesperson for WikiLeaks, told an international group of journalists assembled in Santiago, Chile, on Thursday.

Braver, that is, with one striking exception: the New York Times.

“The timidity of the New York Times came as a surprise and disappointment to me,” Hrafnsson told the assembly of 60 news executives, editors and reporters. “It was not the New York Times of the early 1970s where the Times was willing to take on the Nixon administration by publishing the Pentagon Papers.”

It’s pretty much a given that Hrafnsson, or any WikiLeaks official, would be arrested if he set foot in the United States. Hrafnsson also is certain that the National Security Agency monitors every email he receives.

After his presentation, I asked Hrafnsson, a veteran journalist from Iceland, why he was singling out the Times for criticism. (I spoke to the same group a few hours later.)

When WikiLeaks released 77,000 Afghan War documents to news organizations in July 2010, the New York Times was accorded the right to publish the scoop on its website. Instead, Hrafnsson said, the Times apparently was so worried about the likely furor over release of the Afghanistan war logs that critical minutes passed, and the Times decided to report the news only after other publications had done so.

“They were deathly afraid of being the first one to post it on the Internet,” he said. “They were dead frozen with their finger on the button.”

Hrafnsson surmised that the paper feared it would be branded “a traitor” news organization by political figures still incensed over WikiLeaks’ earlier release of classified State Department diplomatic cables. Three months later, when the Iraq war logs were released, the Times — unlike the vast majority of overseas media outlets such as The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, Sweden’s SVT and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism — led with a peculiar news angle about Iran’s influence in Iraqi affairs. It downplayed the big news: that the U.S. military was routinely turning over captured civilians and Taliban militants to Iraqi government officials for torture.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that they did what they did for political reasons,” Hrafnsson said.

Bill Keller, who recently announced he is stepping down as executive editor of the New York Times, wrote an unflattering account of WikiLeaks and the Times’ dealings with Julian Assange in January, laying out the paper’s justifications for how it covered WikiLeaks’ release of classified documents.

A growing demand for government transparency

Wired magazine wrote last month: “WikiLeaks may have faded from the headlines, but growing numbers of people accept the notion that information collected by and about the government should be online, searchable, and mashable.”

During dinner on Thursday evening, Hrafnsson told me and a colleague from Facebook that large majorities of populations in nations around the world favored WikiLeaks’ release of the classified Afghanistan and Iraq war documents, according to an Ipsos poll of 24 countries. The one outlier? The United States, where 39 percent of Americans favored WikiLeaks’ mission, despite a torrent of negative publicity here.

See the Twitter hashtag #wlfind for current discussions about WikiLeaks. Here are some of the 143,000 diplomatic cables placed online by WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks: Ushering in a new culture of transparency

While I have ambivalent feelings about how WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of classified documents, ultimately I have to throw in my lot with those who are demanding greater transparency from governments across the globe.

Hrafnsson told us that “last year might be remembered as a watershed year when journalists spoke truth to power,” indirectly resulting in the Arab Spring and “a greater respect for human rights” across the globe.

WikiLeaks, he said, has “challenged traditional media and made journalists braver. It has reinvigorated journalists to start asking the hard questions again. And it has forged a new model of collaborating between 75 media organizations in the public interest” — a collaboration that does more for the public good than the one-upsmanship between competing news organizations.

As a result of WikiLeaks, more than 20 new wiki-style platforms have launched, such as Open Leaks, Environ Leaks and Thai Leaks. (See Greg Mitchell in the Nation: In The New ‘Age of Leaks,’ WikiLeaks Is Only the Beginning.)

Hrafnsson was one of the keynotes at a gathering of Grupo de Diarios America, the largest Spanish language network on the globe, whose publications serve more than 50 million readers and users a month.

One last thought: It strikes me that a similar undercurrent of political intimidation and culture of fear is what prevents Al Jazeera English from being carried on any U.S. cable network. Not one cable network carries the news service, despite the fact that nearly 10 million Americans regularly watch its content online — far more than watch many cable news programs.

Update from the New York Times today: WikiLeaks Leaves Names of Diplomatic Sources in Cables.

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Reimagining journalism in the age of social media Thu, 25 Aug 2011 13:12:22 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Reimagining Journalism in the Age of Social Media

View more presentations from JD Lasica.

9 ideas for taking journalism to a new place

JD LasicaSocial media is far more than social marketing, which is why returns regularly to the subject of how social is reshaping the worlds of media and journalism.

I arrived in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday to take part in a three-day event: first, a gathering of 150 journalism students from major universities in Chile on Tuesday. And today I’m giving the closing talk at a gathering of news executives, editors, reporters and academics from major publications and universities in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Venezuela, the United States and elsewhere, organized by Grupo de Diarios América — the world’s biggest online Spanish network with some 50 publications and sites with a reach over 50 million users per month — and held at the headquarters of El Mercurio, Chile’s best newspaper.

My colleague Chris Abraham asked me a few months ago to offer my thoughts on where journalism is heading — or ought to be heading — for the benefit of both those entering the profession and those trying to figure out how to navigate these choppy waters. So this seemed like a good way to do that.

Plus, I finally made it down to South America!

The presentation, embedded above and available for download or embedding on SlideShare, offers some ideas about how journalism might be reimagined in an age when more people are embracing the precepts of social media.

Questioning nine fundamental assumptions

I found that the two-day symposium had far too few opportunities for interaction (thankfully, the organizers thoughtfully provided translations for talks in Spanish that were broadcast into a Listen Display Receiver, a nifty mobile device and earpiece), and so I framed the presentation more as a series of questions rather than answers.

Many of the suggestions below — and for the now widely accepted idea that journalism should be thought of as a process, not a finished product — have been discussed by thought leaders in the space for years. It’s time to distill some of these ideas and reexamine them through the lens of journalism in South America. Here, then, are nine assumptions by journalists and media organizations, and suggestions on how those assumptions might be reconsidered or reimagined.

1Objectivity is our sacred goal. Yet, users are increasingly turning to transparency as the new yardstick of a news organization’s credibility. Is transparency the new objectivity?

2Content is all that matters. While people come for the content, they stay for the conversation. Shouldn’t journalists spend more time engaging with users and participating in conversations?

3Mobile has limited appeal. Well, that’s an overstatement, but journalists haven’t been doing as much with using mobile for SMS alerts, breaking news and particularly geolocation as they could. My thought: Start geotagging almost every article in sight!

4Journalism must never allow citizens to take action on social or political issues. But why not point users to events and resources, such as community and advocacy groups, relevant to an issue? Why not offer an outlet for community or civic engagement?

5Journalists never promote. But promotion is part of the social Web’s essence. Why not create “shareable objects” — online posts, photos, ideas and more — using genuine conversation?

6Journalists should pay no attention to numbers. But data is better than gut. Perhaps by gathering and analyzing data around how users are reacting to and engaging with your content, journalists can serve the public more effectively.

7Citizen journalists are seen as competitors. But the crowd can be collaborators as well, as seen when Talking Points Memo won a George Polk Award using a distributed network of volunteer reporters to ply through thousands of documents released by the Justice Department, ultimately leading to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

8Media organizations must find new audiences. But perhaps more emphasis should be placed on building communities through sustained and deliberate efforts rather than targeting and segmenting audience demographics.

9Media organizations must create and distribute content all by themselves. But by using the community to contribute content and by using external champions to spread news and content on social networks, news organizations can have greater reach and impact.

Prefer a version en español?

If you prefer a Spanish language version of the presentation, here is Reimaginarse el periodismo en la era de los medios de comunicación sociales:

Reimaginarse el periodismo en la era de los medios de comunicaci�n sociales

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Storify: Make stories using social media Tue, 28 Sep 2010 23:38:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Will it improve storytelling or lead to Frankenstories?

David SparkI’m at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco reporting for Yammer.

Almost a full year ago I wrote an analyst report entitled “Real-Time Search and Discovery of the Social Web” (get your copy of the 20-page PDF), and I argued that one of the failures of the value of the real-time web is the lack of editors monitoring the data and then republishing it in a digested form. While the volume of content being created is phenomenal, and the different search and discovery tools all provide amazing value, what’s lacking is the ability to truly make sense of all this content by someone who truly knows the category.

At TechCrunch Disrupt, I saw one possible solution with Storify, a web-based application that lets you search real-time content and add it very easily to your blog post. At the show, I was sitting in between two fellow journalists who were completely wowed by the product and immediately sent a link of it out to all their colleagues. They were both excited and scared. Will it improve journalists’ ability to create content or will it give power to non-content creators to create half-assed stories or, as one reviewer on stage called it, “a Frankenstory”?

Watch my demo and interview with Burt Herman, CEO of Storify, as he shows off the product.

And completely unrelated to this article, here’s a fun contest that Yammer is running. Enter Yammer’s “Workplace Communications Horror Story!” Sweepstakes for a chance to win a free iPad. Deadline is Oct. 15, 2010.

Social media: Increasing access to public meetings Wed, 21 Apr 2010 18:00:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

Social media increases accessibility to public meetings from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaI‘m at NewComm Forum this week, probably the best gathering of minds around social media, marketing and new media anywhere. (I’ll be speaking Friday about the future of journalism.) It’s also a superlative venue for networking.

Last year I met Kathleen Clark of San Francisco-based CirclePoint. As part of our continuing series of vignettes with experts about different aspects of social media, Kathleen talks about the use of social media by government agencies in this quick 4-minute interview. She makes the often-overlooked point that members of the public who can’t attend government agency meetings in person can often contribute their ideas and feedback through sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

CirclePoint specializes in strategic communications development and environmental planning. Many of their clients are public agencies working on infrastructure projects and seeking to implement communications for public outreach and public education. One key client is the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, which wanted to reach a broader audience through a public presence for them on Twitter (5,215 followers) and on Facebook (I just “liked” them).

Why should companies and government agencies take up social media? “It lets you tell a story in a personal way, and to have a higher level of engagement with people,” Kathleen says. “Traditionally, the mode at a lot of government agencies has been to talk at people. Social media lets you talk with people.”

Accessibility comes into play, too. Not everyone can come to a public meeting. But if you’re a government agency, you can put out the call for feedback on Twitter, Facebook or other social networks, and you can reach a broader segment of the public and hear their concerns, she says.

Absolutely right.

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17 visionaries predict impact of social on the enterprise Tue, 23 Feb 2010 21:23:03 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Nicholas de Wolff, National Film Fes­ti­val for Tal­ented Youth: "Too many peo­ple are div­ing into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools before they even know with whom they are swim­ming."
Nicholas de Wolff, National Film Fes­ti­val for Tal­ented Youth:
“Too many peo­ple are div­ing into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools
before they even know with whom they are swim­ming.”

Social business seen as making seismic waves in marketing, sales, operations

Christopher RollysonThe adoption of Web 2.0 and social networking accelerated significantly over the past year, and it shows no sign of stopping. Global digital word of mouth is disrupting growing swaths of business models, and CEOs want to understand its opportunities and threats. Although the Web is resplendent with prognostications from social media gurus, the voices of enterprise practitioners are too rarely heard.

To remedy that, I’ve gathered the perspectives of highly experienced executives who share their thoughts on how Web 2.0 is changing their businesses and mindsets. They also share its limitations and problems. Keep in mind that each contributor wrote independently, and I have made no attempt to unify their views, although I will offer my analysis and conclusions as well as the intriguing backstory below. Here is a sampling of the group’s eclectic insights:

  • A seismic shift in marketing is emergent, and chief marketing officers will require robust strategies to succeed consistently with Web 2.0 and use it to their advantage.
  • Gamification will redefine “work” and “play” and gradually make them indistinguishable.
  • Performance demands on government will force it to shed its laggard stereotype and pioneer social business at local and federal levels.
  • Arguably the biggest disruption of all is that green energy is enabling billions of previously unconnected people to join the world as participants; China and India are two of the fastest growing economies of the world, and millions of people are jumping online every year. Infrastructure limitations are forcing extreme innovation.

  • An exciting new career is digital salespeople who help people to deal with exploding choices.
  • The print news industry will struggle but continue to crater—this year, executives will create surprising alliances in last-ditch efforts to control content—and laid-off journalists will retool by launching myriad new content ventures.
  • The continued explosion of ideas and information will burden attention spans and drive the need for curation and consideration to maximize engagement
  • Enterprise 2.0 will continue to make gains, but it will face numerous obstacles.
  • Adoption is proceeding in professional services, as reflected by the commercial real estate industry.
  • Mobile social networking will see significant growth driven by mobile applications and increased handset sales worldwide.
  • Adoption in Latin America is mixed; in Mexico, limitations in networks, venture capital and monopolistic telecoms slow progress.
  • Ultimately the value created by social networks is driven by trusted relationships, but business will struggle to predict their value. Emerging models will attempt to quantify the value of interactions and trust building.

Enterprise 2.0 will shift to a multifaceted solutions-based approach—but struggle

R. Todd Stephens, Ph.D., Sr. Technical Architect (Collaboration & Online Services), AT&T, Atlanta

cinnov_stephensWeb 2.0 Interests me from a variety of viewpoints. First, as a technical architect within a Fortune 100 company, I am interested in how organizations are incorporating Web 2.0 into their internal business environments. I want to understand the “how” of implementation and the real value delivered to the enterprise. Second, I spend a great deal of time writing about the impact of Web 2.0 to small business. Web 2.0 can generate real business value in both contexts.

Web 2.0 is impacting change in the interaction and dramatic shift in how work gets done. Global organizations now have to communicate and compete 24 hours a day, and they need tools that enable seamless communication. Whether you’re an employee, consultant or customer, you now have the tools to communicate directly with your audience without layers of management impacting the message. We have seen both a huge migration to Web 2.0-enabled enterprise collaboration tools and limited success with 2.0-only technologies. This is because most people want solutions, not technology. In 2010, we will see the migration away from technologies like blogs, wikis, twitter, social networks, etc. to a more solution-based approach. Organizations will ask solution providers to solve problems with a collection of technologies and processes that include collaborative technologies, mobile devices, unified communications and Web 2.0 technologies.

Web 2.0 will continue to struggle within large enterprises. While we hear the success stories, they are still a very small minority. Some of these difficulties are due to the economy, management, culture, small contribution rates, and lack of ROI models. Moreover, these hurdles will not be overcome by 2010. Despite the rose-colored reporting, our Web 2.0 implementations are not succeeding. The good news is that they are not failing either, which allows them to continue to fight for another year.

New private social networks will sip Bing’s value

Clifton Muhammad, Management Consultant, Infosys & Field Marshall, Obama for America, Chicago

cinnov_muhammadI improve business processes for organizations that face transformation from new technology. As a management consultant with over 20 years of experience with business transformation, I have helped many industry pioneers.

In 2009, Web 2.0 technologies tipped the balance between networks and knowledge. The social networks, which used Web 2.0 technologies, increased the value of the knowledge bases that they tapped, well beyond the expectations of past years. For subject matter experts who used social networks in 2009, the year’s growth in the number of other networked subject matter experts increased the value of the knowledge that each individual possessed, by providing an efficient means to identify the most relevant information in their aggregated knowledge base.

In 2010 new social networking models will develop to enable transit and curation of the knowledge that’s most valued within organizations.”
– Clifton Muhammad

Search engines commoditized a large amount of information, in recent years, through the aggregation of vast knowledge bases—any information anyone wanted to have about anything seemed to become just a google search away—while a big need still remained for curation of that massive amount of available information. With the growth of social networks, the reputation of the person who delivered information began to matter more than the information delivered. The integrity of the people in my social network (for example) became much more valuable than the raw information they held because I wanted to trust the information that I got.

In 2010, we’ll see Microsoft’s Bing and other efforts in search and aggregation miss the mark. Businesses will seek to capture more value from the relationships within their organizations and spend less to retain the reservoirs of information that those relationships will ultimately tap. History provides numerous examples where tolls and transit services followed the realization of a desired resource to capture much of that resource’s wealth. In 2010 new social networking models will develop to enable transit and curation of the knowledge that’s most valued within organizations.

Microsoft’s Bing search engine may disrupt Google’s current reservoir of knowledge, through content exclusivity agreements. However the value of that knowledge will depend on new models of both gated and open social networks. I will seek opportunities to adapt the new models for social networks (such as Aardvark) to capture the greater business value in 2010.

Transformation takes time

Ken Kabira, Managing Principal at TrueWorks, CMO Chicago Transit Authority, CMO McDonald’s Japan, Chicago

cinnov_kabiraI help organizations define and improve customer experience. Recently CMO of the Chicago Transit Authority, I led two Web 2.0 initiatives: to enable customers to help each other to use the transit and to engage employees to improve how we ran the CTA more efficiently and effectively.

In the first case, we helped the large segment of the Chicago population that spoke little to no English. The CTA website was (and still is) English only. The agency just doesn’t have the budget to create sites in multiple languages. We used wikis in various languages to enable people to educate each other on how to use the transit system. In the second initiative, we sought to make employee suggestions more transparent and valuable by using a star-based voting system with a comment section (a la’s reader reviews) to get input from the 4,000+ drivers much faster than the pen-and-paper system.

Amazon, Best Buy, and other sites that allow users vote on ideas was the source of our inspiration. One of the weaknesses of employee suggestion programs is that other employees don’t get to see and vet what their colleagues suggested. The CTA’s Scheduling and Service Planning departments need feedback from bus drives and train operators, but it is difficult to know how good suggestions are or how bad a problem is. By having other operators see the ideas and vote on it, we could try to tap the wisdom of the crowd.

In 2010 we will see more public agencies taking risks to engage in this sort of “flat” information sharing and insight gathering. The biggest obstacle will be the CYA mentality of public officials and the legal departments, which hinder risk-taking. However, it’s important to remember that public agencies are rarely rewarded for doing things right, but a slightest error is severely criticized by the press, which never bothers to understand the constraints under which these officials have to operate.

Increasing adoption in commercial real estate

Michael Lunn, Principal Broker at Re/Max Commercial Property Solutions LLC, Chicago, President of the CCIM Illinois

cinnov_lunnI am a commercial real estate broker on the front line of delivering value to ROI-driven clients. I also serve as President of the Illinois CCIM Chapter. CCIM is the top designation in commercial brokerage. Mine is a black and white, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, but most of my new assignments come via referral and reputation.

Commercial real estate professionals have embraced LinkedIn, but they shun Facebook and Twitter as frivolous and unprofessional. Blogging has reached a critical mass, as has using private peer-to-peer email systems like mailbridge, which enables our 5,000 members to ask the (private) crowd about: inside information on a certain firm, procedural/legal issues or trusted people to whom we refer business. This is more focused than LinkedIn, and I receive better quality responses than asking 50 million general members the same question. Our business is becoming more competitive, so the true professionals are experimenting and getting out of their comfort zones to adopt new technology for their own and their clients’ benefit.

A key trend is that professionals are weighing carefully where to invest their loyalties because technology gives them a choice. Whether they work for a national brokerage or an independent firm or perhaps they change geography, they have more choice in how to build their networks. Does it make sense to invest their limited time for networking within their current firm or in one geographic area, or does it make more sense to focus on their trade association affiliation and invest time there? The idea is find and commit to supporting the highest quality group that will let you join. I may be a bit biased, but this distinction “clicks” with my peers, and I believe has a common compelling logic for other industries. Group loyalties will transcend employer loyalties.

In 2010, I see top professionals in our field seeking to bend technology to their short term needs continuing, and CCIM intends to use platforms like Our goals are to have our volunteer boards interact more efficiently between meetings, and to extend our value geographically as we seek to serve more members. Within my firm, we intend to build our own CRE groups dedicated to topics like property taxes. Group members are motivated and frustrated, so they contribute their unique experiences and insights. Members are by definition prospective customers of our primary services. 2010 belongs to those who are aware of their surroundings, and who are willing to adapt quickly to events as they unfold.

Flight to quality and subscription-based models

Nicholas de Wolff, Business Strategy Expert, Chair – National Film Festival for Talented Youth, Los Angeles

cinnov_dewolffMost recently, I served as Chief Marketing Officer for a large multinational technology service provider. As co-founder of the New Media Council of the Producers Guild of America, and a member of the Interactive Media Peer Group at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, my interest in emerging media is both technologically and creatively motivated.

I have seen many peers adopt Web strategies inappropriately because they are under pressure from either agency vendors who should know better or from executive management (or even shareholders) to pursue the “next new thing”. Unfortunately, too many people are diving into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools before they even know with whom they are swimming. The best Web advances are as yet merely trends that will only solidify their value propositions with time. Any good marketing executive must have a Web strategy, but it must be a well-researched and fully informed strategy, which requires either a hefty and well-aimed commitment or great patience. 2009 demonstrated that businesses and consumers alike lacked the latter. Meanwhile, companies like PepsiCo and Starbucks were making the investments, with the results still in question.

2009 saw ubiquity and expansion trumping security and selective pre-qualification. Facebook et al have risked alienating their enviable user base due to their efforts to widen their sphere of influence and, while I believe the gamble will ultimately pay off, other ventures that sacrificed quality of infrastructure for market penetration may not fare so well. Meanwhile, Microsoft has continued to plod along—confident that infrastructure control will yield long-term benefits that far outweigh shorter term gains. Bing, Office 2010, and other releases will soon show whether the giant’s focus on security and robustness will be able to wrest the gains made by the likes of, Google, Firefox and others. The fact that Microsoft has stopped (for the most part) behaving like a behemoth, and is once more allowing its business units to function with a greater degree of autonomy, is a good sign.

2010 will bring a slowdown in the rate of release and adoption. 2009 was the year of acquisition of market share, and I want to see 2010 become the year of refinement and quality of service. Many ventures will focus on quality, and those that do not will be left in the dust by consumers no longer willing to put up with anything but the highest levels of product and solution service. As a result, later 2010 and early 2011 will see firms shift to subscription-based business models from advertising and VC funding.

Just as film studios are becoming entertainment content aggregators for the screen(s), so social media networks and hardware platforms are becoming application aggregators (the new short-form content delivery model?) for multi-platform media and entertainment. Look for AP and Reuters to release apps for Blackberry/iPhone/iPad/Android/FB/Foursquare/Kindle, while NYT and WSJ release apps for the same, as well as PC/Mac and Linux. The USER will not permit themselves to be limited by device, and will subscribe to content and app providers who are platform agnostic (within reason).

Finally, brands that recognize that they do not necessarily know it all will reflect a balance between expertise and collaborative engagement, so the industries and consumers they seek to engage will self-identify. Consumers will be drawn to not only these brands’ physical products or solutions but also to the evolving and strengthening reputation of their character. Consumers say, “Listen to my feedback, ill-informed as it may sometimes be, and help me maximize and leverage my faith in your product or solution. Your reward will be my enthusiastic promotion of your offering.”

Seismic shift in marketing

Randall Beard, CMO, Nielsen IAG

cinnov_beardI am currently Global EVP & General Manager at Nielsen IAG, responsible for Consumer Packaged Goods. I have 25+ years global experience across consumer packaged goods, financial services and high-touch service brands, including Procter & Gamble, American Express and UBS.

With approximately 50% of consumers belonging to at least one social network, marketers have had to restructure their approach to engaging consumers and connecting their brand’s benefit to a compelling need. Marketers have begun to view social networks as a significant marketing contact point (and perhaps even more important than traditional channels) for procuring consumer data and knowledge. The advent of Facebook Connect, OpenID, and similar capabilities has enabled consumers to traverse the web and bring their networks with them.

2010 will see significant evidence of a “seismic” shift in marketing: ROI-based advertising and media. This will help brands analyze what really works and what doesn’t in Web, TV, in-program product placement and cross-media. Based on the airline industry’s principle of yield management, advertisers will increasingly be able to place the right ad in the right program against the right target at the right price. For Web advertising, this means that brand marketers will have to consider the increasingly important, and perhaps even dominant role, of online social communities as consumers interact with each other to make decisions about brands, products and services.

More broadly, media targeting and buying will move from simple demographics to more sophisticated psychographic and behavioral targeting. Media selection will begin to move from simple eyeballs to include consumer engagement with programs, as well as ad effectiveness based on context. Marketers will realize that TV advertising is NOT going away or becoming less effective. Instead, they will begin to understand the importance of planning integrated TV-Web 2.0 marketing campaigns, as well as the importance of designing paid media programs that drive earned media, which, in turn, makes their paid efforts more effective.

Finally, driven by digital and Web 2.0, marketing will increasingly move from an annual plan to a real-time, sense-and-respond function. Marketing effectiveness will increasingly be measured in real time, and adjustments will be made “on the fly,” based on ROI metrics. This will drive a fundamental re-ordering of the marketing organization and governance models.

Mobile social networking will grow strongly—Twitter will be acquired

Alvin Chin, Senior Researcher, Nokia Research Center, Beijing, PRC

cinnov_chinSocial networking will become truly mobile. This means you will actually be able to record social interactions in real life and dynamically update them to your online social networks.

ZigBee devices will be on the market. ZigBee is the next big wireless technology that has good bandwidth and extremely low power compared to Bluetooth. The technology is mature enough to make it into products.

Twitter will be acquired. Seeing how (what I use to post to all my online social networks) was acquired by Seesmic, I think some company will come to the plate to buy Twitter, even though Twitter does not want to be bought. Perhaps Google might buy Twitter; they bought Jaiku but then killed it off.

Open and portable social networking. Every social network will have its own API, and, with technologies like Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect, we will see our social networks being brought with us to any Website.

Microsoft’s Project Natal will be deployed as an add-on to Xbox. Microsoft already displayed the promise with Natal using body movements and will challenge the Nintendo Wii. Look for the add-on on Xbox to happen this year.

Pullback from online social networking in favor of offline, newspapers will continue to die off

Coley Perry, Consultant to Owners, Executives, Managers and their Businesses, Chicago

cinnov_perryRevenue models that do not only rely on “eyeballs” will begin to emerge. There are only so many Googles and Microsofts with deep enough pockets to follow the “build it and they will come” and “we will figure it out later” strategy.

Somebody smart will figure out how to put “social” back in social media. The revenue opportunities exist in offline interactions and in REAL LIFE. The Facebook generation does not want to be exploited by advertising, mining of their data, etc. They also will eventually pull back from exposing their data when they realize that social networks are great places for identity thieves, HR departments, parents, relatives, stalkers, etc. Therefore, the offline opportunity will be a great way to create a revenue model around experience, events, etc. As an example, LinkedIn has pop-up networking communities in each of its geographies. What if they would have used their brand to create revenue for themselves by facilitating and providing content for these events. Because they have a subscription model already and additional charge for a worthwhile offline experience would be easy to add to my monthly or annual credit card transaction. Especially if it was an “Expense.”

LinkedIn could begin to brand as the “American Express” of today. Because of their demographic they could begin to build affinity channels and other “value-add” that are off-line focused that could drive revenue. Think the “LinkedIn Card” or the “LinkedIn-side Lounge” a 3rd place for folks to meet and engage. I pitched this to LI when Dan Nye was in charge and they were interested, since the software guys are back in charge they are more interested in building software than building business.

There will be more M&A activity in the content provider world. Ultimately this will be all about content creation and distribution. Web 2.0/3.0 is just a new set of tools on top of the Internet. I used to call my friend on the phone and tell him/her about the party I went to last night. Now I post to Facebook and do not interact with him/her. This content is interesting and possibly valuable (I doubt it).

Content providers like Mashable and Wikipedia will be acquisition targets of those with deep pockets (i.e. Comcast). In addition, journalists of ongoing newspaper failures will have to retool, which will produce new Web 2.0 ventures and content sources. Think about this. The Los Angeles Times’ beat writer for the LA Kings was laid off due the current cost cutting environment. So the LA Kings hired him, and now the LA Kings control their “news.” The print channel is dying, and he can add considerable value to the Kings organization. Does that mean the LA Kings are in the content business? I think so if they want to drive, PR, Marketing, Season Ticket Sales, TV/Radio Contracts, etc.

Traditional newspapers will get closer to official death by the end of 2010. Just like Grunge killed Heavy Metal in the early ’90s.

Advances in facial recognition, decline in value for some social network activities

Bill Burnett, Partner — Launchpad Partners, Change Catalyst, Chicago, USA

cinnov_burnettPerhaps the people who probably profited most from Web 2.0 in 2009 were the Web 2.0 gurus. I think this may continue into 2010. At the same time, the value of social activities like asking/answering LinkedIn questions, and LinkedIn updates will decline due to overuse and misuse.

We may see new players come into the market to compete with LinkedIn, such as clickable graphic user interfaces like Muckety provides. In addition, the capability to use face recognition technology may mean that photos on Facebook may allow the building of connections networks based primarily on photos.

Demands for our attention using Web tools needs to be thought through. People who will stand out in Web 2.0 are those who will appreciate the demands on our attention: they will know when to go after deep thinking, when to accommodate our short attention spans, and when to incent attention.

Slow going in Latin America—iPhone a bright spot

Nicolas Gillet, CEO, Latin3G, San Francisco

cinnov_gilletI have 20 years of technology and management experience with start-ups, and I’ve led the strategy of Latin3G since 2004. We launched a professional social network, iximati, in 2009. Its 12,000 users are mainly in Mexico and Argentina. Some Web 2.0 observations and predictions for Latin America are:

Mobile Web 2.0 in Mexico is still slow on non-smartphone handsets. The best thing we are seeing is the rise of iPhone/iPod in Mexico. iPhone/iPod Apps drive start-ups some revenue because they don’t have to deal with the carrier monopoly.

I am seeing some positive developments in Mexico: in 2009, many barcamps were organized, new blogs launched, and more apps developers entered the market. However, we have a serious lack of business angels or venture capitalists to strengthen innovation.

Digital salespeople, 3D printing and games as work

Ian Hughes a.k.a. epredator, Emerging Technology Consultant, Metaverse Evangelist, Feeding Edge Ltd, Southampton, UK

cinnov_hughes2009 saw me leave the corporate world of IBM where I had brought enterprises into Web 2.0 and into virtual worlds as an emerging technologist and metaverse evangelist. The fact we have so many ways to connect and do business with one another meant this transition was possible, and required. Here are some of the technologies that will see marked adoption in 2010-2019.

Brands crossing digital borders. Organizations will have to increase engagement with people where they happen to want to be online and offline. It will not be enough, as it was back in the early Web, to just leave a website lying around to be found. Business has to become a travelling exhibit, a movable market stall that can be adjusted and placed wherever people are or want to be. Digitally, distance knows no bounds, but firms need more than signpost or banner ads. They need active guides, persuaders, dare I say salespeople? Maybe I am referring to my evangelist brethren though? People who know the territory, have experience and speak the language working for companies, not just as a sideline that the company takes for granted. 2010 starts to see post-recession rebuilding of businesses. In growth they seek change and efficiency. Just as we saw Amazon, eBay and Google arise from the 90’s dotcom crash, is it inevitable we see new players this time around.

3-Dimensional printing. Ten years should be enough for this to become mainstream, as by then the transmission of 3D content and design with the associated rules and regulations, kite marks, certifications, etc., will start to be in place. Why move goods all over the planet when you can make them locally? It really is a no-brainer. 2010 has seen HP enter the market providing 3D printing. The pressures on manufacturing and logistics from green issues to piracy plus an increased digital design literacy will drive this forward in the next few years.

Games as work. Eventually firms will understand that a significant portion of employees will have spent much of their lives entertaining themselves with World of Warcraft, Modern Warfare 2 and even Farmville. Firms will work out that there is no reason for humans to drudge along doing dull and repetitive work for the sake of it. Firms that transform menial tasks (at very little cost) into entertaining, morale-lifting and thought-provoking activities will see significant boosts in productivity. Work and business is a role-playing game. Donald Trump says he is not interested in money, but it helps to use it to keep score. (I guess I need to alter the game I play ;) ). This will of course become a lot easier to do as services in the enterprise are exposed, instrumented, rendered and represented in more meaningful ways in environments like Second Life Enterprise. As with all forms of human communication, some people will evolve and flourish while learning to entertain, inform, persuade and motivate using all the online tools and presence that we are able to engage with today. 2010 could well see a landmark venture, a game experience whose aim is to get work done. There is much discussion of gamification. However the cultural acceptance of what work is will take a few more years as the workforce balances generationally.

Renaissance and access for all. Projects like one laptop per child and local country connectivity initiatives are essential. We currently have a divided society in which many of us are the monks with our illuminated Apple logos enabling us to connect with the world. We have an increasing number of people who are just learning to decipher the history of our writings. They no longer need to hear us read it out loud because they write their own digital histories and, more importantly, their futures. We have a few naysayers that are worried that if everyone has access to this, the world will end as we know it. I mean, people communicating with one another and understanding one another’s cultures, ideas and needs without being brokered by a ruling class! Education powered by global digital inclusion will drive some huge innovations, upheavals and positive outcomes over the next 10 years. It is putting technology in the hands of people—as a tool to use as it suits them, not just for the sake of a cool gadget—is going to precipitate this generational renaissance.

Emerging economy advances in green-powered Web

Jeanne Heydecker, AVP – Worldwide Marketing at Vihaan Networks, New Delhi, India

cinnov_heydeckerAn American high-tech executive with 25 years experience with start-ups, I moved to India two years ago. Juxtaposing these experiences gives me a different perspective on Web 2.0’s value proposition since I live partially off the electrical grid.

Web 2.0’s most transformational potential is empowering disenfranchised people around the world, thereby opening up markets. Connecting the unconnected has become a political cliche, but it is truly critical to lifting people out of poverty, providing opportunities to those who heretofore had a challenging quality of life and few choices. To me, connectivity is second only to a water pump in its significance to a village.

I currently work with a company that is building solar-powered telecom equipment specifically designed for rural areas with unreliable or no electricity. Our systems use very little power (less than a 100 watt light bulb), but they provide voice and data connectivity to places that have had no access to the rest of the world. These systems are typically used by illiterate citizens, so current traffic is mostly voice, and it typically stays within the village and the surrounding area. However, our systems pave the way for entrepreneurs to introduce solar-powered thin clients and servers and establish Internet cafes and charging stations.

This emerging ecosystem opens up new worlds and enables small villages to provide e-learning, e-health and financial education to their children. As these children and their families learn to read and write, the systems will see more broadband traffic. Learning will provide more opportunities and choice. Exposing rural communities to accurate information assists democracy by converting apathetic citizens into contributing and informed voters. We’ve seen sparks of this in 2009, particularly in countries dealing with corrupt voting systems. Rural communities are the next untapped market for wireless communication: the next billion subscribers will not be coming from urban markets.

2009 was the year that green-powered technology was finally recognized as a huge untapped market with unlimited potential. As fossil-fuel based technologies struggle with higher costs and a finite cap on their potential, I see renewable tech as the next wave of support for powering voice/data communications. There are already solar powered phones, mobile chargers and laptops. Open source software like Linux on thin clients that use much less power will become more widespread, particularly in emerging economies in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.

2010’s ICT markets will continue to grow exponentially, with some vendors continuing to focus on the shrinking returns of urban markets. These vendors are not accepting the new economy with its green-powered potential. China and India are the top two fastest-growing markets, and their need for power is huge. The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference did not succeed in making the impact it should have: no one even mentioned the pollution and health hazards attributed to the telecom and internet industries. The renewable sector of this industry will still be a slow starter, even though the technology has been recognized as significant in 2009. Real impact, anecdotal evidence, and significant deployment won’t begin until late 2010, once early adopters report their findings. The paradigm shift to sustainable power is still five years away.

Broad advances in mobile, networks and reviews—a new Facebook challenger

Steve Ghareeb, Business Development Specialist & Revenue Generator, Chicago

cinnov_ghareebA career business development executive, I have helped companies find and realize significant new revenue growth for the past 20 years. Most recently, I have specialized in working with software and hardware startups. I use Web 2.0 sites to stay current with market and product trends and to determine where the next opportunities will emerge.

Web 2.0-enabled collaboration will unlock extensive value, but this will take time. For example, I encourage my teams to launch wikis for prospective clients to share information, status and questions easily during the prospecting process. When we win the work, the wiki seamlessly transitions to a project tool. My Web 2.0 observations and predictions for 2010:

Ethics and Integrity in protecting corporate confidential information will have to take on a greater emphasis, as technology will not be able to address much of the information exchanged over social networks. I believe companies will wake up to this and start addressing it.

Filtering through what is “real” and “what is not” will get clearer in the next year. Not sure exactly how that will happen but believe it will be part technology and part evolving social protocols of what is acceptable in the various mediums.

Clear’s 4G wireless push will drive a competitive upgrade in mobile and residential broadband for both access and speeds by all providers (wireless, cable, DSL). This will create many new opportunities for both business and consumer Web 2.0 applications, especially those that are mobile but require more bandwidth.

Google’s Android will also push mobile apps across the board for all phone platforms. The application development will become simpler and more widespread, and the applications will take off and become very specific to user needs.

Mobile Web apps for input and feedback will make some huge strides forward. They will get considerably easier to find, view and use.

Consumer/Purchaser reviews will explode in 2010. It is common and useful today but not everyone knows it yet. The word is spreading like wildfire. Amazon reviews are a great source of info for virtually any consumer product whether you buy from Amazon or not. I am curious to see what centralized resources develop for the sale of commercial B2B products.

Another social networking tool to challenge Facebook will show up and begin growth with early adopters and the younger generation of users.

Content delivery models will get significantly refined with ROIs based on some sort of revenue. It may be indirect forms of revenue but it will become more measured, studied and accountable.

More media content will become subscription-based, especially in vertically-oriented content delivered via Web and e-readers. Ubiquity of readable content across devices will accelerate.

Government Web 2.0 information, applications and use will also explode. Significantly more useful information. Ironically, this will start with the Federal Government and trickle down to state, county and local levels.

Old media strange bedfellows strike back—mixed results for Corporate Web 2.0

Richard Miller, Ph.D., Marketing & Web Business Strategy Executive

cinnov_millerI’ve been a marketing executive focusing on digital solutions and innovation for over 20 years. I have been constantly involved with helping large organizations build their businesses by adopting technology-driven innovation. Over the past few years, I’ve advised large organizations, small businesses and individuals on the value of Web 2.0 and the importance of actively managing the process for their businesses, their professional and personal lives, and the human factors driving adoption and change.

In 2010, old media will take more radical steps in an attempt to survive. They will form niche alliances that would have been previously unheard of, and they will declare war on the aggregators with creative solutions (e.g., by blocking links to their content—an ‘all or nothing proposition’ recommended earlier by Mark Cuban). News channels and their news organizations will not survive when they strive to look the same—by simply putting all of their content online and giving it away. Newspaper, television and radio Websites have created a sameness that’s unsustainable.

The pillars of social networking, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, will continue to solidify their positions through increased adoption by the public. However, pressures will increase on them to get paid for their services. Some of the pillars’ new paid services will drive consumers to more niche players that deliver value that’s more easily understood by individual niche users.

Large companies will continue to experiment with their social media business models, but in most instances they will see only modest success. However, those companies will begin to understand the emotional benefits that virtual connections provide individuals, and they will learn new ways to better leverage those ties. After all, people are all inherently social creatures who need to connect and engage others through the weak ties and small touches that Web 2.0 provides. We have become both less connected and more connected through the advent of Web 2.0. Companies will place more value and importance on the ‘social’ part of Web 2.0 and figure out better ways to include the lost art of conversation in their marketing plans—the art of listening, learning and sharing.

Strong corporate adoption across the board due to solid 2009 gains

Suzy Tonini, Manager, Member Firm Online Communications, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

cinnov_toniniI currently serve as the communications liaison for 54 Member firms in over 140 countries and with approximately 169,000 employees.

My vantage point for viewing Web. 2.0 is that I work online for a large trans-global firm. Social media and Web 2.0 are breaking down cultural and country barriers to an unprecedented degree. People are meeting each other within the firm in ways that would never have happened before: they are sharing expertise and information, creating a knowledge repository, and being transparent in the exchange of information.

Web 2.0 is important in shaping internal global collaboration and innovation, as well as creating a large brand presence via Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook. These efforts have been beneficial for recruitment, attracting clients and connecting with existing clients. In addition, Web 2.0’s reach and cost-effectiveness have been a huge plus in these recessionary times.

2009 was the year of laying the groundwork for using internal and external social media. 2010 will see various web 2.0 efforts being fine-tuned and much more widely adopted. People’s comfort levels will be much greater, ensuring faster adoption and more streamlined processes. Web 2.0 will be on its way of becoming as ubiquitous as email. The mobile web will also became an extremely important method of communication, as mobile phones and PDAs become more sophisticated while steadily luring new adopters with easy to use features.

Focus is on demand dreation and value measurment

Rob Peters, Chief Evangelist for the Relationship Networking Industry Association (RNIA) & Principal Leader, Banking Practice for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC)

cinnov_petersI serve as Chief Evangelist for the Relationship Networking Industry Association (RNIA). RNIA is a neutral workgroup. We build and maintain the Relationship Infrastructure to facilitate and measure quality interactions between “entities”, including people, job positions, workgroups, products and assets. We also certify people who demonstrate mastery of aspects of the relationship infrastructure. I also have 25 years of business development experience in consulting, technology, & application outsourcing.

Greater focus for most companies will be on demand creation through use of social media & Web 2.0 technologies. The old way of marketing and selling is not very effective or efficient for most industries anymore. Business leaders must have key performance indicators that measure the effectiveness of Web 2.0 interactions and 2010 is the year where adoption and measurement become more strongly integrated. Better use of measurement techniques on the cause and effect of “Earned Attention” in the generation of revenue and profit will top of mind.

Renowned “DRIVE” author, Dan Pink states that in the knowledge economy, people are motivated by greater autonomy, mastery, and purpose—not by carrots or sticks. In 2010, successful companies will be those that can intersect these personal motivations, Web 2.0 technologies, and key performance measurements that result in strong relationship capital interactions that generate revenue and profits.

The rules of the road for developing strong relationships online are rapidly maturing. In 2010, business leaders will begin to see the need for relationship standards so that these intangible assets can be managed more effectively. Web 2.0 technology is not enough without a financial management process overlaying these online interactions. These answers will not come from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), but by Web 2.0 and social media leaders from across the globe.

Sociology will become the new economics

Christopher S. Rollyson, Founder, The Social Network Roadmap and The Executive’s Guide to Web 2.0 & Managing Director, CSRA Inc. & Founder, the Global Human Capital Journal

cinnov_rollysonDigital social networks are one of the most important innovations in human history because they change the economics of relationships. They will disrupt every aspect of human society. I write this to communicate the importance of building competency as individuals and leaders. Too many executives regard social networks as a technology event because they do not understand that the cost of discovering, building and maintaining relationships is falling by an order of magnitude—globally. This will increase volatility and make some products and companies irrelevant with unprecedented speed.

Moreover, the most experienced people within organizations do not understand the social context of pervasive transparency and the new categories of relationship that social networks require. Experienced workers are slow to embrace digital social networks, which are a transformational new tool that will drive productivity through the roof for those that see the opportunity and use it. Adoption within the organization will require awareness of social interaction, which business has formerly considered as peripheral at most. Sociology will rapidly become the new economics.

Analysis and conclusions

Writing as the Editor in Chief, I am very impressed by the diversity and power of contributors’ insights. Depending on where you sit in the web of the global economy, any of these could hold tremendous opportunity or threat to your business.

  • The Euro-centric world that was enabled by the levers of the Industrial Revolution is rapidly morphing to a multipolar world. Ian’s and Jeanne’s insights drove this home.
  • Billions of people are accessing the Internet, and new technologies are emerging to enable them to communicate. Social networks create a digital social context that can bring people together, especially people who are sincerely interested in others and culturally astute.
  • Industrial Economy marketing will rapidly become an anachronism, and CMOs must astutely accept this and turn it to their advantage. Randall, Ken and Richard shared diverse thoughts on this. Tactically, marketers must shift from talking to people to encouraging them to talk among each other. I look forward to learning more about Ian’s digital salesperson idea.
  • There will be extensive experimentation with digitizing sociology, and the RNIA is one fascinating example (disclosure: I was an early contributor).
  • A key means of unlocking the economics of social networks is encouraging many-to-many collaboration, as Ken pointed out. To enjoy the benefits, organizations must enable emergent organization, which is not in their comfort zones. Autonomy is an enabler. It energizes people.
  • Although social networks will ultimately change our world, smart executives will realize, as with all other major disruptions, they must walk a tightrope: adopting the disruption aggressively while managing their legacy business processes and integrating wisely.


The Global Human Capital Journal decodes global transformation trends for CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, and we have focused on Web 2.0- and social network-driven disruption and opportunity since 2006. To celebrate accelerating adoption of social networks, I asked my LinkedIn Group, CSRA Innovation, to participate in this collective crystal ball gazing initiative. I managed the whole process within LinkedIn, with assistance from Google Docs.

This project itself bears testament to the power of digital social networks. Our contributors are extremely limited in time and attention, but the work processes and tools enabled us to make it happen. Some not-so-obvious points: create groups with trust and purpose. CSRA Innovation is exclusively focused on enterprise social networks, and this was our first collective project, which will serve as an example for others. A committed group becomes an expertise platform, which requires some organization to unlock. Moreover, it was an emergent process: asked about the group’s interest, designed the project and put it out there. Contributors delivered!

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Transitioning to a digital news world Thu, 17 Dec 2009 21:51:22 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Transitioning from a print to a digital news world from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaIf I were starting out in journalism today, I’d probably opt to work for a Web-based publication — or start my own — rather than learn the ropes at a newspaper. Because those ropes are becoming increasingly frayed.

We’ve been checking in periodically with young people in the journalism field to get their take on how they’re dealing with the enormous changes taking place in the mediasphere.

One such person who immediately impressed me is Sharon Vaknin, a student at San Francisco State University journalism-logoand a producer/gadget guru at CBS Interactive’s She discusses her entry into journalism, broadcasting and the news business in this 6-minute video interview shot at a busy intersection in San Francisco.

Sharon says she’s “not really worried about” the future of the news business. “Web 2.0 has given us the opportunity to be more collaborative,” she says. “Because online is so collaborative right now, news will never disappear.”

She points to innovative programs like the New Media Lab and Visioning Summit as helping in the transition between traditional print journalism and its digital future.

Watch, download or embed the video on Vimeo

Sharon is one of the producers we hired for the project. We have our first meeting as a group tomorrow to help steer the project forward, and we’ll be brainstorming over the next 9 to 12 months to see what comes out of this experiment. Sharon’s roles will include brainstorming with us over the year year on how to effectively use social media, video and citizen media, facilitating conversations with the community about the participating nonprofits’ causes, and producing media.

All in all, I was struck by Sharon’s confidence in being able to navigate the transition to a digital news world and look forward to working with her as we figure this out collaboratively.


The new journalist in the age of social media (

YouTube’s role in citizen journalism (

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The New Journalist in the Age of Social Media Tue, 24 Nov 2009 18:04:21 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The New Journalist in the Age of Social Media

View more documents from JD Lasica.

New Media Lab brings together nonprofits, citizen journalists, social media experts

JD LasicaI‘m at Day 2 of a remarkable two-day conference that is bringing nonprofits, citizen journalism and social media together in ways I’ve never seen before.

I’m jazzed, hopeful and intrigued by the challenges ahead. The passion in the room is palpable. The 40 people who convened at the Visioning Summit yesterday in San Francisco, and the 30 participants who are steering the program today, consist of some of the most talented and forward-thinking innovators — nonprofit execs, strategists, journalists from the Bay Area, Miami and Finland — that I’ve come across in recent years.

Above is the presentation I gave at this gathering, organized by a group of nonprofits in a project called the New Media Lab (there’s no public presence yet, just a private wiki). And while its focus is squarely on the role that journalist/media producers will play in our project, it can also be applied to the new roles that journalists should be expected to take up in an age of social media if you work for a startup, whether it’s for-profit or nonprofit.

Called Doing Good 2.0: The next-generation’s impact on communication, media, mobile & civic engagement, it looks at the forces driving Web 2.0 and the next-generation Internet, the role of mobile, the new cultural norms that social media is ushering in, and the role of the New Journalist: how we need to still tell compelling stories about people and causes but how we also need to expand our repertoire in this new arena by wearing multiple hats:

• entrepreneur
• conversation facilitator
• social marketer
• futurist
• metrics & research nerd
• journalist/storyteller

Here are some of the questions we’ve just begun to tackle:

Should nonprofits create their own media?

What should be the business model for social cause organizations in the future?

How can the media producers funded by this project work with nonprofits to build a sustainable business venture that connects to their core constituencies?

How do you turn passive audiences into engaged communities?

What happens when you bust the silos that keep us from working together across sectors?

I’ve signed on as a paid advisor to the yearlong project, which will happen largely virtually. The idea is that the alternative, progressive nonprofits — the National Wildlife Federation, National Civic League,, Mother Jones and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy — will assign point people to work with producers selected by San Francisco State’s Renaissance Journalism Center.

Leveraging free and open source tools

Some of the ingredients that will be sprinkled into the project’s secret sauce: use of mobile; an emphasis on social media; use of high-quality video across multiple platforms (Web, cable and broadcast TV); and business plans from Manas Consulting to make it all self-sustaining.

The goal, in a phrase, is to “help non-profit partners find innovative ways to get their members to engage in conversation, volunteer, subscribe, donate and advocate.”

The role of the “New Journalist” — which we’re calling media producers — in this project is paramount: The producers (who hail from SF Gate, the Miami Herald, an Emmy-winning documentarian and others) will be sitting down this afternoon to map out how to weave a tapestry out of all these moving parts.

“This is a project for those who like to play around, who are comfortable with things shifting fast and often,” Jon Funabiki, founder of Renaissance Journalism Center, told the producers.

During my talk I showed off this heart-tugging video from as a compelling example of storytelling for a cause and showed off a suite of free open source and social media tools and platforms. I also pointed to a few ahead-of-the-curve ideas for partnerships:


Among those in attendance: Funabiki; David Cohn of; Jed Alpert, co-founder of MobileCommons; Arthur Charity, author of “Doing Public Journalism”; management consultant Richard Landry; social entrepreneur Ron Williams, and many other smart folks. Jon Schwartz, who runs a string of progressive nonprofits, is funding the project, and Halcyon Liew organized the proceedings.

With a little bit of luck, we’ll figure this out. I’ll report back on our progress in the months to come.

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Takeaways from Blogworld Expo Mon, 19 Oct 2009 23:42:43 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Anthony Edwards

Anthony Edwards of “ER” fame did his first tweet — to raise funds for the first children’s pediatric training hospital in Africa.

Bloggers, journalism, celebrities and what the future holds

JD LasicaThere was a little bit of a SXSW vibe at the just-ended Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas — a communal feeling where the goings-on in the sessions (on the whole, consistently engaging) were overshadowed by the face time and first-time encounters between longtime Twitter friends. To be sure, BlogWorld is a smaller affair than SouthBy — one official told me 1,500 people turned out for the Causes/Activism track on Thursday, 5,000 for the next two days — but from my vantage point, it seems that the social media phenomenon has rejuvenated ones of the world’s oldest and largest new media gatherings.

Twitter was front and center throughout the affair, both on screen — where rolling tweets of each session’s hashtags were displayed (though not consistently) — and as a way for conference-goers to figure out evening social plans. And cameras and recorders were everwhere — here’s my Flickr set of BlogWorld.

Below is a recap of the highlights in my field of vision (see after the jump). In addition, I just posted 8 tips for raising funds online — a recap of the Tools for Nonprofits panel that I moderated at Blogworld — over at our sister site,

Journalists vs. bloggers: Can we please move on?

As regular readers know, I’ve been blogging about journalism, blogging, and the need for journalists and bloggers to love each other and use the best elements of both worlds since 2001, when I started this blog (then called New Media Musings). See, for example, Blogs and Journalism Need Each Other in Harvard’s Nieman Reports in Fall 2003.

So it’s now irritating, and not merely tiresome, to attend a new media conference where too many of the sessions veered into hostility toward traditional news organizations. The audience questions to and reaction to CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon (below), was a case in point.

Don Lemon

Why should bloggers want to work with CNN? Lemon should have more artfully worded his reply — “The plain truth is that my platform is bigger than your platform” — but, with the exception of a few outliers like iJustine or cross-over Twitter celebrities, that’s still true. It’s not about CNN, it’s about reach and bringing value to more people.

The notion that crowdsourced amateur journalism can supplant professional journalism, and actually do a better job — which many in the audience truly believe — is not only ludicrous but potentially dangerous to our democratic institutions. Journalism that ferrets out corruption, that takes the pulse of a community, that sheds a light on international events is hard work, something that the crowd tends to avoid. Just ask anyone toiling in overworked, understaffed independent journalism publications like, AliveinBaghdad, Pro Publica, or the just-launched Oakland Local.

Similarly, I’ve finally found a fundamental disagreement with my friend, colleague and fellow Traveling Geek Robert Scoble. I tweeted my dismay at the bottom-line premise of his panel, How Social Media Is Changing the Definition of News: that news sites should pass along rumors and second-hand reports without fact-checking them. “The old world was i fact-checked before I published, in this new world i can correct it after the fact,” Scoble said.

Immediately after the panel, he cited TMZ’s early report on the death of Michael Jackson and the fact that no one remembers who reported it second. “It’s over. It’s over,” he told me, referring to journalism’s authentication function.

Well, no.

A rumor can circle the globe before the truth can put on its pants, and we’ve already seen examples of discredited reports cascading across our social networks (Twitter, Facebook, email) from people who should know better. (Snopes is a good place to start to fact-check rumors.) It’s a trend that will only get progressively worse in the years to come, and readers need a place to go for separating truth from rumor. I’ve long advocated that news organizations implement a widget-like tool to report on what trusted news outlets have reported, what second-hand sources have reported, and what are flat-out lies, so perhaps Robert and I are on the same page on this. But I’ve seen few implementations of this approach.

There is, to be sure, a growing tendency among the Twitterati and young people to embrace all things real-time and dismiss the hard work involved in actually picking up a phone to find out if something is true or not before passing it along. Passing along a rumor isn’t journalism, it’s what Matt Drudge usually does. Vetting a secondary report — picking up that phone — isn’t as sexy or easy as tweeting “Have no idea if this is true or not but …”

Still, fact checking will always remain a fundamental part of news reporting — whether you’re a professional journalist or a blogger looking to maintain your reputation.

Note: At Friendfeed, Robert says I misconstrued his comments.

Highlights from BlogWorld Expo

I haven’t had a chance to sort through my three days of note-taking, but here are a few snippets:

• It was great to meet Anthony Edwards, star of “ER,” after his general session. (I got several nice shots of him in my Flickr set.) We talked for a bit about how we might be able to apply social media to advance his new cause: Shoe For Africa. He did his first-ever tweet on stage — @anthonyedwards4 touting the #shoeforafrica hashtag. (Nicely done, sir!)

• Wisdom from Anthony Edwards: “As we communicate in this medium, let’s do it as if we’re seeing each other face to face. … Don’t do it with just your thumbs. Do it face to face, person to person.” That received a round of applause.

• Wisdom from Chris Brogan: “Amazing difference between building an audience and building a community. An audience will watch you fall on a sword, a community will fall on a sword for you.” I may add that to my Facebook favorite quotes.

• More Brogan, who spoke a lot about finding the heart in social media: “It’s OK to let a blog die. It’s not a kitten.” … “Tell stories. Take your ideas and make them small and compact and portable.” … “Build armies, make superfriends, equip and embed them.”

• Heard from the folks running the Chicago Tribune’s new network of Chicago area bloggers called ChicagoNow. A praiseworthy effort, with 115 local blogs, 10,000 registered users and 3.2 million page views per month. Here’s why the Tribune launched ChicagoNow.

• Cameron Sinclair: “Don’t spend your life running after Ashton Kutcher” for a social media campaign. Any fleeting bump of interest in getting a celebrity endorsement (if it’s not a sustained effort) will quickly fade.

• Hugh Hewitt on the journalism education program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism: “totally irrelevant.” I suspect he’s right.

• Ted Murphy, founder of Izea (formerly Pay Per Post): “The FTC is saying, Value is value. Whether you’re receiving product or cash, you have to disclose it.”

• Tim Sanders was quoted often: “Love is the killer app.” And good to see the #beatcancer hashtag so prominently featured on Twitter and CNN over the weekend.

• I love everything about Leo Laporte. But a keynote that says “Podcasting is dead” and “We are all now the media, congratulations!” needs some work.

• The Huffington Post surpassed the Washington Post in traffic on Thursday, Robert Scoble reported.

• One word for Thursday night’s dinner at the Italian restaurant Piero with some luminaries from the social good movement: Wow.

• There were some additional outstanding presentations, including SEO/SEM and by Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) on where enterprise trends and where social media is taking us. I’ll be referencing and incorporating those into future blog posts here on

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