Archive for January, 2004
Pardon the self-promotion, but I just linked something up in Convergence Chaser that I think is crazy interesting.
The context is online journalism. The speaker is Martin Nisenholtz, CEO of New York Times Digital. And the really interesting part is this:
But imagine taking a world like Ultima Online — designed for massive numbers of videogame players — and apply it to the real world, where the players are reporting from all corners of the planet. This is a vibrant, interactive real-time view of the world. Users in this context can zoom into the ongoing storyline taking place in dozens or even hundreds of locations. In this context, there is not a simply John Burns reporter in Bahgdad. There is a kind of ongoing John Burns channel that brings with it a continuous record. […]
I’ll admit, I don’t know exactly what this means. But I like the way it sounds, and I love the fact that it’s coming from someone at the NYT. If it were, say, Howard Rheingold proposing a game-like news-o-sphere with “journalist channels” sprinkled around the globe, that would be one thing. But this is the top guy at one of the top online news companies in the world.
Now, Nisenholtz isn’t a journalist. He’s been an academic and an interactive advertising guy. So his vision could be met with scoffs and sighs by the people who actually do the reporting.
But I don’t think it ought to be. As I explain in my Chaser post, I think the idea of journalism as a flow of information — not as a discrete story, which is the “work product” that gets all the attention and acclaim in today’s business — is a strong one. (And I think that’s what Nisenholtz is talking about.)
The popularity of blogs points us in that direction. One of the things (certainly not the only thing) that draws people to blogs is their frequency — they’re like electronic IV drips of information (or opinion, or weirdness) that are always going.
I think the world could use some better drips; just imagine, as Nisenholtz suggests, a “John Burns channel” out of Baghdad, with frequent notes and updates from the man himself.
Somehow I doubt John Burns would actually go for that. But I suspect a new generation of journalists might. Count me in.
Hey, if anyone wants to nominate anything I’ve written for a Pulitzer Prize, I’ll totally return the favor. We’ve got three days left.
Sigh. I sort of miss the days when we could just daydream possibilities, entirely unperturbed by things like “primaries” or “votes” or any other little reverie-ruining nasties like that. Reality has this uncanny way of biting you on the ass.
William Safire is playing fairy godpundit to conservatives, complete with random Hillary Clinton reference.
Honestly, I don’t understand all the excitement among Dems about the prospect of a brokered convention. Yes, it’s nice for the candidates to have an exciting three-way (possibly four-way, but I can’t see Clark going too much further) political race going on, but after March, it would get real old, real fast. The more these three candidates are mired in the need to beat each other, the more they polarize their supporters among each other. Already, bitter-but-defeated Dean supporters have decided they just can’t support John Kerry, so they’ll probably be sitting this one out. I imagine a good number of Kerry’s supporters feel the same way, or will, by the end of an even rougher nomination battle. Whoever emerges from such a bloody fight can’t be in good shape to take on the incumbent President. Can they?
I mean, I know our national attention span is short, but are the months between July and November long enough for Dean/Kerry/Edwards/Clark supporters to forgive and forget their grievances, and rally behind the nominee?
At any rate, Robin was right that the expectations game cuts like a knife. A week ago, Dean was absolutely finished. Then on Thursday, things began turning around, and he had to take second in order to hang on. Anything less than second, and he was done. By Monday, his poll numbers were trending up, and he had to take a solid second to remain competitive, not just edge out a Mo-powered Edwards or Clark. Now, the story is apparently that although his second placing was solid, it wasn’t close enough to Kerry to count as a victory of any sort. Remarkable.
If you ask the History Channel, it won’t mention anything particularly notable that happened on November 18, 1980.
On November 18, 1980, President and Mrs. Carter watch the movie “It’s My Turn” before retiring to bed.
A huge, triangular UFO floats around a 100-mile span in Northern Missouri and Kansas, according to reports.
The sixth season of “Laverne and Shirley” begins with the dizzy duo moving to Los Angeles, ushering in a whole new era of hijinx and hilarity for the popular show.
A 19-year-old gangbanger named Gil Porras is beaten to death by rival gang members in East L.A. Police arrest one man for the murder, Jos
What’s that? Daily news is caught up in the moment, you say, with little or no context to explain what is going on and why it matters?
USATODAY.com is here to help with a State of the Union analysis called “Behind the address: A reality check on what Bush said on key issues.”
Okay, this piece isn’t all it could have been. I wish it didn’t read so much like a dispatch from the Center for American Progress, intended only to debunk and counter-spin.
However, a story that breaks such an important public statement down issue by issue, each one with the subheds “What Bush said” and “Context,” is clearly a big step forward.
I’d love to see one of these pieces (they’re so short and easy!) every time the President — or a Presidential candidate — gives a major speech. Something about the clear division really makes sense to me. I’ve no doubt that many good politics stories contain this information; I just like the fact that USA TODAY makes it so plain.
(Sudden depressing thought: What if USA TODAY has been doing these all along and I’ve been missing them??)
Anyway, props to the authors of this story, and to The Campaign Desk for linking it up.
A story about President Bush (well, sort’ve) from page A1 of The Globe and Mail, presented without comment.
This strikes me as a not-very-cricket lede for a news article:
The U.S. military death toll after 10 months of engagement in Iraq reached 500 on Saturday, roughly matching the number of U.S. military personnel who died in the first four years of the U.S. military engagement in Vietnam.
This strikes me as inappropriate for a couple reasons. I’ll, of course, expound.
1) The WaPo never explains why they’re making this seemingly random connection. I mean, why not mention the death toll from the Spanish-American War? Or why not “…roughly matching the size of The Price Is Right’s studio audience” or something as seemingly arbitrary? Obviously, we know what the WaPo’s insinuating (In less than a year, we’ve racked up the death toll of over four years in Vietnam!!! This war is at least four times worse!!), but they may as well come out and say it, and defend the connection they’re trying to draw.
2) Even though they didn’t say it say it, I think they can be attacked for saying it anyway. The wars in Iraq and Vietnam are similar in that they involved the U.S. sending soldiers to a foreign country, and the similarities pretty much end there. And the Post knows this:
Noting that many Americans polled before the war began said they anticipated about 1,000 combat deaths, Kull said, “There are no signs of the population going toward a Vietnam-style response, in which a large minority or even a majority says, ‘pull out.’ ” That goal has steady support among 15 to 17 percent of the public. …
The casualties remain far lower than those incurred during the 14-year U.S. engagement in Vietnam, when a total of 58,198 troops were killed, including 47,413 combat deaths and 10,785 nonhostile deaths.
So … a lot of people expected at least this many deaths in the first place, and at any rate, it doesn’t seem like 60,000 people are going to die anytime soon over in Iraq. If the Nasra Cong start getting all guerilla on our asses Tet-style, then we’ll reassess this comparison. Meanwhile, WaPo, you can’t have your quagmire and eat it too.