Check out my latest project CATinWATER

Currently I am working on a multimedia project on the mysterious and endangered fishing cats of Thailand.  Please check out http://catinwater.wordpress.com/ to learn more, as well as Kickstarter to support our efforts to cover this amazing creature!

Out of Touch with New Media – Associated Press Brings a Lawsuit

Assignment #5

"The Supreme Court courtroom" Photo Credit: JenCarole's photostream

"The Supreme Court courtroom" Photo Credit: JenCarole's photostream

Associated Press lawsuits are probably not great for business. Over the years the AP has allowed news outlets to use and modify its content. It is a distributor of news and organizations pay for this service. This content is then talked about, blogged about and out right stolen but until recently the AP did nothing to control the proliferation and modification of its content.

The AP’s new stance is a dangerous one. While it is understandable that the AP is concerned about how their content is used and taken online, this controlling stance will hurt them in the end.

That old saying “ if someone copies you it means they admire you” holds true in new media. Bloggers and users who steal the AP content are in effect giving the organization more online street credibility. Users steal the content because they read it and think it is relevant, interesting, maybe even incredibly wrong and maybe a thousand other things reasons. These users are spreading the AP’s name throughout the web and trying to have a conversation around a subject or article the AP wrote. In an age where newspapers are closing their doors the AP should be flattered that someone is still reading their content and papers are paying to still use their content.

Furthermore, this type of conversation around articles is exactly the type of conversation journalism sets out to create. According to the Society of Professional Journalists the role of a journalist is entwined in the role of the public and democracy. “Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.” Part of democracy is having rigorous public debate around issues of the day.

The AP is treading on a thinly iced lake. As it tries to control its content it risks losing its market base and alienating news outlets. News outlets may start to realize that they could get news content for free from online bloggers around the world. Finally, the AP’s legal battle seems likely to fail because of their failure in the past to regulate content and doctrines such as “fair use.”

Rather than controlling content lawsuit being key to survival of the AP, I would like to suggest that they highlight the lack of understanding by old media model outlets. These lawsuits may be successful in the short term with a good team of lawyers and the right amount of money thrown at it, but the AP may end up with no business to protect.

Journalist Taking Notes Photo Credit:quinn.anya's photostream

Journalist Taking Notes Photo Credit:quinn.anya's photostream

The AP needs to become a more inclusive organization that provides forums for bloggers and contact successful content stealing users and recruit them. The internet is not going away, the AP should stop acting like it is and embrace Google – the most widely used search engine – as away to distribute content. The AP should look to new media models like the Daily Beast and grist.org for ways to incorporate users and share content.

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Birth Control for Pikas?

China is blaming the pika for desertification and feeding the small round eared animals contraceptives.  China says the furry talus dwelling animals eat all the grass and are contributing to the desertification process. Conservationist say pikas are a symptom rather than a cause of desertification.

Read the bizarre article here.

Earth Hour

I am observing Earth Hour tonight by turning off all of the lights in my house from 8:30 – 9:30 p.m.  Across the globe people and relics such as the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge and the Sydney Opera house will also be going dark at their local Earth Hour times to raise awareness about climate change.

Most of the houses on my block are dark but the houses across the freeway still have their lights on. I waiting to see if they go dark in a few minutes. Are you participating in Earth Hour? Tell me how it is going in the comment section below and share your photos.

For more on Earth Hour visit:http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jTPC5ic6tJh9PiHscwgOANkJ17-wD977D4JO1

Update:

Earth Hour has officially ended but we are still sitting in the dark by the fire. It’s a nice change of pace!

Breaking up and moving on

Assignment #4 The state of journalism today

Farewell black ink and recycled paper thumping at the sidewalk. You were almost always there. Almost everyday of the week.

I remember the bad times in our relationship. Me: fast asleep in bed. You: Being carried by the crazy delivery man with his extra loud Walkman and insistence on walking in a straight line right next to all the houses on the block. Me: Now awake at 5 a.m. and angry because I like to sleep.

Oh we had our moments. I remember reading all of your pages on lazy Sundays and I even taught my dog Snowflake to fetch you once. But its just not enough anymore.

It is not you. It is me. See I want more.

To be honest I think we both knew this relationship wasn’t to last. See I was too poor to get you delivered in college and really what was the point? I could get the exact same information online for free and not have to waste time flipping past the society pages and stories I wasn’t interested in.

The web crushed your chances with me. There was no way you could compete with the sheer diversity offered to readers online. And more and more readers are going online, away from you to find news that is relevant to their lives.

Still it is hard to see you struggling. And even harder to see how people plan on saving you. Still searching for answers? See more on why we should move on here. It’s over and now I’m moving on to talk about what these problems mean and why they are happening.

Clearly these changes in the industry have huge impacts on journalists. Many traditional news outlet journalists have just lost their jobs or are dearly clinging on in hopes of not losing their jobs.

“According to Gannett, more than 2,000 positions will be cut across the company’s 85 daily papers. This follows consolidations that nixed about 100 newspaper managers this fall and another 1,000 Gannett jobs through layoffs, attrition and buyouts. Hundreds of these employees are journalists.

Amazingly, in 2008 alone, an estimated 14,000 people have lost their jobs at newspapers through buyouts and layoffs. There are predictions that by 2010, several cities may be without a daily newspaper,” said NABJ

So the question everyone is asking is how can we preserve this ancient newspaper business model exactly or conserve its essence? But this framework traps you and neither of these models will work. The old model is going, going….gone. We need to be asking some new questions that are ahead of the technology or at least with it.

The new model is emerging somewhere online on sites like Grist and the Daily Beast . It is found in nonprofit journalism venues like High Country News and in creative backpack journalists who aren’t afraid to start out on their own or as a collective and deliver journalism. Notice I said “journalism” not “start newspapers.”

This means emerging j-school grads need to be more than just decent writers they need to be “start-upers” who aren’t afraid to build their own online business models to host their work and monitor or edit citizen journalist work.

I think part of the reason we are seeing newspapers fail is a lack of metis. Metis is that certain innovative spirit that is often called genius but is really the result of educated experimentation. Newspapers, as our readings point out, lacked that kind of knowledge when it came to technology and consequently they missed an opportunity to be part of the web in a profitable way.

But that doesn’t mean j-school students should miss out. Maybe we will fall on our faces starting up our own platforms and niche markets or maybe we will be the ones to create a new business model for journalism. Only time will tell.

UPDATE: Colorado Matters just said that Rocky Mountain News employees are going to launch an online only Web site. What do you think will this venue succeed or not?

Old Office

United Trade Press 1978

United Trade Press 1978

New Office

The Office (at home)

The Office (at home)

Photo Credits: Charlie Dave and .Fabio

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