Month: May 2009

The Impending Demise of Newspapers

We discuss it as if it is a bad thing. I, for one, am not willing to shed a tear if all newspapers disappeared.

A better question to ask is: will the internet spell the demise of journalism?

Absolutely not!! Did logistics die with the demise of the horse drawn carriage?

People are concerned about the well being of journalism because that is what is invaluable to the survival of a democracy. The good news is that journalism is not going anywhere even if journalists and journals are headed for extinction. It is being packaged and delivered in a different bottle as we speak.

The internet has spawned a new model of citizen journalists and a distribution channel that is unmatched in its speed and reach – the internet. People with cameras are everywhere – in places where Reuters and AP can only wish and prey they were! Youtube and a myriad wannabes provide an excellent platform for the dissemination of this news generated at the source – unfettered and unembellished. Nut jobs with cameras are everywhere. Don’t worry about the demise of “reality TV” – we will not miss it.

For the 5 people who read the New York Times magazine – you do have the option of bankrolling that drivel. Go on. Do it on your own time and dime. The rest of us are not going to miss it.

Equating journals and journalists with journalism in the name of “authenticity of information” is a disingenuous argument. Can you trust a single story coming out of a single network? When they are not spinning us – the same story looks diametrically opposite on FOX and MSNBC; NYT and Washington Times. These much vaunted titans of journalism completely missed the criminal Iraq war, the ferocious attack on our civil liberties and still cannot cut through the crime that this financial crisis and subsequent “bailout” is – of course there are a few notable exceptions but if you have to read Matt Taibbi on Rolling Stone then who needs New York Times?

The current structure of news generation and dissemination is rigged – from top to bottom – and our only hope is that the internet will and MUST change that if we are to thrive as a society founded on fairness and equality.

Here is Arianna Huffington’s spin on the topic. Not surprisingly, Ms. Huffington runs an extremely successful blog that makes a ton of money off content from newspapers. Yes, she does provide an invaluable service – links on blogs do lead to traffic on papers/other content providers. However, I disagree with her logic that we are moving towards a links and “not for profit” funded investigative journalism – just because she has funded one such venture in partnership with a non-profit. She has done so because she understands the irreplaceable role of “original” and “in-depth” journalistic pieces.

Now the $64,000 question is: what does this new model for entertainment and news REALLY look like? More on it soon…

Learning from Morons

Leadership lessons can be learnt from ordinary people around us. Believe me, when I say “ordinary” I really mean it. So here are two rock stars and what they have to teach us


Moron 1:

“People don’t understand the dictionary–it’s called queer. Queer means strange and unusual. It’s not like a slur, like you would call a white person a honky or something like that. You know, God is pretty explicit in what we’re supposed to do–what man and woman are for. Now, at the same time, we’re supposed to love everybody and accept people, and preach against the sins. I’ve had some friends that are actually homosexual. And, I mean, they know where I stand, and they know that I wouldn’t have them anywhere near my children. But at the same time, they’re people, and they’re going to do their thing.”

– Joe the Plumber aka Samuel Wurzelbacher  in Christianity Today.

Leadership Lesson: These religious fanatics in the middle east are really dangerous. (If Ohio could be considered the middle east)

Leadership Advice: Crap seems to be seeping straight from your crap mixer through your pie hole. You are a plumber, cork it.


Moron 2:

First semi-nude picture of Miss California was printed right after she cited her “faith” in opposing gay marriage. Her comment to the press:

“I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently, photos taken of me as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid website that openly mocks me for my Christian faith.”

In private, she assured the pageant management that this was the only picture of her revealing her “faith”.

Ms. Prejean – yes that is her name “Pre Jean”; one could not have made this up – sent an email to Keith Lewis, Co-Executive Director of Miss California USA, in which she purportedly claimed “This was when I was 17 years old. I was a minor. It was when I was first getting into the modeling world, being naive, and young. I shouldnt (sic) have taken the photo of me in my underwear. There are no other photos of me. This was the only one I took.”

Then came out the second picture.

Now, it is being reported that her father is gay.

Leadership Lesson: These religious fanatics in the middle east are really dangerous. (If California could be considered the middle east)

Leadership Advice: It seems you do not have a beautiful mind. You are a model, if you must, please ONLY reveal your outer self.

Kindle in the Barack

Well, that is how candle in the dark might sound on Kindle – Amazon’s vaunted book machine. Apparently, the “bookinator” pronounces “Barack” as “black” and “Obama” as “Alabama.” It pronounces “Celtics” with a hard c. The question is: was the coding outsourced to India? Just kidding folks.

The various justifications aside, speech recognition and rendition have come a long way – but is there ways to go?