Things of interest you might have missed
Happy New Year! I was out of the country, enjoying the cold and cloudy weather of Paris, but Bloglines on my cell phone kept me up to date while I was standing in line to enter tourist attractions. Here’s what caught my attention:
Saddam’s Execution (Dec. 30)
Lost Remote had the first comments about and links to the video of Saddam’s execution, and followed up here and here. I’m not going to watch it, and so I’m not going to link to it. I do think it provides important evidence that with small video cameras (especially in cell phones), an event can hardly be suppressed today — if there are any witnesses to see it. While I do not choose to view an execution, I think this irrepressibility of information is a good thing.
Information wants to be free — as in free speech, not free beer.
It’s interesting to see how little emphasis was given in American news reports to the fact that the execution was carried out on Eid al-Adha, a very important Muslim holy day that concludes the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
John Edwards, Working the Networked Information Economy (Dec. 28)
Jeff Jarvis comments on John Edwards announcing his presidential intentions on YouTube:
… in a video made by Andrew Baron and Joanne Colan of Rocketboom (who put up their own interview the next day) and Chuck Olsen (who, Andrew reports, is flying with Edwards to make video for the official campaign site). The digital cool doesn’t end there. Edwards tells you to text the word “hope” to a given number to get more instructions; how mobile.
James Brown Dies (Dec. 25)
Music legend James Brown died on Christmas Day. The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a photo gallery composed mainly of its own staff photos.
Brown was born in Augusta, Georgia, and The Augusta Chronicle went all out on a James Brown tribute page. They built two nice Soundslides (produced by Annette M. Drowlette) to honor the memory of the Godfather of Soul — here (local bar owners reminisce; cool old posters; some great staff photos of Brown performing) and here (Brown’s personal photographer, Jimmy Carter — not the former president — reminisces, and some great shots).
AJC.com has a ton of stories linked to their main obit, published online on Dec. 25. (Get an AJC logon at Bugmenot.)
Star Tribune Sold (Dec. 26)
In a surprise sale (with a surprising price tag), McClatchy let a good newspaper with an excellent Web site go to a group of private investors (via Journerdism).
McClatchy, in explaining its decision, said the Star Tribune had been underperforming in recent years.
“The Star Tribune did very well for a few years, but recently it has lagged in performance,” McClatchy CEO Gary Pruitt said. “Large metro papers have underperformed smaller ones because they’ve been more dependent on classified ads, which have been most affected by the Internet. The Star Tribune suffered from that.”
While the sale price is far less than McClatchy paid in 1998, the company will also realize $160 million in tax benefits as a result, making the total benefit to McClatchy closer to $700 million.
Will McClatchy use the cash to buy more citizen journalism sites, as it did earlier in December in California?
Interview: Managing Editor of WSJ.com (Dec. 20)
Mark Glaser interviews Bill Grueskin.
Historically, the august Wall Street Journal’s website has been the antithesis of Web 2.0 and online innovation…. But much has changed in the past year as the American business-news leader has launched blogs, boosted its podcasts, and even dabbled in regular video reports, with 50 new clips added per week.
There is much of interest here, including this:
… one of the things we’re going to do more with in the next 12 months is figuring out how this WSJ.com audience of about 788,000 subscribers, how we can make it more of a community. It’s a fairly distinctive Internet user and content reader, somebody who’s paying money to read the Journal online. Within that group of people, I’m sure there are subsets of people who would be interested in learning from each other, doing some networking, having a community and discussions of some kind.
There you have it, my roundup of the week you might have missed.
While in Paris, I was reminded of how CNN International (the TV network) is about a hundred times better than the domestic version. It’s a total ripoff of BBC International (and not as good), but since I didn’t have BBC International in my hotel room (and I don’t speak French), I checked in on CNN International most days before bedtime. It’s so refreshing to get global news from a broader perspective.
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