Sign of the Times
My brother Peter came across this magazine while stocking up for July 4th weekend. — Michael
This Little-Known iOS Feature Will Change the Way We Connect | Gadget Lab | WIRED -
A new iOS app called FireChat is blowing up in the App Store. But it’s not the app itself that’s causing such a stir; it’s the underlying networking technology it taps into.
If “Multipeer Connectivity Framework” and “mesh networking” sound like complicated technologies from the future, it’s because they kind of are (from the future!!! okay, kidding). But they’re not as complicated as they may sound. The app developers behind the new Firechat are harnessing this new technology from Apple to allow iOS device users to find and connect to one another - and then anonymously communicate - all without needing cellular service or WiFi.
There are numerous reasons this technology could have huge, revolutionary impacts if its successful. While Firechat is now just for exchanging messages and photos, mesh networking could open up the possibilities of a completely independent network for communicating anonymously and privately, sharing files and storing data, and even reaching out from places with limited internet access (think crisis areas, crowded conventions). The implications from this technology would completely disrupt the current cellular service provider system.
The real story behind the war over YA novels -
The Daily Dot: What’s really motivating the cultural panic over The Hunger Games and The Fault in Our Stars?
"Columnists like Ruth Graham seem personally offended not just by the presence of YA, but by the fact that a growing percentage of YA readers are in their 20s and 30s. Graham wrote, “Fellow grown-ups, at the risk of sounding snobbish and joyless and old, we are better than this.” Her simultaneous put-down of YA and confidence in what “adulthood” means is a generational tell, reflecting a sociocultural divide that has significant implications in the changing American landscape.”
Mariana: As a millennial who identifies with this article more than I’d like to admit and a YA novel reader too, I’ve never seen a piece that more accurately pinpoints the problem with the current backlash against YA.
What’s in a Flop: “Injuries” and Writhing Time at the World Cup
Instead, being a journalism incubator means spending time and money developing writers who then take their readership to other publications, then starting to develop new voices, new beats and new audiences all over again. —
In an interesting take on the magazine-as-incubator, Alyssa Rosenberg reacts to the recent news that the (very-loved liberal policy magazine) American Prospect is cutting down its staff and scaling back to a quarterly publishing schedule. Rosenberg points to the long list of all-star journalists who started their writing careers at the Prospect and how—though their careers were essentially incubated at the magazine—their growth did nothing to save the Prospect itself:
Vox.com co-founders Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias may be among the most prominent Prospect alumni, but they are hardly alone. Former Prospect editor Ann Friedman (who gave me my start in culture criticism with an assignment about movie superheroines) is now a columnist for New York magazine. Education journalist Dana Goldstein, Alaska Public Media reporter Alexandra Gutierrez, MSNBC’s Adam Serwer, Slate writer Jamelle Bouie, UN Dispatch’s Mark Goldberg and the Huffington Post’s Kate Sheppard are just some of the many, many journalists who have done stints there.
As wonderful as that roster is, being an incubator publication is a difficult place to occupy in the journalism ecosystem. Unlike Silicon Valley incubators, which stake young developers for a share of their future profits, the Prospect does not get part of what its alumni earn in the future. An excellent reputation and ongoing goodwill do not necessarily translate into piles of cash.
But we can also come at this argument from a long-term and slightly more optimistic view of the value of incubating young writers as Ezra Klein does in his reflection on his own career that began the Prospect’s blog, Tapped:
The combination of TAP’s culture and Tapped’s medium created a place where young journalists could go and experiment with policy journalism on the web. And some of those experiments worked. It turned out health-care policy could really appeal to readers. It turned out the internet loved charts. It turned out that policy writing could be short, or even just a link. It turned out that a conversational tone didn’t destroy the writer’s authority. It turned out that blogs benefitted at least as much from diligent reporting as magazine articles. Those experiments now inform journalism in places ranging from the Washington Post and the New York Times to Buzzfeed and Business Insider. Tapped’s style of policy journalism is everywhere now.
As for Vox, well, two of the three founders are Tapped alumnus. Without Tapped, there would certainly be no Vox.
And in so doing, we realize that when journalism is viewed as a community of public informants (rather than a battle between publishers) the legacy of one publication can and does lead to incredible value.
The Better-Than-Starter Video Kit -
For all those who have Q’d us about where to start with gear, here’s an excellent set of tools recommended by the Director of Digital Media at Columbia J-School.
My video students at Columbia Journalism School are trained on the Canon C100. It is a great camera, but the $5K+ price tag makes it impossible for most to purchase one for themselves. Also, that figure does not include microphones, tripods, and other accessories necessary to produce professional-quality video.
With some compromises in ergonomics and picture quality, the list of gear below should be an affordable alternative for any video student or recent grad. This gear will give you high-quality visuals, clean sound, and reliable stabilization. I hesitate to call this a starter kit, as you can shoot a feature documentary with this set up.
Camera: The conventional wisdom with video gear is to invest in lenses and peripherals. These items will last you years, while cameras get updated and replaced constantly. I still recommend DSLRs for video journalists starting out. They are cheap. Their sensors are big, the low-light performance is fantastic, and they double as great stills cameras (ironically, an often overlooked benefit). I have years of experience with Canon gear, so I recommend their products. But Sony, Panasonic, and others all offer up great solutions. Shop around. This is a great time to buy.
I recommend two entry-level DSLRs to my students. The Canon T5i w/ EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 w/ EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens. The T5i has a flip-out screen, but the SL1 is smaller. In terms of image quality, they are the same. My SL1 is so small that I can comfortably carry it with me everywhere I go.
If you can afford it, I recommend getting the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens. This is my go-to lens for all my documentary work. It is pricey, but it is a great investment. You will grow with this lens. If you do purchase the 24-105, be sure to get the Canon EOS Rebel T5i DSLR Camera (Body Only) or Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR Camera (Body Only) to save some money.
Do not forget to buy some extra batteries for your shoots. You can go for the more expensive Canon option or save some money going with a third-party brand. And be sure to get protective filters for your lenses: the Tiffen 58mm UV Protector Filter for the kit lens or the Tiffen 77mm UV Protector Filter for the 24-105 lens.
Audio: The most important part of producing great video is getting great audio. Audio gear can be very expensive and there are many options on the market. But the gear below was specifically designed to work with DSLRs. This set up will transform your DSLR into a fully-functioning video camera:
- Tascam DR-60D to Camera Essentials Kit
- Rode VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun Microphone
- Rode VXLR - Mono Mini-Jack to XLR Converter
Your mics go into the DR-60D and then that signal is fed into the camera. Or, when you really want to just go small and stealth, the Rode VideoMic Pro can plug directly into your DSLR (as pictured above). Also, the Tascam DR-60D can be used alone as a great field audio recorder.
My most expensive audio recommendation is the Sony ECM-77B - Lavalier Microphone. This is the microphone I use for all my interviews. It plugs directly into the DR-60D. There are much cheaper lav mics available, but IMHO, the low audio quality is not worth the savings.
Support: You need a good tripod and monopod to get steady shots. Tripods go from super cheap to insanely expensive. I recommend spending a little more now for gear that will last you years. I always shoot with the Manfrotto Fluid Monopod with 500 Series Head and Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755XB Tripod. They are not the cheapest options, but you will have them for years.
Accessories: Be sure to get enough memory cards for your shoots. And invest in the Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case to store your precious footage.
I hope this list helps.
Staring at Screens
Glass: How much time the world spends staring at screens
FJP — And via Quartz, with some context.
As we’ve argued, media are best understood as a competition for attention on glass-panelled devices connected to the internet. Phones, tablets, PCs, television sets—it’s all just glass. But, of course, it does matter what kinds of glass are attracting more attention.
Having said that, let’s not forget that in the majority of the world it’s radio, not glass, that remains king.
Four Ways You Can Seek Back Pay for an Unpaid Internship -
Resources worth knowing about. This is part of ProPublica’s ongoing investigative series on internships, which is really fantastic and you can actually get involved with by signing up to be part of their reporting network.
Iranian Spies Pose as Reporters to Target Lawmakers, Defense Contractors -
Iranian spies appear to be engaged in their most elaborate and persistent effort yet to dupe lawmakers, journalists and defense contractors into revealing email addresses, network logins and other information that could be used to collect intelligence.
A three-year espionage campaign, believed to have originated in Iran, has used an elaborate scheme involving a fabricated news agency, fake social media accounts and bogus journalist identities to trick victims in the United States, Israel and elsewhere, according to iSight Partners, the company that uncovered the campaign.
Using fake accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+, the attackers have built an elaborate universe of fake personas bolstered by secondary accounts all for the purpose of garnering the trust of their targets, according to a report issued by the company.
“We’ve never seen a cyber espionage campaign from the Iranians as complex, broad reaching and persistent as this one,” says Tiffany Jones, senior vice president of client services at iSight “The dozen or so primary fictitious personas have done a pretty successful job over the last few years in gleaning thousands of connections and ultimately targeting legitimate individuals through their social media networks.”
The spies also created a fake news organization, NewsOnAir.org, owned and operated by a fake media mogul named Joseph Nillson, whom they illustrated using a photo of Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The news site is populated with articles ripped off from CNN and the BBC appearing beneath the names of NewsOnAir “reporters.” Once those stories are published, Twitter and other social media accounts associated with the fake identities link to them, making the operation appear legitimate.
So, journalism as spycraft. Targets, according to Wired, included “the U.S. military, Congress and various think tanks, along with journalists, defense contractors in the United States and Israel and members of U.S. and Israeli lobbying groups. They also targeted victims in Saudi, Arabia, Iraq and the United Kingdom.”
Recently, In Advertising
"There are things in there editors won’t like, and things in there that publishers won’t like," a Condé Nast editor tells AdAge about the company’s decision to formalize its native advertising policies.
An approximately 4,000-word internal document is currently circulating the company, AdAge reports, that “not only delves into advertising but also provides standards and practices around certain legal and privacy concerns, including how the company will handle consumer data.”
Condé Nast includes publications such as Wired, Vogue, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair among many others.
Other large publishers, such as Hearst (Cosmo and Esquire) and Time, Inc (Time, People and Sports Illustrated), are sticking to more general guidelines and making case-by-case decisions on native ads and their formats.
Meantime, Time magazine and Sports Illustrated are breaking a magazine industry taboo by selling advertising on the covers of their print editions.
As The New York Times notes:
[T]he Time and Sports Illustrated cover ads appear to violate the guidelines of the American Society of Magazine Editors, the influential trade group that awards the National Magazine Awards. The first rule in its guidelines for magazine editors and publishers is, “Don’t print ads on covers.”
"The cover is the editor and publisher’s brand statement," it says. "Advertisements should not be printed directly on the cover or spine."
That said, print newspapers such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal run ads on their front pages, and ads on the home pages of magazine and news sites are pretty much the norm.
"You can either say this is a groundbreaking decision to put ads on covers after 91 years in the business," Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc’s chief content officer, tells AdAge, ”or you can say this is a relatively modest reference that catches up to what’s going on in the industry.”
We go with the latter with the caveat that it will be disappointing when our best magazine covers are covered in ads.
Image: Vintage Youtube by Moma, a Brazilian advertising agency, as part of a 2010 “Everything Ages Fast” campaign.