Posts tagged with ‘David Carr’

Beating up on [cable news’] excesses is like riding down the hill after a bloody battle and shooting the wounded.

David Carr, New York Times. Parodying Cable News With a Talk About Race.

Background:

On Tuesday night on MSNBC’s “All In,” Chris Hayes had a very direct conversation about race with the Gawker writer Cord Jefferson. Prompted by a news report of a group of young people in Huntington Beach, Calif., who looted and vandalized property, the pair lamented the lack of community leadership and suggested that acting out in that manner was a learned behavior.

It was a joke. Actually, there were two beats to the joke. The young people they were talking about were white. And the whole discussion was a put-on, a satire meant to show how lame the hoary race tropes of cable news have become.

As a comedy bit, it was very well done. Both men were straight-faced and earnest. Mr. Hayes, tapping his inner Bill O’Reilly, did a fine job of bloviating his way through an introduction heavy with outrage: “The story of the white criminal culture is not a story the mainstream media will tell you. But once you scratch the surface, these stories are everywhere you look.”

If you haven’t seen the segment, it’s well worth the five minutes to watch typical cable news tropes turned on their head.

MSNBC, When will moderate whites condemn dangerous White Culture?

Carr’s analysis of the segment hits the usual notes: cable’s inability (or unwillingness) to present nuance, and its manufactured outrage as it fills a 24 hour news hole. But he also discusses the very real effect of a (mostly younger) audience used to the news as presented by The Daily Show and Colbert Report, writing, “MSNBC was temporarily acting as a kind of self-cleaning oven, parodying the excesses of cable from a very near distance.”

For his part, Hayes tells Carr, “The biggest challenge is to find a way to surprise viewers and subvert expectations. The format is in need of evolution.”

Subvert away.

You have to make stuff. The tools of journalism are in your hands and no one is going to give a damn about what is on your resume, they want to see what you have made with your own little fingies. Can you use Final Cut Pro? Have you created an Instagram that is about something besides a picture of your cat every time she rolls over? Is HTML 5 a foreign language to you? Is your social media presence dominated by a picture of your beer bong, or is it an RSS of interesting stuff that you add insight to? People who are doing hires will have great visibility into what you can actually do, what you care about and how you can express on any number of platforms.

— David Carr, media columnist for the New York Times, via yesterday’s Reddit IAmA.

When I first got here and was watching the page one meeting, I’d watch them decide what were going to be the six most important stories in the western world for the following day’s paper. Meanwhile the web’s above their heads, where all stories are becoming interchangeable. I thought, ‘Oh, this is so silly to blow a whistle and say, “Stop! These are the stories worth your attention.’”

But now that I’m bathed in information every single day and stuff is wooshing by me, I kind of love the full-stop arrangement of stories on The New York Times. A lot of times I wake up and think about the day that’s just passed and wonder, ‘What was that? What happened?’ A lot of stuff, and I can’t really tell which part of it was important.
The easy lesson might be that journalism is not a game of bean bag, and it would be best left to professionals. But we are in a pro-am informational world where news comes from all directions. Traditional media still originate big stories, but many others come from all corners — books, cellphone videos, blogs and, yes, radio shows built on storytelling.

Theater, Disguised Up as Real JournalismNew York Times media pundit David Carr, characteristically keen as ever, cuts to the heart of the Mike Daisey / Apple / This American Life affair. (via explore-blog)

FJP: And, perhaps, an example of why James H. Smith is so angry.

(Source: , via explore-blog)

The Ethics of Linking II: In Which We Weigh In on the Curator’s Code.
In a previous post, the Ethics of Linking, I discussed news organizations’ linking obligations. For example, when reporting a story, should organizations have to say who first broke the news? A hat tip is always polite, but don’t overwhelm your reader with links they don’t need to click-through.
The debate continues its way to the blogosphere and at SXSW Interactive festival, nestled itself upon the roundtables of curators and aggregators. David Carr reports on two new efforts to standardize digital content aggregation. The first, spearheaded by Simon Dumenco, along with reps from key digital publications, is a Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation. The second is Maria Popova and Kelli Anderson’s latest project: The Curator’s Code, which offers two unicode characters for attribution (ᔥ means “via”, ↬ means “hat tip”) that are easily pluggable in a post through a bookmarklet.
Yesterday, Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper, argued that codifying “via” links is confusing and misguided. He writes:

That’s how I feel about links in general: the source author creates something worth linking to, and the rest of us can link as we see fit, regardless of how we found it. The proper place for ethics and codes is in ensuring that a reasonable number of people go to the source instead of just reading your rehash. (via Marco.org)

Marco thinks in-line links are sort of useless, because no one really clicks on them anyway. Agreed. 
My personal take: Through my time at FJP and around tumblr, I’ve learned to credit a source with an in-line link if it’s not totally necessary to click on it and I’m definitely summarizing the key/relevant point in my post. After quotes or extended paraphrasing, I’ll stick in a via link. For thumbs-up to an organization or reporter that really deserves credit for starting up a conversation, I’ll stick in a hat tip. It would be great if symbols were standardized for these purposes, but at the moment, they do seem confusing and as much as I love bookmarklets, my collection is getting a little too big. 
In the spirit of helping internet journalism toward a clear and healthy future, at the FJP, we’re all for transparent links, complete with the letters “via” or “h/t”. 
Michael weighs in:

It’s not just a matter of giving transparent credit where credit is due. Transparent linking, and clearly spelling out to our readers where we’re getting our ideas from, is part of a larger effort to expose our audience to valuable primary sources that they may not know about and will hopefully begin to include in their future media diet.

To that I’ll add one thought. Credit and clarity aren’t simply the ingredients of good internet etiquette; rather, they are a means of adding value to our internet expeditions, and for journalism to continue to be a public service in the digital era, it might help to think of a blogger’s linking style as yet another tool that can reveal (or hide) much, and thus be harnessed for good communication.  - Jihii
Image: Screenshots from the FJP Tumblr

The Ethics of Linking II: In Which We Weigh In on the Curator’s Code.

In a previous post, the Ethics of Linking, I discussed news organizations’ linking obligations. For example, when reporting a story, should organizations have to say who first broke the news? A hat tip is always polite, but don’t overwhelm your reader with links they don’t need to click-through.

The debate continues its way to the blogosphere and at SXSW Interactive festival, nestled itself upon the roundtables of curators and aggregators. David Carr reports on two new efforts to standardize digital content aggregation. The first, spearheaded by Simon Dumenco, along with reps from key digital publications, is a Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation. The second is Maria Popova and Kelli Anderson’s latest project: The Curator’s Code, which offers two unicode characters for attribution (ᔥ means “via”, ↬ means “hat tip”) that are easily pluggable in a post through a bookmarklet.

Yesterday, Marco Arment, creator of Instapaper, argued that codifying “via” links is confusing and misguided. He writes:

That’s how I feel about links in general: the source author creates something worth linking to, and the rest of us can link as we see fit, regardless of how we found it. The proper place for ethics and codes is in ensuring that a reasonable number of people go to the source instead of just reading your rehash. (via Marco.org)

Marco thinks in-line links are sort of useless, because no one really clicks on them anyway. Agreed.

My personal take: Through my time at FJP and around tumblr, I’ve learned to credit a source with an in-line link if it’s not totally necessary to click on it and I’m definitely summarizing the key/relevant point in my post. After quotes or extended paraphrasing, I’ll stick in a via link. For thumbs-up to an organization or reporter that really deserves credit for starting up a conversation, I’ll stick in a hat tip. It would be great if symbols were standardized for these purposes, but at the moment, they do seem confusing and as much as I love bookmarklets, my collection is getting a little too big.

In the spirit of helping internet journalism toward a clear and healthy future, at the FJP, we’re all for transparent links, complete with the letters “via” or “h/t”.

Michael weighs in:

It’s not just a matter of giving transparent credit where credit is due. Transparent linking, and clearly spelling out to our readers where we’re getting our ideas from, is part of a larger effort to expose our audience to valuable primary sources that they may not know about and will hopefully begin to include in their future media diet.

To that I’ll add one thought. Credit and clarity aren’t simply the ingredients of good internet etiquette; rather, they are a means of adding value to our internet expeditions, and for journalism to continue to be a public service in the digital era, it might help to think of a blogger’s linking style as yet another tool that can reveal (or hide) much, and thus be harnessed for good communication.  - Jihii

Image: Screenshots from the FJP Tumblr

The End of WikiLeaks as we Know it? →

Via David Carr, New York Times:

[T]he primary threat to the future of WikiLeaks and other like-minded organization has less to do with hacker zeal or organizational specifics than it does with information dynamics. It is as basic as supply and demand: There has never been a shortage of willing recipients of classified or private information that has significant news value, but leakers with both the motivation and access are far more rare. A great deal of leaking takes place on a retail basis, as any city hall reporter will tell you. But giant data dumps don’t happen often because many factors have to align: an aggrieved party; access to a large, consequential stash of documents that are of public importance; and a gap in security big enough to allow the lifting of such documents.

Let’s concede that WikiLeaks, whatever its excesses, represented a genuinely new paradigm for transparency and accountability. It became a fundamentally different and powerful whistle, one that could be blown anonymously — or not, as it turned out — to very remarkable effect. Whistle-blowers in possession of valuable and perhaps incriminating corporate and government information now had a global dead drop on the Web. Traditional news organizations watched, first out of curiosity and then with competitive avidity, as WikiLeaks began to reveal classified government information that in some instances brought the lie to the official story.

But while WikiLeaks reduced the friction in leaking secret documents, it did not reduce the peril to those who might choose to do so. Part of the promise of WikiLeaks was that it would eliminate digital fingerprints. While those efforts seemed to work, military prosecutors were nonetheless able to tag Pfc. Bradley E. Manning as a suspect using traditional investigative measures.  Private Manning, who is accused of leaking many of the more important WikiLeaks documents, is being held in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., accused of “aiding the enemy.” His presence there is a stark reminder that despite campaign promises about openness and transparency in governing, the Obama administration has a very hard-line approach when it comes to state secrets, one that has not only affirmed the Bush administration’s approach, but has done so with renewed focus. Just 17 months into his administration, President Obama had already prosecuted more alleged leakers than any of his predecessors.

A few notes: Carr points out that individual news organizations have followed the WikiLeaks lead and implemented anonymous-style drop boxes for whistleblowers to submit documents to. Notably, the New York Times, Al Jazeera and the Wall Street Journal. In theory, this means that if WikiLeaks as an organization doesn’t survive the idea it spawned will. 

However, the promise (or the threat, depending on perspective) of WikiLeaks is that it bypassed the guardianship of traditional news publishers in determining what was news. And as a stateless operation, it didn’t withhold information that a national news organization might because of national security “sensitivities”.

WikiLeak alternatives have sprung up, of course. OpenLeaks is the most well known but industry and state specific versions are now available as well. These include TradeLeaks, BalkanLeaks and RuLeaks (Russia) among others.

As news surges on the Web, giant ocean liners like AOL and Yahoo are being outmaneuvered by the speedboats zipping around them, relatively small sites that have passionate audiences and sharply focused information.

David Carr, The New York Times, News Trends Tilt Toward Niche Sites.

Carr writes that Internet scale used to matter as companies like AOL and Yahoo cast a general interest net far and wide in order to create a “frame” around Web content. 

However, these companies are no longer the frame. Instead, the browser is, and news readers and viewers know exactly how to manage their media diets.

Now, instead of big general interest sites, small hyperfocussed, niche content sites are running circles around them because they can shift quickly without bureaucratic friction slowing them down.

"Innovation usually requires the “two pizza rule” — a working group should be no larger than one that could be well fed by two pies — with the emphasis on lightweight hierarchy, rapid decisions and constant reiteration of those decisions as the market responds," Carr writes. "When that kind of approach is suddenly plopped into a huge, heaving bureaucracy, everything that made the brand cool in the first place and the site a good place to work seems to evaporate."

Ready for His Digital Close-Up: The NYT’s Media Dude, David Carr, Talks About “Page One” →

“Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times,” a documentary is by Andrew Rossi, follows reporters and editors at the famed newspaper as the media landscape shifts dramatically due to the impact of digital technologies…

(Source: al thonged.com)

A big part of the reason he is such an effective aggregator for both audiences and news sites is that he actually acts like one. Behemoth aggregators like Yahoo News and The Huffington Post have become more like fun houses that are easy to get into and tough to get out of. Most of the time, the summary of an article is all people want, and surfers don’t bother to click on the link. But on The Drudge Report, there is just a delicious but bare-bones headline, there for the clicking. It’s the opposite of sticky, which means his links actually kick up significant traffic for other sites.

— David Carr of The New York Times on how the Drudge Report has remained one of the most powerful drivers of referral traffic to news outlets for more than 14 years. 

(Source: The New York Times)

Gannett’s flagship, USA Today, is a once-robust national newspaper but has lost 20 percent of its circulation in the last three years. About a week ago, I was at the Marriott in Detroit, and as I stepped over the newspaper at my door as I usually do, I then wondered why. It occurred to me that everything in that artifact that would be useful for me — scores from the teams I follow, a brief on big news and a splash of entertainment coverage — I had already learned on my smartphone and tablet before leaving the room.

New York Times media critic David Carr explores the troubles the publisher Gannett finds itself in, including the symbolically unsavory bonuses it gave it executives while putting its reporters on furlough. 

David Carr, New York Times, At Gannett, Furloughs but Nice Paydays for Brass