posts about or somewhat related to ‘disruption’

Enhancing Sex with Google Glass
So you can use Google Glass to live-stream and switch between multiple angles during sex. The point is basically to try to do what Google likes to do best. Use design and technology to disrupt at scale. 
The Guardian:

The project started off with the question “how can we make sex more awesome with Google Glass”, says Sherif Maktabi, the founder of the project.
The answer to that question is, apparently, shared live streaming, ephemeral video recording and voice controls for your connected home.
Maktabi, a Lebanese product design student at London’s Central Saint Martins art college, had only one day with the smart-glasses at a hackathon held in November 2013, but development has continued in the months since then.
The cornerstone of Sex with Glass is the shared live streaming: “See what your partner can see… Just say ‘OK glass, it’s time’ and Glass will stream what you see to each other. And if you feel like stopping everything, just ask: ‘OK glass, pull out’.”
"Some people find what we do repulsive," Maktabi says. "But a lot of other people – and I am basing this from the emails we are getting online – really desire to try this. People have fantasies, desires and needs. It’s personal.

Still, there are lots of questions to be answered. 
Image: The Ancient Book of Sex and Science. Because the impulse behind this stuff is certainly not new.

Enhancing Sex with Google Glass

So you can use Google Glass to live-stream and switch between multiple angles during sex. The point is basically to try to do what Google likes to do best. Use design and technology to disrupt at scale. 

The Guardian:

The project started off with the question “how can we make sex more awesome with Google Glass”, says Sherif Maktabi, the founder of the project.

The answer to that question is, apparently, shared live streaming, ephemeral video recording and voice controls for your connected home.

Maktabi, a Lebanese product design student at London’s Central Saint Martins art college, had only one day with the smart-glasses at a hackathon held in November 2013, but development has continued in the months since then.

The cornerstone of Sex with Glass is the shared live streaming: “See what your partner can see… Just say ‘OK glass, it’s time’ and Glass will stream what you see to each other. And if you feel like stopping everything, just ask: ‘OK glass, pull out’.”

"Some people find what we do repulsive," Maktabi says. "But a lot of other people – and I am basing this from the emails we are getting online – really desire to try this. People have fantasies, desires and needs. It’s personal.

Still, there are lots of questions to be answered

Image: The Ancient Book of Sex and Science. Because the impulse behind this stuff is certainly not new.

Current events really only matter to the extent that they can fill this cultural standing wave that’s looking for a particular kind of content to fill it. It means that what’s driving our fascination is more primal or emotional or cultural than it is actual.

Douglas Rushkoff, author of the new book, Present Shock, in an interview with Nieman Lab.

In the interview, Rushkoff gives voice to so many of the things I have been feeling about news consumption: that making sense of news events is increasingly difficult because newspapers don’t fit the bill and live-blogging is confusing as ever; that Facebook invites misrepresentation; that the NY Times consumption experience is becoming increasingly frenetic because they have so many different versions of it. The Wall Street Journal (and I agree here), on the other hand, stays better anchored in time:

The Wall Street Journal has held onto a lot of what the nightly newscast provides, shockingly even with Murdoch at the helm. There’s this sense that they understand. There’s a periodicity to what they’re doing, so they stay anchored in time. The New York Times, on the other hand, it’s so hard to even comment on them, because there are so many New York Timeses happening simultaneously. It’s schizophrenic. I don’t even know how to consume it anymore.

The larger point is this (summed up by Mathew Ingram):

Rushkoff isn’t the only one to notice this: for me, the tension between those two modes of information delivery — the real-time stream and the fixed-in-time reservoir — was best described by Robin Sloan, author and former Twitter staffer,in an essay about what he called “stock” and “flow.” Those terms come from the world of economics, where people are used to talking about stored value (such as cash and other monetary instruments, or physical resources) and the real-time fluctuation in the value of those things: i.e., the trading of currency or the sale of goods.

Sloan said at the time that the idea of stock and flow was “the master metaphor for media today,” and I think he was right. We are all caught between the stream and the reservoir — because we want to be part of the real-time flow, but we also want to capture the value that comes from taking the time to analyze that flow.Atlantic editor Alexis Madrigal wrote about this challenge in a recent piece on the life of a digital editor, but it is something we all struggle with, whether we are theNew York Times or just someone trying to keep up with the news.

FJP: Finding a path through the media madness is a pretty enormous life goal of mine. Looking forward to reading the book.—Jihii

Calling all SF Lady Journos: Meet Lady Media Innovators
Her Girl Friday, a Brooklyn based group dedicated to empowering and fostering community among women in journalism and nonfiction storytelling, is hosting a free event in SF on March 7. We like their mission and their work and have posted about it before. 
The gap of women in media is big and according to today’s Al Jazeera op-ed, it’s critical to the planet. Some facts from the piece:
Between January and November 2012, in a study of 37 newspapers from the New York Times to the Traverse City Record Eagle in Michigan, women were quoted in 20 percent of all stories about the election. 
According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors 2012 Newsroom Census, 34 percent of employees in supervising positions in newsrooms were women, the same percentage as in 1999. 
In TV news, 39.8 percent of the workforce at all stations is women, compared to 32.7 percent of those working at all radio stations. 
On a list leaked last week of 44 journalists who sit on the Pulitzer Prize nominating committee, 28 are men and 16 are women. 
So, in an era of continued disparity combined with digital disruption and incredible amounts of innovation, HGF’s event features four inspiring woman innovators and the incredible work they’ve been doing. Details here.

Calling all SF Lady Journos: Meet Lady Media Innovators

Her Girl Friday, a Brooklyn based group dedicated to empowering and fostering community among women in journalism and nonfiction storytelling, is hosting a free event in SF on March 7. We like their mission and their work and have posted about it before

The gap of women in media is big and according to today’s Al Jazeera op-ed, it’s critical to the planet. Some facts from the piece:

  • Between January and November 2012, in a study of 37 newspapers from the New York Times to the Traverse City Record Eagle in Michigan, women were quoted in 20 percent of all stories about the election.
  • According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors 2012 Newsroom Census, 34 percent of employees in supervising positions in newsrooms were women, the same percentage as in 1999.
  • In TV news, 39.8 percent of the workforce at all stations is women, compared to 32.7 percent of those working at all radio stations. 
  • On a list leaked last week of 44 journalists who sit on the Pulitzer Prize nominating committee, 28 are men and 16 are women. 

So, in an era of continued disparity combined with digital disruption and incredible amounts of innovation, HGF’s event features four inspiring woman innovators and the incredible work they’ve been doing. Details here.

For people who’ve followed me on Twitter, they’ve gotten to know many of the people I tweet about as characters in a broader Arab Spring narrative. You see their ups and downs, the hopes fulfilled and their dreams dashed. But because it’s happening over twitter, you’re not experiencing these stories in the past tense. You’re experiencing them in the present – as present as you can get. And my characters are real people, whether they use their real names or are forced to use pseudonyms for their own safety.

Andy Carvin, interviewed by Jesse Hicks. The Verge. Tweeting the news: Andy Carvin test pilots Twitter journalism.

For those who don’t know much about NPR’s Andy Carvin, this is a good primer. For those who know who he is, you probably know that he has a book coming out too — about his time reporting the Arab Spring on Twitter.

Anthony De Rosa on API Virtue

In this video, we take advantage of Anthony De Rosa’s experience at Reuters to examine how larger news organizations struggle and hope to adapt to major shifts in the media industry.

Near the center of it at Reuters is De Rosa as Social Media Editor (and host at ReutersTV), where he helped figure out how API’s can be best used to distribute Reuters content. Here, he explains what APIs are and why they will play a more integral part of the News industry.

By consolidating content from both multiple sources and among differing mediums, APIs let organizations do more than just publish written pieces and slideshows. They allow them to make a more full use of the Internet.

For more of our videos with Anthony and others in the media industry, see TheFJP.org.

Newspaper owners, struggling with plunging demand and advertising spending at a six-decade low, are squeezing money out of the assets they do have with rising value: buildings and land.

Nadja Brandt, Bloomberg. Condos Replaces Newsrooms as U.S. Papers Sell Real Estate.

From the article:

Newspaper companies are finding they can save money by renting offices outside of urban areas, said Leo Kulp, a New York-based advertising and publishing analyst at Citigroup Inc.

“Newspapers aren’t in the central spotlight anymore as they used to be in times past,” he said. “With the rise of online communications you don’t need to be in center of town. You can pay down debt, raise capital and get cheaper real estate in the suburbs.”

FJP: Selling off what’s unnecessary reminds us of this post by Clay Shirky, in which he recounts the time he counted how many people worked at his hometown paper (hint: he didn’t find many actual journalists.)

Who reads music writing? There’s obviously a core of readers invested in what reviews and think pieces have to say — they debate on Twitter and in specialist havens like I Love Music, on their Facebook feeds and even sometimes in the comment sections. The economics of the web, which are both more directly tied to traffic numbers and lower-margin than those of print, make that audience too small to make any economic sense as a core demographic; readers outside the Best Music Writing-obsessed have to be reached as well.

Maura Johnson, NPR Music. What Happened To Music Writing This Year?

Johnson is on to something, and it’s not just about music writing — it’s about journalism as an increasingly porous activity. Lists and lightweight news bites regularly become the day’s most shared content. And many people who would be receptive to more in-depth, thoughtful content are likely banging out article-worthy ideas in online conversations.

She continues, asking a question all up-and-comers should ask themselves:

And this is where the larger quandary comes in. If the idea is to “serve the reader,” does that mean exposing them to new things they haven’t heard and ideas that might not have been aired yet, or does it mean pivoting off the conventional wisdom in some way?

H/T: Jay Rosen.

Anthony De Rosa on Social Curation

New at TheFJP.org:

In this video, Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa describes the new position of social curation in digital newsrooms. Citing examples like Andy Carvin’s work retweeting and verifying citizen uploaded information across the Arab Spring, De Rosa describes the job of covering social networks as a vital way to keep up with breaking events when you’re sitting halfway across the world.

Breaking news, for the most part, breaks on social media. But it’s not as easy as reading a wire — there have to be people to fact check, double check, and compile the best information from the millions of other uploads that may be misleading, incorrect, or otherwise irrelevant.

See other FJP videos with Anthony here, and be sure to explore TheFJP.org — our new home for video and other (awesome) things.

New Journalism Startup Combines News, Comics
Symbolia’s a new magazine that tells the news through illustrations. Sources are drawn, and quotes get their own speech balloons.
Their first issue is available for free download now, covering the Zambian Psychadelic Rock, Iraqi Kurds, zoology in the Congo and California’s Salton Sea. They feel, in most cases, like longform reads.
It’s really meant for iPads, though you can download a PDF version. Future issues will be priced at $1.99, and Symbolia plans to publish six a year. Android fans will have to wait, Symbolia people said today, but they’ll begin publishing Ebooks in the Android Marketplace.

New Journalism Startup Combines News, Comics

Symbolia’s a new magazine that tells the news through illustrations. Sources are drawn, and quotes get their own speech balloons.

Their first issue is available for free download now, covering the Zambian Psychadelic Rock, Iraqi Kurds, zoology in the Congo and California’s Salton Sea. They feel, in most cases, like longform reads.

It’s really meant for iPads, though you can download a PDF version. Future issues will be priced at $1.99, and Symbolia plans to publish six a year. Android fans will have to wait, Symbolia people said today, but they’ll begin publishing Ebooks in the Android Marketplace.

Syria Deeply, Beat Page of the Future
It’s an incredible idea: one site, one beat. No front page. No sports, no business or finance, anywhere. It’s called Syria Deeply.
It’s about 25% original content, written by veteran Middle East correspondent Lara Setrakian and friends. The rest is aggregated and includes interactives, maps, and contextual material aimed to catch people up on the story without pointing them off site.
From FastCompany:

From a taxonomy perspective, Syria Deeply is the opposite of most news sites. In a traditional news taxonomy, information is divided by broad topics, like World News. Each topic is divided into subsections, like the Middle East. Each subsection is then often divided into even smaller subsections, like Syria. Each section gets smaller and smaller. Topic pages live in obscure ghettos on many news websites: auto-aggregated and ugly dumping grounds for content that happens to be tagged with particular keywords.
On Syria Deeply (designed by Brock Petrie and developed by Soumyadeep Paul and Arindam Biswas, who runs Collective Zen) the topic page is the homepage. Setrakian’s hope is that this site-wide focus on a single beat will allow for deeper, more thoughtful reporting.

FJP: Looks extremely promising.

Syria Deeply, Beat Page of the Future

It’s an incredible idea: one site, one beat. No front page. No sports, no business or finance, anywhere. It’s called Syria Deeply.

It’s about 25% original content, written by veteran Middle East correspondent Lara Setrakian and friends. The rest is aggregated and includes interactives, maps, and contextual material aimed to catch people up on the story without pointing them off site.

From FastCompany:

From a taxonomy perspective, Syria Deeply is the opposite of most news sites. In a traditional news taxonomy, information is divided by broad topics, like World News. Each topic is divided into subsections, like the Middle East. Each subsection is then often divided into even smaller subsections, like Syria. Each section gets smaller and smaller. Topic pages live in obscure ghettos on many news websites: auto-aggregated and ugly dumping grounds for content that happens to be tagged with particular keywords.

On Syria Deeply (designed by Brock Petrie and developed by Soumyadeep Paul and Arindam Biswas, who runs Collective Zen) the topic page is the homepage. Setrakian’s hope is that this site-wide focus on a single beat will allow for deeper, more thoughtful reporting.

FJP: Looks extremely promising.

A year ago today I walked out of the News & Record for the last time as editor. Twenty-seven years there, 13 of them as editor. It was a good run. But I wish I had been smarter. After a year as a civilian newspaper reader, I realize how often I worked on the wrong things.

John L. Robinson in Journalism, One Year Later. He reflects very honestly on what he could have done differently at the newspaper. 

The highlights: 

1. On Content

We spent time and precious resources on stories that didn’t matter much to most readers. We should have been writing stories that compelled people to read them. We didn’t do enough investigative pieces. We didn’t do enough good reads. We didn’t do enough of what readers valued.

2. On Digital Innovation:

We didn’t build an inviting, informative, smart community, which is dumb of us because newsrooms are places where smart, creative, fun people work.

3. On Listening:

Had we met with members of the community — readers and non-readers – to listen, learn and improve every other month, perhaps we wouldn’t be in as much trouble as we are.

Anthony De Rosa: Learn by Doing

We’re all up-and-comers, in one way or another. And whether it’s as a reporter or a developer, those who want to be a part of the journalism industry from now on will need several (or in some cases, many) technology-based skills.

In this video, Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa tells us some of his early professional history — how he got into coding as a side-job, which led him to learn a few Adobe programs. He learned by doing, which is the first important thing to remember. The second: he learned from others, through networking and informal mentorships.

Increasingly, you’ll grow your professional skill set with the help of friends and through colleagues, not institutional processes. You won’t necessarily be assigned or told what you’ll need to know. Follow your interests, and reach out to those who are a few steps ahead. They’ll help you, and you’ll help them.

The best part? All the time you spent playing in Photoshop may look good on your CV.

See our other video with Anthony here, and check back for another later this week.

Anthony De Rosa: Why Newsrooms Should Poach Tech and Startup Talent

Anthony De Rosa is Reuters’ Social Media Editor, where he’s also a columnist and host at ReutersTV. We sat down with him to discuss where the tech and news communities meet and, increasingly, overlap.

Being that the news industry has more than a few business problems these days, Anthony suggests hiring outside help. By choosing Craigslist, Groupon and Facebook as examples of places from which to steal employees, De Rosa makes a solid point: go where the success is, and learn from the people that have done smart things in the more turbulent and burgeoning media landscapes.

Anthony also discusses what news life is like at Reuters, which we’ll dive into in more detail over the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

And for more FJP videos, see our new site, theFJP.org.

We need, in short, to pay attention to the materiality of algorithmic processes. By that, I do not simply mean the materiality of the algorithmic processing (the circuits, server farms, internet cables, super-computers, and so on) but to the materiality of the procedural inputs. To the stuff that the algorithm mashes up, rearranges, and spits out.

CW Anderson, Culture Daily. The Materiality of Algorithms.

In what reads like a starting point for more posts on the subject, CUNY Prof Chris Anderson discusses what documents journalists may want to design algorithms for, and just how hard that task will be.

Algorithms doing magic inside massive data sets and search engines, while not mathematically simple, are generally easy to conceptualize — algorithms and their data are sitting in the computer, the algorithm sifts through the excel sheet in the background and bam! you have something.

But if you’re working with poorly organized documents, it’s difficult to simply plug them in.

Chris writes that the work required to include any document in a set will shape the algorithm that makes sense of the whole bunch. This will be a problem for journalists who want to examine any documents made without much forethought, which is to say: government documents, phone records from different companies and countries, eye witness reports, police sketches, mugshots, bank statements, tax forms, and hundreds of other things worth investigating.

Chris quotes Jonathan Stray’s trouble preparing 4500 docs on Iraqi security contractors:

The recovered text [from these documents] is a mess, because these documents are just about the worse possible case for OCR [optical character recognition]: many of these documents are forms with a complex layout, and the pages have been photocopied multiple times, redacted, scribbled on, stamped and smudged. But large blocks of text come through pretty well, and this command extracts what text there is into one file per page.

To read the rest of Stray’s account, see his Overview Project.

And to see more with Chris Anderson, see our recent video interviews with him.