Posts tagged with ‘innovation’

Well, Project X may now be called Vox, but the great VC-backed media blitz of 2014 is staffed up and soft-launching, and it looks a lot more like Projects XY. Indeed, it’s impossible not to notice that in the Bitcoin rush to revolutionize journalism, the protagonists are almost exclusively – and increasingly – male and white.

To be sure, the internet has presented journalists with an extraordinary opportunity to remake their own profession. And the rhetoric of the new wave of creativity in journalism is spattered with words that denote transformation. But the new micro-institutions of journalism already bear the hallmarks of the restrictive heritage they abandoned with such glee. At the risk of being the old bat in the back, allow me to quote Faye Dunaway’s character from Network: “Look, all I’m saying is if you’re going to hustle, at least do it right.”

A History of Documentary + Technology
If you didn’t check it out last year, MIT’s Open Documentary Lab and IDFA’s DocLab created a fantastically visual history of documentary in Moments of Innovation. It’s an interactive site that covers various histories of innovation in documentary such as location-based documentary, beginning with Sanborn fire insurance maps in 1867 and ending with Arcade Fire’s music video, The Wildnerness Downtown, or participatory documentary, beginning with the brownie camera and ending with #18daysinEgypt. 
They explain:

We are interested in history, in connecting the dots between our latest endeavors and those conceptual pioneers and technological prototypes that came before them. We consider innovation both in the creative application of new technologies and in the creative impulse that lead documentarians to invent new technologies.
We are interested in continuities and disruptions, in tracking down origins and inspirations. Although our theme is evolutionary, we do not assume that recent instances are better than earlier ones – they are different, and our goal is to recall those earlier instances, to learn from and to celebrate them.

FJP: Totally interesting to explore. And feel free make suggestions for innovative moments to be added. And here’s an LA Times review.

A History of Documentary + Technology

If you didn’t check it out last year, MIT’s Open Documentary Lab and IDFA’s DocLab created a fantastically visual history of documentary in Moments of Innovation. It’s an interactive site that covers various histories of innovation in documentary such as location-based documentary, beginning with Sanborn fire insurance maps in 1867 and ending with Arcade Fire’s music video, The Wildnerness Downtown, or participatory documentary, beginning with the brownie camera and ending with #18daysinEgypt. 

They explain:

We are interested in history, in connecting the dots between our latest endeavors and those conceptual pioneers and technological prototypes that came before them. We consider innovation both in the creative application of new technologies and in the creative impulse that lead documentarians to invent new technologies.

We are interested in continuities and disruptions, in tracking down origins and inspirations. Although our theme is evolutionary, we do not assume that recent instances are better than earlier ones – they are different, and our goal is to recall those earlier instances, to learn from and to celebrate them.

FJP: Totally interesting to explore. And feel free make suggestions for innovative moments to be added. And here’s an LA Times review.

In Which Television, Bob Dylan and Interactivity Collide
A new interactive music video for Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone has been making the rounds and is absolutely fantastic. WATCH here.
Slate:

The video has 16 channels—with plans for more, Mashable reports. You can toggle between them as the song progresses, and on each one, you’ll find people mouthing the words to the Dylan classic. There’s Steve Levy on SportsCenter singing along. There’s Marc Maron berating some poor podcast guest with Dylan’s lyrics. Drew Carey lip syncs on the set of The Price Is Right. And so on.
The video was created by Interlude and directed by young YouTube sensation Vania Heymann. Its premiere is timed with the release of The Complete Album Collection, Vol. 1, a massive new Dylan box set. 

FJP: Want more? Another favorite interactive video of ours is Danish denim brand Only Jeans’ shoppableinteractive film Only Because We Can. It’s incredible.
Image: (One of) The 8 Most Unusual Screenshots from Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Music Video, Vanity Fair.

In Which Television, Bob Dylan and Interactivity Collide

A new interactive music video for Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone has been making the rounds and is absolutely fantastic. WATCH here.

Slate:

The video has 16 channels—with plans for moreMashable reports. You can toggle between them as the song progresses, and on each one, you’ll find people mouthing the words to the Dylan classic. There’s Steve Levy on SportsCenter singing along. There’s Marc Maron berating some poor podcast guest with Dylan’s lyrics. Drew Carey lip syncs on the set of The Price Is Right. And so on.

The video was created by Interlude and directed by young YouTube sensation Vania Heymann. Its premiere is timed with the release of The Complete Album Collection, Vol. 1, a massive new Dylan box set.

FJP: Want more? Another favorite interactive video of ours is Danish denim brand Only Jeans’ shoppableinteractive film Only Because We Can. It’s incredible.

Image: (One of) The 8 Most Unusual Screenshots from Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Music Video, Vanity Fair.

LEGO Your Phone

Dave Hakkens, a designer from the Netherlands, has an idea to counter the planned obsolescence of our phones. He calls it Phonebloks and envisions modular components that can be snapped together based on an owner’s desires for a phone. More importantly, it counters the vast amount of electronic waste created by our discarded phones.

Via Phonebloks:

The market of electronic devices is growing rapidly, but it feels like we are building disposable stuff. Every time we make something new we completely throw away the old one. Imagine all the good displays, bluetooths and speakers we have thrown away. I love the connected world where we live in and it’s time to set up a universal modular platform where companies work on together.

Phonebloks is a concept. There’s no Kickstarter-type crowdfunding going on. As Hakkens explains, the idea is too much for one company. Instead, he wants multiple companies (the component makers) to buy into the idea. Consider this a very aspirational and clever way to tackle a very serious problem.

So, instead of crowdfunding to make the phone, Hakkens is using Thunderclap to generate social buzz and hopefully draw companies’ interest to the idea by showing how popular it could be.

Currently, over 375,000 people have signed up for the Thunderclap campaign. If you’d like to add your (social) voice to the mix, you can do so here.

The economics of a conference are astounding – create something extraordinary, and people will pay anything to be there. TED costs $7500 to attend, and they have a waiting list of thousands.

Advertising consultant Cindy Gallop, as quoted in Digiday’s Can Conferences Save The Media Industry?

“Saying the conference industry has exploded is not an exaggeration,” David Adler, founder of BizBash said. “The industry has increased tenfold in the past few years. Twenty percent of marketing budgets in general are face-to-face events.”

The most successful include the likes of the relatively new, small and blue chip events All Things D, TED and the Founders Conference. All three are held up by people involved in conference industry as the way to do a perfect event: invite only exclusive, interesting and innovative people.

But not every conference can become TED. In fact, there may even be too many conferences. Every magazine, newspaper (with a few notable exceptions) and website seems to want to throw an event. Some do it well, while others flail miserably in a sad attempt to mimic their more successful counterparts.

MegaNews: A Modern-day Newsstand

via bigthink:

MegaNews Magazines is up and running in Stockholm, hoping to change the modern media landscape. The newsstand kiosk allows for on the spot, high quality, color prints of a wide range of magazines and periodicals (200 at present). 

[…] The machine (which takes up space of less than 4 square meters) allows customers to choose the publication they want to buy via a touchscreen, pay with a credit card, and get a copy, printed on the spot, in two minutes. The newsstand is connected to the internet and can download upon request the latest pdf files from any partner publisher’s server.

According to Stefan Melesko, a lecturer in Media Economics, 10% of the entire cost structure for most publications consists of distribution costs. In addition, publishers produce a surplus of copies, at times being unable to sell up to 30-40% of them and accruing additional expenses for handling the returns. On-demand printing newsstands like Meganews Magazines can save publishers money on printing and distribution. They can also help them reach customers whenever and wherever, while giving them real time feedback on sales.

Images: YouTube, Stills of MegaNews Magazines video

If You Love to Create, You Should Create

I’ve recently become obsessed with a food+writing blog called Pupcaked, created with a lot of love and patience by my good friend Zoe. She’s a fantastic cook, journalist, photographer and writer. In her own beautiful words about the project:

Currently, I am taking residence in my hometown, New York, and baking from a small kitchen with a city window… As both a writer and maker of food, I am led to understand that eating is made from both loud and quiet, in an utterance of everywhere and anywhere that life can be savoured — the “journalist” in me will do all that she can to avoid interrupting its serene gaze that’s greased gently with a kind of grace known only to those patient enough to taste it.

In short, “Pupcaked” is an experiment in food-making, food-loving and food culture. I hope that you will join me.

I share it here because I think it represents something worth thinking about: if you love creating, you should create. You should work hard at it, block off a little bit of time each day to dive deeply into it, and you should love it. Zoe cooks, photographs and writes. 

We get a lot of questions from our readers about how to break into journalism, about the correct steps to take to secure a great internship, about how to become a writer or blogger. Our answer is always the same: do it. To quote Michael in his response to one such question

So, you say you want to be a writer but there’s nothing available in your area. In that case, make something available to yourself.

There are stories everywhere. There are stories where there are lots of people. There are stories where they are no people. There are great stories about topics other than people.

So start writing them. Choose something that you’re passionate about. If it’s a character who lives down the street, approach him and ask if you can interview and write about him. If he asks why, and what for, say simply, “I like to write.”

Some people will say no but you’ll be surprised by how many people say yes. People are wonderful that way.

And if your passion is for a subject or topic that requires more discrete expertise, say science or medicine or art or local politics, start reading up and then start calling people up (eg, at local colleges, businesses, governmental agencies and what not) and ask questions.

Again, many will ask why and where will this appear and you simply say, “I like to write and its for a personal site I’m creating.”

And then some will say no but others will say yes but give it a couple months and you have yourself body of work. You’ve gotten started.

Summer has just begun and we suspect some free time comes with it. So, we encourage you to take a break from the internship hunt and get cracking on producing and documenting the little hobby you’ve been thinking about. —Jihii

Image: Coffeecake muffins with cinnamon-walnut streusel (via pupcaked)

In mid-April, we went live with a half dozen articles which we call “stubs.” The idea here is to plant a flag in a story right away with a short post—a “stub”—and then build the article as the story develops over time, rather than just cranking out short, discrete posts every time something new breaks. One of our writers refers to this aptly as a “slow live blog.”

This Is What Happens When Publishers Invest In Long Stories ⚙ Co.Labs ⚙ code community

The results of Fast Company’s experiment with “stubs” — which allowed them to gradually create long-form journalism — pleasantly surprised the team when it brought a lot of traffic. Learn more about their strategy and check out snapshots of their site analytics from Chris Dannen. (via onaissues)

FJP: SBNation, the network of sports blog, rolled out a feature similar to this when Vox Media redesigned the entire ecosystem. This is how Jeff Clark of SBNation’s CelticsBlog described “Storystreams” when the redesign launched: 

This is a kind of post that has several updates within that post. It is a smarter way of handling big stories that have many updates (like trade deadline day and media day) rather than editing a single post or breaking it into several smaller posts.

And yes, I’m a Celtics junkie. — Michael

(via onaissues)

Chris Sopher, Media Innovation Project Manager at the Knight Foundation, discusses the current Open Gov challenge. Two days left to get your application in.

I caught up with Chris at SXSW. The Knight Foundation booth was right next door to ours. -- Peter

Books on the Train

Here’s an interesting library tech concept by students from the Miami Ad School. Lend library books to people who are riding the subway. Or, at least, the first 10 pages of them.

The idea is to use a technology called Near Field Communication that’s embedded in contemporary phones to swipe a bar code in a subway car to download a book sample. NFC is a low powered wireless communication system that allows devices to talk to and share information with each other.

Again, the idea is conceptual, but a fascinating innovation to introduce people to new books — and their local libraries — during the daily commute. When a person leaves the subway, they’re alerted to the nearest library branch that has the book so they can continue reading.

And it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. The technology exists, and people are already shopping by cell phones and QR codes in South Korean subways.

A little fact checking moment on the above video though: public library use is increasing, not decreasing, according to a recent report from the Center for an Urban Future (PDF). Matter of fact, as the New York Times reports:

Over 40 million visits were paid to the New York, Brooklyn and Queens systems in the 2011 fiscal year, the center said, or more than the combined attendance at all the city’s professional sports games or major cultural institutions. The libraries circulated 69 million books and other materials and responded to 14.5 million reference questions.

But we’ll let that error slide. They are, after all, advertising — and not journalism — students.

Video: The Underground Subway, by Max Pilwat, Keri Tan and Ferdi Rodriguez.

Innovation and Creativity in Large Companies

Mark Golin, Editorial Director of Digital for Time Inc.’s Style & Entertainment and Lifestyle Groups, discusses the culture of creativity in large companies and what can be done to better foster innovation.

In a tumultuous publishing climate, innovation often holds the key to success, he explains. But fostering innovation in a company as large as Time is difficult, especially due to its structure; essentially, it’s a family of brands in which the communication of ideas is tricky to facilitate across divisions. For this reason, one of Golin’s biggest focuses is to come up with best practices for fostering creativity.

But not all creativity is created equal. Golan’s a believer in practical creativity rather than creativity for creativity’s sake and is not alone.

Clark Strategic Communications CEO Dorie Clark, for example, highlights the difference between conceptual and theoretical creativity and how to foster each in an organization. Similarly, Jonah Lehrer (plagiarism scandal aside), explores different innovating techniques in the workplace in this interview with NPR.

In this video, Golin shares his thoughts on the culture of brainstorming in a large company, and how to efficiently navigate the boundary between testing out new ideas and coming up with ideal solutions.

Bonus: This TED Talk playlist on where good ideas come from.

Visit the theFJP.org to see more videos with Mark.

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.

There is no other exciting time to be in journalism, from a technology standpoint, than now. (Although the fear of layoffs does not sit well.). To witness newsrooms transition to mobile, social media and digital-first platforms, and be there on the frontlines of it all, is exactly where agents of change need to be. We are part of history. Not looking in from the outside. Not being critical of the news media 24-7, although I do this quite regularly. But in it. Making decisions that stick or fail. I get goose bumps just thinking about this.

Amy Zerba, amyzerba.com. Difference Between Tenure-Track Professor and a Journalist.

She just left her job teaching to join the Times. Sounds like she can justify that decision.

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.