Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Desperate Times Mean Taking Deliberate Action

Alright, the gloves are off and it's time for the survival of the fittest. In less than twenty four hours, I changed my contribution to my retirement account in order to free up some extra funds to hopefully take advantage of some real estate opportunities.

In addition, I took the car with more than 205,000 miles on it to the shop to get the timing belt changed and the brakes fixed. I won't buy a new to me car until a deal is so good that I, the consumer benefits.

I also cancelled my birthday cruise. Why, because I'm thinking strategically. I know some would argue now is the time to buy as many stocks as possible while they are low. I am betting that they will still be low around the first of the year and then I can up my contribution to the retirement account again. With the extra cash, I can continue to build my emergency fund.

Call your phone company and tell them that you want to switch carriers and your bill is more than likely to be miraculously lowered. Consider getting rid of cable. You have movies on DVD, the Internet at work, friends who will call and keep you posted and bills that need to be paid. Sell everything that isn't nailed down to eBay, most people have hundreds if not thousands of dollars just sitting around in the house.

I've been bringing my lunch to work and drinking tea from home. If I go to a restaurant, I either have a tea bag in my purse or I'll just have hot water with honey and lemon.

Grandma would stuff money under the mattress. I haven't gone that far yet but my eyes are open. Let me know what you are doing to survive and hopefully thrive.

The media need to start covering the next leg of the story which is how to weather the crisis.

If you are in the market for story ideas, here are some thoughts:

Find people who are thriving in this economy and find out how and why.

Check out Al Tompkins Morning Meeting.

Here is just one of the highlights from Al's Report, there are many stories to follow here if the media will dare to cover themselves. Young Broadcasting owns WKRN in Nashville. I may have to cover the business of news online at some point especially since I teach the course in the spring. Wink to my dear friend and colleague, University of Connecticut Professor Rick Hancock creator of Rick's RSS .

Anyway, here is the media breakdown from Al.

MarketWatch reported:

News Corp. and Viacom hit their lowest levels in more than four years, while CBS and Time Warner fell to one-year lows.

Here's my summary:

News Corp. down 9.6%
Viacom down 7.83%
CBS down 7.14%
Belo Corp. down 4.27%
Time Warner down 9.22%
Walt Disney Co. down 9.22%
Gannett Co. down 6.59%
New York Times Co. down 3.82%
Media General down 4.33%
Washington Post Co. down 4.18%
McClatchy Co. actually rose 1.78% on news that a new debt agreement had been struck with lenders.

Hearst-Argyle Television was only down 2.87%
Meredith Corp. was down even less, only .69%
Charter Communications down 2.38%
Cablevision Systems Corp. down 5.47%
General Electric Co., a Dow Industrial Average component and parent of NBC Universal, saw a 8.51% stock price drop Monday.
MediaPost reported:

One of the worst [media stocks] was the financially troubled broadcasting station company Young Broadcasting. The thinly traded stock lost almost half of its stock price -- 38 percent, or three cents -- to end up trading at five cents a share.
Two companies actually had positive days today: Nexstar Broadcasting Group was up 14.5 percent, or thirty-six cents, to $2.84. Another broadcast group, Saga Communications, grew 10.9% -- or 55 cents -- to $5.60 a share.

More story ideas:

Go to some college campuses and find some students who may not be able to return to school for the spring semester.
Talk to sociologists to compare the impact of the Great Depression on attitudes, ideas, habits and culture to the reaction today to this pending meltdown.

Sidebar: Hopefully, this post makes up for my absence. My apologies for being missing in action for a couple of days. That's one thing about blogging, you have to be consistent. But between sinuses, allergies, a cold and the chills (living in the Tennessee basin is not for the faint of heart or those short of breath), I really didn't feel up to it (thanks to the posse for checking on me).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Media Tools

By the way, I covered the Seigenthaler event with my iPhone and my Flip Camera. I snapped a few photos and uploaded them to this blog immediately during the event. I mounted my Flip Camera on a tripod from Walmart and videotaped several clips. Then, I went back to my office and connected the Flip Camera to my PC and uploaded the video. I know there are many debates about the quality of the new media tools. However, the iPhone photos are respectable and the Flip Camera video is more than You Tube worthy. It's important that we use what we have in our hands. If I have a high quality camera available and sometimes I do, I'll use it. However, when I need to post information quickly, I am going to use the aforementioned tools.

Belmont Story and Photos at Seigenthaler Event

One of the best parts of being a journalistic historian is from time to time being able to take photos with some extremely fascinating people. Hopefully, years from now, I'll have the pleasure of looking back at this picture and teaching others about an amazing family that made a significant contribution to journalism. Here's the Belmont Story about Seigenthalers.

Friday, September 26, 2008

CNN iReporter

Alright, I just posted some Seigenthaler video as a CNN iReport. I'm pretty excited about it too.

Media Ethics

Great discussion about Media role and responsibility this election
year. With do many ways for information to be disseminated John
Michael Seigenthaler believes the Media should be more ethical.

John Seigenthaler (Senior) says that those three cable channels (FOX,
MSNBC,CNN) have shown aggressiveness that has not been helpful. They
have contributed to changing the media landscape.

John Seigenthaler and John Michael Seigenthaler at Belmont

Seigenthaler & Seigenthaler at Belmont on Media Ethics

Today is a banner day. The New Century Journalism Program in partnership with the Center for Business Ethics is hosting a program today called Media Ethics: Is the Media Helping or Hurting? The discussants are none other than John Seigenthaler, former publisher of the Tennessean newspaper and one of the founders of USA Today and his son John Michael Seigenthaler former anchor MSNBC/NBC. This is in line with the forthcoming Presidential debate to be held at Belmont University on October 7. Given all of the stories of the day from the bailout to McCain's decision to debate or not to debate, this discussion should be one for the history books. More on the talk later.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Economy in Perspective

Alright, here's a tough love moment in time, Americans have got to stop living like we are the only people on Earth. The book Ishmael: An Adventure in Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn deals with this issue creatively. The main character is a gorilla who discusses the existential nature of man. Here's a quick paragraph (p. 84)worth pondering,"There's nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with world. But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will act like the lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will be bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now."

Right now, when it comes to finances and in many other areas, man is at odds with nature. Dealing with money specifically, what would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?

Drastic times, indeed now call for drastic measures. I can't wait to see the details of the $700 billion bailout.

Presidential Address Live Blogging

Presidential Debate Ole MS Press Release

Thanks to my colleague and friend, Belmont Web Developer, Paul Chenoweth for the link to the Ole MS Press Release.

By the way, if you need to shorten a really long URL try Tiny URL.

Presidential Debate

Well, well, well, the plot thickens. Senator John McCain is suspending his campaign to help Congress decide on whether to approve a $700 billion bailout plan for the financial markets. This places Ole' Miss in a very precarious position. Given that my university, Belmont is the second stop on the Presidential debate trail, today's development has potentially far reaching ramifications. In many ways, it is really inconceivable that Sen. McCain would postpone the debate. With so many resources committed in MS as well as the economic impact of not having the debate, you would think he would attend. It's ironic that his decision could negatively impact a local economy.

A side note, who is going to bailout the millions of Americans who have lost or who will lose their homes regardless of the bailout? These are the stories that need to be told.

Chamber Pics

Nashville Chamber of Commerce

Presenting to Chamber on multimedia strategies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Twitter Filter

Need to find a certain topic on Twitter? Go to
Summize and type in your topic of choice. Thanks Dr. Barb Iverson, Columbia College.

The Age of Access

Contrary to popular belief, I did not spend my summer lounging on the beach making sand castles. Instead, I read and read and then read some more. One of the books, that I devoured was The Age of Access by Jeremy Rifkin. One of the subtitles is: Why You Spend More and Own Less. His basic premise for the book is that most of life will become a "paid for" experience. The news media MUST figure out what people will actually pay for in this new world economy.

This book was published in 2000 and way back then, Rifkin said that more and more people will lease life in order to have a simulated lifestyle. In other words, more people will lease cars because they want a change every six months and to feel like they have value. Yes, this is a terrifying notion that one's self worth is truly being equated to status and monetary wealth, real and imagined. Ownership is passe and too confining. More people will lease homes, apartments, etc. in order to be more mobile and to change more quickly. Brick and mortar businesses have too much overhead. Cyberspace is more economical and more networked.

In Rifkin's opinion and I agree, those who control access to distribution channels will rule in the network economy. As every major industry consolidates, the recording industry, airline industry, book industry, media industry, etc., power is being streamlined and placed in the hands of a few. So much for the Anti-trust laws.

This post is definitely to be continued. I have so many notes in my book, I can't type them all at once and I know you don't have time to read them all. So here are some parting thoughts from Rifkin for now:

1.Intellectual capital is worth more than physical capital. (Good news for academics, thinkers, analysts, etc.)

2.Culture is now a commerical resource. (People are paying for simulated real experiences.)

3.Time and attention become the most valued possession as a result. (As a faculty member, I must jockey for the time and attention of my students every class. I'm fighting text, random thoughts, hunger and who knows what else.)

4.Contractual relations in the form of paid memberships, subscriptions, admission charges, etc. have replaced traditional reciprocal obligations. (How can the media get the audience to pay for information? Note, I said information, not news.)

5.In a world of continuous innovation, everything becomes almost immediately outdated. (Great Scott, Batman!!!)

6."Experience Economy" "a world in which each person's own life becomes, in effect, a commercial market." (Think SELF as the product. Thanks Pam Johnson, Director of Journalism, Western Kentucky University.)

7.Commodification of Play-Paid for personal entertainment (Wii, Nintendo, etc. At Disney, they believe that gaming is the next frontier for an integrated wireless experience, the game box may become the conduit for connectivity.)

Seven is the number of completion so I'll stop there.
What are the implications? Think about it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Amazon Video on Demand

In case you didn't know, Amazon Video on Demand.

Audience 20/20 Manifesto

As promised, here is the beginning of the Audience 20/20 Manifesto:

1. Be Transparent: This means show the audience exactly what you are doing and why you chose to do it. Further, give the audience all of your research, interview transcript and/or video. With You Tube and other video uploading sites available, there really isn't any excuse not to provide the entire interview. Your credibility will dramatically increase, in addition, they will come back to you because they know they will get the whole story.

2. Give more than you receive: Beyond letting the audience see your process, give them the tools they need to participate in the process. CNN really is onto something with the CNN iReport.

3. Interactivity: The audience must be allowed not only to contribute video reports, you should include them in every part of the process. Why not invite some really informed members of your community to supply story ideas on a regular basis. You could conference them in on Skype. You could accept their ideas via phone, text, email or any other means possible.

4. Real Time: Give them relevant information. They do not want to know that gas prices are high. They do want to know where the gas is right now. During the Nashville gas shortage, the Twitter community provided up to date locations to find gas. They also want to know where the cheapest gas is when it is available. The notion of appointment news consumption is DEAD.

Well, that's all for now, I'll add a few more later. Of course, you are welcome to provide your thoughts as well.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blogging Blind

This morning I had my first eye exam in about seven years. Fortunately, I still have 20/20 vision, however, right now, my vision is sorely hampered. My eyes were dilated. The Doctor suggested I read a magazine until the eye solution started to work. Of course, that wasn't possible because my focus was changing by the second. So, I decided to use my recorder application on my iPhone. I recorded my thoughts instead of writing them. I responded to a disruptive technology by adapting. This is what traditional media have got to do. It's not a matter of trying one thing and then saying, "okay, we've tried it and it's done." That is a completely unrealistic and unacceptable approach.

The traditional media have had their "eye dilated." They can't see things the same way anymore. Things are out of focus. For a time, they couldn't and or wouldn't see the value of the new media. I wanted my notebook and paper so bad when I couldn't see but I was forced to record my voice instead.

As I sat in the chair in the doctor's office, the notion of The Audience 20/20 Manifesto was birthed. Traditional media must be transparent and allow the audience to see exactly what they are doing, how they are doing it and why they are doing it. The last point lends itself to the notion of objectivity which I will explore more deeply at another time. Suffice it to say, that our colleagues in Europe dislike the American media in some ways because they disclose their biases in the press whereas we do not do so formally.

At any rate, back to the idea of transparency. In television news, local stations are still teasing stories. This is an insane practice when I as a viewer can google the answer immediately and then bypass the news completely. A better strategy may be to tease the fact that you have resources and ways to investigate the story that they audience may not know.

When choosing story ideas, let the audience know why that story was selected and why others were not. Put some of the stories you don't chooose to cover at large, on the Intenet. I made some of these suggestions, years ago and many others have said the same.

The media as well as the faculty at America's colleges and universities are now facilitators. We need to give people ideas about what to think about and then where they can gain more in-depth information and insight.

The fundamentals have not changed. Good journalism is good journalism. However, much of what is being produced today isn't journalism, it's sensationalism, think Pulitzer versus Hearst. If traditional media will continue to produce compelling, well thought out pieces, the audience will consume it and pursue a deeper understanding.

It's funny, when you can see clearly, you take a lot of things for granted. When your vision is suddenly and unexpectedly blurred for a prolonged period of time ( I still can't see clearly as I type this entry) you are forced to adapt. Embrace the change. More on the Audience 20/20 Manifesto to come.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wall Street in Peril?

I am not a Wall Street Player but common sense tells me to pay attention when more companies like Lehman and Merrill Lynch are in dire straits. My advice to anyone who will listen, kill the credit cards, pay off the debt, buy what you can afford, save enough to survive, have more than one stream of income, be sure to have something that makes money while you sleep and if it all goes to heck in a handbasket, pray that you have a wonderful family and friends to see you through. Apparently, Monday is going to be a very challenging day on the Street.

ONA '08 Ends

Well, the ONA '08 conference has officially ended. Now, the real work continues. What new strategies should one implement? My suggestion is always to try one thing and store the other ideas for later use. I have already joined Friendfeed.com which I blogged about in my live blogging session on Robert Scoble. I also took the time to update my linkedin profile. So many people get overwhelmed by the very thought of new media technology and tools. This is no longer acceptable. I know I have to read more, play more and really get more adept with new media tools. At least, that's what I encourage others to do.

I have to review my notes, touch base with some friends to get their notes, get some new software, figure out how to help my students get comfortable with some of these concepts and keep on moving because standing still is NOT an option.

Below is one more thing I decided to at least look at this morning. It's a website that allows you to compare concepts and then embed the chart code on your site. It's TwistFlaptor.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Experimenting with Coveritlive from the ONA 08 Student Newsroom

Belmont Journalism Junior Abby Selden

Abby is working on a video piece on what people think are the best new
tools to aid in the news gathering process. Check out www.journalists.org

ONA Students at WashingtonPost.com Afternoon News Meeting

ONA Students from Newsroom

ONA University/Industry Panel

ONA Panel: Putting Universities to Work For Collaboration Between Industry and the Academia

Here are my notes from this session, hopefully they will make sense.


Jay Rosen, Faculty, New York University
Paul Volpe, Deputy Politics Editor, washingtonpost.com
Retha Hill, Director of the New Media Innovation Lab and Professor of the Practice, Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism
Ryan Thornburg, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina

Jay Rosen wants to contribute editorial resources to the professional newsrooms through studio 20 at New York University. They are looking for industry partners to work at the studio in order to benefit from student work.

I do not want a multimedia or new media program. They knew they had to do something different than Columbia. They needed a new metaphor. They are looking for students who typically would not major in journalism.

Paul Volpe

It seems as if the current environment is a one way street. The students don't have much invested. The industry is "teaching" them. The idea is what can we together build in order for it to be a learning experience for both sides.

Want to do a start-up or possibly a database collaboration with the industry.

All panelists agree that an interdisciplinary approach is key.

Audience comment: Build a website, starts with a how might we statement from the industry, then the colleges and universities say we accept that challenge and then it becomes a social networking project. Reward could be the opportunity to present the findings to the news corporation.

Ryan Thornburg, it's almost like we need a match.com for what I don't know and what I need to know. A match between real world problems the media industry faces and the students to solve them. It was seemingly an off the cuff comment but it may be a viable idea. If someone creates and intellectual marketplace, who knows what the outcome could be.

Retha Hill, students at compensated for their work at the Innovation Lab. Clearly, an intelligent way to motivate students. Journalism students get three hours credit. Likewise graduate students receive credit also. The best students apply, the ones who've gone through digital media training. They make $9.75-$10.75 an hour. Hill also mentioned how the innovation lab works with industry partners to hep them solve real time problems. That is the sole purpose of the lab. They have several partners including the Arizona Republic. The new clients do a presentation to the students. So the students are seeing marketing data from Gannett. So they are learning about the business.

Students address critical issues of monetizing, target audience, etc as part of solving the problems. Hill is extremely knowledgeable and her presentation clearly demonstrates who 20 plus years of experience in the business. She's worked at the Washingtonpost.com and most recently at BET.com.

Paul Volpe Students who are coming out of journalism schools need entrepreneurial knowledge. How are we supposed to change, what do we need to do differently. Paul wants students to understand the business. So glad I created and teach our Business of News Class at Belmont.

Audience question: Is there a conflict of interest when news agencies and the academy create partnerships? I don't think so. We give them interns and they still cover problems on campuses.

Jay Rosen-Until you have people in the business who actually think that the academy has something to offer, the industry won't be interested.

Jay Rosen-The Innocence Project at Northwestern is one of the most successful projects where students did the research and under faculty leadership, they helped free innocent people.

How do you create great knowledge that is replicable?
Retha Hill response: Doesn't like blogs, OUCH as I am blogging her comments that will hopefully lead to speaking engagements. Admitted that's not her strong suit but did not that recruiters are after the students from the innovation lab.

Well, you get the point. Strategic thinking and planning are key in order to connect the university and the industry. Innovative thinking is mandatory for everyone's survival.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

ONA students at WashingtonPost.com

News meeting.

ONA Student Newsroom

Students visiting Washingtonpost.com/LoudounExtra.com in Arlington,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tennessee Titans

Well, the Tennessee Titans' quarterback Vince Young has landed behind
media lines. After a lackluster performance and yet another public
display of emotion, questions are now being raised about his ability
to lead on the field. Of course, it didn't help that he pulled a
disappearing act Sunday night after the game against Jacksonville.
His family was concerned about his mental state and contacted Young's
coach, Jeff Fisher. Fisher called the Metro Police and then the media
got involved. Needless to say, the Nashville media are covering this
story so much that even some sports fans are crying foul. My question
is what is the impact of the media, money and millions of fans on a
young person's quest for success? CBS sports anchor Hope Hines said
in a commentary that Young needs to get some big pants and do the
job. I understand that. I also see yet another young person who needs
mentoring. Why wait until he becomes a statistic and then say woulda,
coulda, shoulda? To connect the political does here, what about Sarah
Palin's daughter who is now in the media spotlight while pregnant?
Follow the logic, the weight of public scrutiny can affect anyone.
What happens when the member's of the media family need mercy.
Telling a story is one thing, exacerbating it is another.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Online News Association

Well, I am preparing to attend the Online News Association annual
convention Sept. 11-13 in Washington DC. It is shaping up to be the
best conference in the history of the organization. From the business
of news, monetization, new tech toys, blogging and more, the sessions
will educate, challenge and surely confuse some.

This year, I have the pleasure of leading the student newsroom.
Mentors from the academy and the professional media industry are
paired with students. The students cover the conference and have their
stories edited by their mentors.

It is also an unofficial job interview opportunity. With mentors
from media companies including NPR and the Washington Post, who knows
what talent may be discovered and hired.

Most of the professors were or remain professionals as well. So it
really is a win-win situation.

I am very proud to report that Belmont University New Century
Journalism major Abby Selden is among the students.

So visit www.journalists.org and check out the student newsroom and
one of the most innovative new media conferences in the country.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More Innovative Gustav Coverage from NPR

Here is yet another innovator in the midst of traditional media. NPR continues to try to do what others say can't be done.

Al Tompkins interviews NPR's Andy Carvin