Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: The Media (page 5 of 6)

Nick Denton’s Internet advertising forecast

Gawker Media’s Nick Denton predicts a steep decline in advertising revenue for Internet publishers next year, and makes some recommendations on how to react to what can only be described as an impending bloodbath. The revenue model for rc3.org remains unchanged, but I probably will move to cheaper hosting.

The Atlantic

Before the election passes into the distance, I wanted to give some special recognition to the stable of bloggers assembled by The Atlantic. They’ve done a great job of putting together a group of really smart bloggers with a diverse point of view, and I found a number of them to be essential reading all year. In particular, Marc Ambinder’s day to day insights into the shape of the campaigns were more useful than the entire staff of the Politico put together. James Fallows did an incredible job of covering the debates, and turned out to make the most accurate prediction of Sarah Palin’s future as a running mate as soon as she was chosen. I enjoy the rest of their bloggers as well, Andrew Sullivan and Ta-Nehesi Coates in particular. I have been meaning to mention how impressed I’ve been with The Atlantic for awhile, and wanted to give credit where it’s due before it completely slips my mind.

One hand washes the other

Glenn Greenwald documents the cozy relationship between Republican hatchet man Tim Griffin and the Politico’s Jonathan Martin. I post this link not because it’s exceptional but because, I suspect, it is typical.

Journalism 101

Here’s a great quote from John Walcott’s acceptance speech for the I. F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. Walcott won the medal for the Knight-Ridder Washington bureau’s coverage of the push to invade Iraq. Of all the major media outlets, they were the only ones who got it right.

Somehow, the idea has taken hold in Washington journalism that the value of a source is directly proportional to his or her rank, when in my experience the relationship is more often inverse.

Two posts on transparency

Just wanted to flag two blog posts I’ve seen in the past 24 hours that are on the same topic — transparency.

First, John Gruber explains how Apple is hurting itself by not establishing clear rules on which iPhone applications can be sold in the iTunes store. Anyone who’s interested in building a platform for developers should read this article.

The second is Nate Silver attacking the methodology used by RealClearPolitics in formulating its poll of polls in the Presidential election. RCP changes the composition of it polls without explanation, in what appears to be a partisan fashion. Because they do not hew to any documented methodology, they undermine their own credibility.

Transparency and reputation are the only paths to trust, and absent transparency, a reputation is an easy thing to attack or undermine.

Interview questions for Sarah Palin

ABC’s Charlie Gibson has won the honor to be the first journalist to interview Sarah Palin since she was nominated to the Vice Presidency. It’s a great opportunity for him, and I imagine he’ll be working overtime getting ready, since everyone suspects that he was chosen because he can be counted on not to put any pressure on Palin. (Indeed, Josh Marshall reports that the terms of the interview guarantee that he won’t.)

Fortunately, those of us on the Internet are only hypothetically interviewing Sarah Palin, so we can ask whatever we like. When it comes to a candidate like Palin, who we don’t really know much about, it feels to me like an interview with her should be like a job interview. I think it’s a waste of time to ask “gotcha” questions, and that we won’t learn very much at all if she’s asked about her family or even about her scandals. I’m sure she has an answer all tucked away when it comes to why she supported the “Bridge to Nowhere” and then claimed she didn’t, or how she decided to fire the head of the Alaska state police.

What I’m interested in is her philosophy of government and the sensibilities she brings to the kinds of decisions a President has to make. With that, here are some questions I’d ask if I got to interview her.

  1. How do you define leadership?
  2. What are the qualities you look for when hiring subordinates?
  3. As an executive, what specific steps do you take to make sure that political appointees feel empowered to act independently using their best judgement? When they advise you, how do you make sure that you’re getting their honest opinion and aren’t just being told what you want to hear?
  4. What’s your process when you encounter a problem outside your area of expertise?
  5. What did you find to be the biggest difference between serving as mayor of your home town and governor of Alaska?
  6. What role do you see the United Nations playing in world affairs and United States foreign policy?
  7. What are the fundamental rights that we should grant to any prisoner detained by the United States government?
  8. Which basic risks should the US government take responsibility for insuring its citizens from? (Starvation? Poverty? Preventable disease? Job loss? Poverty in old age? Etc.)
  9. The governor of Alaska has line item veto power, and the United States President does not. Should the President have line item veto power? If it were granted to the President, how would that affect the separation of powers?
  10. How do you feel like the gap between perceived risks and actual risks affects the work of government?

There are ten from me. Anyone else have any questions?

When is linking to yourself bad form?

Tim O’Reilly’s warning against a Web where sites link mostly to their own content is worth paying attention to. He makes two suggestions to sites that link to their own content, but his second rule says it all for me:

Ensure that the pages you create at those destinations are truly more valuable to your readers than any other external link you might provide.

To shorten that even more, your links should point to the best resource in that context, whether it’s on your site or somebody else’s. As long as you’re following that rule, I think you’re on solid ground.

WSJ corrects their idiotic Obama article

The Wall Street Journal has issued a correction for its stupid “Is Obama too fit to be President” story that I linked to the other day.

The quality of journalism

Ever wonder how reporters research their stories? Here’s Amy Chozick of the Wall Street Journal looking for interview subjects for today’s “Is Obama too skinny?” story on Yahoo’s message boards. I didn’t think it was possible to suck this badly.

John Royal’s obituary for Jim McKay

Houston blogger John Royal writes an obituary for sportscaster Jim McKay. It seems silly to let someone who was truly great at what they did pass without notice. It’s odd to think that humanity will never again witness the birth of the electronic mass media, and the iconic figures who set the standards for that medium will hold a sort of unique historic position. As Royal points out, McKay is one of the last few of a generation that will be much missed.

HBO is going to re-air its 2003 McKay documentary on Thursday and Sunday, watch it if you get a chance.

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