Friday, July 07, 2006

Quick Hits

A few things from when I was away that I'm just getting to:

1) The Pilot in Pinehurst and Southern Pines, N.C., will offer free Wi-Fi to everyone in the area, starting with Southern Pines. There also will be a paid Wi-Max plan. Here's the story and a good comment by Mindy McAdams. Bryan Murley also weighs in, and Jeff Jarvis over at BuzzMachine wasn't all that impressed, arguing that it's akin to the failed attempts by some newspapers to be Internet service providers many years ago. As Murley points out, however, that view might have a big-city taint to it.

2) Morris Communications introduced a completely redone Fanaticzone. It's now designed to mash together several features of social media (such as story ranking, news feeds, tagged photos from Flickr, taged videos from YouTube, etc.) Steve Yelvington has a good post explaining it all, with these solid observations (and noting the rebuild was done in six weeks):

When you click through, FZ will take you all over the Internet. That's the point of a metasite -- it's not about publishing content, it's about finding content. Wherever it may be, including photos at Flickr and videos at YouTube. ...

Six weeks is an important figure. We're learning that fast development of a flawed product is infinitely more valuable in the long run than slow development that aims for perfection.

We're always going to fall short of perfection. It's more important to discover quickly whether we're directionally correct. Discover your mistakes early in the process. Don't fear failure. If you're going to fear something, fear your own hubris.

This is an extraordinarily hard lesson to learn for those of us who come from businesses with defensive cultures. But it's an important one.

3) Jarvis is struggling with what to call this thing known as "citizen journalism." He proposes "networked journalism."
In networked journalism, the public can get involved in a story before it is reported, contributing facts, questions, and suggestions. The journalists can rely on the public to help report the story; we’ll see more and more of that, I trust. The journalists can and should link to other work on the same story, to source material, and perhaps blog posts from the sources (see: Mark Cuban). After the story is published — online, in print, wherever — the public can continue to contribute corrections, questions, facts, and perspective … not to mention promotion via links. I hope this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as journalists realize that they are less the manufacturers of news than the moderators of conversations that get to the news.
Yelvington seems to like the idea. At Hartsville Today, we've stayed away from the "J" word altogether, after meetings with potential contributors brought out concerns that somehow they would have to be "journalists" to participate. We call it "community storytelling." So far, it seems to have worked.

This is your site, and it puts Hartsville at the forefront of an exciting change in journalism. Now, we've avoided using that word, "journalism," a lot because, well, it gets in the way. People think you have to be somehow different to be "a journalist." And so some folks think "I can't do that." We like to call ourselves community storytellers.

You don't need a journalism degree to write a good letter to your friends or have a good conversation with your family, do you? So don't worry about it. Just write. Oh sure, remember to tell us the whole story -- the who, what, when, where, why and how -- but don't worry about that "J" thing.
Yes, we use "cit-j" later to kind of explain things people might have heard, but you won't hear it much from our lips.

4) Finally, lots of traffic about a new Windows version of SoundSlides, the program (until now, Mac only) that allows you to easily produce Flash-based slide shows without the need to master Flash. Murley weighs in, as does McAdams. She also has a nifty link to SportsShooters where a thread is going on multimedia projects done with SoundSlides.


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