CBS Sunday Morning (a show I used to work on, and maybe the best news show on TV) ran a piece this morning in which CBS News correspondent Clarissa Ward endeavored to explain the differences between Shia and Sunni.
The fact that the US has been embroiled in a series of wars in that region for the past 14 years makes this perhaps too little too late, but hey, better than nothing.
The ‘report’ was peppered with historical errors and vast over-simplifications. But, as this is Television, I suppose Ms. Ward and CBS News can be forgiven.
Yet they have had so much time to learn the history of the region and ‘teach’ (and this is no bad thing) some important facts to Americans, (who are dying in these lands for quite some time now).
We have been embroiled, one way or the … Read More »
For the past few days I have been writing about the ‘death’ of journalism as a profession.
This morning, I got an email from a classmate of mine at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (Class of 1983).
She wrote: “I Actively try to talk people out of it”
A career in journalism, that is.
And good advice.
Jobs are few and far between and evaporating all the time.
That doesn’t mean that there is no future to ‘journalism’. There simply is no future to the way that we currently define it, and more importantly, teach it.
Here, I speak from experience. I taught at both Columbia University’s journalism school and NYU’s Journalism School. I have seen first-hand what they teach, and more importantly, how they perceive the profession (or is it a craft?)
Unlike Law or Medicine, professions who have a history of thousands of years … Read More »
Yesterday, a New York City cop made the mistake of cursing out an Uber taxi driver while his passenger recorded the whole thing on video.
This was a big mistake, because today he was removed from his job on the ‘Terrorism Task Force’.
A big mistake.
In a way, I feel sorry for the cop.
(Well, not THAT sorry).
But he is old. He grew up in an era when creating video and ‘broadcasting’ it was something special, expensive and complicated. People like 60 Minutes did it. And you knew when 60 Minutes was recording. After all, they had a big crew of like a dozen people, with lights, and microphones and Mike Wallace. When you saw Mike Wallace, you knew it was time to shut up. Mike Wallace was a ‘journalist’. 60 Minutes was a TV news show. You knew where you were.
Now, … Read More »
The British aren’t coming….And apparently neither is anyone else….
The newspaper business is dead.
Yesterday, Comcast offered to buy The New York Daily News for One Dollar.
And I don’t mean one copy of it. I mean the entire business.
For people of a certain age (or profession – i.e., journalists), this kind of news is nothing short of unbelievable.
There was a time when newspapers were the powerhouses of the media world – and licenses to print money.
They have been destroyed by technology.
That’s how it happens.
One day you’re Blockbuster, the next, just busted.
And as go newspapers today, so goes TV news tomorrow. It is, alas, inevitable. And all the denying and crying about the ‘importance’ of ‘good reporting’ is about as relevant as the ‘importance’ of ‘good handwriting’ when books were still written by hand. Bye bye.
But, if this is true (and I … Read More »
As simple as word processing
We live in an entirely new world now.
One that has never existed before at any time in human history.
It’s called Screenworld.
Today, we live in a world dominated by screens.
The average American and European now spends an astonishing 8.5 hours a day staring at screens.
Smart phone screens
Screens in elevators, gas pumps, airports, stores, even the sides of buildings.
And all of those screens need content.
Lots of content.
And most of that content is going to be in video. That’s what screens do best.
No generation of human beings has ever done this – spent so much time staring at screens. It’s an entirely new phenomenon in the human experience. And one for which we are singularly unprepared.
When the printing press was invented in 1452, it took us from an oral culture to one of the printed … Read More »
The Real Meerkat Manor Has Arrived
First it was Meerkat launching at SXSW.
Then, a day later, it was Periscope.
And there are surely more to come.
The latest in the never-ending media/tech/video/TV revolution is ‘live streaming’.
As the irresistible force of Moore’s Law grinds on its inexorable path, live streaming was inevitable.
And now it is here.
But what doest it mean? In particular, what does it mean for the news/journalism business?
Every new iteration of video news gathering technology has been disruptive. Every new advance has left the wreckage of careers and jobs in its path. But I am willing to bet (place them now), that the arrival of cheap, simple, easy to operate, any-idiot-can-do-this Live Streaming is about to prove the MOST DISRUPTIVE technology yet.
Why is that?
A few months ago I was at a major TV awards show.
There were perhaps 5,000 people in the … Read More »
Speaking at Mojocon yesterday in Dublin, Ireland
Yesterday, I was a speaker at MojoCon, a conference on Mobile Journalism, held in Dublin, Ireland.
The topic was, obviously, Mobile Journalism – that is, using iPhones and such to work as a reporter.
Which is fine and valid.
But live by the technology, die by the technology.
And journalism is about to die by the technology.
Which is too bad, but… unavoidable.
As journalists, we can stand by and watch as job after job, career after career is obviated by the exponentially growing power of tech.
This process starts small: Elevator operators (or lift drivers as we say in the UK) are replaced by do-it-yourself push buttons. Factory workers are replaced by robots. Bank tellers are replaced by ATM machines. (We all like ATM machines. Who wants to stand on line to cash a check (or cheque)? Amazon.com wipes out … Read More »
Where f is the audience, x is the news value….
When I went to school, there were two kinds of students:
Math students and the rest of us.
I was decidedly amongst the ‘rest of us’, as anything beyond basic algebra proved almost incomprehensible.
When I went to college, I took those ‘science for poets’ courses.
People who were math types went on to great careers in medicine, engineering, science and technology.
Those of us who were English majors went on to careers in things like journalism.
The arrival of the ‘tech revolution’ and the ‘Internet revolution’ and the ‘digital revolution’ suddenly put a great deal of value in those ‘math’ people. And less so in us. You can read about STEM programs for schools across the nation: Science Technology, Engineering and Math. You DON’T read a lot about PLOD programs – Poetry, Languages, Oration and Drama. … Read More »
Theverge.com reported today that Apple has now sold more than 700 million iPhones worldwide. (The photo is theirs).
That is a LOT of iPhones.
(Buy Apple shares, before the Watch hits the street).
Those 700 million iPhones are more than just phones (clearly); and more than iPods or little TV screens (TV Everywhere).
They are also nodes of content creation.
That is, every phone is capable of creating original text, photographs and video and sharing it with the world, for free.
All the time.
This is remarkable, when you think about it.
When you think about what TV networks (for example) used to spend to send (and still do!) a reporter and a satellite dish half way around the world to ‘report’ on something.
Why bother sending a ‘correspondent’ who doesn’t know the language (as a rule), doesn’t live there, doesn’t know the culture, the history, the locals, … Read More »
For Sale: SONY PS3 Hardy Used. $55 million
In 1992, the United States signed the SALT Treaty. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.
The treaty would both limit nuclear weapons and begin a scale-back on those that existed.
To comply with the treaty, the US government would have to track old weapons and also design new ones, but keep in compliance with the terms of the agreement. In order to do this, the government launched a program called ASCI, for Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative.
To make all the complex calculations necessary, the Department of Defense commissioned the construction of the most sophisticated computer in the world – RED. RED would be unlike anything that had ever existed before. The most powerful supercomputer the world had ever seen – able to process 1.8 teraflops. A teraflop is a trillion calculations per second. Astonishing.
Completed in 1996, RED … Read More »