“Noise in Da Hood” in Slate

December 24, 2009

The best piece I’ve seen on the dismal state of hyper-local, via my friend and Community Impact Newspapers honcho John Garrett.  A sample:

Such are the unholy collisions between “local news” and computerized news gathering. The problem for the new localists is that local news doesn’t obviously “scale,” a term of art that folks who put together business plans throw around to refer to businesses that get a lot cheaper to run as they grow. To cover more ground you generally need more bodies, a real buzzkill in a news industry that is desperately trying to stay afloat by doing … well, less with less. So what we see in the local news efforts is something like the creepy apocalypse of a 1950s science fiction story, in which, with the people gone, computers take over the few tasks that remain to be done in the barren landscape, hoping by algorithms to take the bits of local information that are out there and put them together into sites that can be built on the cheap.

Also, my new instant favorite compound adjective:  “sub-trivial.”


So Much for “Web-Native”

December 20, 2009

Well, that didn’t last long.  Destination web sites taking it right in the kisser.  These pictures say several thousand words.


Escalation of Policy, De-Escalation of Rhetoric

December 14, 2009

Whodda thunk that one of President Obama’s great contributions during his first year would be to tamp down the spikes of Presidential rhetoric.  Certainly not I.

Sayeth Hendrick Hertzberg in The New Yorker, about the President’s speech at West Point last week:

His grimly businesslike speech was a gritty, almost masochistic exercise in the taking of responsibility. What he had to say did not please everyone; indeed, it pleased no one. Given the situation bequeathed to him and to the nation, pleasure was not an option. His speech was a sombre appeal to reason, not a rousing call to arms. If his argument was less than fully persuasive, that was in the nature of the choices before him. There is no such thing as an airtight argument for a bad choice—not if the argument is made with a modicum of honesty.

Someone else commented this week that this plank of the Obama Doctrine constitutes something akin to widening of means and the narrowing of ends.  My apologies to the author, but it’s a good thought.


Whitewash

December 4, 2009

Dear Mayor White-

I have observed with real admiration your Senate campaign team’s facility with all things web.  It’s really quite impressive, as is the breadth of your early fundraising numbers.  Particularly, 1980 new contributors in Q3 bespeaks a real breadth of early support.  I commend you.

But now, feedback you didn’t ask for.   It seems like that to have a chance against Gov. Perry, you are going to have to play up the fact that you are serious, competent guy.  But all the faux, email-y, text-y, hype-y suspense around “will he or won’t he” makes you seem less of each.  First it was silly but quaint; now it’s just insulting.  Hopefully such nonsense will all stop tomorrow.  And I’m sorry I didn’t respond to what I assume was your wife’s message encouraging to send a text somewhere so I’d be among the first (and of course, very last) to know.  The thought of paying AT&T the vig on those digits was too just much.

It’s waaaay too early to be overhandled, Mayor.  Plenty of chance for that later.  As Garrison Keillor said about the McCain campaing in 08, we are voters.  Not fruit flies.