Saturday, May 7, 2011

Obama story rings out worldwide

Like many of us, I'm fascinated with the various stories coming out of the death of Osama bin Laden. Unlike most, I suspect, I'm especially fascinated by foreign takes on the story -- for example, the death is described as a "hit" and a "slaying" in the Asia Times, terms we're unlikely to read here. Nor are we going to read much in American media like the column headed "US spins web of self-deceit," which ties Osama's death, oil, banking and governmental lies -- both in America and Pakistan -- all together.

Similarly, looking at stories in the Pakistani or Indian press is instructive, in that they, too, take radically different slants. I also regularly check stories from media in Australia, Europe (especially Britain and Germany) and other localities as well as Al-Jeezra English (where you can find this excellent column by Richard N. Haass on "Beyond Osama bin Laden," which sheds much light on the Middle East). What makes this search fascinating to me is that we now have the abilities to view these media so easily via -- and in real time. This is the upside of the new media -- it can make us better informed.

On a related note -- from the dark side of new media, in my view -- as I was searching the site, suddenly there was a groupon for "The Best Deal in Milwaukee/Save 50% to 90% in Milwaukee" after I would "confirm your city: Milwaukee." Frankly, tracking software like this is scary, and the loss of privacy may ultimately kill the promise of the Internet.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Maxim edition is going iPad first

Maxim is taking technology to the ultimate, planning to publish its listing of the 100 "most beautiful" women in the world on iPad before the print publication.

Maxim editor-in-chief Joe Levy told the online publication minonline that the decision was a matter of using, not resisting technology. “Our digital edition gives us a chance to put the Hot 100 in the hands of our readers instantly as it breaks worldwide online. As an integrated content company, we’re eager to embrace technology, not fight it, particularly the technology our readers love most,” the site reported.

No surprise here: News drives circulation

In one of the least surprising media news stories, AP reports that demand for newspapers rose sharply after the death of Osama bin Laden. As the AP story said, "When big news breaks, newspapers are in demand despite the immediacy of online news."

The same results were reflected on a local level when, last week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that its circulation had risen the first quarter, driven by "some changes in marketing and thousands of readers following the Packers' Super Bowl run and the budget battle in Madison."

When news breaks -- real news -- people want to read print. Maybe, instead of cutting their reporting staffs deep into the bone, newspapers should be breaking more news.

Monday, May 2, 2011

No more "Mr. bin Laden" for the Times

The New York Times drops the "Mr." from second reference to Osama bin Laden. The historic decision was made, according to a memo, last night by Managing Editor Jill Abramson and Executive Editor Bill Keller after the announcement of Bin Laden's death. Even Jeffrey Dahmer and Charles Manson retained the "Mr.," but Joseph Stalin remained "Stalin," so there was precedent for this move -- but it was still very unusual.

See how media covered Osama's death

If you haven't done it lately, today is a good day to go to the Newseum and view today's front pages from newspapers across the world. It's fascinating to see how they deal with a huge news event.

And, Huffington Post offers views of websites covering the death.

Fake Osama photo rockets globe

Fake Osama bin Laden death picture rockets the globe. Several publications fall for the fake. Guardian has not only the fake photo, but the three above showing the sequence. It demonstrates one problem posed by new media, the need for updating content and not being "scooped" makes some journalists as well as amateurs lose their natural skepticism.

Osama attack was live-tweeted

In just the latest example, it turns out new media broke the Osama bin Laden story -- indeed, an unsuspecting neighbor actually tweeted his annoyance with a helicopter hanging above the compound.

More evidence that we're living in a new world, and one that traditional media needs to adjust to quickly.