“If You Turn Your Head I Win”

I LOL’d. This post is as good a place as any to note that the media response to Chat Roulette echos the response to Twitter around this time last year. Basically, they had been so burned by ignoring Myspace, and took too long to understand Facebook, they weren’t going to get fooled by Twitter and so they jumped in both feet first. Chat Roulette went from internet sensation to all over the media in record time. I imagine that the next platform to take off will get covered in the traditional media BEFORE it becomes popular online, thus creating an interesting paradox.

“If You Turn Your Head I Win”

The Future of Media – Howard Stern, Bill Simmons, Adam Carolla

A couple weeks ago, Jeff Jarvis picked up on a bit of the Howard Stern show where Stern mused about what could come next for him:

Tomorrow I could go on the internet and start my own channel with my own subscribers. You’d be able to click and watch us on TV, watch us in the studio live, streaming. You’d be able to listen to us streaming. You’d be able to get us on your iPhone. You’d be able to do everything right at the click of the internet. I wouldn’t even need to work for a company. I’d be my own company… So true it’s ridiculous

Jarvis then went on to say:

Entertainers (radio, music, comedy, books, columnists, even filmmakers) will have direct relationships with their audiences. Like Stern, they won’t have to work for companies or go through them for distribution. That’s already happening, of course, on the web for creation, distribution, and monetization…It returns to the age of patronage, only now the kings don’t fund the artists, the public does and less money is wasted on middlemen.

I think he’s exactly right about this and I think I’ve talked about this before. Another entertainer I figured might be heading towards this model is Bill Simmons, and 10 minutes after I read the Jarvis piece on Stern, I read this Huffington Post interview of the Sports Guy. Simmons and ESPN had a dust up a couple years ago when he had the opportunity to interview Obama during the primaries, only to have it nixed by ESPN. This lead to less frequent posting and a general ‘work to rule’ feel to his columns for a bit. Just last week, Simmons was told to stay off Twitter for two weeks after an impolitic comment about one of ESPN’s partners. These wrist slaps, combined with his enthusiasm for and embrace of new media in the form of podcasts and (after some initial derision) Twitter, combined with the release and success of his new book combined with the below quotation lead me to think Bill Simmons is done with ESPN.

Part of me can’t shake the temptation of being the underdog again — like, launching my own sports site, hiring some talented writers and designers and trying to compete with the big guns. Like what Frank Deford did with the National. All right, the National lost $100 million. Bad example.

But I could see doing something crazy like that. I like taking chances, I am not afraid to fail, and beyond that, I am not afraid to fail violently and miserably. So anything is possible. A really good prediction would be, “Simmons is going to fail violently and miserably with a super-ambitious idea within the next five years.” Lock it down.

He’s either going to walk or make ESPN bend pretty hard to keep him. With the podcasts he’s created another platform for himself, and Twitter allows a channel of communication to his fans independent of ESPN. He’ll continue to grow his brand with or without ESPN.

Earlier this year, Adam Carolla’s insanely popular morning show ended when the station he was changed formats. He decided to start a daily podcast, and because his contract ran until the end of this year, there were no ads or sponsors. It quickly became one of the top podcasts on iTunes, and he continued to attract guests that had appeared on his radio program.

Aside from Bill Simmons and Adam Carolla bringing podcasts mainstream, which is another post, they’ve also presented a pretty clear model for their future. Couldn’t Stern, Simmons, and Carolla start an entertainment website next year with streaming shows, podcasts, sports columns, etc and charge users $2 a month for access? They couldn’t get 500K – 1 million subscribers? New media, baby!

The Future of Media – Howard Stern, Bill Simmons, Adam Carolla

The Dirtiness of The Boston Globe’s Crossword

Matt has been looking for a crossword puzzle and thinks he might have found a winner after stumbling upon Leonard Gravis’ latest in the Globe. This is chicanery and tomfoolery of the highest order and I, for one, salute you, Mr. Gravis.

And so it was with great joy today that I stumbled across the work of Leonard Gravis in the Boston Globe. It only took one clue for Mr. Gravis to reel me in. “The ___ mightier than the sword.”
Think about that one for a moment and then consider that this clue fell on space number 69 across.
Yes, the answer to 69 across in today’s Boston Globe is “Penis.”

The Dirtiness of The Boston Globe’s Crossword

It’s ON!

Rupert Murdoch is going to start charging for the Sunday Times in the fall. I wonder what would happen if he tried to do that with his US media interests? Would there be a right wing noise machine if Fox News was subscriber only like HBO? I can only dream. I just went down the rabbit hole of some things that could happen and 15 minutes later it’s not much clearer… What do you think?

It’s ON!

Allessandra Stanley Had a Bad Day

Updated:
In a previous Unlikely Words post, we inadvertently implied that the Times publishes articles in which “All the dates and facts are wrong.” In actuality, some articles only have mostly incorrect facts and dates. Unlikely Words regrets this error.
++
Proof from the New York Times that you too can be a journalist even if you don’t want to use the correct dates or facts in an article. In fact you can use any date or fact you want as long as it’s sort of close to the actual date or fact. This is OK even if ALL the dates and facts are wrong. This proof comes in the form of a correction of an Alessandra Stanley piece.

An appraisal on Saturday about Walter Cronkite’s career included a number of errors. In some copies, it misstated the date that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and referred incorrectly to Mr. Cronkite’s coverage of D-Day. Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, not April 30. Mr. Cronkite covered the D-Day landing from a warplane; he did not storm the beaches. In addition, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, not July 26. “The CBS Evening News” overtook “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” on NBC in the ratings during the 1967-68 television season, not after Chet Huntley retired in 1970. A communications satellite used to relay correspondents’ reports from around the world was Telstar, not Telestar. Howard K. Smith was not one of the CBS correspondents Mr. Cronkite would turn to for reports from the field after he became anchor of “The CBS Evening News” in 1962; he left CBS before Mr. Cronkite was the anchor.

Via Balloon Juice.

Allessandra Stanley Had a Bad Day

Jon Stewart and the Future of “Journalism”

I’m not super concerned about Jon Stewart being considered the most trusted man in journalism. What concerns me is traditional media being so stupid that when they try to replicate his success (and you know they will) they only try to copy the humor. Remember Fox’s attempt a couple years ago (Half Hour News Hour or something), not only did it fail because it wasn’t funny, but it failed because it didn’t do what Stewart does: Report on important stories and mock media that goes round and round talking about stupid stories.

Jon Stewart and the Future of “Journalism”

David Simon’s Senate Testimony on the Newspaper Business

Last week, David Simon was invited to testify in front of the Senate Commerce Committee and had some good stuff to say, along with some ridiculous. (Ridiculous stuff, thoroughly explored in this Gawker post.)

Simon’s testimony touches on what he sees as the reasons for the downfall of newspapers. He’s mostly right on why newspaper’s aren’t good anymore, but the lack of quality reporting (which Simon says is due to cuts by management) isn’t what keeps me from buying the paper. I doubt that’s why you don’t buy it, either. Simon has a little Buzz Bissinger in him, dismissing the idea and quality of news-gathering bloggers, but not hating on them in the same Buzzy way. I’ve heard Simon use snippets of this before in other places, but still worth skimming all the way.

Good:

What I say will likely conflict with what representatives of the newspaper industry will claim for themselves. And I can imagine little agreement with those who speak for new media. From the captains of the newspaper industry, you will hear a certain martyrology – a claim that they were heroically serving democracy to their utmost only to be undone by a cataclysmic shift in technology and the arrival of all things web-based. From those speaking on behalf of new media, weblogs and that which goes twitter, you will be treated to assurances that American journalism has a perfectly fine future online, and that a great democratization in newsgathering is taking place.

Better:

But when that same newspaper executive then goes on to claim that this predicament has occurred through no fault on the industry’s part, that they have merely been undone by new technologies, feel free to kick out his teeth. At that point, he’s as fraudulent as the most self-aggrandized blogger.

Best:

Similarly, there can be no serious consideration of public funding for newspapers. High-end journalism can and should bite any hand that tries to feed it, and it should bite a government hand most viciously. Moreover, it is the right of every American to despise his local newspaper – for being too liberal or too conservative, for covering X and not covering Y, for spelling your name wrong when you do something notable and spelling it correctly when you are seen as dishonorable. And it is the birthright of every healthy newspaper to hold itself indifferent to such constant disdain and be nonetheless read by all. Because in the end, despite all flaws, there is no better model for a comprehensive and independent review of society than a modern newspaper. As love-hate relationships go, this is a pretty intricate one. An exchange of public money would pull both sides from their comfort zone and prove unacceptable to all.

Be sure to read the whole thing so you can giggle aloud when Simon suggest (teehee!) collusion! (Thanks, Matt)

David Simon’s Senate Testimony on the Newspaper Business

Google to Buy The New York Times?

From this Mark Bowden article about Arthur Sulzberger Jr this quotation:

Among the other prospective buyers whose names have surfaced in the press are Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York; Google; and even, perish the thought, the press baron Rupert Murdoch, whose Wall Street Journal has emerged as journalistic competition for the Times in a way it never was before.

I keep harping on this, but I really don’t see how newspaper’s survive without coming up with a new model. One such model could be finding a corporate patron, like, uh… Google.tra

Google to Buy The New York Times?

Some Hope For Media?

A reader of Talking Points Memo writes in to suggest there may be hope yet for struggling newspapers. Essentially, quite a few of the troubled newspapers operate profitably, just not profitably enough to cover the interest payments of these over-leveraged corporations.

So, these bankruptcies may in the medium to long run be good for journalism (in the traditional sense). Assuming the new owners emerge from bankruptcy with limited debt, the papers have many positive attributes upon which to earn a reasonable profit while building new sources of revenue. They have an unparalleled local focus and understanding, they are the most efficient vehicle for several categories of advertising, and they have significant advertising sales forces that can be re-focused on lines of business that can sustain the papers over the long haul. This is particularly true if the surviving owners are people who believe in the public trust mission of their papers and news-oriented web channels.

Also, in an interview with Michael Lewis in The Atlantic, we learn that Lewis isn’t concerned about the magazine industry.

Well it makes it a little hard for me to prophesize doom. And I hate spinning theories to which I’m an exception. So my sense is, there’ll always be a hunger for long-form journalism, and that it’s just a question of how it’s packaged. And that people will always figure out how to make it sort of viable. It’s never going to be a hugely profitable business: it’s more like the movie business or the car business in that there are all sorts of good non-economic reasons to be involved in it. The economic returns will always probably be driven down by too many people wanting to be in it.

But I don’t feel gloomy about the magazine business at all.

Some Hope For Media?