Metaphors: Ford Motor Company, burning raft, John Huges’ loving teen

Raft on fire!
Jason Fry’s Reactions to Nieman, Part 2

…the print-centric business model is a burning raft — and when you’re on a burning raft, you have to plan differently.

Ford
Geir Stene’s Media business revenues are dropping so might your Company’s!

The challenges are huge and concern all of us. Rapid changes are hard to handle. I put an image of a car with this blog posting. What does that have to do with the media industry? Henry Ford’s introduction of the automated assembly line changed the car industry.

A teen who thinks Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is all about him
Megan Garber’s “The Washington Post, Angsty Teenager” in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Reading the text of The Washington Post’s new guidelines for its staff’s use of Facebook, Twitter, and the like, I couldn’t help but think of…John Hughes. Almost every movie the director ever made revolves, in its way, around an axis of insecurity, its key characters so preoccupied with what other people think of them that they risk losing themselves in the angsty inertia of it all—until, by way of an hour or so of zany events, they come to realize that the most noble thing they can be is, of course, themselves.

What does “a place to hack” mean?

Robert Niles posted a list of 8 things journalism students should demand from their journalism schools. Included on that this was “a place to hack”

Online is becoming the dominant news publish medium. And online publishing will not look the way it does today 10 years from now, just as it looks little now like it did 10 years ago. Students need forums in which to explore and test their interactive publishing skills. They need sandboxes in which to play.

While traditional syllabi train students in established story forms, students must demand time and access to explore emerging forms, in social media and whatever else they might dream up. Hacking isn’t simply programming; it’s an attitude that encourages people to find new uses for old forms. That’s something journalism desperately needs. If a school doesn’t provide those opportunities for its students, they must demand it.

This is the tricky one on Niles’ list, but I think the most important one. Here’s the question: What does “a place to hack” mean to you?

For me, it means kindergarten-like unstructured time to play with journalism tools (new and old). Of course, because this is school, you have to justify what you’re doing somehow, maybe by narrating your work as you go and having some sort of reflection on whatever the final result is.

Thoughts?

A suggested user list for Iowa’s j-school students

I usually cover social media generally — and Twitter specifically — as a reporting and audience-building tool the last day of my multimedia course. (Social media isn’t multimedia per se, but I worry that if I don’t cover it, it won’t come up at the j-school at all, though that’s changing.) This semester, I’ve moved it earlier, hoping I can provide more than a quick look before the class ends. Perhaps it will even become a tool to organize classes. We’ll see.

But one thing is certain: Twitter isn’t fun or interesting or useful unless you have interesting people to follow. I’ve tried to build a list of suggestions for my students that will be relevant, informative and interesting. These are all people I follow and enjoy. You might not; drop ’em and find new people.

Anyway, here are 10, in no particular order:

Steve Buttry, @stevebuttry, has had several titles at The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette, most recently 3C coach. He shares interesting journalism links and commentary.

Dr. Daily, @DrDaily, The Daily Iowan incarnate, at least on Twitter and Facebook. Driven by my former student Adam B. Sullivan, the DI‘s convergence editor.

John Dickerson, @jdickerson, writes for Slate and CBS News and shares interesting observations. He pimps his own work as @johndickerson.

Mindy McAdams, @macloo, teaches online journalism at the University of Florida.

Mark Luckie, @10000words, is the author of the blog 10,000 Words, which focuses on digital and multimedia journalism, and the forthcoming book The Digital Journalist’s Handbook.

Jay Rosen, @jayrosen_nyu, teaches journalism at New York University.

Ryan Sholin, @ryansholin, is the director of news innovation at the journalism start-up Publish 2 and created ReportingOn and the Wired Journalists.

Mr. Tweet, @MrTweet, is a tool that helps find other people you might find interesting by analyzing who you follow and who they follow. Another option is @LocalTweeps.

Kottke.org, @kottke, is run by Jason Kottke, who curates the Web and shares the most interesting links on Twitter and his Web site.

Dave Winer, @davewiner, is, to oversimplify, a software developer who has a real interesting in news. He was a pioneer of blogging, podcasting and in the development RSS. He’s building RSScloud, which he hopes will be an open Twitter-like system. Don’t worry, lots of this stuff is over my head, too.

Like I said, these are people who tweet about things I’m interesting. Of course, you’ll want to add people who tweet about things you’re interested in: sports, food, narrative journalism, politics, public relations, or teh (often inappropriate) funny.

RSS cloud and me

WordPress just added support on its hosted blogs (all 7.5 million of them) for a new Dave Winer project called RSS Cloud. It is system for RSS, which allows users to subscribe to content and is also the hidden backbone for services such as Twitter, that updates compatible readers in real time.

Essentially, this is an open-protocol that could move real-time conversation away from Twitter, or at least give it some competition. Read Write Web understands and explains the whole thing better than I do.

Dave is obviously pretty jazzed: “It’s pretty amazing. I feel about the same way as I felt when the NY Times RSS feeds came online in 2002.

Anyway, I just added a new plug-in that makes my WordPress install cloud-enabled. Cool.

Metaphors: Selling snowmen

Selling snowmen to Eskimos
Information Architects‘ “The Value of Information

Information on the Internet is as common as snow in the arctic. You can’t expect Eskimos to buy a snowman.

Jay Rosen on Twitter

Journalist: hey, I made a snowman. Inuit: nice! Journalist: it took me all day. Inuit: what’s your point? Journalist: that’ll be five bucks.

Metaphors: Adam and Eve, horny teens, Titanic (again)

Priests, or going down with the Titanic
Jeff Jarvis, paraphrasing Howard Owens in The real sin: Not running businesses

Like priests looking for someone to sacrifice, Alan Mutter, Steve Buttry, Howard Owens, and Steve Yelvington have been on the lookout for the sin that led newspapers astray. For Mutter, it’s not charging; for Buttry, it’s not innovating; for Owens, it’s tying online dingies to print Titanics (my poetic license); for Yelvington, it’s inaction.

Teenagers experimenting with sex
David Armano, paraphrased in the Charlotte Observer

Keynote speaker David Armano told a spillover crowd that businesses on social media today are like teenagers experimenting with sex: They don’t know what to do, but they really want to do it. Then they’re disappointed when they finally get to do it.

Original Sin
Alan Mutter’s Mission possible? Charging for web content (with bonus TV Show title joke cliche)

It is going to be just as tough for publishers to overcome their Original Sin as it has been for mankind to get past the original Original Sin committed when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit.

Steve Buttry’s Newspapers’ Original Sin: Not failing to charge but failing to innovate

Mutter is right that newspapers are still paying for an Original Sin committed in the early days of the Internet, but he (along with the AP story and lots of newspaper executives today) chose the wrong sin.

Howard Owens’ The Newspaper Original Sin: Keeping online units tethered to the mother ship (with bonus spaceship metaphor giving it a Scientology quality)

The Original Sin was? Failure to create separate business units for online.

Steve Yellvington’s Original sin? I don’t think so, but ….

Having been on more than one side of that question, and having been one of the originals, I categorically reject the notion of any “original sin.”

Unless, of course, you think inaction is a sin.

Metaphors: Porn

The Adult Entertainment Industry
Jessica Pressler’s What the Newspaper Industry Can Learn from the Adult Entertainment Industry

A recent story in the L.A. Times takes a look at the struggling porn industry, which, like the newspaper industry, has been deeply affected by both the downturn and the changing technological landscape. DVD sales of porn have ground nearly to a halt, pay-per-view is down by nearly 50 percent, and websites behind pay walls are suffering as more and more amateur pornographers offer their work on the Internet for no cost. “We always said that once the Internet took off, we’d be OK,” the co-chairman of adult-industry giant Vivid Entertainment observed. “It never crossed our minds that we’d be competing with people who just give it away for free.”