Clay Shirky
Pulling Punches While Covering Print: A Reply to Ryan Chittum
June 18th, 2014, 10:47 AM
Background: Yesterday, I wrote something about how nostalgia blunted skeptical coverage of Aaron Kushner’s dumb — and now failing — plans to build a newspaper empire in southern California. I particularly singled out Ryan Chittum of Columbia Journalism Review and Ken Doctor of Nieman Labs as analysts who suspected that Kushner would fail, but waffled […]
Nostalgia and Newspapers
June 17th, 2014, 10:47 AM
Aaron Kushner, CEO of Freedom Communications and the architect of a contrarian plan to expand southern California newspapers, began erecting hard paywalls for his digital properties while increasing newsroom and print outlay in the summer of 2012. That strategy imploded earlier this month, with layoffs, buy-outs, furloughs and the merger of two Freedom papers, essentially […]
The End of Higher Education’s Golden Age
January 29th, 2014, 10:47 AM
Interest in using the internet to slash the price of higher education is being driven in part by hope for new methods of teaching, but also by frustration with the existing system. The biggest threat those of us working in colleges and universities face isn’t video lectures or online tests. It’s the fact that we […]
Healthcare.gov and the Gulf Between Planning and Reality
November 19th, 2013, 10:47 AM
Back in the mid-1990s, I did a lot of web work for traditional media. That often meant figuring out what the client was already doing on the web, and how it was going, so I’d find the techies in the company, and ask them what they were doing, and how it was going. Then I’d […]
Remembering Aaron by taking care of each other
January 23rd, 2013, 10:47 AM
My friend Will Morrell, brilliant and sardonic, was the first person I ever knew to make his living close to the machine. A few years after we got out of college, he got a job in New York designing DSP chips for pinball machines, and crashed with me for a couple of months. During his […]
Napster, Udacity, and the Academy
November 12th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Fifteen years ago, a research group called The Fraunhofer Institute announced a new digital format for compressing movie files. This wasn’t a terribly momentous invention, but it did have one interesting side effect: Fraunhofer also had to figure out how to compress the soundtrack. The result was the Motion Picture Experts Group Format 1, Audio […]
Save Homicide Watch
September 4th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Homicide Watch, one of the most important experiments in improving journalism in the era of the internet, will die in a week, unless we save them. They need our help. Please donate $50 on Kickstarter to help them keep working. If you can’t do $50, do $25, or $5. (For the record, I’m in for […]
Warren Buffett’s Newspaper Purchase
May 29th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Last week, Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, purchased two dozen small newspapers and their related online properties from Media General, a conglomerate with holdings mainly concentrated in the southeast Unites States. After finalizing the deal, Buffett issued a memo on his view of the acquisition. (The text of the memo is here.) Buffett […]
Pick up the pitchforks: David Pogue underestimates Hollywood
January 20th, 2012, 10:47 AM
Writing in his blog on the New York Times yesterday, David Pogue, one of the Times’ tech columnists, advises toning down the alarmist rhetoric over SOPA, suggesting that opponents of the bill (and its Senate cousin PIPA) should Put Down the Pitchforks. He takes particular issue with people who have criticized SOPA without actually understanding […]
Newspapers, Paywalls, and Core Users
January 4th, 2012, 10:47 AM
This may be the year where newspapers finally drop the idea of treating all news as a product, and all readers as customers. One early sign of this shift was the 2010 launch of paywalls for the London Times and Sunday Times. These involved no new strategy; however, the newspaper world was finally willing to […]