Citizen Denton: New Yorker profiles Gawker founder

Paul Raven @ 14-10-2010

Offered without comment, and via sources too numerous to link, is this profile of Gawker Media blog-mogul Nick Denton at The New Yorker. It’s simply a fascinating character study in its own right, though you could read it as an insight to the sort of attitudes and drives you need to make a blog network a paying proposition in the flux-plagued churn of The New Media.

Through Gawker, Denton wages war on self-regard—or presumed self-regard, as his cast of mind is both abstract and deeply tribal, inclining him to sort nearly all people into one or another category that could be judged full of itself. There is a well-travelled image of Denton on the Web, in which he is wearing a tuxedo and tilting a wineglass to his lips. The image bothers him, because it suggests a level of comfort and formality in his presentation that doesn’t accord with his self-image. Denton is tall and rangy, and has a famously large head that sits precariously on a thin neck and narrow shoulders, leaving the impression of an evolved brain that is perhaps a little too conscious of its pedestrian context. He looks perpetually unshaven, with gray stubble complementing his close-cropped, receding hair, which he teases casually forward. He is someone who likes and knows how to have fun—“Nick has a fairly strong hedonic streak,” his friend Matt Wells, of the BBC, says—but who doesn’t wish to be seen enjoying himself overly. “Hypocrisy is the only modern sin,” he likes to say.

Intriguing, and full of storyable ideas and character traits. Go read.


Seth Godin asks what we’ll miss about printed newspapers

Paul Raven @ 16-01-2009

newspapersWhen newspapers are gone, what will you miss? asks Seth Godin. His answer? Not a great deal. He takes the opposite view to the journalists who tell us that the ‘proper’ investigative journalism will be killed off by the migration to the web:

… if we really care about the investigation and the analysis, we’ll pay for it one way or another. Maybe it’s a public good, a non profit function. Maybe a philanthropist puts up money for prizes. Maybe the Woodward and Bernstein of 2017 make so much money from breaking a story that it leads to a whole new generation of journalists.

The reality is that this sort of journalism is relatively cheap (compared to everything else the newspaper had to do in order to bring it to us.) Newspapers took two cents of journalism and wrapped in ninety-eight cents of overhead and distraction.

The obvious response here, especially from anyone in journalism, is going to be “well, what the hell does Godin know about running a newspaper?” I can’t answer that question, but I do know that Godin understands marketing, economics and human nature pretty well, and I have to say there’s something very logical about what he’s saying.

Or am I just being sold the story I want to hear? [image by drb62]


Tomorrow’s news: Journalism’s future will look like … ?

Tom Marcinko @ 18-11-2008

As Ed Wood said, future events such as these will concern you in the future. With newspapers shriveling up on our breakfast tables, and TV spewing out tabloid and opinion, what’s going to happen to investigative journalism? Reporter-maven DigiDave says:

What we need right now is 10,000 journalism startups. Of these 9,000 will fail, 1,000 will find ways to sustain themselves for a brief period of time, 98 will find mediocre success and financial security and two will come out as new media equivalents to the New York Times…. I don’t know what that organization will look like or who it will be – but that’s what we need and we face some serious challenges along the way.

Dave’s behind Spot.us, a venture in “community-funded reporting.” People submit tips and fund pitches, and the resulting stories can be used by anyone under Creative Commons. About 10 projects are on the boards. A pitch on the after-effects of a year-ago oil spill on San Francisco Bay’s beaches has raised $500 and needs $300 more. Sounds like slow going, but it beats whining about the good old days.

[Story tip: Journerdism]


Secret Motel Art

Tom Marcinko @ 20-06-2008

secretmotelart1Next time you check into a motel, look under the drawers and tables.  Online photo-comic artist Chris Yates has been waging war on uniformity and alienation in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah.   And those are just the ones we know about.
[Utah, It May Be Good for You]


Queen Rania of Jordan opens communication with the West… via Youtube

Tomas Martin @ 07-04-2008


It’s impressive how far new media has come and how important it is becoming in all parts of modern life. In addition to the myriad of blogs, news sites and internet radio stations contributing to the discussion of pretty much anything from politics to skateboarding, we have the emergence of the online video.

Video is beginning to catch politicians out when they ‘misspeak’ on a previous statement or action. Senator George Allen’s defeat in 2006 was widely credited to a young staffer catching him using a racial slur on video. But it’s not just accidental footage that’s making an impact. Barack Obama’s ‘A More Perfect Union’ speech has over 4 Million views in less than a month. Now Youtube can claim another powerful figure, with Jordan’s Queen Rania using the medium to ask people for their stereotypes and questions about the Middle East in an attempt to bridge the gap between Arab States and the West. This kind of meta conversation between those who even ten years ago would just not have happened. Interlinked worlds like those in David Louis Edelman’s ‘Infoquake’ are easier to imagine with online interactions like this one.

[via Neatorama, video via Youtube]


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