Malaysia Airlines 777
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Wired smartly curates ‘A Startling Simple Theory’

Someone at Wired deserves credit (and bonus pay) for curated news journalism well-done. Story “A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet” is original content that provides fresh perspective about Flight 370. The tech news site plucks this gem from Google+, where aviator Chris Goodfellow posted five days earlier. Wired sources the original, acknowledging authorship and curation: “We’ve copyedited it with his permission”.

The Plus post shows social sharing’s strengths, where the interaction in comments extends the storytelling (as does the broader Reddit thread that captures Chris’ post and many others). It’s unfortunate Google+ limits comments to 500, cutting off the conversation.[Read more]

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Affirmatively Advocate Counterpoints

Earlier today I explained my recent “Chilling Chromebook” writing approach, which seemingly contradicts my more pro position taken throughout 2013. Simply stated: My stance seeks to counterbalance sudden media fan frenzy—bloggers and journalists relating the same points of view because they think it’s vogue. There is too much me-too enthusiasm, rather than real reporting.

The recent rah-rah rash of “Chromebook is better than sliced bread” blog posts and news stories represent two types of contextually-relevant journalisms: advocacy and mob. Both get considerable treatment in my new book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers.[Read more]

Chromebook Pixel
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Chilling Chromebook

Over the weekend, I got email from developer Jeff Nelson with his blog response to my BetaNews story: “Chromebook belongs to computing’s past, not its future“. He is among a majority of responders who disagree with my assessments about the future of PCs depending on keyboard and mouse.

Today’s Android Wear platform announcement foreshadows exactly where computing is headed. For longer perspective, please see my book The Principles of Disruptive Design. But suffice to say that Google champions “Star Trek”-like computing, where you—by sight, sound, touch, and voice—are the user interface.[Read more]

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Kurt Sutter correctly calls Google a ‘parasite’

As a content creator my feelings about Google are mixed. Philosophically, I believe in the openness of information and non-restrictive copyrights that let the producer profit from his or her good work in the present but benefit everyone later on. Last-Century revisions ruin the latter ethic. Life plus 70 years is a ridiculously long copyright that rapes the very concept of public domain.

Google’s business model enables free spread of information, which supports my other ethic. But there’s rot at the core—the free-content economy that search demands. As I explain in my new ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, “the search giant profits from your good work, reducing its value in the process”. Google produces no content, while its whole business model is about profiting from others’ content.[Read more]

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Pop Trial Balloons, Don’t Float Them

During Amazon’s fourth quarter 2013 earnings conference call, on Jan. 30, 2014, CFO Tom Szkutak said something surprising: “With the increased cost of fuel and transportation as well as the increased usage among Prime members we’re considering increasing the price of Prime between $20 to $40 in the U.S”. The retailer revealed the actual price increase three days ago, effective March 20.

That tip-off is excellent example about the ways companies float trial balloons and how the news media distributes them. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trial balloon as “a project or scheme tentatively announced in order to test public opinion”. The Wikipedia definition, which “needs additional citations” fits with my own: “A trial balloon is information sent out to the media in order to observe the reaction of an audience”.[Read more]