This morning, I awoke to a perplexing question in the BetaNews Tips inbox. Reader Mark Bryant shares a story from Medium and asks: “Should Journalists be obliged to declare in their reviews that the company has paid for business class travel to the event and given them free devices?” It’s a goddamn good question given too little attention.
“The True Bendgate: How Apple Bends Reality and Why the Media is Playing Along”, by Richard Gutjahr with German-to-English translation by Elka Sloan, is excellent and informative reading. Medium is good forum for the tale. Richard tells about receiving an invite to last month’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch event, for which he reports Apple paid for transportation. [Read more]
As Halloween approaches, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences takes a long look down memory lane—eh, scary forest paths—with a short documentary about “The Blair Witch Project“. Before there was Facebook and Flickr (February 2004), Reddit (June 2005), YouTube (November 2005), Twitter (July 2006), or any other countless social services spreading viral content, there was Blair Witch.
“It was basically the first viral marketing that ever happened”, actress Heather Donahue says, That’s exactly how I remember the movie, which defines the “lost footage” genre and set the blueprint for many viral campaigns that followed. Remember in 1999, viral started from a website, which in some ways makes a better campaign—or did 15 years ago.
When I worked as an analyst for Jupiter Research a decade ago, the editorial philosophy was “data-driven analysis”. But sometimes single stories—one or a few individuals—define a trend. That’s my renewed feeling today meeting Tim in the alley behind our apartment.
I measure San Diego’s economy, and in some respects that of America, by the people who dumpster dive our alley. We moved to the city seven years ago yesterday and were taken aback by the number of people who pull redeemable bottles and cans from recycle and trash bins. But the collectors’ character changed in 2009, following the financial crisis of late 2008. No longer did we see just clearly weather-worn homeless, but paler and better-dressed folks not long laid off from office jobs. Professionals. [Read more]
The world is at war. Ebola is the enemy. Not Islamic State. Not Russia, Israel, Palestine, the United States, or any other nation or peoples you would like to insert here. No country—pardon the word choice—is immune to Ebola. The disease doesn’t care about cultural, political, racial, or religious differences that divide people. The disease indiscriminately attacks everyone.
Ebola should unite us—a global community rallying against a common enemy. But the disease can, already does, divide us. Fear, not infection, is Ebola’s great weapon of mass destruction. In parts of West Africa, farmers abandon crops for fear of infection; yesterday, I heard a BBC radio report claiming as many as 40 percent of farms in some countries. Fear. Fear of infection will divide us unless we unite first. [Read more]