I am not the person of the year, as Time Magazine so cleverly suggested. And neither are you. How could anyone be THE absolute person? Maybe my cat considers me the person of the year, and maybe my dad considers my mom the person of the year. It’s subjective. How could a definitive list be put together, especially in the age of internet individualism and never ending choice!? That being said, here’s my list…

(Keep in mind this is seriousness mixed with fluff.)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: for obvious reasons. He’s a hero and a frightening foe, all the while looking sort of like a J.Crew model. (he was also Time’s first pick…)

Angelina Jolie: for being the most popular and talked about person on the planet…for no good reason.

Bob Dylan: for still kickin’ out the jams. Everyone should take a hint.

Hillary Clinton: she’s not my favorite, but the woman kicks some serious butt.

Jeff Jarvis: for innovation and bright ideas about news in the blogosphere.

YouTube: not a person…but certainly a revolutionary force in global culture.

Al Gore: for moving the all-important show off the road and onto the big screen. and scaring the shit out of everybody.

best music of 2006

December 26, 2006

albums:

RAYS: hipster candy

the go! team: thunder, lightning, strike!

the evens: get evens

jenny lewis with the watson twins: rabbit fur coat

bob dylan: modern times

sonic youth: rather ripped

shows:

sonic youth at mccaren park, brooklyn

the go! team at the paradise, boston

JP05 at the abbey lounge, somerville (i think in march?)

the billy ripken fuck face card everywhere, everywhere

the lemonheads at irving plaza, nyc

vietnam at the academy of music, northampton and irving plaza, nyc

the shakes at the lompoc, bar harbour

Today’s Week in Review section of The New York Times features a good story by Adam Nagourney on whether Americans are ready for an African-American or female president. Too bad the copy editors slipped up: the sixth paragraph reads “Over the past of the past eight years…” Now, i’m very forgiving usually, but come on. This is one of the most looked forward to sections of the week and is written by one of The Times’ best.

Perhaps the editors are stretched too thin? I’m sure they are, and it’s very sad. The reporting from The Times is top notch, and they are creating new posts for reporters in Spain among other places, according to Jill Abramson at a meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Thursday night. But good reporting looks sloppy without good editing.

Some may say i’m going a little overboard here, but i’m just pointing out that even The Times is feeling the heat of economic pressure.

If I were Nagourney i’d be upset.

The Future of News

December 8, 2006

Yesterday was a big day for my interactive journalism thoughts. It doesn’t need to be said (again) that the web is the future of everything and most certainly the media. But, how will journalists react and what can we do to ensure quality and above all, accountability? As Geneva Overholser said last night at the Future of News panel at a meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, journalists need to continue to work in the public interest, in the midst of change.

Debbie Galant of baristanet.com visited the school (CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, duh) yesterday to speak to budding interactive students, or rather, smart, forward-thinking media minds. She was an infectious guest-funny, engaging and almost inspiring. Her blog, or community news website (whatever you want to call it), is a model that has inspired many similar websites, including one of my favorites, newhavenindependent.org.

Galant’s site is hyper-local, and that’s what makes it successful. Local businesses advertise, and everything covered takes place within the same three towns in New Jersey. The reach of her site is therefore minimal, but no less important to her readers. It fills, as she says, a niche. Baristanet works in the community it serves, but it doesn’t serve the same purpose, (and it doesn’t want to), as national or international news organizations.

Covering those national and international issues, and reaching wider audiences while still raking in profits, is a whole other issue. The panel discussion last night at the Time-Life building attempted to address it. Those who sat on the panel are esteemed media professionals: Jeff Jarvis, my professor and the founder of Buzzmachine.com, Jill Ambramson, Managing Editor of The New York Times, Jonathan Klein, President of CNN/U.S., Geneva Overholser, Chair in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and John Carroll, former editor of the Los Angeles Times and lecturer at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University. Norman Pearlstine, Senior Advisor at The Carlyle Group, moderated.

Jarvis is a proponent of what he used to call “citizen journalism,” but now refers to as “networked journalism.” He says we need to be “more collaborative, more open” in the age of convergence, and believes that a conversation between the readers and those producing content is absolutely necessary. “It’s incumbent on us to work together,” he said.

The monetary issues (how do we pay those that report the news?!) is the big issue- no one can deny it. What is the business model of the future? Abramson said The Times was not defined by a business model, but rather by their quality of journalism. “I’m not going to join the chorus of doom-sayers,” she said. “I see a great future, economically.”

But The New York Times stands alone, most other papers and news outlets are not in as comfy a position. As Abramson said herself, the average income of her readers is $90,000 and the average age is 45. Not exactly the norm.

But what about the public interest? Investigative journalism and uncovering buried information that the government doesn’t want you to know about is hard, and expensive. As Abramson said, a blogger may not have been unable to uncover and clearly report the NSA wire-tapping scandal. All on the panel said long-standing pillars such as The Times and The Washington Post need to exist in order for blogs and interactivity to also prosper.

A solution? No, of course not! A start? Yeah. The old media and the internet have met and one will either engulf the other, or a plateau will form where both can exist. Overholser said it well. “The avid consumer is offered more and better options. We traditionalists would do well to embrace it.”

(By the way, I usually type like e.e. cummings, all lowercase, but the lovely joy bergman asked me to change my crazy ways. this is my first attempt.)