Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekend read, D.C. edition

This list of things to read is coming to you from Washington, D.C., where I'm visiting.

One of the signs headed to the
"Rally for Sanity and/or Fear" in DC.
(photo by me via cellphone)
"They're Too Scared to Laugh" (Miami Herald ): If you paid any attention to Big Media over the past week, you know they practically tied themselves into a knot over the Stewart-Colbert "Rally for Sanity and/or Fear" in Washington, D.C. Edward Wasserman offers a humorous slant on all the navel-gazing. (For the record, I was at the event, but found it easy to separate the journalist from the private citizen.)

"Letting Go of the Rope: Why I'm No Longer a Newspaper Subscriber" (OJR: The Online Journalism Review): One-time newspaperman Robert Niles writes about his decision to let his subscription to the Los Angeles Times lapse as a way to protest the "sexist and lewd behavior" displayed by now-former executives at owner Tribune Co. Take the time to look at the comments section: there's a split decision there as to whether Niles is courageous or cowardly in what he did.

Video interlude: A funny take on social media and journalism by local news station KDFM in Dallas.

"SEO Is Dead, and the New King Is 'SMO'" (PaidContent): Having just taken a webinar on SEO (search engine optimization, or using keywords to ensure online hits for your work), this caught my eye. Rather than thinking SEO, argues author Ben Elowitz, we should think "social media optimization": making content so compelling that readers share it with others to whom they're connected on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Best of all, he says, "the big opportunity is now once again creating and refining the most appealing content possible."

A message from the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce is directed across Lafayette
Square park toward the White House.
(photo by me via cellphone)
"Using the Power of Publishing to Influence: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Entry into the News Biz" (Nieman Journalism Lab): Since we now live in a world where everyone can be a publisher, this is a cautionary tale on the importance of knowing who or what is at the root of a publication. Nieman focuses on the online and print publications produced by the U.S. Chamber that put the news through a pro-business prism. Jan Schaffer, executive director of the J-Lab at American University, terms it "a lens through which they look at the news and they want to report the news through that lens."

Bonus interlude, election edition.

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