Tag Archive for 'media'

Fringe Politics Meet Art History

Steven Heller on another Glenn beck gem:

In a recent broadcast, the resident propagandist at Fox News takes Rockefeller Center’s vintage public art and architecture to task for promoting Communism and Fascism through murals, friezes, and engravings bearing symbols that subliminally project vile values.

Politics aside, just watching the video, what is Beck’s point? That oil money funds communist revolution? That he is as good a propagandist as the communists?

The mind reels at his delusions.

Mediaite Launch

Rex Sorgatz on the design of Mediaite, Dan Abrams’s new media website:

…‘horizontal sites’ build a new kind of importance hierarchy. Designers don’t realize it, but unaligned vertical stacks are a remnant of the way that newspapers were designed—in columns, up and down. These new layouts are more like movie screens and wide monitors, with action moving left and right.

A very simple, but potentially evolutionary step in our understanding of how readers can best scan and make sense of content.

The Times Wins 5 Pulitzer Prizes

NY Times newsroom, Pulitzer announcement
Photo by Soraya.

The New York Times, my employer, won 5 Pulitzer Prizes today, “for work on subjects as varied as America’s wars in Asia, the sudden downfall of a political titan, art from ancient to modern, and a history-making presidential campaign.”

The interesting one, from my point of view, is the award for breaking the Gov. Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. No, not because it’s salacious or bawdy, but because the exclusive wasn’t held for the next morning’s paper – it was put up online, on NYTimes.com, in the middle of the day. I think that this will be an important milestone in the evolution of quality journalism.

The Nieman Lab points to a funny anecdote that ran in the NY Observer last year:

Back in the day — you know, five years ago — when a big news story had been written, edited, fact-checked, vetted, proofread, and anguished over one last time, an adrenaline-pumped editor would cry out, “Run it!” As in, the presses.

When The New York Times was ready to report that Eliot Spitzer, then governor of New York, had been implicated in a prostitution ring, managing editor Jill Abramson yelled 20 feet across the newsroom, “O.K., hit it!” As in, the button to publish the story on NYTimes.com.

I love that. Congrats to my colleagues in the news room, and let’s keep it up!

The Crash of Flight 3407

Flight 3407 – Reuters
CREDIT: Gary Wiepert, Reuters [via]

Last night, Continental Flight 3407 crashed in route from Newark to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, just a few miles from its scheduled destination. The crash site is just five or six miles from where I grew up, in a suburb of Buffalo, NY.

The Buffalo News has a living topic page dedicated to coverage of the event, which they are updating with articles, photos, video and other resources, as they are put up. They also started live blogging the story, and linking to outside resources provided by citizen journalists.

CNN is carrying live video from the local NBC affliate.

My heart goes out to the victims, their families and the nearby communities. It’s important to remember that these things rarely happen, but when they do, especially so close to home, it’s impossible not to feel sad.

NY Magazine on Innovation at the Times

Renegades
Aron Pilhofer, Andrew DeVigal, Steve Duenes, Matthew Ericson, and Gabriel Dance.
Photo courtesy NY Mag / Mike McGregor
Election Day Word Train »
Faces of the Dead »
Pogue-o-matic »

Sure there’s been a lot of recent bad news about the New York Times Company, and newspapers coast-to-coast are pulling back coverage, filing for bankruptcy and closing. But there is also another story to tell.

New York Magazine has a piece in this week’s issue on the Times Multimedia, Graphics, Interactive Tech and R&D groups, titled The New Journalism: Goosing the Gray Lady. It details some of the organizational steps taken by the Times, in order to position itself for the day when the online product eclipses the print edition in reach, revenue and relevance.

Continue reading ‘NY Magazine on Innovation at the Times’

Icon-maker Shepard Fairey – Person of the Year 2008 – TIME

TIME Person of The Year 2008 Cover
Shepard Fairey’s cover for TIME.

Time.com has a nice video interview with Shepard Fairey, designer of the HOPE and PROGRESS posters of Barack Obama that were nearly ubiquitous during the ’08 presidential campaign. Time Magazine named the President-Elect Person of the Year 2008, so it seemed only natural to hire Fairey to do the cover.

In the video, he shows the process used to create the piece – techniques learned from his days as a screen printer.

Via Sean

Newsweek’s “Hackers and Spending Sprees”

Newsweek.com has some interesting tidbits about the recently completed presidential election between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin:

  • Palin’s “rogue” shopping spree was greater than the earlier reported $150,000.
  • Obama didn’t choose Hillary Clinton for the VP slot mostly because of her husband.
  • Palin appeared with nothing on save for a towel, when McCain aides and strategists came to her hotel room to brief her at the Republican Convention.
  • Obama thinks some debate questions are stupid.

More will be released on Newsweek.com in the coming days.

Time.com Redesign

New Time.com
New design for the homepage of time.com, the website of Time Magazine.

Time Magazine started rolling out a redesign of time.com yesterday – it was designed by my friend and former colleague Sean Villafranca, who left our group at the Times earlier this year to become the Design Director for time.com.

It strikes me as a welcome departure from its previous CNN-esque iteration, and a little more faithful to the print design. I like the use of Arial Black, and the daring use of the TIME wordmark on the white background. (Daring because it would’ve been far more predictable to use the wordmark reversed on a red background.)

They seem to have only rolled-out the home page and the article pages at this point – section fronts still show the legacy design. But on the whole, it’s a very good improvement to a very good news resource – just in time for the general election season.

ALSO – A few birdies tell me to expect some major design changes to wsj.com today or tuesday, coming hot-off-the-heels of their magazine launch this month. Yes, we’ve heard this before, but there are some preview screenshots out there. Stay Tuned!

What Could Possibly Make Someone Want to Leave New York and Move to Buffalo?

Buffalo #1
Lisa’s tattoo confirms that Buffalo is indeed #1.

New York magazine has an interesting feature on New Yorkers moving to Buffalo, NY, the very city that Lisa and I were raised in and subsequently couldn’t wait to leave from after high school.

Some people will read this as a story of defeat. They will look at Herbeck and Cloyd and think, They came; they couldn’t cut it; good riddance. That’s also a familiar New York narrative, one that’s especially comforting to those of us who stay and stick it out. Because, sure, stained glass and spare bedrooms are nice and all, but no one moves to New York because they think they’re going to get a great bargain on an apartment. You move here because you want to live in New York City.

The writer then goes on to say that this is not a story of defeat, but rather an opportunity:

But New York, for all its mythology, is no longer a frontier. Buffalo is a frontier. And when you think of the actual frontier, you’ll recall that no one ever packed up and moved West to a gold-rush town because they heard it had really good local theater.

Um, okay… Truth is, I know more former 716 area coders that are now in 212 or 718. But, it’s a provoking premise for a city famous for little more than snow and four consecutive failed Superbowl bids.

The Macktivist

macktivist
Illustration by Shira Golding

My friend of some 15+ years, R. Alvarez, just launched a sex column for The Indypendent, New York City’s leading social justice newspaper. It’s called The Macktivist, and she intends to make the column a “sex-positive, educational, kink-, vanilla-, homo-, hetero-, bi-, trans-friendly, smart go-to for the discerning reader.”

Not only is Ms. Alvarez a dear friend, but she also happens to be an entertaining and gifted writer. Go read her column now, leave her a comment, and send in your questions!

Feral Child in Florida

If you’ve got a few minutes, read this heartbreaking story of a feral child in Florida:

“Three years ago the Plant City police found a girl lying in her roach-infested room, naked except for an overflowing diaper. The child, pale and skeletal, communicated only through grunts. She was almost 7 years old.”

There is also a companion multimedia piece, with a video slideshow about Danielle’s progress, including speech therapy sessions.

If you’re curious about life in this small Florida farming town, the New Yorker has an unrelated piece on Plant City this week.

Business Week profile of Deborah Kenny

In the current Business Week, there is an interesting profile of Deborah Kenny, the founder Harlem Village Academies:

Kenny has applied a business management style to running her schools, focusing on attracting smart teachers, nurturing talent, using reams of data to improve performance, and putting a huge emphasis on rewarding results.

Kenny also happens to be Lisa’s boss.

The Big Picture

NYTimes.com isn’t the only NYT property that’s doing interesting things with blogs these days – Boston.com launched a different kind of photo blog earlier this month, The Big Picture. With its oversized photos, minimal ads, and hardly a promo to other site content, the presentation is clear and striking – and praise is pouring in.

California Fires

Firefighters work to contain the Humboldt fire which started Wednesday, had grown to 19,000 acres and threatened more than 5,000 structures. (AP Photo/Jason Halley – Chico Enterprise-Record)

Another interesting facet about the blog is that it not written by a Globe photographer or photo editor, but by one of their website developers. Andy Baio posted a great interview with the blog’s creator and author, Alan Taylor, where he discusses his inspiration, methodology, and what it’s like being a web developer working in a journalist’s world. When asked why more newspaper sites haven’t done this before, he replied:

“Even some of my favorite photo sites are often limited to ‘Photo of the Day’ or ‘24 Hours in Pictures’ features. That’s interesting, and you can find some mind-blowing images there, but I always felt like it lacked context, depth, story.”

Iowa Floods

Brandon Smith carries his two cats, Fry and Bender, to dry land from their flooded and evacuated home on June 12, 2008 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images)

As we move to an age where motion graphics and video regularly enhance our traditional news presentation, it’s interesting to take a step back and consider the power still photography has to tell a story. And working online without the space constraint of print, news organizations have an opportunity to bring more depth and context to readers, through excellent photojournalism.

Infographics

I completed a three-day intensive newsroom orientation last week, in which the new faces at the Times are trained on policies, practices, and quirks of the paper. It’s an onboarding procedure the likes of which I’ve never gone through in my career, and I think it’s a credit to the organization that they care so much about its traditions and culture to invest so much time and energy welcoming new people.

In addition to the seminars on sourcing, ethics and background, it was especially interesting to meet all of the Desk Editors and learn how they run their teams both online and in print. One-by-one, they filed in from National, Style, Travel, Foreign, the Magazines… it was a whirlwind 3 days.

infographic
Deadly Rampage at Virginia Tech, updated April 23, 2007

One of the most interesting half-hours was presented by Archie Tse, a Graphics editor. Archie explained how the Times Graphics Desk is really unique among news organizations, in that they go out and do reporting before sitting down at their computer.

When you consider that newspapers are cutting back on coverage of everything these days, this is remarkable.

Continue reading ‘Infographics’

Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

The Times broke a huge story today, concerning New York Governor Elliot Spitzer’s involvement with a prostitution ring:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation.

There are a lot of unanswered questions at the moment, but that pretty much says it all.

Slate points out the irony that Spitzer’s was brought down by the same investigation tactics he pioneered as a prosecutor. And, the Smoking Gun pulls an interesting tidbit out of the complaint:

…the affidavit notes that after her appointment with Client-9 ended, “Kristen” spoke with a Emperors Club booker, who said that she had been told that Client-9 “would ask you to do things that, like, you might not think were safe…” “Kristen” responded by saying, essentially, that she could handle guys like that.

Wow, let’s hope those details never come out.

Subway Love

Lisa’s photo on Gothamist!Another Valentine’s Day related post – Lisa’s snapshot of this note in the Carroll MTA station made it to a post on Gothamist!

The original is available in her Flickr photostream.

She is kind of a big deal, ’round these parts.

Lunch with The Destroyer

In the paper

This morning, Lisa and I had lunch with her Grandma and Grandpa, who visiting this weekend from Buffalo. Grandpa Dick is a retired professional wrestler, who used to be quite big in Japan. In addition to winning numerous wrestling titles, the masked “Destroyer” was a star on the most watched comedy show in Japan’s television history, along with Wada Akiko. But he also was famous in the West – Debbie Harry of Blondie sported some camel-toe in a t-shirt from Dick’s bad guy alter-ego, Dr. X… Hott.

So, we ate a ton of Japanese food while Dick entertained the chefs and waitstaff with his antics and Japanese linguistic skills. The shot above is of a Japanese newspaper.

More photos, and a video of The Destroyer wrestling a bear, after the fold.

Continue reading ‘Lunch with The Destroyer’

New Hampshire

It’s New Hampshire Primary Day, (already?!), but I’m not going to make any predictions. Hillary? Obama? McCain? Huckabee? The polls have swung dramatically in the past week or so, in both parties. And, it seems that the country is coming to one of those cultural tipping points that only occur once or twice per generation.

Some have compared this cycle to the election years of 1992, 1980, 1960… But, perhaps it’s more like the first months of 1968, before the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. derailed all hope, as well as the campaign of Eugene McCarthy. We find ourselves in an unpopular war that nobody knows how to get out of, saddled with an lame duck President with low approval ratings, and no sitting Vice President in the race, and we’re facing some economic uncertainty ahead. Still, there is hope on both sides of the aisle.

Is it a generational tipping point? Are we as a nation heading toward a year much like that annus horribilis of 1968? Nobody knows at this point, but maybe it’s best not to look back for comparisons – everyone across the political spectrum is eager to move forward.

Continue reading ‘New Hampshire’

Village Academies/Esquire Event

We attended a fundraiser for Lisa’s work last night, honoring Bill Cosby and others. It was held in Esquire’s swank Esquire North penthouse on Central Park North, and the magazine is also featuring Village Academies founder Deborah Kenny in this month’s issue:

In six years, Kenny’s vision has grown into a trio of charter schools under the rubric of Village Academies, located in New York precincts where a muscular poverty has thrived for generations. The numbers alone tell a compelling story. Locally, passing rates for seventh-grade math hover around 30 percent. At HVA, the rate is a stunning 96 percent.

Cast members from Gossip Girl showed up, and Tyler Hilton played a few songs, (who played Elvis in Walk the Line Johnny Cash movie).

midtown office + loved ones

At least the ladies look good – Matt and I have taken better pictures.

More photos below the fold.

Continue reading ‘Village Academies/Esquire Event’

A New boston.com

new Boston.com
The new Boston.com

I just noticed that boston.com launched a redesigned site, and it looks very nice. You can read the editor’s redesign note here.

The new look is much wider, open, and easier to read. The Globe page especially shines, though they could better distribute some of the paper’s content across the columns. (And, I wish that they’d ditch the awful curvy logo for something less whimsical.)

Some sections on the site remain unchanged for now – which, according to the redesign FAQ, was intentional:

Different features and sections of the site are scheduled to debut on different days. While we realize that this might be confusing in the short-term, we’ve studied our options carefully and believe that the gradual switch we have planned will ultimately result in a better user experience.

Err, or that was a lot to roll out at once. Still, great improvement.

Business Week Redesign

Business Week redesignI saw that over at Brand New today, that Business Week magazine has done an interesting rebranding and redesign.

Nothing major on the logotype – gone are the serifs. But, between the covers is the real treat:

It’s inside that the magazine feels more relevant with a clean design and consistent typographic treatments that sway you from beginning to end. Simple size shifts from front of the book to feature stories to back of the book are enough indicators that you are changing sections without resorting to extra fancy opening spreads for the feature stories.

It has a very crisp and modern look, reminding me a bit of CNN International’s on-screen design. I wish other American publications and media would take this approach. The worst offenders are sport broadcasters, who use tickers, graphics, and picture-in-picture interviews to do everything but show you the game.

UPDATE: David Sleight takes a look at the typography behind the redesign.

Indie Rock and Pot

Sorry for not posting in a while, but Presley posted something too funny:

Weed Makes You Listen to Indie Rock

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, smoking the wacky tabacky turns you into a poseur. Even worse: an indie rock poseur.

Listen to this PSA. Just listen to it. And then just try to tell me it doesn’t make you want to put down the bong and start listening to rap music.

[mp3]

ICA Boston

IMG_2306

Photo, originally uploaded by droush16.

It looks like the new ICA on the South Boston waterfront has to delay it’s September opening:

In interviews yesterday, ICA officials, architect Ricardo Scofidio, and construction company manager John Macomber said that the remaining work was not major. Among the pending tasks—termed “minutiae” by one ICA trustee—was the need to test the building’s ticket counter and climate control system.

[via]

Weekly Dig Redesign

Weekly Dig LogoI look forward to picking up the new Dig every Wednesday morning while I’m in line for coffee at Herrell’s. It’s the only readable “alt” weekly I’ve ever come across – anywhere.

And finally, the Dig has a new website to match their print offering. There is a daily blog, my favorite column Media Farm, a round-up of local events in the right column. Also, you may subscribe via a variety of RSS feeds.

The New NYTimes.com

The New York Times launched a modest redesign over the weekend, and it does a great job of presenting large amounts of information in a coherent, organized way.

new NYTimes.com

The new homepage of NYTimes.com.

Khoi has the details on his weblog:

I think it’s a sterling piece of work, a great example of how to evolve a user experience rather than reinvent it: the best reaction it could receive from readers (those not among that vanishingly small subset of the general populace who can be called “design savvy”) would be something along the lines of “The new design looks just like the old design.” That would suit me fine, because it would signal a continuity that I think is completely appropriate for such a closely watched site like The New York Times’, and besides, I know for a fact that it’s more elegant and more useful than it was before.

And though Khoi says that he is not responsible for the design, it’s clear to me that whoever is was heavily influenced by his work – especially the recent re-launch of The Onion. Bravo!