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

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

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.


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.

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.


ICA Boston


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.


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!