The Old New Media

The Lessons of Vice

A post-mortem on pre-mega-expansion Vice, by Alexandra Molotkow:

The magazine was a point of intersection for a number of subcultures that started balling together around the turn of the century. It’s hard to say what this scene was about, exactly: clothing-wise, Vice “style” was defined negatively—the Don’ts were always funnier than the Do’s—so it was more about what you couldn’t wear (dreadlocks, sandals, pubes) than what you should. Musically, it was far-flung, though artists like Andrew WK and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were staples, and I remember it as a leading champion of electroclash. Coke was the drug of choice, but in drugs as in all things, Vice [...]


The Secrets of Modern Media (Prostitutes!)

"Instead of writing about a prostitute, we were going to get prostitutes to write for us." —Suroosh Alvi explains the founding principle of Vice, by which, eventually, we were ushered into our current Internet age.


Wouldn't You Be Like, Fine, Knight Foundation, Here Is Your $20,000 Back?

Don't you think it's super-awkward when someone pays you a lot of money and then publicly admits that they regret doing so? Anyway, do you think Jonah Lehrer will pay the Knight Foundation back that $20,000 they just gave him to explain why he was fudging things in his work? (But then, the Knight Foundation does a lot of pretty unfortunate money-spending, to be honest!) Still! Tell us all about it in the comments… over at the Knight Foundation's blog.


How PR Web Is Strangling the Web with a Daily Flood of Crap

It's becoming ever-harder to find actual real things on the Internet. How can you learn by way of search about, say, canine diabetes, when you can't predict or tell which result is a spam farm and which is a labor of love? Here's a pretty impressive look at how PR Web is undermining search results and gaming Google News and propagating what is essentially spam throughout the Internet. (In this instance, a company used PR Web for pretty obvious market manipulation—and it didn't even work. LOL.) Two things are gross about that: First, it doesn't even help PR Web's clients get Google-rated inbound links. It's not actually [...]


Now Barry Diller Owns a Magazine

The line about Tina Brown's stewardship of The Daily Beast and Newsweek has always been that it'll continue as long as Sidney Harman and Barry Diller had bank accounts. Harman died more than a year ago; now his estate will stop paying for Newsweek. That leaves just big Barry on the hook for the two publications which are sort of one publication but not really. The good news: Barry Diller has just huge, monster bunches of cash on hand. So much cash that, at IAC, the property is considered just "one of the many small areas of investment." Meanwhile Jane Harman, Sidney's widow, is throwing a party for [...]


An Interview With Glenn Greenwald

Salon writer Glenn Greenwald got rock star treatment at the National Conference for Media Reform, held this past weekend in Boston, where he took part in a standing-room-only panel discussion of WikiLeaks with Emily Bell of Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Greg Mitchell of The Nation, Australian journalist Christopher Warren and Micah Sifry of Personal Democracy Forum.

Cheers of “Hear, hear!” rippled through the crowd after Greenwald argued that “what WikiLeaks is doing is what journalism is all about.” He’s written extensively about Julian Assange’s network and particularly about accused document-leaker Bradley Manning.

He spoke with me after the session about media transformation, WikiLeaks, what drives [...]


Pack of Lies! 'Daily Mail' Sexy News Blow-Ups Are Fibs 'n' Fiction!

Is the Daily Mail, London's news beast and one-stop hype beggar, right vexed with errors, false claims and scandals that beggar belief? Some people say yes!

The jazzy flap-paper shanks both celebrities and common folk on the regular, says Juliet Shaw, a lass originally from Barrow-in-Furness, late of Cumbria, and proud single mother of two young beauties. Juliet says the paper ran fecklessly roughshod over her romantic life, misstating her age, basic facts of life and inventing motivations and fabricating quotes along the way.

"I’ve never been to a garden party in my life!" shouted the misplayed miss.


Does "Intern" Magazine Have Interns

Intern is going to be a print publication about… interns. And we think, by interns? And about, of course, interning. Ha, wow, that word is starting to look freaky. InTERN. INtern.


They're Kickstarting right now, because that's all editorial interns ever learned about business models. (WELL? I MEAN.) But they only want £5,500, so go on and lend a few quid.

But just think. A whole magazine of people to exploit. Sensual.


How the 'New Republic' Touted Itself in 1940

This is the New Republic's ad strategy from 1940. I wonder which Supreme Court justices were readers! I hope it was that dreamy and probably gay Frank Murphy, then just-confirmed!

Adjusted for inflation, by the way, $5 a year is $82.92 in 2013 money. Not terrible news: then it really was a weekly, and now it's 20 issues a year, for a subscription price of $34.97.

40 East 49th Street is 425 Madison Avenue, built in 1927. It has a lot of doctors and dentists, and it's where I get my eye exams. Also there's a Starbucks, go figure.


Take A Minute To Watch The New Way We Make Web Headlines Now

The great menace in headlines in 2011 was that either every headline was "11 Ways to X" or that it was "Y Happens to Z [SLIDESHOW]." You know, whatever our pals at Business Insider and Huffington Post's Celebrity Sideboob's page were doing. Well, guess what, we all got used to it, and now it barely registers as tacky or grabby, except when it's over the top. Sure: promise me 11 things, I will at least read three of them. Fair's fair.

The menace before that was the "How" headline, which is so hard to avoid. "How X Became Y." "How Apple Something Something'd." "How Your Mom Became Your Dad." That [...]


One Town, Two Newspapers: Will the Real Digital Innovators Please Stand Up?

Another day, another newspaper bankruptcy. This time it was the Journal Register national chain, home to eighteen small dailies including the New Haven Register, and now operating under the seemingly sexier-sounding name of Digital First Media. That rechristening had been trumpeted as more than mere window-dressing—Digital First Media’s senior executives publicly embraced the Internet as the future of journalism, boasting of not only their "digital DNA," but also their determination to “stop listening to newspaper people” and their stuck-in-the-past, ink-stained thinking. Don’t panic over vanishing print ad revenue, Digital First chief executive John Paton insisted last September: If you stack them high enough, “Digital dimes can replace Print [...]


Inside Gawker Media's First Company-Wide Meeting

Last night, Gawker Media held its first real company-wide meeting at the Crosby Hotel screening room, down in the hotel's swank basement. Honcho Nick Denton gave a speech from the stage—just like a real grown-up company, and also totally not.

"His pep talk amounted to showing a chart of upward linear growth and telling us it wasn't good enough," said one employee. "But what do you expect from Nick—is he going to go around and rub everybody's shoulders?"

No. He is not. Denton should feel good that he came off as a real hardass. Everyone knows where they stand now: grow (more!) or get out. And another principle he [...]


Us v. Them: When The Liberal Media Met In Boston

At my first session at the fifth National Conference for Media Reform in Boston, at a panel called “Wikileaks, Journalism and Modern-Day Muckraking,” I sat next to a man who regaled me at length with how he had learned to find the real news from Libya via a Toronto professor’s blog. Later, as NCMR volunteers walked around the room collecting questions for the panelists on three-by-five cards, I watched him filling up most of his card. He carefully block-printed a preamble and two-pronged question, the first part of which was, “IS RESISTANCE FUTILE?”

Well, no. Based on all of the projects and innovation I learned about at the [...]


Half a Tweet! Gawker Headlines Max Out At 70 Characters Tomorrow

Gawker Media honcho Nick Denton issued an edict this morning: headlines for his sites running on his Kinja system will now be auto-truncated to 70 characters. He's doing this to appease Google and Facebook. Apparently, the company couldn't identify a technical solution yet to issue different headlines to different venues. Most publishers send out different headlines to Facebook, Twitter, their sites and for Google. (For instance, there's a couple free WordPress plugins that do this, just FYI.) The sites will also shorten summaries on sites, like here, to convey more information.

Let's see how today's Gawker headlines stack up at 70 characters!

• ‘Religious Freedom’-Fighting NC Lawmaker Opposes [...]


In the Future, All Publications Will Be Inside All Other Publications

What's possibly in these "full syndication" deals for publications taking their material to other publications? We find most of them don't do us much good, with a few exceptions. (One good exception being partial syndication with some Huffington Post sections, particularly Business.) More and more, publications are throwing up their hands and just going with it. Syndication, once a brave act of sucking it all in for free, is now just the machines at work, folding the layer cake that is the Internet into itself over and over again. For example?


How Not to Be a Publicist

I found that many of the people I spoke with suspected the real changes at [The New Republic] would come at the expense of Leon Wieseltier—who had his own charmed life as the oldest young man in the room…. Wieseltier ruled a sort of archipelago of learnedness in the magazine’s back pages—haunted by its own testy thoroughgoing-ness, dense with type and argument, and deliberately off-putting. “In the old days, I used to get shit from certain people about difficult words or references,” Wieseltier says. “The irony now is that I just smile and say, ‘Google it.’ I have no conscience about that anymore.” His culture section, which often [...]


Please, Please Do Litigate "Voter Fraud" Investigations in Your Paper

Probing the election fraud gospel according to True the Vote, in today's NYT. Good read:

— Sam Sifton (@SamSifton) September 17, 2012

And from the Times public editor this weekend:

The national editor, Sam Sifton, rejected the argument. “There’s a lot of reasonable disagreement on both sides,” he said. One side says there’s not significant voter fraud; the other side says there’s not significant voter suppression. “It’s not our job to litigate it in the paper,” Mr. Sifton said. “We need to state what each side says.”

Reading the very good voter fraud story, which hews closely to facts, instead of "teaching [...]


It's "Everyone Hates Tumblr" Day :(

Rough day in new-media-land too: Tumblr's getting it from all sides, for pretty much extorting a developer—threatening to shut down his personal sites because they don't like a popular browser extension he made—and for not working well with fashion communities. C'mon boys! This kind of stuff is all easy to fix! Everyone's rooting for you.


The New 'Newsweek'

It's here! It's Tina Brown's Newsweek! There it is, between the huge amount of word-free space and a 2/3rds of a page devoted to a photograph of a shoe: Harvey Weinstein and Hillary Clinton as hot topics, with editorial buttressing from the minds of Larry Summers and the recently unemployed Kathleen Parker and Joanne Lipman. Mmm, it's like soaking in a nice warm bath of a comfortable yesterday—a happy, mature place of sort-of kind-of powerful people (the kind of people who have "power" at Michael's restaurant, or certain overpriced bistros in D.C.) explaining things simply and calmly (and sometimes correctly), with the occasional stroppy quote on [...]