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iPad & The Daily, AOL-HuffPo: Reading The Media-News Future

Kevin Kelly, Jeff Jarvis, and Alan Mutter analyze the latest shifts in the digital media landscape.

The launch of The Daily, the world's first iPad-only newspaper, Feb. 2, 2011 in New York. (AP)

There’s been news all over the news biz lately.

Today, word that AOL will buy the Huffington Post for $315 million. Last week, everybody talking about Rupert Murdoch’s new all-iPad newspaper – if we can still say “newspaper.” It’s called The Daily.

Two weeks ago, The Daily didn’t exist.  One year ago, the Huffington Post had never seen a profit and was known as a bunch of bloggers. Now, it’s AOL’s hot new news vehicle.

The news business has struggled mightily in the digital age, and shrunk. Is it now finding its way?

-Tom Ashbrook


Alan Mutter, consultant on journalism, technology and new media ventures and adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. His blog is “Reflections of a Newsosaur.”

Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine.  His new book is “What Technology Wants.”

Jeff Jarvis, associate professor and director of the Interactive Program at the City University of New York School of Journalism. His most recent book is “What Would Google Do?” He writes a column on new media for The Guardian and blogs at Buzzmachine.

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  • http://faination.wordpress.com Joe

    The iPad is baller!

  • http://www.chrbutler.com Christopher Butler

    The iPad is an impressive device, especially for reading. But there are two big issues for active readers (like me):

    (1) Limited selection in the iBooks store. The Google Books store has a wider selection right now, but not nearly as good of a user experience to replace iBooks. If you’re looking for non-fiction that is not on the NYTimes best seller list, you’ll probably need to continue to visit Amazon or your local library.

    (2) You can’t borrow books on the iPad. I am a regular library user and will continue to be until you can borrow e-books. I read enough that purchasing every book I want to read does not make sense.

    At the rate we’re going, I’m sure both will be addressed soon enough.

    *By the way, I’ve been a regular listener of OnPoint since it’s first airing. I listened while living in Providence, Rhode Island, kept up with the podcast while living in Penang, Malaysia, and continue to today from Carrboro, NC.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    I find it totally amazing that not a single reivew of The Daily mentions that it’s a Murdoch publication and so, is part of the same media empire that brings us the likes of Fox news and all the other crap he owns.

    All of the reviews of The Daily that I’ve read so far focus on it’s slowness, it’s UI, its cost and subscription system inside the iTunes store universe but none on its content and where that content comes from.

    I’m a very happy iPad user and have been for a while. I would never install The Daily on my iPad, no matter how well it worked as a digial publication.

    I get my news through my own aggregation of RSS feeds, read through the excellent newsreader Reeder which exists on the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Personal aggregation is the way to go to support your own notion of “fair and balanced.”

    I’ve read a few books with iBooks and one with the Kindle app on the iPad and while the iBooks reading experience is a bit better UI wise, there’s so much more content available via Amazon and the Kindle app that I’ll no doubt be reading more through it.

    And, before anyone goes off about the controversy over the Sony eReader app being rejected from the app store because it charges for books within the app (not allowed), the Kindle app doesn’t work like this, bringing users to the Amazon web site to buy books so in fact, it’s not charging within the Kindle app. This is why Apple approved it and rejected the Sony eReader app. I don’t begrudge Apple for wanting to protect their profit mechnism.

    By the way, the NPR app, while far from perfect turns an iPad into a nice streaming radio so one can listen to WBUR or any show on any NPR affiliate anywhere on earth one has a wifi connection. And yes, you can listen while you do other things on your iPad (multi-task).

    Warren, CT

  • twenty-niner

    What most Apple heads don’t know about their precious iPads is that they’re built using slave labor at Foxconn’s Chinese 19th-century-style sweat shops. The most telling fact is that Foxconn receives a paltry $11.20 a piece for an item that retails for $500.00 and up, and, of course, the workers get but a tiny fraction of that. According to a recent report, more than one in eight employees passed out on the assembly line as a result of long working hours and pressure to make quotas. One in four female workers suffered menstrual disorders. And sadly, when they’re not passed out on the factory floor, an alarming number of workers just commit suicide.


  • at, Silicon Beach CA

    In addition to what twenty-niner mentions: Foxconn is the largest producer of computer components in the world. They are indeed known for production of suicides along with the shiny apple products. Personally I just don’t understand why someone would buy an ipad. They think it is something different than a laptop. But it is just an extremely limited laptop with gimmicks.
    Apple is known for ease of use for those who don’t really understand computers. Well that may have been true but with Windows 7 that all came to an end.

    I build my own computers, and laptops. It is about as hard as snapping together a few legos. In fact I envision a time when all components will be able to be snapped together without a case, just like legos.

    I have always been able to produce a product that is superior in every way to an apple product. Without supporting unfair labor or meglomaniacal billionares. and for 30% less in cost, at any of their price points.
    I don’t understand at all why something like the ipad gets so much free advertising like this show. It is such a con that being made by Foxconn is poetic.
    Apples famous operating system is based on BSD operating system which was developed at Berkely and is free. See Free BSD.

    It remains a mystery to me why anyone would pay thirty percent more for Apple products. They just must be ignorant of what Windows has become, are unaware of how good any of the free operating systems are (windows can also be fee if you want to ignore their copyright {many perfectly functional versions of it are on P2P free for the downloading though not exactly legal in the US}) or have been affected by ads that try to tie Apple products to a certain lifestyle.

    While at first Windows was used mostly by business, and Amiga was used by visual artists, and Apple by desktop publishers and some musicians, when Amiga failed Mac seems to have picked up their costumer base at first, however at present there is nothing that a Mac machine can do easier than a Windows machine. Much the opposite. Ninety percent of all software is written for Micro$oft systems. If there was any real reason to own an ipad I would own one.

    Touching your computer screen and using gestures may have been all geewiz two decades ago but now it is just something that makes your screen all sticky and is not nearly as easy to use as a logitech MX anywhere mouse. Try scrolling through fifty pages in a half second and stopping exactly where you want to with a gesture. With such a mouse you can sit back, instead of hunched over your computer because you have to be able to touch it. It is wireless and so precise and capable that you can sit anyway you want to and use it on your knee or the bed sheets, as I am now, to control my laptop which is displaying on my big screen TV, and be comfortable.

    It is so stupid to have a bunch of different systems that are not integrated and you end up buying the same basic components over and over for you different devises, because people don’t understand what they really are.

    A friend recently told me how great an ipad is because it can hold a thousand books in memory. He actually thought this was a unique attribute when in fact it is something that even the cheapest notebook can do with ease. These people pay the extra because of ignorance or they just have so much money that they buy what seems cool to the uninformed.

    One of the biggest factors for not buying an Apple product is that you cannot buy what you want, you have to buy what they sell. With a PC whether you run Windows, or some BSD or Linex based (of course you can also run the Apple OS on a PC if you want to and learning how to do it very easy these days) Also the belief that the apple os is more secure is a myth and just not true at all.
    Plus they hardly make any games for the apples.
    There is a reason why the apple blogs will delete any posts that point this stuff out. They really could not stand up in a one on one comparison done by anyone but a computer ignorant consumer.

    So if you want a system that can do less and costs more buy an apple. The computer ignorant will think its cool.

  • at

    Books are superior to any e reader of any kind. Books are not just the words they are also the design, the typesetting, the font, the cover, and many things that still make them the better technology.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    No one is forcing anyone to buy an iPad or any Apple product. Its quite obvious that some people, now many people enjoy the ease of use and simple designs of these products. If the iPad isn’t your cup of tea or you don’t think their’s a future in tablet computers then stick with whatever works for you.

    Why people have to rant against Apple is beyond me. It’s not a zero sum game, you have choices and some of us choose Apple products and are happy with them.

    The important thing is to choose tools that work for you and that you enjoy using and use them to do what you like.

    More to the point of this show, the fact that The Daily is a Murdoch production and that few seem to notice that, even on more “liberal” review sites is beyond me. And, now that AOL has gobbled up HuffPo the convergence of these news sources into larger and larger media beasts means that independent voices are going to be lost.

    We need to put our money where our mouths are: no Koch Industries products, no Murchoch products either.

  • JaMu

    I agree with at. It is not a matter of a rant. It’s a matter of apple advertising being so effective that the facts seem like a rant.

    I personally have a triple boot system on my own laptop. So I can boot up any of three operating systems when I start my computer. I have the latest incarnations of Windows and Apple’s snow leopard and Ubuntu, all on the same computer. I hardly every boot into the apple os, because there is no real reason to.

    I also wonder why so much free advertising is given to Apple with shows like this. I think it probably has to do with producers owning apple stock. No matter how badly their systems compare to a custom built PC like at has, their stock has made lots of people wealthy.

    The whole thing about apple is that because in the past they were perceived to have a more user friendly os (no longer true) they could charge a premium for the hardware they sold it on. At is correct. The apples use exactly the same components as you can use to build a PC, there is nothing different except the software. All the components are PC components. So actually people who are buying Apple are just paying a third more money for the exactly the same thing with a slightly different flavor in the operating system. To people who buy apple I have found that the most important thing to them is the superficial aspects of the system, like the advertising and the case, etc.

    I really don’t care what os people run. But I do wish that they had the opportunity to base their decisions on actual knowledge instead of advertising hype and fashion.

  • Zeno

    I have to reaffirm much of what (at) posted. I build my own systems as well, and for $600 in parts, you will end up with a $2000 system.

    I have always viewed the Apple folks as monks. This is a result of their religious attachment to a brand without regard to its comparative value, and if any of the Monks are challenged on the points they just get louder and then LOUDER in their resistance. Odd but it is what I have experienced.

    Apple has it easy. They only have to create for their hardware and their software. Microsoft has to support EVERYTHING else…and that everything else is huge.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Here’s an analogy, see if you can wrap your heads around it and let go of your anger:

    There are many ways to listen to onPoint, one isn’t better than another. Some people listen on FM radios, others through streaming, others time-shift and get it through a podcast.

    To say that anyone who doesn’t listen to onPoint on a crystal radio built by the listener from parts mined in their own backyard (no slave labor) is a moron is not the right argument to be having. How we listen to onPoint is not an intelligence test, it only matters that we listen to onPoint. It’s the content that matters, not the kind of radio we use.

    And, at, just because you don’t find touch screens useful doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t. Apple doesn’t put multi-touch screens in their computers, they put them in their iPhones and iPads and now makers of competing products are doing the same. If you don’t like touch screens, no problem, you have alternatives but why call those of us who use them names?

    To say that people who choose Apple products are somehow morons or less computer savvy than others isn’t the point, the point is what we all do with our computers and electronic tools.

    The Daily will no doubt “run” on many different tablet devices (Android) in the future as more come online but at this point, the most prevalent is the iPad and so there it is. What we should be talking about is not the platform its running on but the fact that Murdoch is pushing into every area of our lives.

  • at

    Anger? perhaps you are projecting.
    I would not even be angry if I bought a apple system and then found out how much money I wasted for nothing. I would just go with it.

  • at

    And Richard there is a big difference in saying someone is ignorant and a moron. I wouldn’t say you are a moron for not realizing this difference but I would say you are ignorant of the distinction.

    By the way I had a touch screen on my pocket pc fifteen years ago. and have used a fiends ipad. So I am familiar with it. One of the most bacterial laden surfaces you will find are keyboards (more so than toilet seats) Why would I want to increase my exposure to bacteria laden surfaces like touch screens? Especially in devices like bank machines and cashier devices?

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    at: who says I don’t realize the difference? I do, and I choose Apple products.

    My computer bona fides go way back but I don’t feel the need to use a resume of experience to defend myself. I like Apple products, you don’t. Leave it at that.

    By the way, there were no multi-touch screens 15 years ago.

    Peace out.

  • at

    Obviously it is a personal choice to pay more than is necessary. But to believe that they are “better” is just that, a belief.

    And by the way, an ipad is a computer, just a severely limited one. Just like an iphone is actually a pocket pc with a cellular function. Only they couldn’t sell pocket pc until they started to call them phones.

  • at

    And by the way how could we possibly be against a corporation that has done for new what pro wrestling has done for sports? Can’t knock sussess. Or can we?

  • at

    Please excuse my typos. I blame it all on my Microsoft wireless keyboard ;) which sucks. My advice is to never buy Microsoft hardware. Logitech is much much better.

  • Peter Smyth

    One of the things I have discovered in the Apple debate is that the dividing line line is the relationship to the machine. I have been on both sides. There are those who like to tinker, engineer, the get things working. And keep them working like the IT people. And for years, pcs and Windows required that. It took an IT staff or personal commitment to maintain the system so you could get to Photoshop of the great things Word could really do.
    When I returned to Apple and eventually iPad, I realized I would rather spend my time creating, consuming, and producing content (read iLife, Creative Suite, Kindle app, whatever). I know enough about the OS to get by, but I also know Apple supports its products. The Apple Store has no equivalent.
    The price difference: you get what you pay for. It’s the overall cost of ownership that matters. For those who build their own systems, that’s neat, but not a viable option for most of us. I don’t want to repair my car myself. I want to enjoy ride and the destination.
    But if you want to tinker, OSX is deceptively complex.
    It is interesting than Apple detractors almost never mention Apple’s real competition, Google. Mostly because both Apple and Google look at technology the same way – as a tool, not a goal. Both are awesome.

  • ThresherK

    We have all heard that the “death of print newspapers” is caused by them getting too few readers, and of all ‘wrong’ (less profitable) demographic types: Compared to median, they’re older, less educated, less well-off, more rural, and–unlike the rest of America–staying more white.

    That adds up to fewer people with new interests to be sparked and the money to spend in pursuit of them.

    So why doesn’t anyone in the media ever call that a problem for Fox News’ demographics, which run much the same?

  • Yar From Somerset, KY

    ‘Print media’ is often different from broadcast media in that it takes the long view on stories. Sometimes a story takes months or even years to develop. It takes a dedication to research to uncover and develop the resources to build some stories. This never happens for a 2 minute news nugget sandwiched between Lipitor and Viagra.
    We think printing is the huge cost in the newspaper business, when really it is the labor costs of gathering information. The public doesn’t view text on an electronic device as worth as much as text on a piece of paper.
    How can print media change that mind set?
    Should newspapers go to a service plan like cell phones companies, where you pay for the device through a use contract?

  • Zeno

    I just heard the description of the condition known as “MyPad Fever”. Is that the same as Toxic Shock syndrome?

    I just went over to AOL and the Conservatives are leaving the free service in protest. That will show them. LOL.

  • http://mofyc.blogspot.com Brian

    I wouldn’t give a dime to anything that would enrich Rupert Murdoch but I would pay 99 cents a week to read something linked to a reputable news organization.

  • alfie, Tucson

    Peter the distinctions you make are no longer true. And I think that if you do some research you will find that Apple is famous for treating it’s customers badly. This “tinker under the hood” theme is apple disinformation. Windows 7 is the definition of plug and play. Actually PC’s have many more resources for everything on every level. Though they are not called the Microsoft store. And their reaction time to virus threats is faster and their os is more secure. Of course this is now, not when you decided to give up on windows. How many buttons do you have on your mouse? I can have as many as I want and they can do what ever I want them to. The advantages of apple is (I can’t think of one) But the hype will still be spread.

  • Jim

    I certainly hope that a viable subscription model comes out of this. Good journalism costs money, and it is reasonable to expect people to pay for reporters who generate good content. I think under this model, however, many bloggers will be surprised how little value consumers will put on their work. It’s still the big guys like NYT who have the resources and talent that people want to pay for.

  • jim

    BTW, I just read the comments. What’s this seeming obsession with the device upon which one reads the news? What a trivial, secondary issue to waste breath on. The question is, can good, fact-checked reporting be revived in the sea of assertion that is today’s internet? Frankly your love or hate of Apple is irrelevant. And uninteresting & self-indulgent in the extreme.

  • at

    BTW what does it matter what tool you use to hammer a nail. It can be done with a rock or a bed pan.

  • at

    I have long thought that there should be some nonprofit organization that gave web sites, all media sources for that matter, a rating for the average accuracy in their content. Like they do to hotels.

  • Jonathan

    Your last caller is exactly right about the mainstream not challenging outright lies in interviews. I find the BBC interviewers much braver in challenging their subjects. This is my main complaint about NPR.

  • http://mofyc.blogspot.com Brian

    It’s a fallacy to suggest that challenging interviewees means you aren’t objective. The BBC World Service is a great illustration of how the best journalism can be objective while not allowing guests to get away with pap unchallenged.

  • John

    I’m amazed when I listen to the BBC and they ask tough follow-up questions. They even do it with authors and guests on cultural issues not just on serious news.

  • Nancy

    Maybe Arianna should be the Rupert Murdoch of progressives?

  • at

    John, Brian, and Johathan:

    I agree. Even John Stewart is so easy on his guests when they have a little stature. He should have been calling Obama on his ties to the financial industry, for example, and when he had the Rice on he asked her nothing significant about the Bush adm. What a joke.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Problem I see with all the RSS feeds and electronic media is how do we know we are all reading the same story?, the same facts and figures? With print we all have the same.

  • Ron Taylor

    I spent 23 years in journalism. I went from the hot type days to desktop publishing.

    I agree that for many stories, the internet is going to take over.

    However, I hope that the local paper stays. It is, in my opinion, the most important paper. It tells you what is going on in the town you live. It contains news that affects your life daily, local government, road closings, local school events, local people.

    I do not believe the web can replace or improve on the disemination of local news.

  • Reporter

    From Boston

    I’m a 36-year-old reporter (majored in journalism) now for a monthly biz magazine, formerly daily news and AP reporter, who get the Globe delivered every day. I don’t have a kindle and I’m one of those few people who likes to hold paper products.

    That said, I loved the Huffington Post because it was one voice against the terrible influence of Fox.

    How sad that Murdoch has bought it, how sad Arianna has sold it, and how sad for our country that now there’s yet another pulpit preaching hate and convincing middle class Americans the thing they should care about most is protecting the interests of big business and the wealthiest 3% of the nation (who are increasingly wealthier, as the middle class disappears).

    I guess I’ll have to keep reading my liberal newspapers and listening to NPR. And maybe launch the new version of the Huffington Post, who’s in?

  • John

    If we are paying for the hardware and the internet access ourselves, then the media are only supplying content. I thought that most of the print media’s profits were from advertising not from sales of physical papers. Paying content will reduce their readership. They need to find a way to make advertising profitable or go under.

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    That commenter is right on with the notion of personal aggregation, but the problem is it takes a lot of time, so it’s not something everyone can do. I’ve never gotten into RSS feeds, but I love Twitter, because you can keep track of lots of sources that you like, and pass forward things that you think your followers might appreciate. I think really what it comes down to is that there are lots of possible models out there, and the more freedom we have to try them, the sooner the best ones will be able to evolve out of the mix. Large corporations should be free to try their hand in the mix, but we have to be aware that there are limitations to the models that they are able to provide when done in such large doses.

  • Jill

    When I was in 4th Grade in NYC, we were taught how to read the New York Times. It started with how to fold the paper so you could read it on the subway without interfering with others. The teacher showed us how the columns were laid out by importance. What the different sections were, what an editorial was, an op-ed piece, letters to the editors, by lines, AP News etc. After learning the lessons on the layout we were able to distinguish between news reporting and opinion, purchased content and original. I wonder how this is taught now with today’s technology or whether it is thought of at all?

  • Chris from kentucky

    Listening on the radio, and I wonder why is the new way of “adding value” to the news better than the old way. Do we want to rely on one or two people for our primary source of news and then leave it up to commentaries to tell us what to think of it? Thats what is wrong in journalism today. Something is not the best way just because it is currently successful and economically less expensive. Send more reporters into the field get the variety of opinion, as many as possible. Pure objectivity is impossible, but limited bias is not the answer.

  • Reporter

    Wow, sorry for the terrible grammar and typos there. That’s what happens when one does not proofread before posting.

  • at

    Is what twenty-niner wrote correct? He claims that Apple only pays Foxconn a little over eleven dollars for each ipad. If so, what’s the big deal about them selling for less. They should be selling for fifty dollars.

  • Zeno

    I have to disagree with the comment that no one refuses to watch the Super Bowl because of the Ad’s. I for one did not watch it for that very reason. I also gave up on the entire NFL as a sport because of the advertising. There are more ads than content and my time is worth more than that. I think many others are opting out as well.

  • John

    There is a left/right perspective on how to fix your toilet. I wouldn’t hire Joe the unlicensed Plumber.

  • http://challenginglachesis.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    What if no one was paid for anything, and everyone just did what they enjoyed doing, or felt inspired was the necessary thing to do?

  • Robert J. Nickerson

    The problem with aggregated (quote) news (unquote) sites is that any incorrect or grossly slanted news story is given such rapid and wide dissemination that it becomes impossible to correct – remember the firing of the department of agriculture employee?

    Colchester Vermont

  • Ann, Barrington, RI

    BRAVO! To the caller who said that too many NPR journalists do NOT talk back against the Falsehoods that some interviewees spout!

    Tom, yes, you are one of the best at speaking out; pushing; asking for the proof of the Falsehood (but occasionally I’m home here, raising my voice, saying, “Tom! WHY did you let that stand?!!?” ). BUT, across the board on NPR — the MOST DISAPPOINTING THING ABOUT NPR — is EXACTLY WHAT THIS CALLER SAID!!

    It was particularly TROUBLING during he Election of 2010! The Tea Party was allowed to run rampant with Falsehoods about current day matters AND about history. Frankly, I’m EXHAUSTED from trying to “fix” some of the falsehoods about the Founding Fathers! (I have to write a piece today, hoping to get it into my local, statewide daily newspaper, correcting MORE falsehoods about the Founders!). The WGBH show, Basic Black, addressed the False History issue this past Friday (Feb. 4), and they were pointing out the socio-political consequences of journalism that allows Falsehoods to Take Hold (the videocast, if that’s the term, is available on line, tho it may be in two parts — I’m not sure, but check, if you decide to watch it. It is a lively, brilliant discussion!)!

    I’m wondering about NPR — the president, or CEO, whatever her title was — who had Juan Williams leave, is it HER policies that cause NPR journalists to NOT routinely snap back against Falsehoods? I don’t believe that any ONE person would have that much sway, but it DOES seem like there MUST be a policy in place because it is always STUNNING …. stunning!! … when NPR’s BRILLIANT journalists don’t Speak Back — it seems like …. (big word) ….. a Lacuna!!!!

    I’m so glad the caller made this point because friends and I discuss it frequently. Surely, we are not “the few” who feel this way! Today, I know that there is at least one other person who feels this way, plus the call “fielder” who acknowledged that it was a good comment!

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    Thanks Silicon for you input on Apple v. Microsoft; and Robert for your perspective on Murdoch. I would not be willing to pay 9 cents a year let along 99 cents a week to consume anything that comes from Murdoch’s media empire, but then, growing up in NYC, I never did comprehend the popularity of the Daily News, Daily Mirror, or NY Post. It seems there has always been a market for lies and sensation.

    I think it matters considerably how products are produced. We have presumably outlawed slave labor in this country. On what basis is it then moral to import products made in that way from other countries, or to consume them if they are imported? I don’t think convenience or availability stacks up against the moral problem raised by the purchase.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Reporter @ 11:37 I’m in with you and your idea. Only I think we can go further than the Huffington Post did. cabinvinc@hotmail.com If you are serious. I don’t have any money, but I have a few ideas that might help in your crusade.charles

  • http://cyberfumes.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Agreed, there is always going to be nonsense thrown into the mix. If you are used to taking everything with a grain of salt though, that nonsense is much less harmful then when it’s put out by a source that has it’s audience convinced it’s legitimate. If the mix is diverse all the time, the audience gets smarter at determining what they like, and conversations on barstools become much more interesting than just repeating the same old authorized talking point streams.

  • http://shulmandesign.net Alan Shulman

    Isn’t that amazing. I remember the same lesson at my NYC public school, P.S. 174, Jill, starting with the folding of the paper and then onward into distinctions in news, and news v. opinion. It is not done in any school where I have taught in the last twenty years…a lost art I fear, a great idea to reintroduce.

  • “Repubilcans say moon made of green cheese, Dems disagree”

    Agreed, there is always going to be nonsense thrown into the mix.

    Some nonsense? Dave, to whose comment are you replying in particular?

  • Barbara Evans

    Tom asked who’s covering city hall, and I reply, the hyper-local weekly print newspaper with a good website for extended reporting, updates during the week, and other features as they become affordable.

    Much is written and talked about major media outlets and all their exciting mergers and acquisitions, but I hear darn little to encourage and support the news media that hit people where they live! Literally!

    I serve as president of Vermont Independent Media, a non-profit organization in Brattleboro, Vermont. This model works for us as it allows us to stay local and independent. We publish a FREE weekly print newspaper, The Commons, with some 6,000 in circulation, and growing, in less than a year after moving from monthly to weekly. Our website is http://www.commonsnews.org, which is always improving, funds permitting (and you can donate on the site or on Facebook if you like what we’re doing!).

    My point is that we provide in-depth coverage of issues important to our readers in Windham County — local elections, town master plans, charter study commissions, free obituaries, and other hometown news and features. As a local source, we also provide perspective on the local nuclear plant relicensing debate which has state and regional importance. Best of all, we have a popular “Voices” section where our readers can express themselves just like bloggers. There is no shortage of local news, and we build membership and local advertiser support by being in the neighborhood.

    We also run a Media Mentoring Project, which has developed a journalism curriculum for elementary, middle and high schools. And we conduct monthly journalism skills workshops in libraries in two of our major towns, and we mentor other regional startup indie papers.

    While some new media outlets have already come and gone after burning through millions of dollars, we think it would be more helpful if some serious funding came the way of truly local media. We do and can do so much!

    We firmly believe access, as the woman from South Carolina said on today’s show, is important. Not everyone in our area has high speed Internet or is able to spend hours reading electronic newspapers, blogs, and all the other ways to gather news, opinion, analysis. Hence our chosen combination of print and digital.

    Thanks for the great programs and for devoting many of them to this important discussion about the future of the news media. But think local, too!

  • http://donaldbrucewright.com Donald Bruce Wright

    This is to provide a correction to the second post at the top from Christopher Butler. Contrary to what he posted, you CAN now borrow e-books from the library and read them on the iPad. Last week I installed the free app called Bluefire Reader. Since then, I have downloaded and read 3 current works of fiction from my local library (San Jose Public Library). They are tied into the Overdrive Digital Library from which the downloads occur. The format for the books I’ve been getting is ePUB. Follow the instructions on the Bluefire site. (You have to download the book to your Mac and then transfer it to the iPad. You also have to install the free Adobe Digital Editions software as it is the intermediary on your Mac.) The multiple steps seem a little clunky at first but it’s not hard. I’ve been thrilled to be able to start using my iPad in this way. (BTW – I have no connection to Bluefire, Adobe or Apple. I just think this is a fabulous step forward for those who want to borrow current title books rather than buy them.)

  • Steve Satterfield

    More exciting than IPad: Listening to On Point on my IPhone via WAMU in Washington DC while working out on my treadmill in Navarre, Florida. Nothing will ever take the place of the radio experience.

  • Geo’s Masque, CA Central Coast

    I am a reading addict & have been on-line about 10yrs. I read at least 5 news sites a day, do not watch tv & have given up radio. I would still listen to more radio but the non commercial public stations on the IE only work if you subscribe which I cannot afford. I also read listen to books.

    Possibly if I had better finances I would be interested in the new fandangled tech goodies but I am not remotely going to be financially able to make that jump. I explain that because I wanted to extrapolate on what some viewers partially expressed on the show: That the NEWS is going further & further out of the hands & the minds of the low income to no income persons – which is a lot of people, the masses. By “no income” I mean us that are on Permanent Disability or low level Social Security. What does fill that void is the furthest right wing fanatical entertainers ‘pretending to be news’. Obviously this leads persons, unable to access the news & information easily, in the hands of those that would use them direly.

    I once felt the IE had brought the Public back to the days of town postings, town newspapers, where citizens could become informed & discuss, debate, even argue issues. But it is quickly being taken soley into the hands of those that not only have jobs but Good Jobs. Even people with Good Jobs are ill informed about the whole of Society because they to are led by the news they receive. The majority, which votes into being the rules that affect poorer person’s lives, are given seeds of propaganda about how criminal the poor are, while not being informed (until lately with all the economic criminals exposed) about who really rips off Assistance Programs.

    The elderly, disabled, single parents are all clumped into the bigotries created by the medias; I know because I am one of a few poor that spends daily time posting & arguing against these bigotries. The poor have no idea what’s going on as they are too busy trying to survive; the social workers & government workers trying hard to help America’s poor survive also aren’t aware as they are too busy working.

    So what I see happening with the AOL/HUFFPO collaboration & all the ‘apps’ etc is exactly what was discussed on your show last week about the widening abyss’s between the ‘Haves’ & the ‘Have Nots’. The ‘Haves’ vote to regulate the ‘Have Nots’ lives, while the ‘Super Haves’ tell the ‘Haves’ how to think & Vote, controlling the majority of the masses.

    I finally got a computer when someone said “If you do not know how to use a computer, you will be meat in the future!” Now it’s becoming “If you cannot afford the fancy apps, you could be meat in the future.”

  • Geo’s Masque

    I am currently reading sterling Seagrave’s “The Soong Dynasty” (Harper & Row 1985) & it is astounding I guess to someone that didn’t know before how Henry Luce with his TIME Inc swayed American politcs in regards to the Asian Wars & which sides to support. Pretty much at a time when America still had a large representative of varied political parties he created the ‘Commie scare’ in his support of the KMT because of his impression of Madame Kaishek, & undermined American Military leaders & politicos that knew more & better.
    That is a huge example of how limited information & news getting to a limited audience can cost in dollars & human lives.

  • Reporter

    From Boston

    Yeah, I don’t know what my deal was yesterday, but for some reason I walked around all day thinking it was The Daily that bought the Huffington Post, not AOL.

    So … never mind.

  • Kim Bailey

    I listened to the podcast this evening. I use podcasts as I used to use print, for the most part. As it turns out it is easier to identify and repeatedly rely on podcast sources than print or web because there are so relatively few of them. Those that I rely on regulary – NPR in all its various forms, Democracy Now, Counter Spin/Fair and TUC (Time of Useful Consciousness) – I gladly pay for. And, more than $0.99 per week!

    As to the print/web sources, I have yet to find one or two sources which provide value which I can not get by using RSS aggregation: 100 give or take subscriptions. Your guests keep working around this issue, but your last caller put the point to it: Who do I rely on to provide time effective filtering of the vast amount of opinions, views and experiences floating about. Truth, in whatever way you wish to phrase it, has a basis in facts, and the evaluation, filtering and prioritizing these is value added – wherein lies the gatekeeper. This is where my trust will go, where my dollars will go.

    Thanks for another good show!

    Be well,

    Kim Bailey

  • Barbara Sutton

    It seems like for a decade now I’ve been hearing Kevin Kelly on either your show or other NPR venues blathering on about how all consumable news will soon be free and that “content providers” will have to find new ways to get paid or get out of the biz. You continue to round up people like him and Chris Anderson for your recurring “digital media” segments and allow them to talk cocky with impunity about how things are going to be . . . in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2009, etc. Why don’t you ever hold these Carnac the Magnificents to earlier predictions? Yes, things are changing at a breakneck pace, but not in the ways your “experts” so smugly declare. You could at least point out the irony of them plying the diminishingly relevant trade of talk-radio expert. I guess you’re reluctant to call them out for fear of appearing biased toward your own stake, but this indulgence certainly doesn’t serve journalism.

  • Dan

    The main thing this show did for me is convince me of the arrogance of ‘new media’ types. Why is it if someone focuses on the new, internet era model of information distribution he also has to be rude and superior with a big chip on his shoulder? These guests were just unpleasant to listen to, like when a part of your car is rubbing on another after a fender bender. I suppose, thinking back to the early fans of personal computing and the internet, it sort of makes sense, this has always been a haven for the socially unskilled.


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