Archive for July, 2008

Tribune redesign, newspaper salvation, in the works

Jul 22 2008 Published by Ryan under Uncategorized

Looks like the new Tribune editor, Gerould Kern, is working on “saving” the newspaper. The reported redesign takes the news off the front page and buries it in the second section. Whats more important for the front page of a newspaper?

“Consumer-oriented and entertainment features.”

According to the article at Crain’s, Kern said the redesign is still a work in progress, but the Tribune Co. COO Randy Michaels has ordered some kind of redesign. I think the money quote from Kern is thus:

“The newspaper business is in crisis. I want to do everything in my power to save it.”

Sure it would be great to go back to the golden days of year over year growth, but the Internet has changed everything. The editor of the Chicago Tribune should be focused on saving the newsroom: the reporters, quality and values. Not an obsolete distribution mechanism.

I’m at a meeting of the Knight Foundation grantees in Chicago, today. We just finished lunch and heard the CEO and President of the foundation, Alberto Ibargüen, talk about how Knight has changed its focus from promoting best practices in journalism to figuring out what those practices are now. While talking about their focus on local and community news, Ibargüen said that they aren’t trying to “save the newspapers,” they’re trying to “save the values” of journalism.

Out the window was a reflection the Tribune Tower.

I wonder when those condos go on sale.

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Old fashion democracy with the Internet

Jul 21 2008 Published by Ryan under Uncategorized

I’ve often wondered what would happen if we could put the legislative branch of the government online and let citizens vote on legislation directly. Get rid of all those layers of representation that we built up and have a true democratic system.

While that may never happen (and maybe should never happen), I stumbled on a site that allows you to vote directly on bills in congress and send your position into the appropriate representitive/senator: It keeps track of your state and congressional district and how you vote, and stacks up it’s members against thier representitives in Congress.

Pretty neat.

The site looks new and seems to have a small community at the moment, but it will be neat if it gets enough interest.

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Free the data and let us figure out what to do with it

Jul 08 2008 Published by Ryan under Uncategorized

The UK government’s ‘Power of Information Task Force’ is holding a competition for the best way to make government data available to citizens. They are offering a 22,000 pound prize/grant to make the best idea happen. Whats really cool is that a bunch of UK agencies published new APIs to get the juices flowing and encourage some mashup-making.

On this side of the pond, a technology policy paper was released with a name that sounds like a Harry Potter book: “Government Data and the Invisible Hand.” The Princeton University authors argue that the government agencies make thier data available on their own websites when they really should be building APIs to let the public decide what to do with it.

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