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Convergent Lessons from Olympics 2012 October 29, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, Multimedia, Online Video, Reviews, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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From smartphones to social networks, today’s digital tools are helping audiences connect, create, and interact with each other on a global scale. This is changing the relationships content consumers have with each other, and with every business.

In the past, journalism relied on a broadcast model to influence audiences with mass media, projected out one-way, to as many consumers as possible. To succeed today, journalism need a network model, one that takes advantage of audiences’ ability to engage, interact and collaborate with news organizations and each other.

In the era of the hyper-connected user, it’s no longer about broadcasting a message. Digital media is fragmenting from mass markets and mass production, to a world of niche networks and communities that are interconnected, dynamic and powerful. All links among audiences and between audiences and news organizations, are a network, enabled by social media, the web, mobile devices.

Within this new network, how do content creators shape and interact with the message? The Summer Olympics 2012 offers best practices in crafting an integrated digital presence across media platforms. Watch the case study here: Slideshow

TED-Ed Lessons in New Video Site April 30, 2012

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Reviews, Web Video, YouTube.
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TED videos have always been educational. For years, the non-profit group behind the thought-provoking TED Talks that touch on issues in Technology, Entertainment, and Design has fulfilled its mission of spreading ideas and inspiration through conferences, media and research fellowships.

As we shift from creating, curating and consuming content offline to online, TED’s initiative, TED-Ed is an affirmation of video as a 21st Century vernacular and its evolutionary role in the modern multimedia classroom.

TED-Ed gives educators a toolkit to rethink the traditional notion of teacher and student by sharing lessons and inspiration with anyone willing to learn or teach, within or outside the classroom.

TED-Ed.com, still in beta, was launched last week. It is the second phase of a project that started in March with an education channel on YouTube to combine exceptional teaching with eye-catching animations to make captivating lessons available to anyone on the Web:

Test Driving TED-Ed

The videos are impressive enough. But it’s the tech driving them that wows. The elegantly simple Website offers a structured avenue for repurposing content by allowing teachers to “flip” any video from TED-Ed and YouTube into a sharable lesson ripe with quizzes, links to additional info and animations.

This means teachers can customise lessons around any embeddable video and pipe the information onto a private Webpage whose access permissions could be individually set to track that lesson.

The best lessons may be showcased on TED-Ed, contributing to a collection of multimedia teaching best practices as more users take advantage of it.

The Future of Online Education

Think Khan Academy on steroids (Salman Khan is a TED-Ed advisor), and you’ll have an idea of what TED-Ed is shooting for, and why it could become a game-changing platform for education.

Online videos of “TED Talks” have attracted a global following, with TED presenters bringing brain power to mind-tickling spins on concepts as weighty as climate change or as playful as dance and music.

Now, teaming talented educators with talented visual storytellers to create fun multimedia, TED-Ed has set out to make learning irresistible by empowering educators to transform a passive academic experience into an interactive one.

The open source platform lets instructors incorporate pre-made videos from TED with any clips from YouTube into their lessons. This means any video from YouTube can be turned into a lesson – completely free. The implications of this for online education bear watching.

We want to show that learning can be thrilling. By turning great lessons into vivid scholastic tools, these TED-Ed videos are designed to catalyze curiosity.

Our longer term dream is that we will be able to aggregate the best lessons that teachers create and share them with a wider audience.

Chris Anderson
TED Curator

Views of educational content on YouTube doubled in the last year, according to the leading video sharing service. TED-Ed videos join more than a half-million education-themed videos on dedicated pages of YouTube.

TED is gearing up for a full launch of TED-Ed, timed with the new school year in September. Directed by Logan Smalley, a former TED Fellow with a background in documentary work, the project is backed by a US$1.25 million commitment from American department store chain Kohl’s.

Related reads:

Online Video Increasingly Used as a Teaching Aid
Schools Increasingly Friendly to Online Education Options
Infographic Series on Crisis Facing US Higher Education
Top US universities put their reputations online – BBC 
Screentest for the online classroom – BBC

Google Adwords for Video October 3, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Reviews, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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The long-awaited Google AdWords for Video is finally here, in beta. Billed as a service that “combines the science of online advertising with the emotional engagement of video” Adwords brings Google’s auction-style advertising to the world of online video.

It’s something that the video community has been expecting ever since Google purchased YouTube in October, 2006. With AdWords for Video, advertisers pay only when their video is viewed; since viewers have to choose to watch the video, that ensures an interested audience.

The system offers four types of placement: In-stream (including pre-, mid-, and post-roll, with an opt-out option after five seconds), in-search (in the viewers’ search results), in-display (showing against similar content), and in-slate (the viewer chooses which ad to view while watching longer-form content). Video ads can show on YouTube or the Google Display Network.

AdWords for Video offers targeting options, so that advertisers can select the group they want to reach. They can target based on demographics, interests, and keywords. They can also choose to display an overlay ad on top of their video, giving more information or prompting an action. The advertising system ties in with Google’s existing analytics tools, so advertisers can monitor performance and make changes, if needed.

Google is offering a simple five-step setup guide for new customers. The steps include linking to an account, creating a campaign, creating an ad, creating a group to target, and then measuring the campaign’s performance. Go here for a ste by step guide to get started or watch Google’s video below:

How The Web Can Change Education July 18, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Essays, News, Reviews, Trends.
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by Joanne KY Teoh
The Web has freed people from the “tyranny of time and distance” and is now poised to create a culture for learning innovation, expanding classroom walls to bring the best learning resources for kids of the world.

No surprise Rupert Murdoch of News Corp has been enthusing about the commercial potential of eLearning, using the e-G8 Forum “The Internet: Accelerating Growth” in Paris to talk up the Web’s power to transform education in his presentation.

Of course, Murdoch lauds commercial educational initiatives and products while ignoring Open Access resources like MIT OpenCourseWare, and many others. While one should beware ruthless tycoons peddling their wares, the point is that even Murdoch sees the future of education, and his words are accurate in many respects.

If schools today have not changed much, and the classroom is still defined by a teacher with a book and a blackboard, what should change? Computers aren’t enough. Software that engage students are also critical. If possible, equip students with tablets to let them become more interactive in their learning.

Digital technology allows for personalized or individualized learning. Students can work at their own pace with online tutors and videos featuring, for example, master teachers from anywhere in the world to monitor each student’s performance.

What does it look like when the Web positively impacts the daily practice of a learning community through communication and collaboration? Some schools have shifted their thinking to transform best practices, utilize project-based learning activities, and implement school communication initiatives that involve blogging, wikis, and social networking tools.

Education and creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson also criticized outdated schools in his classical 2008 A Change of Paradigms lecture at the Royal Society of Art. But he addressed technology from the viewpoint of its effect on cognition and culture, and how educational politics should take this into account. Certainly a more fruitful and far-sighted approach than Murdoch’s promotion of exclusively commercial tech solutions.

Animation: Changing Education Paradigms by Sir Ken Robinson

While Murdoch advocates for less government in education as a software seller, Lawrence Lessig advocates socially ethical “less government.” Below is a video of his e-G8 keynote which focuses on his slides.

We should say to modern democratic government, you need to beware of incumbents bearing policy fixes. Because their job, the job of the incumbents, is not the same as your job, the job of the public policy maker.

Their job is profit for them. Your job is the public good. And it is completely fair, for us to say, that until this addiction is solved, we should insist on minimalism in what government does.

The kind of minimalism Jeff Jarvis spoke off when he spoke of “do no harm”. An Internet that embraces principles of open and free access, a neutral network to guarantee this open access, to protect the outsider.

But here is the one thing we know about this meeting, and its relationship to the future of the internet. The future of the internet is not Twitter, it is not Facebook, it is not Google, it is not even Rupert Murdoch.

The future of the internet is not here. It wasn’t invited, it does not even know how to be invited, because it doesn’t yet focus on policies and fora like this. The least we can do is to preserve the architecture of this network that protects this future that is not here.

Lawrence Lessig, Professor, Harvard Law School

Keynote – e-G8 from lessig on Vimeo.

Reads
e-G8 – Rupert Murdoch: Education Is the Last Digital Holdout

Reinventing Education for 21st Century March 11, 2011

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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Digital anthropologist Michael Wesch has produced thought provoking videos using Creative Common licensed materials about the web, education and online communities. In ‘Rethinking Education’ he compiles sound bites of thought leaders (Tim O’Reilly, Yochai Benkler, Brewster Kahle, Ray Kurzweil, etc.) in describing how technology is altering mainstream education. Michael Wesch is professor at Kansas State University and was keynote speaker at Open Video Conference in New York in Oct 2010.

Guggenheim Debuts Web Video Biennial October 10, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Reviews, Trends, Web Video, YouTube.
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Fresh from my engagement at the Open Video Conference in NYC, I am convinced that no other medium is pushing the boundaries of creativity like video. Much is in store for Web video advocates, activists and artists.

The Guggenheim Museum is recognizing the importance of video art by creating YouTube Play, its first biennial of online creative video. The collaboration with YouTube combines an online site, a juried contest, and showings at Guggenheim museums in New York, Bilbao, Venice, and Berlin.

The 20 videos shortlisted from 23,000 submissions will be announced at the New York Guggenheim on October 21 at an event streamed live on the YouTube Play channel. The selected videos will be screened at Guggenheim museums and will be archived online.

So what makes the cut? The shortlist is reviewed by a panel that includes film director Darren Aronofsky, visual artist Takashi Murakami, recording artist Laurie Anderson, video artist Douglas Gordon and museum curator Nancy Spector.

While online video art is not new, the biennial shows the form is being recognized by the art establishment. YouTube is one of the platforms where people are sharing creative video. The biennale exposes viewers to work that they would not normally see. Viewers can then interact by posting comments.

“We wanted to look at what’s happening right now online and be part of it,” says Hanne Mugaas, territorial associate for the YouTube Play biennial. “There’s a history of artists working online. For the new generation of artists, the Internet has always been there while they were growing up, so it’s an everyday tool. It’s a tool not only for artistic production, but also for distribution and inspiration, and a platform for sharing.”

Visit YouTube Play to see the short list of finalists and come back on the 21st to see which 20 were selected.

Related reads
See It Now! Video journalism is dying. Long live video journalism. – CJR

iPad, I write, I paint, I am June 11, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Trends.
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Guest post by Michael Ryan Chan in Paris

Print is dying. Bin the dregs of a medium based on dead trees. Good riddance! Once upon a time, book romanticists like me would have shed tears over this capitulation to pixelation. But Apple has bestowed on us a work of art that will redefine our own artistry. Tempted, I took my bite of Apple’s masterpiece at the Louvre in Paris. Voila!

iPad’s minimalist interface – no keyboard or mouse – just direct interaction with documents, is just the device I’ve been waiting for. Let reading begin anew. At once art and utility, this platform to create and consume rich-content stands among icons of engineering design like the Eiffel Tower:

At last, a life of the mind, entirely on dazzling screens, ergonomic keyboards, and blistering modems. Now I paint anew with my fingers on a tablet, tell stories with a tactility in ways unimagined and doodle with touchscreen brushes. I am artist, writer, sculptor – unmediated – all at once. iPad, I am:

It is not easy not to gush at this storytelling device with the bright beautiful screen. Its “frameless window” has already raised the interactive stories I create to a new level. And it will change how I do journalism with its immersive potential, its platform for rich multimedia, and its ability to deliver information based on where it is in the world. I am in good company with David Hockney, iPriest of art:

Famous for his pool paintings set in Los Angeles, the British pop artist has swapped paintbrush to create artwork on iPad. Hailing the device as a new art tool, Hockney sees a transformative effect:

The iPad is far more subtle, in fact it really is like a drawing pad. They will sell by the million. David Hockney

To understand why the iPad is so exciting, we have to think about how we got here since printed books and painted pictures. Historically we have not read long-form text or viewed images on screens. With iPad, we can define when content should be printed or digitized.

This conversation is just beginning for publishers, Web masters, content creators, authors and designers. For people who love beautifully made things. For storytellers willing to take risks and consider the best shape and media for their yarns:

Web 3.0 Make News Worth More June 2, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends.
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The Web has evolved from a tangle of text to a database capable of understanding its own content. As Web 3.0 or the semantic Web gets smarter, it’s possible for news publishers to improve the value and shelf life of news with rich metadata.

Web 3.0 can be used as a strategy for enabling communication between independent databases on the Web. For example, the wealth of data in databases at Amazon, the Environmental Protection Agency, Twitter and Wikipedia don’t know anything about one another. So there’s no way to answer questions like, “What is the impact of pollution on population?” or “What do people tweet about on smoggy days?”

News publishers can use the semantic Web to monetize content, engage users and launch new products because news articles lie between fleeting tweets and durable journals, and thus have the most potential to grab and retain readers.

Metadata improves reader engagement by linking together related media. For news users, that means more context on each story and a more personalized experience. For advertisers, it means better demographic data than ever before.

OpenCalais, a Thomson Reuters tool can examine any news article, understand what it’s about, and connect it to related media. This is more than a simple keyword search. OpenCalais extracts “named entities,” analyzing sentence structure to determine the topic of the article. It is able to understand facts and events.

The real magic happens when the databases come together, such as when the BBC wanted to create a comprehensive resource for information about bands. By merging its own information with entries from Wikipedia and MusicBrainz, the BBC created a website that seems to know everything about music.

Related read
How the Semantic Web Can Connect News

Connect For Real Please May 28, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Essays, Reviews, Social Media, Trends.
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Hello Facebook, please understand connections are built on friendship and meaningful experiences with friends. Please create a context of trust, safety, and true connections. Your network has eroded our confidence as users and limiting our ability to actually connect.

Research shows instant intense connections affect the overall tenor of the ensuing relationship. Specific factors trigger such connections – physical proximity, vulnerability and a clearly defined community. They are all seriously lacking in Facebook.

Teams that click tend to work more effectively together. Couples in love at first sight are more passionate with each other. What makes people actually click and form instant intense connections? Think – meeting someone at a party, that spark on a first date.

Distance separating people greatly influences likelihood of a connection. The pal in school who sat beside you is probably your closer friend today. Likewise, scientists proved more likely to collaborate with other scientists who sat in the same corridor.

Those last few feet separating people really matter. While Facebook might create digital proximity, it’s impossible to recreate the intimacy of sitting next to someone. Facebook can’t do much about proximity, but there are two other factors it can do something about – Foster vulnerability and community.

It’s now difficult to be vulnerable on Facebook, that once intimate community that only included your college buddies. Vulnerability builds trust. Psychologists found that personal revelations make us more likely to connect because we become vulnerable and open, showing we trust those we disclose to.

Facebook is seen as Big Brother-like. It’s as if the company is a hidden microphone that threatens to expose what we’d really like to say. Who will see what we write on someone’s wall? If we comment on someone’s status, whose newsfeed will it show up in? Without that ability to be vulnerable, it is difficult to really connect with friends.

It’s really about a sense of community. Think of how close people get with their freshman dorm mates. You’re all new at school and together you form a clear, delineated community. Research shows that when people feel they belong to a community that experiences real world together, they’re much more likely to bond.

It used to be that a group of Facebook friends felt like a separate and delineated group. As the site shares more and more information with the “outside,” the walls of the community — that clear delineation — are becoming more porous and less effective at building bonds.

By dishing out a never-ending assault on privacy, Facebook is uniting its users at least. Nothing like a healthy dose of shared adversity to bond users, like soldiers in battle, into a coalition of Facebook quitters.

BBC: The Virtual Revolution May 2, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Web Video, YouTube.
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The Virtual Revolution is a documentary series which began airing on BBC Two in January 2010. A BBC and Open University co-production, the series looks at the impact the Web has had since its inception 20 years ago. The series took on a different approach to BBC documentary making by encouraging an open and collaborative production.

The Virtual Revolution Episode 1: Explores the origins and impact of the World Wide Web. From its Cold-War military origins in the 1950s, through its evolution as a meeting place of the 60s hippy movement, to its incarnation today through the genius of Tim Berners-Lee and other pioneers. The Web is seen as powering the 2nd Industrial Revolution; its impact on humanity as profound as the Printing Press, or the power of Steam to the 1st Industrial Revolution. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The Virtual Revolution Episode 2: Some of the Web’s biggest names – founders of Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft – explore how far the Web has lived up to its promise to reshape lives. The Web is forging a new brand of politics in democracies and authoritarian regimes. Al Gore, Martha Lane Fox, Stephen Fry and Bill Gates explore how sites like Twitter and YouTube encourage direct action and politicise young people. Yet the Web’s openness enables states to spy and censor, and extremists to threaten with networks of hate and crippling cyber attacks. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The Virtual Revolution Episode 3: Destroys the myth of free Web services such as Google, Ebay, web-mail etc. Commerce dominates virtually all aspects of Web provision, allied to their increasingly sophisticated tactics to gather information on users. This data is then used to target us with advertising catered to our tastes and browsing habits. However, this data-trawling comes with a price, the surrender of our privacy. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The Virtual Revolution Episode 4: ‘Homointerneticus’ is the Web changing the way we act / behave / interact with our fellow human beings? What long term effects is the Web having on our children – can children today tell the difference between ‘Virtual’ and ‘Real’ world? What might the future hold as a consequence of this ‘Virtual Revolution’. (Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Facebook? Oh Puhleeze May 1, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends.
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I’ve been tracking Facebook, not that my sense of self worth hinges on how many strangers “friend” me. People react with incredulity when I say I don’t Facebook. There are many things I like, but few are on this $800 million a year business that makes its money from advertising.

It’s easy to support the movements forming against this social network because I’ve no emotional investment in this Web superpower where people broadcast their lives in orgies of sharing and over-sharing. Now that Facebook has made the cover of Time and Zuckerberg-alikes are cashing in on those opting out, I’m glad I was never in.

Now that user confidence is being eroded by privacy blunders, phishing scams and controversy around instant personalization and the exodus of angry users, Facebook must give me control options less complicated than these. Like, let me opt-in rather than opt-out of instant personalization, the feature that hands my publicly available Facebook info to selected Websites I visited.

Facebook privacy came to a head in May, when 15 organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and users started a “Quit Facebook Day” campaign. Although the campaign wasn’t universally embraced, Facebook changed its privacy settings, making it easier to keep personal information from going public.

Privacy is a personal responsibility. Information has no walls and it’s time we realise the Web cannot protect information posted online even as it makes the transmission easier than ever. For those in a social coma, how many hacked accounts will be sold before they wake up and make privacy a personal responsibility?

The Web has meshed with our lives. Facebook is not the enemy in this new world. If you want to give the world a front row seat into your life, don’t expect privacy controls and security settings to protect you online. If you want to keep a secret, don’t talk about it or quit Facebook puhleeze.

Do Pulitzer Prizes Have A Future? April 16, 2009

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends.
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It is said that when you win a Pulitzer Prize, you enter an aristocracy of excellence. The joke is that when you win a Pulitzer Prize, the first line of your obituary has been written. Now that newspapers are kaput (well, almost) will journalism’s highest honors need an epitaph? pulitzer_front_logo

The winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes will be announced at Columbia University in New York on Monday. Almost a century after the prizes were founded, print journalism is in turmoil as papers struggle to stay afloat.

Now even the prizes are changing as the world of media evolves. Originally, there were no prizes for poetry and photography. Since 1999, the prizes have expanded its scope to include online material, which now cover all categories in all forms.

You could submit online material on newspaper Web sites. Interactive graphics to videos could be submitted in all the categories with the exception of photography, a category still restricted to still images.

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2007 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography by Oded Balilty of AP. Image shows a Jewish settler challenging Israeli security officers during clashes as authorities cleared a West Bank settlement.

This year, the Pulitzers are expanded further to cover online-only news organizations that publish regularly, that are primarily devoted to original news reporting and continuing coverage of events.

Despite evolving with the media landscape, currently there are no prizes awarded specifically for multimedia content. The Pulitzer Board is encouraging entrants to blend online components with text components, which is really where journalism is today.

It’s this hybrid of text and images and graphics. I think that’s one of the strengths of the Pulitzer Prizes for journalism right now. They reflect the nature of journalism today. Other competitions have separate silos: They put the print material in one silo, and they put the online material in another silo. I don’t think that’s the way journalism is evolving.

Sig Gissler, Administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes

While broadening the competition, the Board stressed that all entered material – should come from United States news organizations that are “primarily dedicated to original news reporting and that “adhere to the highest journalistic principles.”

And do J schools get it? Journalism and digital skills must be taught in a more integrated way to give a better sense of the impact that the Web has on what a journalist does. Journalists today need a better understanding of how when they write for the Web, or produce for the Web, it changes the way they go about conceptualizing a story.

The problem with the media industry today is not the journalism. In fact, the more media change, the better the journalism. The problem is generating revenue to support the journalism as the industry goes through a transition.

A lot of what you needed to know to be a journalist five or 10 years ago was taught in the context of the traditional newsroom. There were lots of editors, there were lots of people with institutional knowledge and that kind of thing. What you need now is all that plus the new skills that readers expect, and the truth is that a lot of newsrooms aren’t well-equipped to teach you that.

Bill Grueskin, Dean of Academic Affairs, Columbia Journalism School

Obama Stages First Virtual Townhall March 27, 2009

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
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Just as he reinvented electoral politics, US President Barack Obama is using the Web to reinvent the presidency. Part politics, part American Idol, Obama seized the bully pulpit today and reprised the best of his acclaimed campaign skills in a digital townhall from the White House — something never done before.

Click image to view townhall
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Open for questions: Obama at the White House taking questions from the public in his first virtual townhall.

Declaring, “This isn’t about me, it’s about you,” the US leader made a direct sales pitch for Americans to support his broad and expensive assault on economic hard times.

He took questions asked from a pool of more than 100,000 sent to the White House Web site as well as from the audience of about 100 that was on hand for the event at the presidential mansion.

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Read and answer: Mr Obama looks over a question submitted via the Internet

The online town hall had an amazing feel of something that had never been done before, and something we should be trying to do more of.

The White House Blog.

White House officials have been making great efforts to have Obama reach outside the traditional media filter. As a candidate, the President was adept at using the Web to raise money and build a grass-roots movement that delivered the presidency. Now in power, he’s using the Web again to speak directly to Americans.

What we’re seeing is a concerted Obama recent PR foray in support of his assault on the current financial crises. The Internet questioning dovetailed with the president’s key projects: health care, better education and energy independence.

The US leader has staged two in-person town hall meetings in California. Now the promise of the Web makes jetting around in Air Force One to stage town halls around America seems so last year. Besides, it’s environmentally incorrect.

Not unlike American Idol, this digital townhall lets ordinary folks take part in politics and shape the outcome. Besides, the 100,000 questions submitted form a significant number of e-mail addresses for future outreach and the next campaign.

Obama’s Web-savvy approach to the presidency is already being cast as Obama 2.0. His video address to the Iranians may not have impressed the theocracy in Tehran. But by taking the presidential fireside chat into the virtual world, Obama has indeed brought the mountain to Mohammad.

TV Ratings Get Obama Bailout March 24, 2009

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
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These are times of media economic malaise and plummeting viewership. A presidential helping hand could give ratings a leg up. With folks counting on every word by the still popular President Obama, TV show producers know they have ratings in the bag when he shows up.

Never mind the gaffes and the PC slip-ups, when the President went on Jay Leno’s 11:30 p.m. show on Thursday 19 March, the show hit its highest ratings in 10 years and its fourth highest rating in 16 years.

Some dismiss it as distasteful at best, but I say thank God for a President who is media fluent and who knows how to reach out to people on his policy. No secrecy, no auto cue. You decide. View President Obama’s full interview with Jay Leno.

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On Sunday he appeared on the 60 Minutes interview program with more than 16 million viewers, a high for the program in some years, and around 1 million more than for the college basketball game beforehand. The interview was the highest rated program of the evening.

And oh, the President will be hosting his own prime time (2000 EDT, 0100gmt) news conference this evening from the White House. Mr Obama is certainly media savvy, using video across all platforms equally effectively to deliver his message.

The US President used spring festival of Nowruz to send a message that America wants to end decades of tension with Iran. It was the warmest US message in 30 years of hostilities. The theorcracy in Tehran may not want to appear too impressed, but Obama broke new communication ground.

With The White House Blog, A New Year, A New Beginning the American leader reached out to the public over the heads of the Iranian leadership. Mr Obama took the unusual step of recording a video appeal to the Iranian people for a new beginning in relations between the two countries. View President Obama’s Nowruz Message.

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President Obama sends out a video message with Farsi subtitles to wish Iranians a happy new year and to hope that the America and Iran could settle their differences.

Chinese Premier Wows on Facebook May 28, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends, Web Video.
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It helps when you’re the leader of 1.3 billion people and you put your popularity on the line online. Flush from the accolades for his sympathetic response to the Sichuan earthquake, Chinese leader Wen Jiabao has gone Web 2.0 with a profile on Facebook.

You can be friends with Grandpa Wen, the moniker for China’s 66-year-old premier who has always cultivated a populist image unlike many of the Communist Party’s aloof leaders. And with 15,000 Facebook ‘supporters’ as of this writing, he’s more popular than US President Bush on the social networking site.

As the face of China’s grief, Wen’s knack for looking sympathetic has won him supporters offline. Hours after the quake hit Sichuan province, he was on the scene with a bullhorn. TV cameras followed him for days as he tried to comfort children and put on a hard hat to enter a collapsed building.

Wen Jiabao at ground zero in Sichuan

Full of laudatory comments, the Facebook page was set up two days after the 12 May quake. It has photos of Wen walking through the rubble, comforting victims and breathless posts such as: ‘I love you, oh my God,’ ‘A model Premier for the world!’ and “Go Grandpa Wen! Go China!”

The profile creator had uploaded a mournful “We Are The World” – style music video that interspersed horrific images of the quake’s aftermath with shots of musicians wearing white T-shirts with “5-12″ printed on them.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

Facebook lets users create personal profiles. The page appears to have been set up recently though it’s not clear whether it’s the work of Wen himself, a government official or someone with no ties to the premier. The page bears the official government photo of Wen in a gray suit.

The Chinese leader is one of hundreds of politicians on Facebook. He joins Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and every major US presidential hopeful who have Facebook pages. The site has a section where users can ‘Browse All Politicians’ and see them ranked by their number of ‘supporters.’

YouTube Video Award Winners March 22, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Reviews, Web Video, YouTube.
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eEmmys? Oscars 2.0? The people have spoken, and viral clips along with Web stalwarts won big in the second annual YouTube Video Awards recognizing the top user-created videos of 2007.

The honors include “bragging rights, a trophy and a special invitation to an event later this year.” YouTube users voted from six nominees in each category: music, sports, comedy, instructional, short film, inspirational, commentary, creative, politics, series, eyewitness and “adorable.”

My Name is Lisa, a drama about a young girl and her mother who has Alzheimer’s, triumphed in the newly added Short Film category.

Honors for top Web Series went to The Guild, whose creator and star Felicia Day is getting lauded left, right and center for her quirky online comedy chronicling the relationships among a fictional team of online fantasy gamers. Here’s a profile of the series.

Chocolate Rain stole the thunder in the Music camp, having already morphed Tay Zonday from an unknown musician to Web superstar.

Stop the Clash of Civilizations by AvaazOrg topped the Politics category.

The Original Human Tetris was Creative video of choice.

Battle at Kruger took Best Eyewitness Video for its astonishing footage of a baby water buffalo surviving an attack by lions and a crocodile in the African prairie.

PBS TV/Web Documentary in Multimedia March 21, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Reviews, Web Video, YouTube.
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The journalism of PBS FRONTLINE is recognized every week for in-depth, no-glitz examination of something significant. On Monday March 24, the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, PBS will retrace the path of the war in a two-part documentary that draws on its FRONTLINE reports to examine the legacy of the Bush administration.

Once in a rare moment, a work comes along to reconcile our hopes in the Web as a documentary medium. “Bush’s War” elevates the telling of true stories by weaving facts with technology in innovative ways to illuminate the enduring myths of our culture. Conceived last November, FRONTLINE’s New TV/Web Experience offers the definitive documentary analysis by veteran producer Michael Kirk.

Here’s how PBS describes its political thriller:

Across the entire four-hour Bush’s War series that will be streamed online, FRONTLINE will integrate and embed in its video player an array of related interviews, background material and video that can be viewed with just a click. In addition, more than 100 video clips of key moments and events in the Iraq war will be the centerpiece of an annotated master chronology which FRONTLINE will publish on the Bush’s War site.

The interviews, video and background material are drawn from one of the richest archives in broadcast journalism: FRONTLINE’s 40+ hours of documentaries and 400 interviews done since 9/11 on Iraq and the war on terror, as well as new interviews conducted for Bush’s War.

Everyblock Filters News, Data in Cities January 24, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends.
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What’s happening in your neighborhood? Everyblock has just launched to let users search for news and information by address, zip code or neighborhood. For example, typing a zip code in the Chicago site brings up all the crimes reported there.

So far only Chicago, San Francisco and New York are covered, but more cities will be added soon. With its unique filter on the chaos of city life, EveryBlock does a good job of pulling information from disparate sources for Chicago/NYC/SF-based readers.

To get a taste, check out a map of all photos taken recently in Downtown San Francisco, a list of vehicles stolen in Chicago, or a log of the graffiti recently cleaned up in Brooklyn.

Al Thompkins of Poynter Institute reviews:

Click the word “map” on the upper right corner of the listing, and it maps all of the crimes. The site also gives you restaurant inspection scores for every zip code, street or specific address.

I then found all of the new business licenses issued for that zip code. When you click on the Business Reviews navigation bar, you’ll be directed to a listing of various businesses that you can comment on and rate.

Anytime the city of Chicago sends a press release from a city department that mentions this section of town, it will show up in the city press release section of the site.

The “news articles” tab features stories from various sites that in some way mention the area covered by the zip code. “Filmings” is a tab that mentions what movies have been filmed in that area of town.

The “photos” tab takes you to Flickr photos that have been tagged as having to do with Chicago. The site lists street closures due to construction, block parties. etc

While the sites may look like a random collection of data pulled from myriad services and slapped together, they promise serendipitous moments as Website destinations and innovative journalism.

The site was dreamed up by Adrian Holovaty, also behind the popular ChicagoCrime.org that maps incidents of crime daily. EveryBlock is funded by a $1.1M, two-year grant from the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge, a competition for making local news more easily obtainable.

Everyblock competes directly with Outside.in. Yahoo’s OurCity, while still beta and only covering cities in India, has many similar features as well. Also see YourStreet.

Rising Voices Guide on Citizen Media January 17, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Web Video.
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Here’s a great guide on citizen media, aimed at non-technical readers. Produced by Rising Voices, the outreach arm of Global Voices Online, An Introduction to Citizen Media, offers context and case studies on how people across the world use blogs, podcasts, Web video and digital photography to engage in an unmediated conversation transcending borders, cultures and languages. A Spanish version is available.

From the Introduction:

A change is taking place in how we communicate. Just ten years ago we learned about the world from newspapers, the television, and radio. Professional journalists would go to faraway places and bring back stories, photographs and videos of situations they witnessed and people they met.

Just ten years ago we rarely, if ever, communicated directly with the journalists themselves. Leading members of society wrote editorials expressing their opinions about various issues, but the rest of us could only share our opinions and thoughts with a small group of friends.

Bow thanks to new tools like weblogs, it is now possible to easily publish to the Internet. From Turkey to Kenya to Bolivia, everyday people are starting to share stories and opinions with the rest of the world. While this new form of communication is now freely available, most people participating still live in the wealthy neighborhoods of urban cities.

While there are already several excellent introductions to the principles of citizen media, they tend to focus on citizen media initiatives in North America and Western Europe. This guide hopes to showcase some of the most exciting and innovative developments on citizen media in the non-Western world.

Data Driving Force in Web Journalism January 2, 2008

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Reviews, Trends.
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Rich Gordon at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University has an interesting post, Data as Journalism, Journalism as Data. He writes that one of the most striking developments in online news has been the rapid proliferation of interesting database applications.

Gannett Co. newspapers have been leaders in this area, driven by the company’s “information center” initiative, which is yielding new organizational structures and approaches to information gathering and presentation. The “data desk” is one of the seven pillars of the company’s new approach to news.

As Gannett realizes, data should be a driving force in online journalism.

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