The Problem with Crowdsourcing Crime Reporting

“Crowdsourcing is not entirely flawed in the Mexican context, though. We have seen people in various Mexican cities organize organically to alert one another of violent events, in real time. But these urban crisis management networks do not need institutions to function. However, law enforcement does, unless one is willing to accept lynching and other types of crowd-based law enforcement.” (Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Social Media Collective)

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Is Google Making Us Stupid? - The Atlantic

Illustration by Guy Billout

“When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net’s image. It injects the medium’s content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of all the other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may announce its arrival as we’re glancing over the latest headlines at a newspaper’s site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration.

The Net’s influence doesn’t end at the edges of a computer screen, either. As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media, traditional media have to adapt to the audience’s new expectations. Television programs add text crawls and pop-up ads, and magazines and newspapers shorten their articles, introduce capsule summaries, and crowd their pages with easy-to-browse info-snippets. When, in March of this year, TheNew York Times decided to devote the second and third pages of every edition to article abstracts , its design director, Tom Bodkin, explained that the “shortcuts” would give harried readers a quick “taste” of the day’s news, sparing them the “less efficient” method of actually turning the pages and reading the articles. Old media have little choice but to play by the new-media rules.” (Nicholas Carr, The Atlantic)

How to Predict the Spread of News on Twitter

How to Predict the Spread of News on Twitter - Technology Review

Graphic: Technology Review

“Here’s their conclusion: ‘Our experiments show that it is possible to estimate ranges of popularity with an overall accuracy of 84% considering only content features.’

That’s pretty impressive and may herald important changes in the way articles are written and edited. It’s not hard to imagine an automated article checker—rather like the grammar checkers in word processing programs–that reads articles and predicts how popular they are likely to be when published.

In a sense, that’s what journalists do now when they choose topics to write about. But this process is entirely intuitive, based as much on gut feel as on a good understanding of the dynamics of the audience. Huberman’s algorithm could automate this process.” (KFC, Technology Reivew)

Drones: Coming Soon to a Sky Near You?


The Gatewing, you said, is illegal in the United States, as opposed to this little Parrot AR thing that sold at Brookstone.


Which is only slightly legal. The law, as it stands right now, is that remote control aircraft pilots can’t fly near people or go above 400 feet. They also cannot use them for commercial purposes. Journalism is considered a commercial purpose.

The law has not caught up to the fact that there are these inexpensive aircraft that can do commercial things. And there are industries that are just waiting to jump in and make a lot of money doing this.  Agriculture, oil and gas – everybody is really interested to hear what the FAA has to say this month. (OnTheMedia)


The Thorny World of Online Comments

The Thorny World of Online Comments - On The Media

Image: Marc Wathieu/flickr


We’re only about 15 years into this whole comment ecosystem. It strikes me that it hasn’t changed a whole lot.


That’s right. I think this has been one of the neglected problems of the Internet for two reasons. One is that having a wide- ranging conversation among large groups of people is not an easy thing to do. I haven’t really seen it work well off the Internet, and I’ve only seen it work well on the Internet in a few instances.

And the second thing is I think that for a lot of places creating good comment sections has just not been a priority for their developers. Building better content and promoting that content have really been the priorities of magazines, newspapers, other websites.


Is America at a digital turning point?

Is America at a digital turning point? USC Annenberg

USC Annenberg

“The year-to-year comparisons in the Center’s Digital Future studies involve more than 100 major issues concerning the impact of online technology in the United States. Among the highlights of the findings, along with predictions by Cole for digital directions to come, are these nine major issues:

  1. Social media explodes – but most content has no credibility.
  2. The meaning of “E-Nuff Already” continues to expand.
  3. The desktop PC is dead; long live the tablet.
  4. Work is increasingly a 24/7 experience.
  5. Most print newspapers will be gone in five years.
  6. Our privacy is lost.
  7. The Internet’s role in the American political process is still a question.
  8. The Internet will continue to create shifts in buying habits, at the expense of traditional brick-and-mortar retail.
  9. What comes next?

iPad, Xoom, Galaxy Tab reading statistics revealed

““If news organisations are more successful at finding a way to reap revenue in the tablet environment than they have on the internet more broadly, the movement toward tablet consumption could be quite promising. The likelihood of that, though, is uncertain at best.” (The Economic Group and Pew Research Centre’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, memeburn)