Anatomy of a #fail

I was on Facebook. It was the day after it went public and everybody on the inside became gazillionaires. I saw this "trending" story:

I clicked.

I muttered something under my breath and clicked "cancel."

Holy crap. So I went to Google News. Nothing about a plane crash.

So I ran a search.

Skeuomorphism, e-editions, and tablets

I remember the first time I saw one of those Flash-based "page turning" interfaces. I was sitting in a conference room in Minneapolis and an excited sales guy was pitching his company's tool, which could take newspaper pages and put them online as a print replica, saving us from all that messy Web stuff. He was so earnest and proud.

I was horrified. The Web isn't print. The Internet is a new medium with unique strengths. The whole idea was just ... sacrilege.

I've changed my point of view somewhat over the years, for several reasons:

How to fail backward

The Harvard guys have been telling us that failing forward can be a good thing -- learning, adapting, all that innovation stuff. But there's another kind of failure: failing backward. Here's a how-to guide:

"Audience first" and new leadership openings

Today six of the largest Morris Publishing Group newspapers are posting new senior management positions: vice president of audience. Internal and external candidates are welcome to apply.

This is a major step forward in the "audience first" program that Derek May described last week.

People's journalism isn't 'citizen journalism'

In the past week we've seen an uprising of angry people, mostly women, offended by the Susan G. Komen Foundation cutting off funding for breast cancer exams at Planned Parenthood clinics. It's just the latest example of how the global news conversation is in the hands of people, not just "the media." And it's what I had in mind over a dozen years ago when I talked about the rise of a new kind of people's journalism.

We all deserve better than SOPA-PIPA

As of this morning, SOPA and its evil twin, PIPA, are effectively dead. A tsunami of public outrage pushed a major realignment in Congress. Plans for votes were canceled.

The new baseline skill set

I was looking at a couple of recent job postings at our newspapers and it occurs to me that the baseline skill set has quietly shifted. Students and veterans alike should take notice:

Be prepared to work in multiple media, simultaneously. We're digital-first, but we still print.

Be prepared to blog and interact with the public. As a writer, this means you need to develop a distinct voice, and know when and how to use it. Not everybody gets a blog at first, but you should want one -- and know why you want one.

What newsrooms should learn from Kodak

So Kodak, the company that invented amateur photography in the 19th century and invented digital photography in the 20th, is on the ropes. There are obvious lessons for newspapers and newsrooms. Here are a few of them.

Our broken patent system

Brilliantly explained in an infographic:

patents infographic

Source: http://frugaldad.com

A New Year's resolution for tech journalists

Here's a New Year's resolution I'd like to see made, and kept, by all tech journalists:

Report first, then think, then write. Don't skip the first two steps, and don't get them out of order.

Computer, networking and mobile technology is changing all of human society. Journalism about tech is important. But tech journalism today is a vast wasteland of plagiarism, rumormongering, empty snark, fanboiism, trolling, unfounded assumptions and whole-cloth invention.