New York Times Co. Leads Funding for New Online J Site ‘Daylife’

daylifeA formal announcement is forthcoming from Daylife — the news site that has popped up in conversation over the past year because of Craig Newmark, Jeff Jarvis and others’ involvement in the project.

The New York Times Company appears to be one of the top investors, which could foreshadow a bold move into user-generated news and reader-customizable content.

Staci Kramer at Paid Content writes:

The mission is to gather and organize news in ways that are most relevant to the user. That could be by event, topic, author, geography or other factors. Source pages that show what a journalist writes about or who is quoted are part of the mix. RSS plays an important role. In an interview, [Upendra] Shardanand [founder of Firefly] said the distributed platform—designed for use across multiple sites—will be open “to a degree” with options for revenue sharing and licensing for those doing a heavy volume. “Anyone can take what we’re building and add it to their own site … Obviously, we have to make some revenue.”

Nice to see the Times making a proactive move long after their relatively idiotic acquisition of About.com. Interested to see how — if at all — Jay Rosen‘s NewAssignment.Net is involved.

Google: Do No Evil?

Google (motto: Do No Evil) is now suspected of colluding with the media giants along with YouTube in an effort to use it’s bubblicious valuation to ward off copyright litigation while simultaneously putting the little guys out of competition — all at the expense of both artist and audience.

Yes, this is the very definition of evil.

Mark Cuban posted a note from a “trusted digital media business veteran” alledging the above in disturbing, though not surprising, detail. read it here.

As Google has grown cozy as the powerhouse of Bubble 2.0 it seems to have cozied up with the early 21st century corporate-political philosophy of: Trust me, I’m [Google] [the president] [your local utility company]. Are they succumbing to the weak-ass corruption at the top of the service industry food chain?

What’s even more frightening is that a majority of the old money keeping Google afloat has about as much of a clue as to what it is or will be and the service it provides as they thought they knew when they put all their money into the iOmegas and Pets.coms of yesteryear.

Worse, the biggest consumers of Google and especially YouTube’s services, belong to a generation that has grown immune to the hypocrisy of corporate leadership, practically expecting scandals to be exposed as if they are just another element of democracy in action. How many of today’s youngest voters can actually name the presidents who preceded their existence (14 years ago, Clinton became president).
happy halloween
Last, will the public and media response to Google’s endeavors w/ YouTube and big media — essentially spending billions to ensure a monopoly on the market before they become stale and “so last year” to today’s youth (see Yuki Noguchi’s piece in the Sunday WaPo) — just as the public and media responds to all other corporo-political infringements on democracy (think the ongoing Iraq war)?

BONUS COV’G: MySpace now claims to be using GraceNote to flush it’s supposed tens of millions of users of copyright-infringing files.

‘Democracy on Deadline’

The power of the media as a make-or-break element in a functioning democracy sets the foundation for a journalist’s struggle to seek out and report the honest truth. But how does the role of a free press factor into the vitality of a free society?

These concepts are examined vividly in the exceptional documentary, Democracy on Deadline by director Calvin Skaggs (Go Tell it On the Mountain) and co-producer Jed Rothstein. The documentary puts the audience in the position of several of the world’s finest journalists, complete with candid interviews and not-seen-before-in-America footage that is in one way reminiscent of Control Room, the 2004 documentary on the Arab-language satellite network, Al Jazeera International.

The filmmaking and production of “Democracy on Deadline” is outstanding, mixing uniquely regional experiences with candid exchanges and graphic footage over the course of two hours. In one memorable instance, the audience is literally in the back seat of a car driven by Ha’aretz correspondent Gideon Levy, delayed at a checkpoint at the West Bank border crossing. This is not business as usual, we’re assured, when Levy gets on his cell phone, enraged that the border guards were not previously notified and waiting for him to cross with American journalists in tow.

“Democracy on Deadline” examines issues and struggles regarding press freedom around the world through an examination of six unique (and high-profile) case studies in progress. The film profiles various journalists in different settings — all taking relatively radical approaches to reporting and exuding a vociferous enthusiasm for their responsibilities as guardians of democracy.

In one segment, Dana Priest of the Washington Post is followed by a camera as she works security insiders (watch quicktime video) at what appears to be a press event regarding the status of detainees in December 2004. We watch Priest at her desk taking notes as she digs deeper and deeper for dirt on her CIA black prisons article, nearly a year before she would publish the core piece in her package that landed her a Pulitzer.

Continue reading “‘Democracy on Deadline’”

Updates: The Small Print, Annenberg Radio

More lovin’ for The Small Print Project today, this time from The Consumerist!

Viacom workers have to agree that Viacom owns anything they ever make in the “universe,” in, “perpetuity.” Use of the Yahoo! Toolbar expressly prohibits use of the technology to operate nuclear facilities.

Inane end-user-license agreements and waivers such as these are put in the stockades on a new blog, The Small Print Project.

In other news, I’ve begun posting radio pieces on Annenberg Radio News, including my profile of L.A. Derby Doll Puncherello and the original dog whisperer.

The MPAA’s Boy Scout Propaganda

When they’re not clearing brush, tying knots and starting fires, the Boy Scouts of Los Angeles are being imbibed with honor-thy-copyright-loyally flim-flam. No joke.

boy scout mpaa copyrightOddly, no byline on this tight report from the AP’s boy scout beat:

“Working with the Boy Scouts of Los Angeles, we have a real opportunity to educate a new generation about how movies are made, why they are valuable, and hopefully change attitudes about intellectual property theft,” Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement Friday.

Contact Victor Zuniga, head of Boy Scouts LA to find out the nature of these “merit badges.”