TribLocal, MySpace News, Yahoo Fully Swallows Upcoming

Is it any surprise that all of the primary links on MySpace News — digg style voting on stories by MySpace’s 160 million users — are to Murdoch-owned entities like the Times of London, FoxNews, and the New York Post?

Chicago Tribune goes hyperlocal with TribLocal — will be watching thic closely.

And After chewing for quite a while, Yahoo! finally wrapped upcoming.org users into their Yahoo! ID and migrates the event listings site to upcoming.yahoo.com

Engaging Visitors With ‘Serious Games’

cross-posted at the Knight New Media blog

Michael Skoler of America Public Media’s Center for Innovation in Journalism (and director of APM’s Public Insight Network) showed us how Minnesota Public Radio incorporates serious games to further engage listeners and site users.

Skoler exhibited 2006 Select a Candidate, Minnesota Fantasy Legislature (see “commissioner” Bob Collins’ league notes), and The Real Agenda.

So what are “serious games” and how can they function as tools of engagement for news/political Web sites?

Some think these “serious” or “ubiquitous” games will be fundamental to harnessing collective intelligence. A lofty goal, but one that could essentially lead to a more utopian, user-policed and controlled message boards and forums on a Web site or portal.

“The future of collective play: Fostering collaboration, network literacy and massively multiplayer problem-solving through alternate-reality games,” was the title of Institute for the Future researcher Jane McGonigal‘s keynote at a recent Serious Games Summit. McGoningal argues that collaborative, puzzle-like games will become integral to humans’ tendency to imagine and strive for a “best-case scenario future.” Further analysis of McGonigal’s keynote can be found here and here.

A great resource for game ideas, analysis and conception is at the Serious Games network on Ning. Ning, co-created by former Netscape co-founder Marc Andreesen, is a portal that enables any casual Web user to create their own social network (see my as-yet-undeveloped, Thelonious Monk-inspired rhythm-a-ning). See also, the CALT encyclopedia.

You may have heard of Cruel 2 B Kind, the latest ubiquitous gaming craze taking over the world. The name of the C2BK game is “benevolent assassination,” an extension of McGonigal’s theory that all Internet users share a desire for “a life more worth living” (read more on this here. Click here to watch the game in action or find out for yourself Saturday in Santa Monica.

Another example of serious games seriously at work was the USC Center on Public Diplomacy‘s Reinventing Public Diplomacy Through Games Competition. This contest attracted submissions from around the world dealing with topics ranging from interactive after-school programs to discussing international water issues to simulating the Israel-Palestine conflict. Even the awards ceremony was simulcast in Second Life. I encourage you to read more about the project and the winners here.

Virginia Tech Collegiate Times on Today’s Shooting

virginia tech shootingsUPDATED with audio & multimedia links.

On this tragic and upsetting day in which at least 25 33 are dead and dozens more injured in shootings on the VTU campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, a shout-out to the staff of the campus newspaper, the Collegiate Times.

The student paper originally broke the story and continues releasing updates:

Monday, April 16th 2007 9:47AM
Shots were fired on campus in West Ambler Johnson Hall in the early morning hours.

The Collegiate Times is currently investigating the story. More information will be posted as it is made available.

The Virginia Tech Web site is overloaded (try their IP directly) but the Collegiate Times is now being hosted by their parent host, CollegeMedia and continues reporting with primarily text-only entries and the bandwidth is being handled fine. Wikipedia is on this as well, just as fast, if not faster, than the AP/CNN, etc. A screenshot of the VT Website is available here at flickr – latest photos are here.

Student-run college radio station WUVT remains on the air and can be streamed (when not overloaded) here. The screenshot above is via ABC News Now, being streamed live on the AT&T Yahoo! today portal (also available here and here). Apparently, this video by VT grad student Jamal Albarghouti has been viewed over 900,000 on CNN’s Web site as of 3 p.m. EDT (per Jarvis).

With the death count expected to rise, today’s massacre is already the deadliest school shooting rampage in U.S. history (more than double that of Columbine).

Several groups and postings on facebook, a common question being: why was Norris Hall open and classes in session at 9:30 (when the majority of killings took place in a classroom) after one student was murdered in the dorm two hours earlier and the killer remained on the loose?

Thoughts and prayers to all the victims, friends and family. And please, media, take it easy on them — anyone who wants to upload video/photos knows how to do it, it’s just insensitive to be begging for citizen-generated content under such terrifying headlines.

ADDED: The audio of VTU President Charles W. Steger’s statement, hosted below.

Google Buys DoubleClick: More Context, Less Banners?

One could only hope.

Everyone wondered if they’d ever really pull the trigger on this, or stick to their adsense guns while DoubleClick ambled along — and the day has come. $3.1B later, Google is now the king of all Internet advertising (although Yahoo! remains no slouch, most recently expanding it’s one-stop online news ad shop to include McClatchy).

Sergey Brin once hinted at DoubleClick being the “life preserver” as John Battelle mentions in The Search (and as Biz2.0 reminds today), but the metaphor was baswed on Adwords going under. While Adsense is doing fine, Google apparently seized on this opportunity to box out Microsoft and go large.

Rafat at PaidContent reports that the $3.1 billion cash offer is “much more than the rumored $2 billion that Microsoft was intending to pay.” It’s also 10 times DCLK (private since 2005)’s revenue.

How will this work out? Here’s Google’s Presser. Battelle’s analysis forthcoming at his blog.