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Tablet has an interesting story written by a “struggling writer” who attends a content marketing conference in Boston. “The future of media is here,” writes Sean Cooper, “and I was there. “The S.W. is here because the roaring fire that was 20th-century nonfiction magazine literature has been hosed down to wet coals,” writes Cooper. “In…

The Future of Media

imageTablet has an interesting story written by a “struggling writer” who attends a content marketing conference in Boston. “The future of media is here,” writes Sean Cooper, “and I was there.

“The S.W. is here because the roaring fire that was 20th-century nonfiction magazine literature has been hosed down to wet coals,” writes Cooper. “In this new 21st-century post-literature era, the techniques and tools of the journalism trade have been plundered by scavenger industries, which rightly foresaw profit opportunities in what has been called branded content, native advertising, or content marketing, which agglomerates techniques used to build characters, create narrative arcs, and establish tones of voice that once served as conduits for nonfiction writers attempting to intimately mind-meld with readers. While journalism continues to struggle, burgled storytelling devices are being leveraged at scale by content-marketing agencies and branding studios that publish content stories to satisfy shareholder expectations. One industry analysis estimates that the content-marketing business will be worth $215 billion in 2017. The Struggling Writer is here to see them count the money.”

Another interesting insight:

“In the absence of stories told by humans to communicate about being human, companies tell people stories about being consumers. Readers consume the information made available to them in this way because they are unable to turn off the human impulse to understand the world.”

And another:

“Being a journalist today requires the maintenance of an active presence on the same social-media platforms and search engines that took away all the advertising dollars that once supported journalism. Today, 80 percent of all new digital advertisements are booked through Facebook and Google. The journalists are curating their work on behalf of these stock-traded corporations that thrive by selling advertisements against work they have not commissioned. Everyone ultimately works for the social-media platforms.”

It’s certainly an interesting time for journalists who are making a transition from journalism toward ... something else.

Posted by Joel on May 20 2017 • Content Marketing

Field Notes

Notebooks are making a comeback; there’s something to be said about pen and paper. I prefer Moleskine notebooks, but Field Notes makes an array of notebooks as well. These (from a collection called National Crop Edition) draw their inspiration from promotional notebooks given to American farmers over the past 100 years from seed, tractor, and other agricultural companies. Pretty cool.

Posted by Joel on May 07 2017 • Multimedia

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman

imageThis looks to be an interesting read from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Miriam Horn: Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland. The book was also recently made into a documentary, narrated by Tom Brokaw. From the book description:

“Many of the men and women doing today’s most consequential environmental work—restoring America’s grasslands, wildlife, soil, rivers, wetlands, and oceans—would not call themselves environmentalists; they would be too uneasy with the connotations of that word. What drives them is their deep love of the land: the iconic terrain where explorers and cowboys, pioneers and riverboat captains forged the American identity. They feel a moral responsibility to preserve this heritage and natural wealth, to ensure that their families and communities will continue to thrive.Unfolding as a journey down the Mississippi River, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman tells the stories of five representatives of this stewardship movement: a Montana rancher, a Kansas farmer, a Mississippi riverman, a Louisiana shrimper, and a Gulf fisherman. In exploring their work and family histories and the essential geographies they protect, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman challenges pervasive and powerful myths about American and environmental values.”

Posted by Joel on April 30 2017 • Books

Myopic Political Bubble?

imageIt’s not news that liberals and conservatives have different reading tastes when it come to political books. But research shows that political differences affect the selection of science books as well.

According to a study released in Nature Human Behavior found that liberals and conservatives prefer different science subjects. Right-leaning readers prefer applied science, like criminology or medicine, while those on the other side of the political aisle seek books that explore science for science’s sake, like zoology, or abstract physics.

This article in Wired offers a few more details from the study of reading habits: “There are two important general differences between the two ideologies,” says Michael Macy, computational social scientist at Cornell University, and co-author for the study. “Liberals tend to be more interested in basic science that is motivated by intellectual puzzles, empirical exercises, philosophical musings, and conservatives are looking for solutions, problem solving, and applied research.”

Another difference in reading habits was discovered as well. From the Wired story: “Liberals tend to purchase science books that are interesting to anyone who is interested in science, regardless of whether they read political books. And conservatives are more cloistered, preferring science books that are only of interest to people who buy conservative political books.”

The study adds another piece of evidence of a trend that Americans are increasingly associating with only like-minded individuals, without genuine dialogue with opposing viewpoints.

Posted by Joel on April 05 2017 • Current Affairs

An Accurate Map of the World

Do you think that today’s maps present an accurate description of the world we live in? Think again. This post at Open Culture shows how difficult it is to show what the world is actually like on a flat page. That is, until a Japanese designer solved the problem last year.

“For either cultural or navigational reasons, this hugely distorted map inflates the size of Europe and North America and makes Greenland and Africa roughly the same size. A long overdue update, the Peters Projection from 1973, improved the Mercator’s accuracy, but at the cost of legibility and proportion. But last year, architect and artist Hajime Narukawa of Keio University’s Graduate School of Media and Governance in Tokyo solved these problems with his AuthaGraph World Map, at the top, which won Japan’s Good Design Grand Award, beating out “over 1000 entries.”

This video explains the problem, and the solution, in greater detail. Fascinating.

Posted by Joel on March 11 2017 • Current Affairs

Journalism: Coastal and Metropolitan

Are journalists becoming more sequestered to coastal and metropolitan settings? Why? These are good questions addressed in this post at The Atlantic.

“There’s little question the journalistic class has diverged sharply from the country it covers. In 1960, nearly a third of reporters and editors had never attended a single year of college; in 2015, only 8.3 percent could say the same, according to Census figures…

“To a modest degree, journalists have also become increasingly sequestered on the East and West coasts, to the detriment of newsrooms in the interior of the country. In fact, as of 2011, 92 percent of journalists worked within a metropolitan area, up from 75 percent a half century earlier.” Today, 13 percent of all journalists work in Manhatten, according to the piece. The total number of jobs has declined sharply since 1990, but the decline has hit rural areas the most.

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Posted by Joel on February 25 2017 • Journalism

Libraries are for Everyone

Hafuboti is the work of a self-described “Punk Rock Book Jockey, crafter, ukulele player, do-gooder, TV watcher, pop culture enthusiast, Jim Henson fan, and a lot more.” The site’s creator, Rebecca McCorkindale, is also a Nebraska public librarian. Definitely check her site out. She created these great graphics for all to use online. Thank you. I love the message: Libraries are certainly for everyone.

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Posted by Joel on February 19 2017 • Current Affairs

Encountering Digital News

A new report issued by The Pew Research Center reveals some interesting insight into how readers consume and interpret digital news. The Columbia Journalism Review summarizes the report: “By a statistically insignificant margin, the most common way for people to get their news is still by visiting a news organization directly. In these cases, findings showed that people are more aware of the source of the news, and they’re less likely to share it with others.

“However, when people get their news through social media—or from friends via email or text—they’re less likely to remember the source, and they’re more likely to share it online or send it to friends.”

According to the study: “When asked how they arrived at news content in their most recent web interaction, online news consumers were about equally likely to get news by going directly to a news website (36% of the times they got news, on average) as getting it through social media (35%). They were less likely to access news through emails, text messages or search engines. And most people favored one pathway over another. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of online news consumers had one preferred pathway for getting most of their online news.”

The study addresses recent questions about fake news as well: “When consumers click on a link to get to news, they can often recall the news source’s name. Individuals who said they followed a link to a news story were asked if they could write down the name of the news outlet they landed on. On average, they provided a name 56% of the time. But they were far more able to do so when that link came directly from a news organization – such as through an email or text alert from the news organization itself – than when it came from social media or an email or text from a friend. It was also the case that 10% of consumers, when asked to name the source of the news, wrote in “Facebook” as a specific news outlet.”

There are some very interesting findings in the report, including how gender and age play a role in how people consume news. Younger and older consumers follow news links at the same rate but younger consumers are more likely to forget the source. According to The Columbia Journalsim Review summary of the report, younger and female news consumers are more likely to get their news through social media, while older and male consumers are more likely to seek it out directly from a news organization.

This chart highlights another interesting detail: how certain topics are more likely to be learned about through one method over another. It is an interesting study for those who work in journalism or marketing.

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Posted by Joel on February 11 2017 • Journalism

New York City's Book Row

A nice video tribute to New York City’s famed Book Row which ran along 4th Avenue.

Posted by Joel on January 28 2017 • Books

Learning to Tell Stories

image Branded content can take various forms. In this case the medium is actually a barn. When I took this photo earlier this fall, I wasn’t quite sure what it was but I loved the sentiment. Clear and eye-catching, the message finds its mark as drivers pass by along Interstate 35 just south of the Twin Cities. I finally learned more about it this week when a press release passed my desk about Culver’s campaign to thank farmers. Sure enough, big blue barns are part of the program. The food chain’s “commitment to the next generation runs deep,” says their campaign. They are also moving from “gratitude to full-fledged support” as they support the National FFA organization.

Another campaign came across my desk this week: Haagen Das and the Extraodinary Honey Bee. According to this story in Ad Week, the company has been working on the project for the past eight years. The virtual reality immersive video will tell the story from the bee’s perspective. It looks wonderful and it is scheduled to debut later this summer. They gave a sneak peek of their work at the recent Sundance Film Festival.

From Adweek: “We’re here at the Sundance Film Festival really learning to tell stories even better,” said Alex Placzek, director of marketing for Häagen-Dazs in the U.S. “At the core brands are basically a story so if you don’t tell a compelling and engaging story you’re basically a commodity. What we’re excited about is learning how to tell stories in a much more impactful way.”

Posted by Joel on January 28 2017 • Content Marketing