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I’m excited to share my latest project with readers. Among the magazine’s I edit at Greenspring Media Group is Meetings: Minnesota’s Hospitality Journal. On Friday, we launched our new Web site, which also includes a link to our magazine’s first podcast. You can listen to the podcast from the Web site, or click on the…

Meetings' Podcast

I’m excited to share my latest project with readers. Among the magazine’s I edit at Greenspring Media Group is Meetings: Minnesota’s Hospitality Journal. On Friday, we launched our new Web site, which also includes a link to our magazine’s first podcast. You can listen to the podcast from the Web site, or click on the iTunes link and you will automatically be directed to the iTunes store, where you can subscribe. (You can also find it by simply searching the iTunes Store.) Give it a listen, and let me know what you think.

Posted by Joel on December 08 2007 • Multimedia

A Farewell to Alms

“A Farewell to Alms” written by Gregory Clark has been much talked about when it first came out and now the New York Times has finally published a review. In his book, Clark outlines how natural selection may have contributed, no actually accounted for, the Industrial Revolution. An interesting proposition indeed.

Benjamin Friedman, whose book The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth has been on my to-read list, writes the review of Clark’s book, calling it “delitefully written.” I don’t know that I agree with that, but I do agree that it is chock full of interesting data from which readers are left to draw some of their own conclussions. What accounted for the sudden appearance of the Industrial Revolution in England? What conditions were required in order for it to happen? How did these come about? These are the questions that Clark attempts to tackle in his ambitious book.

Friedman writes, “If the traits to which Clark assigns primary importance in bringing about the Industrial Revolution are acquired traits, rather than inherited ones, there are many non-Darwinian mechanisms by which a society can impart them, ranging from schools and churches to legal institutions and informal social practices.” It’s a controversial theory in many ways, as Friedman points out. Whether you agree with his final conclusions or not, Clark’s premise will make you think about the ongoing interrelationship of how people shape culture and how culture continuously shapes us.

Posted by Joel on December 08 2007 • Books

The State of the News Media

"On Madison Avenue, talk has turned to whether the business model that has financed the news for more than a century — product advertising — still fits the way people consume media.” Such is the statement made in the introduction to the recently released report called The State of the News Media 2007, produced by the Project for Excellence in Journalism. It’s the fourth year for the project’s annual report. Thier findings show the news media in a period of transition, to say the least.

“With audiences splintering across ever more platforms, nearly every metric for measuring audience is now under challenge as either flawed or obsolete — from circulation in print, to ratings in TV, to page views and unique visitors online. Every media sector except for two is now losing popularity. Even the number of people who go online for news — or anything else — has stopped growing.”

It’s not that audiences are simply moving to new delivery systems for information. The measurements show a new world emerging that provides the individual “more responsibility and command over how he or she consumes information — and that new role is only beginning to be understood.”

For a debate about what the report means, go to Poynter Online.

Posted by Joel on December 08 2007 • Journalism