These monsters will be brought to justice, but it’s going to take a lot of time and patience.
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These monsters will be brought to justice, but it’s going to take a lot of time and patience.
New CNN boss Jeff Zucker has been making some sweeping changes over at the troubled network, and thank goodness he is. It’s been long overdue.
What has the former ABC executive done in the last few weeks? Well, he completely blew up Starting Points, CNN’s old morning show, and hired Chris Cuomo to co-lead a new morning show. CNN’s morning show was terrible, especially when you put it up against Fox & Friends, no matter what you think of the network’s politics.
We have a new leader with his own forceful ideas about where to take CNN’s reporting, programming and brand. For him to succeed, I believe he deserves his own team and management structure and the freedom to communicate one clear vision to the staff.”
Zucker has hired Rachel Nichols, the longtime ESPN reporter, to host a weekend sports show and contribute throughout the week. CNN barely covered sports before. John Berman and Jake Tapper are also joining the CNN roster.
And all of these changes have happened in less than a week. It signals a shift towards bigger personalities that can build fanbases for their timeslots and an emphasis on other areas of interest beyond politics, such as pop culture and sports.
In other words, are more entertaining and engaging CNN. That’s exactly what it needs to stop its ratings disaster. Anderson Cooper, the network’s biggest star, still lags behind all of Fox News and much of MSNBC and its standard bearer, Rachel Maddow.
Some of you may worry that CNN’s commitment to breaking news and independent, nonpartisan reporting is about to go out the window. But I think that’s shortsighted thinking that would doom CNN to self-destruction. You can be entertaining AND not have your network take one side or the other in the endless political chatter. And bringing in topics like sports will broaden its appeal.
Good luck, Zucker. It’s going to be a painful transition, and a lot of people are not going to be happy by the time you’re done, but this is the way to save CNN from a slow and painful death.
Image courtesy of CNN
I’m thrilled to announce the launch of “Startup Attention & PR 101: From Launch to Damage Control and Beyond“, my 19-lecture online Udemy course. I’m also thrilled to announce that half of the course’s proceeds will be donated to THRIVE-GULU, a not-for-profit dedicated to building rehabilitation and community centers across Africa, starting with Gulu, Uganda.
“Startup Attention & PR 101″ is a deeper look at how to better work with the press. This is not a course about traditional PR. Instead, it’s a deeper dive into what makes a journalist tick and how you can can take advantage of that for your company or cause.
The course covers four broad themes:
This course won’t make you a journalist’s best friend, but I hope it will give you more clarity to how journalists make decisions and how that affects you and your company.
As I noted above, I am donating half the proceeds from this course to THRIVE-GULU. Thrive was founded in 2010 by Professor Judy Dushku to assist the communities of Northern Uganda to heal from the traumatic events of war, sexual enslavement, extreme poverty and lost opportunities. It’s a charity I’m honored to have supported in the past, and one I’m thrilled I can support now with this course.
So take the course, tell your friends and send me some feedback, because I will be adding more material based on your feedback.
Bloomberg TV interviewed me at the Dublin Web Summit last week, asking for some of my predictions for what are going to be the future of tech. They also interviewed a few others, including the amazing Joe Green (Causes, NationBuilder) and David Shing (AOL’s Digital Prophet).
They didn’t have time to air all my predictions, but I’m glad they picked one of my favorites: biofeedback and technology enhancement of health. Check out the full video above if you want to learn more.
(BTW, I think Ryan’s justified to be upset. Publishing second or publishing 12 hours later simply doesn’t get you the traffic, the Techmeme headline, etc. Everyone loses.)
I’ve never really had a problem with embargoes in general, though. When I was a journalist, my job was to write good stories and help entrepreneurs — and if a great story comes with an embargo, then that was fine with me. The occasional screw-up just comes with the territory of the embargo. Journalists and bloggers know what they’re getting themselves into.
Here’s the core issue with embargoes, though: you have to have experience with the press to not fuck them up. Google knows how to do an embargo — they’ve literally done HUNDREDS of them for their various products. But a first-time entrepreneur who has never had to deal with the press on a regular basis? There’s a good chance he or she is going to fuck up.
That’s why, in general, I advise companies to stick with one publication for their launches, so I agree with MG Siegler on that point. I have two exceptions, though:
No press outlet or reporter is ever going to make or break your startup, so my advice is to not worry too much about it. Great products always trump great press. You’ll get better at dealing with the press the more you talk with them and get to know them.
So my advice is this: don’t worry about the embargo. Don’t worry about getting hundreds of headlines. Or, as my friend Stammy might say, stop fucking around and get back to work.
I’ve been following the Path privacy controversy with a great deal of interest for the last week, but Crunchfund’s MG Siegler has somehow steered the conversation from Path’s mistakes to the degradation of journalism.
Seriously guys, can’t we all get along? No? Well, that’s fine with me — it’s more entertaining this way. But before we go back to life as usual, I want to address some of the assertions being leveled in this fight.
Siegler doesn’t really blame Bilton for his poor writing, though. Instead, he blames the “pageview beast”, which doesn’t care about the quality of an article, but its speed, reach and the level of sensationalism it employs. His argument is simple: pageviews equal advertising dollars in the modern media world, and it doesn’t matter how many facts you get wrong, so long as you get the pageviews.
Of course, when you attack the media, the media bites back. Dan Lyons is leading this charge, but he’s not the only one.
Now for a few quick thoughts on this catfight:
With all that said, Siegler’s post proves, in a twisted sort of way, that the new media ecosystem works. Because of its competitive nature, the media keeps itself in check. Readers get more opinions and can make a decision for themselves based on multiple voices, and when there’s an egregious screw-up, the Twitterverse kicks into high gear. The downside is that more false “scoops” and incorrect information makes it through the cracks in the first place because of the focus on speed.
In the end, the media’s job is to give readers what they want. While MG and I may wish readers would crave more in-depth thought pieces on the startup ecosystem, more of them prefer drama and catfights like the one happening in the tech blogosphere.
So much indignation on all sides. So little to do with the things that matter, like Jeremy Lin.
— Nicholas Carlson (@nichcarlson) February 14, 2012
My point: life is short, and the human race is probably doomed. Get your fill of lolcats and tech blogger catfights while you still can.
Oh, and as for why bloggers attack bloggers, the correct answer is pageviews. It’s crack for bloggers.
Dear Sarah Lacy,
First of all, congrats on the launch of PandoDaily! I’m looking forward to reading (and responding to) your sharp commentary on the startup world. A publication focused exclusively on the ecosystem makes sense, and I’m glad to see you join the ranks of the founders that you’ve covered for most of your career.
I also like the idea of the PandoTicker, which is where you aggregate the top news in the startup space. Honoring embargoes for the Ticker while reserving long-form content for exclusives is also a smart move.
But I still have two questions that I’m hoping you could answer:
Again, congrats on the launch, Sarah. I expect that your venture will do very well. I’ll definitely be reading.
Image courtesy of Flickr, Robert Scoble
Kingdom Holdings Company, the investment vehicle of Saudi Prince Al-waleed bin Talal, has announced that it has pumped $300 million into Twitter as a “strategic” investment.
KHC has its hands in a lot of pies. It’s the largest shareholder of Citigroup, and it owns chunks of Apple, GM and News Corp (KHC owns 7% of its Class B shares). It’s also in the process of building Kingdom Tower, which will become the tallest building in the world once construction is complete.
But Twitter is the Prince’s first major push into owning the chunk of social media pie. Why is he so interested in Twitter?
The answer, I believe, is that the Prince knows that Twitter is the future of media, and he wants to make sure he has some influence in its development.
“We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years,” KHC Executive Director Eng. Ahmed Halawani said in the announcement. “Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend.”
There’s a trend here: he’s not only invested in News Corp, but also Disney, Time Warner and now Twitter. He also owns a range of Arab media properties through KHC’s minority stake in the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.
One could speculate that the Twitter investment is related to the wave of revolutions that have swept the Middle East in 2011. Prince Al-waleed bin Talal is not an immediate successor to King Abdullah’s throne, but a revolution would certainly not be in his best interests.
Regardless, I believe the Prince wants to have a seat at the table when it comes to the world’s most powerful and influential media organizations. The Prince understands the influence of media and can see that Twitter is the future of media.
There aren’t a lot of downsides to owning a piece of that future. I bet the Prince offered terms that Twitter couldn’t turn down.
Image courtesy of CharlieRose.com