New Media Circus

Here are my takes on a number of new media issues that have been bumping around in the blogosphere. Circus

George Stephanopoulos did a Twitter interview (Twitterview) with John McCain and the transcript is printed here. If we’re killing newspapers so we can spend more time with these kinds of exchanges, we’re all in a lot of trouble. Twitter is clearly the wrong channel for conducting a meaningful news interview with any subject. The dynamics of a good interview disappear, and the resulting content is just lame. Twitter is a great tool for gathering viewer questions before a show, or getting little local updates on news stories, but as a vehicle for primary newsgathering – it’s just not going to cut it. It’s a great tool for mobile blurbs, quick points of feedback to a radio or talk show – but not as a way to draw out high quality information.

Holding something and reading it is a good thing. You can take it with you and read during your cracks of time. It’s one of the reasons I like newspapers: They’re portable and pausable. Advertising Age points out that the Kindle offers the same thing. I haven’t played with one, but if it allows you to turn pages, see graphics and stream rich media in a text-based layout – it might actually be better than a newspaper. That leads me to believe that maybe newspapers should be actually manufacturing or distributing a mobile reading device where subscribers can have daily content automatically fed right into it. Yes, I’m describing a laptop computer to some degree – but if a purpose-driven device has enough cool features – maybe people would pay to have specifically designed content fed into it. If the newspapers pooled resources to build the tool, or co-opt an existing one, and the application required to service it by leveraging existing wireless resources – it might just work. It might be a dismal failure too.

And finally, OMG. The NYT exposes the dark side of convergence: Where the demise of media, education, common sense and morality converge to blow up the legal system. Portable communications devices are raising hell with the jury system all across the country. Those of you reading this blog are probably aghast, but guess what – most people don’t read anything and have no clue as to why the jury instructions they received have anything to do with justice. They don’t understand the Constitution, what the judge is saying, the details of the trial or their role in making it all work. The improper use of the toys by American jurors is just a symptom of a much larger problem: The death of civics.