Browsing articles from "September, 2011"

Andy Rooney to exit 60 Minutes

Sep 29, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by Andrew Moran (Guest Contributor/Digital Journalist)

Andy Rooney, the well-known curmudgeon on CBS News’ 60 Minutes, will end his regular role on the show and leave the network he has been a part of since the late 1940s. Rooney will make the official announcement Sunday.

Since 1978, American radio and television personality Andy Rooney has entered the homes of millions of Americans and Canadians and usually delivering commentary on pop culture, contemporary society and what bothers him.After more than three decades, Rooney has decided to end his regular role on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” and begin his retirement, according to the network.

CBS said in a news release that Rooney is set to make the official announcement Sunday during his 1,097th original essay.

The 92-year-old Rooney will also reminisce about his career in an interview with Morley Safer.“There’s nobody like Andy and there never will be. He’ll hate hearing this, but he’s an American original,” said chairman of CBS News and “60 Minutes” executive producer, Jeff Fager. “His contributions to ’60 Minutes’ are immeasurable; he’s also a great friend. It’s harder for him to do it every week, but he will always have the ability to speak his mind on ’60 Minutes’ when the urge hits him.”

When he first started with the program, he discussed the reporting of automobile accidents and deaths during the Independence Day weekend. Following that, he became featured and shared broadcasts with Shana Alexander and James J. Kilpatrick. He finally earned the end slot to the program by himself by 1979. The broadcast became No. 1 for the first time.

Professional Troubles

Although Rooney has led a successful and celebrated life, he has got himself into trouble on several occasions. In 1990, CBS suspended Rooney for three months without pay for hiscomments that touched upon homosexuality.“Too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes [are] all known to lead… to premature death,” said Rooney.

Two years later, he got into hot water again when he said it was “silly” for Native Americans to complain about professional sports teams names, such as the Washington Redskins or the Cleveland Indians.

Another two years went by and Rooney was harshly criticized when he was upset Richard Nixon’s death was outshined by the death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. “A lot of people would like to have the years left that he threw away. What’s all this nonsense about how terrible life is? I’d love to relieve the pain you’re going through by switching my age for yours. What would all these young people be doing if they had real problems like a Depression, World War II or Vietnam? If he applied the same brain to his music that he applied to his drug-infested life, it’s reasonable to think that his music may not have made much sense either.”

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Facebook iPad app sparks drama

Sep 28, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Stephanie Medeiros (Guest Contributor/Digital Journalist)

An official app for Facebook on the iPad has been long awaited, and it seems it was accidentally discovered around two months ago. However, the app might finally be released.

It was recently discovered the former developer of the iPad app for Facebook brought the iPad version to near completion and it has been ready for release since May, but was delayed all through summer by Facebook.

In fact, tech blog TechCrunch found the app embedded in lines of code for the iPhone app.TechCrunch reports on the issue, as the former developer expressed his side of the story on his blog. The developer, Jeff Verkoeyen, eventually left Facebook for Google but claims it was unrelated to the delays with the app.

“It is now nearly 5 months since the app was feature complete and I haven’t seen it released except for when the project was leaked on Techcrunch,” writes Verkoeyen on his blog. “Needless to say this was a frustrating experience for me.”

It has been reported that Verkoeyen worked on the iPad app tirelessly, clocking in even 80-hour work weeks.However, Verkoeyen reached out to TechCrunch and explained he was not complaining about the long work hours or the delays, since he enjoyed his time with Facebook. Instead, he mentions that the iPad app is still being worked on and is not completely ready to be released.

While Google and Facebook seem to have sizable competition between them, most of the delay seems to stem from the competition between Apple and Facebook, according to TechCrunch.Apple’s relatively low-key music centric social network, Ping, was originally going to integrate with Facebook until Apple decided to cut off the project from Facebook.

Also, in another strain on the Apple-Facebook relationship, Apple instead went with Twitter with full integration in iOS 5.Regardless, Verkoeyen confirmed that the app is still being worked on and even Mashable saysit has confirmed that the iPad app will be launched on October 4, which is reported to be the launch conference for the long-awaited iPhone 5.

Despite the competition between Apple and Facebook and an unfavorable past, the two tech giants seem to be taking strides in order to work together on an HTML-5 initiative as well as releasing the iPad app.

When the iPad was first released, Mark Zuckerberg was infamously quoted in November 2010 that the iPad was “not mobile,” but instead a computer, which spurred much buzz that Zuckerberg wouldn’t be releasing any official Facebook app on the popular tablet.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Survey: Two-thirds of Americans wouldn’t miss their local newspaper if it vanished

Sep 26, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

A surprising survey result revealed 69 percent of Americans agreeing with the statement that if their local newspaper no longer existed, it wouldn’t have a major impact on their ability to keep up with information and news about their community, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project.

The survey further found Americans learn about current affairs from a wide array of sources. The majority (64 percent) of American adults “use at least three different types of media every week to get news and information about their local community—and 15% rely on at least six different kinds of media weekly,” the survey’s press release stated.

A previous report by Pew called State of the Media 2011 discovered “more people said they got news from the web than newspapers. The internet now trails only television among American adults as a destination for news, and the trend line shows the gap closing.”

Worth noting is good old-fashioned talking with your neighbours. Around 55% of all U.S. adults get local news and information via word of mouth at least once a week, the survey revealed. “Adults age 40 and older are more likely to prefer word of mouth as a source for local politics, local government activity, housing and real estate, zoning, and social services.”

Of the 79 percent of Americans who are online, the Internet is the first or second most relied-upon source for 15 of the 16 local topics examined in the survey. Cellphones are fast becoming a preferred platform to read the news: nearly half of adults use mobile devices to get local news and information.

Turning to citizen journalism and community involvement, the Pew study found 41 percent of all adults can be considered “local news participators”, meaning they comment on articles, contribute their own info via social media or write articles about their community.

It’s not all gloomy news for print publishers. The study writes, “Newspapers (both the print and online versions, though primarily print) rank first or tie for first as the source people rely on most for 11 of the 16 different kinds of local information asked about—more topics than any other media source.”

TV news outlets can see a silver lining here too. Breaking news continues to be TV’s bread and butter. “Among all adults, 55 percent say they rely on local TV for breaking news, compared with 16 percent who say they rely on the internet and 14 percent who rely on newspapers,” the survey found.

The results in this Pew report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from January 12 to 25, 2011, among a sample of 2,251 adults, age 18 and older.

Photo courtesy Flickr user (michelle)

Facebook announces Timeline, Apps, new features at f8 conference

Sep 22, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Chris Hogg

At Facebook’s annual f8 conference, one of the most anticipated events in the world of social media, the company introduced new products such as a new Timeline page and the ability to embed various apps such as Spotify and Netflix.

Developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers and media descended on the f8 conference taking place in San Francisco, California today whereFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is opening the event with a keynote.

Among the features introduced at f8 was a re-imagining of the Profile page Zuckerberg called Timeline. He envisions it as the story of each member’s life, laid out with more emphasis on photos.Making apps “social by design”, Facebook also wants users to enjoy using new apps on their Timeline.

Getting the Spotify app, for instance, allows members to stream music and then publicize what they’re doing to their friends. The same practice applies to Netflix or Nike+ or Buzzfeed apps, among dozens of other apps.

Zuckerberg started by announcing a big milestone, saying more than 500 million people used Facebook on a single day for the first time ever recently. Zuckerberg then went on to discuss the user profile page, saying it’s changed a lot over the last five years but it has remained the most important part of Facebook for its users.

He said one of the problems with the profile, however, is that as people share more and more, your past events are pushed further down on the page until they become virtually forgotten. So the next big step with Facebook is Timeline.


Timeline includes “all your stories, all your apps and a new way to express who you are.” Zuckerberg then showed a screenshot of what Timeline looks like and it includes everything you’ve ever uploaded to Facebook so you can see it all on one page. You can also view your entire history of activity on a mobile device.

One of the biggest challenge in designing Timeline, Zuckerberg said, was figuring out how to tell all your important stories on a single page; not every update you’ve made is important in the history of all of your Facebook activity, so the company engineered Timeline to pluck out important moments and summarize your historical activity based on those moments. If you want to add certain pieces of content, you can do so by selecting them and telling Facebook to add them to your Timeline. Timeline also lets you choose certain views, allowing you to view specific types of content in your Timeline view (such as pictures, maps, etc) rather than the entire content feed.

In addition to content, Facebook is also including embeddable Apps as part of Timeline.

“People who use Facebook really love apps,” Zuckerberg said. “People really want to use apps to express themselves.”Apps are now designed to fit into Timeline, so you can highlight everything you’ve done with an app. If you’re cooking, playing a game, reading a news site — it all fits into the Timeline to show what you’ve done.

Finally, Zuckerberg said Timeline will allow users to express who they really are. For example, users can select a “cover photo” which acts like a magazine cover shot and can change it as often as they want.Facebook’s privacy filters are also incorporated into Timeline, allowing users to choose what content to show, a concern for many Facebook users.

With all the customization around Timeline, Facebook is essentially introducing a personalized newspaper that lets users curate content, personalize the look and publish details of their life as part of a single-page layout.Timeline is expected to be available in a couple weeks.


The second part of the keynote touched on Apps and Zuckerberg said the company is introducing an entirely new type of application.

Specifically, Zuckerberg said people will now be able to show “lightweight” activity. He said people have continued to say they want to share something, but they don’t want to post it to Facebook because it will annoy their friends. They’re usually small updates such as commenting on a photo, liking a movie, or earning points in a game. People don’t always want to share that info.

To solve this problem, Facebook introduced Ticker to the profile page that shows these small events. Ticker shows on the right side of the profile page.Facebook is introducing new types of apps, to be rolled out in several weeks.

The first is the type that helps you fill out your Timeline, and the second is designed to help you discover new things via your friends.


Using Spotify as an example, Zuckerberg said users can grant an app permission and then the app will start publishing small events to your timeline. This allows your friends to see what you are doing live, in real time. So when a friend is listening to a new song, that story will be published to your Ticker so your friends can see that you’re listening. Your friends can listen to the same song as you, and the Ticker story is designed to surface new content.

Rumours around listening to music have been floating around for some time but speculation turned into realization when Facebook employee Ji Lee leaked details via tweet yesterday: “The ‘Listen with your friend’ feature in ticker is blowing my mind,” he tweeted. “Listen to what your friends are listening. LIVE.” The tweet has since been deleted but the listen-with-your-friend feature is indeed real.

As you’re listening to a song, you can also start a discussion with the friend with whom you’re listening. And when someone finds a piece of music from you, you are notified. Zuckerberg was particularly proud of this feature, saying it’s great to learn when your activity influenced someone and they liked it. So this real-time sharing is all about discovery, discussion and notification about who is doing what and how people are finding new content.

Movies, TV & Video:

The service is about more than just music, too. Zuckerberg said it will also include movies, TV shows and videos. So Facebook Ticker and News Feed will show you what your friends are watching in real-time and allow you to watch video content within Facebook, powered by Facebook’s new Open Graph.Partners include Netflix, Hulu, Flixter, DirectTV and more.

All this activity shows within Timeline, allowing users to showcase what they’ve watched and listened to, and allowing others to discover new content.

News stories:

Zuckerberg said several businesses will be able to use these new types of apps to build products and make them more social, including news organizations. For the first time, you will also be able to see what news stories your friends are reading in real-time via Ticker, and summaries will be published via News Feed.

Zuckerberg said he sees this as a way to change how the whole news industry works by making everything more social. “The new Open Graph is all about discovering new things through your friends with frictionless experiences real-time serendipity and finding patterns,” Zuckerberg concluded during his keynote.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Photo courtesy of Facebook f8 livestream

Al Jazeera top exec resigns after WikiLeaks cable exposure

Sep 21, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  11 Comments

by Lynn Herrmann (Guest Contributor/Digital Journalist)

After eight years as director general at Al Jazeera, Wadah Khanfar on Tuesday announced his decision to step down, and follows release of WikiLeaks documents suggesting the news agency, under US pressure, modified coverage of the Iraq war.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Khanfar said his resignation “has to do with the fact that I have completed my eight years at the management of Al Jazeera.” He went on to add eight years was enough time for any leader to give his energy to such an endeavor.

An Al Jazeera spokesman noted: “Wadah Khanfar had made outstanding contributions to Al Jazeera and journalism worldwide. We all recognize his commitment to courageous reporting and want to continue to build upon those achievements.”

However, several leading news organizations suggest the WikiLeaks cable is connected to Khanfar’s resignation.

The Associated Press reports Khanfar “was in constant contact with the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency” in response to US complaints Al Jazeera was providing negative coverage of the Iraq war, and promised to modify such coverage.

CNET News reports the alterations in coverage, according to the leaked cable, involved removal of images of injured children from an online story in which witnesses provided accounts of US military action in Iraq. The cable came from the US embassy in Doha, Qatar, where Al Jazeera maintains its headquarters.

The cable references “problems” the US government had with Al Jazeera in “double-sourcing in Iraq; identifying sources’ use of inflammatory language; a failure to balance of extremist views; and the use of terrorist tapes.”

Also noted in the cable is Khanfar’s suggestion the website piece in question had “been toned down” and that he would “have it removed over the subsequent two or three days.”

In a note to Al Jazeera staff on Tuesday, Khanfar said: “Al Jazeera gained the trust of its audience through consistently speaking truth to power, and channelling peoples’ aspirations for dignity and freedom,” Al Jazeera reports.

This article was originally published on Digital Journal [Link]