Browsing articles from "March, 2012"

New Republic tears down its paywall

Mar 28, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

U.S. political magazine The New Republic announced today they will be droppings its paywall, offering its online content free to visitors.

A blog post on the magazine’s website wrote: “This decision is in line with our desire to enable new readers to discover and share the best of what TNR’s writers produce each day.”

The post emphasizes visitors will only be able to access current content; the archives will only be available to subscribers. Also, subscribers – digital or print – will be the only ones who can comment on the site.

The Atlantic Wire writes despite its reputation in political circles and its impressive 100-year history, “the magazine has struggled to make money, cutting back ad pages in the paper edition while trying to increase subscribers on the web.”

It would be unreasonable to assume The New Republic made this move to answer the New York Times’ recent decision to restrict access to its online content, but with such strong political content on both sites, it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest the two are competing news outlets.

Napster creators team up again with social video company, Airtime

Mar 26, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by Leigh Goessl (Guest writer/Digital Journalist)

It looks like Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, the duo that transformed the concept of music sharing, are teaming up again in a new venture. Parker is also known for being one of the first investors in Facebook.

Parker and Fanning are reportedly creating a new social video company together. The new startup had briefly been mentioned during an interview at SXSW, but word had also gotten out last fall that a new company was forthcoming. The interview, which was focused on the pair’s upcoming film, “Downloaded,” which documents the rise and fall of the once mighty Napster, made mention of a new company being launched, called Airtime, an upstart by the reunited partners.

What’s Airtime?

According to TechCrunch, Airtime is a new company co-founded by Parker and Manning that is gearing up for launch. TechCrunch notes the “precious little info” on what Airtime will do. And this evaluation appears to be spot on.

Checking out Airtime’s new website, not much detail is shared on the page. Business Insider had reported in Oct. 2011 that Fanning will be the company’s CEO and Parker will be the executive chairman.

Can Parker and Fanning create a new web transformation?

It also appears as if Airtime has some impressive backers.

The startup’s homepage lists Airtime’s backers as Founders Fund, Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Ashton Kutcher,, Scott Braun, and Michael Arrington. Reportedly $8.3 million has been put into the new venture to date.

Mystery of Airtime

As mentioned above, a bit of a mystery remains by looking at Airtime’s website. There is a button, using Facebook to sign up, to request early access. There are also four links advertising engineering positions, so the company is definitely looking to build. Other features on the website includeTerms of Service, and a Privacy Policy.

While Airtime’s mission and services are not quite yet certain, one thing appears clear is that it will be integrated with Facebook, at least initially. This is perhaps not surprising since Parker was in on the ground floor as its first president when Facebook emerged from infancy and remains invested in the company today.Airtime’s Terms of Service state, “Airtime is currently only available if you have an established Facebook account in good standing, abide by Facebook and Airtime’s terms of service, are at least 13 years of age and are legally able to be bound by these Terms of Use.”

However, how connected Airtime will remain to the social network giant in the long-term remains to be seen.No official word on when Airtime will launch and be open to the public.

This article was previously published in Digital Journal [Link]

Photo courtesy of LeWeb11

AOL to release weekly iPad magazine ‘Huffington’

Mar 21, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

A new weekly iPad magazine, produced as an app, will soon be released, according to Forbes. The digital magazine called Huffington will come from Huffington Post Media Group and will be overseen by Tim O’Brien, Huffington Post’s executive editor.

As Forbes reports, “Huffington will be published weekly and will reflect the Huffington Post’s mix of original journalism and aggregated news, possibly with a small number of stories commissioned specifically for the magazine.”

It will be designed as an app, and there are reports it will be offered free at first with a paid version in the works. No timetable has yet been set for a launch.

Arianna Huffington is betting on the success of iPad-only digital products, much like News Corp did with The Daily. Since its launch in early 2011, The Daily claims to be one of Apple’s top-grossing iPad apps in the world.

Forbes points out AOL already has a tablet-based magazine-like news product called Editions – it’s a news reader that gets content from a user’s social network.

Huffington was also in the news recently last week: Huffington Post Media Group is preparing to launch a live over-the-internet video channel modeled on the 24-hour cable news networks.

‘No independent journalism any more’ says ex-Al Jazeera reporter

Mar 14, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  61 Comments

by Anne Sewell (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

Ali Hashem, an ex-Al Jazeera correspondent, says that television channels have turned into political parties, pushing the agenda for “some outside forces.”

Recently an article on Digital Journal reported that key staff members of the Al Jazeera news service were resigning due to bias over the Syria situation. Ali Hashem told RT that he has come into the spotlight after resigning from the television channel, citing its bias.

The former Al Jazeera correpondent in Beirut vented his anger over the one-sided coverage of Syria on Al Jazeera in several emails, which have been leaked by Syrian hackers. He said that Al Jazeera refused to cover the events in Bahrain.

In an exclusive interview with RT, the former Beirut correspondent Hashem, while not wishing to discuss his resignation, did stress that these days “independent media is a myth.”

“There is no independent media anymore. It is whose agenda is paying the money for the media outlet,” he said. “Politicization of media means that media outlets are today like political parties. Everyone is adopting a point of view, fight for it and bring all the tools and all the means they have in order to make it reach the biggest amount of viewers.”

The journalist believes that nowadays the viewer has to compare news from several different outlets, and then make his own conclusions. “Today we are in the era of open source information and everyone can reach whatever information he wants.”

Hashem further said that the problem with this is that some news outlets reach larger audiences than others. “What they say will [seem] to be a fact while it might not be the fact,” he said.

Hashem believes that the mass media should be “immune” and unbiased when reporting war and conflict, as this guarantees freedom of speech. “In the year 2006, Israel bombarded Al-Manar television because they said Al-Manar was doing propaganda war against Israel,” he said. “Al-Manar was on one side of this war and they were supporting the Hezbollah and the resistance and the war against Israel. But does this give Israel the excuse to bombard Al-Manar? Certainly not.”

We should as journalists, whatever our point of view is, (because it is clear there is no independent journalism anymore) have the right to say whatever he wants safely, without being threatened to be bombarded or killed or executed or arrested,” Hashem concluded.

Several key staff members have recently resigned from the Beirut Bureau of Al Jazeera including Ali Hashem, the managing director Hassan Shaaban and also producer Mousa Ahmad. All these staff members cited bias in the channel’s coverage of the “Arab Spring”, especially with regards to Syria and Bahrain, as their reason for resigning.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Gamification of Media: Digital Journal releases February ‘Power User’ list

Mar 8, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

Digital Journal today published a list of the 20 most active contributors on its network in February. The Top 20 list is published each month to report how Digital Journalists, bloggers and citizen journalists interact in an online media network.

“We would like to extend a huge congrats to those who made the top 20 list in February,” said David Silverberg, Managing Editor of Digital Journal. “With a large contributor base spread out globally, Digital Journal is proud to recognize the leading 20 contributors who showed they are masters of this new media domain.”

Digital Journal publishes a Top 20 list in recognition of top performers from the company’s massive gamification project that tracks and reports activity of contributors across the Digital Journal network. Recording actions such as quantity of articles published, frequency of visit and how engaged members are, Digital Journal rewards points and badges to individual contributors based on the amount of their activity. The members who stay the most active in the month are then rewarded with a “Power Users” badge.

In addition to creating incentive for contributors to participate in the social news network, Digital Journal aims to showcase talent and create a level of transparency that gives an open look at how people interact with a news organization and how user-generated content is valuable in the wider news ecosystem.

In no particular order, Digital Journal’s February 2012 Power Users include:

Digital Journal compiles data on a monthly basis and resets the points at the beginning of each month when a new competition begins. More info on Digital Journal’s gamification project can be found here.