Friday, June 24, 2005

Fear and Blogging in Las Vegas

We continue our tour of PRSA events with a stop in Las Vegas. It's our first visit to this city, and our guide -- or our Virgil, depending on your perspective -- is the erudite Jack Chappell, manager of community relations for Nevada Public Radio. Eastwick is sitting on a panel for government, non-profit and commercial PR pros who want to know what this blogging thing is all about, and why the PR profession needs to adapt. One thing we'll talk about is how the media -- one of our key constituencies -- is already adapting, out of fear, neccessity or opportunity. On that subject, check out Jon Fine's article in Business Week today, Net to Newspapers: Drop Dead.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Innovation at the Merc

The New Throats
Tomorrow, the San Jose Mercury News will introduce a new Friday interactive edition that includes blogs, communities, and other ways for enabling their readers to make their views known. This comes on the heels of the troubled experiment at the LA Times (they suspended their wikitorial because of vandalism). In the meantime, the folks at BusinessWeek's "Blogspotting" are looking at using a wiki for a large-scale, "open-source reporting" project. An interesting development ... few publications have the budget or inclination to support budding Woodwards and Bernsteins, and collaborative journalism -- using talented citizen reporters -- might provide a great alternative.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wiki Wacky Woozy

What's a new-media practice without an official mascot, slogan, or, er, cocktail? eastwikkers got the latter today with the discovery of the Wiki Waki Woo, a concoction invented by the folks at Cafe Bernardo near U.C. Davis, and now publicized via the amazing U.C. Davis Wiki. Take a close look at the recipe, inspired by the success of its East Coast cousin, the Long Island Ice Tea. Should you try to make the drink at home -- perhaps this Fourth of July weekend, in honor of the state that gave the drink its name -- scroll way down to see a critical step that the author of the Davis post neglected to mention: a straw filled with 151. It's the "wisdom of crowds" in action, a community of like-minded people working together to get things right. [See also: Wikipedia (they also got it right)] .

Monday, June 20, 2005

Wikitorial Closes

So, we spoke too soon. The wikitorial experiment at the LA Times has ended -- temporarily, at least -- after a tough bout with vandals. We expect an interesting post-mortem, with lessons learned about the implementation of wikis in the media world. Two quick lessons: (1) the need to restrict membership (there are acceptable ways to do that) and (2) alternative uses for media wikis.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hail the Wikitorial

In our world, this was by far the biggest story of the week: the LA Times is conducting an interesting social experiment on its editorial page, enabling readers to edit Times-authored editorials on a public wiki (managed by Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales). The reaction from top journalists and bloggers has been spirited, from jeers, cheers, to an inspired editorial in Slate calling for the outright abolishment of traditional editorials because they "then either toward timidity, at one extreme, or posturing, at the other." A Corante blogger opined, "there are better ways to bring the community into the paper." We agree -- sort of -- but still applaud the Times for this bold and fun experiment. Little ground has been broken in the new world of community journalism, and this represents a major if inconclusive step. In the meantime, there's much to figure out. When asked by Editor & Publisher to explain how the wiki works, Michael Kinsley (the Times editor who is leading the project) admitted, "I am not sure."

UPDATE: 1:30pm -- See Eastwick client Ross Mayfield's comment on Corante, about the flexibility of the wiki platform in news and editorial environments. You will learn about things such as forking, and fisking.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Media Guerilla Scores

Congrats to fellow PR blogger Mike Manuel for winning MarketingSherpa’s Best PR Topic Blog for 2005. Mike's blog is a favorite of ours -- tough, opionated, smart (just like its author). Well deserved....

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Thousand Throats

The latest cover story of Newsweek provides an honest look at the one of the biggest coups in journalism. The newsweekly -- a property of the same company that owns The Washington Post -- concludes that the Watergate investigation was less about journalistic heroics than a struggle for power (at a time when the fifth estate was poised well enough to wage a meaningful assault on government). It also provides a less-than heroic portrayal of Mark Felt, the subject of much opinion in this hyper-editorializing age. This dressing down comes at an interesting time, we think. The Internet has been particularly unkind to anonymous news sources, and it is doubtful that a Deep Throat today could survive the throngs of inquisitive bloggers. What will happen to the anonymous, now that their most famous brother has outed himself?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Power of Us

Check out this entertaining and thorough look at the collaboration craze, in the 6/20 issue of Business Week. Covers almost everything we've been obsessing about here at Eastwick, from groups blogs and wikis, to smart mobs, dumb mobs and the "wisdom of crowds." Things are going to get even more interesting in the enterprise, as businesses learn to integrate new media tools into existing knowledge-management systems (so predicts Gartner).

What's driving all this togetherness? More than anything, an emerging generation of Net technologies. They include file-sharing, blogs, group-edited sites called wikis, and social networking services such as MySpace and Meetup Inc., which has helped everyone from Howard Deaniacs to English bulldog owners in New York form local groups. Those technologies are finally teasing out the Net's unique potential in a way that neither e-mail nor traditional Web sites did. The Net can, like no other medium, connect many people with many others at the same time.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Pelosi Bashes Mainstream Media

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) sounds off against mainstream media and lauds bloggers in an interesting profile in Raw Story. The U.S. congressional leader claims reporters told her that "journalists couldn’t tell the Democrats’ story because they feared losing access."