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Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Update 8/12/10: John Kiesewetter’s blog in the Cincinnati Enquirer also has a story about my move.

From today’s Star-News Online, Wilmington, NC:

“Wilmington’s public radio station finally has a new station manager after going nearly 19 months without one.

Cleve Callison, a native of Gaffney, S.C., will join WHQR on Sept. 7.”

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I have Daniel Johnson Jr. to thank for getting me started with TalkShoe. This is like a combination of live chat, podcast, webinar and conference call. When Daniel, John Hingsbergen and I were planning the recent Society of Professional Journalists podcasting seminar, we used it to confer and record our calls.

It’s pretty easy to use. Once registered (free), you set up a call and others call in a a pre-arranged time. You can make the result public or private. It’s not entirely intuitive and the tutorials are rather skimpy. I tried to figure out how to use their documentation and ended up calling Daniel, who told me the answer in seconds.

I’m currently using it on a research project of interviews and writing. It was pretty simple to set up a call and invite my guest. Key points that Daniel set me straight on were how to log in as administrator of the call (use your PIN), and how to start and stop recordings — *2*1 in each case.

Once the call has processed (at the end of the pre-requested time, not at the end of the call) I downloaded the mp3 file to my computer, where I’m going to start editing very soon. With an external mike/headset for my Blackberry, the audio is not broadcast quality of course, but it’s not bad. It’s easy to see uses for this in generating live programs and podcasts, as well as other audio you want to repurpose.

I’m still learning, but so far, thumbs up.

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I’m looking forward to Saturday and a podcasting workshop sponsored by the Cincinnati chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. They asked me to put this together a few weeks ago. Fortunately I was able to enlist the formidable talents of my old WMUB comrade John Hingsbergen and Cincinnati New Media Cincinnati guru Daniel Johnson, Jr.

No podcasting experience is necessary. In this hands-on workshop participants will:

  • Create a podcast
  • Learn how to plan, record, edit, publish and market your podcast
  • EAT A FREE LUNCH!

It’s Saturday, 10am – 4pm. There are a few slots left, but — you gotta register here.

Thanks to the NKU College of Informatics for hosting this.

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Interesting article in Mashable this week:

On the campus of Penn State University, a rivalry between a rogue campus blog and the official newspaper has become a fascinating mirror of the strife between old and new media. In only a matter of months, the unofficial campus blog Onward State, has marshaled the power of social media to compete with the award winning 112-year-old campus paper The Daily Collegian. With one-tenth of the Collegian’s staff size, Onward State has constructed a virtual newsroom that collaborates in real-time with Google Wave, outsourced its tip-line to Twitter, and is unabashed about linking to a competitor’s story…

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Watch enough of the NCAA tournament — I saw my share, as you might gather — and you quickly decide which commercials are tolerable and which you will quickly grow to hate. Here, in no particular order, are my personal best and worst. May I have the envelopes, please:

Best

  • Palm “Life Moves Fast” (pictured)

I used to have a Palm PDA, and later a Treo. They were fine and in some ways I miss the Treo. I don’t know if the Palm they’re promoting here is a killer multimedia phone that will restore their fortunes, but boy does she walk great.

  • Bud light “Why Do You Love Me?”

This is the one with the couple picnicking in the park. OK, it’s just a commercial, but the girl really makes it work. It’s like a 30-second sitcom. I think we will see more of her.

That’s about it for the good ones. Now to the majority.

Worst

  • Capital One “What’s in Your Wallet”

Time to retire the Viking marauders.

  • Burger King “Crazy King”

Burger King has the most consistent record of stupid/annoying commercials in the last 30 years, going back to the days of Herb (remember him?). Their streak is safe.

  • Home Depot “Windex”

This one is actually on the Westwood One radio broadcasts, not TV. It’s not terrible, just sort of “Eh. Windex? Really? And why do they repeat it so many times?”

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How do you envision the way people use your website? According to Steve Krug, web designers think “great literature” (or at least “product brochure”), but users think “billboard going by at 60 miles an hour.”

The notion above comes from Krug’s book Don’t Make Me Think. There’s a chapter called “How we really use the web” on his site, Advanced Common Sense. It’s sobering reading if you’re a designer, but probably a lot closer to how people do use the web. Some of his other points:

  • We don’t read web pages. We scan them.
  • We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.*
  • We don’t figure things out. We muddle through.

Problem is, designers are people who DO like to figure things out.

This chapter is well worth a look. There are powerful implications for my career field, radio, which I’ll explore in different blog post.

*Satisfice was coined by economist Herbert Simon as a cross between “satisfying” and “sufficing” in Models of Man: Social and Rational (Wiley, 1957).

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Last week I attended a demonstration of the presentation style PechaKucha (alternatively Pecha Kucha, or just PK). Named for the Japanese term for “chit-chat,” it was developed in Japan as a way of combating the familiar phenomenon of “death by PowerPoint.” Based on one exposure – eh, maybe.

In theory it couldn’t be simpler: 20 x 20, or 20 slides, 20 seconds each, 6 minutes 40 seconds precisely. That’s it. You can see the correspondence with the Japanese esthetic of haiku, to take one example: 3 lines, 17 syllables. The idea is to strip content from the tyranny of bullet points and pare it down to its essence. Not surprisingly, since it was developed by artists and architects, the focus is on images, not text.

PechaKucha is pronounced pe-chak-cha, by the way. Since its beginning in February 2003, PK has spread virally to cities around the world; here in Cincinnati there have been three instances of PechaKucha Night (r) — yes, that’s a registered trademark — in the past year. The emphasis on night is a further reflection of its social/artistic origins, and the distance between PK on the one hand and business and academic presentations on the other. Not that the latter couldn’t use a little shaking up — but I’m not sure PK is it.

To be fair, the presentations I saw did not appear for the most part to have been produced from the ground up in this style; they looked more like conventional presentations re-worked to fit PK. The biggest problem I saw is that the form in essence demands not a single presentation but a series of 20 micro-presentations. Because presenters needed to view their screens to keep the timing right, there was not much eye contact with their audiences. Quite often the comments on individual slides went long, but ones that were too short were even more problematic.

I know from my radio experience that one of its indispensable skills is the ability to match vocal content to a precise length in a hide-the-artifice way. Doing that 20 times in a row is an enormous task. Comments of 18 or 22 seconds — even comments of 19 or 21 seconds — don’t quite get it. And if it’s not done right, the technique calls attention to itself in a bad way: the audience pays less attention to the presentation because they’re wondering if the speaker will make it. Over and over again.

I hope to attend a PK night in Cincinnati and see how artists and architects do it. I’d love to be proved wrong, but I suspect that the power of this form is not going to transfer very well to more formal settings, where innovative concepts like those from TED.com may be better bets (or Garr Reynolds’ approach in Presentation Zen, also inspired by Japanese models).

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