Google Killed the Newspaper Star

The consensus seems to be that newspapers are a dying form. Some argue that technology is the main culprit. Bob Woodward, the journalist famous for uncovering the Watergate scandal, has an even more specific murder suspect.

Woodward blames Eric Schmidt, former Google executive, for the death of the newspaper saying, “There’s going to be something we’re going to miss in journalism that will be very regrettable. I hope the young people who have developed Facebook and Google will say, ‘We need to fix the information system and we need to get information to people that’s well-researched and investigated.'”

This analysis, in my opinion, seems to be extreme and very narrow-minded. Yes, the news world has changed. Yes, technology is the central catalyst. I do not however think that Schmidt is solely responsible.

The main thing to remember, as discussed in my 301 class, is that though newspapers may be of dying form, the news is still alive and breathing. In fact, with the internet, there is a mass overload of information and news. I think what Woodward was trying to say, is that with all the information and social media, it is hard to distinguish what is news, what is rumor and what is satire.

I feel this statement from Woodward really dates him and makes him look like a dinosaur. It really is a shame. I think it would serve Woodward well, like other reporters from the print era, to understand that this is the new media. It is still young and evolving. It has, and has shown the potential, to be a brilliant source of information. Newspapers may be reaching their end, but that does not mean that the news is going along with it.

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Couric and Lauer Together Again?

As most news watchers know by now, Katie Couric is planning to leave CBS Evening News in June when her contract expires. Now, rumors are circulating that she and her past co-anchor of the Today show, Matt Lauer, may be teaming up for another day-time show. The likelihood of this happening is still up the air. One thing that is undeniable, is that these two had a clear chemistry that really brought in the viewers and made the Today show a hit.

One thing complicating the matter is that fact that Lauer’s contract with NBC does not expire until the end of 2012, so a show featuring both of the anchors is very unlikely. However, sources say, that if Couric were to get picked up by NBC, the possiblilty of these two reuniting would be back on the table.

Another factor is Meredith Vieria leaving the Today show this year. Chances are, producers of the show will not want to take the risk of losing their two main anchors within the span of a year.

Yet with Oprah leaving the daytime market, their is room for a potential new sensation. I grew up with the Today show. It was on in the background every morning as my mom criticized my outfits before school. Needless to day, the Lauer/Couric duo holds a special place in my heart. I think a lot of viewers feel the same way. A show featuring the two of them would easily lead to high rating and major success.

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Lady Gaga Guest-Editing for Metro

Stephen Colbert has a segment on his show called “Tip of the Hat/Wag of the Finger.” I would like to extend this concept to my blog, just this once, although I’m not tipping my hat to anyone. I am however, going to wag my finger at the Metro newspaper, for allowing Lady Gaga to guest-edit the week before her “Born this Way” album is released. According to Metro’s website, Gaga, “will highlight issues surrounding equality and individuality, select stories and provide her comments on the breaking news of the day.”

Um . . . . .

I understand that perhaps the Metro would like access to a young, hipper generation. I also understand that Lady Gaga will be under advisors who have worked at the magazine for a long time, but really? Perhaps I’m angry because I know Lady Gaga is a gimmick created by her handlers. Born this way? No. You were manufactured this way. To me, giving Lady Gaga this much authority is almost a slap in the face. Though her business advisors created a facade of acceptance and originality, I had hoped that the news media would be able to see past this “facade” somewhat. Why hasn’t the Metro allowed someone more genuine and deserving, like Anderson Cooper or Christiane Amanpour or Bob Dylan, to guest-edit? Why not allow someone with a substantial world-view have editorial discretion, instead of a pop-icon that acts ridiculous for attention, then tries to pretend she cares about social issues to make her work seem deeper than it is?

This is a blatant marketing strategy for eyeballs on the Metro’s part. When Ke$ha releases a new album, will they allow her to be guest-editor? Will she highlight issues surrounding not bathing and drinking Jack? Has the Metro become a paper that works like a late-night TV show, allowing guests to visit when they have something to promote? This is a disgusting day for journalism, and I am pretty offended as a news consumer.

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Facebook Enters the World of Reality

The documentary “Catfish” follows a man as he meets a woman via Facebook. Of course, when he meets her in person, she turns out to be a fraud. She essentially lied about everything she told the protagonist. This situation is not unlikely for the internet, yet somehow this movie gained popularity and maintained somewhat of a shock value.

In my opinion, this documentary was not very groundbreaking. Lying over the internet is very common. Most people tend to exaggerate their lives to some degree on Twitter and Facebook. Extreme falsifications of identity, like the one portrayed in “Catfish,” are more likely to take place in chat rooms. “To Catch a Predator,” anyone?

So even though the whole false identity thing has been done repeatedly before, MTV has decided to entertain the idea of a reality show based on the premise of “Catfish.” Though not many details have been released, the concept of internet personas amongst today’s youth seems to be a popular topic. “Catfish” gained enough buzz and was successful. Whether or not this attention will translate to the small screen remains to seen. I feel that the show will be a hit though. Facebook is a force to be reckoned with for the 18-24 year old demographic. Given that it is such a popular stable for the lives of young people, I have a feeling young people will tune it, more than likely being able to relate to the situations occurring on the show. This has the potential to become MTV’s next “Jersey Shore” in my opinion.

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Do users ‘Like” Facebook or Google?

Google announced its new “+1” program, that would allow users to “like” links by clicking a “like” button. Sound familiar? Well, it definitely does to approximately 600 million Facebook users worldwide. Google is essentially adapting this device created by Facebook to make their site more “social media friendly.” The marketing strategy for Google, still the number one website globally, is to make their search engine more interactive, thus gaining more popularity and users.

Some experts speculate on whether other websites will follow Google’s example of copying Facebook. Will they too create a like button after every article or picture? Will this somehow make Facebook more obsolete? Myspace turned out to be a fad. Will Facebook endure a similar fate? These are all questions internet users are quietly humming behind there laptops.

Youtube has already created its own “like” feature for its users. Content viewers can “like” a video, and it gets added to a playlist. Viewers off the video can also see how many “likes” or “dislikes” a video has received. For Youtube, this “like” feature has seemed to replace the “favorite-ing” feature. Is this trend of “liking” things just a way of streamlining and simplifying websites? Another question being asked by consumers.

In my opinion, this “liking” trend will grow. It’s an easy way for companies to make their content more interactive. I don’t think Facebook will lose major traffic because of it either. I feel websites will still have link buttons at the bottom of their articles or photos allowing viewers to post things to Twitter, Blogger, Facebook etc. Internet users will continue to post things from sites outside Facebook, simply because people love to show others what they’re doing. I think the branching out of the “like” button is mainly an example of how separate sites throughout the internet are slowly becoming more linked (no pun intended).

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Youtube Teams Up With Google

Following Hulu’s lead, Youtube may potentially start airing original content.

Now, Youtube has plenty of users around the world uploading what is random, yet “original content.” However, this content will be more manufactured.  Youtube would possibly produce professionally made online series in alliance with Google.

Currently, Google is visiting numerous talent agencies in the Hollywood area. There intent is “to create a network of channels based around specific themes or niches such as fashion, food and video games.”

While Youtube is highly profitable, earning $825 million in 2010, they are still sorting out ways truly monetize the website.

In a larger sense, this understandably will lead to more legal, online streaming . Google is essentially competing with Netflix at the moment. Netflix plans to make some television episodes available for streaming before they air on TV. Thus, Google is inclined to create a more innovative way of reaching consumers.

On another note, what does this mean for the television? Consumers, including myself, tend to gradually be moving away from the TV’s and towards their laptops. While I don’t see the television industry crumbling anytime soon, it would definitely be interesting to see if online streaming helps or hurts network ratings.

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Glenn Beck’s Own Network

If I could compose a list of five media figures that I feel should not have their own network, Glenn Beck would definitely be on it.

Maybe it’s the chalkboard or the on-air mood swings, but the man clearly irks me. It’s probably those same factors that make him so popular with right-wing viewers.

That popularity could be parlayed into having his own network.

Beck’s contract with Fox runs out at the end of this year, and he is allegedly considering the possibility of his own network. He already has been gathering a staff for an independent media company which is currently producing web content.

The question also remains as to what type of network this would be. Would Beck run this network under the title of news? Hopefully not. My guess is that it will be an even more extreme version of Fox News, aggregating information for the conservative crowd.

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