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Interview Audio: Jeff Jarvis,

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an interview with Jeff Jarvis
of on May 16, 2005 talking about the future of media and issues surrounding the military intervention in Iraq. Also features quotes from Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel of Knight Ridder at the end.

(12:17 / 3.7 MB / Subscribe to Interview Audio)

Click here to listen to the MP3

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Playlists are to Music as Edit Decision Lists are to Film

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When the timelines of edited film sequences are exported, then they are flattened into an "Edit Decision List" that is somewhat analogous to a musical playlist and an academic syllabus or H20 playlist.

UPDATE: I explore the how this playlist concept can be applied to filmmaking in conversations with Lucas Gonze, Colin Brumelle and Farsheed

JD Lasica just posted a video interview with Molly Krause of Harvard's H20 playlist project.

You can think of H20 as a way to share a college class syllabus. It's an ordered reading list that can be used to aggregate knowledge from experts. They describe it as an "open source, educational platform that explores powerful ways to connect professors, students, and researchers online."

Here's an example of a H20 reading list that should give you an introduction to "Social Bookmarking with" written by Brian Del Vecchio.

H20 tracks derivatives made from playlists as a way to track the relative authority, expertise and reputation of a given author -- much in the same way that academic citations in peer review journals are a way to measure these same metrics. But the H20 playlist format decentralizes this process from the normal gatekeepers and allows for a much more grassroots and bottom-up approach to this concept.

So as Krause says in the interview, you can think of these playlists as a way to provide guided maps to particular fields of study.

My understanding is that playlists have gained a lot of popularity because it is a way for people to create sequences of songs to play on their computer or mobile devices. Because more and more individual songs are being digitally distributed and separated by the order in which they usually play on an entire music album, then playlists have been able to recreate these musical experiences much in the same way that DJs have done.

So Harvard has expanded this playlist concept from music to academic information, and I would like to expand it even further to a journalistic and filmmaking context.

Netflix is already using the playlist concept for distribution of DVDs with their "Netflix Queue." You select videos that you want to see, and then you determine the order in which you receive them.

This can be extended to the actual generation of films because filmmakers are essentially doing the same thing except with multiple video and audio dimensions synchronized by timelines and smaller nuggets of information (i.e. a sound bite vs. an entire DVD).

When the timelines of edited film sequences are exported, then they are flattened into an "Edit Decision List" that is analogous to a musical playlist and an academic syllabus or H20 playlist.

Edit Decision Lists can be generated with a web browser interface, and then dynamically translated into online edits by using the SMIL open standards -- or into offline edits by using Final Cut Pro XML interface that I've described before. I've been able to successfully accopmlish both of these in the tests that I've done.

Most people get completely lost by this point, but I'm basically exploring the idea of using playlists for the collaborative generation of media much in the same way that Harvard is exploring playlists for the collaborative distribution of knowledge.

I was very happy to discover that H20 backend has been open sourced, however the code was a bit too complex for me to parse.

But I'd love to catalyze an effort to port some of these concepts from H20, and into Drupal.

I've been in contact with the two Drupal developers of the playlist module, and I hope to talk to them more about it soon.

I also happened to meet "playlist maven" Lucas Gonze of at the Open Media Developers Summit, and may pick his brain about the function and culture around playlists -- as well as best practices for tracking related and derivative playlists.

So with that, I'll share the e-mail and comment below that I just sent off to's JD Lasica (whom I also had the chance to meet at the summit)...

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Instructions for Recording Skype Conversations

After much experimentation, I've finally figured out how to record a Skype call on my Macintosh without having to use external hardware or hearing an echo of my own voice.

This will enable me to record my phone conversations and then share them as podcasts in order to help develop the community -- both calls to regular phone numbers by using SkypeOut for two cents a minute, but also directly to other Skype users for free.

Beth Kanter made a very interesting diagram about "Audio as Online Conversation for Online Communities Experiment" that is rich with ideas -- so there is a lot of issues to explore. (via Nancy White)

So I hope to experiment with mediating audio conversations here on by using the RSS feeds associated with the folksonomy tags served up by Drupal.

A lot of the "How to Record Skype Recipes" include Audacity and Soundflower Bed, but I finally got it to work with WireTap Pro (shareware program for $19), LineIn, and Soundflower, a pair of headphones and a USB Mixer / Microphone.

Here's a schematic and table of the input and output settings of these programs that I used to get it to work -- as well as a screenshot of the preference settings for a quick reference and sanity check.

Schematic for recording Skype Conversations

Macintosh System Preferences USB Audio CODEC / USB Port Headphones / Built-In Audio Port
Skype USB Audio CODEC Built-In Audio Headphones
LineIn USB Audio CODEC Soundflower (2ch)
WireTap Pro Source: "Mac Audio and Microphone" /
Mic/Line-In: "Soundflower (2ch)"
not applicable

It's also possible to record the USB Mixer / Microphone input directly through the Built-In Audio, but there was a really annoying delay and echo of my own voice. It's really difficult to talk with delayed feedback being piped into your ears. Some people use speakers to eliminate this feedback, but then there is additional feedback or an echo. Passing the microphone input through LineIn and then Soundflower eliminates this echo when using headphones.

Below is a screenshot of all of the preferences as well as some afterthoughts...

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We Media Conference Interviews

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I attended the We Media Conference as a fellowship recipient back on October 5th, and I was able to pick up eight more interviews with some very interesting people who are at the core of both old media and new media innovation.

I plan to start releasing these interviews as podcasts very soon -- and you can go here if you'd like to listen to the We Media conference sessions.

UPDATE: The podcasts of all of the following interviews have now been posted. You can click through each of the names or find them all here.

Tom Curley
Tom Curley President/CEO of the Associated Press
Richard Sambrook
Richard Sambrook Director, BBC Global News Division
Merrill Brown
Merrill Brown Media Consultant, MMB Media LLC
Susan Mernit
Susan Mernit Digital Media Consultant, 5ive
Andrew Nachison
Andrew Nachison Director, The Media Center
Lex Alexander
Lex Alexander Citizen Journalism Coordinator, Greensboro News-Record
Steve Rubel
Steve Rubel Public Relations Blogger, MicroPersuasion
Andy Carvin
Andy Carvin The Digital Divide Network

Below is a follow-up that I sent to Gloria Pan so that she could use it for some grants that they were applying for.

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Questions on The Future of New Media

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A student from University of Lincoln, England named Tom Hughes e-mailed me this morning asking me about the future of New Media.

I shared some of thoughts about some of the trends that I see, and Tom would be really curious to hear any other feedback about this in the comments.

Here's Hughes' questions and my response:

For my dissertation, I am analysing the current state of new media technologies and how the idea of 'audiences supplying their own demand', through the ease of a variety of new softwares and technologies, is becoming more widespread. I am hoping to be able to make some conclusions as to the outcome that this progression will lead to, influenced mainly by two particular examples; the optimistic outcomes of a 'Global Village' predicted by Marshall McLuhan, against the bleack, pessimistic predictions of theorists such as Paul Virilio.

What is your opnion on the future of new media...

I do believe that the passive consumption of media via television or movie screens will be phased out and eventually replaced -- supplemented -- with more interactive and digitally delivered experiences.

So instead of watching a linear narrative film -- only watching linear narrative films, then audiences will begin to also demand a non-linear self-guided experience of a highly annotated archive of multimedia segments linked by associations. Once the broadband pipeline will support the bandwidth, then people will begin to surf the Internet that's full of rich media about niche topics instead of watching the mass media. There is also a much higher probability that audiences will be able to interact directly with content producers.

UPDATE: Dumitru made a great point in the comment below, and so I rephrased my some of my original statements as indicated by the bold words.

This is my model for how the footage would be annotated with metadata by a distributed audience.

HUGHES: do you believe we should be embracing the future as a world of easy communication and creative outcome, or fearing it as a static environment where we will not need to move to communicate, anything we need can be accessed via a touch of a button, and the creative industry becoming full of talentless individuals?

I don't think that technological advances that allow people to make simple choices for the creation of media necessarily mean that creativity diminishes. In fact, I think we see just the opposite. The relatively low-cost of professional non-linear editing software and cameras has allowed independent filmmakers to work on a shoestring budget and create Oscar-nominated films such as "Super Size Me."

Not only that, but the low barrier to entry for producing and distributing media is helping evolve our culture to be much more media literate and capable of developing and nurturing talent. Talent is rewarded with social capital such as reputation and attention through incoming hypertext links and Internet traffic. Once the page views excel a certain threshold, then Internet-based advertising can support the creation of content full time. It used to be that either you were a starving artist or you'd have blockbuster success, but now the Internet is supporting micropayment and advertising-based revenue models that will be able to support a new tier of middle class artists.

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Lessons Learned From Open Source Politics

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Micah Sifry from the Andrew Rasiej New York City Public Advocate Campaign just posted long write-up with a lot of lessons learned from their open source political campaign -- a campaign that was ultimately not successful.

I had been in contact with the campaign after successfully pitching them on an idea to remix citizen videojournalism reports as part of their communications strategy to catalyze people living outside of New York City to encourage their NYC friends to vote for Rasiej.

They were going to use some of the footage from my second video blog, and vlogger Ryanne Hodson was going to recontextualize it to use for their campaign. Then we would promote both versions driving Internet traffic to both of our projects.

However, the Rasiej campaign was not able to follow through on this idea since they became overwhelmed in the chaos of the last weeks before the election.

In his post-mortem analysis, Sifry questions the feasibility of conducting an open source political campaign.

I submitted the following reply to his post by saying that I thought that more innovations happen within the collaborative media realm before we see any radical shifts in our political culture.

My intention is that Raseij supporters could support The Echo Chamber Project as a way to build up the necessary Drupal infrastructure to facilitate a open source communications strategy by producing collaborative media.

More details below...

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Episode 5: An Edited Debate Over Pre-War Intelligence

With potential indictments looming over Washington, here's a video of an edited debate of the different arguments surrounding the Niger uranium claims and pre-war intelligence that is at the center of Fitzgerald's CIA Leak Investigation featuring:

* Greg Mitchell, Editor of Editor & Publisher
* Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media
* John R. MacArthur: Publisher of Harper's Magazine
* Retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, Department of Defense Policy Analyst
* Greg Thielmann, Retired State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research

Political junkies are anxiously waiting for the result of Fitzgerald's 22-month invesitigation, and it will be interesting to see whose arguments stand the test of time. These interviews were conducted in July 2004, but the gap between the two perspectives hasn't changed all that much since then.

(5:58 minutes / 14.4 MB)

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Episode 4: Open Media Summit Follow-Up

Description: I'm getting a lot closer to getting the collaborative editing infrastructure up and running. Here is my follow-up video from the Open Media Summit, with some of my thoughts and future intentions:

* Contact selected participants one-on-one.
* Specify the specific needs of the common ground that we share.
* Record and release the conversations as podcasts to build up the developer community and support network.
* Further specify job descriptions to give to volunteers -- and other action items.
* Promote these conversations to the larger network to recruit programming labor or financial resources.

(2:02 minutes / 4.7 MB)

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Potential Implosion of the Times and Explosion of Pre-War Questions

I haven’t been posting anything here on the Judy Miller saga -- or on the Plame leak case because I’ve been focusing on getting the infrastructure for collaborative editing up and running. In fact, I happen to be traveling in New York City for an Open Media Developers conference.

But I thought I should just give some quick predictions and judgments from my reading what could potentially be very explosive for the Bush Administration for reanalyzing the build-up to the war in Iraq.


* Judy Miller will either explicitly be fired or forced to voluntarily resign.

UPDATE 10/23/05 10:26a.m. Okay, this shoe is already starting to drop.
From Newsweek, "The Media: Miller's Crossing":

Now many Times staffers are out for blood. At a contentious meeting in the paper's Washington bureau last week, some reporters and editors demanded Miller's dismissal.

UPDATE 10/25/05 9 :57 a.m. Arianna Huffington writes that Miller won't be fired until Sulzberger approves it -- or is forced out by stockholders:

Reading Keller's memo on Friday," a Times staffer told me, "a lot of us thought that at the end there would be a P.S. -- 'P.S.: We fired Judy Miller this afternoon.' But there is no way that Keller could write that on his own, because if that's going to come, it will have to come from Sulzberger. And he's her protector. Still."

Huffington asks: "What does someone have to do to get fired at the New York Times?"

UPDATE 10/26/05 10:18 a.m. The Wall Street Journal reports that Miller is trying to work out a severance package -- which if goes through I think would make it less likely that Keller or Sulzberger would take a hard fall.

New York Times reporter Judith Miller has begun discussing her future employment options with the newspaper, including the possibility of a severance package, a lawyer familiar with the matter, said yesterday.

UPDATE 11/10/05 8:22 a.m. This shoe has finally dropped. Judith Miller has "reached an agreement yesterday that ended her 28-year career at the newspaper and capped more than two weeks of negotiations."

Time will tell whether or not any of my other predictions will come to pass. Miller's departure may now shine a spotlight on the roles of the executive editor and publisher, but kicking the can down the road this far may have shielded them from most of the heat. It'll be interesting to see if there is any other fallout.

* And if Jay Rosen and Arianna Huffington – and others in the blogosphere keep the pressure on The Times, then the executive editor Keller may resign – as well as potentially the publisher Pinch Sulzberger -- but only if there is enough of a revolt from stockholders demanding that he step down because he’s damaged the credibility and trust of the New York Times brand name. Columnist Maureen Dowd certainly doesn’t pull any punches in this behind-the-walled-garden column. Or read Steve Gillard’s dissection of Dowd like I did. (via Atrios).

UPDATE 10/23/05 10:26a.m. Early signs of this also come from this Newsweek article:

In private, some staffers argued the paper had to do more—sacking Keller or even somehow punishing Sulzberger, whose family controls the Times. "Judy took advantage of her relationship with the publisher," said one Times staffer who asked not to be identified because he feared losing his job. "The publisher should pay the price."

UPDATE 10/25/05 9:57 a.m. Arianna Huffington speculates that Bill Keller took most of the blame in his memo to shield Sulzberger from being implicated -- therefore potentially saving his own job:

[Keller's] most recent Miller-mess memo to his staff was jam-packed with the pronoun, making it seem to all the world like he was the one calling the shots...

Notably absent was any mention of the real shot-caller during the Miller debacle, Arthur Sulzberger. Is Keller trying to save his ass by helping his boss cover his?

UPDATE 10/25/05 11:10 a.m. Interprid Editor & Publisher reporter on national security & press issues William E. Jackson Jr. says that there is a cover-up at The New York Times that goes to the very top. Outside pressure is growing for Keller and Sulzberger to resign -- as well as Miller.

There is corruption at the highest levels of The New York Times. Irreparable damage has been done to the reputation of the most eminent newspaper in the world. The resignations of both Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., and Bill Keller, should be on the table--not to mention the reporter known as “Miss Run Amok.” Both men have been engaging in what might be termed “limited, modified hangouts” as they shift from one foot to the other in offering explanations of their own conduct in regard to the license granted Judith Miller, and the role of the Times in the handling of the Plame story.

Potential indictments from Fitzgerald's investigation could throw more fuel on this NYT fire, and Huffington gives more details on the role of stockholders:

while the Sulzberger family may not care about money, the shareholders do -- and they control more than 80 percent of the New York Times Company's Class A stock. The family remains in control because it holds almost all the Class B voting stock, which allows them to elect 70 percent of the company's board.

This structure insulates an incompetent CEO -- but only up to a point. And the shareholders can't be happy with the latest quarterly results.

* The first Times "Mini-Culpa" only came AFTER Chalabi had his fall from grace. So after Miller has her fall from grace, then this may change the cultural context of the Times enough to the point where they will be forced to reanalyze a lot of her pre-war coverage.

* Sulzberger seems to be complicit in letting Judy do whatever she wanted during the lead-up to the war -- and Harper’s publisher John R. MacArthur speculated to The Echo Chamber Project that this may because Pinch may have supported military intervention. I HIGHLY doubt that we’ll ever find the answer to this mystery since the Times will try to protect any ounce of credibility that they may have left when the dust finally settles on all of the belated confessions of extreme journalistic lapses and oversights -- and potential indictments from Fitzgerald and other outcomes of his 22 month investigation.

* On top of all of this, if Fitzgerald’s investigation ends up digging into the behavior of the White House Iraq Group before the war, then this could potentially even more explosive for the Bush’s public relation campaign to sell the war in Iraq. Here’s an interesting excerpt from the Washington Post from last Tuesday:

In the course of the investigation, Fitzgerald has been exposed to the intense, behind-the-scenes fight between Cheney’s office and the CIA over prewar intelligence and the vice president’s central role in compiling and then defending the intelligence used to justify the war.

* So all of this may also create a broader cultural context that begs the question of what else was known by journalists during the PR campaign to sell the war that wasn’t reported on because many may have seen the war as inevitable. I have an 18,000-line XL spreadsheet timeline that details all of the government actions day-by-day from August 26, 2002 to March 19, 2003 -- as well as links to alternative and mainstream press articles. So it might be a good time to release some of this info for bloggers and journalists interested in doing further research.

It’ll be interesting to track the developments over the next week – the political impact and impact on the New York Times – and on the media as a whole.

I may have to unleash some politically-charged video blogging rants filled with quotes from journalists talking about Judy Miller – and discussing some of my insights from the time period.

I’m going to be traveling back to Maine tomorrow, and then settling in and following up with a lot of the great people that I was able to meet at this Open Media Developers summit.

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Echo Chamber Project Vlog Episode 3

Here is the third Echo Chamber Project video blog entry featuring some interviews from the We Media Conference.

Description: Four Big Media executives and consultants talk about how the Internet is affecting the business models of mass media and how it is evolving towards a more participatory and collaborative environment.

Featuring: Tom Curley, Richard Sambrook, Susan Mernit, Merrill Brown and Kent Bye.

(2:53 minutes / 6.7 MB)

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