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23 Jan 2012 10:10


Biz: Associated Press leader Tom Curley to retire, leaves controversial legacy

  • The guy who guided AP into the aggregation era: You probably don’t know this guy very well, but all the organizations that give you your news know him quite well. Tom Curley, who has led the Associated Press since 2003, plans to retire later this year, after his successor is found. Curley, a former USA Today publisher, faced a not-very-enviable task as AP’s leader: As many of his member publications found it difficult to stay afloat (in some cases, trying to drop AP entirely as a cost-saving measure), Curley took a very hard stance against copyright issues, and once played a role in a protracted fight with Google over access to AP articles. (For years, the Curley-led Associated Press considered Google merely running headlines in search results to be lawsuit-worthy, before eventually backing off.) The AP’s leader will leave a somewhat-difficult legacy in its handling of the blogosphere, too: After previous stunted attempts to show control over its content, the site is moving forward with a new content-licensing initiative called NewsRight. Journalism is a difficult business to keep financially stable, and the AP has had a lot to fight against. But at times, you sometimes wonder if folks like Curley simply didn’t understand the environment. Their issues are certainly not as bad as the music industry’s. But they’re certainly not shining examples of new-media transition. (Photo by Richard Drew/AP) source

04 Aug 2011 15:38


World: Unprecedented access of the day: Crazy photos from North Korea

  • The Associated Press got unprecedented access to North Korea. The photos from The Atlantic website are absolutely stunning and show a different side to North Korea. Easily the most interesting thing you’ll see today. (Thanks to ProducerMatthew for these!)source

08 Oct 2010 12:57


Tech: Associated Press creates HTML5 timeline app that doesn’t suck

  • Yo, AP, you should consider replacing your laughable child-like iPad app with this thing, because it’s actually kind of innovative and stuff. And it uses HTML5. Basically, this is the coolest thing the AP has ever done. source

08 Sep 2010 11:12


Tech: Associated Press: We’re finally going to respect bloggers, a little

  • good The Associated Press finally has a policy that credits bloggers as news sources.
  • bad Um … how long have blogs been around? Way to be behind the curve, guys. source

07 Jul 2010 15:43


Tech: TechCrunch gets on on the hilarious AP baiting mess

  • Meanwhile, AP staffers across the Gulf region and in Washington continue to provide comprehensive coverage of the oil spill.
  • AP Director of Media Relations Paul Colford • Using the oil spill as a scapegoat for the whole faux-fight with and TechCrunch. TechCrunch, thank God, has a little bit of fun with the whole thing, posting a whole AP story on their site just to be stupid and childish. To which, we say, why the heck not! It’s AP who needs to change, not TechCrunch. One of the best TechCrunch posts in months. source

06 Jul 2010 10:44


Tech: calls the AP out on their hypocritical quote-ganking

  • But when we found your little newsy thing you do, we couldn’t help but notice something important. And that something is this: you printed our web content in your article! The web content that came from our blog! Why, isn’t that the very thing you’ve previously told nu-media bloggers they’re not supposed to do?
  • A message from • Regarding the Associated Press using quotes from their blog post on their sale to Amazon. Considering the AP has a stupid, stupid rule regarding the quoting of content by outside sources, we’ve mostly avoided their content except when absolutely necessary. says that they’ll allow the AP to use their quotes, but it’ll cost them $17.50. Unless, they’re willing to make this deal with the site: “Instead of cutting us a check for the web content you liberated from our site, all you’ll need to do is show us your email receipt from today’s two pack of Sennheiser MX400 In-Ear Headphones, and we’ll call it even.” Well played, sirs. source

04 Apr 2010 10:39


Tech: Early thoughts: The iPad as news curation tool (is it worth it?)

  • Our take? It depends on the app. Right now, the iPad does three things really well. It allows you to surf the Web at nearly the same clip as a laptop, it rules at non-Flash video playback, and it allows you to read the news better than either a newspaper or Web browser. For a 1.0 product, this is polished. But we’re journalism nerds that read a lot of links, so let’s focus our appeal. How is reading and curating news on this thing, anyway? (Hint: Pretty good.)

First: What a good news app needs

  • one A simple format that makes it easier, not harder, to read the news. It’s not a newspaper or a Web site; it’s a little of both
  • two An easy way to share content – you should be able to copy quotes, tweet links, and e-mail articles to a friend (or yourself)
  • three A solid offline reading mode – these apps need to be able to work without a wi-fi connection nearby; all of the apps had this

Second: The best news apps

  • best The Reuters app is
    easy to scan, and
    best-formatted for
    the iPad. It’s also
    the one that tried to
    look least like a
  • great The USA Today
    app has a mix of
    strong readability,
    easy organization,
    and smart uses of
    swiping. It’s nearly
    as good as the
    Reuters app.
  • eh The New York
    app isn’t
    bad, but its body
    type isn’t on the grid. The Wall Street Journal app tends to overreact
    to tiny movements.
  • wtf The Associated
    app went all
    scrapbook with
    their format, which
    is OK – for a
    scrapbook. For
    reading hard news,
    it’s very annoying.

Third: Twitter on the iPad

  • Best balance Twitterrific was designed for the iPad the way that one would expect someone to use an iPad Twitter app. The use of Twitter lists, for example, makes for great news-reading. Less is more in this case.

  • Most complex TweetDeck could stand to be a little less complicated right now. It loads too many windows at once and comes across as a bit bloated and overwhelming. A bit more interface furniture to clean up the look would help this greatly.

  • Best mashup As many people know, the EchoFon/Firefox setup is hard to top for reading linked tweets, and TweetBrowser goes a long way to replicate that on the iPad. Only issue: We wish we could hide the feed in the horizontal format.
  • » One side note: Webkit’s skills at rendering the Twitter web apps are mostly pretty good. The web version of Hootsuite is actually better than the iPad-native version of TweetDeck on the iPad. Threadsy also works great, as does the Web version of Seesmic. You’ll have to use a two-finger swipe to navigate, though, which can be cumbersome.

Overall: What did we think?

  • » What we like: It’s a good reading format, and Safari could handle nearly everything we threw at it (except the TinyMCE rich-text editor, which means it sucks for blogging because WordPress uses that). The format is awesome for video and music. Once Hulu and Spotify get apps on here, it’s seriously a one-stop shop. Also, being able to load articles on the device and take it on the wi-fi-less D.C. Metro was downright perfect.
  • » What we don’t like: It can be hard to hold the device upright, especially if you’re not sitting at a table. It’s strange that Apple didn’t consider putting a kickstand on the back. The keyboard is usable but not heavy-duty. Apple should consider putting in (or allowing) additional keyboard setups that make it more usable for typing in HTML. Right now, it’s a serious chore.
  • » What we want to see: Surprisingly, we don’t miss multitasking on the iPad – it actually wasn’t noticeable for most apps. But we think someone needs to create a single app that mixes social media, web browsing and blogging/word processing. TweetBrowser gets the first two down, but WordPress‘ app isn’t designed for this at all. We smell opportunity (eh, Tumblr?).

05 Mar 2010 21:01


Biz: More thoughts on Attributor and the news copyright police

  • After hearing from Rich Pearson of Attributor, we think it’s at least fair to articulate what we think a content-licensing agreement should be like for bloggers. Because it seems like, while Attributor has a good point (and is apparently following a don’t-be-evil pathos), their business model comes across almost as a debt-collector role regarding the copyright of content. As far as content-charging goes, what we’d like to see is a storefront approach as a way to add value to the proposition. A bit of explanation:

How newspapers get wire content:

  • This is AP Exchange. We have access to this resource due to the fact that we have a day job. We don’t use it (or link to any AP content, preferably) on ShortFormBlog because recent statements from the wire service have raised a lot of red flags for us about the usage of its content on blogs. Anyway, your mom-and-pop bloggers don’t have (and may not need) access to something this elaborate, but there are things that many bloggers could really use – budgets of upcoming stories (allowing for planning, not reaction), high-resolution photos, and graphics in vector format which can be easily reworked. Unfortunately, it requires a huge contract and newspapers have to give years-in-advance notices if they choose to quit the wire service. Most blogs aren’t that big – unless you’re HuffPo, you can’t afford it.

Business model points of comparison:

  • » Photoshop Elements: Not everyone needs the full version of Photoshop, an incredibly complex product with a lot of knobs to twiddle. So Adobe created Photoshop Elements, which offers many of the features at a cheaper price. Simpler, cheaper – that’s what we’d suggest.
  • » Lala/Spotify: iTunes isn’t exactly the model we’d suggest for this. An all-you-can-eat model like Spotify is nice, while an ultra-cheap micropayment distribution model like Lala might be ideal. Many news stories don’t have a ton of currency beyond the first day.
  • » Typekit: Typekit, which is trying to do something similar for typography, has a very polished interface on the developer’s end which makes it incredibly easy to find the right font to use. Their use of javascript is a little annoying, but ultimately, it strikes a good balance between making rights-holders happy and giving Web site owners more options.

What we’d like to see:

  • one We think bloggers need an interface for content-gathering on a wire service, something that they could use as a resource just like Google News and Twitter.
  • two We think Automattic or Six Apart (or Publish2, even), which already have significant ties to the blogging community, would be great choices to run a site like this.
  • three And – this is the important part – it needs to be done well, in a way that doesn’t talk down to them, that emphasizes quality, not assuming the worst of its users.

Why we think Reuters will come up with this:

  • I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories — it adds value to all producers of content. I believe you should play fair and encourage your readers to read-around to what others are producing if you use it and find it interesting.
  • Thomson Reuters President of Media Chris Ahearn • From an article he wrote back in August. We wrote about it then, too, and we think it suggests that Reuters will figure this out before the Associated Press. The AP is more beholden to its newspaper partners, and companies like News Corp. and Tribune Corp. have too many interests in their own products. We think offering diverse options would be great for bloggers and would help take much of the stigma away from what they do. But not everyone’s there, sadly. Fingers crossed that the concept behind Attributor is a good first step, not a bad last one. source

05 Mar 2010 12:39


Biz: Dear copyright-hounds Attributor: Are you reading our site?

  • Apparently, Attributor plans to go after blogs for copyright usage. Does our blog use more than 80 percent of your average news article? No. In fact, we go to great lengths to rewrite the content and link to everywhere we post about. Which is why we’re curious as to how Attributor plans to tackle ShortFormBlog.
  • What is it? Attributor, if you’re not aware, is a Silicon Valley startup whose entire business model is based around going after Web sites posting news or eBook content, forcing them to take it down or pay for a license, pushing ad providers to remove advertising from the site, or even forcing hosts to shut down a site.
  • Sound familiar? If these tactics sound familiar, it’s because the exact same kind of tactics were used by the RIAA for years when handling copyright violators. Jammie Thomas-Rasset could tell you a thing or two about how this shakedown model works, and it’s not pretty. The only difference is that they aren’t suing.
  • wrong approach We feel that Attributor is a bad harbinger for this industry of news. What we’d rather see is a version of the AP and other wire services designed specifically for small-to-mid-sized blogs, with a reasonable cost. Bloggers like us would pay $20 a month for Reuters or AP. Just an idea, dudes. source

01 Mar 2010 10:37


Biz, Tech: The Associated Press plans to make you pay on the iPad

  • Good news, everyone! Fans of reading Associated Press stories now have a lot to look forward to with the iPad. They plan to charge readers for some stories with an app on the device. If we could make a suggestion: Don’t charge for the blades – charge for the razors. And make the razors unlike anything else already on the market. We know it inverts the Gillette model, but it’s also the only way anyone’s not just going to open up a Web browser and grab your news that way. Unless you have a better idea. source