Two stories of how media technology has happily surprised me today.
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First, as you probably already know, I am a religiously passionate fan of satellite radio. Matt gave me Sirius for Christmas in 2002, the year it launched. It’s one of the most wonderful inventions of all time, and even more so at Christmastime, where they have three dedicated Christmas-music channels, and even a Hanukkah one.
This year, 113 is all Bing Crosby Christmas specials from the ’30s and ’40s. And this morning, they played a recording from 1938, in Bing Crosby’s California home, where microphones recorded his four young children’s surprise on Christmas morning, 70 years ago. It was wonderful – they got all sorts of noisy toys, a drum set and harmonica and an accordion, and the children and parents were relaxed and happy and informal and real, although still with that oddly different cadence of speech that makes you realize exactly how long ago it was.
It was absolutely delightful – and a bit of reality programming that media today would still love. Getting to see the family life of celebrities? I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Then, I was reading the New York Times online this morning (like Colleen, I don’t subscribe to any print newspapers) and noticed how fluidly they’ve integrated online connectivity into the text of their articles.
Here’s one article, comparing Chicago’s Rod Blagojevich scandals to our national problems. It’s strewn with links. It’s not just a bullet-pointed sidebar of related stories. When the author mentions a fact that there’s a relevant link to, that phrase is linked right in that text.
And, best of all, it’s not just other NYT stories. It’s links to Washington Post articles, AP wire stories, ABC News interviews. Daily Telegraph. CNN. White House press releases and military transcripts. AND BLOGS.
THIS is what’s going to save newspaper journalism. This is fascinating, investigative, thoughtful. It’s showing me not only the absorbing final product, but the background that informs it.
Although they’re not doing it everywhere. Here’s an op-ed on how hooking up is the new dating for university students. How cool would it have been if the author had linked right to a college newspaper story on the same topic (like this one)?
Now, I’m not paying the NYT several hundred dollars for an annual subscription. However, I’ll sure take whatever ads they want to put alongside their content, and I’d probably even be okay with blocker ads like Forbes and Salon run. (Incidentally, here’s a 2006 Salon editorial on the NYT website – more about its overall design, and outdated, but still interesting.)
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So, even on a lazy Sunday, some media ponderings for you. I guess I never switch off.