New York Times runs its first Native Print Ad… and it’s Snazzy



Interesting article from Digiday – this ad is enhanced by augmented reality, so it can trigger a video on your phone:

The ad, for Shell, is set to appear in print and online Wednesday, and it’s a far cry from the advertorials of days past.First, the size: The print component is an eight-page section that’s wrapped around home-delivered copies. (In the case of newsstand copies, the ad wraps the business section.) The top sheet is opaque vellum, for extra effect. The print creative extends the Web version, with infographics that show the urbanization of the world’s population. In what the Times called “icing on the cake,” the print ads are enhanced by augmented reality, so that people using the Blippar app can initiate a video by holding their phone over the page.”

For Monday’s class, please prepare as follows:

1) WATCH at least one episode of Vice’s Islamic State.  They are only around ten minutes each, and the whole thing is only 42 minutes

2) The Surreal Infographics Isis is Producing, Translated by Vox

3) Everything You Need to Know About the Deadly Extremist Group Ravaging Syria and Iraq by Buzzfeed

4) The Ukraine Crisis Explained in Gifs and In-Depth Policy Papers from Esteemed Institutionsby Clickhole

By now, you should already have picked a topic to research for your final project and discussed with me.   At this stage, you should be thinking about whom you could interview for it, and what kind of media you will be using.   If you have queries or problems or want help or advice, do email me.   Do NOT leave this until the last minute.

REMINDER:  ALL projects must be posted on your blogs by December 3rd.  This is a hard deadline, and if you are late, you will be penalised.


Cory Doctorow at Umich Thursday

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You are increasingly made of computers (pacemakers, hearing aids, prostheses), and you are increasingly inhabiting computers (cars, planes, buildings), and that’s potentially pretty bad news. The model for regulating computers is to insist that they be somehow constrained so that they can’t do undesirable things, but we don’t actually know how to do this — the closest we come is making computers that have supervisory processes that spy on you, that you can’t shut down, and that every conceivable kind of bad guy could use to come after you.

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger – the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of young adult novels like HOMELAND, PIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER and novels for adults like RAPTURE OF THE NERDS and MAKERS.

He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. He also co-founded the open source peer-to-peer software company OpenCola, sold to OpenText, Inc in 2003, and presently serves on the boards and advisory boards of the Participatory Culture Foundation, the Clarion Foundation, The Glenn Gould Foundation, and the Chabot Space & Science Center’s SpaceTime project.

In 2007, Entertainment Weekly called him, “The William Gibson of his generation.” He was also named one of Forbes Magazine’s 2007/8/9/10 Web Celebrities, and one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2007. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London.

About the Symposium: The annual UMSI-sponsored JSB Symposium features thought leaders from the front lines of the digital world sharing their perspectives on the societal implications of new technology. The symposium is made possible through the generous support of its founding donor John Seely Brown. See a list of past speakers.

Venue provided by the Ross School of Business.


Lots of links, deadlines and free food



Here’s the piece from the NYT about the new non-nauseating Oculus Rift, as well as the NPR piece on Women and Wearable Tech.

NYT on social media and NFL teams here.   And details of how to get free Indian lunch here (though be warned,  you have to listen to a panel on the Hong Kong protests.)


As for deadlines, the TV review is for Wednesday.   The debate blogpost – motion tbd – is for Dec 1st, but we will fix the motion and speakers in our class on Monday.   And the final projects are for Dec 3rd.  By Wednesday Nov 19th, you should have come up with a topic which addresses the themes we have talked about this semester.  It could refer to how digital disruption is affecting your beat, or how a specific technological innovation is affecting news delivery, or how one particular organization is utilising social media (or one social media tool), all with an eye towards the future.  If you want to run ideas by me, please drop me a line.

Things to consider:

*What are your sources?

*Is there any original reporting that you could do as a part of your project?  Who could you interview?

*The project should use at least two different forms of media (data visualization, photo gallery, twitter, audio, video).  What will you use?

You will be marked on what you post to your blog – and the deadline is Dec 3rd.  You will also be asked to give a short presentation explaining your project, your methods and findings, but that will not affect your grade.



Is the Press Less Free Today?



Armed groups no longer need to keep journalists alive, because they have their own means of—in the terrible cliché—“telling their story” – says George Packer, in this piece in the New Yorker.

For Monday, please read:

1) Why Israel is Winning the Social Media War in Gaza (C4)

2) How Israel Militarised Social Media(Mondoweiss)

3) How Isis Games Twitter (The Atlantic)

4) At Frontlines, Bearing Witness in Real Time (NYT)

For Wednesday Nov 19th, please make sure to have posted your review of a network news broadcast.   This should be either Good Morning America or the CBS Morning News or you can watch an evening newscast from CBS or ABC (click on the links for full episodes).  In your review, please consider the story choices, story angles, issues of tone and target audience.  If you have time do also surf Fox News and MSNBC.



Pixel Trade



Following up on Sean’s query,  here’s how to travel the world trading photographs for food, lodging and clothing.   And for further inspiration, here’s the website of our class guest, Marcin Szczepanski.

Ahead of Wednesday’s class, please read:

1) The End of Big Media (Nieman Lab)

2) The Blog is Dead; Long Live the Blog: two takes from Nieman Lab and Guardian

3) World’s Best Blogger? (Harvard Magazine)

For Wednesday, please make sure that your profiles have been posted.  You are profiling one person prominent in your field – possibly a citizen journalist or a blogger – with extra credit if you actually interview them.  Feel free to experiment with format.  (Nov 12)

GoPro Nation

Further to our class discussion, this morning over breakfast at dodgy motel, I watched a segment on ABC’s Good Morning America on the GoPro.  GMA even have a GoPro correspondent, whose segment on charting GMA by GoPro even includes the Coffee Cam view of a morning show.   Another segment is here.  And GoPro’s Youtube channel is here. 


Oh, and Stephen Colbert thinks the Vessyl smart cup is a dumb idea too.

‘Authenticity has replaced Authority’



That was one of the takeaways from a panel at the Web Summit conference, where Storyful chief exec Mark Little said, “Social media has proved to us that the breaking news model is broken for good. It’s broken as a concept.”

“As a business, it’s a really good business. But the concept that you, with the flashing ‘breaking news’ on the screen are going to be the first to break something is completely bullshit, because someone out there has witnessed it.”

“The key thing for us is to find the first piece of content that will define a story: the video, the tweet… we have 40 journalists looking in real-time for the original source,” he said.  “For us the most important thing is who’s the person on the ground with the camera-phone standing there right now.. Authenticity has replaced authority as the new currency of this environment.”

It’s worth reading this Guardian piece which underlines many of the themes we were discussing today, including: the bypassing of traditional news organizations, the overabundance of content and the role of journalists as filters.     Ran out of time to mention today, but also do look at Christian’s blogpost on smart jewellery and Carina’s on the use of 3d printers in the entertainment industry. 

Assignments till the end of term are as below:

1)For Nov 12:  blogpost about someone prominent in your field, possibly a citizen journalist or someone who is using disruptive technology.  Feel free to experiment with format.  You will get extra credit if you actually interview them. (400 words)

2)For Nov 19: watch and review a network news broadcast.  How interested were you in the choice of subject matter, its angle and presentation?   What kind of audience is at targeted at?   (400 words)

3)For Dec 1st: debate/blogpost: motion tbd (400 words)

4)For Dec 3rd: Final project presentations on the theme of “Future”.  The topic could refer to how digital disruption is affecting you beat, or how a specific technological innovation is affecting news delivery, or the future of one particular news organization.   The project should use at least two different forms of media (data visualization, photo gallery, twitter, audio, video).

And finally, thanks to Makenzie for taking these great pictures today.  I did promise ultimate coolness, so I hope it lived up to its billing!




Digital disruption? It’s an opportunity, says Disney’s CEO


One CEO who is talking the talk on digital disruption is the head of Disney, Robert Iger.  He recently said, “We actually believe disruptions could create much more opportunity for us instead of the opposite.”

The LA Times reported the story:

How so? The Internet and mobile technology are giving consumers more choices about where, when and how to watch movies, videos and other entertainment.  That’s breaking down the ‘bundled’ packages of programming now offered by cable and satellite TV, he said; it’s also breaking down movie theater chains’ hold on movie distribution.

“Almost all the products we create and sell are through third parties,” with the exception of the company’s theme parks, Iger said.  New forms of distribution will give Disney a direct relationship with the customer and ‘unlock great value’ for the company.”

The reading for Wednesday’s class is:

1) Could Google Glass Change the Face of Journalism?

2) Smartwatches and the Digital Future of News

3) How Vice’s Tim Pool Used Google Glass to Tell the Story of the Istanbul Riots

And don’t forget to post your photo assignments online by Wednesday!