New Media Article Wrapup

 Although I watched some Bloomberg TV when I was in Johannesburg, I largely avoided reading the news. On the way back, though, I enjoyed flipping through a stack of newspapers and magazines, and I caught an article about wikis, "The Advent of the Online Whiteboard," in the Financial Times (4/22/05, p. 11).

One difficulty is that typically they lack a clear structure. […] This is why wikis tend to work well alongside other various technologies, such as blogs, and within frameworks where the scope and rules of discussion have been formally agreed.

And an article about blogging and other alternative forms of journalism in The Economist, "Yesterday’s Newspapers," (4/23-4/29 Issue–the same issue had an article about South African race relations).

Talking at times more like a pony-tailed, newage technophile than a septuagenarian old-media god-like figure, [Rupert] Murdoch said that news "providers" such as his own organisation had better get web-savvy, stop lecturing their audiences, "become places for conversation" and "destinations" where "bloggers and podcasters" congregate to "engage our reporters and editors in more extended discussions." He also criticised editors and reporters who often "think their readers are stupid."

It was also good to come back and see some interesting articles in the New York Times, including "A Hundred Cellphones Bloom, and Chinese Take to the Streets" (4/25/05, an article about how cellphones are being used as alternative press and a way to organize mass protests):

Nondemocratic governments elsewhere are already learning that lesson. Cellphone messaging is an important communications channel in nascent democracy movements in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East. Ukraine’s Orange Revolution used online forums and messaging to help topple a corrupt regime. Few countries censor information and communications as tightly as China, which has as many as 50,000 people policing the Internet. Yet China is also now the largest cellphone market, with nearly 350 million users, while the number of Internet users is roughly 100 million and growing at 30 percent a year. The result is a constant tension between a population hungry for freer communication and a government that regards information control as essential to its power.

"More Ham, Less Wry,"; (4/24/05) about poetry and fiction readings in New York city…

One factor that draws people to readings is the chance to see the writer in person. It’s one thing to read Ian McEwan’s "Saturday" and another to actually hear him read it. I remember listening to T. S. Eliot’s voice on tape and realizing how namby-pamby he sounded, which shouldn’t really have shocked me, but did. For when we listen to a piece of fiction or a poem in our own mind, the "voice" of the writer becomes, in a sense, a stylized version of our own, suddenly made sonorous as it booms out this gorgeous language written by someone else. But when we attend a reading, we essentially give the writing back to the writer and let him or her tell it to us.

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