Category Archives: Journalism

Response to "Twitter Trap"

A few weeks ago I made a visit to the New York Times newsroom. Walking past a cubicle, I was introduced to Bill Keller, the Editor-in-Chief. Upon learning I work at Twitter, he said back, “I’m actually writing a piece about Twitter right now.”

“Go easy on us,” I joked.

His piece,  The Twitter Trap, came out yesterday.

Here is my response, which I wrote personally and not on behalf of Twitter.

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Katie Couric’s Social Media Path

About a month ago, I connected Katie Couric and Brian Solis for a conversation about Katie’s push into new media which started in 2008. What ensued was a discussion about the challenges, the opportunities and the areas of exploration they both think about when it comes to the convergence of “new” and “old” media. What I like to call – present media.

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The Downside of the Internet

Discovery. Essential to what we do as online entrepreneurs, in the business of information exchange.

Tonight I’m surfing YouTube. The CBSNewsOnline channel to be exact (as well other lesser-known channels like RT and Fora.tv). Which means watching clips, taking notes, jotting down views and thinking about the content. What makes exceptional click-worthy video journalism?

While I ponder that question….I wanted to post this clip of former CBS Evening News Anchor, Bob Schieffer.  It wasn’t at all what I expected when I clicked play, but was pleased that I did. Same goes for the next clip of CNN’s Jeanne Moos – a playful, informative poke at our culture of capitalism.

From Schieffer: a valid piece of wisdom on the “downside of the Internet.”

Click…

play

away.

The New York Times and the 20-Somethings

Robin Marantz Henig’s piece in the New York Times today, ‘What Is It About 20-Somethings?‘ left me with an abundance of thoughts.

The article starts out by describing what the ‘milestones’ of adulthood are: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. And since numbers show my generation hasn’t hit those yet, or is approaching them in a different order, she suggest this means we “slouch towards adulthood.”

While I appreciate the amount of research and thoughtfulness that went into this, I feel compelled to offer the other side.  While some of my peers may appear to be ‘slouching’ towards adulthood, some of them have accelerated towards it, building new milestones that might set the next generation’s bar. Milestones like being your own boss, traveling the world, paying for your own health care. Milestones that positively help our generation to worry less about how we stack up against the past, and more about how we can contribute to the new, emerging American future.

20-somethings, as noted by Henig, also have something else going for them – a sense of possibility. One that has been considered ‘romantic’ and fades in time. Yet from my perspective, that sense is one of the qualities driving innovation, new models of business, opportunities for growth. Far from romantic, it’s a new reality.

Now that deserves to be a milestone.

++

References

What Is It About 20-Somethings? – The New York Times, 08/20/2010

Why Can’t Twenty-Somethings Grow Up? -The Atlantic, 08/20/2010


Mango Diplomacy: A People to People Market

While I sit and wait for my curry at one of my favorite local restaurants, I am reminded of the story of the mango and how it connects to my journey towards journalism. First, let me offer some background.

The mango is a fruit native to India and tied to a 4,000 year history. Up until three years ago, Indian mangoes we kept from the U.S., restricted by a trade embargo that paved the way for Mexico and parts of South America to cash in on a estimated $156 million a year market. Apparently, Americans really love their mangoes.

I know all this nerdy fruit history because I went to the mango celebration in 2007, signaling the lift of the trade freeze. Hosted by the U.S. India Business Council, the room was packed with policy deal makers, reporters, diplomats, executives and yes, Indian mangoes. Served with ice cream.

I met a man named Raghubir Goyal at the event and went on to write about the lift of the freeze for his newspaper, India Globe. He returned the favor in an unusual way – by introducing me to Helen Thomas, who took me under her wing and taught me about the standards and ethics of journalism – the ones she met  each and every day, for 57 years, at UPI.

But back to the mangoes. As it turned out, last week, I got something in the mail. A box of Indian mangoes.

The mangoes came complements of Dr. Savani, a dentist living in America. I called him a few months ago, on a whim, to see how the mango imports were going. Apparently, not so well.

“We have no business model for selling the mangoes,” he told me on the phone. “…and the market is still dominated by South American mangoes.”

He went on to tell me how he works with Fed Ex and once a year, brings in a shipment of mangoes and send to the types of people at the celebration in 2007. To remind them of the farmers desire to sell their product in the U.S.

I ended my India Globe article in 2007 with this quote from USIBC President, Ron Somers – which I find fitting to leave here now.

“As India’s prosperity rises and U.S.-India commercial and trade relations deepen, jobs and opportunities will result on both sides. Will mango imports affect U.S.-India trade? Let’s just say mango diplomacy will strengthen the people to people connection crucial to any true partnership.”

**Erica Anderson has been to India three times, where her Uncle served as Chief Executive Officer of General Electric India for fourteen years.**

Posted via email from EricaAmerica’s posterous

Personal Democracy Forum: A New Generation of Thinkers

Last week I was at Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) in New York City. PDF is known as the premier global conference on how technology is changing politics and government. This was my second year attending and it was a remarkable few days.

My favorite panel was “Truth, Fact Checking and Online Media” with Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism professor, Bill Adair, creator of Politifact, and Marc Ambinder, politics editor at Atlantic. During the panel, they discussed the maze of misinformation that exists online, and how we, as professionals, can seek to be “trusted brokers” of facts.

Politifact is an especially compelling project – and one of my Tweets quoting Adair got a lot of buzz online. As Adair said, “Obama made 500 campaign promises,” and @politifact rates them as kept, compromised, broken, stalled or in the works on ‘Obameter.’

And as always, I enjoyed hearing what Professor Rosen had to say. He opened up his presentation with a photograph of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, and stated – There have been many situations in which “the press have been put in the service of untruth.” I think that’s an important quote to remember as we find our way through this new digital forrest of information, sourcing, news gathering and fact checking.

If you don’t know much about Rosen – his ideas are worth exploring. He is one of the most disruptive thinkers in our “future of journalism” crew. To see what I mean, check out his  suggestions to CNN to save their programming, or his advice for Meet the Press: fact check what your guests say on Sunday and report it online the following Wednesday.

Why not?

The whole idea of these panels is to bring together those “disruptive” thinkers – and another one worth noting is Newark Mayor, @CoryBooker, who joined the conference for the final key note. Booker uses Twitter as one way to connect to his community and crowdsource information about their needs.

Finally, here are some other great tid bits from my live tweeting:

  • Move over, Bit.ly. The U.S. government created a URL shortener.
  • What can you do with a kite, string and a digital camera? MIT’s Jeffrey Warren is mapping the Gulf oil spill with it.
  • See a pot hole? Broken street light? See Click Fix is a new web application allowing people in communities to report non-emergency situations – and get help, fast.

The Information Gap: Fact-Based International News

When I first moved to Washington in August 2006, I found a rich international culture. And within months of exploring the city, I was reminded of what I had always known – I love looking at the U.S. from behind the lens of international news.

The first time I left the U.S. (Indiana might I add) was to New Delhi, India, in 1996. I was an awkward 11-year-old, with blonde hair, braces and an insatiable curiosity about the culture around me. When I returned, I told my english teacher I might have a hard time keeping up with her curriculum, because I was planning on writing a book about my trip. (Insert laughter). The book never came but a draft sits in my parent’s home in Indiana, safe keeping for when the time is right.

Funny thing is, timing really doesn’t care about being right.

Ten years later, I was sitting in my D.C. apartment reading an article about how international news buearus were being cut right and left by struggling American media companies. It helped me to understand that massive cutbacks, newsroom shutdowns and a growing gap for fact-based news and information would soon ensue.  And in tandem, so too did  my obsession with the evolution of fact-based journalism.

Fast forward to 2010. A few months ago, I spoke on a panel at the National Press Club about how I’ve used digital tools to gather, produce and disseminate news. After the talk, someone from Radio Free Europe (RFE) approached me. He told me about their HQs in Prague and the mission to provide uncensored news in censored states like Afghanistan, Turkestan, Iran, Kosovo, Moldova and more.

So I began to dig in.

RFE is worth checking out. They have hundreds of journalists in areas that the Post, the Times and other American-focused outlets had to cut. (No doubt they still get stringer stories, but the presence is not the same.) RFE also has a sick amount of multimedia content, radio clips, and blog content like Journalists in Trouble that put it all into perspective. It’s a gold mine of information and hard to get content.

But my digging in is not without motivation. I am trying to see if I can help them out in terms of digital and content strategy, community building, engagement and targeting. So that when the time is right, the vulnerable, information-deprived audiences around the world, or even simply in America, will get the fact-first information they need.

While I continue to learn about RFE, I wanted to share with you guys some of the cooler stories I’ve found. Enjoy.

In Need Of Transplants In Tajikistan

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gdwkqwmVy4[/youtube]

Migrant Express: Stuck at the Border

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq2JmDexrEQ[/youtube]

Washington Life Power Issue: Media You May Not Have Met (yet…)

A few weeks ago I got a note from an editor at Washington Life. (For those of you outside of D.C., Washington Life is a glossy magazine, a kind of “Insider’s Guide” to the city. It’s been around since 1991.)

The Editor was writing to ask how I felt about being featured in the magazine’s May Power Issue. He had heard about the work I did producing web videos for About Our Children (a Michelle Bernard/MSNBC program) and my success uploading and airing my first amendement news reports on CNN.

So I told him I was game…and here we are. Be sure to check out the magazine when it hits the stands this Monday, May 10th. In the meantime, enjoy the sneak peak of the other talented people in the “Media You May Not Have Met (yet…)” section. I’m being featured with – Huffington Post’s Dan Froomkin, Washington Post’s Katharine Zaleski, Facebook’s Tim Sparapani, TBD’s Erik Wemple and Bloomberg’s Manuela Hoelterhoff.

Today: World Press Freedom Day

Today is World Press Freedom Day, a day devoted to remind everyone about the freedom of expression – and remember those journalists who lost their lives or freedom by pursuing it.

But with it, it is also a chance to look at all the great things that are happening on different corners of the globe to make sure vulnerable voices are heard, stories are told, and lives are made better because of it. And what better place to look than one of my favorite countries, India.

Video Volunteers (VV), (winner of a Knight News Challenge), is an organization in India that trains journalists to produce video reports on social issues – inside the often unpublicized crevices of the country’s widespread poverty. From Rajastan to the Himalayas, VV is out capturing stories from the voices of villagers who face major obstacles in education, poverty and health care.

Perhaps the most impressive part of VV and their new project, IndiaUnheard. The journalists are made up of Indians from different castes, genders, and states.

While the demand for community produced content in the media increases, it’s great to see programs like this get off the ground. Thanks to Mahima Kaul of VV for the tip on this great project. Having been to India three times, I’m an advocate of this work. Keep it up.