Category Archives: New Media

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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Privacy Is Lost And That’s OK

My version of family dinner happens anytime after 9pm – on a weeknight, with food or without food, at my quiet NYC apartment. Sitting in front of my roommate’s flat screen TV. Matching silver laptops in front of us and on the coffee table – a pair of iPhones. Eyes dodging back-and-forth between browsers and broadcast. Browser and broadcast. Browser and phone.

Tonight I decided to type into my browser. I guess I wanted to know what was happening in his world. I like Brian because he is smart and savvy and really dedicated to sharing new ideas and information. I would say that’s why Brian is one of my digital educators. A person who bends my mind to think about what changes in technology mean to our society, our lives, our industries. And tonight I got just that when I read this line.

“In this episode (of BrianSolis TV), Michael Fertik, founder and CEO of Reputation Defender, joins the program to discuss privacy and the reasons why you and everyone who matters to you, will be unfairly, but forever judged by what’s online.”

The statement, in that very instant, made me think about and question to what extent people might unfairly judge me.

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Sitcom TV and the Cognitive Surplus

Thanks to Nick @ Nite, I spent the 1990’s watching classic American sitcoms. From I Love Lucy to Bewitched, I loved meeting my family after a sun-filled summer day around that television. But as the years went on, it was the lure of a new screen in the room – the computer – that pulled me away from the connectivity of those nights and into the future.

Clay Shirky reminded me of those memories when I watched his 2008 Web 2.0 Expo talk about the “cognitive surplus.

Here is the back-story.

In 2008, Shirky credited the television sitcom (summary here: Gin, Television and Social Surplus) as the most critical technology of the last few decades. He says, and I paraphrase – that as the country came into the five-day workweek around the start of the second World War, society experienced something new: free time. Problem was, people, like my grandparents, didn’t know how to handle it. So they “panicked” – and flocked to TV that acted as the “social lubricant” to our patchwork society. For decades, it linked us all together. It was present media. And with the onset of the Internet, web 2.0 and the long tail of choice, the sitcom and well, TV, has been challenged by choice.

If you follow Shirky’s perspective, he goes on to say that society is just now waking up from a collective bender, a bender that has exposed a cognitive surplus. Massive amounts of time that people choose to spend in different ways – from updating Wikipedia page to creating video content to building a personal brand.

So who will be the game changers that create the new sitcom – the new social lubricant? Will there be one or many? And who will find the avenues to construct the new model of business, news and entertainment around it?

I can’t wait to dig into Shirky’s new book – fittingly named The Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.

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National Press Club: How to "Pitch" Journalists in the Digital Age

This Friday, I will join a group of journalists on a panel about how to “pitch journalists in the digital age” at the National Press Club.

Hosted by the Adfero Group, the delightful Cindy Boren (Washington Post), myself, and others, will talk about how we interact with folks who have story ideas. From my perspective, it isn’t so much how people “pitch us,” but rather, how we can better listen and crowd source ideas and issues that matter to our key audiences. That is, if you follow the maxims of new media.

I’m definitely the most hybrid of the group, having worked in both digital strategy PR and placed my own content through CNN and MTV. I hope I’ll be able to make some insightful contributions as to what’s worked and what hasn’t for the group that attends!

Congress Tunes In To Mega Media Deal

There is a mega media merger on the horizon – and Capitol Hill is tuned in. Last Thursday the CEOs of Comcast and NBC Universal came to Washington to testify before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee and make a case for their joint $30B merger. Comcast is the country’s largest cable provider and NBC Universal is television’s top-rated network among the 18-49 age group. As reported by MSNBC, NBC Universal also includes “a major movie studio; a television production studio; a handful of cable TV channels including USA, Sci-Fi, CNBC and Bravo; and a group of 29 television stations.”

You can watch the entire webcast of the hearing here or watch Senator Franken’s style of questioning below. Finally, the Hill’s Kim Hart did a few posts on her blog here.

[youtube][/youtube] Let's Collaborate

Every week the online news team at the San Francisco Chronicle publishes Helen Thomas’s weekly column. The Chronicle, or, is part of Hearst News Corporation, who Helen works for.

Today I decided to email one of the Politics Blog writers, Mr. Michael Collier. The reason? If’s audience is receptive to Helen’s columns, why not publish my video interviews alongside? We’ll see if Mr. Collier gets back.

Goodbye, K Street. Hello, Journalism.

This is my second to last day at Spectrum. I am leaving with a six-month nest egg, two job leads and one burning desire to stitch journalism up – from the inside.

A few of my trusted confidants, including my Dad and Helen Thomas, advised me throughout 2009 to stick with my day job and ride the recession out. Well, I took that advice, and as a result spent twelve months packing away knowledge and pennies, creating digital case studies for my portfolio and simultaneously starting the process of graduating my brand from “EricaAmerica Citizen Journalist” to “Erica Anderson, Network Producer/Reporter.

I have a driving instinct that now it’s time to put 100 percent into this ambition to help rebuild what I believe to be the most important industries to the health of our imperfect nation – journalism.

So stay tuned for what’s next; who I target and who I meet with, how I used social media to land opportunities and what the outcome will be.

One thing is for sure, now, more than ever, it is time to step into the fray and make the future happen.

Comcast: On The Record

Last Thursday Comcast was on my mind.

For obvious reasons, one might assume this was because Comcast acquired NBC Universal. In fact, Comcast’s purchase of NBCU gave the Philadelphia-based company control of about $30 Billion worth of media assets, including dozens of broadcast TV networks, online cable channels and a movie studio. It also gave Comcast and 89-year-old Founder, Ralph Roberts, a news and entertainment legacy as American as apple pie, and one that General Electric had owned since 1986: the iconic NBC News brand.

For reasons not so obvious, that morning the merger wasn’t on my mind. Instead I was thinking about the details of my trip to the Comcast service center later that week. But by the end of the day, and on the eve of one of the largest and perhaps most ambitious media mergers, I had a different kind of encounter with the largest cable provider in the country. I had the opportunity to talk with David Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast, and inspect with questions the blueprint of the deal.

Cohen, who was in Washington for meetings and media appearances, sat down with five DC-based bloggers, including myself, to field questions. Here are some of his answers.

We made a commitment to preserve the journalistic integrity of all the news assets on the cable and broadcast side…and we’re very serious about that. I think professional journalists need to feel they’re allowed to be professional journalists, and there isn’t someone looking over their shoulder saying, “What did you say that for?”

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never before published: mtv application, journalism manifesto

So why publish my never-before-seen essays that landed me a job with MTV News? Paired with these essays and an intensive interview process, I somehow stood out in a pool of hundreds of applicants and was made their Washington, DC election correspondent. I guess that’s cool, but here is the part I like: I got to spend 12 months as a social media, digital news incubator, I had an interpretative job description yet straightforward guidelines: Tell untold stories. Pick up MSM’s slack. And apply all of Journalism’s Code of Ethics, without excuse.

As I look forward to 2010, I can’t help but revisit where my head was when this all began. True to MTV’s judgement (thank you Liz, Kristin, Ian), I provided in no uncertain terms why I have the potential, and now experience, to help guide journalism towards an inevitable reconstruction. Without further delay, here are my never-before-published essays. 24 months later, I still agree with them…so much in fact, consider it my manifesto.

1. What are the top three issues you care about?

I care about our foreign policy in the Middle East, affordable healthcare, and an open and honest dialogue between our President and the press.

If we were more proactive in applying America’s intellect and imagination to find alternative energy solutions, the U.S. would not be in the current conflict in Iraq.  Not addressing alternative energies has created complex problems. I want to push the next President to address the misleading rhetoric of this Administration, and work to fix internal shortcomings before waging war.

In terms of healthcare, it is simply not affordable. Pharmaceutical companies, weighed down by the cost of R&D, charge so much for drugs citizens are forced to choose between groceries and antibiotics. Generic drugs should be readily available, regulations on consumer ads should be strengthened, and children’s health insurance should be mandatory.

I also care about the issue of ethics and honesty, particularly in the Administrations interaction with the press and public. I want the President and the appointed administration not to degrade the media’s questions, or imply they are “unpatriotic” for questioning a war that has killed thousands of people and tarnished our international reputation.

But most importantly, I care about being lead by a person of character, humility, and selflessness. We need a candidate who can admit when they are wrong and will always have the best interest of the American people at heart.

2. What makes you uniquely qualified to cover your state (or District)? Continue reading

The End…of an Erica?

Sarah Burris, a very active youth blogger based in Kansas, took my post ‘The Truth, I Need It,” to a new level last night. I received a Tweet that read, “Sarah Burris has responded to your post with…“The End of an Erica.” At first, my stomach dropped. The title seemed dire. Then, upon reading it, I realized this.  I, we, are not alone.

And with that, the support for “The Truth” started to pour in. From @EvanSummers, a young political activist wrote:  “That seriously is one of the most direct and scathing insight on the state of the industry that I’ve read in a long time. Well done.”

From a web producer and social media guru working inside mainstream media, I got a simple, “F*ck Yeah.”

From a DePaul University (and a Suma Cum Laude in the Journalism school), Molly Horan, I saw that she linked to me and urged her Facebook followers:  “YOU NEED TO READ IT.”

But perhaps the best conversation came late last night, from a talented freelancer in Washington, who G chatted me to say she valued the piece. We agreed the conversation was one we “need to have” but that, with the recent loss of Walter Cronkite, we are both reminded that for them, there was at least a path. For us, we are searching for a way forward without much support from those before us.

It reminded me of this. Something Helen told me right before I went to the RNC last August. “This is the most difficult time I have ever seen for a young person to enter the business.”

All I could do was let silence fill the room, and then I asked, “How can that be? Even compared to what you went through?”

“Yes. Even more.”

It is true. We have our challenges ahead of us, but as I told my friend over G Chat, the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity and reward. So let’s do this and fix this problem together.