Saturday, 28 June 2008

Quoted in APM’s ‘The Pork Wars on YouTube’

As part of APM’s Public Insight Journalism program, I was interviewed as about the use of sites like YouTube for political issues (vs. campaigns) – specifically in the context of the recent tennis match between animal rights groups vs farm industry groups.

Here’s the bit of my interview they used on-air and online.

“Garrick Van Buren is a social media consultant. He says YouTube is useful only as a place to upload videos. It isn’t likely the best destination site for marketers, because videos are lost easily in the heap.”

“‘Figure out where the people that you are trying to reach are. Are they at Facebook? Then create a Facebook app. Find those people that are most likely to spread your message,'” Van Buren said.”

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Tweet Up with Jon Gordon, Happy Gnome, 5pm+, June 9 2008

Jon Gordon from APM’s Future Tense will be in the Twin Cities for a few days next week.

If you want to say ‘Hi’ and your golf game isn’t what it could be, come by the Happy Gnome sometime after 5pm on Monday June 9 and grab a pint of Bender or Bubble Jack.

Should be easy to spot a gaggle of geeks.

I was going to add this to Facebook, but they want 23 fields filled out for the 1 line I needed and I didn’t know how to categorize, “stop by and say ‘hi’, maybe grab a drink.” If you’re so inclined, go for it.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Notes from Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0 Talk at Macalester

Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0 presentation on Monday night felt like the opposite of the Blind Men and the Elephant. He’s just one of the many people from different angles, proclaiming that Advertising is dying and it’ll kill media as we know it.

“That horrible crashing sound you hear is a gravy train derailing.” – Jeff Jarvis

While Garfield gave a number of statistics; P&G and GM dramatically cutting back TV ad buys, etc, my favorite example is:

“[Six Flags] wanted to give away 45,000 tickets for opening day to drive traffic. So we got a brief to do whatever: ads, microsite, whatever. But our interactive creative director just went off and posted it on Craigslist. Five hours later, 45,000 tickets were spoken for” – Jan Leth, Executive Creative Director of Ogilvy Interactive N. America, per Bob Garfield’s Chaos Scenario 2.0

This elicits a number of interesting questions:

  • How does Ogilvy bill for it?
  • Will Six Flags return to Ogilvy the next time around, or just do it themselves?
  • Is this solution more or less measurable than a new website, ad, etc?

The thing is, I doubt direct marketers are having this conversation. Remember, Amazon determined their customers find more value in really cheap shipping than in really expensive TV spots.

Bob Garfield’s 4 Reasons Advertising is Dead:

  1. People don’t like ads.
  2. People crave information.

    We are seeking out commercial information all the time…” – Dave Winer

    “Brands are a proxy for information…” – Chris Anderson

    “… the will be usurped when ‘real’ information is available at a mouseclick – Bob Garfield”

  3. People consumers are in control.
    People choose when and how they engage with advertising.
  4. Diversion of ad budgets

From the Q&A

“Radio broadcasters need to stop thinking of themselves as radio broadcasters and start thinking of themselves as cultural hubs for their communities. Otherwise, they are doomed to a slow but certain death” – Bob Garfield

When asked about the future of in-depth, reflective journalism when advertising ends, Bob joked:

“I have no skills, that’s why I’m in journalism to begin with…I’m hoping for the best, but I’m expecting to starve”

I’m more optimistic than Bob. I predict the removal of advertising will encourage depth and reflectiveness. There will be less pressure to publish for the sake of page views, stories will evolve and grow especially with a more active readership participating.

Lastly, I take issue with the large number of times Garfield used the word ‘consumer’. If mass-marketing in mass-media to a mass-audience is replaced by conversational marketing to small groups and individuals – then there are no consumers. Just people.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Reflecting on Last Nights New Media Ethics Forum

After a decent night’s sleep, here’s my thoughts on last night’s MPR talk. It was originally an email, so some things might read a little weird.

First off, I’d like to thank MPR (et al) for bringing all of us together. I alway enjoy our time together. I think very highly of Dan Gillmor (and his brother Steve). Dan’s book ‘We the Media’ is one of the best books on the subject of bottom-up political journalism and fantastic recount of the meltdown of the Dean campaign. I’m also happy to listen to Dan talk for 2 hours, if that’s what I had expected I would have stayed home and turned on the stream.

Secondly, last night was the 3rd time I attended an event @ MPR (in that same room) with the expectations of a conversation and left without having one. I found it quiet telling when the guy watching the survey results said people wanted Bob to ask the audience more questions and he replied, “I thought I did.” Ummm.

I agree w/ Graeme – I don’t know why this is an ‘us v them’ (blog-less vs. blog-ful) thing. To say one media form is somehow less credible simply because the barriers to publish are lower than some other media form is simply specist. Especially when traditional media is investing in blogs more.

Somehow last night, even after starting the conversation about the recent failings of NY Times there seemed to be an underlying assumption that everything published (blog or otherwise) was to be interpreted as important, award-winning journalism. Sometimes it’s just writing. Sometimes for a pay check on a deadline to fill a newshole, or create controversy for the sake of ad dollars. I’ve been told that McCartney and Lennon would frequently sit down, “to write a couch.” As I mentioned in a recent post [1] and mentioned on mic last night – the greater the pressure to publish the greater the chances something isn’t journalism (or important, or relevant, or worth reading). What we didn’t do last night was dig into those pressures and their ethical ramifications.

As I mentioned to Dan Haugen of TCDailyPlanet afterwards, I assume everyone has a blog (if not many). That assumption frames my perspective of projects like MinnPost, TCDailyPlanet, MPR, etc. Leading me to 2 questions; if I can read about an issue on a friend/colleague’s blog what do those other publications offer me?, if the people closest to me aren’t writing about an issue and those publications are – is it relevant to me?

If we were to go off topic last night, that’s the direction I would have preferred.

Lastly, I think we would have had a better chance of getting the conversation we expected if we had sat in the reception room on the chairs, couches, and floor, than inside the hierarchy-reinforcing forum.

More great comments in the following places:
Minneapolis Metblogs
Chuck’s Blogumentary
and if that’s not enough Bob Collins for you:
Bob Collins’ News Cuts

UPDATE 29 March 2008
I think Chris Pirillo’s account of Gnomedex 2007 applies here as well:

“the expectations of the crowd did not match what was happening on stage. The first person (name?) to say something that resonated with a good portion of the crowd wasn’t to blame for what a portion of the crowd was thinking. Positive or negative, Twitter fuels groupthink….Expectations were off…” – Chris Pirillo

Monday, 25 February 2008

Notes from the MPR Ethics in Online Journalism

I’m at the MPR, MNSPJ event on ethics in online journalism1 with the esteemed Dan Gillmor.

Greg and Erica are live-blogging.

“Most are not…and a few are.” – Dan Gillmor

“It’s not about ‘or’, it’s about ‘and.” – Dan Gillmor

Again, it’s hard for newspapers to correct themselves. Apologies aren’t news.

Who do you trust? As I mentioned in an earlier post, I trust those more that publish less.

Can transparency replace ‘fairness and accuracy’?

Are all the people that publish everyday in traditional media practicing ‘traditional journalism’?

I’m paraphrasing Gillmor here: “It doesn’t necessarily mean anything if something is published.”

Kudos to Erica and Greg for fantastic coverage. Also thanks to everyone on Twitter for proving (once again) the interesting things are in the audience.

1. Can’t find a link to the event detail right now.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Garrick Balances the Minnesota State Budget


My pass at MPR’s Minnesota Budget Balancer with the differences from Gov. Pawlenty’s budget. Numbers in $$ millions.

Spending Garrick Pawlenty Difference
K-12 Education 685 685 Same
Pre-school 200 38 -162
Healthcare 300 48 -252
Long-Term Care 76 76 Same
Welfare & Other 48 48 Same
Local Aid 300 65 -235
Property Tax Relief 40 300 +260
Rebates No change No change Same
University of Minnesota No change 155 +155
MnSCU No change 125 +125
Student Aid 25 140 -115
Debt, State Agencies, & Veterans No change 120 +120
Agriculture & the Environment 200 85 -115
Jobs, Housing, & Arts 130 15 -115
Transportation 185 65 -110
Prisons No change 70 +70
Courts & Public Defenders 100 70 -30
Budget Reserves No change 50 +50
Resource Garrick Pawlenty Difference
Personal Income Tax No change No change Same
Corporate Income Tax No change No change Same
Sales Tax No change No change Difference
Cigarette Tax 100 No change +100
Alcohol Tax 55 No change +55

Hey, MPR, I think you should make these things much easier to share – like providing a permalink to My Budget.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Garrick is at MPR’s The Loop Tonight

I’ll be in the audience of tonight’s recording of MPR’s The Loop: Digital Divisions.

Hopefully I’ll see some you there as well.

My notes and thoughts from the event:

  1. All the chairs are filled. A good cross-section of Minnesotans. Far more diverse in age, background, and ethnicity than the last time I was here at MPR HQ.
  2. They made fun of the usual suspects – without any sense that the iPod is the same as the Walkman and the transistor radio before it, that text messages have a lot in common with telegrams, and that being transported to another world in books is somehow not exactly the same as Second Life.
  3. There were 100 people in the room. Maybe 10 were on mic for the 90 minutes we were there. Like the elderly gentleman next to me, I too, expected more of a discussion, less of a performance. It would have been more interesting to actually have a discussion.
  4. Blah. Feels like an opportunity squandered.

Jesse Ross feels differently.

Huge thanks go out to Jeff Horwich (Host of In the Loop) for stopping by and leaving an excellent comment. I think there are some fairly simple ways to dramatically minimize the risks he identifies, while increasing the value of people attending the program. I’m reminded of Unconferences and the notion that:

“The sum of the expertise of the people in the audience is greater than the sum of expertise of the people on stage.”

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Another Reason I Can’t Support Minnesota Public Radio

First off, I never contributed millions (or even thousands) to public radio. A couple hundred bucks here and there. And I know a couple people employed by the Minnesota Public Radio. Heck, I even helped them usability test their site a while back. Kinda fun sitting on the other side of the desk.

That said, I haven’t contributed recently nor do I foresee doing so. I don’t agree with their Next Standard in Public Radio campaign. I especially don’t agree with their copyright infringement suit against Current.TV – the audience-generated, Al Gore-backed Current TV Network. His project to “democratize television.”

I wish MPR felt the same way about radio. Oh well, back the podcasts.

Thanks to Tod Maffin for the tip.

My personal favorite comment on the topic over at MNSpeak:

“Get a grip MPR. Are you going to sue NPR next because it’s one letter off from your name?”

Other food for thought from the discussion – ‘the Current’ is the new ‘JackFM’

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

The Next Standard in Public Radio

When I started podcasting a year ago I was questioning Public Radio’s role in my life. The news and regular programs were no longer satisfying. Then they started the Current – kept me supporting them for a couple months. Then, it started to sound more like more of the same and hey, look, interesting stuff happening in podcast-land.

In the mail today was letter from Minnesota Public Radio asking me to help them raise an additional $3 Million before the year’s end. That’s $1 million / week for their capital campaign to build the Next Standard in public radio. This letter is on the heals of a very expensive ‘save the date’ flyer for another fund raiser early next year.

I can’t support them.

Raising multiple millions ($43) and asking for more smells too much like a pre-flameout dotcom or an insensitive, out-of-touch media conglomerate. Two things I don’t want associated with my public radio.

When I look around at regular individuals like you publishing blogs, podcasts, and video-blogs regularly and without millions of dollars, I think, “This is the public creating radio. This is public radio.”

No, we don’t need no sticking transmitters.

Related: 85% of 12-24 year olds choose their MP3 player over traditional radio as a preferred option for music…. “54% of the total sample says there is not a radio station in their area that plays their favorite music.”