Scripting News for 3/14/2008

MP3 of Sun-Times meeting with Obama 

Obama had a “extensive 80-minute interview” with the Chicago Sun-Times (I think earlier today) to answer all their questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko. Following is an MP3 of the meeting, provided by the Sun-Times.

You can receive these MP3s in your podcatcher by subscribing to the RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures for this weblog.

PS: He did a similar interview with the Chicago Tribune.

Northeast-style racism 

I grew up in the northeast, not far from where Geraldine Ferraro lives, and I recognize the racism of the northeast, where people nod knowingly that blacks who are competing with whites have been given some kind of advantage that makes it possible for an inferior person to compete with a superior one.

It’s easy to trigger this kind of logic in a northeastern white supremicist, just say that a black guy wouldn’t be there if he weren’t black.

You can say “It’s True,” in a tone that says that disagreement is naive. “Of course,” you are supposed to say.

I’ve seen Jews and Catholics do this, two types of people who have themselves been victimized by stereotypes.

But it’s all lunacy, and definitely not true when you’re talking about the leader for the Democratic Party nomination for President.

It’s lunacy but it’s lunacy that works. All around the northeast, esp in Pennsylvania, people are talking around the kitchen table, saying of course he wouldn’t be there if he weren’t black, and identifying with Hillary Clinton, a white person who’s about to lose her job (one she was never elected to) to a black person, unfairly.

Someday America will grow out of this lunacy, and will stop judging people based on their race. That Obama is a very serious candidate for President says a lot about him, but it says even more about us, that the racism of Ferraro and the northeasterners who reason as she does, is falling into the background.

How Internet news should work 

By the mid-90s I became accustomed to reading news on the web. So much so that I cancelled subscriptions to the NY Times and Wall Street Journal because most days I’d never take the papers out of the plastic bags they were delivered in.

Getting news on the web was so much more efficient. I’d read the TImes and local papers and, Infoworld, MacWeek, and a bunch of other industry publications. This was before blogging, before RSS.

How I’d do it — I’d go to a site, for example, and scan for articles that interested me. I’d do this every hour or so, I’d rely on memory and link color to determine if an article was new or not. Being a software developer, every time I thought of better ways to do this, if only…

Then in 1999 something great happened, a bunch of tech industry publications, working with Netscape, started publishing titles, descriptions and links to stories in RSS. I immediately put together a web application that scanned these “feeds” periodically, and put the new stories at the top of the page, pushing down the older ones. Then, to do my hourly news trawl, I’d just have to start at the top of the page, and read down until I came to something I had seen before. I thought of this as “automated web surfing.” It took the labor out of the hunting and pecking I had been doing before.

This is, imho, the way news should work on the Internet. I’ve had this argument many times with people at the NY Times and other big news organizations who feel that part of what they do is to prioritize and organize the news into a front page backed by sections. They feel the Internet versions of their news should work this way, as their print versions do.

But you see them break out of this model sometimes when news happens in the middle of the day. When William F Buckley died last week, there was an item at the top of the home page, in red letters, with the news of Buckley’s death. What if two or three big events had happened that day? What would they do then?

We’ve already seen news organizations when the rush of news is too great, adopt the blogging style of news — the New Orleans Times-Picayune didn’t allow tradition to get in the way of reporting Katrina, they turned their news flow into a blog.

I think every newspaper on the web should at least offer the reader a choice of a reverse-chronological view of the news. I think they would find most readers would use this view, most editors would too.

I was inspired to write this today because Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0 has come to basically the same conclusion. I think we may finally be coming to the tipping point for news publishing on the web. I hope so.

Links for 03/14/2008 

Apple’s iPhone developer rejection letter. 

Obama is live on Countdown tonight. 

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