In case you missed it: In a gripping discussion on Tuesday night, Tavis Smiley and Cornel West put Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly in a pickle. Would he defend the protesters or the bankers they were arrayed against? Also: Pity anyone who has to get up each day and summarize what Glenn Beck says on GBTV. The guy has reached the point at which his ramblings are unabridgeable.
●Ever realize that there were several attempts at a crowdsourced online encyclopedia before Wikipedia made it to the big time? How’d that happen? Megan Garber of Nieman Lab tilts at the question:
Wikipedia focused on substantive content development instead of technology. Wikipedia was the only project in the entire sample, [Benjamin Mako] Hill noted, that didn’t build its own technology. (It was, in fact, generally seen as technologically unsophisticated by other encyclopedias’ founders, who saw themselves more as technologists than as content providers.) GNUpedia, for example, had several people dedicated to building its infrastructure, but none devoted to building its articles. It was all very if you build it, they will come.
“I had this notion that my job was to provide the platform,” one founder told Hill. The assumption, said another, was that “content was the community’s job. But there was no community.”
●Washington City Paper passes along concerns about the decision to place All the President’s Men in the D.C. Labor Film Fest. Given The Post’s tough stance toward unions over the decades, labor activist Fred Solowey insists that the flick has “no place” in such an assemblage of films.
●The downside of putting up a paywall on your site: You’ll end up driving readers to a free site. Such a dynamic appears to have taken place in Albuquerque, according to NetNewsCheck.
The [Albuquerque] Journal launched as a free site in 1995, but within six years the Lang family that owns the paper decided that model wasn’t generating enough advertising revenue to be workable, Friedman said.
So in 2001, most of the site’s content went behind a paywall. Since then, it has been completely free only to those with a print subscription, he said.
The words Friedman uses to explain the strategy speaks volumes: “Our customers who pay us shouldn’t subsidize people who want to freeload.”
NetNewsCheck says that as a result, the Journal has struggled on the page-view front. The story quotes a manager from a local TV news site as saying that the Journal’s paywall has been a “godsend.” “Our traffic just boosted instantly.” (Thanks, Mediagazer.)
●Now here’s a twist that even your most creative spy novelists wouldn’t fathom: A CIA leak trial is going to force New York Times reporter James Risen to testify about his writing style, according to Politico’s Josh Gerstein. It’s all about the court trying to confirm the authenticity of Risen’s sourcing and reporting without compromising the identity of his unnamed sources. There’s also a twisted little drama about a book proposal that Risen ginned up but didn’t save. It’s relevant to the case, but there’s a bunch of wrangling over whether it was edited, redacted, and, well, just read Gerstein’s summation.