About Me

  • I'm CEO of Newspeg.com, a social news-sharing platform. I've spent 20 years at the intersection of traditional and digital journalism. I've helped to invent ways to read and interact with the news and advertising on computer screens and iPads, and before that, I wrote news stories on typewriters and six-ply paper. I co-founded WashingtonPost.com and hyperlocal pioneers Backfence.com and GrowthSpur; served as editor of Philly.com; taught media entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland; and have done product-development and strategy consulting for all sorts of media and Internet companies. You can read more about me here.

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« Alternative Reality | Main | The End of Dailies »

October 01, 2008

Comments

Robert

I'll take the debate straight up, please. No Twitter feeds, no live blogs, no crawls on the bottom of the TV screen. I want to give my full attention to what the candidates are saying and how they are saying it. While that's going on, I don't really care what the rest of the world thinks about it.

Once the debate is done, I will care what some people have to say. I'd prefer that they take a little time to gather their thoughts instead of just spewing from the tops of their heads.

If a news story is about, say, an out-of-control fire sweeping through my town, then please give me all the live blogs, tweets and RSS ya got. Instant access to information could mean the difference between getting out alive or burning to a cinder.

The election is more than a month away. I'll have plenty of time to ponder what the candidates, the bloggers and my neighbor's 10-year-old kid have to say. I'd rather get a few well-reasoned analyses tomorrow morning than a thousand bon mots in real time.

While we're at it, the incessant yammering is one reason I watch less sports on TV these days. Too much sound and fury signifying nothing.

Steve Rosenbaum

Robert, I think the idea that you're watching the debate for some insight in to the ideas or the policies of the candidates is strangely quaint. Wouldn't you agree that all concerned have long ago determined that the plan is to say as little as possible about actual policies, ideas, or plans... and instead to perform the role of President. In that act, the instant reactions of viewers is a real time data stream about not what is being said, but how it is being said and how it is being heard.

I agree, it's a bad use of the nations attention... but it is what the debates have become (or maybe always were?).

In any case, laptop ready - I fully expect Saturday Night Live to be the final analysis of the Debate, all else is just a rough draft.

edward

I have thought about this in the weeks since Adobe dropped a new media player in my laptop that is linked to TV shows. It's obviously first-step stuff, but I see a real challenge here developing for the fat-and-happy local TV owners if I can computerize my my evening viewing via a Media Player, eliminating the stuff I am not interested in. Even in an era of 250-plus channel TV, there are too many occasions when there is nothing worth watching on TV some evenings. (Having grown up in an age of three networks and the Honeymooners in black and white, I am astonished having just written that sentence). Being able to select a nice calming PBS program to fill in the blank hours would fill a niche, or a movie. It is unbelievably empowering.

Angela Connor

Actually, I will be hosting a live blog during the debate, for my online community GOLO.com. I did the same thing for Obama/Biden and they wanted more.
It's been promoted on the site all day, and I coupled it with a preview blog askng: "What do you expect from tonight's debate?" It has more than 100 comments, so I'm sure the live blog will be pretty interesting. I will defintely multitask, but I think it's for a good cause. growing and engaging the community.

Robert

Steve,

Watching how candidates weave and dodge still tells me something about them. Your reaction to their performances may or may not add insight, but I'm plenty content to wait a day to find out.

If I wanted commentary as entertainment, I'd skip the debate entirely and pop in a DVD of "Mystery Science Theater 3000."

That said, I'm all for people blogging and tweeting their hearts out if it makes them more engaged.

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