March 31, 2010 at 4:57 pm (community journalism, foundations)
I’m delighted to have been invited to join the Advisory Board of New Voices, focused on seeding innovative community news ventures in the United States. New Voices is among the many excellent initiatives of the J-Lab for Interactive Journalism, based at American University and led by Jan Schaffer. This gives me a great excuse to talk up their work!
- The New Media Women Entrepreneurs program will award $12,000 to four projects led by women who want to change the world of journalism. The application deadline is just around the corner on April 12.
- The Knight Citizen News Network is a self-help portal that offers guidance to community members and traditional journalists who want to launch and operate community news and information sites,
- The New Voices program will provide startup funding for 56 local news ventures. This year’s application deadline has passed, but there are great ideas and lessons to be learned from current grantees.
In announcing the 2009 New Voices grants, Bruce Koon, News Director of KQED radio and a New Voices Advisory Board member, summed things up well: “With all the anxiety about the future of journalism and news outlets, these projects are a breath of fresh air because of their creativity and commitment to serving communities. They’re providing valuable lessons for the future.”
March 24, 2010 at 7:47 am (health)
Though President Obama has signed health care reform into law, the battle in the court of public opinion rages on. For all of us who will benefit from health care reform, or know people who will, now is the time to tell our stories. We need to tell our stories over the breakfast table, in the grocery store lines, on our blogs, at church, where ever we hear someone say that health care reform was a huge mistake.
Here’s my story.
My dad passed away suddenly last year, leading to a very serious emotional and health crisis in my family. I ended up quitting my job and moving back to my hometown to help. I was eligible for COBRA coverage, but the pricetag of $500 a month was very steep for someone without a job. So I called HealthNet, the insurance provider of my former employer, having seen on their web site that they offered high-deductible policies that were more affordable. I thought they would be likely to insure me because they had access to my medical history and could see that I was in good health, had never been hospitalized, did not suffer from any chronic illness and wasn’t on any prescriptions.
The phone conversation was going along smoothly until I was asked: “Have you sought psychological counseling in the last year?” I responded truthfully, explaining that I had taken part in family grief counseling following my dad’s death. Then I was asked: “Did you go to more than four counseling sessions?” Again, I was truthful and said yes.
Then HealthNet told me I was uninsurable, for the sole reason that I had seen a counselor more than four times in the last year. I was deemed mentally unstable for seeking help when I needed it.
This is an outrage that will stop, thanks to the new health care reform legislation that will not keep people like me from obtaining affordable health insurance because of the “pre-existing condition” of having sought counseling when faced with a family trauma.
I am so grateful that this important legislation has passed, and if you are, too, then start spreading the good word.
March 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm (media industry)
We usually get information about Internet popularity in bits and pieces, through services such as Alexa or announcements about usage volume, such as Twitter recently exceeding 50 million tweets per day.
The BBC offers another, more useful approach through its Visualizing the Internet graphic, which does two important things. The first is that it shows the relative popularity of different categories of sites, and the second is that it uses monthly unique visitors as the key unit of measurement (versus the number of people who have registered for a site, but don’t use it regularly).
By mousing over any square, you can get the specific number of unique users of each site within a category. The larger the square, the more people visited that site. Some metrics that jumped out at me:
- ESPN has more users (26.6 million) than the New York Times (23 million) or Fox News (18 million), but Disney Interactive beats them all with 31.3 million. (I question the categorization of Fox Interactive Media as the top traffic-getter in media/news — I suspect that includes traffic to MySpace, which is not listed separately in the social network category.)
- In gaming, the social game site Zynga leads the category with 25 million monthly users.
- Walmart and craigslist have the same number of monthly users: 35 million
- eBay is still a powerhouse with 121 million monthly users.
- Facebook’s monthly usage of 218 million is substantially lower than its claim of 400 million active users although in fairness the Nielsen data used reflect usage only in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, US and Australia.
For the geeks out there, the maps were generated using the Flare toolkit developed by the UC Berkeley Visualization Lab. This map is part of the BBC’s excellent Superpower series about the Internet.