Connecticut Elementary School Students Interviews & Vietnam Napalm Girl Photo

Saturday, 15 December, 2012

In the wake of Friday tragic Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, the broadcast media (CNN, NBC, etc) were put under the spotlight, challenged, and asked: Should traumatized children have been interviewed on air live (or pre-recorded) in tragedy like this at all?  I’ve read the following four articles and I recommend you take a look too,

1) “Kids at Tragedies: Turn Off the Cameras“, TIME Magazine

2) “Reporters covering school massacre slammed for interviewing children“, Daily Brew

3) “Interviewing the children, cont.“, Politico

4) “Conn. school shooting: When children are witnesses, how should media proceed?“, Washington Post

After reading the above articles carefully, part of me felt inadequate to comment. Who am I to comment as I am neither a professor of journalism ethics nor a psychologist.  But in an age where anyone with a Twitter, Google+, Facebook account can comment freely and sometimes forcefully with expletives, I hope my ramblings/observations may shine some light.

1) Referencing this WaPo report, I agree with NPR’s approach in “advising their journalists to get a parent’s permission in writing or on tape before interviewing a child.” To me, parent’s permission and parent’s ability to stop an interview at any time is a most basic requirement. If an interview is stopped by a parent, then that clip (live or pre-recorded) should not be used again, ever. That interview, by agreement between media outlets should be treated as never happened.

2) I would trust reporters on the ground more and not go as far as ABC News. “ABC News also said Friday that it doesn’t air interviews with children live, but records and reviews them before broadcast.” I want to think media outlets send good reporters to report violent tragedies to begin with. They should believe in their reporters enough that they will do their job ethically. The final editorial decision may not help much if the source materials have been gathered unethically anyway.

3) I cannot and will not tell reporters to simply “Turn Off the Cameras“. As long as the tools and methods used by the media outlets are legal, I see it a danger to “freedom of press” if we (the public) start dictating to the media what is acceptable or unacceptable tool to use or report to air. Ideas of no interview “zone” or no interview “age group” (too young even with parental permission), etc are dangerous precedence to set.

4) Some good points were made in WaPo that I cannot fully agree.

Interviewing children in such circumstances, in essence asking them to relive the experience, can increase later emotional and psychological damage, Rebecca Greenfield said. She cited child psychologist Donna Gaffney, who said children need to be with people who love and support them in the first 24 hours of witness something like the Sandy Hook shooting or Columbine in 1999, the previous worst mass school shooting in the U.S.

I see the point made by the child psychologist. At the same time, I feel I must balance the potential emotional impact of the child with the public good of having an interview done right there when all eyes are on the scene of the tragedy. A professional lit at home/school interview with the affected children with their parents sitting besides them a few days later will not have the same impact.

To me, seeing the children speaking in their own unfiltered voices at the scene right after the tragedy is of critical importance. It is not just the “facts” that I am after. I want to know how the children feel. Seeing the children there was painful and very emotional to me but the reporters on scene are not the ones to blame. The reporters didn’t cause the tragedy. They were there to be our eyes and ears, to find out relevant information to allow us, if we choose to, be informed citizens (world citizens).

A wise blog friend once wrote, “Human beings are powered by emotion, not by reason.” He quoted the neurologist Donald Calne, “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.

5) Vietnam Napalm Girl Photo

Now let me talk about Vietnam Napalm Girl Photo, the second half of my title. Ms Phan Thi Kim Phuc is “a Vietnamese-Canadian best known as the child depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972.” To me, the Vietnam Napalm Girl Photo was one of the contributing factor to the end of the Vietnam war.

In June 2012, Kim Phuc told friends and relatives at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the photograph that made her famous, “I never thought that the child who was a famous symbol of war would one day be invited to become a symbol of peace”.

At heart, I am an optimist and see the world is capable of becoming a better place over time (hopefully with a small contributions by me). My hope is the painfully emotional interviews with children right at the scene of the Elementary School shootings may lead to meaningful actions by the American public. What if those interviews with children play a role in turning the American gun culture around? Witness White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday repeating the standard & pointless “today is not the day for a debate on gun control.” To the 180 degree change by President Obama a few hours later, “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics“.

I don’t normally say this but let me say, “God Bless America” and may you make the changes needed to avoid future tragedies.

Concluding thoughts

Because of the controversy resulted from the tragic New York subway death a few days ago, I came across a quote in The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War that I feel may be illuminating here. The Bang-Bang Club is an autobiographical book about a group of four photographers active in South Africa during the Apartheid period and here is the quote I want to share with you,

Tragedy and violence certainly make powerful images. It is what we get paid for. But there is a price extracted with every such frame: some of the emotion, the vulnerability, the empathy that makes us human, is lost every time the shutter is released.

As an independent reporter who has no formal j-school or ethical training, I have to remind myself if I were ever at the scene of tragedy and violence, I will have to be mindful of what am I doing and why. The price I pay for releasing the shutter or pressing the video record button is a piece of my humanity. While I am being paid to do my job, the “public good” must also justify the lost piece of my humanity.

P.S. Based on all the interviews with children I’ve seen, which by no means is exhaustive, none of them have crossed the “ethical line” to me. In case of tragedy, I find comforting to not set fixed rules but lean on the “I know it when I see it” standard.

This article is cross posted to examiner by me.

Dec 16th update: For the record (via THR),

@andersoncooper In answer to your tweets, no, Of course i will not be interviewing children from the school. I do not think that is appropriate at this time

@katiecouric Traveled to CT today, speaking with #SandyHook students http://instagr.am/p/TPXS_vSZMo/

Dec 17 update: I want to add and mention South Carolina TV Anchor Amy Wood did an insightful audio interview with Kelly McCurry, who was in the first grade when a gunman came into her school in Greenwood, SC and killed two classmates and shot some of her favorite teachers. Here is a very relevant set of questions and answers. (emphasis added)

Amy’s Questions (starting at ~5:22): “What do you think of the media interviewing the children? We have lot of comments on Facebook that are just furious children are being interviewed. Yet those faces are what make this reality to us all. These are the people that have been impacted. And in some circumstances it appears that it was willing. No one was chasing people down the street. But what do you think? You were in this position. What do you think about the media interviewing children in this scenario?”

Kelly’s answers -6:24: “I kinda heard that parents gave permission. But I disagree with that. I don’t believe children should be exploited for the media’s profit and to sensationalize it. Everybody understands the magnitude of what happening there. There is no reason to bring kids into that. And make them relive it. Thats something they should do with a counsellor if need be. With their parents. I really disagree with bringing the kids in.”

I agree with with Kelly that children should not be “exploited for the media’s profit and to sensationalize it” but like I try to argue in the article, as long as the interviews are ethically conducted, important public good can be served by these interviews.


Paul Chard – The most interesting person at #banff2012 to me

Friday, 15 June, 2012

My good friend Gingi Baki asked me: who is the most interesting person you met at Banff 2012? Tough question! You see, I have met television creatives & luminaries like Chuck LorreGlen Mazzara,  Jeanne BekerMike FleissTerence Winter and I can easily put any one of them on my “most interesting person” list. But if I do that, I will be doing a diservice to you. What would you gain if I name any one of them? Nothing! Because you know them already. Instead I will share with you a name that, unless you are in the “business“, you may not heard of.

To me, the most interesting person I met in #banff2012 is Paul Chard, Global Head of Content of MediaCom.

#Banff2012 Day 1 - pix 02

Paul is the brain behind bringing the international format Got Talent into the almost impossible land of China (rebranded to be China’s Got Talent 中国达人秀) which was a 15 months effort and lots of negotiation (as Paul wrote, “co-operation and partnership with IPCN, Shanghai Media Group and format owners Freemantle and SYCO“). China’s Got Talent is one of the first TV formats that got into China. I actually saw widespread popularity first hand at the time as many of the amazing China’s Got Talent videos were shared by my friends on their social networks. (for more details, see Paul’s 2010 blog and ICPN page with video clip)

Paul Chard talked about brokering “Got Talent” format into China #Banff2012

My one-on-one interview with Paul at #banff2012

Paul’s on stage talk & interview at #banff2012

The idea of learning from interesting & insightful people

Kevin Roberts

I half-jokingly asked Paul to not hold it against me that I’ve been a big fan of Kevin Roberts (blog) (CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi). You see, I’ve been reading Kevin‘s ideas/writings since the late 80s. You may not realize but the parent companies of Paul and Kevin are the globally competing WPP Group and Publicis Group respectively. (update: Paul showcased the #awesome T-Mobile Royal Wedding video in his presentation, and I just discovered via MBA (mediaCom beyond advertising) that the campaign is a team effort including mediaCom, Saatchi & Saatchi, and others).

Gary Carter

I stumbled upon a talk by Gary Carter at the 2007 nextMedia/Banff World TV Festival (yes, 5 years ago!) and his insights were amazingly deep. Since then, I’ve attended all of Gary’s talk I can and try to pay close attention to what Gary does and related news, including his recent resignation as FremantleMedia’s Chief Operating Officer. I am sure whatever Gary does next will be worth my attention to know and learn from. (note: Gary came back to Banff in 2009, here is a great list of Gary’s 2009 clips, see The Susan Boyle Phenomenon, and FremantleMedia Experimental)

Paul Chard

Which brings back to Paul. And I am going to share with you a secret trick I use. I use Google Alerts to track and try to learn from interesting & insightful people. I am adding Paul to my Google Alerts list along the likes of Kevin and Gary. In life, I believe an important way to better ourselves is to learn from the best.

Kevin wrote years ago, “Ideas are the currency of the future.” And the likes of Kevin, Gary, and Paul are “rich people” going by the quote. And William Gibson’s quote “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” enlightens me to realize that the best way to look into the future is to look and see what “rich people” like Kevin, Gary, and Paul think and do!

P.S. Who is your “most interesting #banff2012 person“? Please share with your reasons in the comment section.

*******

Here is the official Banff session description.

Paul Chard, Global Head of Content, MediaCom: How Content is Changing the Business
Paul Chard is a true industry veteran, getting his start over three decades ago, in 1980. Today, as the Global Head of Content at MediaCom, Chard is responsible for media sponsorship, sport, branded entertainment and advertiser funding, social media and emerging platforms. In 2010, Chard brokered the successful “Got Talent” format into China and saw it become the biggest foreign reality show ever screened in the country. Having seen this industry from every angle, Chard carries with him a wealth of knowledge and insight. Join Chard as he reflects on his career and looks forward to the future of the entertainment industry in this exclusive opening keynote.”


Finding Jan Wong Out of the Blue – The ugly sides of Globe and Mail & Manulife

Monday, 14 May, 2012

Jan Wong Website page pix 01

As a long time reader (and fan) of Jan Wong‘s (website, twitter) newspaper articles and “Lunch with” columns, it came to me as a total shock when I belatedly discovered the real reason of why Jan is no longer working for the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail (she was fired from the fallout of one article) and why Jan, a successful books author and highly skilled writer, has to self-publish her memoir Out of the Blue (Amazon) (this is a story in itself).

Check out this video “For my review of Jan Wong’s “Out of The Blue” & news report” and the following insightful articles and interviews.

* CBC News, “Q&A: Jan Wong’s long march from depression to reinvention”

* CBC Books Radio interview, Michael Enright’s interview with journalist Jan Wong about her latest book”

* 2012, May 11, TVO Allan Gregg video interview, “Jan Wong On Her Battle With Depression

* TorStar Apr 27, “Toronto author Jan Wong’s book on workplace depression an instant classic

* Ottawa Citizen, Jan Wong’s blues – “Journalist chronicles her controversial descent into workplace depression

* Now, “Jan Wong wronged? The Bestselling journalist wound up self-publishing her memoir?

* Now Book review, “Out of The Blue – Wilful Wong

* backofthe book.ca “Jan Wong’s Globe and Mail blues

* The Chronicle Herald “Old China hand explores Canada’s mysterious East

* Quill & Quire Book review, Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness”

Ref: 2006 Sept article from Premier Jean Charest.

Disclosure: I own shares of Manulife and I am shocked and angry of Manulife’s unacceptable business practices. Setting personal feelings aside, it is just bad business to deal with legitimate insurance clients like it did with Jan. These kind of unacceptable behaviours can rightfully drive potential future clients away. I may write a separate article about this. Will see.

Jan Wong Website page pix 02


Steve Jobs: iQuit

Sunday, 9 October, 2011

Steve Jobs - iQuit

Well, Chinese communist party-run English newspaper Global Times decided in its journalistic “wisdom” to title Steve Jobs‘ obit as Steve Jobs: iQuit!

Creative may be but creative about someone’s obit?! Yikes, too much!!!

P.S. It has been a sad few days since Jobs’ passing. I hope Steve Jobs: iQuit put a smile on your face in the expense of the communist party-run English newspaper Global Times! :)


Missouri School of Journalism Method, a “learn by doing” approach

Tuesday, 9 August, 2011

Missouri School of Journalism - Apple Mac Book pro - promo

Although I’ve never set foot in Missouri School of Journalism, I am getting to know the Missouri J-School via KOMU-TV ‘s Sarah Hill and Jen Reeves. To me, the Missouri method, a “learn by doing” approach, seems like the right way to go.

Check out this Apple in Education promo for a cool video and text info.


KOMU Sarah Hill Google+ Hangouts – General insights

Friday, 29 July, 2011

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 00 - Sarah

Background

It has been my pleasure to attend a number of KOMU anchor Sarah Hill‘s interesting Google+ newsroom Hangouts since July 19, 2011. In this detailed article, I will try to share some of my general experiences, observations, and insights. To help this article flow better and less bogged down by highly technical ideas/solutions, I am gathering my technical-orientated observations and suggestions in a separate article.

Since Google+ (and its Hangouts) is a new tool that is only one month old, these notes only reflect my initial thoughts/impressions. I expect my views will be changed later when I learn more. I’ve tried to reference ideas I read elsewhere as best as I can by providing crediting them and provide links to them.

Location, what Location? – Think Global, Act Local

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 01 - Sarah, Location

I first heard of KOMU and Sarah likely from “5 Ways Journalists Are Using Google+” (July 17th, 2011 Mashable article). On the internet, the location really doesn’t matter. I live in Calgary, Canada and I participated in KOMU-TV newsroom Hangouts in Columbia, MO. And through Sarah, I’ve got to know and Hangout with Angie Bailey, KOMU AnchorStephen Clark (Detroit, WXYZ TV), Amy Wood, (South Carolina, WSPA TV), and KOMU Interactive Director Jen Reeves. Where they are “physically located” have no impact on our interactions at all.

By attending these newsrooms Hangouts, I have now hungout with people from around the world. People who joined from different parts of US, Canada, and Europe. So far, no Asian countries because of time zone differences, I suppose.

Will evening news stay as “appointment television”?

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 02 - appointment TV

I heard the use of “appointment television” from one of the television executives attending Banff World TV Festival a few years ago. Here is an useful definition,

“appointment television: the decision of tv viewers to schedule their time so that they watch a specific program at a specific time

With the advent of around the clock news websites (often with videos) updates from major national and international news outlets (BBC, CNN, Guardian, etc), plus the local newspapers getting into the same game (with video), the evening news, especially for the younger people, are no longerappointment television“.

The viewers won’t want to be locked into watching news at a fixed time, from one news source when they can and are getting news from many different reliable sources online, whenever they want.

I believe the “commodification of news” is close to done. Many news programs are working hard to differentiate their news programs by supplementing “regular” news that they must report (even most people have heard/read elsewhere) by adding special unique segments, panel discussions, etc. For example, in Canada, CBC National “At Issue” panel (a political panel of 2-3) or “Rex Murphy” segment (like 60 Minutes’ Andy Rooney).

I should emphasize, I write this section with an optimistic mindset as I don’t believe not “appointment television” is entirely bad. I believe there are new ways to make money in this new time. Stories may need to be packaged differently. Ads need to be sold differently. In the next section, I will talk about two ways to make money.

How to make money? – Revenue Generation

One thing I enjoy a lot from Sarah‘s Hangouts is the brain storming sessions. When the environment is open and the participants are engaging, the sessions can be very illuminating and productive.

Some people suggested the following ways to generate revenue (make money) online, Read the rest of this entry »


Happy 100th birthday, Marshall McLuhan in his own (and others’) words!

Thursday, 21 July, 2011

Marshall McLuhan - pix 00

Happy 100th birthday, Marshall McLuhan! [HT Gary]

Have a look of Open Culture,”Marshall McLuhan: The World is a Global Village

Marshall McLuhan – The World is a Global Village (CBC TV)

Check out “Tom Wolfe on Marshall McLuhan for His 100th Would-Be Birthday

Have a listen to CBC Jian Ghomeshi opening Q essay, “Jian on Marshall McLuhan’s 100th birthdayRead the rest of this entry »


Guardian Nick Davies: Death of a Reporter – Sean Hoare knew how destructive the News of the World could be

Tuesday, 19 July, 2011

Here is an excerpt from a very insightful and moving piece by Guardian Nick Davies, “Sean Hoare knew how destructive the News of the World could be – The courageous whistleblower who claimed Andy Coulson knew about phone hacking had a powerful motive for speaking out

“At a time when the reputation of News of the World journalists is at rock bottom, it needs to be said that the paper’s former showbusiness correspondent Sean Hoare, who died on Monday, was a lovely man.

In the saga of the phone-hacking scandal, he distinguished himself by being the first former NoW journalist to come out on the record, telling the New York Times last year that his former friend and editor, Andy Coulson, had actively encouraged him to hack into voicemail.

That took courage. But he had a particularly powerful motive for speaking. He knew how destructive the News of the World could be, not just for the targets of its exposés, but also for the ordinary journalists who worked there, who got caught up in its remorseless drive for headlines. Read the rest of this entry »


The Beginning of The End of Rupert Murdoch? – Rebekah Brooks resigns over phone-hacking scandal

Friday, 15 July, 2011

Rupert and James Murdoch make Commons U-turn - PR problem or Moral problem

Given the business smart of Rupert Murdoch and the firepower one can buy from hiring Edelman, the largest global PR firm, it may still be too early to say this is the “Beginning of The End of” of Murdoch. But at least it is easier to say this may be the beginning of the end of Rebekah Brooks.

Guardian, “Rebekah Brooks resigns over phone-hacking scandal – News International chief stops short of full apology, saying she no longer wants to be ‘focal point of the debate’

Guardian, “Rebekah Brooks resignation: the key quotes – We look at today’s key quotes on phone hacking and Brooks’ resignation as chief executive of News International

Guardian, “Rebekah Brooks: where it all went wrong – News International chief executive resigns after criticism from second largest shareholder and Rupert Murdoch’s daughter

BBC, “Phone hacking: News International chief Brooks quits

BBC, “Profile: News International chief Rebekah Brooks


Rupert Murdoch hires PR firm Edelman – PR problem or Moral problem?

Thursday, 14 July, 2011

Rupert and James Murdoch make Commons U-turn - PR problem or Moral problem

July 16th update: “Richard Sambrook, Global Leader of Edelman Crisis and Issues Management, former BBC’s Director of Global News confirms zero involvement in Rupert Murdoch PR file

***

From Guardian, “Phone hacking: Rupert Murdoch calls in PR firm Edelman – PR company will report directly to general manager of News International

Jeff Jarvis has a point in saying, “Murdoch hires Edelman PR. This ain’t a PR problem, folks. It’s a moral problem.

In case you care, Edelman’s Global CEO and President Richard Edelman blogs here.

On a personal note, I started paying attention to global PR firm Edelman probably around the time Richard Sambrook (former BBC’s Director of Global News & member of the BBC’s Management Board) joined Edelman in Feb 2010.

As you can see in my 2010 Feb comment left in Richard Sambrook’s blog entry, while I congratulated Richard on his move, I expressed my serious concerns and reservations of seeing a respected newsman joining a PR company. While we don’t know if Mr. Sambrook is involved in this engagement personally according to Guardian,

Edelman last year hired the BBC’s former director of news, Richard Sambrook, to head up its “crisis and issues practice”. It is unclear whether he will be part of the firm’s News Corp team.

I will not be surprised if his insights have a very strong influence in the Murdoch file. This is why big bucks are paid to hire Edelman to have access to people like Mr. Sambrook.

More excerpt from “Rupert Murdoch calls in PR firm Edelman” (emphasis added), Read the rest of this entry »


Network (1976) – Highly recommended

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

I borrowed the DVD of Network from Calgary Public Library a few months ago and was amazed that this classic still works great and it was timeless in its storytelling. Highly recommended. Borrow or rent it if you haven’t seen it yet.

Network (1976) movie trailer


Zooey Deschanel’s Open Letter to Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrisson

Tuesday, 12 July, 2011

Have a read of Zooey Deschanel @therealzooeyd‘s An Open Letter to Los Angeles Times writer Patt Morrisson It seems like a case of @latimes #fail #factcheck #journalism!

After reading the two articles, I felt like listening to Zooey‘s song In the Sun to cheer myself up. Enjoy.


Damage Control: Are Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron too late? – News of the World shutdown this Sunday

Thursday, 7 July, 2011

Breaking news:

BBC, “News of the World to close amid hacking scandal

Guardian, “News of the World to close on Sunday – live coverage

UK Telegraph, “News of the World phone hacking: live

CNN, “News of the World shutting down after Sunday edition

CBC, “BreakingMurdoch closes News of the World

Damage Control: Are Rupert Murdoch and David Cameron too late? I hope so. But I don’t want to underestimate Murdoch as it is a dangerous thing to do.

UK Telegraph Oborne: David Cameron is ‘too close’ to News International

[HT Calgary Herald]

Update: Andy Coulson, Ex-communications director or Prime Minister David Cameron and ex-News of the World Editor has been arrested.

* Bloomberg, “Cameron Tainted by Arrest of Former Aide Coulson in Phone-Hacking Scandal


Australian Scott Jones & Canadian Alexandra Thomas – Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identified

Friday, 17 June, 2011

June 19th update: In our somewhat twisted world, this is absolutely amazing: “Canadian riot kiss couple turn down offer of millions by celebrity agents“.

To me, Alex and Scott are so level-headed that their actions are worth thinking about and possibly learning from. Would you or should you let “money” (even if it is millions) change your life out of the blue? Or will you strive to live the best life you can after working hard and applying the skills/talent/knowledge you have?

June 20th update: Oh well, it was nice to think Scott and Alex won’t try to cash in for a day. “Vancouver riot couple hire PR agency Markson Sparks in Australia“. I remember watching Ricky Gervais at Banff reminding us/warning us, the danger of making money off just “being famous” (having talent or skills are different, I am talking about simply “being famous” or “being a celebrity”).

***

"Kissing Couple" at Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot identified as Australian man Scott Jones and Canadian woman Alex Thomas

If all the facts check out, which I expect they will, then Scott Jones & Alexandra Thomas‘ “kissing photo” in the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot (shot by Rich Lam/Getty Images) will totally have my “vote” for photo of the year.

What a wonderful job Rich Lam has done in giving us all a tiny bit of hope out of this totally disgraceful mess. To me, Rich has definitely captured a perfect example of Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s “decisive moment“, good job Rich!

Have a watch of CBC News report (with video news report and Skype video interview of the father of Scott Jones) and CTV News report (with phone interview).

Have a read of TorStar for its excellent reporting and research, (emphasis added)

“How’s that for making love, not war,” astonished dad Brett Jones declared on his Facebook page, telling the world that the famous Romeo in a Vancouver riot picture is his son.

If you haven’t seen it, Scott Jones, 29, is lying on a street locked in an embrace with girlfriend Alexandra Thomas as they’re flanked by riot police Wednesday night.

“She had actually been injured,” Brett Jones told the Star Friday morning from his home in Perth, Australia. “She had been knocked down by a shield” from the riot police.

“He lay down next to her to comfort her. She was crying and he just kissed her to calm her down.” [Kempton’s note: What a lovely moment.]

Even as a young boy, said Brett Jones, Scott demonstrated his “gentle side for other people. I’m not surprised he would comfort Alex.”

An update from TorStar “‘I can’t believe that’s us,’ says woman in kissing photo“, (emphasis added)

“At first Alexandra Thomas couldn’t believe that was she and her boyfriend on the ground sandwiched in between riot police on a calamitous Vancouver street.

“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘No way, that’s not … I can’t believe that’s us,’ ” said Thomas in an interview with the Toronto Star this morning. “Then I looked some more and realized, that is us. That’s a very revealing picture of us.”

[…] Thomas said this morning that everything happened so fast that there was just massive confusion all around.

“I was trying to understand what was going on. The photo was definitely not something we expected to happen,” said Thomas.

The couple is leaving in three days on a trip to California, before Scott heads back to Australia. Thomas said the response from her friends and family has been overwhelming.

“When I saw that picture I couldn’t believe it and then I looked at it more and realize it’s quite artistic and really something beautiful.”

[…] Jones senior can see that the couple’s now-iconic photograph may follow them for the rest of their lives, for good or ill.

“Relationships do buckle under that pressure unless you have the ability to be very centred. Even if it wasn’t Scott, the guy who took the picture captured a moment in time that is iconic.”

Brett Jones has also counselled Scott not to buckle to the doubters, rampant on the skeptical, know-it-all Internet, who say the photograph was staged.

“Tell your story as it happened and there’s nothing you can do about them,” he told his son. “I think it’s amazing.” [Kempton: Wise counsel from a great dad!]

Jun 17, 8:40pm update: CBC has snapped up the Canadian exclusive video interview with Scott & Alex, “EXCLUSIVE: Vancouver riot’s ‘kissing couple’ tell their story“. Enjoy this 13+ minutes interview. What a lovely couple.

Jun 18, 12:02am update: CBC, “‘Kissing couple’ witness rushed to help – Canadian woman hit by rioter, then knocked down by riot police

Finally, I think we humans are an optimistic species. We gravitates towards hope and love even when (may be especially) the world around us seems to be falling apart and failing us. The photo reminds me of the dialogues and images in the opening of the movie “Love Actually”.

Scott Jones & Alexandra Thomas - Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identified

P.S. I am still waiting for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other national political leaders to come out (not just a press release) and deliver an address/speech to try to turn this mess into a teachable moment and share some lessons learned.


The Business of News – There’s Something About Forecasts and Predictions

Saturday, 21 May, 2011

If you have to forecast, forecast often.” – Edgar R. Fiedler in “Across the Board: The Three Rs of Economic Forecasting — Irrational, Irrelevant and Irreverent”

These are my personal views and don’t represent anyone else or any organization. I recognize this is a hard debate that doesn’t have a “right” or “wrong” answer.

At some point, “reporters” in the news business have to ask themselves what makes a story? Should a news media outlet report on a “story” because some US stations started reporting on it? And then your local competitions (in Canada or anywhere doesn’t matter) start reporting it? Should reporters follow? Or may be news is sometimes just entertainment, just a business to make some money, and a looser standard is applied?

I posted this elsewhere yesterday, out of annoyance. For the record.

“Thank you press & media for reporting on crazy prediction in last few days AND tomorrow! We really have nothing better to do than wasting our time!

P.S. Thanks in advance for reporting on this same nutty group’s prediction in 2021 or whenever because stupid/nutty/crazy news widely reported everywhere is better than no news day, right?!”

P.P.S. I did not include any links in this post in order not to give the crazy story any added attention and, more importantly, to try to turn this into a general discusion.


Mme. Muguette Paillé becomes instant star after #elxn41 French debates

Thursday, 14 April, 2011

Mme Muguette Paillé

CBC News “Quebec woman becomes instant star after debates“,

“it was a 53-year-old woman questioner who seemed to have won the hearts of many viewers.

Muguette Paillé, a 53-year-old unemployed woman from Sainte-Angèle-de-Prémont in Quebec’s Maurice region, asked the leaders about job creation, particularly for older workers, during the French-language debate.

Paillé quickly became a theme in the debate, as the leaders jumped on her comments to reinforce their policy ideas.

While the leaders were using her name, others were busy setting up Facebook sites declaring her the winner of the actual debate.

Paillé laughed at all of the attention during an interview with Radio-Canada after the debate.

Asked whether she feels she got an answer to her question, Paillé said she felt the leaders showed empathy, but what she wants is a job. […]

Paillé’s question to the leaders was: “The unemployment rate is very high in the region. Steady jobs are scarce. It is hard for someone like me — I’m 53 — to find work. So I would like to know how you intend to create jobs in Quebec, particularly in my region, and how it will help people over the age of 50 find permanent jobs.”” [NOTE: CBC Corrections and Clarifications – An earlier version of this story incorrectly used the word “employment” in Muguette Paille’s question. In fact, she said the “unemployment rate” was high.
April 14, 2011 | 12:59 p.m. “

Check out the debate video (with English translation) starting at about time code 22:00.

Someone posted Mme Paillé’s question in French onto YouTube.


Ad.ly CEO Arnie Gullov-Singh on Bloomberg

Thursday, 3 March, 2011

Ad.ly got on my radar after I learned it played an important role in helping Charlie Sheen regain his Twitter handle and got it “verified” quickly. Here is a video of Arnie Gullov-Singh, CEO of Ad.ly, speaking on Bloomberg.

Ad.ly has a network of over a 1,000 celebrities on Facebook and Twitter. (more info in Arnie’s blog entry “Celebrity Endorsements In 5 Simple Steps“) And this Jan 2011 entry “Disclosure is Simple, Clear and Conspicuous” answered one of my main concerns, (emphasis added)

“You may have seen a number of headlines last week — primarily coming out of the UK — about advertisers going straight to celebrities to do paid endorsements in Twitter *without* clear disclosure.

Just a quick reminder that – as always – 100% of Ad.ly endorsements are fully disclosed in accordance with guidelines from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). [Kempton: I don’t know how up-to-date is this, but here are links to the FTC 5th Oct, 2009 press release and the FTC 2009 endorsement guide (PDF).]

When we launched in 2009, we established 100% disclosure as a best practice using #Ad, (Ad), or #Spon at the end of each endorsement, or a clear contextual statement such as “I am working with brand XYZ to promote product ABC.””

Looks like Arnie and his team are doing some cool stuff here, I am definitely going to keep an eye on them as I think they have an interesting business going here.

Some stats/quotes by Arnie in the Bloomberg interview:

* Last 12 months, did about 24,000 endorsements for about 150 brands.

* “Very effective way to advertise scalably in social media.”

* “Celebrities are really the new brands in social media.” [Kempton: Hmmm, interesting. Interesting way to see celebrities and brands.]

P.S. May be I am too quick to call Ad.ly, a company I read this morning for the first time, a Lovemark? But I think it is fun to take a little bit of risk once in a while because I do see lots of potential for Ad.ly. Only time will tell if I am right.

P.P.S. As I wrote before, in case you are interested, here is a link to US Patent application 20090177532 “SELF SERVE ADVERTISING SYSTEM AND METHOD” filed Jan 7, 2009. I should really take a look if I can find some time.


$315 million question: Can Arianna keep Huffington Post’s DNA alive?

Tuesday, 8 February, 2011

Two very different views of the $315 million deal. I agree more with Jeff’s analysis and views.

An excerpt from Jeff Jarvis, Buzz Machine, “AriannaOL” (emphasis added),

“Content alone isn’t enough for Aol. It has content. Lots. What HuffPo and Arianna bring is a new cultural understanding of media that is built around the value of curation, the power of peers, the link economy, passion as an asset, and celebrity as a currency. As a friend of mine reminds me via email from London, HuffPo, thanks to its roots, also has a keen understanding of the value of technology innovation to build platforms. Unlike old media companies, HuffPo groks scale.

And let’s not forget that HuffPo gets journalism. I remember a few years ago when Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, goaded Arianna in a talk before his staff about why she’d possibly want such as them: reporters who cost a lot and are pains to work with. Because their stories get more traffic, Arianna replied. She understands the value of reporting.

An excerpt from Jon Friedman, MarketWatch, “Arianna Huffington and AOL: culture clash” (emphasis added),

“Will AOL happily accept Arianna’s left-leaning politics as its own? Not likely. It follows that the company that shelled out $315 million should get its way on most of the important issues. But the reason it bought HuffPo in the first place is because of the audience that was drawn to the site’s opinionated voice. If it tempers that, it might lose the very thing it wanted.

The media landscape is filled with ballyhooed corporate marriages that failed to click, usually because the companies refused to cooperate with one another.

Does that gloomy scenario sound familiar? It should. A lack of teamwork on both sides ruined the AOL-Time Warner deal’s prospects a decade ago. Much has been made of the differences in the new and old media approaches of the two outfits.


AOL buys HuffPost

Sunday, 6 February, 2011

Arianna Huffington writes about the $315 million deal, “When HuffPost Met AOL: “A Merger of Visions”

I wonder if Arianna can keep the HuffPost DNA now it is part of AOL.

Also see reports from Guardian, BusinessWeek, CNNMoney, MarketWatch.


Mubarak: ‘If I Resign Today There Will Be Chaos’ – exclusive ABC News Christiane Amanpour interview

Thursday, 3 February, 2011

Exclusive ABC News Christiane Amanpour interview, “Mubarak: ‘If I Resign Today There Will Be Chaos’ – In an Exclusive Interview, Egypt’s President Says He’s Fed Up and Wants to Resign, “But Cannot for Fear of the Country Falling into Chaos.”


<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: