Category Archives: Weblogs

New Year, New Carl Lavin Blog

I’ve switched to Carl Lavin: The Business of News.

TypePad has served me well. WordPress is right for right now.

A core reality of how business works is the idea of creative disruption. The more journalists and others in the media business learn about that force and the opportunities it presents, the better it will be for us and for our communities.

07Newsroom, my Typepad blog, seemed to be focused on the future when I started it in 2006. That’s where I will continue to focus. Many thanks to Austin Lavin for urging me to take this step and to Seth Lavin who did the work on WordPress, including migrating all the old content — both posts and comments. You can also get to the new blog with

Shorter items are on twitter @FromCarl.

See you on and off line.

Thanks for reading.

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Filed under Uncategorized, Weblogs

Taking On The Big Event: The Debate in Austin

The Austin Amercan-Statesman had a big challenge and a big opportunity last week, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton came to town for a debate in advance of the March 4 Texas primary.
Online, the newsroom found new ways to cover the event and to uncover what goes on behind the scenes. I noted one feature in a Trailwatch post:

Cool newsroom offering: check out the interactive seating chart from The Austin American-Statesman to see where Chelsea Clinton and the Obama family were sitting in the audience.

The multimedia coverage offered so much more:
A range of video reports.
A very active group live blog. Notice there are more than 30 entries, from debate-watching parties, from the debate, from post-debate gatherings. Writers include interns, staffers, managers. Here’s one entry, with about ten comments. The entire newsroom was involved and that helped the entire community get involved.
Several slideshows, including photos of this debate party.
Oh, and there were articles, too, on the debate itself on the rallies and on plenty of other topics.

Maybe I missed it, but I did have trouble finding a good table of contents to all this great material. Navigation that allows readers to easily go from any one of these pieces of content to all the related links can be an engineering challenge, but also a great service.

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Filed under Current Affairs, Video, Web/Tech, Weblogs

Why Davos? Why Journalism?

What is the difference between covering the news and uncovering the news? Lacking inspiration or vision, some journalists see their job as little more than stenography. If that is the limit of a reporter’s ambition, any money spent on that reporter is a wasteful investment, whether spent keeping a chair warm in the newsroom or spent sending the reporter to a resort town in the Swiss Alps.

The World Economic Forum ended Sunday in Davos and there were about 500 reporters covering 2,500 participants. More ambitious writers who were lucky enough to be among the 500 were able to uncover some stories. One of the most important came from a blogger, Robert Scoble, who publishes at

A basic job for journalists is to represent readers and ask decision makers questions that fire the readers’ curiosity. Scoble found Mark Zuckerberg at Davos and asked the question that is one of the biggest worries of many Facebook users: what will happen to Scrabulous? From the blog:

He talked to me about his love of Scrabulous and was hopeful that a good
resolution will come. Hasbro has been threatening the two developers of
Scrabulous. I told Zuckerberg that it was clear that Hasbro had a case that its
intellectual property was being infringed on (Scrabulous is an online version of
Hasbro’s Scrabble, which pretty clearly infringes on copyrights and trademarks
of Hasbro’s). Zuckerberg agreed that that was the case, but told me that Hasbro
does see the value in getting a new online community built on its behalf. He
thinks there may be an acquisition or other good outcome to the dispute.

That’s reporting. The writer went directly to a top decision maker and uncovered — for the first time on record — his views on an issue that is important to readers. How important is it? You have to live with a Scrabble-playing Facebook user to know for sure. If you aren’t in that situation, trust me: it’s very important.

Sure, there will always be VIP’s making more-or-less obvious points. Reporters who devote much of their workday to reporting those points are wasting money, whether they stay home or go to conferences.

The people I was with at Davos worked hard to do what they try to do as reporters where ever they are working — learn something new and tell it in a compelling and relevant way. We may not have always succeeded, but there were plenty of revealing moments at Davos, moments that gave us a chance to write about some larger-than-life figures in human ways.

Those stories help make any reporting venture worthwhile. The primary satisfaction, though, came from stories that exposed uncomfortable truths. I’ve always been attracted to the journalistic goal of uncovering the news, or at the very least, of asking those in power the questions on the minds of those who lack power.

If people are willing to face police beatings and tear gas to ask some questions in Pakistan, can’t we, as journalists, give voice to those questions when we are face to face with Pakistan’s president, Pervez Musharraf?

Given the opportunity, we at tried to make the most of it. We asked President Musharraf if he was going to release the judges after election day. We didn’t get much of an answer, but we were able to make sure that he heard the question.

Isn’t that worth the price of a plane ticket?

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Filed under Business models, Weblogs

Some Philadelphia examples

CRIME The Inquirer now has an interactive homicide map for 2007 (year to date) as a companion to the homicide map for 2006. There are shooting maps for both time periods, too (shootings 2007, year to date) (shootings 2006).
BUSINESS  The new Inquirer business news blog, PhillyInc, is updated several times a day. It includes this post on campaign donations by employer and an entry on post-graduation plans of college students, by college.

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Filed under DataBank, Weblogs

Meetings are content, text version

The editors of the Spokesman-Review in Spokane post a blog about the news meetings, with a tone of candid informality. Here’s a sample:

"We scrambled on an A1 centerpiece yesterday and ended up moving Mike Prager’s daylight saving time story
forward a day; it was originally scheduled to run Saturday. Now we’re
scrambling for Saturday. Such is the news biz. But Prager had a
delightful turn of phrase in his story, calling the hoo-haw over
potential electronic meltdowns from daylight-saving time "Y2Kaylight."

Once again our Sports department pulled off something of a miracle, getting a nice package on the Cougs beating the Huskies on their cover, despite the late ending of that game.

Becky Kramer turned a routine earnings story on Coldwater Creek into a forward-looking piece. But it didn’t answer the burning question: why doesn’t Coldwater Creek have a store in Spokane?"

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Filed under Weblogs