Quick Takes: 5/31/13

This piece about why niche media is important is not only spot-on but also more than a little distressing as it evaluates some recent mainstream foul-ups. But aside from that I think it exemplifies why newspapers in particular missed an opportunity back in 2003 or so to reach out to the emerging independent blogger field and work with subject matter experts, bringing them into the fold in a way that was mutually beneficial instead of playing around with paywalls and so on.

An interesting perspective on why Marissa Mayer is making the moves at Yahoo she is.

Poynter has a great rebuttal of Buzzfeed’s much-discussed “The Social Media Editor is Dead” piece. In my opinion there’s still a strong need for there to be one – two is actually better – who act not just in a traditional editorial capacity but who also are kind of the heart and soul of the program, who keep it true to itself, who know what the goals are, who knows the nuances of the fan base and more. This is’t a dead role, it’s one that is vital and necessary if if the responsibilities are and will continue to evolve over time.

I think this hand-wringing story about the demise of high school newspapers falls victim to the trap of getting hung up on form-factor. So what if a high school is producing a Tumblr blog instead of a print paper if the content is similar? It’s not about the printing press (or the blog platform or anything else) it’s about training kids to be writers, photographers, coders and more in a way that gets them excited about the process, not the distribution form.

This article shouldn’t be necessary as everyone should already be in complete agreement that The Monkess are and always have been cool.

Medium is a platform that I’m super-intrigued about. The closed beta that it’s been in for an extended period has allowed it to highlight and curate some high-quality material from some great folks. But when it does open up and it loses the mystique of being a high-end, prestige magazine of sorts it will have to use it’s cool set of tools and functionality to compete with WordPress, Tumblr and everything else in the platform market.

Movie theater chains want to force studios to make trailers shorter by 30 seconds, or about 1/5 of their current running time. The hilarity starts when the theater owners start talking about shorter trailers creating a better movie-going experience when they’ve done everything in their power to make that experience almost excruciating while grabbing every ad dollar they can.

Long story short: We’re not going to Mars any time soon, though it will be super cool when we do.

No, we don’t want Facebook – or any other company – deciding what is hate speech. That’s largely because at any scale it needs to be algorithm-driven and that leads to an incredibly faulty system that will penalize a lot of innocent people while still letting lots slip through.

By Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.