Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Looks like I may need to buy a new cell phone.

Related story: Nokia, Microsoft Agree To Make Music Together

Monday, February 14, 2005

Now listening to: Clannad (cold misty spring weather always makes me want to listen to Irish music)

OK, now there is absolutely NO REASON TO EVER WATCH THE TODAY SHOW AGAIN. Steven Cojocaru, who was easily the most entertaining part of the whole show, has reportedly been fired. And what for? Dressing up like Kevin Federline for Halloween and bringing a plastic "Britney Spears" lovedoll on the set? Making Matt Lauer nervous with his flirty double-entendres? No, reportedly Cojocaru was sacked because he is going on Oprah to talk about his recent kidney transplant.

Is that the real reason? If Cojocaru was too racy for the morning TV audience (and, truthfully, at times he was), why didn't they come out and say it? Firing him over an Oprah appearance just makes Today look petty.

My friend Laura and I decided long ago that Cojo was our ideal man because he is apparently gay -- or at least really swishy (a quality Laura likes), and he looks like a heroin addict (a quality I like). We both wish him a speedy recovery and a new and better morning gig. Personally, I'd like to see what kind of trouble he could get into with Jack Cafferty on CNN's morning edition.

Related story: Fashion maven Cojocaru loses 'Today' gig

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Now listening to: Kate Bush, "Running up that Hill"

Here's a good article from The Washington Post looking at the future of music formats.

10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD's End

Saturday, February 12, 2005

There were a lot of good discussions at the Triangle Blogger's Conference today, mostly about how to get more traffic to your blog and what the line should be between bloggers and "real" journalists. Ed Cone, who writes a print column and blogs for The Greensbor News & Record had this advice for achieving the former: "Have a take, and don't suck." Good advice.

Some folks at the conference thought it was silly to focus on getting traffic to your blog, which is true. Who are you really writing for? When you start writing for your audience, are you really still writing for yourself? It reminded me of the indy rock concern about selling out. Someone once told me that unless a musician plays absolutely for free they are selling out. That means even the guy who's always playing the violin on Ninth Street in Durham is selling out because he gets a bit of change from passersby. I think most of us would agree that's taking things a bit too far.

Likewise, there were many opinions about big media and how it will be helped or hurt by bloggers. Dan Gillmor made a good point when he said that there's less beat reporting these days, and that's where bloggers are filling a need. It's kind of like the old "Points East" columns in my old hometown newspaper, The Carteret County News Times, in which someone from each of the tiny hamlets east of Beaufort would report on who was sick, who was in town visiting, and what was going on at the local churches.

This is where I think blogging and mainstream media can work together, by hosting community blogs, getting bloggers started and doing deeper reporting on some of the ideas that come out of these blogs. Whether or not these community bloggers will always need the local paper is another story. Gillmor covers grassroots journalism in his book "We the Media," which he was kind enough to autograph for me. I just began reading it, so I'll report back once I've got a better handle on it.

I would have liked to have gone to the Podcasting lunch discussion but unfortunately didn't have the time. While I was there, I did get to see a few folks I hadn't seen in a while, including Tim Ross, who has resurected his old Tuba Frenzy zine into a blog, and Bruce Loebrich, who was one of the folks I interviewed almost exactly two years ago when I first wrote about blogging for The N&O.
Old news, but here's a good article anyway: BBC News: Downloads enter US singles chart

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I wrote in a previous post about the Triangle Bloggers Conference this Saturday (Feb. 12) at UNC-Chapel Hill. In an e-mail this week, the conference's organizers asked participants to post their thoughts on blogs and community and use the term "blog together" in their posts to make them easier to find.

I'll be at the conference, along with at least four of my co-workers who are interested in grassroots journalism and its implications for traditional media outlets. Readers are getting more and more involved in the news process, and mainstream media needs to recognize and accomodate that in order to survive. That's my opinion, btw, not necessarily The N&O's, though I feel certain most of the folks there would agree with me.

I'm a little less certain what the idea of community means for my personal blog. I've been surprised to find out that a few people actually read this. Everything on here has been fairly random, though vaguely related to music. I've gone back and forth on what to write, how to write, how often to write. I've been writing for print for so long that's difficult to get out of the self-editing process.

Having the freedom to write anything I want (within reason, of course -- I don't want to write anything libelous) has been fairly daunting. Does the blog world really need my thoughts on music, technology, local bands, etc? Can I build a community here? Do I even want to, or do I just want to treat this as a personal online diary and repository for links to articles and Web pages I think are cool? After all, I don't have to write for anyone but me.

At a previous publication where I worked, I was told to write so that even a housewife in Apex could understand it. That was the justification my editor used for removing a reference to "Marshall stacks" in one of my articles. He didn't know what that meant, so he didn't know how many other people would get it. Here I can write a rambling post about what to write about, and no one -- but me -- will try to make it work for a certain audience.

Perhaps that's what I'll try to gather from the other journalists at the conference. What kind of personal changes do we need to make before tackling the industry in general?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Here's a link to the article I wrote on emusiclive.

Live, local and legal music downloads available

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

NPR had a cool segment on podcasting on today's broadcast. The best part, I think, is that old big-haired Adam Curry from MTV is apparently an internationally known expert on all this.

I heard the segment while I was on my way over to Chapel Hill for a multimedia class I'm taking at UNC. Being on a campus again after 15 years or so has been really disconcerting. I'm acutely aware that I'm now one of the old farts I used to make fun of back in my undergrad days -- you know, the thirty-something continuing education students who couldn't figure out where to go, how to get properly registered, how to park.

A friend of mine works on campus, and we agreed that we don't even think any of the young hunks on campus are cute. It would be like thinking a 12-year-old is cute. Just wrong, you know? I have been entertained by watching what the students wear and realizing that they really don't look very different from how we used to look in the late 80s. Everyone still wears jeans, though now they're low-waisted and boot-cut (we wore them straight-legged and either stonewashed or completely cut up). They wear their backpacks over both shoulders (we only wore them over one), and North Face is definitely the dominant logo (Reebok was it for us). No one smokes. When I saw a girl with a cigarette today, it was jarring. Back then, the first thing we'd do when walking out of class was light a cigarette; now they flip open their cell phones.

The strangest thing was that everyone looked alike. When I was in college, you could always tell the metal heads (long hair and denim vests over leather motorcycle jackets) from the jocks (sweat suits and baseball caps) from the art students (asymetrical hairdos and thrift-shop clothing) from the College Republicans (khaki pants with blazers and ties. Now everyone looks like they've been shopping at the Gap.