Archive for March, 2006
As I write its about 1 AM and I feel like a grad school student again with much to do and precious little time for niceties like sleep.
First of all, thanks for having me in advance. I always like visiting with the class every year, if only because it gets me back up to campus.
As you know I was in the class of 1997, way back in the dim mists of history for the new media workshop days. In fact those days are such ancient history that the school stopped storing the archives of our projects sometime in 1999 or 2000 when the server they were living on crashed.
I’ve been slowly and painstakingly re-assembling the projects from the shreds that remains, in a project I’ve come to describe as digital archaeology. I use the piecemeal pieces of the projects, luckily preserved at The Internet Archive to put them back together one file at a time. With my job schedule and so on, I don’t get much time to work on this restoration project. But here’s a few things you can look at. First is the NMW home page from 1997. This was the first year that Dean Sreenivasan taught the class with a chap named Andrew Lih, who now teaches in Hong Kong. Andrew used what I think was the first commerically available digital camera — made by Apple oddly enough — to take the picture of me on this page in late 1996.
I don’t know what it was like this year, but the New Media Workshop was the hot ticket class in 1997. After the bubble burst in 2000, I noticed the class size tended to shrink, and so I’ll be curious to see how full the room is tonight. It tends to ebb and flow with the perceptions of students that the Internet is where the jobs will be after graduation, or not. We should talk about this.
If you’re interested in the historical perspective of the class you’re taking, I’d encourage you to check out what’s available from The Internet Archive. You might also find this early iteration of NYC24 interesting as well. I’ll talk a bit more about the history of NYC24 later tonight.
I point out all this ancient history because I think in those days we focused a lot more on the nuts and bolts of production than on compelling storytelling. In 1997, we hand-coded the HTML almost 100% of the time, and had never heard of Dreamweaver and knew nothing of Flash. Creating an audio file – what we now in some instances might call Podcasting – was a rather involved affair involving cassette tapes borrowed from the radio folks, a trip to the radio lab, a session in ProTools, and so on. Today I could speak into the Mic on my iSight camera, record an audio or video stream, edit it in a few minutes with Audacity, or iMovie and publish it in another two or three minutes via Audioblog. The tools we dreamed of then are common now. As John Prine so famously sang: “We are living in the future.”
What else would I like to talk about tonight? What life is like on the job as a reporter for an Internet publication. I’ve worked for a few of those over the last decade or so. And speaking of a decade or so, what was I doing 10 years ago tonight? Probably writing a weekly column that appeared in the paper I was working for at the time, predicting that within 15 years most of the paper of the newspaper industry would be gone and we’d be reading digital tablets. Well, how far off the mark was I in 1996? We can talk about that. I’ll be very interested to know where you think digital media is going, where it should and should not go, how your media consumption habits differ from mine. I’d like to know what you’re reading, watching and listening to, online, in paper, and in whatever other forms of media the engineers are dreaming up these days.
Other things you should remind me to talk about: Internships, and other situations that might be available with my current employer. The strange realities of Internet journalism, how a guy like me ended up as a business reporter, what I think makes for a good story, and whatever else comes to mind. And I’ll be interested in hearing what you all have to say, so come to class ready to talk back and forth. Duy tells me to be prepared to talk for 45 minutes and leave 15 minutes for questions. We can also talk about your pitches for the next issue of NYC24 if you like.
If you’d like to know what I’ve been working on recently, here are some links:
AMD Plays Offense
And some stuff from the old place:
See you in about 16 hours.