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New Media Wine Skins

New Media Wine Skins

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Published by Steven Donahue
Language web 2.0
Language web 2.0

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Published by: Steven Donahue on Jun 12, 2007
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New Media Wineskins

Steven Donahue1 explains the possible

future of the new media.
The dilemma for the new media (2.0-5.0) is whether to deliver consumers “News-tainment,” or”Edu-tainment”. The former involves mostly poll-driven entertainment-based news, while the latter focuses upon an educational component, a prerequisite for advancing the United States’ global position. The author proposes a middle ground involving “application bundles” and explains the battle underway between the two modes.

Words;10995/Final Draft

Steven Donahue is a full-time assistant professor at Miami Dade College, Feature Editor for Language Magazine, a member of The National Press Club, The Society of Professional Journalists, and The National Writer’s Union. He has published over 100 articles and numerous self-published books. See http://www.languagemagazine.com/ ,as well as sophisticated software programs, some providing language training for the U.S. Military in Afghanistan and American K-16 students..




A World with Too Many Trees ............................................................................ 3 On Third Base ............................................................................................................. 4 Readership..................................................................................................................... 7 Diversity on Steroids .......................................................................................... 8 The New Literacy .................................................................................................... 10 Media Crystal Ball ............................................................................................... 11 Doing Well, by Doing Good............................................................................... 12 Community & Investment ...................................................................................... 13 The New Media Pyramid ........................................................................................ 16 Think Tanking ........................................................................................................... 20 Powered by People Inside ................................................................................. 21 Big ‘M’ and Little ‘m’ ...................................................................................... 25 Jargon for the New Media ................................................................................. 26 It’s About Community, Dummy .......................................................................... 27 New Media Plan for ‘Dummies’ ....................................................................... 28 Follow the Money .................................................................................................... 30 Slicing up the American Pie .......................................................................... 31 Content: Key and King ........................................................................................ 32 A Gaggle of Broken Gears ................................................................................. 34 The Disparate Engine........................................................................................... 40 Educational Mega-Trends ................................................................................... 44 Fixing a Busted Engine ...................................................................................... 47 It’s All Edu-tainment” ...................................................................................... 49 Game-Like Learning ............................................................................................... 54 Apples and Oranges ............................................................................................... 60 The Quantum Leap .................................................................................................... 63 Writing is Different........................................................................................... 68 A New Model ................................................................................................................ 72 Media Conundrum....................................................................................................... 74 Movers and Shakers ............................................................................................... 75 FOOTNOTES ..................................................................................................................... 78


A World with Too Many Trees

Imagine, if you can, a world with too many trees-populated with vast wooded forests. Treed mountains destined otherwise for the pulp of fiction and nonfiction. Imagine a world where people reading what appears to be ‘paper’ are scanning what is actually advanced, reusable software powered by nano-technology connected live to the Web. Welcome to the future of the new media: christened Web 2.0 to 5.0 by some, a rehash of Tim Berner-Lee’s “read-writeexecute” Web by others.

At We Media Miami in February 2007, ideas galore spawned like salmon in heat. Ideas tossed about, debated, and discarded on how to get this new media wine poured into new wineskins. Not to mention, pouring the media-wine in such a manner without repeating the burst Internet-Tulip Bubble of 1999.

We Media, essentially, functions as a marketplace of cutting-edge ideas. These razor-sharp media-thought


innovations come from an eclectic social network of funding sources, entrepreneurs, community activists, media executives, and strategic thinkers. To these visionaries, the Internet is not a mere broadcasting platform; rather, its very flesh and blood is a nouveau platform for social participation, consciousness raising, and committed action.

The term Web 2.0 coined by Tim O’Reilly in 2004 consisted of social network sites, Wikis, Communication tools, and Folk-sonomies. Tim Berners-Lee disagreed, saying in so many words that Web 2.0 was old wine in new bottles.

One new media bard of social media issues, Shel Israel, author of Naked Conversations, succinctly defined the traditional newspaper as a passé “addiction to the dead tree smeared with dead berries produced by a gas-fueled press.” None in attendance at the We Media conference in Miami particularly objected to his pronouncement, but some did indeed squirm in their journalistic seats.

On Third Base

In fact, this was the third We Media Conference. The first We Media starred former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in New


York; the second featured actor Richard Dreyfuss, hosted by Reuters and the BBC, in London. However, the temperature was torpid, and the media’s thirst consequently unquenchable. At the Miami We Media events, participants frenzied like a puppies chasing each other’s tails to catch onto the massive media change underway.

Truth as told, traditional newspapers and media outlets are ‘running scared,’ literally treed, about the changing landscape. Just drive down any street populated with bus stops, and those waiting are just not reading—not anything at all. People absorb information from locked and loaded cell phones and I-Pods or other electronic devices. Fighting back, newspapers have attempted to adapt to this new readership environment. In 1997, news Web sites merely mirrored images of their print editions. By 2007, these primitive forays had expanded into Web encounters of immersive experiences, social networks, and networked devices—the so called Web 2.0

However, the next “point-five-score years” will present unprecedented and hyperbolic changes. Recently, converging upon Miami at the We Media Conference was a cross-section of the movers and shakers from all the big-name media


organizations holding court on the intersection of journalism, citizen journalism, and digital media.2 Some at

the We Media Conference unabashedly dubbed these emerging media phenomena as “The most significant industrial and social change since the discovery of oil.”

The nuts and bolts of We Media Miami was presented by iFocos with major support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in cooperation with its host—the University of Miami. Other sponsors included: • • Lanacion.com, a leading news site in Spanish; Nokia Nseries, maker of single device high-performance multimedia computers; • • • • • Reuters, the global information company; Scraplog, an unparalleled photo-sharing community; Topix.Net, the leading news community on the Web; Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive (WPNI); Digital Media Wire, provider of daily briefings on media convergence topics; • Technocrati, world’s authority on the global blog phenomena;


[Please See Table of Movers and Shakers at end of article]


Media Bistro, dedicated to helping those in the content industry; and,

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, established to improve the quality of the journalism craft.


Back at the bus stop, the papers fly into the air like Job’s whirlwind. In 1955, Rudolph Flesch shook up the nation with his seminal work Why Johnny Can’t Read. No one envisioned; however, that the very way we read, the reading media, and even the ethnically loaded name of Johnny (and its implied lack of diversity in the 1950s U.S.), would so profoundly, in a Guttenberg-like tidal wave, alter the very face and pace of America in “two-dot-five-score years” since its publication.1

In 1955, the newspaper was an instrument to inform and educate. Now, the threat to the 1955 media is multifold: bottom lines, education, demographic diversity, and channel-abundance. The Web is always the answer, it seems.


Yet disparity reigns on many levels. In 2006, while only seven percent of US consumer spending was online, these very same consumers hit the Web with 35% of their digital time. This 28% disparity between time-spent and cashdispensed is paling the bottom line of media houses. For them, the success model, indeed, is the travel business where 54% of all cash bookings occur online. Merrill Brown of MMB Media forecast:” The fact that YouTube is trading at multiples of 30 times is telling. It’s not about technology; it’s about people, a sub-set of community.”

Diversity on Steroids

Therefore, the bottom-line conundrum for publishers is how to get these digital eyeballs to cough up the dollars on costly-to-make-and-maintain digital media platforms.

Changing demographic eyeballs mean more than different colored money to the newsmakers. In News in a New America by Sally Lehrman, a book that examines news coverage of America, and commissioned by the Knight Foundation Journalism Program, raises issues and poises pivotal questions about the role of diversity in the newsroom. Lehrman writes, “A transformation is sweeping the country. 8

The United States is fast becoming a nation of many cultures, with increasing differences between young and old, rich and poor, city and rural [. . .] we must give Americans the tools they need to understand each other.”2

In a section of Lehrman’s book, Bill Dedman and Stephen K. Doig pointedly ask, “Are low-sales neighborhoods explained by incomes? By competition from other papers? Do race, ethnicity and language play a role?”3 Sandy Close citing the

New America Media survey cites,” [. . .] more people ages 18 to 34 watched Univision’s early news in 2004 than any other local newscast in English or Spanish.”4

And, the above demographic roosters are finally coming home to roost. V-me5 is a spanking brand-new national network

marriage with public TV, wedding quality programming in Spanish with the proven PBS format. Just unleashed nationwide, V-me is aimed towards educating and entertaining America’s 38 million Spanish speaking viewers. (If you have not figured it out yet, “veme” is a play on words commanding the viewer to “watch me.”).

V-me is an agglomeration of partnerships: the PBS flagship, Channel Thirteen/WNET New York; KCET in Los Angeles; and


supported initially by a group of private investors led by the Baeza Group and Syncom Funds.

Presently, V-me hits 60% of all US Hispanic homes, saturating markets in: New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, San Francisco, San Antonio, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno, Denver, Tucson, and Orlando. Near term, V-me expects to broaden to 50 million homes in early 2008.

The New Literacy

Perhaps, the stakes are even higher than cash. Linguist Leonard Bloomfield once wrote, “Literacy is the most important factor in keeping up our civilization [. . .’].”6

However, the very nature of reading itself has changed from since John Ruskin lectured in an English library, “[...] you must get into the habit of looking intensely at words, and assuring yourself of their meaning, syllable by syllable—nay, letter by letter.”7 Collectively, postmodern

society has shouted ‘nay’ to Ruskin, for today’s reader is a scanner of more information and images in an hour than a Victorian viewed in a week. Hardly time, indeed, for any 10

higher-order analysis of this overflow of input among the collective readership. Thus, the other tandem bottom-line continues to be educating the public to read, digest, and enjoy the news.

Media Crystal Ball

IFocos was the DNA gluing all of this together in Miami. IFocos’ overarching mission is to spur global innovation in the media. To these ends, it has stitched together a nonprofit community of innovators and investors in media and communications.

A partial list of stars includes the Associated Press, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), and Denmark’s Center for Journalism Education. Additionally, IFocos has formed a world class board of directors including Craig Newmark (Craiglist founder), Merrill Brown, an interactive media partner, and executives from Gannet, Reuters, Fast Company’s Alan M. Webber, Qualcomm and a host of other companies. Not resting on its heels, in 2007, IFocos will kick-start new research into educational content and innovations in an increasingly connected world.


Doing Well, by Doing Good

The theme of We Media was unfettered free speech, in all its splendid, diverse rainbow of voices, pumped up by the question of how to generate cash off this global phenomenon; thus, “doing well, by doing good”. The media’s crystal ball, still darkly opaque, cast a tentative shadow on a new world of collective intelligence just, around the corner for participants to ponder and probe deeply.

However, the emerging model seemed to be missing intellectual rigor at the We Media events. Before delving into that terrain, a word about nomenclature:

Web 1.0

The traditional Web we all know. The “mash up” Web of agglomeration. The News-tainment Web.

Web 2.0

Web 3.0

The semantic Web with human reasoning ability. Business Applications.

Web 4.0

The Web with robust operating systems online.

Web 5.0

The Edu-tainment Web.


Community & Investment

Indeed, links in blogs, Wikpedia, and Wikis are just an initial expression of an emerging, global, and collective intelligence that will certainly be the future. Even now, Amazon and E-bay exemplify successful firms which both rely on this collective intelligence to function. Overall, the conference revolved around two intertwined motifs: Community and Investment.

The Community theme focused on serving and strengthening community via an ever-expanding multitude of online forums, produced, in many cases, by “Citizen Journalists.” The Investment thread involved a great deal of toothsome gnashing on how to either tame or make money off this new Web beast.

The question of this decade is how to build, sustain, and profit off the new, emerging breed of social entrepreneurship, while achieving a better world. Pretty heady stuff, indeed, and, in brief, the gathering forecast, without a doubt, an emergence of the collective


intelligence of this wholly wired society by 2012—a world, seen but darkly; one we can barely imagine now.

For she’s coming around the corner to usher in a nearpaperless, better-informed, braver new world powered by social action derived from a seamless connectivity of news and entertainment. Contrarily, the media or engineering does not matter—cell, PC, TV, I-Pod are just a continuum of delivery options. This new web is the center of gravity

for a fresh generation; they shall inherit a new world far as removed from the age of media innocence as John Ruskin is to Marshall McLuhan. For the new generation chuckles at the archaic idea of watching television without a remote, on-demand, fully connected, or by voice command.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. McLuhan, in the Global Village, by virtue of a typographical error wrote, “The medium is the massage,” which came out to be “The medium is the message,” which he liked better after all. McLuhan did foresee a social movement from individualism and fragmentation (his toponym for this was called the ‘Gutenberg Galaxy), towards a collective identity with a “tribal base.” His drawback was that his conclusions


derived from the aural/oral tradition of the 1950s based on Jazz, radio, and television. His conclusions were not inclusive of film, television, computers, or the million widgets around today.

In fact, McLuhan’s central thesis was that the “form” of the media was far more important than any “content” it might deliver. In other words, it is the type of media, which changes the user’s consciousness, not the content. His analogy was the light bulb that cast light into an otherwise unusable, dark space. While most do not realize it, McLuhan’s thesis is the opposite of what the Web 2.0 is supposed to be about—where content reigns supreme.

The dire dilemma pressing publishers, broadcasters, and radio stations is how to place content online without cannibalizing their main offerings. This collective media task must create a new user experience, yet salvage the meat and potatoes of tradition. Newspapers doomed, most media pundits do not see a future for the traditional print model, nor do advertisers, as circulation figures continue to plummet. Free models are underway to provide free Adobe PDF, I-Pod broadcasts, and ancillary services of online


versions. We Media issued a clarion call for a new model to emerge now, nay, yesteryear.

The New Media Pyramid

Figure 1 New Media Pyramid

The broad outline of how the new Web will function is illustrated in figure two (2) above. In summary, the new media pyramid diagram above has three components: (1) free content at the bottom to drive traffic volume, (2)


proprietary offerings in the middle. That is, riveting content that defies aggregation and also requires users to integrate with the brand and its community, and (3) at the top, premium content, which can be charged for to, committed members of that community.

Thus, a detailed overview of this media iceberg has at its base free content to draw a thematically based specialinterest audience. Audience niches are incredibly rich and range almost from dog-lovers to dog-eaters. In short, free content at the base draws the eyeballs or hits.

Just above free content are proprietary offerings equipped with kind, gentle hooks, such as extracting user data or membership in return for access that is more robust and protected content. This evangelical phase, builds up a base of passionate users, and offers them quality: aggregated in such a way that it is unavailable as conveniently for niche interests elsewhere.

At the apex of the pyramid is the cash cow. Here, premium content, such as full-length clips or industrial-strength applications (“bundles”) are made available: for a price. Applications bundles can range from online essay evaluation


programs for entire schools, to online editing tools for video.

Figure 2 The New Newspaper


In figure three (3), above, the Print Edition of a magazine or newspaper remains the historical document. However, online versions of it increase in quality, quantity, and availability as the community winnows its way up the pyramid hierarchy. Free Content at the base consists of the usual Web offerings, plus access to interest-specific blogs. In addition, Free Content offers parallel I-POD or other broadcasts of the television or radio programs.

At the center of the Web 3.0 pyramid is where committed members get free CD/DVDS, monetary tokens or other give-a ways based on level of commitment. At the apex, full membership entails access to industrial strength programs, applications, as well as the full resources of the newspaper or magazine, including the printed edition.


In this manner, the print edition expands its readership, which in turn feeds the revenue source from advertisers. By putting commercial content here, an important source of mass content is also made available at the institutional or direct television/radio marketing level.

At the top of the diagram is the BLOG box, which represents special interest Blogs, one of which ties into a tandem television/radio/I-POD broadcast program. Various partnerships and alliances are sought, some of whom are sponsors, in an effort to keep increasing the value of the new media by counting cash-delivering eyeballs.

Think Tanking

Some ideas bantered about touted synergizing the old with the new. Rather than viewing Yahoo and its ilk as a threat, old media needs to adapt through partnerships with these new media companies in a natural partnership.

But, such an alliance may be inherently at cross-purposes warned Rich Skrenta CEO of Topix.net when he noted, “The Internet is the first two-way mass medium the world has seen. The Web enables millions of simultaneous 20

conversations. If a newspaper site receives 250,000 comments by introducing a feedback system, that very volume may present editorial challenges.” On the other hand, Skrenta points out: “That’s a quarter of a million comments they might not have had.”

Skrenta’s Topix.net, a top 25 news destination, is a leading news community of 360,000 categorized and lively user-generated forums on the web, which links news from 50,000 sources. Topix also focuses on alliances with major media companies to engage online audiences through classifieds, forms, RSS feeds, and publishing platforms. Recently, Topix partnered with the Tribune Interactive to roll out to all 12 Tribune papers, ultimately getting up to 14 million unique visitors per month.

Powered by People Inside

Power to the people is the chant of this new integrated, multi-platform world. Michael Maness, Vice President of Strategic Planning for Gannett’s newspaper department, described the trajectory arcing towards an online model of “information centers” rather than news sites. For example,


in Fort Myers, a ruthless utility company slapped townspeople with terrific connection fees. If it were the old media, there would be some gleaned editorial protests on the matter a few days later. Instead, the local paper’s Web site put out a call for experiences and was inundated with the passion of the responses, which spilled out onto the public meeting. The paper had not just reported, but reported in-depth, and caused social action through a social community it had built around itself.

The Web is still not king of the hill. Over 123 million newspapers are produced each day compared to 50 million registered newsreaders online. The question is multifold: are the print editions read, by whom, and which ads ring up the cash register? The consensus, affirmed by Alberto Ibarguen, President and CEO of the Knight Foundation (which owns among other interests, the Miami Herald) is that, “We are in an historical cycle of change.” Knight-Ridder is wrestling, like other old media firms, with a tripleconvergence of Entertainment, Traditional Media, and the buzzing among Social Communities, and pondering, “How does this all come together?”


To answer that self-posed question, Knight-Ridder has set up a series of grants for those who come up with new, integrative ideas. Ideas, which incidentally, just might save the old media’s endangered posterior.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is indeed responding. Ibarguen, has written, “We need to celebrate the evolution of our media and encourage it. Darwin was roughly right: it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.8”

The Knight Foundation’s credo is that, “The world will solve its most difficult problems when people learn to communicate better across borders.” To such ends, the Foundation has established The Knight Center for International Media at the University Of Miami’s School Of Communication. The UM Center is dedicated to breaking down walls among nations and cultures, raising consciousness, and a set of global and local priorities which include Environmental climate change, Gender and cultural equality, Freedom of Speech, and Global public health.


As usual, John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International, provoked the audience with statistics and scintillating scenarios of what might be. He took a secretive pleasure in announcing, “Wars are how Americans learn geography.” Then, Zogby informed the audience “40% of those living on the planet earth are between the ages of twenty and twenty-eight.” Zogby sketched out the current

dichotomy: the sensational saturation with the drama of Nicole Smith’s demise vs. the imponderable crisis in Darfur. He queried, “ How do you make Darfur entertain?” Zogby described televisions, computers, and other devices as, “Mere wires, lights, and a box,” that deflect from the real story now unfolding. He said the phenomenon is palpable in community-based television shows, such as, The Today Show, The O’Reilly Factor, American Idol, and The View, which all “Take pride in diversity and exist for the sake of the users.”

However, the future will provide a different type and quality of news he noted, “The new media will be more and more news from the inside out. For example, there are few foreign correspondents in Nepal. But news is coming out. Some of it is not exactly false; and not exactly true.”


Big ‘M’ and Little ‘m’

Yesteryear, 1955, was the heyday of top-down big media conglomerates—the newsmakers; nowadays, it is peoplepowered little media’s time to bask in the digital sun. So in today and tomorrow’s world, it will take more than CBS’s Walter Cronkite making a pronouncement that the Viet Nam war is lost, to cause effective action. Today, there are a plethora of voices, which fall at every conceivable portion of the spectrum on niche and global issues. In short, the Web is a potentially dangerous place of conspiracy theories and radical fringe elements sidled right up against the traditional middle-of-the-road press.

Fabrice Florin and Rory O’Conner, innovators of NewsTrust.net, have sought to inject a dose of selfpolicing and objectivity into the free-for-all news so prevalent on the Web. O’Connor, a veteran Washington, D.C. journalist quipped, “ News no longer trickles down from speeches on the U.S. Senate floor, but bubbles up to the government like anti-gravity magma running up the volcano.” They have created an algorithmic program where members of their community can add facts to a posted story and rate it, but where the raters themselves also are self-policed 25

by other members of the evaluation community using their proprietary rubric. The identity of the users, while anonymous to the general public, is verified by NewsTrust.net, in order to prevent “Gaming the system by special interest groups,” says O’Connor.

NewsTrust.net recently conducted a survey of the ratings given to mainstream press stories ranked by professional journalists against citizen ratings and were flabbergasted that the differences were so minute. Concerning these findings, Florin commented earnestly that NewsTrust’s innovative system is, “A transparent one of trust building among professional journalists, journalism students, and citizen experts.”

Jargon for the New Media

This sea change in the very nature of journalism has mashed into new jargon, called, “Newstainment” by Jan Schaffer, of J-Lab. J-lab is an investment seed fund and research entity, following the emergence of the new-fangled media. Schaffer told the throng, “This new phenomena is not so much acts of pure journalism, but acts of community


building. And sometimes this lays outside the comfort zone of traditional journalists.” J-Labs conducted a comprehensive survey of over 500 community sites and found them about 70% successful.

Success was measured by, “Impact on the community, increasing voter turnout, and completing a finished story,” she said of the threshold parameters. Perhaps, portending troublesome nettles for big media, she also noted, “Most of those sites are self sustaining and have no plans to turn a profit.” As an indication of the super-speed of this growing phenomena, J-Lab’s same survey had identified five hundred hyper-local news sites in October 2006, but more than 200 more have been discovered even since then.

It’s About Community, Dummy!

Continuing, Jan Schaffer of J-Lab said, “A lot of hyperlocal journalism involves less about journalism and more about community and participation. They don’t present conventional news stories, but more a mix of news and ‘schmooze’, driven by the passion of the writers.” That “passion space” is an area that journalists find hard to 27

enter, so these local news sites are bridging the glaring gap so apparent in traditional media.

So is this virtual world real or not? Believable or just the twilight zone? According to Naked Conversation’s author Shel Israel, taking the tact of e-Harmony matchmaking promises, said,” These online communities are genuine and can create lasting, meaningful friendships and connections.” Israel went on to elaborate that the path to profitability for publishers must entail, “To build content through aggregation and increase margins through engagement.”

New Media Plan for ‘Dummies’

Shel Israel limned six linchpins publishers must follow:


Community is a new form of content creation. And content is the key eyeball magnet.


Social networks will be the most powerful distribution network for this content.



Social networks subvert the editorial functions of the old media.


Tools and applications are the new “editorial bundles.”


Multi-platforms are the only basis for online publishing.


Video is the new, rich lingua franca of online content.

Even cutting-edge MTV is running hard to catch up with the emergence of customization media. Ian Rowe, MTV’s mouthpiece, called the emergence of the new media a “threshold moment,” that his company is pursuing fullsteam. He said, “MTV’s mission is to engage viewers with some of the great issues of our times: from Global Warming to the Breaking Addictions series.”

Rowe continued by stating,” Every aspect of their business is changing. It’s no longer enough for MTV to tell its audience that AIDS in Africa or the war in Sudan is important, because its audience has their own ideas about issues and problems that they want discussed.” So, MTV


wants to reward its users for contributing their own ideas and material, which might be video about a local recycling program, for example. “We play an important role in normalizing behavior, so we want to give people the opportunity to take action on what they care about and reward that behavior.” The motto he says is to promote, “Getting famous, by doing good, as the cool thing to do.”

Rowe elaborated, “In 2012, MTV will have a very different relationship with its audience.” Right now, MTV decides which programs to show and when to show them, but in 2012 there might not be top-down, long-form content. “They want short form content when they want it on their device of choice . We’re going to have a lot more input from young people in terms of the creative process. But it’s exciting that people have platforms that empower them to speak out.”

Follow the Money

Jeff Taylor (Monster.com) said, “The definition of an entrepreneur is when everyone thinks your ideas are crazy and you still act on them.” However, even with his track record as Monster.com’s founder, he found it troublesome to secure funding for his Eons.com project and has dogged-and30

ponied up before 50 venture capitalists (VCs) endeavoring to secure second-round funding. His newest brainchild, Eons.com is going after the baby-boomers and actually restricts access to anyone less than fifty years of age.

Everyone knows that the money has followed the YouTubes and the MySpaces. The question is – where else is the money in this new, multi-platform space? Brian O’Malley of Battery Ventures pointed to tripadvisor.com as a site that has successfully monetized such communities by integrating them with relevant, targeted and niche advertising.

Slicing up the American Pie

New media demographics are like an American pie that is being sliced up by age, gender, and other confessional identities. Lisa Stone, President, Operations & Evangelism of BlogHer.com pointed out that women represent 51% of the population. Thus, her demographic target covers over half of the population. Blog Her is a network of blogs covering news for women, and lists over 8,000 blogs and has 60 volunteer editors. She voiced that, “It is about action; not hand wringing.” 31

Blogher.com ties in philanthropic interest groups aimed towards real-world action. For instance, they recently raised $10,000 through the community to donate to Doctors without Borders. Stone said, “This is the future. And it is encouraging.” She notes the marked gender differences in blog posting manners between men and women. Women tend to carry on conversations about what they care about—from what tugs at the heart strings to the correct way to cook a turkey. But women talk about a great deal more than recipes at Blogher.com: recent blog conversations sparked online fireworks, debating presidential candidates Senator Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama in their network of communities.

Content: Key and King

Contrary to McLuhan, quality content is the fly-paper that attracts loyal members of a community. However, producing content is “enormous and tasking job”, said Georgio Riva, managing director of RCS Digital. The same content cannot be delivered on different platforms – it has to be re32

versioned and device-specific. The mobile screen is different than TV, paper, or the web. Publishers, communications firms and the content producers have to take that into account. Riva noted, “Indeed it is a fact that 75% of people have web access on their mobile phones, but only one third of them have actually tried it. Apart from ‘bill shock’, why is the experience still so bad? There will be a billion phones sold next year and, on a good day, ten million of those will be IPhones.”

Multi-platform is a key jargon term. Adapting content is not the issue, said Franck Perrier, chief executive and cofounder of Eyeka. “The issue is to design and create content which is adaptive. Publishers have to allow the customer to stick to their brand— whatever the device.”

New and old media are on the same road, and the encounters are akin to a newfangled automobile encountering a traditional horse and buggy. In fact, Taylor of Monster.com fame, offered a media analogy. He referenced a 1907 motoring magazine that advised car drivers how to deal with stubborn-headed horses impeding roadways. It advised the driver to turn the car off, get out of the vehicle, and let the horse pass gracefully. Failing that, give a gentle


“Whoa”. If the horse still does not gently pass, take hold of its reins and walk it past the car, then restart the auto and drive on. The moral is that the new media is leading the old, and telling it that its time has passed like a horse and buggy is to an automobile.

The new media knows that reading and writing are inextricably intertwined—the question is whether to scuttle them in favor of surround sound and video. Nationally, we face a steep cliff to climb: reading scores are tragically abysmal: 59% of whites read below proficient; 85% for Hispanics; 88% for blacks.9

Writing is a “gatekeeper” to

finding quality employment, yet according to the recent report The Neglected R, “writing is clearly the most neglected” skill.10 The literacy news gets even worse—

perhaps, even cataclysmic for the American way of life. Or for the reading of print media.

A Gaggle of Broken Gears

The Achilles’ heel of We Media was in not addressing the

overall drop in learning achievement—the educational paradox. The term “Paradox” means to describe the out-of-


gear crisis now omnipresent in the omnipresent American school system.

First, the very freedom that Americans join traces to a journalistic pamphlet: Paine’s Common Sense. George Washington confided that Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, “[ . . .] is working a powerful change there in the minds of many men.” Paine had penned such powerful words as, “The sun never shined on a cause of greater worth. Everything that is right or reasonable pleads for separation.” Common Sense had become wore widely read than anything previously published in the soon to be United States of America. In The Crisis (December 1776) Paine began with these immortal lines:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink fro the service of this country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Therefore, it is ironic, even paradoxical, that the new media is seeking social action via a “souped up” Web, when our very foundation of the Republic attributes to action


derived from the printed word. At the We Media Miami event, the Press was acknowledging either their irrelevancy or lack of skill in communicating in moving prose to the reading public.

Figure 3 Broken Educational Machine In addition, the monkey wrenches that have stalled the gear teeth of the educational system include the press. The passages from Paine and Washington are probably unknown by most Americans, daresay, most journalists. Education has devolved into a gargantuan system of lip service, a veritable broken machine, dedicated to the lowest possible 36

rung of dumb-downed passableness. What passes for news, is not actionable—it is dull stories of superstars and sensationalism for the most part. It is not education for the press itself is a choir guilty of singing, “We don’t need no education.”

Of course, learning has been on the tip of the nation’s tongue since the beginning of the republic. As Benjamin Franklin noted, “The good Education of Youth has been esteemed by wise Men of all Ages, as the surest Foundation of the Happiness of both private Families and of Commonwealths.11”

In 1785, Congress established the Land

Ordinance which ordered the setting aside of one lot in each new township in the Western Territory for public schooling.

We have collectively lost our way since the birth of the nation. A technological tsunami wave has ushered in the profound social and economic changes of digital era. Yet countervailing dire warning signs are growing about the very efficiency of the United States’ educational engine underpinning this digital revolution.


E.D. Hirsch, Jr. writes in The Knowledge Deficit, “The American principle of opportunity and fairness implies not just effective early education but also a degree of commonality in education. The founders of our educational principles, Thomas Jefferson in Virginia and, later, Horace Mann in Massachusetts, saw this implication clearly as the very essence of the democratic ideal. The child of the prince and the child of the pauper deserve the same initial chance.”12

During the Colonial period, newspapers provided a commonality that stitched together a new nation with a shared common background. Hirsch has concluded that, “[. .

.] reading, writing, and all communication depend upon hidden, taken-for-granted knowledge that is not directly expressed in what is said or written. Therefore, in order to teach children how to understand what is said or written, we must teach them that taken-for-granted background knowledge.13”

In today’s polarized climate, the very set of that background knowledge is under constant debate. Conservatives abhor exposing children to books, such as, “Heather Has Two Mommies.” Liberals loath the idea of a


curriculum slanted towards Christian theology and antiDarwinism. With such fights about the fundamentals of whether or not The Mayflower ought to be taught at all, we have become a diverse nation for sure: split along red and blue states, and every color and creed in between. It would seem to a cynic, that the word “United” has been deleted from the United States of America. Will the Web 2.0 fix this disunity, or exacerbate it?

The Fork in The Road

So, in the new model of the hybrid media Web, are we addressing the needs of “child of the prince and the child of the pauper?” Not if entertainment dominates the apex of the pyramid over education. If entertainment equals education then Shakespeare’s words ring true, “ Learning, like money, may be of so base a coin as to be utterly void of use.” Exactly what is gained from viewing YouTube’s humorous video clips? Video begets short-term memory of vacuous content or as Bayard Taylor wrote, it promotes, “Ignorance like a fire doth burn.” And, the student is left with only gray ashes.


Figure 4 Onwards and Upwards to 5.0

In figure four (4) above, is the heart of the publisher’s dilemma. Cater to the hunger for empty content, like countless silent televisions playing in a sport’s bar. Or wed education into the application bundles at the top of the pyramid to serve the real world needs of the community?

How important is this choice at the apex of the model? Evidence seems to lean toward the conclusion that the K-12 educational engine is a broken machine. According to the US Department of Education’s controversial “Spellings’ Commission Report”14, which found, “Dismal high school

achievement rates nationwide have barely budged in the last


decade. Close to thirty percent of all students in public high schools do not graduate—a proportion that rises among

low income students.” Quoting the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Spellings’ Report stated: “[. . .] 36 percent {of graduating seniors} are considered proficient in reading.”] In addition, if you are a poor

reader, you are a poorer writer. Thus, “[. . .] 63 percent of two-year college students end up taking at least one remedial course.”

As the Spellings panel wound up its final report, the backlash began because institutions of higher education are fretful about the imposition of strict accountability standards upon them paralleling No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and thus ushering in a regimen of high-stakes tests.

In fact, the president of Pace University, David A. Caputo, retorted to the federal commissions findings by issuing, “A Blueprint for Campus Accountability Lessons from the Pace University Experience.” The report highlights this

College’s use of non-quantitative methods, such as “portfolios.”


Incoming students at Pace complete the

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which asks self-reportage on items such as:


• •

How often do you write papers longer than five pages? Take courses that emphasize synthesizing and organizing ideas?

Discuss ideas from reading and classes with faculty members outside of class?

Pace College also uses the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), one of the first standardized measures to gauge college-level critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and written communication.


Figure 5 Educational Polarization

The Spelling Report links the higher education lack of success to a failed K-12 system, which incidentally, is a

system that will, “witness the biggest enrollment growth in our nation’s history—upwards of 2 million students, or 20 percent overall growth.” The mix of poverty, immigrants and minorities is proving a deadly combination of barriers in producing students equipped for the 21st century workforce.

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)actually


showed declines in measures of prose and literacy for college graduates in the last decade.

Educational Mega-Trends

The perfect storm of factors is now influencing American education: globalization, demographics, technology, and changes in values. These trends, in turn, influence the craft of journalism.

Globalization in an information world, where science and engineering are cornerstones, means that former barriers to creating new technologies are now almost moot. By 2010, it some experts estimate that 90% of the world’s scientists and engineers will be in Asia. This trend bodes ill for the educational product—students—which America is now producing to remain competitive worldwide.

By the year 2100, if trends continue, the average American’s lifespan may increase to 107 due to increased efficacy of pharmaceuticals and medicine. With a majority of America’s citizenry trending towards bilingual heritage,


a crisis is looming for literacy, while the country becomes dependent upon immigration, rather than birth rates.

Technology continues to converge, shrink, and become evermore ubiquitous. Advances in DNA-computing, nanotechnology, and biotechnology continue to converge at a breathtaking pace. Businesses follow the money, and the United States has become the consumer engine of the world—a world, which will increasingly produce these, sophisticated goods offshore. The central problem is that the US has not become the reading and writing engine of the world.

Because the new generation views being middle class as a birthright in general, the upcoming generation are the largest group of spenders in history. For them, in general, there is no past, but only a present filled with an electronic bonanza. Their toy chests are filled with XBoxes, DVDs, and GameBoys, Chatrooms, Cellphones, and whatever the latest plaything is.

Even absorbing the day’s news, which a few years ago was at least an exercise in fast reading off the pages of an internet news site, has now given away to video segments with brief ads. These trends have caught the attention of


the Department of Education. Every government report, including Secretary of Education Spelling’s new report “The Spelling’s Report” screams direly of an educational train wreck in the making.

“ The industrial economy of the early 20th century has given way to an information and service economy that demands higher levels of academic and technical knowledge, as well as critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills.16”

Critical thinking is a rarer commodity in the rumor mill of the Web. As the Spelling’s diagnosis shows, there is a dramatic drop in literacy in America—especially among those who have graduated college. For those who can still spell, the word is T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Trouble for teachers putting forth citizens equipped with basic critical skills and for businesses that need literate workers to keep America running. Print media that depend upon readers with background knowledge.


Fixing a Busted Engine

There are indeed many ironies at play in the educational universe. The primary one being that it is a system seemingly incapable of self-learning itself. Moreover, both the poison and antidote for America’s educational woes mirror each other with awful symmetry. On one hand, the digital age has provided access to vast amounts of entertainment.

Competing against this phenomenon is an educational system, which offers increasing testing regimens; yet, only a thin veneer of non-engaging content, which addresses practical learning deficiencies. Train rails nailed down long ago, and boxcars are rolling with little educational cargo of merit inside the ghost train destined for a national wreck.

In brief, the poison is the media (and demographics, of course), and the antidote is more technology, but intelligent technology—just beyond our collective fingertips.


Figure 6 Polarization in the Classroom

Bill Gate’s proposition of a parallel learning revolution is still unfulfilled, “[. . .] Education in the digital age will offer tremendous promise. Learning will be far more student-centered. Teachers, parents, and students will work collaboratively and students will be prepared for a technological workplace with the opportunity to engage in life-long learning.”


In this era of the “Information


Explosion,” and the Web, G.M. Trevelyan’s quip holds especially true in America: “Education [. . .] has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.”

As the Spellings’ Report declares, “ Little of the significant research of the past decade in areas such as cognitive science, neurosciences, and organizational theory is making it into American classrooms, whether at the K-12 level or in colleges and universities (page 9).”

“It’s All Edu-tainment”

The causes are legion for the “dumbing-down” of America. Chris Dede, a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, has said that this is the “Dark Age” in U.S. Education. He says that the next generation will shape the economy for decades to come, as we are entering the global knowledge-based economy. First movers in this new economy will gain an insurmountable advantage over those with a poorly educated populace just as England dominated the 49

industrial age. He calls for moving to a second-generation set of testing and accountability and not pretend that the first-generation tools are perfect.

With so many fingers pointing blame as to blot out the sky, the azure is obscured, as Science Fiction author Harlan Ellison has noted, “But we are entertaining ourselves out of existence.18” In fact, this generation has experienced

the “perfect storm,” in terms of conditions not conducive

to learning. Conditions encompassing an overabundance of television viewing by youngsters, the proliferation of computer games, vocabulary attrition in modern music, the fostering of anti-intelligence attitudes particularly within minority groups, newspaper readership down with only 40% of those 18 to 24 reading a paper on a daily basis.

In an environment where learners are spending an increasing portion of their lives online, the antidote to the gloom of the ‘Dark Age,’ may be in an intelligent poison— that is, by combining education and entertainment. “Whyville,” is

a virtual world started by CalTech biology professor James Bower, and it has a growing sponsorship. Chris Dede, who


has developed “River City” for enabling students to travel back in time to the 1800s and assist with curing infectious diseases argues that while “Whyville,” is better than overtly commercial ‘learning’ sites, the content or activities of such approaches must be real learning to take place. more engaging for

Figure 7 Games & Education For the thinking public, who are trying to reach ‘self actualization’ atop Maslow’s educational pyramid, the Internet with all its raw information is a blessing.19 At

this apex, human learners embrace facts of the world, are


spontaneous and creative, interested in problem solving, and have a non-prejudicial sense of morality. In other words, the perfect students ideally fit into an imperfect, challenging world.


Figure 8

Maslow's Hierarchy


However, for many of the young, the information explosion is an accursed maze. For teachers, the perennial question is: where is the content? And as educators await that

blessed season of the promised learning revolution, the three “R’s” are dying a slow death, except for the select and the elite--and there is a widening gap bifurcating those who have a real education, and the hoi polloi addicted to mere two-second sound bytes. And in fact, there is a chasm between “Newstainment” and “Edutainment,” that has not been addressed by many at the We Media conferences.

Game-Like Learning

It used to be a slow, simple world.

Only crazy people

heard the refrigerator talking or spoke of hidden chips in their teeth as monitoring devices. Today, in any given parking lot in America, people seem to be holding maddening conversations with themselves on Razor cell phones tucked under the ear. But, in this digital age the world is


converging at breathtaking speed: and what was once madness is now or will be commonplace reality.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer recently predicted that hundreds of millions of people will get a new communication experience over the next five years. Of course, he is right. Email is becoming passé for the new generation, who seek the endless, ungrammatical, instant gratification in the form of slang-riddled text-messaging and broken-English chatting venues.

Increasingly, the way that students learn is shifting. During the last decade in the field of instructional design, there has been a shift from “instructivist” approaches towards “constructivist” approaches20.

Instructivistic theories assume that formal concepts and systems transmit to students by giving them formal descriptions in combination with the presentation of examples. Constructivist approaches emphasize the idea of an active, experiencing student in a situation where knowledge builds up through activity or social interaction. Web 3.0 is largely constructivist, while reading a newspaper or magazine requires Instructivistic approaches.


Well-designed instruction should offer experiences to learners that enable them to construct useful cognitive schemata and which allow them to understand a new domain. Constructivist approaches stress that cognitive processes and knowledge are mainly the result of actively constructing meaning by learners.

Washington Post writer Jay Matthews (2000) contended,” Online learning is to real learning as video games are to war. You acquire useful skills and knowledge, but without any blood or sweat you have not done everything you need to do.”

So game-like simulations change the balance of power of the traditional classroom. They provide writing students with a framework of rules through which they can learn interactively. Students are encouraged through software to take risks, experiment, and devise writing strategies. Game-like learning invokes a sense of fun and play, often associated with the vivid experience of childhood. Thus, the trauma and perhaps shame associated with the traditional writing classroom can be lessened and breakthroughs in writing do occur frequently.


But, writing is not mathematics—there is a great deal of ambiguity in the journey to finding a writing voice. Learning to write well, like navigating unknown waters, is essentially solving an ill-defined or “wicked” problem because the solution is complex. This problem solving process can be described as a heuristic search process in a problem space. The problem space is defined by:

The representation of the initial state of the problem.

The set of operators available for processing a problem state.

The criterion of an acceptable problem state.


Figure 9 Problem Solving Steps

Problem solving then refers to tentatively applying operators to states in order to find a sequence of operators or a solution that transforms the initial state into the goal state21.

The goal of a writing course is to take students’ initial basket of skills and propel them to a “goal state” or level of greater proficiency at the writing game. Games require a sense of winning or losing.


Figure 10 Schema Solutions to Writing Problems


Apples and Oranges

Figure 11 Practical vs. Declarative Knowledge

While a “Nation at Risk,22” due to educational mediocrity is

nothing new, it set off the now ubiquitous standards movement and its focus on testing and outcomes. Yet, the goal state is “Learning,” and there are at least two


distinct forms of learning, inextricably linked, with one definable, and the other impalpable.

A writing student, for example, develops general methods through the process of practice, which result in the success criteria of competence in outputting acceptable prose. At first, the composition process may be an

unfamiliar task, but through repeated iterations of performance measures, competence is thereby gained. The role of teachers, books, or software is to guide the student through this iterative learning process, usually leading up to a final measurement at the end of the learning cycle.


Figure 12 Competence & Understanding

However, Competence, is only half the story—the visible half. Skill acquisition is clearly measurable because it

involves practice through the medium of action. It is amenable to transparency and accountability.


The other half of the story may not reflect itself in a change in scores because it involves the very human “change of the state of mind,” or higher-order learning. The prior knowledge gained during competence through a process of reflection results in discourse that mirrors and understanding of the world surrounding the student.

What is interesting is that the first process, competence, results in incremental learning for the most part; while the second allows for quantum leaps to the next level of understanding. As the title suggests, they are the apples and oranges of learning.

The Quantum Leap

The 12th grade in high school has been described as a “vast

wasteland,” by many. After years of “drill and kill,” students are unprepared for the complexities of college, the workplace, and the world.

The paradox for the new media is whether to be poll-driven and give consumers what they want or to design application 63

bundles, which raise the bar. Computer-assisted learning has been anything but robust compared to the richness of a media chock-full of sounds, special effects, and game-like environments. The goals of most software are designed to probe and sometimes offer error feedback on the competence level.

Consider the following passage:

Figure 13 Surface Learning

Well, count them. There are indeed three competence-based errors which an elementary software program can flag: (1) “Their” is the wrong usage. It should be “There”; (2) “is” reflects a grammar mistake and should be “are”; (3) “hear” is a spelling error and should be “here.”


So, the corrected sentence is accurate. However, there is no fourth error in the short sentence. The truth proposition contained in the sentence is false: there are not four errors, but three. Detecting the truth value of the sentence requires applying prior knowledge and then determining if the truth value actually “fits” with the real world.

A rash of computer software based on the Learning to Do model have come about where user outcomes (scores and errors) deliver (1 + n …) lessons until a given threshold of success is achieved by the user. Lower scores and/or higher errors can trigger the system to adapt to the user in many ways. In adaptive testing, such as the Computerized Placement Test (CPT), such systems wickedly deliver up problems to be solved from domains that a student has weaknesses in; thus, guaranteeing lower scores. (See figure 5).


Figure 14 Intelligent Tutoring System

While Intelligent Tutoring Systems can work wonderfully for delivery of (Apples) content to engaged students, they are mainly aimed at improving and testing competence of the


user in a specific domain. Through a chain of continued practice and testing, the student finally gets to the lesson’s end with a passing score. This is the normal case: competence, but not necessarily with comprehension of the knowledge. Simply through action and practice, the user attains the goal state of acquiring the knowledge. And while this new knowledge base is amenable to standardized testing as it is eminently measurable, analogically transferring the scored knowledge in such systems has been low. In other words, even with a passing grade, similar problems are not solved with greater efficacy in the absence of understanding of the problem-solution itself.

On the other hand, the object of an education is employing higher order thinking skills. That is, learning, or truthpreserving transformations move a user a new mental state. This new mental state is accomplished by a system that not only improves the knowledge of the user, but brings it to a higher level by exploring experience and prior knowledge and discovery.

Systems which employ Understanding as the model use discourse (speaking, writing) as a medium and reflection on


both prior knowledge and the problem at hand to obtain or construct (the Oranges) or a higher internal state of understanding that can be brought to bear on other problems presented in unexpected and human ways. Ways that are perhaps not incremental, perhaps not always “correct,” and difficult to measure or quantify.

The quantum leap in effective computer assisted instruction is a combination of systems which both offer the rigor of Intelligent Tutoring Systems and the flexibility of a computer that understands or thinks. Coupled in an “edutainment” environment with discourse, reflection and collaboration or cooperation, such systems have yet to make their advent.

Writing is Different

Freshman writing courses were introduced at Harvard University in 1874 when a written entrance exam was first required. The entering students wrote abysmally according to those who read them. Then the writing discipline was delayed until the upper grades during most of the 68

nineteenth century, while penmanship was stressed.


the past forty or fifty years, writing instruction has shifted from product to process. Generally, students detest writing; teachers abhor reading student writing. And this process has probably been going on for thousands of years.

Figure 15 Nine Thousand Years of Writing


As millions of immigrants know first hand, learning English is not easy. As the United States approaches the 300 million population mark, it must address the burgeoning “knowledge gap,” widely and direly reported by researchers, including E.D. Hirsh, Jr. ,in his book, The Knowledge Deficit23. There is a literacy implosion which is

increasingly dividing the have’s from the have-not’s in this diverse land.

In December 2004, the once-a-decade National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) found that, “Fewer than one-in-three college graduates can successfully perform tasks such as understanding and comparing the viewpoints of two newspaper editorials, interpreting a table with data about blood pressure and physical activity, or computing and comparing the cost per ounce of different food items.”24

The clarion calls emanating from the Spellings Commission Report’s25 conclusion that “unseemly complacency” has led

the nation to an unprecedented crisis in education. Complacency fueled by “ […] a troubling number of undergraduates [who] waste time […] mastering English and math skills that they should have learned in high school”


has led to an even more compellingly urgent reports calling to America to virtual educational warfare. This issue was nearly wholly absent from the We Media Conference in Miami, which makes one cynically ponder why it is not front and center.

The “Tough Choices or Tough Times” by the National Center on Education and the Economy predicts that the United States will be eclipsed by India and China within a generation unless revolutionary action is taken in the education sector.26

The report characterizes the U.S.

system of education as “America’s Leaky Education Pipeline,” where only 82 out of every 100 ninth graders make it through college and where “one-third of foreignborn adults and 44 percent of Hispanic adults do not have any high school credential.” The report concludes that the U.S. will go the downward in similar fashion the way Britain lost the industrial race with the United States over a century ago, but this time it will be in the hightech realm—and America may lose to emerging economies of China, India, and others.


A New Model

Bob Maynard, the first African American to own a major metropolitan newspaper (The Oakland Tribune) touted the concept of “Fault Lines.” Maynard maintained that social tensions ease when the community’s views are reflected in a diverse new stream. He felt that a newspaper should be “ an instrument of community debate,” which strengthens fundamental democracy.27

With growing diversity, the “Fault Lines,” are exponentially rising. The movie “Crash” about contemporary Los Angeles showed the multifaceted, multiracial aspects of stereotypes and discrimination—and came closer to what constitutes modern America.

Fault lines along educational lines, intertwined with race, ethnicity, class, and gender are particularly troublesome because they negatively impact not just individuals—but generations of individuals.


Figure 16 Web 5.0 Fault Lines

Maynard’s Fault Lines have moved far beyond race alone in post modern America, of course. They include differences in language, cultures (especially cross-cultural misunderstandings), ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and of course, the perennial three R’s: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.


Will the new media now being brewed pick up the task of educating while it also entertains? That is the dark part of the crystal ball evident at the We Miami event.

Media Conundrum

So there you have it: a conundrum of too many choices. A dilemma between “Edutainment” and “Newstainment.” A choice to keep cutting down trees and shooing away trespassing horses, or bottle anew the kaleidoscope of content emerging from every nook and cranny of the post-modern media. Tackle the educational roots of the problem or offer a glossed over “Hobson’s Choice.”

Perhaps, the script written, this media future is glimmering like a mirage in the distance, towards a future unstoppable. Perhaps, sadly, even unreadable.

[end draft 3-29-2007]


Movers and Shakers

Ahearn, Chris Benkoil, Dorian Brown, Merrill Carroll, Jennifer Chideya, Farai Cupo, Al



Reuters MediaBistro MMB Media:

Gannett NPR host and blogger Vice President, Sales and Marketing: Suburban Newspapers of America Peace, Justice, and Mission Guide

215 256 6801 www.suburban-news.org al.cupo@suburban-news.org

Dennison, John

954 343 7111 www.johndennison.com john@johndennison.com

Ducey, Rick BIA Financial Dunaway, Chief Financial Allen Officer: Jobing.com Florin, Fabrice Grogg, Sam Executive Director: Newstrust Dean: University of Miami School of

602 200 6812 www.jobing.com allen.dunaway@jobing.com

415 388 6688 fab@newstrust.net

305 284 3420 http://com.miami.edu sgrogg@miami.edu


Hauser, Eduardo Hegranes, Cristi Hess, Dan

Communications DailyMe Press Institute for Women in the Developing World Tribune 312 222 5448 Interactive dhess@tribune.com

Herrera, Luis


305 284 5234 http://com.miami.edu lherrera@miami.edu

Assistant Dean: Admissions, Academic & Alumni Services Ibarguen, President and Alberto CEO Knight Foundation Iggers, Board Chair: Jeremy Twin Cities Media Alliance Israel, Naked Shel Conversations author John S. and Knight Center James L. for Knight International Foundation Media-School of CommunicationUniversity of Miami Lane, Nancy President: Suburban Newspapers of America Masquelier, President: Sibyl Executive Resource Group Moebius, Corinna Nachison, Andreq Director: Imagine Miami iFocos

www.tcmediaalliance.org jeremyiggers@earthlink.net 612 436 9186

kcim@miami.edu http://knight.miami.edu 5100 Brunson Drive Coral Gables, FL 33146 305-284-2454

843-390-1531 nancylanesna@aol.com

207 767 1320 www.mediahunter.com sibyl@mediahunter.com

305 576 5001 ex. 45 corinnam@hscdade.org

11951 Freedom Drive 13th Floor Reston, VA 20190 703 251 4807


Andrew@ifocos.org Newmark, Craig O’Connor, Rory O’Malley, Brian founder of craigslist Editorial 212 246 0202 x 3008 Director: rory@newstrust.net Newstrust Battery Ventures

Owyans, Jeremiah



Blogging Expert: www.Web-strategist.com fan of www.techmeme.com

Perrier, Franck Peskin, Dale

Eyeka i-Focos 11951 Freedom Drive 13th Floor Reston, VA 20190 703 251 4807 dale@ifocos.org www.ifocos.org

Pontin, Jason Rafer, Scott Riva, Georgio Rogers, Michael

MIT Technology Review MyBlogLog Go-to

RCS Digital

Futurist-inresidence New York Times Rosenblatt, Executive Alan Director: Internet Advocacy Center Rowe, Ian MTV Rua, Dan Inflexion Partners Rubi, Media Relations Melissa Coordinator: University of Miami Schaffer, J-Lab Jan

202 223 1333 www.internetadvocacycenter.com alan@joemocracy.com

305 284 6748 http://com.miami.edu mrubi@miami.edu


Shalala, Donna Skrenta, Rich

President of the University of Miami Topix Luara Evenson – SutherlandGold Group for Topix.net 415 601 7267 levenson@sutherlandgold.com

Stone, Lisa President, www.blogher.org 650 776 4774 Operations & lisa@blogher.org Evangelism BlogHer Taylor, Monster and Eons Jeff Tolles, Topix Chris Tucker, Executive Editor Sheryl Time Inc. Versace, Agile Equity Chris Webber, Founder Fast Alan Company Zogby, John President and CEO Zogby International
Table 1 Movers and Shakers


A Blueprint for Campus Accountability Lessons from the Pace University Experience Schools. See Caputo, David A. AIDS. See Amazon. See American Idol. See applications. See Bundles Associated Press. See baby-boomers. See Eons.com Baeza Group. See V-Me Ballmer Ballmer, Steven. See Microsoft

Battery Ventures. See O'Malley, Brian BBC. See BLOG. See Bloomfield Bloomfield, Leonard. See Ruskin, John Bower Bower, James. See Whyville Brown Brown, Merrill. See MBA Media bundles Applications. See Application Bundles


Cellphones Learning Games. See Learning Chatrooms Learning Games. See Learning Clinton Hillary, Clinton. See BlogHer.com Close Close, Sandy. See New America Media Collegiate Learning Assessment CLA. See Assessment Competence. See Learning Computerized Placement Test. See Assessment Congress Education. See Literacy constructivist. See Learning Cronkite Cronkite, Walter. See Viet Nam Darfur. See Zogby Dark Age Dede, Chris. See Schools Darwin. See Dede Dede, Chris. See Learning Dedman Dedman, Bill. See Doig, Stephen K. Denmark’s Center for Journalism Education. See Digital Media Wire. See Doctors without Borders BlogHer.com. See Stone, Lisa Doig Doig, Stephen K.. See Dedman, Bill Dreyfuss Dreyfuss, Richard. See drill and kill. See Learning DVD Learning Games. See Learning E-bay. See edu-tainment. See Edutainment. See Newstainment e-Harmony. See Ellison Ellison, Harlan. See Entertainment 79

Eons.com. See Taylor, Jeff Eyeka. See Perrier, Frank Fast Company Webber, Alan M.. See Alan Webber Flesch Flesch, Rudolph. See Why Johnny Can't Read Florin Florin, Fabrice. See NewsTrust Franklin Franklin, Benjamin. See Education GameBoys Learning Games. See Learning Gannet. See Gannett. See Gates Gates, Bill. See Learning Gore. See Gore, Al Harvard University. See Writing higher-order learning. See Learning Hirsh Hirsh, E.D.. See Reading Hobson’s Choice Media Dilemma. See Ibarguen Ibarguen, Alberto. See Knight Foundation IFocos. See We Media instructivist. See Learning Intelligent Tutoring Systems. See Applications Israel Israel, Shel. See Naked Conversation Media Plan. See Israel, Shel Naked Conversations. See Shel Israel J-Lab. See, See Shaffer, Jan John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. See Knight. See Knight Foundation Knight Foundation Journalism Program. See Knight-Ridder. See, See Ibarguen Land Ordinance. See Congress MacLuan Marshal MacLuan. See Ruskin

Maslow. See Learning Matthews Matthews, Jay. See Washington Post Media Bistro. See Monster.com. See Taylor, Jeff MTV. See Rowe, Ian MySpaces. See Naked Conversation. See Naked Conversations Israel, Shel. See Nation at Risk. See Learning National Assessment of Adult Literacy NAAL. See Assessment, See Assessment National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEP. See Education National Center on Education and the Economy. See Tough Choices or Tough Times National Survey of Student Engagement NSSE. See Assessment New America Media Close, Sandy. See Sandy Close Newmark Newmark, Craig. See Craiglist News in a New America Lehrman, Sally. See Sally Lehrman Newstainment. See Edutainment NewsTrust.net. See, See No Child Left Behind NCLB. See Literacy O’Conner O'Conner, Rory. See Newstrust.Net O’Malley O'Malley, Brian. See Battery Ventures O’Reilly Factor. See Obama Obama, Barak. See BlogHer.com Pace University Schools. See Caputo, David A. Perrier Perrier, Frank. See Eyeka 80

problem space. See Learning RCS Digital Riva, Georgio. See Riva, Georgio Reuters. See, See, See Riva Riva, Georgio. See RCS Digital River City Dede, Chris. See Learning Rowe Rowe, Ian. See MTV Ruskin. See Ruskin, John. See Bloomfield, Leonard Schaffer Schaffer, Jan. See J-Lab Spelling Report. See Education Spellings. See, See Education Spellings Commission Report. See Stone Stone, Lisa. See Blogher.com Sudan. See Syncom Funds V-me. See V-me Taylor. See Monster.com Taylor, Jeff. See Monster.com Eons.com Technocrati. See The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. See The Knight Center for International Media. See The Knowledge Deficit Hirshe, E.D.. See Reading The Neglected R. See Literacy The Spelling’s Report. See The Today Show. See Topix.net. See Skrenta, Rich. See Rich Skrenta Topix.Net. See Tough Choices or Tough Times Educational Decline in US. See National Center on Education

Trevelyan Trevelyan, G.M.. See Reading Tribune Interactive. See Topix tripadvisor.com. See UM Center. See University of Miami. See University Of Miami’s School Of Communication. See Viet Nam. See View. See V-me. See, See Television. See Washington Post-Newsweek Interactive WPNI. See

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Flesch, Rudolph. Why Johnny Can’t Read. 1955 Lehrman, Sally. Forward in News in New America. 2005. John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. (Page 6). 3 Ibid. Lehrman, Sally. Dedman-Doig Report. (Page 113). 4 Ibid. Lehrman, Sally . Reframing Diversity. Chapter Four. Sandy Close. (Page 62).




Barnhart, Clarence L. & Bloomfield, Leonard. Let’s Read: A Linguistic Approach. 1961. Wayne State University Press. 7 Ruskin, John. “Sesame and Lillies. Lecture I. Sesame: of King’s Treasuries.” December 6, 1864. 8 Ibid. Lehrman, Sally. Foundation Forward by Alberto Ibarguen, President. (Page 5). 9 Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania [sic] (Philadephia, 1749).



National Center for Education Statistics Educational Resources Information, National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP), Reading Assessments (Washington, D.C.; U.S. Dept. of Education, 1998 and 2002). 11 National Commission on Writing for American Families, Schools, and Colleges, “The Neglected “R”: The Need for a Writing Revolution. (Washington, D.C., April, 2003).

Hirsch, E.D., Jr. The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2006) 13 Ibid. Page 122. 14 Commission Report July 14, 2006 Draft for Discussion Purposes Only 15 http://appserv.pace.edu/emplibrary/Blueprint.pdf 16 http://wpacouncil.org/files/Spellings%200714-draft.pdf 17 Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, speaking before the Joint Economic Committee’s first National Summit on High Technology, June 15, 1999. 18 http://harlanellison.com 19 Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396. 20 van Merrienboer, J.J.G. (1997). Training complex cognitive skills: A four-component instructional design model for technical training. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications. 21 Newell, A. & Simon, H. (1972). Human problem solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice



Hall. Anandam, K., Eisel, E., & Kotler, N. (1980). Effectiveness of a computer-based feedback system for writing. Journal of Computer-Based Instruction, 6, 125-133.
19Language Magazine. July/August, 2001 TESTING: E-rater™ is automated essay scoring technology. Cynthia Schuemann and Steven Donahue discuss E-rater’s

use in the community college ESL classroom.

21 Burns, H. (1984). Recollections of first-generation computer-assisted prewriting. In W. Wresch (Ed.), The computer in composition instruction: A writer’s tool

(pp. 15-33). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. 21 Rodrigues, R., & Rodrigues, D. (1984). Computer-assisted invention: Its place and potential. College Composition and Communication, 35, 78-87.

21 Kiefer, K., & Smith, C. (1983). Textual Analysis with computers: Computer-aided heuristics for student writers. The Writing Center Journal, 8, 3-10.

21 (Kukich, 2000; Page, 1966; Page, 1993).

21 Williamson,

Bejar, and Hone (1999)

21 (Kukich, 2000).

21 Murray, Donald M. Write Before Writing. College Composition and Communication 29 (1978): 375-378.

21 Hayes, J.R., Flower, L.S., Schriver, K., Statman, J., & Carey, L. (1985). Cognitive processes in revision (Tech. Rep. No. 12). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon

University, Communicatin Design Center. 21 Bridewell, L.S. (1980). Revising strategies in twelth grade students’ transactional writing. Research in the Teaching of English, 14(3), 107-122.

21 Heuston. (Unpublished paper).

21 "Frequency of Formal Errors in Current College Writing, or Ma and Pa Kettle Do Research," (as published in The St. Martin's Guide to Teaching Writing 2nd ed.

Ed. Robert Connors and Cheryl Glenn. New York: St. Martin's, 1992. page 398.) 22 A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform. 1983. National Commission on Excellence in Education.

23 Hirsch, E.D., Jr. The Knowledge Deficit. Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American School Children. New York: Houghton Mifflin. 2006.

24 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). Education Sector, 2(1), January 10, 2006 in “New Adult Literacy Data Puts College Credential in Question.”

25 Department of Education. Embargoed Commission Report 6/22/06 Draft.

26 National Center on Education and the Economy. Tough Times or Tough Choices. The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce


New York. Wiley. 2007 27 Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. http://www.maynardije.org


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