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New Media Wineskins

Steven Donahue1 explains the possible


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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

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TPSteven Donahue is a full-time assistant professor at Miami Dade College, Feature Editor for Language
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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
HTU UTH

training for the U.S. Military in Afghanistan and American K-16 students..

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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A World with Too Many Trees ............................................................................ 3


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On Third Base ............................................................................................................. 4


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Readership..................................................................................................................... 7
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Diversity on Steroids .......................................................................................... 8


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The New Literacy .................................................................................................... 10


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Media Crystal Ball ............................................................................................... 11


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Doing Well, by Doing Good............................................................................... 12


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Community & Investment ...................................................................................... 13


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The New Media Pyramid ........................................................................................ 16


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Think Tanking ........................................................................................................... 20


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Powered by People Inside ................................................................................. 21


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Big ‘M’ and Little ‘m’ ...................................................................................... 25


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Jargon for the New Media ................................................................................. 26


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It’s About Community, Dummy .......................................................................... 27


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New Media Plan for ‘Dummies’ ....................................................................... 28


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Follow the Money .................................................................................................... 30


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Slicing up the American Pie .......................................................................... 31


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Content: Key and King ........................................................................................ 32


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A Gaggle of Broken Gears ................................................................................. 34


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The Disparate Engine........................................................................................... 40


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Educational Mega-Trends ................................................................................... 44


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Fixing a Busted Engine ...................................................................................... 47


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It’s All Edu-tainment” ...................................................................................... 49


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Game-Like Learning ............................................................................................... 54


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Apples and Oranges ............................................................................................... 60


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The Quantum Leap .................................................................................................... 63


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Writing is Different........................................................................................... 68
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A New Model ................................................................................................................ 72


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Media Conundrum....................................................................................................... 74
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Movers and Shakers ............................................................................................... 75


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FOOTNOTES ..................................................................................................................... 78
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A World with Too Many Trees
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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-write-

execute” 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

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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
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In fact, this was the third We Media Conference. The first

We Media starred former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in New

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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

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organizations holding court on the intersection of

journalism, citizen journalism, and digital media.2 Some at TP PT

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;

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TP PT [Please See Table of Movers and Shakers at end of article]
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• 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.

Readership
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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.1TP PT

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.

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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 cash-

dispensed 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
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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.

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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 TP PT

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


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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 TP PT

And, the above demographic roosters are finally coming home

to roost. V-me5 is a spanking brand-new national network


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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

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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


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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


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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


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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

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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


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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 non-

profit 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.

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Doing Well, by Doing Good
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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
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The traditional Web we all know.

Web 2.0
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The “mash up” Web of agglomeration.

The News-tainment Web.


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Web 3.0
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The semantic Web with human reasoning

ability. Business Applications.

Web 4.0
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The Web with robust operating systems

online.

Web 5.0
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The Edu-tainment Web.
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Community & Investment
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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

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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 near-

paperless, 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

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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

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versions. We Media issued a clarion call for a new model to

emerge now, nay, yesteryear.

The New Media Pyramid


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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)

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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 special-

interest 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

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programs for entire schools, to online editing tools for

video.

Figure 2 The New Newspaper

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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.

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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
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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

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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


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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,

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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 triple-

convergence of Entertainment, Traditional Media, and the

buzzing among Social Communities, and pondering, “How does

this all come together?”

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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”
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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.

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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.”

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Big ‘M’ and Little ‘m’
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Yesteryear, 1955, was the heyday of top-down big media

conglomerates—the newsmakers; nowadays, it is people-

powered 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 self-

policing 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

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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


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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

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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!


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Continuing, Jan Schaffer of J-Lab said, “A lot of hyper-

local 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

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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’


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Shel Israel limned six linchpins publishers must follow:

(1) Community is a new form of content creation. And

content is the key eyeball magnet.

(2) Social networks will be the most powerful

distribution network for this content.

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(3) Social networks subvert the editorial functions of

the old media.

(4) Tools and applications are the new “editorial

bundles.”

(5) Multi-platforms are the only basis for online

publishing.

(6) 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 full-

steam. 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

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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


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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-and-

30
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.


U U

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


U

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


U

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 re-

32
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 co-

founder 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

33
“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 TP PT 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—


TP PT

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

for the reading of print media.

A Gaggle of Broken Gears


U

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


U U

overall drop in learning achievement—the educational

paradox. The term “Paradox” means to describe the out-of-

34
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

35
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 Common-

wealths.11”
TP PT 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.

37
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
TP PT

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”
TP PT

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

38
curriculum slanted towards Christian theology and anti-

Darwinism. 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


U

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.

39
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


TP PT

achievement rates nationwide have barely budged in the last

40
decade. Close to thirty percent of all students in public

high schools do not graduate—a proportion that rises among


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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


15
“portfolios.” TP PT Incoming students at Pace complete the

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which asks

self-reportage on items such as:

41
• 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.

42
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.


P P

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)actually

43
showed declines in measures of prose and literacy for

college graduates in the last decade.

Educational Mega-Trends
U

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,

44
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, nano-

technology, 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 X-

Boxes, 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

45
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”


TP PT

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.

46
Fixing a Busted Engine
U

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.

47
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


17
life-long learning.” TP PT In this era of the “Information

48
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”


U

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


TP PT

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


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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

50
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 more engaging for

real learning to take place.

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


TP PT

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

51
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.

52
Figure 8 Maslow's Hierarchy

53
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
U

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

54
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.


TP PT

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.

55
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.

56
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.

57
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.


TP PT

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.

58
Figure 10 Schema Solutions to Writing Problems

59
Apples and Oranges
U

Figure 11 Practical vs. Declarative Knowledge

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


TP PT

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

60
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.

61
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.

62
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


U

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


P P

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.”

64
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).

65
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

66
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 truth-

preserving 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

67
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 “edu-

tainment” environment with discourse, reflection and

collaboration or cooperation, such systems have yet to make

their advent.

Writing is Different
U

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. Over

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

69
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


TP PT

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


TP PT

The clarion calls emanating from the Spellings Commission

Report’s25 conclusion that “unseemly complacency” has led


TP PT

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”

70
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
TP PT 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 foreign-

born 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 high-

tech realm—and America may lose to emerging economies of

China, India, and others.

71
A New Model
U U

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
TP PT

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.

72
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.

73
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
U

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]


U

74
Movers and Shakers
U

NAME COMPANY/POSITION CONTACT


Ahearn, Reuters
Chris
Benkoil, MediaBistro
Dorian
Brown, MMB Media:T T

Merrill
Carroll, Gannett
Jennifer
Chideya, NPR host and
Farai blogger
Cupo, Al Vice President, 215 256 6801
Sales and www.suburban-news.org
HTU UTH

Marketing: al.cupo@suburban-news.org
HTU UTH

Suburban
Newspapers of
America
Dennison, Peace, Justice, 954 343 7111
John and Mission www.johndennison.com
HTU UTH

Guide john@johndennison.com
HTU UTH

Ducey, Rick BIA Financial


Dunaway, Chief Financial 602 200 6812
Allen Officer: www.jobing.com
HTU UTH

Jobing.com allen.dunaway@jobing.com
HTU UTH

Florin, Executive 415 388 6688


Fabrice Director: fab@newstrust.net
HTU UTH

Newstrust
Grogg, Sam Dean: University 305 284 3420
of Miami School http://com.miami.edu
HTU UTH

of sgrogg@miami.edu HTU UTH

75
Communications
Hauser, DailyMe
Eduardo
Hegranes, Press Institute
Cristi for Women in the
Developing World
Hess, Dan Tribune 312 222 5448
Interactive dhess@tribune.com
HTU UTH

NAME COMPANY/POSITION CONTACT


Herrera, Assistant Dean: 305 284 5234
Luis Admissions, http://com.miami.edu
HTU UTH

Academic & lherrera@miami.eduHTU UTH

Alumni Services
Ibarguen, President and
Alberto CEO
Knight
Foundation
Iggers, Board Chair: www.tcmediaalliance.org
HTU UTH

Jeremy Twin Cities jeremyiggers@earthlink.net


HTU UTH

Media Alliance 612 436 9186


Israel, Naked
Shel Conversations
author
John S. and Knight Center kcim@miami.edu
HTU UTH

James L. for http://knight.miami.edu


HTU UTH

Knight International 5100 Brunson Drive Coral


Foundation Media-School of Gables, FL 33146 305-284-2454
Communication-
University of
Miami
Lane, Nancy President: 843-390-1531
Suburban nancylanesna@aol.com
HTU UTH

Newspapers of
America
Masquelier, President: 207 767 1320
Sibyl Executive www.mediahunter.com
HTU UTH

Resource Group sibyl@mediahunter.com


HTU UTH

Moebius, Director: 305 576 5001 ex. 45


Corinna Imagine Miami corinnam@hscdade.org
HTU UTH

Nachison, iFocos 11951 Freedom Drive 13th Floor P P

Andreq Reston, VA 20190


703 251 4807

76
Andrew@ifocos.org

Newmark, founder of
Craig craigslist
O’Connor, Editorial 212 246 0202 x 3008
Rory Director: rory@newstrust.net
HTU UTH

Newstrust
O’Malley, Battery Ventures
Brian
NAME COMPANY/POSITION CONTACT
Owyans, Blogging Expert: www.Web-strategist.com
HTU UTH

Jeremiah fan of
www.techmeme.com
HTU UTH

Perrier, Eyeka
Franck
Peskin, i-Focos 11951 Freedom Drive 13th Floor P P

Dale Reston, VA 20190


703 251 4807
dale@ifocos.org
HTU UTH

www.ifocos.org

Pontin, MIT Technology


Jason Review

Rafer, MyBlogLog Go-to T T

Scott
Riva, RCS Digital
Georgio
Rogers, Futurist-in-
Michael residence New
York Times
Rosenblatt, Executive 202 223 1333
Alan Director: www.internetadvocacycenter.com
HTU UTH

Internet alan@joemocracy.com
HTU UTH

Advocacy Center
Rowe, Ian MTV
Rua, Dan Inflexion
Partners
Rubi, Media Relations 305 284 6748
Melissa Coordinator: http://com.miami.edu
HTU UTH

University of mrubi@miami.edu
HTU UTH

Miami
Schaffer, J-Lab
Jan

77
Shalala, President of the
Donna University of
Miami
Skrenta, Topix Luara Evenson – SutherlandGold
Rich Group for Topix.net 415 601
7267
levenson@sutherlandgold.com
HTU UTH

Stone, Lisa President, www.blogher.org


HTU UTH

Operations & 650 776 4774


Evangelism lisa@blogher.org
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

FOOTNOTES
U

A Blueprint for Campus Battery Ventures. See O'Malley,


Accountability Lessons Brian
from the Pace University BBC. See
Experience BLOG. See
Schools. See Caputo, David A. Bloomfield
AIDS. See Bloomfield, Leonard. See Ruskin,
Amazon. See John
American Idol. See Bower
applications. See Bundles Bower, James. See Whyville
Associated Press. See Brown
baby-boomers. See Eons.com Brown, Merrill. See MBA Media
Baeza Group. See V-Me bundles
Ballmer Applications. See Application
Ballmer, Steven. See Microsoft Bundles

78
Cellphones Eons.com. See Taylor, Jeff
Learning Games. See Learning Eyeka. See Perrier, Frank
Chatrooms Fast Company
Learning Games. See Learning Webber, Alan M.. See Alan Webber
Clinton Flesch
Hillary, Clinton. See BlogHer.com Flesch, Rudolph. See Why Johnny
Close Can't Read
Close, Sandy. See New America Florin
Media Florin, Fabrice. See NewsTrust
Collegiate Learning Franklin
Assessment Franklin, Benjamin. See Education
CLA. See Assessment GameBoys
Competence. See Learning Learning Games. See Learning
Computerized Placement Test. Gannet. See
See Assessment Gannett. See
Congress Gates
Education. See Literacy Gates, Bill. See Learning
constructivist. See Learning Gore. See Gore, Al
Cronkite Harvard University. See Writing
Cronkite, Walter. See Viet Nam higher-order learning. See
Darfur. See Zogby Learning
Dark Age Hirsh
Dede, Chris. See Schools Hirsh, E.D.. See Reading
Darwin. See Hobson’s Choice
Dede Media Dilemma. See
Dede, Chris. See Learning Ibarguen
Dedman Ibarguen, Alberto. See Knight
Dedman, Bill. See Doig, Stephen K. Foundation
Denmark’s Center for IFocos. See We Media
Journalism Education. See instructivist. See Learning
Digital Media Wire. See Intelligent Tutoring
Doctors without Borders Systems. See Applications
BlogHer.com. See Stone, Lisa Israel
Doig Israel, Shel. See Naked Conversation
Doig, Stephen K.. See Dedman, Bill Media Plan. See Israel, Shel
Dreyfuss Naked Conversations. See Shel Israel
Dreyfuss, Richard. See J-Lab. See, See Shaffer, Jan
drill and kill. See Learning John S. and James L. Knight
DVD Foundation. See
Learning Games. See Learning Knight. See Knight Foundation
E-bay. See Knight Foundation
edu-tainment. See Journalism Program. See
Edutainment. See Newstainment Knight-Ridder. See, See Ibarguen
e-Harmony. See Land Ordinance. See Congress
Ellison MacLuan
Ellison, Harlan. See Entertainment Marshal MacLuan. See Ruskin

79
Maslow. See Learning problem space. See Learning
Matthews RCS Digital
Matthews, Jay. See Washington Post Riva, Georgio. See Riva, Georgio
Media Bistro. See Reuters. See, See, See
Monster.com. See Taylor, Jeff Riva
MTV. See Rowe, Ian Riva, Georgio. See RCS Digital
MySpaces. See River City
Naked Conversation. See Dede, Chris. See Learning
Naked Conversations Rowe
Israel, Shel. See Rowe, Ian. See MTV
Nation at Risk. See Learning Ruskin. See
National Assessment of Ruskin, John. See Bloomfield,
Adult Literacy Leonard
NAAL. See Assessment, See Schaffer
Assessment Schaffer, Jan. See J-Lab
National Assessment of Spelling Report. See Education
Educational Progress Spellings. See, See Education
NAEP. See Education Spellings Commission Report.
National Center on See
Education and the Economy. Stone
See Tough Choices or Tough Times Stone, Lisa. See Blogher.com
National Survey of Student Sudan. See
Engagement Syncom Funds
NSSE. See Assessment V-me. See V-me
New America Media Taylor. See Monster.com
Close, Sandy. See Sandy Close Taylor, Jeff. See Monster.com
Newmark Eons.com
Newmark, Craig. See Craiglist Technocrati. See
News in a New America The Ethics and Excellence
Lehrman, Sally. See Sally Lehrman in Journalism Foundation.
Newstainment. See Edutainment See
NewsTrust.net. See, See The Knight Center for
No Child Left Behind International Media. See
NCLB. See Literacy The Knowledge Deficit
O’Conner Hirshe, E.D.. See Reading
O'Conner, Rory. See Newstrust.Net The Neglected R. See Literacy
O’Malley The Spelling’s Report. See
O'Malley, Brian. See Battery The Today Show. See
Ventures Topix.net. See
O’Reilly Factor. See Skrenta, Rich. See Rich Skrenta
Obama
Topix.Net. See
Obama, Barak. See BlogHer.com Tough Choices or Tough
Pace University
Times
Schools. See Caputo, David A.
Educational Decline in US. See
Perrier
National Center on Education
Perrier, Frank. See Eyeka

80
Trevelyan Washingtonpost.Newsweek
Trevelyan, G.M.. See Reading Interactive. See
Tribune Interactive. See Topix We Media. See, See, See, See, See, See,
tripadvisor.com. See See IFOCOS
UM Center. See Why Johnny Can’t Read
University of Miami. See Flesch, Rudolph. See Flesch
University Of Miami’s Whyville
School Of Communication. Bower, James. See Learning
See Wikis. See
Viet Nam. See Wikpedia. See
View. See writing. See
V-me. See, See X-Boxes
Television. See Learning Games. See Learning
Washington Post-Newsweek YouTube. See, See
Interactive Zogby
WPNI. See John, Zogby. See Zogby International

1
TPFlesch, Rudolph. Why Johnny Can’t Read. 1955
PT

2
TPLehrman, Sally. Forward in News in New America. 2005. John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
PT

(Page 6).
3
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4
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PT

5
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6
Barnhart, Clarence L. & Bloomfield, Leonard. Let’s Read: A Linguistic Approach. 1961. Wayne State
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University Press.
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8
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10
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The Need for a Writing Revolution. (Washington, D.C., April, 2003).

12
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PT

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13
TP Ibid. Page 122. PT

14
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PT

15
TP http://appserv.pace.edu/emplibrary/Blueprint.pdf
PT HTU UTH

16
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TP PT HTU UTH

17
Bill Gates, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft, speaking before the Joint Economic Committee’s first
TP PT

National Summit on High Technology, June 15, 1999.


18
TP http://harlanellison.com PT HTU UTH

19
Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.
TP PT

20
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PT

instructional design model for technical training. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational
Technology Publications.
21
TP Newell, A. & Simon, H. (1972). Human problem solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
PT

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19Language Magazine. July/August, 2001 TESTING: E-rater™ is automated essay scoring technology. Cynthia Schuemann and Steven Donahue discuss E-rater’s
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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
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(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.
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21 Kiefer, K., & Smith, C. (1983). Textual Analysis with computers: Computer-aided heuristics for student writers. The Writing Center Journal, 8, 3-10.
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21 (Kukich, 2000; Page, 1966; Page, 1993).


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21 Williamson,
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Bejar, and Hone (1999)


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21 (Kukich, 2000).
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21 Murray, Donald M. Write Before Writing. College Composition and Communication 29 (1978): 375-378.
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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
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21 Heuston. (Unpublished paper).


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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.
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Ed. Robert Connors and Cheryl Glenn. New York: St. Martin's, 1992. page 398.)
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23 Hirsch, E.D., Jr. The Knowledge Deficit. Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American School Children. New York: Houghton Mifflin. 2006.
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24 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL). Education Sector, 2(1), January 10, 2006 in “New Adult Literacy Data Puts College Credential in Question.”
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25 Department of Education. Embargoed Commission Report 6/22/06 Draft.


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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
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27
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82