CNN proves BBC America is a great news source

The 6:30 AM news update on CNN started with Japan followed by the latest on Charlie Sheen. Click here for BBC World News America.

CNN fail

Image courtesy of the Great Gregory Marlowe

BBC

The joys of the writing business or, would you pay your plumber $3.50 per job?

Two ads found on Craigslist:

Professional Writers for Book Proposals (Harvard Square)

Prominent Anthropologist and Family Therapist seeks professional writers and journalists in the Boston area for Book Proposals.
Confidential Titles are:
1. Woman Unite! Does America need a Lysistrata like Ancient Greece to stop our Economic and Military Insane Wars?
2. God’s Last Call! Stop Patriarchal Original Sin Insanity; Return to Matriarchal Original Innocence so Earth does not become Planet Necropolis!
3. The Lost Art of Sacred Love- Making! Common in Primative Cultures of Polynesia , Hawaii and Eastern Goddess- based Religions!
4. More Oxytocin Please! Catch and Embrace the Spirit of Honeyfire and Enjoy the Blissful Miracles of an Oxytocin High!
Applicants must share a deep " Reverence for all Life ", and deep passion for the Well-Being of our childrens future!
This represents a great opportunity for the right candidates! Please send a letter of interest and a resume!

If they’re confidential then why are they on Craigslist? The right candidate being anyone dumb enough to respond.

and No. 2:

Writers Needed for News & Current Events

We are seeking talented and qualified writers to join our news team. Writers that are approved for the program will be assigned topics for their articles. This position gives you the opportunity to work from your home or anywhere else you have an Internet connection. Writers will be paid $3.50 per article and we anticipate most writers will earn roughly $10-12 per hour.
Writers that enter the program will go through a brief training process to outline our process and requirements for approving articles. All articles will be at least 250 words long and must be void of any errors.
This is a part-time position with many time slots available and the opportunity to progress into a full-time position with the company.

If the $3.50 per wasn’t bad enough, this is what pushes it over the edge: “We anticipate most writers will earn roughly …” And I anticipate The Cubs will win the World Series.

 

Today’s non-news: Millionaires optimistic while the rest of us worry about paying the mortgage

First from the Wall Street Journal:

Millionaire Optimism Hits 3-Year High

Now, the Washington Post:

Most Americans worry about ability to pay mortgage or rent, poll finds

Well now. I feel much better informed.

palm slap

Facebook worth more than $XX billion, say people with a vested interest in Facebook

Quiz time: Facebook  is worth how many billions of dollars?

  1. 3.7
  2. 9.5
  3. 23
  4. 33

facebook_dollar Different people have given all of the above answers and a lot of other places have published them as fact, even though these numbers are are self-serving and cannot be verified. The first two are by Facebook itself, in February and November of last year. The third is from Forbes and the last one is from the Financial Times – and all of them are totally, completely untrustworthy. Why? Well, let’s look at how Forbes’ Steve Bertoni put it: “Recent private equity investments in Facebook valued the firm at around $23 billion–more than triple its 2009 value of $7 billion.” Now why would anyone who had invested in a company possibly say that company is worth far more than previously reported? Hmmmmm. 

Facebook is a private company, so no one outside of a select few really know how much money – if any – Facebook is making. But even it’s self-reported numbers don’t sustain valuations that give it a market cap of between $23B and $33B. By way of comparison, eBay’s market cap is $32B. As Mashable so ably puts it

Facebook is still a private company that hasn’t completely figured out the profit equation. While it should surpass $1 billion in revenue this year, its infrastructure costs are also high. eBay, while not as sexy, brought in $2.215 billion in revenue during just the second quarter of this year.

What is appalling is that how many business publications are willing collaborators in this absurd deception. I am glad to see that the Wall Street Journal seems to have learned its lesson about this (see Twitter valued at $1 Billion say people with a vested interest in Twitter). H.L. Mencken had a simple rule of thumb for reporting a story like this: “It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.”

Lolrus snafu as AP rejects I Can Has Cheeseburger offer

funny-pictures-cats-are-stuck-in-treesEarlier this week it was reported that the AP had turned down a purchase offer by Pet Holdings Inc., best known for the amazingly successful LOLCat’s site I Can Has Cheeseburger. Of all the efforts to Rescue The Future of Journalism™, this was by far the least expected and easily my favorite. As the LA Times put it:

The Associated Press finally axed the project on concerns over "journalistic integrity," Pet Holdings Chief Ben Huh said in an interview Monday. For the prestigious wire service to even consider associating itself with a business that makes a living from fan-made cat pictures may have seemed unthinkable a decade ago.

But if AP had started to consider it (or something like it) a decade ago they would have been a lot smarter about than anyone else in the news business. Today Pet Holdings makes money like newspapers used to. That’s because in addition to I Can Has Cheeseburger, they own a bunch of other equally serious sites, like the LOLDogs site I Has A Hotdog, and the LOLNews site Pundit Kitchen. (In the interests of full disclosure I must admit to regularly reading Cheeseburger and Hotdog.) Pet Holdings is able to make money the way it does because 99.9% of its content is generated by its readers, so all the company has to do is generate revenue from its amazing traffic numbers. I’ve been meaning to write about their marketing deal with the Seattle Mariners for far too long. They regularly sponsor lolcats nights at the ballpark which, I suspect, greatly increases attendance for the last-place Mariners.

Pet Holdings, like the newspapers of the past, has a virtual monopoly on its very loyal readership. The fact that that readership is idiots like me apparently hasn’t hurt them. While I totally respect the AP and their reasons for passing on this deal, this is the kind of totally unexpected move that will finally Rescue The Future Of Journalism™.

The Penguins of Irony’s favorite moment in the effort to save journalism from its future

Here are two of the 10 projects that came out of the “Journalism That Matters” conference at the University of Washington in January.

  • Abundant Journalism: Led by Fancher, this group eventually wants to link journalism projects and initiatives with potential donors.
  • Microfinance: The initiative would provide business and micro-finance training for journalists who want to launch new media ventures.

Whether all 10 initiatives that came out of the JTM Pacific Northwest conference can score the necessary funding to survive remains uncertain. While some have obtained initial grants, others remain unfunded. [Former Seattle Times Executive Editor Mike] Fancher acknowledged that each will face heavy competition for financing.”

penguin-seal

One more reason ProPublica rocks

From their blog, Officials Say The Darndest Things:

“No consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage.A judge, summarizing the defense offered by Coca-Cola’s lawyers as to why the company’s marketing for vitaminwater isn’t deceptive.