Bloomberg Businessweek • 20 February 2014
Asking "the right dumb question." Check out this fascinating profile of a Danish marketing firm that eschews Big Data number-crunching in favor of "small data sets and subjective information parsed by smart, highly educated fellow human beings." Red Associates says that by examining customers' beliefs and unconscious biases, they can deduce insights about consumer behavior and preferences. "We're looking for tensions, gaps—'asymmetries' . . . , places where things don't align," says a Red analyst.
This is an intriguing profile of one of the leading firms delivering qualitative research and corporate ethnography. I think the name check for Heidegger is mostly marketing but given the difficulty of reading let alone understanding this philosopher they are likely to go unchallenged. Being and Time anyone? (Michalko)
Scholarly Kitchen • 27 February 2014
Measuring up. In a data-driven business environment, it's important to understand not only data's power, but its limitations. Digital information strategist Michael Clarke's essay focuses on the inherent weaknesses in data collection and interpretation, using the Nielsen rating system and recent e-book sales estimates as examples. It turns out there are huge gaps in data gathering that skew how those industries are reported.
Bravo. Good to chronicle these shortfalls as we rush to measure and judge. I was glad that he surfaced the list of "article views" that are not counted and the automated views that should be excluded. Let's be humble about what we assert based on data but let's keep counting. This is not an excuse. (Michalko)
Columbia Journalism Review • 28 February 2014
Beyond clicks and eyeballs. Journalist Dean Starkman offers a succinct summary of the current state of journalism, paywalls and news coverage. It's been a rough decade for the news industry, but pay-walled public-interest reporting might be the only way around the "Hamster Wheel" effect that has so severely damaged American journalism.
This is one of the most sensible albeit opinionated summaries of where things stand now in the news business that I've come across. A loud second to his final observation: "Whatever one thinks about the current news ecosystem . . . coverage of local and state government is a disaster area." Click the Hamster Wheel link above—it's good reading. (Michalko)
Something's got to give. Marc Andreessen shares his thoughts on how to transition the traditional news business into a thriving for-profit enterprise. As news organizations gravitate toward the deep pockets of the digerati, it's instructive to understand how a high-profile venture capitalist might approach reshaping print and online journalism for future sustainability.
You have to take what Marc Andreesen says seriously. He's thoughtful and influential. Compare his take with the previous article. How many of the news providers on his list of those who are "growing fast with quality" do you look at regularly? He's got nine. I read only two—The Guardian and The Atlantic. (Michalko)
Time • 1 March 2014
Tug-of-war. Professors who teach online classes are protesting university policies that allow the schools to retain ownership of the content. A recent poll of 110 colleges shows that about 70% already have established policies about online classes, and in only about 10% of those cases were faculty given ownership of their material. Read on for an overview of a looming struggle that could rewrite the rules in academic intellectual property rights and threaten the success of online higher education.
How much of a surprise could this be? You signed an employment agreement. (Michalko)
Above the Fold Quiz
According to an item in this week's News and Views section, where can you hear from library leaders who are actively implementing shared print arrangements?
Get the answer.