Meta notes: Where to find my microchunks

If you get the feeling I haven’t been writing here as much lately, you’re right.

But I’m still out here, reading everything I can get my hands on and throwing up links left and right.  They’re just not always where you’re expecting them, eh?

So then, if the meager postings to Delicious you find on the right sidebar and in the usual spot aren’t satisfying your link-devouring needs, take a glance at my shared Google Reader thingie from time to time (three-month-old + keyboard shortcuts = happiness).  Those also show up on my Facebook profile, along with just about everything else I do in the known online universe.

And yes, you can easily find me on Twitter and/or Pownce, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Flickr Pro and the freemium business model for newspapers

Given the recent developments around our house and the logical uptick in uploading to Flickr, I went ahead and took the $24.95/yr plunge.

What I get for my money: Unlimited uploading, unlimited image storage, unlimited bundling and feeding of images, and all the old stuff that had been pushed out of my top 200 by the new stuff has come back to life, which means you can once again see any and all of my vacation pictures from the last few years. I know, it’s ahrd to contain your excitement.

But the fact that I finally laid down some cash for a service I had used for free for a few years started the wheels turning in my head.

The question, as always: What are your online newspaper readers willing to pay for?

I’ve bitched and moaned about TimesSelect being a backwards way to pull your opinion leaders out of the public forum and hide them behind a paywall, but I’m starting to get over it. After all, it’s the News that Everyman needs, and that stays out in public where he can get at it.

But when we want just a little bit more, there it is, available for a price.

Freemium.

It’s the business model that makes Flickr and Feedburner and WordPress.com viable and perhaps profitable.

Create a tool that millions of users can play with for free, but make sure there are premium features they can pay just a little bit more to access. Make them look cool. Call them “Pros.”

Sooooooo if you’re not a big regional paper with a stable of columnists you can pull behind a paywall, what are the features that can get readers to shell out that little bit of cash?

It’s a damn fine question. There might be easy answers when it comes to classified advertising, but not news content. What exclusive content are you willing to pull out of the hands of the masses?

A framework for networked journalism

Jay Rosen lays all his cards on the table, posting his plans for NewAssignment.net, a to-be-constructed site where reporters and The People Formerly Known As The Audience can party together.

And by “party together,” I mean the masses can use all their social bookmarking/tagging/networking power to point to the stories they want to see covered more and/or better.

So instead of using all these great new Web 2.0 tools to let “users” point other people to the already-extant content they like (a la Digg, Newsvine, etc.), Jay is proposing we use the new toolbox to let “readers” be the assignment editors, pushing for the stories they want to know more about.

But more than that, now the “readers” get to play along at home, doing some distributed journalism of their own, for example, tracking the price of a prescription drug in their neighborhoods to figure out whether it’s being priced differently in different parts of the country. From Jay’s example:

The users help find out what a drug costs “everywhere.” It would be hard for a reporter to do that alone. Journalists are hired to get answers to questions developed by users, filtered through editors, who in turn enforce a certain standard of excellence, fairness and transparency that is indistinguishable from New Assignment’s reputation.

The masses of interested citizens drives not only story selection, but provides a paid journalist with information and ammunition to seek out the answers to their questions.

There’s plenty more of this in Jay’s post.

For even more, listen to the Citizen Journalism session from last month’s Bloggercon.

Best of Web 2.0

“What’s Web 2.0?” you ask.

“We’re still working on Web 1.0,” you say.

Okay, whatever, check out this easy-to-read, plain-language list of useful tools you can find on the Internet these days. If you haven’t used Flickr or Delicious, now’s the time. If you’ve never seen a Google Map, check it out.

These are tools for searching, bookmarking, and collaboration. Sound educational? It should.