Category Archives: News Commentary

“Shook One Pt II” Sample Found

Ever wondered if there was a sample people STILL couldn’t figure out? I have to be honest, this was one that I didn’t even realize was undiscovered. Maybe it’s because I like the song so much as is I just never really thought past how great this beat was.

Oliver Wang’s latest blog in the LA Times chronicles the “unearthing” of one of the last unknown sources of a hip-hop classic. Check it out here.

If you want to hear it for yourself, see the video below:

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‘Dark Knight Rises’ To Be Filmed in Pittsburgh

Well, I like this story quite a bit.

I’m all for victories for my hometown, even though I live in the “actual” Gotham City now.

This is definitely a bragging point.

“Ayo, Zach and Miri Make a Porno AND The Dark Knight II were filmed in the ‘Burgh, bro.”

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Jay Smooth on T-Pain’s “Endorsement” of Sean Hannity

*Insert everything Jay Smooth says here*

I don’t like being a straight co-signer, but I’m not sure I could have said it any better than Jay Smooth did. There really is nothing worse than the arrogantly uninformed person. It’s unfortunately one of the biggest flaws in the wider hip-hop community/consciousness (or lack thereof), and it will continue to be exploited until there is a big change.

I would have defended T-Pain because Sean Hannity is the type of bully that would treat an “endorsement” from an otherwise uninformed rapper as a game. It’s something you know he went home to tell his buddies about, in that “oh those rappers” tone.

“Hey Bill, guess who I got on camera today saying ‘Conservative Victory 2010?'”

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Why do Tea Party people insist on calling themselves “Tea Baggers?”

Don’t they know a certain activity owns the market on that word?

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Are Journalists Averted to Entrepreneurship by Default?

I love journalism.

Journalists clearly love their craft and their business (or what’s left of it). The problem is that most journalists are stubborn. For instance, they have to know that in a global sense, there is a need for their skills. Heck, this is the argument of most print-journalists who rally against the internet. So how does that make them stubborn? Well, there’s plenty of opportunities to pursue that utilize the same skills they covet so much. But they don’t pursue these opportunities.

Every day, I hear journalism industry outsiders advocate for our skill-set and things we could be doing. Even today, Dan Gregory of Northeastern’s Entrepreneurship faculty advocated for the skills journalists bring to the table in entrepreneurial ventures. He gave a bunch of case studies that show that journalists have skills in the workforce that place them in the upper percentile of desired labor.

Here’s an easy one: Familiarity with use of a communications mediums can land you a job in a marketing department.

It’s tough though, because many journalists just want to be writers. They want to report and chase the story, and all these “side hustles” just divert from that. Maybe it’s not the answer journalists are looking for, but it’s the only lead anyone has right now.

Who knows, maybe people are pursuing these opportunities and they don’t pan out. It’s a desperate economy with desperate people.

If I may make a plea to all the intelligent, thoughtful people who label themselves journalists: can we get a little less of this “self help” mentality as it relates to journalism? Sometimes I feel like all you guys do anymore is tell me how to save the industry.

The discussion is a valuable one, but if some of you split your time a wee bit more, and embraced the tactics of a WikiLeaks, maybe you would have gotten the scoop before them.

All this self-help talk of how to save journalism is really the biggest turn-off about journalism to me these days. I’ll be damned if this blog ends up as one of them…

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Blog Comments: Where Everybody Knows Your Name!

In some ways, I really make a habit of avoiding the conversation of what to do about commenters on news sites. The questions of “Should we allow comments?” or  “Should we require real names?” is kind of irrelevant to me as a 22 year old American male who grew up with the internet.

To me, it’s kind of like peanut butter and jelly. Why not have comments? You can’t have the internet without the interaction. It’s like spaghetti without meatballs. How can you argue against it?

But, I know the arguments. Philosophically, I think we agree, but it’s just not something I care to spend a lot of time talking about, because what we should be talking about is how to get quality comments, not arguing whether or not to require real names. I know, though, it’s one way people see as a way to encourage quality interaction.

Quite honestly, I ignore comments on news sites for two reasons: there’s far too many for any intelligent or readable dialogue to go on and there’s hardly a sense of community.

I remember reading a story on the New York Times website a few months ago about how dirty our drinking water  is across the country. It was such a good story that I felt felt compelled to write a comment. Interestingly enough, I noticed the comment section was filled with largely insightful and interesting comments, but I had trouble making much sense of anything, as there were simply too many comments to know what to do with them. Who wants to shout out 30 different people with a bunch of “@’s.”

This all leads me to my larger point that there’s no community on big paper sites. Sure, there could be, but it’d be huge, and kind of hard to establish that feeling of “belonging” that blogs often offer. That’s the paradox of the internet, we love the exposure and access of a worldwide platform, but always strive to make it feel like a small neighborhood community. Hello, Twitter!

That’s why on the Nah Right comments, if you’re a commenter, it’s the place where “Everbody knows your name!” I’m serious, if you’re there enough, people know what you’re going to say. Now, the Nah Right comments don’t exactly stay on topic, but it’s more of a community that most sites could ever hope to achieve.

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What was wrong with the way we were aggregating content before?

Google News is popular because of the customization and sheer amount of information on one page.

Digg is popular because there’s interaction in that aggregation.

Blogs are popular because they give everyone a voice, when they feel they have something to say.

What all these have in common is that they were innovative, and gave users a reason to flock to each. Their niches were narrowly defined and the look was something new. We knew what we were getting.

It’s a noble effort to combine all of these into one service and think this can form a synergy in creating the perfect news reading experience. However, News Trust is not exactly that. It could be, but it has some very basic flaws.

Firstly, it suffers from a poor visual layout, as well as poor aesthetics in general. The title catchphrase “Your Guide to Good Journalism,” is confusing, frankly. Is this site a guide/educational resource like Poynters? It’s plainly evident that this is an aggregation site with stories to read as if it were a news site. Thus, their title makes little sense.

However, the fundamental flaw here is that they may be asking too much of users to submit stories and rate them in the manner they do. Maybe if the process was streamlined, it would be better. It seems simple enough as it is presented, however, it took many people a few minutes to figure out how exactly to get it working properly. At this point, I do not even know if the stories I have submitted even saved the review properly. Quite simply, they do not offer me much at face value that I can’t get on Google News or Twitter. For one thing, Google News has better customization tools, and the people I follow on Twitter are already people whose taste I trust.

I would like to end on a high note and say that News Trust has incredible value if it could garner an active community that really brought a diverse array of stories to the table and actually garnered discussion. Valuable, educational and lively discussion that challenges us all to think.

Sometime you just need to remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, especially when the wheels are working.

For those interested, take a look at three stories I submitted to News Trust and how I used their rating system. Go through yourself if you have the time and do the same. Drop me a line and let me know what your experience is.

[These submissions are all pending review, I apologize if you cannot see them right away]

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