July 17, 2011 |
A few years ago my old boss, David Laventhol, had an extended conversation with Rupert Murdoch about newspapers. It was after some sort of big-deal journalism dinner, and they talked long after the tired waiters wished they'd go. David had a storied career in newspapers. He helped invent the Style section of the Washington Post when he was a young editor there. He was editor and publisher of Newsday, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and president of Times Mirror, finishing his career with me at the Columbia Journalism Review.
June 22, 2011 |
There's a certain poetic justice in the fact that "On the Road" is one of Apple's top-grossing book apps. Released on Saturday, the iPad app for Jack Kerouac's landmark novel — featuring a variety of enriched content, including commentary, maps, audio recordings and other ephemera — hit No. 4 on Apple's list on Tuesday, ahead of the Bible and T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land. " That's a testament to the power of the digital project, but also to the novel, which has occupied a visionary place in the culture since it was first published in 1957.
June 10, 2011 |
Suddenly, they're popping up everywhere — those square, futuristic-looking matrixes that appear to be a cross between abstract art and Rorschach tests. You'll find them in the corner of newspaper and magazine ads, in department store aisles, on product displays, price tags and For Sale signs in front of homes. Giant-sized versions have shown up on billboards. Called quick response codes, or simply QRs, they're the barcodes for the digital age — but ones that convey far more information, and which can be scanned by consumers with smartphones and tablet computers to open a Web page, play a video or even place a call.
May 5, 2011 |
Bob Pittman, best known for his stints as the founder of MTV, the president of AOL Inc. when it was still called American Online, and the chief executive of Six Flags Entertainment Corp., has coasted over to Clear Channel Communications Inc. as the radio conglomerate's chairman of media and entertainment platforms. For the 57-year-old New York-based executive, the move in November to the nation's largest radio broadcaster was not so much a stretch into yet another entertainment medium as a return to his roots.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 12, 2011 |
Television writer-producer Jill Soloway turned off her electronic devices for 24 hours last Saturday and spent the morning playing with her 2-year-old son in her yard in Silver Lake. "It was excruciating and kind of wonderful. I struggled with a feeling of anxiety that there was something in my inbox I needed to tend to," she said. "Then came a moment when it felt like a holiday. Holiday means holy day. What a huge gift. " Soloway, executive producer of the Showtime series "United States of Tara," and a self-described smartphone junkie, was taking part in the "National Day of Unplugging," organized by Reboot, a group of urban media professionals who try to reconnect with Jewish tradition in a way that is meaningful to their hectic lives.
November 12, 2010 |
Kathy DeGrego's T-shirt lets you know right away she isn't an old-school librarian. "Shhh," it says, "is a four-letter word. " That spirit of bookish defiance has guided the makeover of the suburban Denver library system where DeGrego works. Reference desks and study carrels have been replaced by rooms where kids can play Guitar Hero. Overdue book fines have been eliminated, and the arcane Dewey Decimal System has been scrapped in favor of bookstore-like sections organized by topic.
October 17, 2010 |
Like many great satires, Gary Shteyngart's "Super Sad True Love Story" imagines a dystopian future eerily reminiscent of our present world, one in which invasive social networking threatens his characters' sanity and their souls. To research the book, the reserved novelist had to break down and buy an iPhone. The change in his life, according to Shteyngart, has been nerve-wracking. "It's hard to focus. It's hard to have a conversation without checking the iPhone. It's hard to go to a shrink and spend a few minutes on the couch and not need to see what's happening.
August 9, 2010 |
"There has to be a compelling reason these days for someone to decide to pick up a smelly book," says satirist Gary Shteyngart, the 38-year-old author whose novel "Super Sad True Love Story," a dystopian romance, has earned critical raves. By "smelly," Shteyngart is referring to the running gag of the plot — that books stink of dirty feet. Set in the near future — "oh, next Tuesday," Shteyngart jokes in a recent interview — the story details the development and collapse of a society that ridicules "printed bound media artifacts" and, in fact, anything that requires deep thinking.
July 27, 2010 |
The publication this week of classified military reports from Afghanistan has brought home to the nation's capital what Hollywood has seen of late with the raw tapes of Mel Gibson's angry voice: the Internet has fundamentally transformed how secrets are disclosed. No longer can lawyers for the government or a big star rush to court or phone a top news executive to head off a damaging disclosure in a newspaper or on television. Now raw secrets can be posted online for all the world to see or hear.
July 25, 2010 |
What are you doing on your summer vacation? Relaxing at the beach? Enjoying friends and family? Or are you checking your smartphone every five minutes? It's the essential predicament of the Digital Age. Even on vacation. It's tempting to blame our tools, the BlackBerrys and the iPhones that keep us so connected and busy. But the real problem isn't the technologies; it's us. We've convinced ourselves that the more connected we are, the better. We never give ourselves a break.