this is heavy, doc

On the eve of the iPad dropping in Hong Kong. A couple of news bits and some thoughts…

SCMP will become the first English paper in Asia to have an iphone/ipad app, which will launch tomorrow. This is a big deal for me, as I’ve thought–years ago–that the future will see everyone with some sort of portable device tha can surf the web anywhere.

Meanwhile, this NY Times piece, titled In Online Journalism, Burnout Starts Younger, talks about how the new age of journalism–where traffic is measured by retweets, hits, facebook links, etc–has led to more stress. In the old days, journos had a specific deadline period–usually the end of the day–to worry about. Now, with the always-connected world of news, the deadline period is… all the time.

This attitude was evident a few weeks ago during the Summer of Lebron, when my twitter was updated regularly throughout the day by guys like Howard Beck, Adrian Wojnawoski, and Brian Windhurst (sports writer for NY Times, Yahoo Sports, and Cleveland Plain Dealer). I live in HK, so when I’m seeing tweets over lunch, that’s 2am where they’re at. When I see tweets about Lebron’s latest move Monday morning at work, that’s Sunday night for these guys. With Twitter, they were reporting 24/7.

This NY Times story goes on about how at Gawker Media’s office, the top viewed/clicked stories are displayed on a giant screen in the middle of the office–sorta like a scoreboard–with all them aspiring young twentysomething journos working to get to the top.

There are pundits. Many think that, because these cats are now writing to get clicks, they’re resorting to over the top sensationalistic headlines/storytelling. The “must get this out asap” format also means less time to fact check or structure the story. A site like the Huffington Post or Deadspin–which aims to get clicks–tend to have tacky looking front pages filled with headers in 38 font. They need clicks.

Now I enjoy a well written feature as well as anyone, but I also understand the importance of getting info out asap. There’s room for both in the journalism world.

As for burning out… you just gotta roll with the punches. I don’t believe in listings on paper and album/film reviews for a monthly anymore. You expect people to wait or buy something to get listings or see latest review of Inception? Get the feedback in real time.  You keep going on your road, and you’ll realize that in the futures, we don’t need roads.

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