Welcome to the 60th episode of the Mediatwits podcast, with Mark Glaser and Rafat Ali as co-hosts. We were recording the podcast when the big news came down that Newsweek had decided to end its print edition. Can a digital-only Newsweek survive with all the cut-throat competition online? This week also saw the launch of Circa, a new type of mobile news app that collects the “atomic units” of stories — facts, quotes and images — and puts them into running stories with alerts to updates. We talked to Circa founding editor David Cohn as well as PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy about the prospects for Circa now and in the future. (Check out this story on Idea Lab by David Cohn explaining Circa in more detail.)
After a recent story in the New York Times about BlackBerry users being seen as the “black sheep” of the smartphone world, we talked with a couple BlackBerry power users who still have faith in the struggling platform. The Atlantic’s Zvika Krieger and CIO.com’s Al Sacco both spoke up for BlackBerry users and said as content creators (and people who like the dedicated keyboard) there’s still life in the BlackBerry in an age of iPhones and Androids.
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David Cohn is the founding editor of Circa. He was the founder and director of Spot.Us, a nonprofit that pioneered “community funded reporting.” In academics he has been a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s journalism school and was a fellow at the University of Missouri’s Journalism school at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
Sarah Lacy is the founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of PandoDaily, a site that aims to cover everything tech entrepreneurs need to know. An award winning journalist who has covered start-ups for more than 15 years, Lacy was previously the senior editor of TechCrunch, a columnist for BusinessWeek and the author of two critically-acclaimed books. She is based in San Francisco.
Zvika Krieger is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, where he coordinates Middle East coverage for TheAtlantic.com, and a senior vice president at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. He was previously an editor and writer at The New Republic and a correspondent for Newsweek based in Egypt and Lebanon, covering most of the Arab world.
CIO.com Senior Editor Al Sacco is an awarding-winning journalist, editor and blogger who covers the fast-paced mobile/wireless beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on smartphones, tablet PCs and other handhelds.
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Highlights from the Show
1:00: Newsweek decides to drop print
3:00: What about print at the Guardian, which hired Wolfgang Blau as digital head
4:10: Rundown of topics on the podcast
Launch of Circa mobile app
6:00: Special guests David Cohn and Sarah Lacy
8:25: Cohn: Circa breaks down the “atomic units of news”
10:50: Lacy: Circa is perfect for political news but won’t reinvent news
15:40: Lacy: Best comparison for Circa is Wikipedia
17:50: What will the business model be for Circa?
19:00: Cohn: We’re not a river of news about one topic
21:40: Lacy: More publishers thinking about the reader
BlackBerry fans fight back
22:30: Special guests Zvika Krieger and Al Sacco
24:30: Krieger: People do scoff at others who use BlackBerrys, even in DC
26:30: Sacco: What’s really cool is using a phone that works best for you
28:10: Sacco: There’s still 80 million BlackBerry users
30:00: BlackBerry users can text, tweet and write easier with dedicated keyboard
31:30: Krieger: DC is government town so they are stuck with BlackBerrys because of bureaucracy and inertia
So How Is Circa Different From Writing Articles at Idea Lab
The BlackBerry as Black Sheep& at NY Times
Why Using a BlackBerry Can Still Be Cool at CIO.com
Very Uncool NY Times Article About BlackBerry at CrackBerry.com
In Praise of the BlackBerry# at The Atlantic
Don’t forget to vote in our poll, this time about which cell phone you use:
Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian and fiancee Renee. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+Related