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Microsoft Surface gets mixed reviews, lack of apps a problem

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Microsoft SurfaceIf the reviews are any guide, the Microsoft Surface, which ships Friday, the device isn’t going to break any sales records.

Reviewers praise its attractive design and the sturdy kickstand, no one likes the cameras (one front, one rear) which are panned for being slow and taking so-so photos, but after that, opinions differ.

David Pogue at the New York Times writes that “You’d have to be fairly cold-blooded to keep your pulse down the first time you see the Surface….How incredible thhat this bold, envelope-pushing design comes from Microsoft.” On the other hand, he laments, “How ironic that what lets the Surface down is…Microsoft’s specialty: software.”

Pogue’s counterpart at the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg, says the device is “historic,” and “is a tablet with some pluses,” such as the major office apps and optional keyboards. But he is otherwise unimpressed, dissing the cameras, lack of battery life, lack of apps, and a display that doesn’t measure up to the iPad’s.

Matt Honan at Wired rather like the device but criticized its lack of apps.

The Verge wrote that the Surface is “unfortunately more functional as a laptop…on a desk.” It also criticized the instability of the Microsoft Mail app and the way it handles threading, and it touchscreen’s ability to handle only five points at a time compared to the iPad’s 11.

Other reviews:

PC World



iPad reviewers love the Retina display, speed, camera

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

David Pogue writes in the New York Times that the new Apple iPad should have been called the iPad 2S, because it makes only incremental changes to the iPad 2, like the iPhone 4S. The technical improvements in the new device, which is available Friday, “keep it at the forefront of desirability – just ahead of the snapping jaws of its Android competion.”

Like most reviewers, he’s dazzled by the “very, very sharp screen.” The new Retina dispaly is four times sharper than that of the iPad 2. Apps rewritten for the new screen are “incredibly sharp,” he says and high definition videos are “dazzling.”

He praises the new 5 megapixel back camera that will also shoot hi-def video.

The feature we’re personally most interested in – the new iPad’s ability to translate speaking to text – is unfortunately more limited than Siri in the iPhone 4S. It allows users to type email or in text apps, but not to set alarms or “snag facts from the Web” by asking out loud. Pogue suggests that may be an Apple marketing department hold-back. He notes it does work accurately with good Internet connections.

In any event, it’s a shame it doesn’t have the full range of Siri capabilities.

The major problem we have will all tablets and touch screen products, personally, is that typing on virtual keyboards is a real pain in multiple body parts. We would buy it just to be able to search the Web orally instead of via touchscreen typing.

Pixels, pixels, pixels, speed, speed, speed

John Gruper at, writes, “Pixels, pixels, pixels, battery, battery, battery, speed, speed, speed. That’s the new iPad. He also notes that RAM has been doubled (from 512MB to 1MB), which is mostly dedicated to the improved display -which is double the resolution of the iPad 2, but still makes apps feel faster.

He describes the retina display as similar to that of high end glossy magazine print – “Except that it updates live. It’s living, breathing print.”

Gruber says the new iPad reveals what is important about Apple’s priorities: how things look, feel, which means fast graphics processing.

He notes that Apple does not generally make devices that have less battery life than former models, so the new iPad is slightly thicker and heavier than the other models to accommodate a larger battery, since the high resolution display and more speed mean more battery drain.

Other takes on the new iPad:

Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal (loved its 4G LTE speed).

Joshua Topolsky at The Verge offers photos, in depth looks at multiple features, and this video review:

Americans trust online news sources as much as local papers

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

The Harris PollLooking back to the 1950s, the way Americans got their news was pretty simple – it was either their local newspaper or one of the three nightly newscasts.

Today, there are a myriad of ways to get news – online news sites, on one’s phone, cable television, blogs, and, still local newspapers and nightly newscasts. But with all these different choices, do people trust that each will get them the news fairly and accurately? Overall, the answer is yes. And online news sources are as trusted as local papers, which are the most trusted sources.

When we look at trust in general, majorities of Americans (between 60% and 73%) say they trust seven different media outlets to get them news fairly and accurately.

But the difference is in how much trust they have; while three-quarters of U.S. adults (73%) trust their local TV news, less than one-quarter (22%) have a lot of trust in it and half (51%) have some trust.  Seven in ten Americans (69%) trust their local newspapers, but only 18% have a lot of trust.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,016 adults surveyed online between January 16 and 23, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Looking at some other media seven in ten Americans trust radio and Internet news and information sites (69% each) to get them news fairly and accurately, but for both, only 14% have a lot of trust while over half (55%) have some trust.

Just over three in five trust cable TV news (64%) and network TV news (61%) but, for both, only 15% say they have a lot of trust in them and three in five (60%) trust national newspapers, with 16% having a lot of trust.

Fair and unbiased news

While the different types of media are all looked at in a mostly positive light, there are some mixed results when we look at specific media outlets. Three in ten Americans say that ABC (63%), NBC (63%), CNN (61%), the Associated Press (59%), and PBS (59%) all give news that is fair and unbiased all the time or occasionally.

But, like with the media in general, the public leans towards occasionally, rather than all the time as three in five (28%) say PBS is fair and unbiased all the time, while just one in five says the same for the other four media outlets.

Over half of U.S. adults say FOX News, (54%), Yahoo News (53%), MSNBC (52%) and CNBC (52%) provide fair and unbiased news all the time or occasionally, and half say the same about The Wall Street Journal (50%) and Time (50%).

Just under half say The New York Times (48%) and Reuters (48%) provide news that is fair and unbiased; about two in five say the same about The Washington Post (42%), NPR (41%), Newsweek/The Daily Beast (39%) and one-third about the Huffington Post (33%).

But, it’s not that these on the lower end of the list are not trusted, it is, rather, that they are not as well known so many more Americans do not have an opinion of them one way or another.

Fox, Huff Post, MSNBC seen as less fair & unbiased

If we look at those who are seen as rarely or never giving news that is fair and unbiased, over one-third (36%) say that applies to FOX News, while three in ten say MSNBC (31%), Huffington Post (31%), CNBC (29%), The New York Times (29%), The Washington Post (29%), and Newsweek/The Daily Beast (29%).

In this election year, Americans will be getting their campaign information from these various media outlets. In that vein, it is interesting to note that out of the 17 different media outlets, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to think that 15 news providers are giving them news that is fair and unbiased. Republicans are only more likely than Democrats to think that about two news providers – FOX News (75% vs. 39%) and The Wall Street Journal (51% vs. 50%).

So What?

Like everything else, the media is a business that needs to make money and show investors profits. And, as the number of news outlets continues to grow, providers of information are increasingly out to one-up each other as the first with that information. The large number of news providers also means that the providers have to find new, and sometimes sensational, ways to get eyes and ears to their outlet.



“How much trust do you have that each of the following will get you the news fairly and accurately?”

Base: All adults
A lot of
Not very
much trust
No trust
at all
% % % % % % %
Local TV News 73 22 51 23 17 6 4
Radio 69 14 55 25 19 7 6
Internet News and information sites 69 14 55 26 19 7 5
Local Newspapers 69 18 51 27 19 8 4
Cable TV News 64 15 49 30 21 9 6
Network TV News 61 15 46 35 20 15 4
National Newspapers 60 16 45 34 22 12 6
Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding;


Click to view table full screen

“How much trust do you have that each of the following will get you the news fairly and accurately?”

Percent saying “A lot of trust/Some trust”

Base: All adults
Generation Political Party
Gen X
Rep. Dem. Ind.
% % % % % % % %
Local TV News 73 68 77 77 72 70 83 72
Radio 69 65 71 73 67 72 74 66
Internet News and information sites 69 66 68 73 66 66 78 6
Local Newspapers 69 67 70 72 63 62 82 67
Cable TV News 64 56 68 67 71 64 72 62
Network TV News 61 62 57 63 59 47 79 61
National Newspapers 60 64 58 61 52 46 77 60
Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding;


Online Journalism Awards names envelope pushing finalists

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

ONAFinalists for the 2011 Online Journalism Awards, many pushing the envelope of innovation and excellence in digital storytelling and distribution, were disclosed by the Online News Association and its academic partner, the School of Communication at the University of Miami.

A group of 34 industry-leading journalists and new media professionals teamed up to review entrants and select finalists. Twelve of those judges, representing a diverse cross-section of the industry, met at the university’s Coral Gables, FL, campus and eight more conferred internationally to determine winners from independent, community, nonprofit, major media and international news sites.

Launched in 2000, the OJAs are the only comprehensive set of journalism prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism.

Changes note digital journalism innovations

This year, ONA introduced changes to acknowledge the explosion of journalistic innovation on new digital platforms. Entries for all awards were open to news produced for any digital device. Eight awards come with a total of $33,000 in prize money, courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gannett Foundation, which also is supporting innovative investigative work with two $2,500 awards.

“We found that excellence in digital journalism today requires not only traditional shoe-leather reporting and engaging storytelling, but also sophisticated use of social tools and multimedia techniques,” said Anthony Moor, Managing Editor, Local at Yahoo!, who, along with the Associated Press’ Director of Global Product Operations Ruth Gersh, co-chairs the Online Journalism Awards Committee.

The finalists, listed in alphabetical order, are:

Knight Award for Public Service
Assault on Learning – The Philadelphia Inquirer
Barnegat Bay Under Stress – Asbury Park Press
Breach of Faith – Los Angeles Times
Deadly Neglect – Chicago Tribune
On Shaky Ground – California Watch and Center for Investigative Reporting

Gannett Foundation Award for Technical Innovation in the Service of Digital Journalism
Power to the People: Voter Education for All – e-thePeople

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Micro Site
NJ Spotlight
The Tiziano Project
Yale Environment 360

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small Site
California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting
The Texas Tribune – Voice of San Diego

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Medium Site
CBC News
Las Vegas Sun
NewsOK / The Oklahoman
The Globe and Mail

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Large Site
Al Jazeera
BBC News
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Non-English, Small Site
El Nuevo
Il Tirreno

General Excellence in Online Journalism, Non-English, Large Site
G1 – Portal de Notícias da Globo

Breaking News, Small Site
Aggregation Breaking News – Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami 2011 –
A Snow Storm Hits New York and WNYC Listeners Map the Cleanup – WNYC Radio
Slave Lake Wildfires in Northern Alberta – Global News
Stanley Cup Hockey Riots in Vancouver – The Vancouver Sun

Breaking News, Large Site
Congresswoman Shot – The Associated Press
Coverage of the Uprisings in Egypt – Al Jazeera
Japan Earthquake – Wall Street Journal
The Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis in Japan – The New York Times

Specialty Site Journalism, Affiliated
NPR Music – NPR
Pipeline – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/
The Civil Rights Cold Case Project – Center for Investigative Reporting, Paperny Films

Specialty Site Journalism, Independent – Education Week, Editorial Projects in Education
IEEE Spectrum – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Small Site
Dialysis – ProPublica
Dollars for Doctors – ProPublica
Lifesaving Drugs, Deadly Consequences — InvestigateWest
On Shaky Ground – California Watch and the Center for Investigative Reporting
The Truth Left Behind: Inside the Kidnapping and Murder of Daniel Pearl: Pearl Project, sponsored by Georgetown University and the Center for Public Integrity’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Breakdown: Traveling Dangerously in America – National News 21 and The Center for Public Integrity

Gannett Foundation Award for Innovative Investigative Journalism, Large Site
Breach of Faith – Los Angeles Times
OTL: Painkiller Misuse Numbs NFL Pain – ESPN
Top Secret America – The Washington Post
What Really Happened to Phoebe Prince? – Slate

Multimedia Feature Presentation, Small Site
Apart from War – News21 Team at Syracuse University
Crisis Guide: Pakistan – Council on Foreign Relations/MediaStorm
The Poppy File – OpenFile, ninth+crux

Multimedia Feature Presentation, Medium Site
Exile Without End: Palestinians in Lebanon – CBC News, Radio-Canada, ALT Digital Design Studio
The ’60 Bucs (Parts 4-7) – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Multimedia Feature Presentation, Large Site
A Year at War – The New York Times
Quieting Dylan’s Brain – Los Angeles Times
Traumatic Brain Injury: Coming Home a Different Person – The Washington Post

Multimedia Feature Presentation, Student
Global Warning – Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University
Haiti’s Lost Children – University of Miami
Now What Argentina – University of North Carolina & Universidad Pontifica de Argentina
Vwa Fanm: Stories on Statelessness and Migration – Knight Center for International Media

Online Topical Reporting/Blogging, Small Site
Doctors Behaving Badly: Shedding Light on Poor Doctor Oversight by Medical Boards – William Heisel,
Ecotrope: Fresh Ideas on Nature and Community – Oregon Public Broadcasting and NPR
MindShift: How We Will Learn – KQED and NPR
Persian Letters – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Online Topical Reporting/Blogging, Medium Site
Casey Anthony Extended Coverage – WESH
Nancy Leson’s All You Can Eat blog – The Seattle Times
The Closing of the Sahara – Las Vegas Sun
Ward Room –

Online Topical Reporting/Blogging, Large Site
CNN Belief Blog – CNN Digital
How Are Local Municipalities Impacted by The Great Recession – Will Alden, The Huffington Post
SciGuy – Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle
Social Media Coverage – Helen Popkin,

Online Commentary/Blogging, Small Site
Online Commentary/Blogging, Medium Site
No finalists selected in either category

Online Commentary/Blogging, Large Site
Arianna Huffington – The Huffington Post
LZ Granderson – CNN Digital
Providing A Voice of Authority for the Everyman – Peter S. Goodman, The Huffington Post
Simon Says – Roger Simon, Politico

Outstanding Informational Graphic or Data Visualization, Professional
California Budget Balancer – Los Angeles Times
Crime L.A. – Los Angeles Times
Tell-All Telephone – Zeit Online

Outstanding Informational Graphic or Data Visualization, Student
No finalists selected

Online Video Journalism, Small Site
Cheap Shrimp, Hidden Costs – The University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism
Powering a Nation: Spilling Over – UNC News21
The Price of Gas – Center for Investigative Reporting, California Watch
When the Water Ends – Yale Environment 360

Online Video Journalism, Medium Site
Exile Without End: Palestinians in Lebanon – CBC News, Radio-Canada, ALT Digital Design Studio
Life on the Line – The Toronto Star

Online Video Journalism, Large Site
Caught in the Crossfire: Victims of Gang Violence – Los Angeles Times
Chasing the Swell – Los Angeles Times
Torn Apart – San Jose Mercury News
Video Portraiture – New York Times Magazine

Online Video Journalism, Student
Florida Cowboys – University of Miami
Giants of the Seas: Jamaica Meets the Mega-Ships – University of Miami
Haiti’s Lost Children – University of Miami
Now What Argentina – University of North Carolina and Universidad Pontifica de Argentina
The World Journalism Project – S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Community Collaboration
Hurricane Katrina, Then and Now – CNN Digital
Overtown: Inside/Out – University of Miami School of Communication, University of Illinois School of Media, Stretch Photography, LLC
Social Media’s Arab Spring – Andy Carvin, NPR
The Tiziano Project | 360 Kurdistan – The Tiziano Project

The judges of this year’s awards were:

  • Rosental C. Alves, Director, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, University of Texas
  • Chris Anderson, Assistant Professor of Media Culture, College of Staten Island
  • Rich Beckman, Professor John S. and James L. Knight Chair in Visual Journalism, University of Miami School of Communication
  • Paul Brannan, Senior Program Editor, Independent Television News (ITN)
  • Paul Bucci, Deputy Managing Editor Digital, The Vancouver Sun/
  • Jeanne Carstensen, Managing Editor, Bay Citizen
  • Ron Coddington, AME Visuals, Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Joshua Hatch, Online Content Manager, Sunlight Live
  • Vera H-C Chan, Senior Editor Special Projects, Yahoo!
  • Burt Herman, Founder, Hacks/Hackers, and CEO and Co-Founder, Storify
  • Johanna Hoadley, Senior Project Manager and Social Media Product Manager,
  • Elise Hu, Editorial Coordinator Digital, NPR
  • Rich Jaroslovsky, Editor-at-Large, Bloomberg News/Businessweek
  • Mark Katches, Editorial Director, Center for Investigative Reporting and California Watch
  • Gary Kebbel, Dean, College of Journalism and Mass Communications University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Katie King, Senior Product Manager, Portal and Partnerships, MSN UK
  • Vadim Lavrusik, Journalist Program Manager, Facebook, and Adjunct Professor in Social Media, Columbia University
  • Tetyana Lokot, Head of New Media Sequence, Mohyla School of Journalism, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
  • Jacqui Maher, Senior Developer, The New York Times
  • Julie Moos, Director, Poynter Online and Poynter Publications
  • Shazna Nessa, Director Interactive, Associated Press
  • Michelle Nicolosi, Executive Producer,
  • Angela Pimenta, Exame
  • Ju-Don Roberts, Vice President and Editor in Chief, Revolution Health
  • Eric Scherer, Director of Future Media, France Televisions
  • Dan Sinker, Project Lead, Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership
  • Brian Storm, Founder and Executive Producer, MediaStorm
  • Mario Tedeschini-Lalli, Content Editor,, Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso
  • Matt Thompson, Editorial Product Manager, Project Argo / National Public Radio
  • Ryan Thornburg, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina
  • Wendy Warren, Vice President and Editor,
  • Lisa Williams, CEO and Founder,
  • Nick Wrenn, Vice President of Digital Services, CNN International
  • Chrys Wu, User Engagement Strategist, Matchstrike LLC

Judges were recused from discussing categories in which their own organizations were entered.