Friday, August 31, 2007

The Buck Stops Here!

OK, I don't know if the buck stops here or not, but we did, stop in Kansas City that is. We needed a break from driving, so we spent the day here in Kansas City, Missouri and nearby Independence and Liberty. We went to some of the major LDS historical sites here. If you did not know, the Mormons spent a few years here before being driven out of the state at gun point. Some of my own ancestors lived in Missouri in the 1830s, and one of them was in Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith.

We also went to the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. I recently finished reading Truman's biography by David McCullough. It was fantastic, so when we planed to spend a day here, the library became a must see.

Here is his house:


And the library:



Here is the famous sign from his desk:


And the actual newspaper that will always be remembered for its big mistake: (in case you did not know, Truman won that election).



I could have spent a lot more time at these sites as well as some other places we did not get to visit, but that will have to wait for another trip. Tomorrow is another long day of driving, through St. Louis and on to Tennessee.

Here are all the pictures from our trip so far.

California to Washington, D.C.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

More than half way there


After about 12 1/2 more hours of driving, we made it this evening to Kansas City, Missouri. We are in need of a break, so we will be staying here for two nights. It also means we can do some sight seeing tomorrow. We drove through most of Nebraska, a tiny corner of Iowa and a good chunk of Missouri today. I had never been to any of these states before, so it was all new for me, and very nice. But I am tired of being in the car already. We have two more days of driving left, but we are taking Sunday off as well, so we should be OK.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In Wyoming

Road trip day 2, we are now in Cheyenne, Wyoming. So far so good. Tomorrow we will be in Kansas City, Missouri.



I uploaded a bunch of photos to my Picasa page. Check them out. I am by no means a professional photographer, nor am I using a fancy camera, but I am trying to document the adventure as best I can.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On my way to Washington D.C.

Today was the first leg of my road trip across the country to to go to my internship at the Washington Post. It is going to be a long drive, but I am excited to see parts of the country that I have never been to before.

To confirm my absolute insanity, instead of packing and cleaning up the house last night, I went to a San Francisco Giants Game. It was a lot of fun (and we won) and was a great way to get my mind off the stress of getting ready.


Today, my wife Suzanne, our dog Koko and I drove from our home in Fremont, Calif. to Suzanne's parents', just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. This way actually the longest leg of our trip. We tried to break it up into manageable chunks. Thanks to my new Verizon Wireless Internet card, I will keep the blog updated with our adventures. More pictures are on the way, but for now, it is time for bed and then off to Cheyenne, Wyoming tomorrow.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The news is like the opera and the exercise bike

I just got home from a Silicon Valley Social Media Club meeting at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale. It was really interesting. The topic was social news sites, and featured a fantastic panel:
Karen Brophy, Yahoo! News
Amy Dalton, Topix.com
Steve Huffman, Reddit.com
Jay Adelson, Digg.com
Dan Gillmor, Center For Citizen Media

I learned a lot about this type of social news, something I have not really looked into much so far. Now I need to try out each of these sites a little more and see how they work.

The most interesting comments, I thought, were from Drew Curtis of Fark.com, who spoke via Skype. Fark is not like the other social news sites because it is intended to be funny. A way to laugh at the news. Curtis said that real news does not get as much traffic as entertainment and humor, unless there is a major news item such as a space shuttle crash. He did say however, that the Michael Jackson verdict got as many hits as 9/11 did.

"People treat news like the exercise bike in their basement," he said. "They like that it is there, but they rarely go check it out."

He also said that news is like the opera. Everyone says that they like opera, but when it comes down to it, they would rather go to see Kiss than the philharmonic.

I think his comments are true, but sad. Dan Gillmor said that he fears that media literacy is falling in younger generations. But he also said that he thinks that social news sites like these are on the way to make a big difference in out society as they help people become more informed, better educated and more involved in the news.

Hopefully he is right. I love the power that the Internet gives people to be able to get news and information from a variety of sources. The opportunities to learn and express one's self are endless. But we need to teach younger people to love to read and learn, to ask questions and voice their opinions. Otherwise, we could end up with a generation that thinks that who their favorite celebrity is dating is more important than the coming presidential election. Scary thought.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

NBC11 Chat in the News


I am officially done with my internship at NBC11, but today the station was featured in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. The article does a good job explaining the chat and how NBC11 is trying to make the newscast more interactive.

During one recent 30-minute broadcast, Aguirre made more than half a dozen references to what was transpiring online. She encouraged the audience to "get in there" - the online chat room - and asked "What do you think?" after individual stories. During the same newscast, the station's "Fast Feedback" question of the day was whether the United States should get out of Iraq. Later, she read snippets of some of the e-mailed responses on the air.

The comments on SFGate were interesting. It looks like most of the people there do not watch TV news and do not trust news organizations (so why are they reading SFGate?), and they are cynical that any news organization would listen to them. I can only assure them from my first hand experience that the journalists at NBC11 do care.
The station's experiment is still too young to see if it has increased ratings. But already, some of the Fast Feedback questions have inspired conversations and story ideas among producers about ideas for the next day's broadcast.
They are watching what is said in the chat and in the Fast Feedback. The reporters, producers and anchors all join the chat, not so they can vent their thoughts, but so that they can see what their viewers care about. As the article said, the chat is not always intellectually stimulating:
The online chatter among NBC11 viewers isn't always a colloquium of Rhodes scholars. One poster asked during a newscast, "Is (technology reporter) Scott Budman nice?" Another asked why there was an NBC11 truck outside the Santa Clara County jail. (A reporter was there to pick up a mug shot of an inmate, was the answer.)
But there are many times that I learn something valuable from participating. I think that the NBC11 chat is a huge step in the right direction, and I hope they soon expand it to the 6 p.m. newscast as well as to NBC Nightly News (but keep the chat local still, just show the national video feed).


This is all part of an overall trend to make news more interactive. While I previously did not watch very much TV news, I really enjoy chatting and watching the news online, especially since I can do it anywhere with Internet access. It means that I can still participate even when out of town or stuck late at work. I still do not use the TV as my main source of news, but it is a nice way to get an update on the top stories and breaking news and to see what other people are talking about.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Storytelling video

Today is my last day at NBC11. I have had a good time here and learned a lot. I was talking to one of the people here that works on online projects and she told me about their California Stories. These are some really great examples of quality video storytelling. They work on the web very well, even though they were done for TV. I especially liked this one, which recently won an award:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kyle goes to Washington

I have been pretty involved over the past week getting ready for school to start next week, working on getting stuff ready for the Spartan Daily and the like. Then last Thursday I got an e-mail from the Washington Post asking if I was interested in coming to do an internship there this fall. So after a lot of careful consideration and a quick interview yesterday, it is now official that I am dropping everything going on here in California and I am moving to Washington, D.C. (actually, I will be working in Alexandria, Virginia) for the next four months. I am really excited. We are not sure yet when exactly we will be going out there, but it will probably be in about two weeks. I will be working with The WashingtonPost.Newsweek Interactive team on their hyper-local sites, podcasts and other projects.

This is a dream come true for me. The Washington Post has some of the coolest projects of any newspaper online and I will be right in the thick of it. I am also a huge U.S. history fan and have always wanted to visit Washington, and now I get to go for a whole four months.

There is still a lot of details to work out, but I am really excited to go. I will keep updating this blog with my adventures, projects and travels.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

My first article on NBC11.com

Most of my time this summer at NBC11 has been spent working on the new HomeTown Web site, plus a little for the Grand Prix site and a few other random project. But today I got to watch the main NBC11.com people at work. It was really neat to see how they get stuff posted so fast and how they convert TV news to Web. At the end of the day, they asked me to write a story. It was nothing fancy, but I had to write a coherent story for the Web based on a very short TV script, which is a lot different from what you read online or in print. So here is the result. Short and sweet, but has all the key details. Apparently while I was writing the story, they also interviewed one of the students on the air and then had him in the chat room talking to viewers. Pretty cool stuff. I also got to sit in on the meeting with the producers and reporters to plan out the 11 p.m. newscast.

In other news, we are already hard at work on the Spartan Daily for next semester.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Don't just let me blog, teach and train me now

I guess I said something right in my last post. Shel Israel posted about it.

I think there are more and more future star employees like Kyle and employers need to pay attention now, if they want to attract the best and brightest members of the next generation.
Then Daniela Barbosa posted about it as well.
Future employees (and many suffering current ones) want to be able to participate and innovate in the ways they are used to outside of the corporation. It could be blogging, tagging, video creation, mashups- whatever just let them be. Enterprises that create environments that allow for this within their confine (there has to be some based on business laws etc.) will not only get the best new future employees out there but will inspire their current ones.
I strongly agree with both. Companies need to continue to innovate and look to the young ones in their organizations for guidance. I liked Ewan McIntosh's comment as well: "If companies don't take advantage of those currently making their coffees, doing internships and working in the lowest positions of the organisation [sic] then they'll lose out!"

As I pointed out in my comment on Shel's post, companies also need to invest in the future by working with colleges and universities in developing future employees. Even better, they should invest in education at all levels. Our public education system in the United States, at lest in California, is broken. Corporations need to take an interest in the future, or our whole country is going to lose out.

I had a nice chat last night with the head of the San Jose State J-school curriculum committee. The school is constantly trying to revamp classes and programs to meet the needs of students. But students need professionals to come visit them in the classroom. They need to do tours and internships (and preferably not unpaid ones where all they do is file and make coffee). Companies should try to be more innovative in helping students succeed.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

To my future boss: please let me blog

I just finished reading Naked Conversations by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble. Of course, Scoble is one of the people who inspired me to begin blogging when he spoke to my class almost a year ago, and I have been following his blog ever since. I also started reading Israel's blog in the last couple of months.

I think the book should still be required reading for anyone interested in how emerging media is influencing business and culture.

Obviously I do not have a lot of business experience, and I look at the Cluetrain-based principles in this book and say "duh."

"Of course businesses should listen to what their customers are saying," I think to myself. And "Why wouldn't a company want to be transparent and open to the world." (OK, I am not that naive, I know there are good reasons not to, but let me go on.)

As I do gain more experience in the world, I am surprised at the resistance to new media. Israel and Scoble hit the nail on the head. If you want to expand your business, if you want to be prepared to deal with a crisis, if you want to really connect with your customers, you must have a blog.

I trust companies that are open and honest with me. I will pay more for their products and services because I trust them and read good things about them on the Internet. There are some inherent risks in blogging, and bloggers have to be careful to earn the respect and trust of their employers, but their activities are almost always good for a company.

I still do not know where I am going to end up. I have two weeks left of an internship and then I am back to school full time. In less than a year I will be looking for a job and I don't have any idea what kid of job it will be. But I hope to work for a company that is willing to take risks, embrace conversations and allow me to continue blogging.