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Further fueling the ongoing debate over the future of the news media and independent journalism, eBay founder and billionaire Pierre Omidyar last month committed $250 million to a news site co-founded by journalist and author Glenn Greenwald. Omidyar’s investment followed the announcement over the summer that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had purchased The Washington Post, also a $250 million investment. The late Steve Jobs’s wife, Lauren Powell, and 29-year-old Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes are also pouring money into old and new media ventures.

Could this new band of news media owners shape a technology-led business model that will be profitable and protect the integrity of impartial, ideology-free journalism? Ultimately, according to Wharton experts, the ball will rest with the consumer.

Any new business model that those in the technology world would bring to the media realm would have to address the major pain points currently facing the industry. News organizations have “suffered a lot financially in the past couple of years,” says Wharton marketing professor Pinar Yildirim. Circulation numbers and advertising revenue have shrunk as both readers and companies turned their focus to the Internet. The industry has tried to adjust to the new normal — some newspapers and magazines have cut back on issues or the number of days they produce a print product. Other news organizations have started charging for online access. Still more have tried to add content that mimics what tends to be most popular on the web, especially entertainment-related coverage, Yildirim notes.

Omidyar has indicated that he was motivated more by a desire to protect independent journalism than the prospect of getting a return on his investment, at least for now. In a blog post published on his website last month, Omidyar wrote that his investment in Greenwald’s venture (tentatively called “NewCo.”) stems from his “interest in journalism for some time now.” In 2010, Omidyar founded Honolulu Civil Beat, a news website with a stated focus on “investigative and watchdog journalism.” Earlier this summer, he explored buying The Washington Post newspaper before Bezos became the winning bidder. Around that time, Omidyar said he began thinking about the social impact he could help create with an investment in “something entirely new, built from the ground up.”

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The Discipline of Finishing: Conor Neill at TEDxUniversidaddeNavarra

If you had 1000€ and you could invest that money in someone's future, who would you bet on? Is it yourself? Outstanding speaker Conor Neill from IESE Busines...
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Max Headroom

Editor’s note: Contributor Ashkan Karbasfrooshan is the founder and CEO of WatchMojo, he hosts a show on business and has published books on success.  Follow him @ashkan.

“I thought the analysis of content vs other video companies very convincing. But I’m curious: the content game hasn’t worked out so well for AOL and Yahoo. Audiences are fickle. Are you predicting a rosier future?” – reader comment in Is Tech a Zero-Sum Game?.

Infrastructure, Platforms & Content

Today, the Web’s infrastructure is built, and we’re filling the pipes with content — mainly free, ad-supported content.

It might seem like the real opportunities are in user-generated content and aggregation, but anyone who’s worked in those fields recognize their limitations: Simply put, marketers want to advertise alongside professional content. Tim Armstrong left Google (the mother of all aggregators) and joined AOL to remake it into the Time of the 21st century.  He didn’t double down on Bebo.

Content is marketing; Marketing as content

Content – video in particular – may be promotional or commercial, in either case it’s a means to an end.

Traditional Media Companies (TMCs) need to make their content commercial; new media producers are leveraging their content as promotional, sometimes giving it away to build value.

However, when it comes to making money directly from commercial content, the genie is out of the bottle, according to Seth Godin: “Who said you have a right to cash money from writing? Poets don’t get paid (often), but there’s no poetry shortage. The future is going to be filled with amateurs, and the truly talented and persistent will make a great living. But the days of journeyman writers who make a good living by the word — over.”

TL;DR

Content isn’t only increasingly free, it’s also short. Godin clarifies: “Shorter, though, doesn’t mean less responsibility, less insight or less power. It means less fluff and less hiding.”

With 60 hours of content uploaded every 60 seconds on YouTube, producers face three challenges:

-          25% of views come in the first 4 days;
-          Viewers only watch the first 30-60 seconds;
-          The average video generates 500 views throughout its lifetime.

It’s no longer enough to be a good storyteller; you have to cut through the clutter and make the numbers work.

The Economics of Content

“Network television costs $50,000 – 100,000 per minute to produce. Reality shows can be cheaper, with the lowest-end costing $6,000 – 8,000 per minute”, according to GRP venture capitalist (and occasional TechCrunch contributor) Mark Suster. New media producers leverage deflationary economics to produce shows for $500 – $1,000 per minute, on average.

My company does it for $100/minute. Once you cut costs down, the real challenge is revenue.

Fred Wilson’s piece on The Future of Media suggested that the right approach is to:

1 – Microchunk it - Reduce the content to its simplest form.
2 – Free it - Put it out there without walls around it or strings on it.
3 – Syndicate it – Let anyone take it and run with it.
4 – Monetize it - Put the monetization and tracking systems into the microchunk.

For example, 5Min borrowed a page from Google’s AdSense playbook, making it easy for publishers to syndicate the company’s video content, on its way to a $65 million exit to AOL.

“But content doesn’t scale!”

That’s the common critique of content companies from the tech industries. The truth is, bad content scales, good content doesn’t scale – the scale comes from distribution and monetization.  Demand Media’s “content farm” model scaled but it has since moved upstream to win over Madison Avenue, realizing that unless your clients are on Wall Street or Sand Hill Road, quality trumps quantity.

Profit is a Short-Term Move; Value is a Long-Term Focus

Content was an art. Today it’s a science as well. It will always be about Influence and Authority.

Bloomberg will lose $20 million on BusinessWeek, Washington Post sold Newsweek for $1 (plus the assumption of debt).  That doesn’t imply that there’s no money in content, it’s a reminder that disruptive innovation can come from new content creators who can be more disruptive to TMCs than any technology ever will. TechCrunch, for example, generated less revenue than BusinessWeek and Newsweek combined but sold for more.

Revenues come and go, after all. However, managers typically don’t care that much about long-term value creation because their compensation is tied to short-term profits.

Goodwill is the Driver of ROI

The best storytellers realize content is about Authority, Influence and building a brand. VCs who made their fortune on software and semiconductors can’t wrap their minds around content (“it’s a hits business”). But despite the 1% annualized return that VCs have generated, they will continue to invest in the latest mouse trap and shun content, despite what the experts say.

The Worst-Kept Secret in the Publishing Business

The Web doesn’t just shrink markets, it also kills sacred cows, in particular Warren Buffett’s argument that “the most important news in the newspaper are the ads”. Indeed, Google outsold U.S. newspapers $37.9 billion to $34 billion in 2011. I know, those are global Google revenues — give it a couple of years.

So yes, content may be king, but it’s the throne that retains the value, even if the throne was seized under dubious circumstances, according to an anonymous publisher: “Many of the big wins in digital content have gotten big by stealing other people’s content, and, once they get big enough, they build an original content layer (…) You can make money with quality content on digital. The challenge is it requires expertise in more than just content development.”

Of course, once you build your audience, you realize you don’t need to create content; licensing it is a more profitable short-term bet, but it creates less long-term value.  Similarly, ad networks have successfully intermediated between advertisers and publishers, but commoditized themselves in the process.

Why Content Has Stumbled

The TMCs actually get it: online remains small, and the faster they embrace it, they faster they die. The issue is how management has a short-term outlook to maximize profits, instead of being focused on long-term value creation.

The irony is that over time, technology plays come and go: One winner emerges from within a given category and largely kills off its competitors. The real threat to content creators may in fact be emerging content companies with no traditional business to defend. After all, journalism is stronger than ever while newspapers are dying.

But TMCs that have their own content catalogs, producers and brands may not see much value in emerging companies, which remain small until they become category killers, just adding to the tragic fate reserved for most.

While we live in a world of “good enough”, ultimately the company that can i) create the best content at ii) the lowest cost possible will create most value over time.

Disclaimers:

-          AOL is the owner of TechCrunch
-          I am not an employee of AOL
-          AOL acquired 5Min
-          My company WatchMojo has a distribution deal with AOL/5Min and YouTube.

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A few months ago I went to collect a friend from hospital. Arriving early, I entered the waiting room and noticed in-house magazines stacked by the door. I picked one up, grabbed a coffee and took a seat.

The magazine read like a very long press release, blabbering on about patient-centric care and employee awards. I was quickly bored, so I read from my phone instead. The magazine failed in its purpose.

Effective content marketing holds people’s attention. It gives you a distinctive brand, loyal fans and increased sales. You don’t need a big budget to succeed, which is why good content marketing is the single best way to beat bigger competitors online.

Content marketing used to be about customer magazines and mailed newsletters. Now it covers blogs, email newsletters, eBooks, white papers, articles, videos and more. In this article, you will learn about content marketing techniques that you can apply to your business.

Prepare

Before creating content, you need to prepare. Think about your tone and style, where to find the best writers and how to organize your workflow.

Tone and Style

Too many companies start writing content before their brand has a defined voice. This leads to inconsistency. It’s like using one logo in your brochure, another on your website and another on your blog.

When speaking with people, you see their expressions and you adjust your tone accordingly. In a meeting, when you see that someone is confused, you clarify meaning, simplify sentences and speak reassuringly. The Web offers no feedback until your content is published, and then it’s too late.

To get the right tone, think of the person who best represents your brand. The person could be fictional or real, and they may or may not work for you. Now think of adjectives that describe them. Once you know what you want, provide clear details and practical examples.

Let’s say you run a travel agency that markets to young independent travelers. You want your representative to sound experienced, helpful and friendly. Try using a table like the one below to delineate what your adjectives do and don’t mean:

Experienced
Helpful
Friendly

Does mean…
Knowledgeable
Write with authority, as though the knowledge was gained first hand.
Efficient
Explain things clearly and positively. Make sure all relevant information is obvious and accessible.
Personal
Use informal language, and write as though you are talking to one person, rather than a broad customer base.

Does not mean…
Condescending
You know a lot but don’t talk down to your customers. They probably know a lot too.
Pushy
Promote your company, but not at the expense of good service. Always have your reader’s wants in mind.
Unprofessional
Make sure there are no grammar or spelling mistakes. Proofread carefully.

You’ll also need a style guide, so that your authors write consistently. Should you use title case in headings? Are contractions appropriate? Check out The Yahoo! Style Guide for ideas.

Picking Content Creators

Don’t pick the wrong people to create your content. It’s hard for a non-technical person to pick the best Web developer, and it’s the same with content marketing. You need to know about content creation in order to judge other people’s abilities. Some people suggest making everyone in your company a content creator, but this is a bad idea. Not everyone can be a good accountant, secretary or rocket scientist, and the same applies here. To succeed, you should pick the best.

Ask everyone who wants to be a content creator to write a sample blog post. Then you can find the best few people. Some might not be able to write but have interesting ideas. In this case, you’ll need someone to edit their copy. Perhaps you want to raise the profile of a particular staff member. If they can’t write, have someone ghostwrite for them.

Workflow

Some companies have a simple workflow: one person does everything. The person researches, writes and publishes without any input from others. This model can work, but you’ll see more success with a workflow that enables other people to take part. Have different people write, edit and proofread. It’s a good way to catch mistakes and to bring more ideas into the process. Think about the best process for each type of content. One person might be enough for a tweet, whereas four to six people might be ideal for an eBook.

Imagine you’ve got a well-staffed company that is putting together a B2B white paper. You could organize your workflow like this:


An example of how to organize your workflow in a well-staffed company.

Persuade

Your content should be persuasive. Pay close attention to how you speak and what you say.

Use Simple Language

Take the question below on Yahoo! Answers. To “sound intelligent,” this person would like to know “big words that replace everyday small words.”

Big words that replace everyday small words?

Many people make this mistake. They use language that is unnecessarily complicated, usually to show off or to sound corporate and professional.

“Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all,” said Winston Churchill. So, don’t talk about “taking a holistic view of a company’s marketing strategy to deliver strategic insights, precise analysis and out-of-the-box thinking.”

Prefer “make” to “manufacture,” and “use” to “utilize.” While “quantitative easing” offers precision to economists, your personal finance audience would prefer “print money.”

Lauren Keating has studied the effect of scientific language on the persuasiveness of copy. She found that most people respond best to advertisements that contain no scientific language. People found them more readable and persuasive, and they felt more willing to buy the product. Lauren’s conclusion was clear: copy needs to be plain and simple.

Have Opinions

Interesting people have opinions, and interesting brands are the same. Look at the amazing work of new search engine DuckDuckGo. It has positioned itself as the antithesis of Google, launching websites that criticize how the search giant tracks you and puts you in a bubble. The strategy is paying off: DuckDuckGo is seeing explosive growth.

Duck Duck Go
DuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine that breaks you out of your Filter Bubble.

While this strategy is perfect for defeating a big incumbent, you don’t have to be openly hostile to your competitors. You can say what you think without mentioning their names.

Bear in mind that people are ideologically motivated. Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler’s study, “When Corrections Fail”, describes the “backfire effect” of trying to correct people’s deeply held beliefs. The authors found that contradicting people’s misconceptions actually strengthened those opinions. If people see you as an ideological ally (like a political party), they are more likely to agree with you on other issues — even ideologically inconsistent or non-ideological ones. You can use your opinions to attract people to your company: converting the agnostic or validating the views of allies.

As a small-scale brewer, for example, you might have a strong opinion on ale, believing in craft over mass production. You might think the market is dominated by big businesses that sacrifice quality for quantity. In this situation, you could use content marketing to talk about the best way to make beer. By stressing how seriously you take the development of your product, you communicate your opinion to those who share it without directly criticizing your competitors.

Think politically: consider the popularity of your views and whether they will attract media coverage. Ideally, your opinions should be bold and popular.

Sell the Benefits

In the same way that you sell your products and services, tell your audience the benefits of your content. This technique is essential if your audience doesn’t know what it wants.

PaperlessPipeline is a transaction management and document storage app for real estate brokers. Its founder, Dane Maxwell, had a creative idea to sell his product. The biggest problem for real estate brokers is recruiting. So, Dane invited them to a webinar titled “Recruiting Secrets of the 200-Plus Agent Office in Tennessee.” Brokers didn’t even know they needed to manage transactions, so he didn’t mention it in the invitation.


Paperless Pipeline takes your real estate transactions and related documents online—without changing how you work.

In the webinar, he introduced PaperlessPipeline and explained how it enables brokers to recruit more agents. The webinar attracted 120 guests, and “16 ended up buying at the end,” said Dane in an interview with Mixergy.

Imagine you run a company that develops technology for mobile phones, and you want to promote a new femtocell that boosts mobile reception in public spaces and rural areas. This technology could be valuable to people who want to improve mobile reception, but those people might not have heard of it.

So, instead of promoting the technology directly, offer content that focuses on the benefits. By using benefit-focused copy, you immediately tell the reader what’s in it for them.

Teach

Think about what your audience wants. People want to hear answers and to learn something new, so give them what they want.

Give Answers

Content marketing needs to offer practical advice that people can use. Readers have been trained to expect answers on the Web, and yet so much content fails to deliver.

Consider FeeFighters, a comparison website for credit card processing. One of its blog posts, Do You Know What Makes Up Your Credit Score?, talks about the factors that affect your credit score. Instead of offering abstract advice and concepts, the post provides practical tips for improving your credit score:

Area #2: Your Credit Utilization Ratio

The second largest determining factor in what makes up your score is the amount of credit that you have available to you in relationship to how much of that credit you’ve used. This accounts for 30 percent of your credit score. The optimal rate is 30 percent, which means that if you have $10,000 in credit available to you, you should only be using about $3,000 of it. One trap that some people fall into is believing that if they max out their credit cards every month and then pay them off at the end of the month, they’ll build their credit. But since that gives them a 100 percent credit utilization ratio, and that ratio accounts for 30 percent of their overall credit score, they’re really doing more harm than good.

Say or Do Something New

Most content is boring and unoriginal, which is good for you. It makes it easier to beat your competitors.

You can make your content interesting by doing something new, without necessarily saying something new. For instance, you could write a comprehensive article on a topic that has only piecemeal information scattered across the Web. Or you could use a different format for a topic that gets the same treatment; rather than writing the fiftieth blog post on a topic, shoot the first video.

You can also make your content interesting by saying something new. An infographic by Rate Rush compares the popularity of Digg to Reddit, creatively combining a bar graph and clock to present the data. Although Rate Rush is a personal finance website, with little connection to social news, its staff researched a topic they were interested in and drew attention by putting it to imaginative use.

Our agency also researches things that we find interesting, and this has been a great source of content. In 2010, we polled around 1000 iPad owners to find out how consumers use the device. It led to a slew of media attention.

You can do the same. Come up with an original idea to research, and then undertake a study. Also look into studies that your business has done in the past, because interesting stuff might be lying around. One of our clients looked through her company’s research archive and found amazing material. She didn’t spend any money on research but got a lot of great content, links and media coverage.

Captivate

Give your content more personality. Captivate your audience with stories and characters that will draw them in and keep them coming back.

Tell a Story

Telling a story is a great way to connect with readers. According to a number of studies summed up by Rob Gill of Swinburne University of Technology, telling stories can be useful in corporate communication. Storytelling is fundamental to human interaction, and it can make your content more compelling and your brand more engaging.

Citing Annette Simmons’ The Story Factor, Rob says this: “It is believed people receiving the narration often come to the same conclusion as the narrator, but through using their own decision-making processes.” Told through a story, a message becomes more personal and relevant. The reader is also more likely to remember what was said.

Rand Fishkin is the co-founder and CEO of SEOmoz. Instead of sharing only positive accounts of his business, he also writes about difficulties such as his failed attempt to raise capital:

Michelle was the first to note that something was “odd.” In a phone call with Neil, she heard him comment that they “needed to do more digging into the market.” In her opinion, this was very peculiar.… Tuesday morning we got the call; no deal.


An email shared by Rand Fishkin in his post about SEOmoz’s attempt to raise funding.

Brands need stories, and stories need people, suspense, conflicts and crises. By reading SEOmoz’s content, and seeing both the positive and negative, you become immersed in its story.

Ikea is another example of a brand that tells stories that generate opinions about its company. For instance, it plays up its Swedish roots and paints a romantic image of a wholesome and natural society. Its website is full of stories that contribute to this effect.

A survey conducted by the B2B Technology Marketing Community showed that around 82% of LinkedIn users found that telling a story through case studies was the most effective form of content marketing.

Sometimes you’ll want to use anecdotes to make a point, and sometimes you’ll write a post or tweet to build a narrative. When you’re cultivating a story, keep the information simple, and don’t be afraid to repeat points here and there; some readers might have missed what you said before.

Always mix interesting stories with useful information; fail to do this and your audience will feel you’re wasting their time.

Use Real People

Think of your favorite writers. You’ve probably seen their photos and heard them speak. Likewise, people need to see and hear your employees, so use pictures, audio and video. This will bring your audience closer to your brand.

Jakob Nielsen has studied people’s reactions to images online. He used eye-tracking software to discover that people ignore images that seem decorative, random or generic. They even ignore generic images of people. But when they come across a photo of a “real” person, they engage with it for a longer time.

People prefer to get involved with a company with which they feel a personal connection. But introduce your employees gradually; as with any story, introduce too many characters too early and you’ll confuse your audience.

Summary

Develop a compelling tone of voice. Don’t assume that anyone can write amazing copy, because they can’t. If you want the best content, then you need the best writers and thinkers.

Produce something informative that people will want to read. Give your brand a personality and your business will benefit across the board, from recruitment to sales. Warren Buffett looks for businesses protected by “unbreachable moats,” and no moat is more unbreachable than a brand with a story, ideas and opinions.

(al) (il)

© Craig Anderson for Smashing Magazine, 2012.

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Features and Essays

Syrians in our minds…

Tomas Munita has done great work for the New York Times from over there… I can hardly imagine how difficult the conditions…

Tomas Munita: Fighting Intensifies in Syria (NYT) See also

Tomas Munita: A Day With the Arab League Monitors in Syria (NYT)

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Update Wednesday 8 February 2012:

Time Lightbox posted a slideshow this morning by Italian photographer Alessio Romenzi, on assignment for Time in Homs.  Rather than wait until next week, want to share the link to the work here…

Alessio Romenzi: Syria Under Siege (Lightbox)

++++++++++++

Antonio Bolfo’s NYPD: Impact on NYT Lens…Always loved this work… Saw it exhibited in Perpignan 2010…Definitely worth another look..

Antonio Bolfo: NYPD: Impact (NYT Lens)

Andrea Bruce from Kabul

Andrea Bruce: Children in Kabul (NYT)

Here’s Lauren Lancaster from Kabul too…Completely new photographer to me… See later in this post for Lancaster’s photos from GOP primary in Florida…posted on New Yorker’s Photo Booth

Lauren Lancaster: Youth in Kabul (Le Monde M Magazine)

GOP Primaries

Ricardo Cases from Florida on assignment for Time…Lightbox slideshow…

Plenty got printed in the magazine too…

Ricardo Cases: A Sunshine State of Mind for the Florida Primary (Lightbox)

Charles Ommanney: Newt Gingrich on the Florida Campaign Trail (Newsweek)

Charles Ommanney: US Presidential Campaign 2012 (Reportage by Getty Images)

Peter van Agtmael: On the Campaign Trail with Newt Gingrich (Lightbox)

Lauren Lancaster: Running in Florida (Photo Booth)

Massive Florida Primary gallery on NYT with photos by Heisler,Crowley,Yam,Litherland, Thayer, and Henry…

NYT (various photographers): The Florida Primary

To other issues… Here’s a link to Scottish photographer David Gillanders’  multimedia The Neglected…Finished sometime last year, but only discovered this last week…

David Gillanders: The Neglected : Street Children in Ukraine (Vimeo)

Pete Pin: The Cambodian Diaspora (Lightbox)

Sally Ryan: Black Jews of Chicago (zReportage)

Marvi Lacar: A ‘visual diary’ of depression (CNN photo blog)

Bruno Barbey: Istanbul (Magnum)

photo: Steve Liss

New Yorker (various photographers): American Poverty (Photo Booth)

Evgenia Arbugaeva: Siberian Memories (NYT Lens)

photo: Jason Andrew

Financial Times (Photos by Jason Andrew and Brandon Thibodeaux): Atheism in America (FT)

After reading Toni Greaves’ interview about her Radical Love series last week on BJP, I visited her website and ended taking a look also at the multimedia version of the project, which was posted on Time.com while back… Really enjoyed… Very good audio…

Toni Greaves: Radical Love: The Sisters of Summit, NJ (TIME)

Maija Tammi: Small Sizes and Great Love (Polka) multimedia

Lise Sarfati: She (Guardian)

Stephanie Sinclair: A Day with Warren Buffett (WSJ)

Denis Sinyakov: Moscow’s Migrant Workforce (Msnbc)

Veronique de Viguerie: With Libyan Arms, Mali Fighting Is Revived (NYT)

Adam Ferguson: Karen Rebels Remain Defiant (NYT) Myanmar

Brandon Thibodeaux: War Torn: An Iraq War Veteran’s Story (WSJ channel on Youtube) video

Andre Bruce: Leaving Iraq (NOOR)

Ayman Oghanna: Iraq (Polka)

Luis Carlos Barreto: Tropical Light (NYT Lens)

Lot of new features on Panos Pictures site….

Ivan Kashinsky: Guaranda Carnival (Panos)

Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky: Dance of the Devils (Panos) Gachet and Kashinsky are both represented by Panos, but they also have a common website at Runa Photos. See later in this post for their brand new iPad App…

Xavier Cervera: Revolucion o Muerte (Panos)

Stuart Freedman: The Englishman’s Eel (Panos)

Jason Larkin: Power to the People (Panos)

Sergey Maximishin: The Institute (Panos)

Dean Chapman: Fading Memories (Panos)

Mark Henley: The Vaults (The Atlantic)

Alvaro Ybarra Zavala: Tahrir, 1 Year On (Reportage by Getty Images)

Nadia Shira Cohen: Egyptians (NYT Lens)

Ed Ou: Egyptian Youth (Reportage by Getty Images)

Alessandro Gandolfi: The Catacombs of Las Vegas (Parallelo Zero)

Brenda Ann Kenneally: The Last Nights at the Western Hotel (Lightbox)

Kadir van Lohuizen: Money, God, and Criminals (NOOR)

Liu Tao: Blood, Sweat, and Tears (zReportage)

Maciek Nabrdalik: Faith : Polish Catholicism (VII)

Adrian Fisk: Dilli Purani Dilli Naye (Foto8)

Reed Young: Brownsville (Lightbox)

Phil Moore: DRC Elections (Photographer’s website)

Peter Turnley: Cuba : A Grace of Spirit (Photgrapher’s website)

Michael Carlebach: South Florida (NYT Lens)

Jean-Marie Simon: Guatemala’s War Years (NYT Lens)

Bharat Choudhary: Young Muslims (NYT Lens)

Jordi Ruiz Cirera: The Mennonites of Bolivia (Foto8)

Olga Kravets, Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko: Grozny: Nine Cities  (PDN Photo of the Day)

David Dawson: Working with Lucian Freud (Lightbox)

Michael Tsegaye: Fighting Forgotten Tropical Diseases (BBC)

Thomas Hulton: The Lam Family of Ludlow Street (NYT Lens)

Espen Rasmussen: Transit (The Atlantic)

New Yorker (photos by Sylvia Plachy and Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao): Battle of Panoramas

Andrew Burton: Best of 2011 (Photographer’s website)

iPad Apps

Gerd Ludwig’s The Long Shadow of Chernobyl

Short Stories: From Ecuador to Tierra del Fuego by Karla Gachet and Ivan Kashinsky

Polka Magazine iPad App

Interviews

Gina #12 Oakland, CA 2009, courtesy Brancolini Grimald  by Lise Sarfati

Lise Sarfati (Telephoto)

Lise Sarfati (Guardian) related: exhibition review

Steve Pyke on reviewing over 8,000 images for the World Press Award (PicBod)

Steve Pyke from the World Press Photo Award on fifteen hour days (PicBod)

World Press Photo:  Members of the jury share their perspectives on the winners and the judging process.

Ed Kashi (Bangkok Post)

Anthony Shadid (Mother Jones)

Doug Mills (NYT Lens)

Barton Silverman (NYT Lens)

James Whitlow Delano (Asiasociety)

Harry Hardie on Lynsey Addario & Tim Hetherington’s ‘In Afghanistan’ exhibition

Ed Ou (Wired Rawfile blog)

Venetia Dearden (e-photoreview)

Kael Alford (Vimeo)

Yunghi Kim (Tiffinbox)

Leo Maguire (BJP)

Guy Martin (Ideas Tap)

JB Russell (shootlove)

Elinor Carucci (PicBod)

Brett Ziegler (NYT Lens)

Articles

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Update 8 Wednesday 2012:

Just as I had finished the post yesterday, we got news that Magnum photographer Sergio Larrain has passed away.

Sergio Larrain (1931-2012)

photo: Rene Burri

Here’s a Slate slideshow celebrating Larrain’s work…

LONDON—Baker Street Station, 1959.

Slate: Sergio Larrain 1931-2012

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PDN: Swedish Journalists Endure Inhumane Conditions in Ethiopian Jail

Slate: Can Five Great Photographers Really Collaborate? | Postcards from America: A Magnum Collaboration

Lightbox: Postcards From America: The Box Set

photo: Nick Waplington

FT: Ways of Seeing

The Sacramento Bee: To our Readers: The Sacramento Bee fired longtime photographer Bryan Patrick

UNHCR: Nansen Award winner turns her lens on the Flowers of Afghanistan

BJP: The Photographers’ Gallery will reopen its London premises on 19 May with an exhibition of Edward Burtynsky’s Oil

Phaidon: Getting to know the face behind the photograph

BJP: Crowdfunding platform Emphas.is launches publishing arm

BJP: National Media Museum is set to start work on its London-based gallery

BJP: Firecracker Grant

BJP: Photographer wins copyright infringement case

NYT Mag 6th Floor blog: The Auckland Project

PDN: US Falls To #47 On Press Freedom Index, Thanks to Occupy Crackdowns

TIME Lightbox Tumblr: Joachim Ladefoged had only 8 minutes to photograph Messi

Allen Murabayash: Why I love Photography (PhotoShelter blog)

Guardian: Featured photojournalist: Lucy Nicholson | Related on Reuters photo blog

Dallas Morning News Photo blog: Big Miracle the movie – The story behind the real photo | How a photo from an almost botched Arctic assignment inspired a Drew Barrymore film

FT: Photographer Lise Sarfati studies the lives of teenagers and young women in America

Firecracker: February 2012 newsletter

The National Press Club: Attorney details backlash against photojournalists

Verve: Sam Phelps

Verve: Anne-Stine Johnsbåten

Verve: Rafael Fabrés

LA Times Framework blog: Six Photography Game Changers

PDN: Greenfield Wins Sundance Director Prize

BJP: Keeping the tabs: The best account management applications for photographers

New Yorker: Close Inspection: Magnum Contact Sheets (Photo Booth)

Mike David: Where’s the line on toning photos, especially for contests? (Mike Davis blog)

multiMedia 

new issue…. 7.7 : Documentary Photography Digital Magazine

Exhibitions

Labyrinth Photographic Printing : ‘A Year in Development’ Exhibition’ – 17th February – 1st March 2012 : London

Behind the Scenes of Steve McCurry’s Rome exhibition (Phaidon) video

Awards, Grants, and Competitions

photo: Justin Maxon

Magnum Emergency Fund Announces 2012 Grantees (Lightbox)

Aperture 2011 Portfolio Prize Finalists

Sony World Photography Awards 2012 Shortlist Announced | on BJP

PDN Annual

FotoEvidence : Book Award

Foam Talent call 2012 now open

Getty Images relaunches creative grants programme

Gordon Parks Photo Contest Deadline July 2

Agencies and Collectives

Magnum Photos : February 2012 newsletter

NOOR newsletter February 2012

Reportage by Getty Images: Peter Dench joins Reportage

Reportage by Getty Images: Introducing John D McHugh as a featured contributor

TerraProject Newsletter

Crowd funding

UK Uncensored by Peter Dench (Emphas.is)

Faded Tulips by William Daniels (Emphas.is) featured on Telephoto

Trading to Extinction by Patrick Brown (Emphas.is) Related on NYT Lens

Workshops

Visual Storytelling in an Open Society: workshop for Egyptian photographers : Deadline for applications is Sunday FEBRUARY 12, 2012 [link to info on Lightstalkers]

2012 Noor – Nikon Masterclass : South Africa | on BJP

MediaStorm multimedia storytelling workshop in London at the Frontline Club on February 20.

Jobs

Bloomberg: Staff Photo Editor – London

Photographers

Naomi Harris has a new website…

Naomi Harris

New website also by Stuart Freedman

Ricardo Cases

Eric Thayer

Eunice Adorno

Ivan Kashinsky

Ed Ou has added a multimedia section to his website…

Ed Ou : multimedia

Adrian Fisk

Jess Ingram

Jordi Ruiz Cicera

To finish off…. ‘War Photography and Weddings’. Ahem. That really is an interesting business card via @Kiehart

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Several times a year, Mr. Buffett invites business students from around the U.S. to Berkshire’s headquarters in Omaha for a day’s visit. He answers their questions, and they tour local businesses owned by Berkshire. Throughout the day, Mr. Buffett doles out lessons on life, telling the students to choose the right spouse and surround themselves with people who are better than they are. The ritual ends with a photo shoot. Each student gets to take two pictures with Mr. Buffett. The first one is a serious shot, the second is a funny pose of their choosing.

Photographer Stephanie Sinclair got the rare opportunity to photograph this ritual. Here are some of her photos from that shoot. (For the story and more photos, click here.)

All photographs by Stephanie Sinclair/VII for The Wall Street Journal.


‘I asked, “Would you mind grabbing my tie and pretending like you’re choking me to death?” He was in on it and he did it right away.’ —Pat Ryan, 29, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Notre Dame


‘I said, “I’m going to whisper something in your ear,” and then I said, “Pretend I’m saying something very exciting!” And he started making these noises, like “Oooh!”‘ —Masha Dudelzak, 27, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Toronto


‘I didn’t know he gave me bunny ears until my friends told me. I thought we were taking a regular picture.’ —Vu Le, 24, University of Massachusetts senior, from Vietnam


‘I wanted to do something unique to Notre Dame…so I asked him, “Could you put your hands up like the Fighting Irish?” He had seen the leprechaun logo of our school before, and I helped him move his arms into the right spots.’ —Adrianna Stasiuk, 25, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Notre Dame


‘We saw another student do it with him and we asked if we could kiss him at the same time, and he said yes. He was very laid back and nice and fun.’ —Kelsey Kotur, right, 22, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Missouri

‘I just thought it would be so funny to have a picture of us doing that; not many people get that opportunity.’ —Paige Halamicek, left, 22, first-year M.B.A. student at the University of Missouri


‘He just said, “I’ll just put you in a headlock, how about that?”‘ —Alex Williams, 21, senior at Gonzaga University


‘I got my friend’s ring and I was going to propose to him. He said, “Let’s do a good one,” and got down on a knee, grabbed my hand and said, “Please take me, please have me.” It was funny. I was so shocked.’ —Alexa Tavasci, 21, junior at Northern Arizona University


‘Students who went last year told us about the serious and funny photos, and the plan was to bring some props. I had couple of sunglasses from a previous party, so I brought them along and asked if he would wear them.’ —Andrew Robertson, 27 years old, second-year M.B.A. student at the University of Toronto

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President Obama delivered his third State of the Union speech last night before a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C.

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