Sunday, January 14, 2007

Seth Familian

I spent a week in December at UC Berkeley's multimedia reporting workshop for mid-career journalists. We worked from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. for five days. While building multimedia projects, we listened to speakers. Seth Familian was one, a 2nd year grad student from Berkeley's business school who has worked for Faith Popcorn's BrianReserve. Why point him out? He got the room so fired up that after working all day on our projects, we forced him to have beers with us until the wee hours. I'd describe him as catalytic. His message to us was a talk he's given a few times to newspaper editors. It's "who is the new digital audience." He describes his Web site as "anticipating the future of news in an age of digital connectivity." You will find it here.

Once there, check out [clips] where you can listen to:
  • Make it easy to use. The first is a 6-minute talk telling newspaper editors at the 2006 ASNE conference in Seattle that the ease of use of their Web sites is extremely important. What's Google's 54-word rule? Bottom line, if it isn't seamless for the consumer, she'll click away.
  • Who is the digital audience? The second talk is about 20 minutes and has a little power point you can watch while you listen. This is a talk given to the San Francisco Chronicle staff in 2006 about who the new audience is, and how to get in the game. This is worth viewing because it will introduce you to some sites you may not know.
Next, still on Seth's page, go to [links], where you'll get a tour to some sites organized very visually.
  • Under [content visualization] check out Phylotaxis and wefeelfine and Marumushi Newsmap. Pretty soon you get the feeling that straight and orderly lines of text on an opening Web page don't cut it anymore.
  • The New York Times is paying attention. My Times Reader is still in beta and is a way to view The New York Times online in a modular format, instead of scrolling down (and scrolling and scrolling.) That consumer experience, again.

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