Off the Media

No Gray Area: It’s Definitely Not OK to Publish Emails From the Sony Hack

offthemedia-1

At first, I thought the media response to the celebrity hacking scandal was sanctimonious. Now I realize it was rank hypocrisy. Just shameless, awful hypocrisy from a group hardly better than the criminals they enable.

Because after every outlet, from Perez Hilton to Jezebel, called the hack, leak and publishing of nude photos of celebrities, including Kate Upton and Jennifer Lawrence, a crime, none of them seem to have any problem publishing the spoils of the Sony hack, particularly the many private conversations of its co-chairman Amy Pascal. Read More

Off the Media

Facebook Is Getting Rid of Clickbait — But Not Because They Care About You

offthemedia-1

We’re saved! Finally, Facebook has announced it’s stepping in to put a stop to all the “clickbait.”

Sure, they largely created and encouraged today’s iteration of this problem (Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Viral Nova et al were founded almost exclusively around Facebook’s easy-to-game algorithms) and profited greatly from it. But now they’ve had enough and things are going to change.

I believe that. I also believe that things are going to get worse. Read More

Off the Media

For Giants Like the New York Times, Problems Are Hidden in Plain Sight

offthemedia-1

It’s a pleasant surprise to see Jonah Peretti make the most salient criticism of the New York Times’ recently controversial (and leaked) innovation report. Why is the Times being so hard on its tech and product teams while ignoring the real elephant in the room?

They spend an estimated $644 million combined on delivery and printing costs, plus untold hundreds of millions to be based in the heart of Manhattan. Aren’t these the real, daily business concerns that the newspaper should be looking at more closely?  Read More

Off the Media

Skimming Off The Top: Social Giving Sites Take a Huge Cut Of The Check

offthemedia-1

Last week, a friend from elementary school’s house burned down. She lost everything. Since they were renters, none of the stuff in the house was insured. Worse yet, it was the cherry on top of an already heartbreaking week in which her little dog had been killed by another dog.

Due to the marvel of social media and social tools, another friend immediately set up a campaign with the site Give Forward to raise $12,000 for a “Start From Scratch Fund” on my friend’s behalf. Almost immediately, the first $10,000 was raised. Read More

Off the Media

I Was Plagiarized By Arbitrage Magazine, But I’m The One Who Feels Terrible About It

offthemedia-1

A few weeks ago, my work was shamelessly plagiarized by a staff writer at the Toronto-based Arbitrage Magazine.

I know this not because I am an Arbitrage reader, but because the writer tweeted the article to me.

But honestly I feel terrible that it happened. I’m not angry at the writer (to the point that I have decided not to include his name here to spare him a bad Google-Scarlet-Letter forever). Though he clearly made mistakes, it was really his magazine and its negligent and cowardly leadership that failed us both. Read More

Off the Media

Sourceless: Online Reporting Becomes a Race to the Bottom

offthemedia-1

Online journalism has always had a sourcing problem. From using unverified “anonymous tips” to repeating whatever rumor or speculation people are chattering about, the general ethic is “we’ll publish just about anything.”

But I think it’s fair to say that when blogs start using anonymous secret sharing apps like Secret and Whisper as sources for news stories, we’ve hit a new low. Read More

You Better Work

Phoning It In: 3 Years of Lessons From Running A Remote Business

(Photo: Flickr)

I’ve never paid for my own landline phone number. I brought a telephone with me to college but never ended up plugging it in–it wasn’t necessary.

My generation was on the tail end of landlines and by extension, at the beginning of the era of remote businesses. When I started my own company, it never even occurred to me that I would get an office. Why would I? It’s just an unnecessary expense.

In a little over three years I have lived in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Austin. In that time, I’ve had employees who worked out of Florida, Colorado, California, Alabama, Georgia and worked with clients in more countries than I can remember. In fact, I often find out where they’re based at the end of the year when its time to do taxes. Read More