Wayne MacPhail

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Director, Emerging-Media Wayne MacPhail has been a print and online journalist for 25 years. He was the managing editor of Hamilton Magazine and was a reporter and editor at The Hamilton Spectator until he founded Southam InfoLab, a national future information products facility for Southam Inc. in 1991. He went on to develop online content for most major players in Canada including Sympatico-Lycos, where he was the director of content. He is also a book author (Spin Doctors) and is a published and performed playwright (Abandon Hope Mabel Dorothy). He has taught online writing at several Ontario colleges and universities and is the co-owner of w8nc inc, a marketing and communications firm aimed at non- profit and educational organizations.

Politicians genetically incapable of twittering

Last last week the Dominion Institute released the results of a study that raised and important election question. Why are Canadian political parties so dreadfully bad at using social media to communicate with young potential voters?


Twittering in Tehran and how small is the new big

It used to be that if you wanted to start a newspaper, say, oh, the National Post, you'd need a pre-jailterm Conrad Black and his investors to pony up millions of dollars for presses, trucks, paper and salaries. With that investment would come the expectation of commensurate profits. That's the deal with the devil high capital ventures make. The only way they can start is to get an early and large cash injection which in turn becomes an albatross when things go pear-shaped.

Counting on stupid

This is a story of two ideas: one's a drunk, flatulent grandad at a wedding, the other a zombie and both are counting on stupid customers for success.

First up, the Kindle DX.

Like the grandad, it's malodorous, inappropriate and needs to be put to bed.

When it was announced, Amazon's new big-screen e-book reader, the Kindle DX, was heralded as the saviour of newspapers. The larger screen real estate was seen as perfect for magazines, newspapers and textbooks. But, when it was launched there was a collective gulp at the price, just south of $500 US. That's a pretty pricey saviour, especially since that's before the cost of the magazines, newspapers and textbooks that are supposed to find a new home on the device.

rabble radio

#86: An ear forever rambling, on biofuel

May 1, 2009
| Keith on vacations of excess, an chat about biofuel, Victoria Fenner takes her ear for a walk and music from Deep Dark Woods
Length: 24:46

Introducing CanTags: On May 1 local becomes a seven letter word

Social media is great for discovering our world and connecting the globe. Locally? That's a little bit trickier.

CanTags wants to change that. A CanTag is a seven letter tag or keyword you can use to share your news with your neighbours, rabble.ca and everyone else.

It’s simple. The first part of the CanTag are the first three letters of your city or town: e.g. WIN for Winnipeg. Then, add the topic of your content in three or four addition letters: ARTS, BIZ, SPO, etc.



The new cost of news

What does journalism cost? That's a question that's being batted around a lot lately as the economic case for and against traditional newsrooms gets made in the press, on the Web, and certainly across well-polished boardroom tables.

Recently on J-Source Kirk LaPointe, the managing editor of the Vancouver Sun, argued that when the cost of news is sliced and diced a lot of pricey items like infrastructure, IT, HR, salespeoples' salaries, legal fees, marketing etc. aren't tossed into the mix.


Portrait of a journalist as a digital tourist

In the past month a handful of mainstream journalists have sojourned in the foreign territory that is Twitter. They were doing early reconnaissance for their reading publics in an attempt to make sense of a communications medium that is growing at a rate traditional media can only imagine in fevered and nostalgic wet dreams.

Ian Brown, a writer I greatly admire, got it into his head that people Twitter because they fear death. His column on the subject is behind a pay-firewall, the irony of which should not be ignored.


The curious case of Canadian publishers and the fear of e-books

I recently attended the BookNet Canada Technology Summit. BookNet is a non-profit organization that helps Canada's book publishers think through and use emerging technology. Many of them could use the help. Book publishing in Canada has always been a bit of a mug's game of small margins, big bets, scrawny long tails and bullying big box bookstores. Like the music business, it depends on often tawdry bestsellers to prop up the little gems agents and the employees of small presses fall in love with. It is a risky game of compromise, hope -- and fear.

Fear that U.S. publishers will ship directly into Canada and erode Canadian publisher' purpose or revenue stream. Fear that a financially-frightened federal government will choke off the IV drip funding the industry depends on.

rabble radio

#83 - International Women's Day

March 10, 2009
| Speakers from Toronto's celebration, Keith talks about one of the world's most powerful women and author Shani Mootoo on her latest novel.
Length: 25:55

Out-of-work journalists ten years late to the Web party

This has not been the newspaper industry's finest month. Almost every day there's news of layoffs, bankruptcies and doors being shut on venerable old news institutions like the Denver, Colorado-based Rocky Mountain News. It published its last edition a few weeks ago after 150 years in business.

Here in Canada, the Kingston Whig-Standard has lost 25 per cent of its newsroom since the beginning of the year and the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and other Canadian papers are shucking staff as well.

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