Did a hashtag kill print journalism?

It’s Christmas Eve and I wake to discover the big story this morning is Newsweek’s use of a hashtag to signal it’s last print cover.  Really? Is this what real journalism has turned into? And the world wonders why the print edition of Newsweek has come to an end?

Newsweek Hashtag last print cover

For years, print journalists marked the end of their stories with -30- or another dingbat to signal to copy boys and editors that the story was finished.  Sometimes this was marked with a symbol now known in the Twitterverse as a “hashtag.”

I think Tina Brown should be applauded not sneered at for her realistic and brave cover.  She not only realizes that social media has killed true journalism, but she recognizes it and is embracing her new electronic reality.

The hashtag, as used on Newsweek, signals a farewell to the great tradition of print journalism, when real news with vetted sources made a difference.  It says hello to the brave new world we live in now where news is discovered in tweets, real journalists quote their tweeps and the masses don’t seem to care.  Oh, give me the days for my old Royal typewriter.

# # -30- # #

Digital Fingerprints on Your Copyright

I haven’t written here in awhile because as some may know, I am busy selling my first book, “Amalfi Blue, lost & found in the south of Italy,” Over on Kickstarter. (Just 4 days left over there so run now).  Also, with so many irons in the writing well, to cross-pollinate puns, the lines often blur between ex-rock journalist, network reporter, travel concierge, author and entertainment attorney, whew!  How do I sleep?

Anyway, while thinking about the book while driving this AM (there is no law against thinking while driving yet!), it dawned on me that the old school method of “poor man’s copyright” for a creative work may actually be obsolete when it comes to protecting intellectual property.

Back in the day, my musician and writer friends would send a tape/disc or printout of their creation to themselves by registered mail, return receipt.  All of the post clerks knew what to do.  They would even direct the novice artists who used the wrong envelopes, etc.

Well, when I went to mail a copy of “Amalfi Blue” to myself last week, the postal clerk didn’t know what to do and I had to instruct her.  Then it dawned on me that every thing we do on our computers, EVERYTHING, has a digital fingerprint, so is the “poor man’s copyright” necessary any longer?

It was called such because it was a way to “prove” you created something at some point in time without actually registering it at the U.S. copyright office, thereby saving the fees for the “poor man.”  In actuality, even registering something at the Copyright Office doesn’t prove date of creation in a court of law.  It only proves who was smart enough to document it first.

Image courtesy: Renjith Krsihnan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Therefore, if every digital file is date-stamped by your computer and every transaction can be digitally traced across the ethers, perhaps the new “poor man” copyright is even more economical.  Maybe it’s as easy, and as free, as simply emailing your creative file to yourself and saving a copy of the email.  True, there is no date stamp from a governmental agency but when the governmental workers no longer recognize the process once used to protect artistic works.  Maybe it’s time for poor artists to rest their faith in the ethers.

I haven’t researched case law on this issue but it would be interesting to see if this has been used in a copyright challenge in court?  Anyone know?

NOTE:  Writer here would truly appreciate any comments here from digital forensic experts.

Small Business Networking

A new year brings new resolve to kick it up a notch, no matter what area of your life needs kickin’!  Small business owners struggle more than most in this economy because we don’t get a paycheck unless business comes in the door.  So, in the door we go to drum up new contacts at networking events.

I joined a new Italian group last night in NYC.  I went for fun and wound up meeting some great people.  This morning I wonder if I made the most efficient use of my time networking at the event.

There are so many scenarios.  Say, for example you attend a social networking event…..you’re in a very crowded room and you do not know a soul.  What do you do?  First of all, bravo for even attending!  Second, screw those who say you need that 60 second elevator speech to introduce yourself.  You are not a walking business card, nor does anyone at a social event want to speak with a billboard, yet you all know why you are present.

Small business networking

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are my top 3 tips for “working the room” at a crowded event:

1.  Ask for introductions – this only works if you know someone. Have your “contact” introduce you to whomever and then you’re on your own. Engage the person with questions about them before you start blabbing about yourself. “What brought you here tonight?” Then springboard from there. You cannot have this formulaic rhythm in your head.

2.  Speak about yourself but leave them wanting more – here is where your 60 second speech comes into play.  If you have just met someone, do not speak on and on about yourself.  It’s boring, even if they are laughing (they may be laughing at you or nervously because they want to escape)  Alter the conversation with their thoughts, cultural ideas and interests.  Steer absolutely clear of religion and politics unless you never want to see their business.

3.  Know your “networking” style – There are two styles in my opinion.  There are those who love to really walk the crowd, shaking as many hands and meeting as many people as possible.  I much prefer connecting with a few people during the evening and having at least a 15 minute conversation with them.  They remember you if you engage them.  If you shake hands and just collect cards, I can almost guarantee that no one there will remember you in 2 weeks much less two months when their need for your services may first arrive.

Anyone who has read this blog long enough knows that my Dad greatly influenced my business style and when I started my own practice he bought me a copy of Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  I guess after being on the air for 20+ years, Dad still thought I needed help communicating.  LOL

Anyway, Covey suggests the “principles of empathic communication.”  Seek first to understand in order to be understood.  Everyone filters their thoughts and expressions through their own agendas and priorities.  Until you can grasp that their goals may not be the same as your endgame, you will not be successful at meeting their game and growing yours.

Buon anno a tutti and may we all have a more prosperous 2012