Sunday, November 13, 2011

MediaWeek (Vol 4, No 46): WW I Archive Goes Online, Mrs Beeton's 150, Silicon Valley's Daily, Cookbook Aps +More

An archive trove of documents relating to the first world war is to go online (Guardian):
Living witnesses to the war may no longer be with us, but British archives still hold a wealth of original documentation from those years and, although much of it is in danger of crumbling away, the range of testimony held by the British Library helps to broaden understanding of the war.
In an unprecedented effort to make this material available to the widest possible public, the library is to join forces with 12 European partners – including national libraries in Rome, Berlin, Paris and Copenhagen – to put key documents and images on the internet. The new three-year project, Remembering the First World War, will be finished in time for the ceremonies to mark the centenary of the outbreak of war in 2014. 
More than 400,000 first world war source materials, many of them rare and highly fragile due to the deterioration of the paper on which they are printed, will be freely available online for the first time. Those interested in finding out more about the conflict will no longer have to apply to see documents in person in the reading rooms of Europe.
"It is particularly important that this project includes organisations that were involved in different sides of the conflict," said Jamie Andrews from the British Library, who is leading the British project.
Mrs Beeton's cookbook is 150 years old. How do the recipes stand up? (Intelligent Life):
Beeton was a hard-pressed journalist rather than a practised cook: her biographer, Kathryn Hughes, says there is no evidence “that Isabella was interested in cooking”. Compiled under pressure of deadline, the recipes were shamelessly purloined from other cookbooks. Beeton’s claim in advertisements for the book that every recipe was tested seems doubtful, judging by her odder instructions. She maintains that large carrots should be boiled for 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours and macaroni for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Oddly, her recipe for haricot mutton contains no haricot beans, and she suggests that Brussels sprouts “may be arranged on the dish in the form of a pineapple”.  
On the plus side, “Household Management” is punctuated with background information about food. We learn that black turkey “approaches nearest to the original stock and is esteemed the best”. Beeton’s advice on fresh-cooked lobster could scarcely be bettered for precision. It should have “a stiffness in the tail which, if gently raised, will return with a spring”. Current culinary opinion has come back to her view on butter, “nutritious and…far more easily digested than any other of the oleaginous substances sometimes used in its place”. And the book as a whole provides a magnificent panorama of food in the middle of the 19th century. Along with items that have remained mainstays of British cuisine—rib of beef, pork pie, Welsh rarebit and bread-and-butter pudding (“better for being made about two hours before it is baked”)—there are numerous other recipes that have been forgotten.
The Columbia Journalism Review notes some sloppy citations on the Poynter Romenesko blog and all hell brakes loose (Poynter):
One danger of this practice is that the words may appear to belong to Jim when they in fact belong to another.
This style represents Jim’s deliberate choice to be transparent about the information’s origins while using the source’s own words to represent his or her work. If only for quotation marks, it would be exactly right. Without those quotation marks, it is incomplete and inconsistent with our publishing practices and standards on
A long discussion of the San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley’s own daily, which as CJR notes was poised to ride the digital whirlwind. What happened? (CJR):
Dave Butler has been a newspaperman since 1972, a self-described journeyman who became the editor of the Mercury News in 2008. The paper had been sold two years earlier by its longtime parent company, Knight Ridder, to the McClatchy Company. McClatchy in turn quickly sold it to MediaNews Group, whose chairman, Dean Singleton, put Butler in charge. Three months into the job, Butler wrote a memo to the staff, outlining a vision that could essentially be boiled down to a simple premise: the past could no longer animate the Mercury News. The days of four hundred people in the newsroom, revenues of $300 million and profit margins north of 30 percent, a bureau in Hanoi, aPulitzer for foreign news, Spanish and Vietnamese language editions, and a Sunday magazine, were gone. The staff of the Merc, now about half the size it was at its peak in the late 1990s, had no choice but to press on with vigor and a sense of mission: “Let’s carve some new trails in the jungle of journalism!”

Butler has the advantage of having missed his paper’s past, and so is unencumbered by the memory of what the place had been, not so long ago. Randall Keith knew. He had arrived earlier, in 1998, just in time to watch the great tech bubble inflate, carrying the Merc along with it. He had left a job as city editor of the Quincy, Massachusetts, Patriot Ledger to join a paper with a national reputation both for its journalism and its profitability. Time magazine had several years earlier dubbed the Merc the nation’s most tech-savvy newspaper. Its revenues from classified advertising—especially recruitment ads for all those many high-tech companies whose every product roll out and inevitable IPO were covered by the paper’s burgeoning business staff—had fueled ever more revenue, $288 million the year Keith arrived.
From the Observer: Ahmed Mourad was Hosni Mubarak's personal photographer and a thriller writer. (Observer):
"I was ready to explode because I had been living a dual life for five years, like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde," says the dapper, quietly spoken Mourad. "During the day, I spent hours working with Hosni Mubarak – a man who had been burying the dreams of Egyptians for three decades – and at night I was with my friends, who were cursing him and wishing he would disappear. What was really making me angry was that I knew the Egyptian people were destined to live better and he was the reason why that wasn't happening." 
So was Mourad in fear for his job – or, indeed, his life – when Vertigo appeared? He does not answer the question directly. "I didn't think it would be published, but I would never have forgiven myself if I hadn't written down what I was thinking, if I hadn't joined the revolution," he says. "I would have regretted my silence."
I'll have an App for Christmas dinner (Observer):
Yet those domestic chefs who have long treasured their dog-eared copies of classics by Elizabeth David, Madhur Jaffrey or Delia Smith may find it difficult to accept a technological upgrade. Whether a favourite cookbook is marked with telling splashes and scribbled comments, or is merely read in bed, performing the function of a familiar comfort blanket, it still delivers something that the food writer and television presenter Jay Rayner suspects cannot be replaced.
"A cooking app is a brilliant thing, until you have to turn the page with hands caked in dough. A stained cookery-book page is a mark of commitment; a stained smartphone is a trip back to the shop," he suggests.
To develop the look of the new apps, publishers have brought in designers to draw up cartoon-like cooking aids that avoid the high production costs of filming a live chef working in a kitchen. Early internet services, such as the innovative British website Videojug, are still proving popular, but new, stylish, illustrated apps are coming up fast. From next summer even the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York will require its students to come equipped with a tablet computer pre-loaded with the school's new app.
From Twitter:

The future of books? Publishing by numbers: IrishTimes

Self publishing textbooks online saves Minnesota school district $175,000 (Link)

Australia gives up battle protecting its publishers, will reduce timeframe for retention of territorial copyright (PW)

Alec Baldwin hands over $250 Large to East Hampton public library. (EHampton)

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