2010年11月20日 星期六

If America were a twitter account…

It would have about a million followers, and follow about ten people, including completely worthless and irrelevant accounts like British Monarchy. Probably because there would be such disdain for twitter that day to day managing would be left to some former Brit.

Whenever some foreign news story managed to make it into the stream, America would be the first to fly some rock of meaning out there to tell it how it is.

The thing about Koppel is that he doesn’t sense the transformation in it’s entirety, while someone like Sarah Palin does. I hate to call it an age thing, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. Even someone like Obama really doesn’t seem to understand the internet or the media or information landscape. Koppel seems to think there’s always going to be these foreign reporters flying out to places or based in places giving us the news we need and should know about. (Yes, in the newsletter model, maybe, not the newspaper model.) Jarvis is at least a little more forward thinking in saying, uh, why not just talk to the people there, why do we need any filter, or an “American” filter. No one bought your quality control or reputation in the first place. If they did, they wouldn’t have abandoned it like a sex crime victim on the side of the road.

Palin, the communications/journalism major, is shockingly more able to connect with people than Big O. Sure, Palin doesn’t connect with everyone politically, but she connects with people. And she knows that. She was smart enough to learn during her  many years and schools that communication (and journalism) is about connection. Without connection, you don’t have communication. You have yelling, you have informing, you have transmission, but you don’t have communication. Koppel or a place like the nytimes aren’t in the business of communication, they are in the business of journalism, or informing. Journalism is not a two-way street, and the kind of function they perform for some people just doesn’t make that much sense.

Prior to something like the Internet, there was a desire to enter the world of the press, for without it, reach, ie reaching a massive audience, was difficult. But Sarah Palin knows entering the world of “serious” journalists entails criticism and a price. The journos think it’s crap she won’t talk to them, and the she owes it to them. No, no one owes anyone anything. (The Press claims it’s a stand-in for the people, not the other way around.) And she doesn’t have to play ball, because she can connect to people through the internet, or media organizations that are partial to her. Why does she owe Katie an interview? She can go on FB and answer any question she wants, or field some requests from Twitter followers, or hold an online forum streamed online and take questions live from anyone. (Even Lebron James gets this.) What does the press offer her? Reach? She’s got plenty. The news journos want to print on Palin should come from research, and last time I checked, they don’t need to talk to her for that.

So basically, journalistic enterprises see their purpose as being arbiters or judgers or deciders, and establishing reputation. This entails hierarchy, and that entails transmission versus communication. People don’t need these organizations for transmission of information, it slides around fluidly from a press release, or a friend, or whatever. It’s a commodity, not a product. I don’t need you to print press releases for me anymore, thanks.

from: http://www.npr.org/2010/11/16/131361367/should-objectivity-still-be-the-standard-in-news (emphasis added)

KOPPEL: One of reasons that I regret the absence of that so much is that we have no way anymore of judging the validity of information that we get from overseas. As often as not, if you listen to the accents, it's no longer even American reporters over there.

CONAN: Jeff Jarvis.

Prof. JARVIS: Well, what's wrong with - wait, wait, wait. What's wrong with that? We have people who actually know the territory and are natives. Do you think we have to have Americans tell Americans the news?

KOPPEL: I would like to have American reporters conveying the news to Americans, yes.

Prof. JARVIS: Whoa. That seems like a kind of strange bit of xenophobia, journalistic xenophobia. I would love to have people - I love being able to go to blogs and elsewhere and read the people who are in Iraq and in Iran explain it to me far better than someone who just jetted in.

KOPPEL: You're making precisely my point. I don't want someone who just jetted in. I want someone who's lived there for two or three years, speaks the local language, and knows something about it.

Prof. JARVIS: How about someone who's lived there for 40 or 50 years and truly understands it and can use these magnificent new tools - which you still haven't answered for me. What do you think of the new tools? Do you see new hope for journalism here?

KOPPEL: I don't see new hope for journalism, I see new hope for the exchange of information. But you haven't responded to my part, which is unless one knows the provenance of the information, unless I know who's putting the information out, I can't judge the validity of that.


What’s weird about Koppel is that he seems to be insinuating that regular consumers used to have the ability to judge the validity of foreign news. How? By trusting him? Or one of the three networks? Stranger still is how he seems to think this is somehow connected with getting it from an American or from an American agency. Is that how we think of the world? Unless we send one of our own out there we don’t trust it? Are cross-border journalistic ethics that non-existent? Why in the hell did people ever like us with this kind of attitude? Did we secretly believe everyone was just dumb for believing us, when in fact we’d never believe any of their country’s people? Or did we really believe we were the only beacon of quality and good in the world to be trusted?

2010年11月8日 星期一

Who does these translations? And yes, I am game.

And whoever is updating this page, god bless your hearts.


Singapore is just fascinating. From the Ministry of Manpower, to the “promote mandarin council”, to the “华语COOL” slogan to promote mandarin, they clearly are on to something. I’m waiting to discover the “be good committee” or the “Like government more program”. America should have committee’s titled in the form of commands, maybe then more people will listen or do the things the committee is supposed to be supporting. Compare:


The Campaign for Healthy Living


Be skinnier and more fit! council.

The style mostly makes me think of things like the The New York Times or the The USA Today.


It’s hard picking a favorite, I’m stuck between:


Mandarin’s In. Dialect’s Out

(I like the whole, if we assert it, maybe it’ll become true theme going on here, combined with the utter disinterest in attempting a translation. )


Mandarin is Chinese

(Because it says so little, and what little it says is so unclear, yet ultimately undeniable, and not what they meant in the first place.)

Which allows the dark horse to win, mostly because it makes life sound life a dish to be enjoyed:

Better with more Mandarin, less dialect

That’s how I always feel about my 水餃.

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speak_Mandarin_Campaign

Slogans for Past Movements

  • 1979 (Target Audience: Chinese Community)
    Speak More Mandarin, Speak Less dialects
  • 1981 (Target Audience: Chinese Community)
    Learn Mandarin, Speak Mandarin
  • 1982 (Target Audience: Work Place)
    Speak Mandarin while at work
  • 1983 (Target Audience: Markets & Food Centres)
    Mandarin’s In. Dialect’s Out
  • 1984 (Target Audience: Chinese Parents)
    Speak Mandarin. Your children’s future depends on your effort today
  • 1985 (Target Audience: Public Transport Workers )
    Mandarin is Chinese
  • 1986 (Target Audience: Food and Drinks Establishments)
    Start with Mandarin, not Dialect
  • 1987 (Target Audience: Shopping Centres)
    Start with Mandarin, speak it more often
  • 1988 (Target Audience: White Collar Workers)
    Better with more Mandarin, less dialect
  • 1989 (Target Audience: Chinese community)
    More Mandarin, Less Dialect. Make it a way of life
  • 1990 (Target Audience: Senior Executives)
    Mandarin is Chinese
  • 1991 (Target Audience:English educated Chinese Singaporeans)
    Mandarin for Chinese Singaporeans: More Than a Language
  • 1992 (Target Audience: English educated Chinese Singaporeans)
    Say it in Mandarin
  • 1993 (Target Audience: English educated Chinese Singaporeans)
    Speak Mandarin. It helps
  • 1994/1995 (Target Audience: English educated Chinese and business professionals)
    Mandarin. Use It or Lose It
  • 1996/1997 (Target Audience: English educated Chinese working adults)
    Speak Mandarin, Explore New Horizons
  • 1998/1999 (Target Audience: English educated Chinese working adults)
    Speak Mandarin, It's An Asset [12]; [13]
  • 2000
    Speak Mandarin? No problem!
  • 2006/ 2007 (Target Audience: Post-1965 English Speaking Chinese Singaporeans)
    Mandarin Cool!
  • 2007/ 2008 (Target Audience: Post-1965 English Speaking Chinese Singaporeans)
    Speak Mandarin - 讲华语, 你肯吗?
    Are You Game?
  • 2009/ 2010 (Audience : Youths)
    Be Heard in Chinese