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Links of the Day: Two wonderful interactives

The UK government just finished its spending review, announcing steep budget cuts over the next years. In the Guardian infographic, you can set your own cuts and see how they compare to the proposed ones.

Comprehensive spending review: you make the cuts

A great feature on climate change comes from the Council on Foreign Relations. In its Global Governance Monitor, the Council presents a wealth of information on climate change and climate policy – from international bodies and agreements to how the science evolved over the last century.

Global Governance Monitor


Mobile strategy the new battle as news consumption shifts

On first glance, the Newspaper Association of America came up with some good in its latest online news consumption statistics.  Unique Visiter numbers had jumped from 72.1 million in April to 102.8 million in September, the association reported. In the meantime, NAA has changed its vendor – the stats are now measured by Comcast, not Nielsen as before (which is why the number aren’t directly comparable).

But on second glance, as the Nieman Lab points out, that’s not all there is.

Time spent, or engagement, is the metric that matters most to advertisers these days. Unique visitors, no matter how impressive a slice of the total web audience they represent, don’t deliver customers to advertisers. They key is whether site visitors are engaging — interacting — with the content and the advertising on the site, and that kind of engagement still eludes most online newspapers.

In essence, Martin Langeveld at Nieman argues, rising web traffic isn’t anything to get excited about anymore. Mobile is where it’s at these days.

… the audience is in the middle of another major shift in its digital news consumption from web browsers to mobile platforms — smartphones, e-readers and tablets. By sometime in 2012, cumulative sales of iPads, alone, will likely exceed the number of home-delivered newspaper subscriptions.

Read the whole article on the Nieman Lab website.

These new consumption patterns mean media organizations have to adapt their strategies. Mobile content is consumed differently, more leisurely, which gives them  an opportunity to engage readers more deeply (and since consumers are more willing to pay for mobile apps, bolster this revenue stream?).

People such as Steve Buttry, director of community engagement at, are already pushing for a “mobile first” strategy. In one of his recent blog posts, he gives some pointers on how to develop a mobile strategy.

When he talked to me and my reporting colleagues at Medill on Oct. 14, he said those still working on a “online first” strategy were “fighting the last war,” not the current one. Mobile, he said, is where opportunities – and ad dollars – are.

“The Fringes of Freedom” – Free Speech and the Westboro Baptist Church

Does the First Amendment protect one family’s right to picket funerals with hateful slogans?

Today, the Supreme Court takes up the case. The Washington Post has written a great story that covers all the diverse viewpoints on this issue. Here’s more from NPR.

I covered a protest/ picket by the WBC in Chicago last year. The targeted synagogue organized a counter-demonstration, which led to a sometimes emotional confrontation.

Images of a continent

After the colorful images of U.S. cities (that aren’t quite so colorful upon closer inspection), I came across another set of maps today: Europe according to stereotypes.

Yanko Tsvetkov aka Alphadesigner produced a number of maps of Europe, all with a sense of humor and a wink. Again, a second look reveals that he hit a lot of stereotypes right on the head.

To my American readers: Do you really associate Germany with “dirty porn”?

Europe According to the United States of America

My favorites: According to the UK, the EU countries are the “evil federated empire of Europe.” Germans, on the other hand, consider most of the Mediterranean states their personal playground with “cheap hotels here.” Somehow, no one has a good impression of Russia.

See all the maps on Tsvetkov’s website or flickr page. Hat tip to i-ref, who posted this on facebook.

Book lover’s paradise

Read more…

Video post: Dancers

I stumbled across this spirited performance by Kelly Osbourne on the previous season of Dancing with the Stars.

Those Samba rolls at 50 seconds! Fabulous.

I’m really posting this for my mom, who is an awesome dancer and I’m sure would like this video (you can also interpret this as catering to my audience, which consists mainly of her. Hi, Mom!).

Thinking about other dance videos, I had to include the great flashmob tribute to Michael Jackson in Stockholm. About 300 dancers burst out to Beat It in the middle of an unsuspecting crowd, leaving stunned faces and cheers as they exit.

And of course, what would dance videos be without the queen of bellydancing/ bootyshaking, Shakira? Her “Hips don’t lie” always reminds me of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, during which the song was everywhere. My friend tells me it was even more so with her “Waka waka” during the 2010 cup in Africa, but I can’t possibly bring myself to post that song.

Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend!

Image of a city

Photographer Eric Fischer has produced some very detailed and insightful images of American cities. Inspired by Bill Rankin’s map of Chicago’s racial and ethnic divides, he mapped the 40 largest U.S. cities, color-coding them according to their residents’ ethnicity.

“Red is White, Blue is Black, Green is Asian, Orange is Hispanic, Gray is Other, and each dot is 25 people. Data from Census 2000,” he explains on his Flickr page.

“The results for various cities are fascinating: Just like every city is different, every city is integrated (or segregated) in different ways,” Gawker notes.

Browsing the 40 images offers some interesting comparisons. Some are largely ethnically separate (Philadelphia, New York), some more mixed (Long Beach, San Franscisco). The image of Chicago shows just what I experienced there: a highly segregated city.

Chicago_by Eric Fisher

Image of Chicago by Eric Fisher, via Flickr

PS: It would be interesting to see if there has been a shift since 2000 once the data from the latest census, done this year, becomes available.

Torn Apart

Powerful mini-documentary from the San Jose Mercury News on what it means to live in a “mixed-status” family.



I thought it was nerdy when the Telekom named its store in Berlin-Mitte “4010” after the RAL code for magenta, the Telekom color.

A lot of magenta at the 4010 Telekom store in Berlin.

Apparantly code jokes are popular with the online journalism crowd as well, and they take it to a whole new level. (Journalists are prone to a particularly nerdy streak of humor, as this and this proves.)

The Online News Association, a group of online journalist, entrepreneurs, coders and designers, is holding its annual conference in October in Washington, D.C. In anticipation, the D.C. chapter of the group created a T-Shirt inscribed

It’s #000000


and #FF0000

all over again

I had to ask twice until I finally got the joke (double embarassment, but I give myself a pass on the second step to understanding – an English expression I didn’t know).

The numbers are the hexadecimal codes for the colors black, white and red. Decoding them leads to the saying “It’s black and white and red all over again.” Substitute “read” for “red” and what do you get? A newspaper.

Needless to say, now that I figured out what it means, I really want one of those T-Shirts.

Remembering 9/11/01

Arlington National Cemetery, 9/11/10