Beth Callaghan

Recent Posts by Beth Callaghan

(Long) Weekend Update, 1.19.09

The Web never stops publishing, but a tech blog definitely slows down on a market holiday. To wit: A (Long) Weekend Update, and best wishes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Digital Daily covered the Steve Jobs story this week, starting with the all-hands memo in which the Apple (AAPL) founder announced his medical leave and following through with the reactions of both Wall Street and the company’s investors. Then there’s the general response, which has been variously diagnosing Jobs’s health issues and predicting the demise of Apple without him–not without good reason, but quite a departure from the reaction when Bill Gates left Microsoft (MSFT). Digital Daily also noted that even though Palm’s (PALM) stock price made a jump directly after the introduction of the Pre and its new Web OS, the company will need to sell a lot of phones in order to attract a robust community of developers. And let’s not forget the roll call of fallen companies, including two of the latest to fall victim to the econalypse, Nortel (NT) and Circuit City (CC).

Can Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim save the New York Times? MediaMemo had the story of the gray lady’s possible white knight, plus coverage of some recent ideas about how newspapers in general can be rescued from a grim fate. Hint: not by a Facebook event. There are some bright spots for traditional media, though, made possible by the increasingly social Web. Incredible photos are often made available for free and as news is breaking, saving editors from the limitations and high prices they’re accustomed to from established agencies. A perfect example arose this week when U.S. Airways flight 1549 made a spectacular emergency landing on the Hudson. Twitter, a camera phone and an incredible photo almost singlehandedly changed the way people think about citizen journalism–as an aid to, not a replacement for, professional reporting.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, BoomTown moderated the SuperSession panel titled “What Will They Think of Next? Consumer Technology in 2025.” A lot of the discussion involved pretty much the general consensus of what’s on the horizon, but there were some edgier ideas from the panel, which included an interesting cross section of the digital industry. BoomTown interviewed all of the participants on camera afterward about their visions of 2025, and some of the results were pretty funny. Of course, BoomTown had a say about the various degrees of silence and hysteria surrounding Steve Jobs’s health issues, urging people to put things in perspective, and evoking his 2005 commencement speech, in which he advised graduates to “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.” BoomTown says: Not this foolish. The passing of the leadership torch at Yahoo (YHOO) took center stage last week, starting with the classy exit of Sue Decker and her memo to the troops. Next up: Yahoo’s official announcement of Carol Bartz as CEO and her first words as its fearless leader: “Yahoooo!” and “Friggin’.” Here’s full coverage of the transition.

Walt Mossberg voiced his strong and sensible opinion about the media circus surrounding Steve Jobs’s leave of absence on Fox Business last week, which is, first and foremost, concern for the man and best wishes for his recovery. On the gadget front, he discusses different options for putting e-books on your cellphone and Web OS, the new operating system that debuted with the Palm Pre. Katie Boehret looked at a couple of Web search tools that deliver better results by paying attention to what results you click on.

More next week. Wait–later this week.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald