Friday, March 19, 2010

Meanwhile, at that other trade show ...

I spent much of last week chatting with student journalists at the College Media Advisers convention here in New York.
And since I was at the CMA conference, I could not be at the South by Southwest conferences -- the uber-events revolving around music, movies and emerging tech.
And that's fine. I'm really more the New York businessman type than I am tech enthusiast. And I much prefer chatting with college kids to networking with entertainment execs.
In fact, although it's a decidedly unhip thing to admit, I've never been to SXSW.
But it would be disingenuous to suggest that SXSW isn't important to me -- at least on the tech side. I need to know what folks at SXSW think is cool. Because, as we've seen with applications like Twitter, an item dubbed cool at SXSW often becomes crucial to the media industry.

So imagine my surprise and delight to find that the breakout application at this year's SXSW is apparently the QR code -- an application I've been promoting for ages and that I've written about here. I love the potential of QR codes, and I'm proud to say that one of my clients has had remarkable success using QR code to drive print readers to Web sites.
So I'm feeling positively hip and ahead of the curve.

Note: The news that the coolest app at SXSW is sort of old may mean that my sense "the media revolution is ending" is right. On the other hand, one student at the CMA convention suggested to me that the next "game changer" is the Sixth Sense device, from MIT.
I'd seen the demo of Sixth Sense from TED last year. But after reading about QR code at SXSW and talking to that student, I went back and looked at the video again.
I think you'll agree that device is pretty interesting, even amazing ... but since it doesn't really exist yet, it's premature to call it a "game changer."
However, it's worth noting that the device will exist some day soon. And one of the things the device could benefit from is a world where QR codes are more common.
So now maybe someone will modify one of my older (and maybe better) ideas and use QR codes as an editorial tool by adopting the concept of spatial annotation.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Psst. Hey Kid. You want a job?

Ahh March.
You're my favorite month of the year. It's within your few brief weeks that I celebrate my birthday, watch as winter turns to spring, as Lent leads to Easter and as the clocks spring forward.
It's a month of beginnings and youth.
And, as longtime readers of this blog know, March is the month when my earnings take a tumble as I trade billable days for time spent with college kids.

Every year at about this time I find myself visiting campuses, attending college media conventions, etc. It's become a tradition for me. And, like many traditions, I find it both comforting and frustrating.
That's because as much as I love meeting journalism students, the majority of them turn out to be remarkably unprepared for the working world. So by the time April rolls around and I've met a whole new crop of rookies, I tend to be a bit worried about the future of the business.

I'll start my annual trek through academia at the College Media Advisers convention here in New York, where I'll join Dan Blank, director of content strategy and development for Reed Business Information, to co-host a session on "Surviving in a New Media World."
And I'll be using my time at CMA to try to fill at least four entry-level jobs for clients.
So if you're looking for work, get there early while I'm still feeling optimistic.

(If you're new to this blog, you may want to look at my post about last year's academic tour. Or read my four-part series from 2008. If you're wondering what I look for in a journalism recruit, read this post from 2007 called Three Job Tips for Students. )