A Carrboro news blog called The Mill

Kirk Ross has set up The Mill a Carrboro news blog. He has tons of journalistic experience and really understands the vibe of the Town of Carrboro. I’m really looking forward to it as a trusted source of LOCAL news. Yah! Carrboro, North Cackalacky! Good luck with this Kirk!

From The Mill:

The Carrboro Citizen is a site dedicated to local citizen journalism.

The Mill is set up as a blog to act as both generator and aggregator trying to point readers to good stories on other sites, helpful information and ways to stay engaged in the civic life of the area.

My name is Kirk Ross and my handle for this site is The Editor because, I, uh, am the editor. I also publish two other sites—Exile on Jones Street and the Cape Fear Mercury. You can read more bio information here. Feel free to email in any questions.

The Editor

Journalism in a Virtual World

Ruby has been spending a lot of time working on RootsCamp in Second Life. She’s been using it for the discussion of progressive politics. Second Life is a virtual 3D world with lots of serious implications. Politics is one, media is another.

Brian C. Howard writes on NewsAssignment.net about Journalism In Its ‘Second Life’.

The online virtual world Second Life has enjoyed explosive growth, with double-digit increases in sign-ups in recent months.

At the same time, Second Life is drawing mainstream media coverage because of the new economy — in which users can earn real-world money. One avatar reportedly earns her creator in the neighborhood of $150,000 a year from in-world businesses.

Significant nonprofit endeavors include forays by leading universities, including Harvard, that have launched research and educational programs within Second Life.

However, there is also tremendous uncharted ground for creative journalism within this expanding frontier.

I was just discussing with someone how forward thinking Apple Computers is. It seems when they release products they are usually already well on their way to designing the next version. Shouldn’t media owners think the same way? Thankfully Mr. Howard is thinking about the future of media in his Graduate studies at Columbia School of Journalism.

BTW, Second Life has its own “paper” called the Second Life Herald and Reuters has a Second Life News Center.

Fight the Power of Blue Elvis

A few mornings ago when I was pre-coffee the first song I heard was Elvis’s Blue Christmas. It was the studio version with the psychedelic background vocals. They sounded like fairies that enjoyed just a bit too much of their own dust. I liked the melody so much I immediately started writing this blog post in my head.

While thinking about how much I liked the tune I noticed something. A strong dose of cognitive dissonance. My conscious mind presented thoughts of disgust with the racist whiteness that Elvis has come to embody for some. Cracker was the first word that came to my mind. But somehow I still love the voice of Elvis.

“Elvis was a hero to most / But he never meant shit to me / Straight up racist that sucker was simple and plain / Motherfuck him and John Wayne / Cause I’m black and I’m proud. / I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped / Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps.”
Fight the Power, Public Enemy

Ya gota take the icons of race seriously. In this context it doesn’t really matter what kind of person Elvis was or for that matter Chuck D. What is relevant many years on is the lasting images that pop icons leave behind. To be truthful the icons themselves don’t contribute every part of their image. Many fans actions help to create what their idols stand for. We all have to be peace and place our adoration with care.

Elvis unplugged doing Blue Christmas

Full video for Public Enemy’s Fight the Power

Having Fun Making Media – Photos

Another Channel on the Nintendo Wii is called the PhotoChannel. Its basically a photo viewer app that allows you to organize and perform basic edits. You import your photos into the Wii via SD card. This allows you to look at them on your TV. All this is done with the wireless Wii remote controller. Nothing too earth shattering new on the tech front but quite radical on the “where people use it” front. Watch this vid then I’ll elaborate.

For years people have been talking about the merging of the TV and the Computer and the Internet and the Living Room. Lots of attempts at bridging these worlds are going on. Game consoles makers like Sony and Microsoft have been into it for awhile. Now its Nintendo’s turn.

All this time people seem to think it was the killer app that would be responsible for successful merger of TV/Living Room and Computer/Internet. It appears its much more about timing and number of concurrent users. Putting a small computer in your living room just hasn’t caught on with the masses of TV users. But if you give people a device that is fun and you can SHARE STUFF AND FUN WITH OTHERS you win. That’s what I’m predicting.

How do you pull the TV/Internet merger off? Make a very usable device that lots of people want. So far the Nintendo Wii is experiencing an amazing level of popularity. Its hasn’t been available for sale very long and already the buzz on community news sites like Digg is huge.

Its possible that the Wii will have all the tools you need to make, edit, and share news. (you still need some knowledge and other tools for sure. Like a camera.) It’ll have a web browsers for viewing and writing, it has a photo application to view photos (will it allow you to upload to the internet too?), it has a built in bulletin board for local and possible global social networking, you can establish identity with the Mii character you make on the Mii Channel, it’ll play audio and video, and oh yeah you can play games with it too.

Mii and You

The big question for me is, Can a closed system grow? Is simplicity and ease of use a worthy trade off for not being able to officially develop (aka hack) a Wii? Is there a Nintendo Wii API (Application Programmers Interface) in the works? Like the Flickr or Google API? Wii mash-ups would be amazing!

Its possible that the content you get from Wii media makers via the Wii Console may not suffer from the walled garden. We shall see.


I just bought the domain name wii the media (dot) com. Nothing there just yet but I’ll let you know. The idea to buy it came about from daydreaming and my blog posts Wii the Media (duh) and Wii and Newspapers. Several people have told me they enjoyed the ideas. Let’s see how Wii can explore those ideas. The fun part will be how open, as in freedom, the Wii Opera browser and Newschannels will be.

Now all I need is my own Nintendo Wii. Any one want to buy me one for my gaming pleasure… er uh I mean research? Yes very serious research. 🙂 Really… Would a newspaper or TV station want to sponsor my endeavor? Lets talk. K? (Use my spiffy new Contact form.)