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Still working out the kinks, but…


 

… baby takes its first steps:

[wpvideo TqD5pXxx]


 
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Still working out the kinks, but…

  1. It will be interesting too see how long Obama’s honeymoon lasts. It’s pretty crazy too see just how much support he has in the US. All of the ENGO’s are praising him endlessly and using him as the shining example Canada should follow. While he’s no doubt more popular than his predecessor, its pretty unbelievable that that these groups, like Greenpeace et al, are falling over themselves to praise him. Don’t know how long it’s going to last, but its interesting too see nonetheless.

    The botched appointments is definitely interesting though. However, and admittedly I don’t the television tuned to CNN all the the time, is that these botched appointments don’t seem to be getting a ton of negative coverage (although I suppose it helps when your botched appointment is Tom Daschle and not an attempt to put your personal lawyer on the Supreme Court).

    • I could live with Paul’s audio weirdness, with the exception of the fact that the volume between him and Coyne was so far off that, in my office, I had to keep my fingers on the volume knob so I could turn it down when Andrew spoke and turn it back up when Paul replied.

      The webcam closeness was also a bit weird. I mean, maybe there’ve been health coverage cuts at Macleans and Andrew was trying a cheap way to find out if he should get a mole on the inside of his left nostril looked at, but still.

  2. Awesome and well done. Maclean’s is already Blog Central for online commentary, gossip and, still as far as I can tell, the only place to get any regular information about committee work. NOW you raise the bar even higher with these toddler steps.

    Liked the back and forth. Should be a really great format when you two – or any other two – actually start disagreeing with each other. Commentary was good too for this format: much more blog like with short sometimes humourous and sometimes pithy comments.

    Could be my computer but the video streamed very well and did not have any problem playing it.

    Cameras were at the right angle and lighting was good. May be a pithy comment but I’ve seen it done poorly and it is angonizing to watch, especially if the topic is important and relates to a fiscal update or a Parliamentary coalition. Have you sent your resumes into the Liberal OLO?

    So with all that praise, please take this is a constructive very well intentioned comment :

    – can you add a timer that shows how much time the whole webcast is or how much time remains? You only show how much time has elapsed. I had no idea how long the webcast was going to be – this one turned out way long which is fine, when I have time but I would like to know ahead of time. Your tim

    – serious discrepancy in quality of sound between Coyne (very good quality) and Wells (clear and audible, but tinny and low volume)

    – leaning forward at a podium or a microphone is an effective way to emphasize a strong point. On a webcast, we almost see nosehairs. Nod with your head instead of your upper body to emphasize a strong point.

    – probably some copyright concern or a desire to drive traffic to the site and not elsewhere, but it would be nice to be able to download or repost your webcast

    – it would also be nice to have some guidance on what you talk about, especially in a longer webcast. Maybe just a short intro, or covering the items in the tags. In this case, if I had had enough of Obama, I commentary (which I have) I might have turned off the webcast after a few minutes and missed the interesting commentary on Harper and more Canadian related commentary toward the end.

    Anyway, I would not call those baby steps. You are well on your way through elementary school.

    • Sloppy typing.

      “if I had had enough of Obama, I commentary (which I have)”

      should have been

      “if I had had enough of Obama commentary (which I have), I”

    • Thanks for your comments Ted, greatly appreciated.

      – If you mouse over the video window during playback, you’ll get a standard video display.

      – Sadly because Andrew and Paul are in two different cities (Toronto and Ottawa) we had to use the power of the internet to record their conversation. While I agree you can notice a difference in quality, I think Paul comes in quite nicely.

      – I’m not sure if they’re leaning for effect as much as readjusting themselves in their chairs.

      – The plan is to have downloads available, don’t you worry.

      – I completely agree for a longer podcast. This podcast was mostly about Obama and it was only 9 minutes so we felt it was better to keep the conversation flowing then to segment it.

      Again thanks for the constructive feedback, keep it coming.

  3. That was great! Totally enjoyable overview of what’s up recently, thanks guys. I think you could get some pretty steady Canada-wide viewership out of this if you turned it into a regular feature type thing.

    I think one of the best things to emerge from internet media is the collegial feel to things, and I hope – if this does become a regular thing – you can maintain that, because I think it’s the key to most of the panel discussions I enjoy. On “At Issue”, for instance, it pretty much always looks like everyone is having a good time. Even if you’re discussing the sudden and bloody death of conservatism, you guys crack jokes, never talk down to the viewers, and it all adds up to make a great, highly intelligent, enjoyable discussion. So far it looks like you can capture a similar thing here, so I highly approve.

  4. Amateur hour at Macleans. Did the Liberal Party produce that video?

    Okay, nasty wisecracks aside, you’ve got more than a few kinks. Ted has already covered some of the production issues so I’ll tackle the content. There wasn’t any until the final minute when Coyne said something about the protectionism issue that hadn’t already been said a thousand times. If you want to capture my attention you need to provide more than just the standard worn out narratives and look for the new or seldom expressed angle.

    Anyway, welcome to the 21st century.

    • Robert – compare this to any other Canadian news site. Macleans is really on the cutting edge (news wise). Obviously, this owes a big debt to the NYT Bloggingheads.

      I think they are pretty smart to be moving in this direction. At this point in time, I think the Canadian landscape is Macleans for quick opinion and the Globe for news. CBC and the Post are being left behind.

      • compare this to any other Canadian news site. Macleans is really on the cutting edge (news wise)

        No they aren’t. The operating budget of Macleans is dwarfed by that of the CBC and CTV and as such, they don’t, nor can they be expected to, hold a candle to their news coverage. In fact, Macleans has never really been a news organization. They are and always have been an aftermarket news product.

        I think they are pretty smart to be moving in this direction.

        On that we agree. The internet medium, with its ability to deliver print, audio and video, has put pressure on print publications to either evolve or die. In order to evolve, the head honchos at Macleans should look at Current TV as an example of how to turn their online operation into a print/video magazine. They should also consider opening up their door to professionally produced freelance videos.

    • If you want to capture my attention you need to provide more than just the standard worn out narratives and look for the new or seldom expressed angle.

      By which you mean the “cynical Dipper” angle?

      I thought the video was well done. Great job, Jonathan/Paul/Andrew.

  5. That was good. Wells’ sound was a little weedy (a different setting on the headset amplifier or bump up the bass ?) and when he moved his head towards the camera I thought he was going to burst through my monitor (felt I should have had 3-D glasses at times) but the format is good. I guess the idea is a roundup of the week’s events ? Hope that we will get the opportunity to see you two debate something in a more dialectical than didactic way. Everybody likes a cage match.

    • Hope that we will get the opportunity to see you two debate something in a more dialectical than didactic way. Everybody likes a cage match.

      That’s the problem right here with most news media these days. Skip the didactic and go right to the dialectic.

      This is not the direction Macleans should be going in (which amounts to doing what everyone else is doing). Reduced frequency with its print edition and long-form journalism is what people will pay for.

      • I understood that the website/blogs etc. was a means to increase interest in Macleans itself – in order to get more people to pay for the long-form journalism. To be relevant, people need to be talking about you.

        Just because everyone else is doing it does not mean this is the wrong strategy – some do it poorly and lose readership, and some do it well and gain some. I might agree with you if this website / blog commentary degenerates into a partisan “You’re stupid” … “No you’re stupid” shouting match – but with guys like you Ti-Guy vigliantly patrolling (and the occasional interjection by Wells), it exceeds my expectations. But to maintain interest/relevance you do need to constantly re-invent yourself. This looks promising at this early stage – worth trying for a while.

        • To be relevant, people need to be talking about you.

          Aren’t you confusing relevance with popularity?

          Just because everyone else is doing it does not mean this is the wrong strategy

          I’m confident enough to assert at this juncture (without having to write a dissertation on it) that it probably does mean that. As we are currently in a dire economic crisis brought about largely by massive conformity and people thinking they’re doing the right thing because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t seem to be a particularly outrageous conclusion.

          I just find it significant that with media like this, no one is really talking specifically about the content but merely the form (I like it! It sucks! You look great, Andrew! You look like a techno-geek, Paul!). Transcripts might help, but they’re a lot of work and then the end result is not really different from a blog post.

          I’ve become very, very critical of information disseminated through screen media. For entertainment purposes, it’s fine. But to be informed, it’s God-awful. I’m still despairing over the realisation that a frighteningly high proportion of Canadians don’t even have a basic understanding of how our government is structured and that includes the people in government itself. It’s reached crisis-levels.

          • Well, interesting point – relevant vs popular. You have some relevant points, but had I not come across them on this popular site, they’d probably be limited to letters to the editor, e-mails to your liked/hated journalist where they’d be ignored, deleted or replied to – a conversation between two people, etc.

            There was some discussion on this site of the relative merits of the Economist magazine, a publication I occasionally read myself (used to subscribe many yrs ago). I like it because it is opinionated, and cheeky as well – with their choice of photos, illustrations etc. But, not every publication can be cheeky, witty, especially when dealing with a dry subject like economics, though they go well beyond that narrow mandate. It depends upon the writers, the editors etc.

            The need to re-invent, and innovate. What browser do you use? Have you always used the same one? Why do new browsers keep coming out? Same with search engines. What was wrong with Yahoo! ? Why did we need any more once Alta Vista hit the web?

            To be frank, I don’t frequent this site to learn, mostly to be entertained – through banter etc. Occasionally, someone comes up with something profound, but that is the exception, not the rule.

            Now, if AC was to start these discussions out with “Paul, you ignorant slut…” it would surely be more entertaining. Maybe next session.

  6. Well, interesting point – relevant vs popular. You have some relevant points, but had I not come across them on this popular site, they’d probably be limited to letters to the editor, e-mails to your liked/hated journalist where they’d be ignored, deleted or replied to – a conversation between two people, etc.

    You’re focusing on the conversation; I’m commenting on the source document that serves as the jumping off point for dialogue. I’m concerned about that, and as I said, I have serious problems with screen media. Very serous problems.

    • Well, I’d be surprised if the higher ups in Macleans thought that their future was centred around content provided free on the web. They’re just showing a bit of ankle, maybe some calf – to entice you to become part of the Macleans “community” – and buy their magazine. Having some of the actual authors respond on the web serves that purpose. Their website, as you have probably already noted, is advertised in their mag as well. Seems like a wise strategy to me – probably places more load on the writers etc. but that’s what you need to do in this blackberry 24/7 environment.

      • Seems like a wise strategy to me – probably places more load on the writers etc. but that’s what you need to do in this blackberry 24/7 environment.

        Well,, that’s what I reject, categorically. I don’t think the business prospects are good for an entity like Macleans in becoming just another part of the Blackberry 24/7 environment. To be brutally honest, I don’t think this conservation between Coyne and Wells is substantively different from what any other two reasonably-informed people can and do provide elsewhere on the Internet. As usual, I find myself listening and wondering where the footnotes are. What evidence is at had to back up the assertions? What is opinion here versus statement of fact? Those are the things we need to know.

        • I think we are arguing two different things, as you point out.

          I was referring to monitoring the website comments – and posting new blogs. I presume blog writers have the comments on their particular blogs forwarded to their e-mail addresses, accessible anywhere in the world, virtually, on their blackberries.

          Case in point – Wells was off to Munich for the Biden etc speech, generating content for the mag – but also promoting his forthcoming work through the blogsite. See his blog Looks like an interesting meeting coming up in Munich Feb 5th (I don’t think AC allows links).

          I asked him 3:42 pm EST when he arrived, he replied 4:26 pm EST (maybe 9:26 pm Munich time). So, he is connected in real time. His trip generated both original content for the mag, and additional content for the web – the latter promoting the former.

          Which makes sense to me. Maybe we just have to agree to disagree.

          • Agree/disagree about what? You’re not even talking with me. You’re talking at me.

          • “Talking with me” – agreeing to your opinion. “Talking at me” – offering a different opinion. You hang out at a free website and complain about the lack of footnotes etc. (amongst a myriad of other issues) in a forum that you happily consume. Why do I see hypocrisy here?

          • Quit flirting, you two. Ti-Guy isn’t Spencer Tracy and Dot isn’t Katharine Hepburn.

          • CR
            I think someone may be dating themselves!

          • Thanks again Howard just ignore me, everyone else does.… kc

            Looked like a man-crush to me at the time.

  7. I’m with Mulletar: I’d love to see some debates. All the Macleans folks are opinionated but reasonable, and none are overtly partisan, so it should make for good fun. We could have Wells v. Coyne on the whole NATO/Georgia issue. Potter v. Anyone on the whole Democrats/Parliamentarians coalition issue. Wherry v. O’Malley on whether the Harper government is pure evil, or merely the worst of all time. Then you could have your viewers vote on who won and who lost, forever settling the issues in the mind of the voting public.

    • One format I haven’t seen on Vlogs / podcasts is the classic pro & con debate style, i.e. where each combatant gets a predefined amount of time, with no interruptions. Not saying I don’t enjoy the informal conversational vlog, but it might be nice to get the formal kind too. Perhaps for that you could just have one person in frame at a time, then cutting back to the opponent, etc. Might be a first for Maclean’s, come to think of it; and if it worked you could bring in other folks (Senators, Scientists, Sociopaths, etc.) to try the same thing: no need for the debaters to know each others’ minds, as in a friendly conversational vlog like this one.

      • I was exposed recently to an alternative debating style in a presentation on synthetic biology put on by the Long-Now Foundation. The structure wasn’t adversarial in the traditional pro/con debate. One side had a set time to present an exposition on the topic. Then the other side had to summarise that exposition, which was then acknowledged/clarified the first presenter. Then there was a period for questions and answers. Then, the roles were reversed. There was no “winner” declared.

        I really enjoyed it. I don’t generally care for the pro/con debate style.

        • That sounds interesting, though perhaps more challenging than a pro/con debate, in terms of keeping it lively; sounds as though, in the wrong hands, it could turn into cuddle time. Which I would be surprised, somewhat, to hear you endorse.

          Don’t you think a debate needs a winner, though? Or at least a loser?

          • Don’t you think a debate needs a winner, though? Or at least a loser?

            I don’t know. Very few issues have right and wrong sides; most issues have hundreds of sides. I think the pro/con debate style reduces everything to a false clarity, which is my perennial pet peeve.

            The debate at Long-Now was adversarial enough but the quality was measured in terms of clarity of exposition and breadth/depth of knowledge, not winner/loser.

          • I think there is more opportunity to really understand an issue and make up your own mind about it when two relatively intelligent people debate it from different viewpoints. If it deteriorates into a slanging match, there’s no point. If everybody agrees on everything, it’s both pointless and unreal. Declaring a winner or loser is usually tied to trying to convince people that one side or the other is ‘right’ – that is not what I’m talking about. More like thesis plus antithesis making synthesis.

        • That’s science though, Ti-guy. We’re talking politics.

          “Let it be resolved, that Stephen Harper is the wisest, most compassionate, and most totally awesomest leader in recorded history. He’s also the best dressed. Kody will make a presentation, Ti-guy will summarize that presentation, and then kody will correct Ti-guy. Commence.”

          • You are perhaps being facetious, Olaf, but actually that sounds awesome — especially if it were all done on the premise that there was consensus. The layered irony alone would be worth the price of admission.

          • That’s science though, Ti-guy. We’re talking politics.

            Ah yes, but first you have to get the science right (or as right as humanly possible) before you move on to the politics. That was my earlier objection (upthread) to sacrificing the didactic for the dialectic and, as you’ll remember, a huge bone of contention I had with the well-meaning but kind of pointless “Great Canadian Debate.”

  8. On the issue of Obama’s early days, there is an analysis at odds with Coyne/Wells take by Frank Rich in today’s NYT.

  9. I guess i’ll put in my 5cents worth. I’d like to see a little more of the sort of thing Kady, AP and whoever engage in in their round table debates. The multi pundit conversations that the GM carry on is what i have in mind. I tend to find 3 way and up conversations of most interest. The GM forums are of particular interest when you get such a diverse a range of opnion as say Kingwell replying to Gibson or say Spector. In other words mix it up. Good rebuttal and differing pov are invaluable. I’m not knocking this Wells/Coyne collaberation, but it hardly sets up any meaningful conflict. Personally i enjoy the at issues panel mostly because the different personalities sometimes set up interesting undercurrents and tensions.

  10. Coyne and Wells! It’s like DeNiro and Pacino, only not a massive letdown and also much nerdier (but in a good way).

  11. I’m new here so be nice.

    I like the possibilities. I think debating a specific topic and the possibility of including more people in a round table, differing viewpoint feel of At Issue would have me ‘tuning in’ regularly. Plus, I just like looking at Andrew (blush). That said, I’m off to find a course that can get me up to speed on all things technological that have passed me by while I was raising my kids. Do people read books and magazines anymore? I know I’ve dumped my daily paper because there’s just so much here on the ‘information superhighway.’

    • Welcome, Kate. i like looking at Andrew too. And as an author in the not-too-distant past, I can reassure you that the number of people still reading books remains large enough to be reassuring.

    • Wait ’till you get look at Scott Feshuk. He’ll bring shivers to your funnybone – guaranteed!

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