Chapell & Associates

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Big Picture

Earlier this week the NY Times published an Op Ed that discussed the hazards of archived, and out of date news stories appear in search engine rankings. (Thank to Kevin Ryan for sharing)

Apparently, the issue is that newspapers sometimes print things that, upon further reflection, or additional evidence, turn out to be incorrect or untrue. While most newspapers print a retraction if their initial article turns out to be incorrect, that initial article often remains available on their site as well. Moreover, it's usually accessible via a search engine. So, if you happen to receive some negative press, and it ultimately turns out to be incorrect, that initial story could follow you around for years to come.

I don't think this is anything new, btw.

I thought that Danny Sullivan said it well, here.

If an article is factually incorrect, then correct it. If the article is about someone with a negative connotation, then a later article comes out updating the story, link prominently from the top of the negative article to the latest version of a story. It's called online journalism in the 2000s.

FWIW, here' my take...

I did an interview for a trade mag a few months ago and the reporter quoted me as saying something that came off as completely idiotic in many circles. Btw, he didn’t just misunderstand me. I was 100% clear that my position was the exact opposite, and for some reason, (e.g., it made his story better) the reporter essentially made up a quote and attributed it to me. I looked like a fool, and got a bunch of WTF emails from the privacy crowd. I got the publication to change the story, and make a small comment at the bottom announcing their error, but the damage had been done as an email had already gone out with the original article…

Not the end of the world, but a pain in the arse, nonetheless…. But I'm not going to sweat one bad article. Why?

As more companies such as and ZoomInfo collect information on me - some of that information is going to be incorrect. That’s just the way it is, unless I want to spend half my day trying to get them to update. Given that there are so many sites, search engines, social networks, not to mention lazy journalists, there is not much I can do about it. Just not enough hours in the day.

What I have to hope for, is that the totality of the information out there is complete enough to create a reasonably accurate portrait of me when its all said and done. If you search for “Alan Chapell” you might find a link to an investigation conducted by the NY AG’s office where my name comes up. But you’ll also find my name linked to some thoughtful articles, best practice standards and other very important programs that are helping our industry. And you may even find some really cool MP3’s from my band.

Most people I respect will look at the big picture – and I think that’s all one can hope for these days….

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posted by Alan on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 | |

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Interview with Jimmy Justice

Jimmy Justice makes some great points. The NYPD should be held accountable. I agree. In fact, I wish we had MUCH more accountability from our Government over the past SIX long years - particularly at the Federal level.

But Jimmy's demeanor makes it hard to take him seriously at times. Some insist we refer to what Jimmy does as journalism. You may call him a journalist if you like, but if you do, then I think it's only fair to hold him accountable for his rants. (Some of which border on racist.)

And most of us who are really interested in finding out more about police corruption (as opposed to those who just want the titillation of seeing someone yelling obscenities at a cop) may want to look elsewhere...

Something tells me that we haven't heard the last of this story.

Anyway, here's my discussion with Jimmy on G4's Attack of the Show.


posted by Alan on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | |
Jeff Jarvis takes issue with David Gregory's treatment of video vigilante Jimmy Justice in a recent today show interview.

On the Today Show this morning, David Gregory got on a high horse interviewing
Jimmy, asking whether he wasn’t just a bit obnoxious.

Well, what’s any less obnoxious about a reporter asking the same question?
That’s exactly why subjects so often think reporters are rude: they’re being
asked questions they don’t want to answer. But here’s Gregory calling a citizen
with a camera obnoxious for doing what reporters do. Maybe that’s because Jimmy
has an accent and an attitude. Gregory clearly thinks that asking the question
in a tie with a sterile TV voice is less obnoxious: more professional. Style is
substance on TV. And I can hear someone now saying that Jimmy has an ax to
grind, a bias, an agenda. Well, yes, but so does a reporter when he decides to
follow that cop and confront her about her actions; that agenda is precisely the
motivation for the question. It’s all journalism.

If they really care about watchdogging government and its abuses of power, the proper response from the Today show and any journalistic organization should be to encourage more people to do what Jimmy is doing. What’s wrong with more watchdogs on the street? Indeed, Today should hand out some video cameras or at least share a few lessons with Jimmy about how to shoot video without giving us motion sickness. And it would be generous of them to talk about Jimmy’s rights to shoot public officials’ actions in public, since those officials try to threaten and
intimidate Jimmy.

I completely understand Jimmy's frustration. And if you can look beyond the yelling, the profanity and abusive language, I think he has a solid point re: predatory ticketing practices and abuse of power by the NYPD.

But Jeff, I think you missed the boat here regarding David Gregory's question. It's fair to ask Jimmy if he comes off as obnoxious. In fact, if David HADN'T asked that question he'd be open to criticism for NOT bringing up the subject.

For the record, I had an interview / debate with Jimmy Justice on G4's Attack of the Show last night. Jimmy himself didn't see anything wrong with Gregory's question.

Just because NBC is part of the establishment doesn't necessarily mean they are always in the wrong....
posted by Alan on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 | |

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mobile phones on subways

A coalition of lawmakers is calling for the MTA to enable cell phone usage in NYC subways. This move is in the wake of last week's mini-monsoon which crippled the city's subway and train service.

The lawmakers argue that the MTA needs to do a better job of communicating to riders in the event of a natural or man-made emergency, such as inclement weather or terrorist attack.

"What happened this week with the meltdown of the subway system is clearly an example of how the MTA needs to do more to keep it's so-called customers connected,” said (NYC Councilman John Liu.

I completely agree with the basic premise. The MTA should be in a much better position to communicate with riders, as should the other other service authorities. But I'm confused how enabling cell phone access is going to help facilitate that communication.

Allow me to provide an example.

The entire city was brought to its knees by last week's storms. My girlfriend, upon getting to the L train in Brooklyn, found out that it wasn't operating. So she took a car service to Union Square so she could take a subway up to her job at Times Square. But when she got to Union Square, she found out that the subways weren't running there either.

I looked at the MTA website a number of times between 7:30 and 8am. And while the MTA site listed a few minor service outages as a result of the weather, there was nothing there that would have led me to believe that damn near the entire system had been shut down. Why wasn't the MTA website accurate? And what good would it have done subway riders to receive SMS messages from the MTA if the information in those messages was equally inaccurate?

Seems to me that lawmakers ought to be calling for the MTA to have the right information before worrying about who has access to that information.

Maybe the MTA could have whomever is in charge of each subway line communicate with their webmasters in the event of an emergency. Perhaps MTA employees could provide this information. Maybe the MTA could enable subway riders to call / email the MTA with service outages. (Although I really can't understand why subway riders would have access to this information before the MTA knows about it.)

Talk about putting the cart before the horse...


posted by Alan on Monday, August 13, 2007 | |

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fire them all!

The CS Monitor reported that our Democratically controlled Congress quietly passed a law that expands the Government's ability to conduct warrantless surveillance on U.S. citizens.

I'm going to push aside the obvious privacy issues. I think most of us know all too well the current administration's ambivalence / hostility towards issues of privacy.

But what really irks me is that the Democrats in Congress, who CLAIM to know how bad this law is, apparently lacked the will to stop its enactment. WTF! And why is it that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks out AFTER the bill is pushed through Congress and signed by the President?

Just an hour after the House voted on the Legislation last Saturday,
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the Judiciary and
Intelligence committees asking them to respond to the new legislation by
addressing its "many deficiencies," reports The Congressional Quarterly.

"Many provisions of this legislation are unacceptable, and although the
bill has a six month sunset clause, I do not believe the American people will
want to wait that long before corrective action is taken," Pelosi, D-Calif.,
wrote to Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and Intelligence Chairman
Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas.

Why not do something last week bac when it would have mattered? Why not address the laws "many deficiencies" BEFORE the Congress over which you preside enacts it into law, Ms. Pelosi? You're not the minority party anymore.

This country needs another party - and as far as I'm concerned, the Dems can go the way of the Whigs.
posted by Alan on Monday, August 06, 2007 | |

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