Journalism In Musical Clothing

Ira Glass

Wow, this is so delightful and crazily creative it hurts. Ira Glass and the team at This American Life (recently photographed in great style by Meredith Heuer) produced a musical based on a true story, in which a high school student falls in love with a girl. Typical musical so far? Well, then there’s the twist that interested TAL: the girl is actually an undercover cop, who convinces the boy (an A student) to sell her marijuana. He gets arrested and goes to jail.

21 Chump Street: The Musical

How Dan Ariely Works

Dan Ariely

Some great nuggets from Dan Ariely, behavioral psychologist/economist, as part of Lifehacker’s How I Work Series. One of my favorite excerpts from the interview concerns pushing yourself in new directions:

When I was a Ph.D. student and I was considering where I wanted to take a position as an assistant professor, Ziv Carmon, who was one of my advisors, suggested that I should pick the university that would make me the most different person from who I was at the time. He explained that it was not that he did not appreciate who I was, but that I should think about my next step as an opportunity to learn and develop further. Since then I have taken this advice many times, and I often think about my next steps, not in terms of what would be the simplest to do next, but what would teach me the most and what would make me a better person.

It’s very hard to seek out new things, uncomfortable situations. But, those sort of situations tend to be ideal environments for growth and learning. Indeed, researchers like Daniela Fenker and Hartmut Sch├╝tze have shown than novel stimuli promote learning and retention. A great lesson.

The Colors of Motion

Charlie Clark’s site thecolorsofmotion is beautiful and fascinating for any film lovers.

Toy Story film graphic

The colors of Toy Story

He’s distilled each film into the component color for each frame of the film, displaying the results in a number of interfaces, at the visitor’s discretion. The Pixar classic Toy Story, has a broad palette, compared with the narrow range cinematographer Roger Deakins used in the Cohen Brothers’ O Brother Where Art Thou, which might have been subtitled “a thousand shades of brown” (with the occasional night and underwater scene thrown in, to be sure).

O Brother Where Art Thou

Enjoying the Sifang Museum in China

Sifang Museum

Three things impress me about this piece in the Wall Street Journal:

The Sifang Museum itself, outside Nanjing, is a lovely inspiring creation

The interactive piece, full of photos, videos, and interactive 360 explorable places, is a perfect showpiece for the museum. The Wall Street Journal should be as proud of it as the New York Times is of 2012’s Snow Fall. Both are shining examples of what journalism on the web can be. Certainly a bit more expensive than a one-reporter-and-a-photographer for a day, but these pieces are both evergreen and immersive, and deserve long lives on their respective sites.

Lastly, the Wall Street Journal seems to miss no opportunity to knock China. Sure, there’s a lot to knock, but come on. To see this oasis of beauty in China on the WSJ site is refreshing.


Steve Jobs on branding, introducing the “Think Different” campaign in 1997

One key aspect of Steve Jobs’ product genius was his understanding that a product which had no users was a failure. And the way to get customers to buy, and keep buying, was brand loyalty. Jobs says, “we’re not going to get a chance to get them (customers) to remember much about us.” Hence the Apple focus on marketing, which the Fake Steve Jobs memorably lampooned again and again as the reality distortion field. There would be no lampoon if there weren’t a few million grains of truth behind it, and for anyone in the branding business, Jobs’ lessons are invaluable.

Some other rare Jobs videos, collected by Fast Company Labs.

Be generous and expert, trustworthy and clear, open-minded and adaptable, persistent and present.

Bruce Kasanoff’s terrific ebook spells this out in a bit more detail, but the title says it all. In a world where our digital lives persist forever, and more and more of our existence is digital, transparency and honesty are among the greatest virtues. All of his advice resonates with me; indeed much of it is a modern echo of an old-but-still-very-relevant classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Take a few minutes to read Kasanoff’s book.