Robot Theatre Presents: Tiger Woods Behind Closed Doors (NSFW)

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The Tiger Woods story seems to be riding along on a new trend of computer-animated dramatizations, as Keith Olbermann has featured for the past few days, with lost-in-translation Tiger ‘toons from Taiwan based on tabloid reports. Now, David Epstein and Steve Revare from Socialology.net have taken it a step further, bringing us where the tabloids can’t go: Behind the Woods’ closed doors. The pair, using Text-to-Movie technology, show the world what it might be like to be a fly on the wall in the Woods household, if Tiger and his wife were (foul-mouthed) androids.

Epstein says,”We made the video because everyone was speculating what was going on behind closed doors at Tiger’s house. Well, we all know what’s going on….and it can’t be pretty! We thought we’d try to imagine a peek behind the curtain of the Woods house…”

Here’s the (NSFW for language) video

 


NewBizNews Conference Videos: Services & Partners (cont.)

Representatives from a number of companies gave brief presentations (followed by Q & A) on how hyperlocal sites can benefit from their services.

Outside.in (Mark Josephson)


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GameChanger (Ted Sullivan)


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Buzzr.com (Ed Sussman)


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Transparensee (Alex Acree, Steve Lavine)


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Adify (Jim Larrison)


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Phil Bronstein: The Whole Truth, and Nothing but — Now Open for Negotiation?

"In the 21st century, can facts matter?"

Good question from Mitch Kapor, founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, at a UC Berkeley forum on the Future of the Forum last weekend. "How do we make facts matter? Or is that hopeless?"

Ouch.

More potential bad news for journalists searching for their future value, and also for the public hoping to sort out the massive scrum of big-pipe web info.

What the hell are facts, anyway? How and where do we find them? Are they the same as the truth? Can they be negotiated? And does any of this get sorted out on cool, ubiquitous sites like Wikipedia?

Nobody mentioned truth, thank God, at the Berkeley event. But the word "fact" was tossed around like a rag doll.

I'm a fact-seeker, so I paid close attention.

The Saturday morning panel included Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster, Kapor, and "Smart Mobs" author and social/digital media frontier pioneer, Howard Rheingold. These are people who have strong opinions about what is and what isn't.

MIT social media professor Judith Donath was also there, but she was so impossibly smart, I couldn't really keep up with her presentation.

The whole day was supposed to be about "Internet Communities and the Public Interest," according to the Berkeley New Media Center brochure. But the "fact" discussion was the most interesting to me and circled around Wikipedia because Wales was a presenter and the keynote speaker that night.

Kapor said Wikipedia was, "an incredibly valuable cultural forum," "tries to get agreement about facts." OK. I agree with Rheingold, who believes Wikipedia "is the place to start studying what happened..." But agreement about facts and real facts aren't always the same thing.

Wales described his invention as "the dominant public forum for facts today." He talked about how the Wikipedia article in Farsi on Iranian unrest satisfied him "with respect to our standards of neutrality...it just gave the facts." Then he told a tale about a Wikistory on an old battle between the Lithuanians and the Poles. He was thrilled that while Lithuanian and Polish Wikipedia versions were slanted to reflect each country's version of events, the English story "seemed like a place where the Polish people and Lithuanians had met to sort of hash out the differences."

The editors on each side "sort of figured out a compromise version."

I think I know what he meant, but compromise versions are often the opposite of fact. Just compare most Congressional bills between the original and the ultimate cross-party, cross-chamber compromise that passes.

Neutrality also doesn't necessarily lead to facts, though it's a lot more peaceful than debate, which can. Neutral is not the same as unbiased. Switzerland probably has its favorites, but just clams up about who they are.

Wikipedia gets more traffic, according to Wales, than CNN, BBC, New York Times, ABC, NBC and CBS combined. "We are the mainstream media."

So, given Wikipedia's "astounding power" (Kapor), should we be as confident as Wales that compromise, agreement, and neutrality get us to facts?

That's not entirely fair given what a useful, impressive, crowd-sourcing, intricately footnoted machine Jimmy Wales and Co. have built. It's often the first stop on my research train. But we should always keep Ronald Reagan in mind: trust, but verify.

The biggest danger of the web, said Rheingold, is not predators and porn spam but people (especially the inquiring young minds) who "are not going to be able to distinguish bulls--t from accurate information. This is the single most important danger facing the future of the public sphere."

While Wikipedia is a great starting point, Rheingold was adamant that it's still "up to you to determine the accuracy of that information."

And journalists? What are we good for in the 21st century? With the talented among us, it's our "infallible, internal (bull)s--t detector," says Rheingold, paraphrasing Ernest Hemingway.

Now that doesn't involve technology. But it is a fact.


Irene Zutell: Product Failure

Question: Why has Tiger Woods never shaved his head?
Answer: Because that's where the bar code is hidden.

Tiger Woods is a consumer product. And like Coke and KFC, the recipe was a closely guarded secret. But now, everyone's had a look at the real ingredients, and oh, the horror. A young, famous, borderline billionaire has more concubines than a rajah. As Geraldo would say, shocking!

Fresh bimbos pop up like frogs in that arcade game, faster than the PR machine can possibly bop them back into obscurity. When will it end? Let's hope never. It's certainly lighter fare than Health Care or the Afghanistan surge and the national schadenfreude -- mmm, delicious.

George Carlin had had a belly-full of Tiger and Lance several years ago. Hadn't we tired of him in his Nike V-neck at the wheel of his Buick (as if) dangling his Tag Heuer-clad wrist out the window?

The riddle is this -- and please answer us, Phil Knight, with the sales figures -- who, but a child less than ten years of age would buy a sweater, a watch or an SUV because Tiger Woods -- or any celebrity -- endorsed that product?

Why do marketers continue to heap lucrative deals on jocks? It's not a matter of if they'll come a cropper, but when.

Tiger Woods, like all professional athletes, was handed a natural gift. Did he take that gift and cultivate it? Sure. Credit duly given.

So why does America venerate athletes for doing what comes naturally on the field and excoriate them for partaking of the victor's spoils off the field?

If not for an errant text message and a wife with a temper, we might have been forced to watch him fade into record books like his arthritic predecessors. Instead, we get to watch Tiger like a 4th of July firework finale -- up, up, up into the sky, then boom -- the majestic, cathartic flame-out.

This phenomenon is not new. Babe Ruth spent as much time in cathouses as he did in dugouts. And since then, most famous jocks, regardless of superhuman athletic feat, have proven themselves very human indeed.

Wouldn't it make more sense for corporations to seek endorsements from people who really accomplish something? How about the Jonas Salk Buick? The Linus Pauling Tag Heuer?
Nah.

And what of the huge corporate capital investments now rendered worthless by Tiger's libido? Maybe Tiger could re-invent himself. A leather-clad bad-boy -- New Tiger, Tiger XXX-treme or Tigurrrrr.

Nah. George Carlin was right.


Irene Zutell's new novel, Pieces of Happily Ever After was just published by St. Martin's.
Larry Bleidner is the author of several books including Mack Daddy (Kensington Press)


Finally! ABC Announces New Good Morning America Lineup

abc_gma_091210_mnAfter weeks of speculation, ABC has finally confirmed what everyone knew all along: George Stephanopoulos has been named host of Good Morning America, headline a series of moves that effectively reshuffles the ABC talent assignments. The other big news is that fan favorite Chris Cuomo will now host 20/20. Cuomo’s spot at GMA will now be filled by JuJu Chang. Full press release after the jump.


George Stephanopoulos has been named the new anchor of “Good Morning America,” ABC News President David Westin announced today.

“I’m pleased to announce that beginning Monday Dec. 14, our new anchor team at ‘Good Morning America’ will be in place and on the air,” Westin said in an e-mail to the ABC News staff.

Stephanopoulos will anchor the broadcast with Robin Roberts and replaces Diane Sawyer, who will become the new anchor of “World News” beginning Dec. 21. Juju Chang has been named the news anchor for “Good Morning America” and Chris Cuomo has been promoted to co-anchor of “20/20″ alongside Elizabeth Vargas. Cuomo has also been named ABC News’ chief law and justice correspondent, reporting for all broadcasts and platforms across the news division. Sam Champion will remain the weather anchor on the morning show.

“In putting this new ‘GMA’ team together, we’ve pursued one goal,” Westin said. “How can we best serve our audience? How can we bring them what matters most to them — the day’s important news, engaging stories, useful information and real expertise to help them improve their lives?”

“Robin and George are the right pair to lead our effort,” Westin said. “As we’ve seen over time, Robin brings a warmth and intelligence to the morning that no one can match. Hers is a practical curiosity that brings the viewers’ questions to the fore. George complements Robin’s strengths with a deep knowledge of and commitment to news about the nation and the world.” (Click here to read Westin’s full e-mail.)

“I can’t wait to join ‘Good Morning America’s’ amazing team, and serve its loyal viewers,” Stephanopoulos said. “No one can replace Diane Sawyer, but I’ll do everything I can to match her unquenchable curiosity and intense commitment to informing the country every morning. What an adventure.”

Stephanopoulos, 48, has been ABC News’ chief Washington correspondent since December 2005 and host of ABC’s Sunday morning political affairs program, “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” since September 2002. He will take on the role of chief political correspondent and continue to anchor “This Week” until a replacement is named, Westin said.

“I am so excited to welcome George and Juju to our family,” Robin Roberts said. “The energy and talent of those on camera and behind the scenes at this program are second to none. I have no doubt that George and Juju will immediately feel right at home. Saying goodbye to Diane has not been easy, but I’m glad she will finally be getting more sleep.”

In his role as anchor of “This Week,” Stephanopoulos has interviewed President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, as well as other key members of the Obama administration.

Stephanopoulos Joins Roberts at ‘Good Morning America’

During the previous administration, he interviewed every key member of the Bush administration, and throughout the 2008 presidential race he routinely sat down with candidates on the campaign trail and moderated Republican and Democratic debates.

“George is a formidable interviewer who brings the viewer a deeper understanding of the great issues of the day,” Westin said.

Stephanopoulos has conducted several exclusive interviews with international leaders, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in April 2009, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

On the 50th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice, Stephanopoulos anchored “This Week” from South Korea, near the demilitarized zone. In July 2003, his joint interview of Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen Breyer was the first time any sitting Supreme Court justice participated in a Sunday morning television interview.

Stephanopoulos’ blog on ABCNews.com, “George’s Bottom Line,” offers breaking news reporting and analysis throughout the day. Stephanopoulos also continues his reporting and analysis on Twitter.

“This Week With George Stephanopoulos” has been honored with two Walter Cronkite Awards for Excellence in Television Political Journalism from USC Annenberg for its “On the Trail” series in 2006 and 2008.

For more than a decade at ABC News, Stephanopoulos has played a pivotal role in the network’s coverage of breaking news stories. In spring 2005, he reported from Rome and contributed to ABC News’ duPont Award-winning coverage of the death of Pope John Paul II. Following the explosion of the Columbia Shuttle, Stephanopoulos anchored a two-hour special edition of “This Week” Feb. 2, 2003. And on Sept. 11, 2001, he was one of the first reporters on the scene at ground zero.

Previously, Stephanopoulos was an ABC News correspondent, reporting on a wide variety of political, domestic and international stories. He joined ABC News in 1997 as a news analyst for “This Week.”

Before joining ABC News, Stephanopoulos served in the Clinton administration as the senior adviser to the president for policy and strategy. He is the author of “All Too Human,” a No. 1 New York Times best-seller on President Clinton’s first term and the 1992 and 1996 Clinton/Gore presidential campaigns.

Stephanopoulos received his master’s degree in theology from Balliol College, Oxford University, England, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Columbia University, graduating summa cum laude in political science. Stephanopoulos and his wife, Alexandra Wentworth, have two daughters.

Stephanopoulos joins Roberts, who’s been a co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America” since 2005. When not traveling around the country or the world covering breaking news events, Roberts is at “GMA’s” studio in Times Square conducting interviews with a diverse group of newsmakers.

Roberts has also done extensive reporting around the globe. She traveled to the Middle East with former first lady Laura Bush, who was on a mission to raise awareness about breast cancer in the Muslim world; to Africa with former President Clinton for a first-hand look at the AIDS crisis in that part of the world; and to Mexico, where she scaled the Mayan Pyramids as part of “GMA’s” “The New 7 Wonders of the World” series. She began contributing to “Good Morning America” in June 1995.

Juju Chang Joins ‘GMA;’ Sam Champion Continues as Weather Anchor

Juju Chang, 44, will become the news anchor of “Good Morning America.” She has previously been a correspondent for ABC News broadcasts that include “GMA,” “20/20″ and “Nightline.”

Westin said Chang “has distinguished herself covering the news of every sort, from national and world events to the everyday experiences of parents and families.”

Chang was awarded an Emmy for her breaking news coverage of California wildfires and had previously won a Gracie award for a “20/20″ story on “Women and Science,” a profile of transgender neurobiologist Ben Barres. Other stories include an hour-long look at the long-term impact of foreign adoptions through the eyes of one American family and an inspirational advocate who champions the cause.

She also has a blog on ABCNews.com, called “Juju Juggles,” about work, motherhood and the madness of everyday living.

Chang joined ABC News in 1991, and her previous assignments at the network include anchoring “World News Now” and “World News This Morning” and reporting for “World News Tonight.”

Born in Seoul, South Korea, Chang graduated with honors from Stanford University, with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and communications. At Stanford, she was awarded the Edwin Cotrell Political Science Prize. She is married to Neal Shapiro and has three sons.

Sam Champion will continue as the weather anchor for “Good Morning America.”

“Sam Champion brings his knowledge and enthusiasm to weather, climate and the environment,” Westin said.

In addition to covering the national forecast, Champion frequently travels to weather-related stories around the country and the globe. Since joining “GMA” in 2006, he has reported from the frontlines of wildfires in California; from the scene of hurricanes in Florida, Texas and Louisiana; and from winter storm systems in Denver, Chicago and Boston. As part of the morning broadcast’s “The New 7 Wonders of the World” series, Champion broadcast live afloat a raft in the middle of the Polar Ice Caps.

Champion is also at the forefront of reporting on the environment and climate change. In 2007, he traveled to Paris for the release of a groundbreaking report on global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He regularly brings tips and information on how to be environmentally efficient and aware with his regular “Just One Thing” reports.

Chris Cuomo Named ‘20/20′ Co-Anchor, Chief Law and Justice Correspondent

Since joining “GMA” in 2006 as the news anchor, Cuomo has reported live from the field on almost all major breaking news stories, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the school shootings in Pennsylvania and at Virginia Tech, the Fort Hood massacre and the Sago mine collapse in West Virginia.

Cuomo, 39, also played a role in “Good Morning America’s” coverage of the 2008 presidential election, reporting live throughout the major primaries and the general election, as well as interviewing the major candidates.

During the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks, Cuomo was one of the first reporters on the scene and has covered the resulting war on terrorism from Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and other regional sites.

He reported live from Baghdad, Iraq, shortly after experiencing a massive IED attack. His latest international trip to Egypt included covering the expectations and reaction of the Muslim world surrounding Obama’s visit.

Cuomo’s investigative reporting has included such subjects as national drug issues, medical insurance scams, prescription drugs and the Duke University lacrosse scandal.

“Chris Cuomo has done it all, from newscasts in the morning to covering major events from the field (around the country and around the world), to powerful primetime reporting,” Westin said. “He will continue to be one of the first people we turn to when news happens.”

Cuomo has received more than a dozen journalism awards, including the Loeb Award for business reporting, as well as multiple Emmy nominations and awards. A New York native and licensed attorney, Cuomo received his law degree from the Fordham University School of Law in New York City, and his undergraduate degree from Yale University. Cuomo resides in New York City with his wife and two children.

Stephanopoulos will take over as co-anchor of “GMA” as Diane Sawyer leaves the show to assume the anchor duties at “World News.” Sawyer is succeeding Charles Gibson, 66, who announced in September his plans to step down from the anchor desk at “World News” and retire from full-time employment at ABC News. Gibson began anchoring “World News” in May 2006 and has worked for the news division for 34 years.

Sawyer, 63, joined ABC News in February 1989, as co-anchor of “Primetime.” In addition to that assignment, she was named co-anchor of “Good Morning America” in January 1999.

‘Good Morning America’ Through the Years

Sawyer has interviewed every president since President George H. W. Bush, including President Obama, and has handled an array of breaking news and special events, including Sept. 11 and the 2008 presidential election. She brought morning viewers live and exclusive reports from inside North Korea, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia.

“One cannot describe all that she has done for ‘GMA;’ nor can we fully express our gratitude,” Westin said. “The best way to honor what Diane has done — and what Charlie did before and with her — is to continue the great tradition while building on the foundation they have laid. This new team will do just that.”

“Good Morning America” premiered Nov. 3, 1975, with co-anchors David Hartman and Nancy Dussault. Over the years, the broadcast’s anchors have also included Charles Gibson, Joan Lunden, Sandy Hill, Lisa McRee and Kevin Newman. Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts made network television history as the first female co-anchor team.

“GMA” was the first morning show to broadcast live from the Pentagon, from the FBI’s training facility in Quantico, Va.; and from the Centers for Disease Control’s command center tracking the H1N1 virus. The show also broadcast live from a moving train when “GMA” hit the rails as part of ABC News’ “50 States in 50 Days” initiative.

“Good Morning America” was honored with Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Morning Program in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures


Yahoo’s Morse Says Search Business Is Improving

Tim Morse

Yahoo’s search business has largely been a disappointment lately; the decline in Yahoo’s search ad sales accelerated last quarter and the company’s share of the search market dropped nearly a full percentage point last month, according to comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures. But at the Barclays Global Capital Technology Conference this week CFO Tim Morse said the business was on the way up. He said that revenue per search was “making strides” this quarter, in part due to improving economic conditions and the holiday season—but also because of a number of Yahoo-specific initiatives (Asked for specifics, Morse mentioned “tweaks” Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) had made to its redesigned home page, which now includes a greater emphasis on search).

“Make no mistake for those that have the misconception that Yahoo is out of the search (market). We are not. We are very focused,” he said. “We’re going to improve RPS, revenue.” Morse re-emphasized that even after the Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) deal goes into effect, the company would continue to innovate on the user experience side. That focus was highlighted once again Thursday with Yahoo’s announcement that—like Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Microsoft—it would integrate recent results from Twitter on its search results pages.

As for the fall in search share, Morse said that half of the most recent decline could be attributed to the end of toolbar distribution deals with big PC makers; something which analysts have said could eventually lead to a three percent decline in Yahoo’s search share. But Morse said that the decline last month was “precipitous” and “didn’t seem to jibe with what we see internally.”

Other highlights from Morse’s remarks:

Microsoft search deal: Microsoft and Yahoo only announced Friday that they had finalized the search pact that they had agreed to at the end of July. But Morse said that “nothing is different between the definitive agreement and initial short form (of the agreement).” He said the companies had delayed a final agreement to make sure “all the details worked.”

Operating margins: At the company’s analyst day in October, Yahoo said it hoped to increase its operating margins from its current six percent to at least fifteen. So, how is that going to happen? Well, it might not be too difficult. Morse noted that the $650 million in cost savings Yahoo expects from the Microsoft deal will add about nine percent, on top of the current six. In addition, he said the company would work on improving “internal efficiencies.”

M&A: A top priority for Yahoo’s growing cash coffers is M&A, Morse said, adding that the company was interested in acquisitions that would bolster its user base in some regions (like its recent purchase of Arab portal Maktoob) and also make the company more appealing to advertisers.

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