WSJ Launches Financial Jobs Site Fins.com; More Coming?

The Wall Street Journal has launched a new financial-jobs site Fins.com, its first jobs/career launch since it started with CareerJournal way back. Kevin Hatfield, the GM of Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) Ventures (DJV) and formerly the Chief Revenue Officer of Jobster, is the GM of the site. The site’s interesting more for what it indicates than what it is: CareerJournal, a standalone site (with a different design) for most of its life, with career advice stories from across Dow Jones stable and a jobs search powered by Adicio, is now just a sub-page/section within the main WSJ.com brand; it carries the parent design as well. Fins.com, meanwhile, is a separate site (the four-letter domain was bought recently, likely for a good price), with its own design and jobs engine, and is the first launch out of DJV, headed by Ann Sarnoff, since the group started the much-derided FiLife.com. DJ Ventures has been around for since 2006, and took two years to start the FiLife, a IAC-DJ JV personal-finance site, and that hasn’t gone well, so if Fins fails, it’s likely that DJ Ventures’ future would be in jeopardy.

But if it can gain traction in a competitive field, likely there will be more such job sites under the WSJ umbrella, complementing its vertical sections within WSJ.com. And maybe some tuck-in acquisitions. Another side note: DJ bought UK-based financial media company eFinancialNews in 2007, for $63 million, but missed buying another piece of the company eFinancialCareers by a few months; that is now a part of Dice.com Holdings. More details on the new site in release.


A Budding Investigative News Network

p1000899Watchdog journalism has a viable future.

Twenty-five nonprofit news organizations recently came together to form the beginnings of an investigative news network to fill in the growing void left by newspapers.

Some of the budding network’s members include Bill Buzenberg, executive director of The Center for Public Integrity, and Leonard Downie, Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post.

The network’s first conference at the Pocantico Estate in New York established a shared aim to foster the “highest quality investigative journalism,” and addressed more personal concerns for the reporters and editors involved, i.e. employee benefits, health care, and general liability insurance — aspects of journalism you don’t hear about too often these days.

Neiman Lab talks about some of the finer points behind the network’s creation, including ProPublica’s decision to remain outside.

While there’s plenty of work to be done before the network begins bird-dogging the bad guys, several key questions were raised during their initial conference:

  • Should there be a website that aggregates content from network partners?
  • Should alignments be by geography or subject area or both?
  • Should the frame definitely be “investigative” reporting? Or “public affairs”?
  • Who signs off on a story?

So, as we prepare for an upcoming Q&A with Trent Seibert of Texas Watchdog — one of the 25 organizations at the Pocantico conference — we will also continue to track the network’s ongoing development.

In the meantime, you can read their lofty declaration on the conference’s home page. Or click here for a more layman summary.

Rachel Maddow Draws Fire From GOP Rep. For Reporting On ‘The Family’ (VIDEO)

Apparently, “The Rachel Maddow Show” has drawn fire from the office of Congressman Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) over a segment aired last week on The Family, an organization that’s best known for organizing the National Prayer Breakfast but becoming better known for “C Street.” C Street is a house where several members of Congress reside, and through which Mark Sanford and John Ensign are receiving some sort of undefined “counseling” for their extramarital affairs.

Apparently, the fooferaw between Wamp, who lives at “C Street,” and Maddow stems from a segment she did last Friday, in which she quoted a Knoxville News Sentinel article titled, “Wamp, housemates hurt by links to scandals.” I’ll quote the entire section. The bolded portion is what Maddow read on the air last Friday:

“These are trying times, and, obviously, with Sen. Ensign and Gov. Sanford, everybody is disappointed,” Wamp said. “There is no doubt about that.”

Ensign, of Nevada, and Sanford were both rising stars in the Republican Party, and Wamp said their transgressions have hurt the GOP and the conservative movement.

“There’s no question that the blows to the party and the conservative movement are painful,” he said. “But that just goes to show that no group of people is exempt from these kinds of problems.”

Beyond that, Wamp declines to offer any insight into how his housemates are grappling with the scandal. The C Street residents have all agreed they won’t talk about their private living arrangements, Wamp said, and he intends to honor that pact.

“I hate it that John Ensign lives in the house and this happened because it opens up all of these kinds of questions,” Wamp said. But, he said, “I’m not going to be the guy who goes out and talks.”

Since then, Wamp’s office has complained to MSNBC, in a note that read: “This statement made by Ms. Maddow Friday night is false: ‘Today he told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the members of Congress who live there are sworn to secrecy.’ Congressman Wamp never said people who live or meet at C Street are sworn to secrecy because that is in no way true.”

Maddow, last night, stood by her reporting, saying: “The on-the-record quotation from Mr. Wamp was that C Street residents have all agreed they won’t talk about their private living arrangements. The News Sentinel characterized the agreement as a “pact.” We called the News Sentinel today to see if they got that wrong, to see if Mr. Wamp’s office had at least also called them to say the quote was wrong — to demand a retraction or correction. They said they haven’t heard from him.”

If there is a dime’s worth of difference to split here, it lies with what was quoted on the record and what the newspaper characterized from the statements given by Wamp. It can be fairly said that Wamp never said, on the record, that “C Street residents have all agreed they won’t talk about their private living arrangements.” That’s the newspaper, paraphrasing Wamp. Similarly, “pact” is the newspaper’s characterization. Nowhere in the article is Wamp quoted as describing something as a pact.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to fault the logical leaps Maddow is making, based upon what she read in the newspaper. Clearly, Wamp is party to some sort of agreement to secrecy. And Maddow is right to be aggrieved over the fact that she is fielding these complaints, and not the News Sentinel, as she is merely repeating the conclusions reached by their reporter.

In that case, I have to agree with Maddow when she says, “But Congressman Wamp, if you say something to your hometown paper that sounds bad when repeated on national television, don’t blame the person reading your quote back to you for how creepy that quote makes you sound.”

[WATCH]

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

TRANSCRIPT:

MADDOW: But first, we have had a strange response today to our recent reporting on The Family, a secretive religious organization that, among other things, runs a house in Washington called C Street where a number of members of Congress live. We spent time on this show both Thursday and Friday talking about The Family because it’s emerged as a key player in both major Republican sex scandals of the summer in which family values preaching politicians who have demanded resignation of other politicians for having affairs have themselves now admitted to affairs but are showing no signs of intending to resign.

The two scandals are of those those of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Nevada Senator John Ensign. Senator Ensign lives in the C Street house maintained by The Family. The husband of his mistress says other members of Congress who lived at C Street both knew about his affair and counseled Senator Ensign on how to resolve it. Governor Sanford name-checked C Street explicitly in his press conference in which he announced his affair, saying he had received counseling about the affair from C Street while it was ongoing but still secret.

On Friday’s show I quoted an account from the Knoxville News Sentinel in which a member of Congress who lives at C Street described one of the most worrying aspects of this shadowy, powerful organization — its secrecy. The Congressman in question is Zach Wamp of Tennessee. He has lived at C Street for a dozen years and here is what I said about him on Friday.

[VIDEO CLIP] Zach Wamp of Tennessee is a Republican member of Congress who says he has lived in the C Street house for 12 years. Today he told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the members of Congress who live there are sworn to secrecy. Quoting from the News Sentinel, “The C Street residents have all agreed they won’t talk about their private living arrangements, Wamp said, and he intends to honor that pact. ‘I hate it that John Ensign lives in the house and this happened because it opens up all of these kinds of questions,’ Wamp said. But, he said, “I’m not going to be the guy who goes out and talks.”

That was on this show on Friday. Today Congressman Wamp’s office contacted our office to complain about what I said saying, quote, “This statement made by Ms. Maddow Friday night is false: ‘Today he told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the members of Congress who live there are sworn to secrecy.’ Congressman Wamp never said people who live or meet at C Street are sworn to secrecy because that is in no way true.”

The on-the-record quotation from Mr. Wamp was that C Street residents have all agreed they won’t talk about their private living arrangements. The News Sentinel characterized the agreement as a “pact.” We called the News Sentinel today to see if they got that wrong to see if Mr. Wamp’s office had at least also called them to say the quote was wrong to demand a retraction or correction. They said they haven’t heard from him.

Turns out that Zach Wamp’s office is only complaining to us. Until we have reason to believe Mr. Wamp was lying when he said C Street residents have all agreed not to speak about C Street or his home state paper, was lying when they attributed the quote to him, I am going to have to stand by what I said. If I have said something untrue on this program I am quite literally, not kidding, more than happy to correct it. But Congressman Wamp, if you say something to your hometown paper that sounds bad when repeated on national television, don’t blame the person reading your quote back to you for how creepy that quote makes you sound. I’m tempted to add something here about bearing false witness but I shall refrain.

[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not? Also, please send tips to tv@huffingtonpost.com — learn more about our media monitoring project here.]


CBS Throws Its Shows Into ‘TV Everywhere’ Initiative


NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — CBS, the lone broadcaster not participating in web TV site Hulu, is giving more content to a potential competitor, Comcast's On Demand Online.


VOD Growing, But Lags Behind DVR Use

While video on demand (VOD) usage via cable operators is growing at a healthy rate, it still lags behind DVR use and web video adoption. I say, if VOD systems on other operators work similarly to what Comcast offers, they will continue to lag until they fix some fundamental issues.

First, the good news for VOD usage: From the beginning of 2007 to the end of 2008, research firm Rentrak saw a 21 percent jump in VOD orders and an 11 percent bump in the number of people using the platform. Further, roughly half of those viewers who can access VOD use it each month, ordering about 18 programs a month.

But other hand, as Multichannel News reports, Horowitz Associates finds VOD lagging live television and DVR viewing:

“If you look at each demographic, DVR usage is 30% to 50% higher than VOD,” said Howard Horowitz, the research firm’s president. “VOD has a lot of cable business momentum driving it into consumer homes and consumers are responding, but not in an overwhelming kind of way. It is another useful, very convenient device, but not a killer app.”

In the case of Comcast (which I subscribe to), there are a number of small tweaks that could be made that would probably spur a jump in adoption. Robert Seidman over at TV by the Numbers points out one of the biggies, the lack of HD VOD:

Many of the programs I watch on TBS, SyFy, USA and HBO are actually available on demand, but are not available in high definition. Because the quality of video is so much better in high defintion, I wind up recording and watching a lot more shows via DVR than I would if those same shows were available in high definition on the On Demand service.

Aside from the picture quality, the picture size is also shrunk to fit the widescreen in a 4:3 box. This puts a big black border around the picture and scales the image down so you’re only using a fraction of that big screen you paid for.

Seidman also writes about the complicated user interface when watching VOD content. There are far too many buttons to push, and if you’re chugging through season 4 of Entourage, you have to navigate back and forth between menus in an irritating fashion.

Another roadblock to VOD adoption is that ads have creeped in to VOD content. Granted, these ads appear during free content — so some tradeoff is to be expected for not paying (everyone needs to make their money back somehow). But ads still interrupt the movie watching experience and make watching a movie a more mundane experience, like you’re catching it on TV.

Maybe the ads would be such a hassle if the fast-forward wasn’t crippled. When using my DVR, I can fast-forward up to five times faster to zip through commercials or content I may have seen. With VOD, the ffwd is reduced to just 2x, drastically slowing down the ability to zoom through slow parts.

At the end of the day, perhaps VOD lags behind DVR use because of control. With my DVR, I know when I’ll have a program available, the quality I’ll watch it in, how long I’ll be able to keep it, and I’ll command the speed at which I watch it. With VOD, the operator dictates those conditions.



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Microsoft’s Ballmer On Google Chrome OS: ‘Who Knows What This Thing Is?’

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) would not comment last week in the aftermath of Google’s announcement that it would launch a PC operating system by mid-2010—but CEO Steve Ballmer was more than happy to talk about it at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans Tuesday. “First of all, I will be respectful,” he said. “Who knows what this thing is. To me, it’s highly interesting that it won’t happen for a year and a half.”

He went on to say that he did not understand why Google (NSDQ: GOOG) needed two operating systems—Android and Chrome OS. “I don’t really know what’s up at Google,” he said. As for Microsoft’s own plans, he said the company did not see a need for a web-only operating system. “The model of the future brings together the best of today’s rich client applications and some of the things that people (do) best on the web … We don’t need a new operating system, what we need to do is to continue to evolve Windows … the way (Internet Explorer) works in totality with Windows,” he said. Ballmer added that data shows that 50 percent of the time that people spend on their PCs is not spent in the web browser. Of course, any statement to the contrary would contradict what has practically become Microsoft’s motto—that people will want to supplement desktop software, not replace it, via the internet.

Other highlights from Ballmer’s on stage interview with Fortune editor-at-large Geoffrey Colvin:

European Commission antitrust inquiry: Microsoft has said it will ship Windows without Internet Explorer in Europe in an attempt to placate European antitrust officials who are investigating whether Microsoft violated antitrust law by bundling the two products together. “Removing IE was the thing that was most consistent with European law,” Ballmer said. “We’ll move forward on that basis.”

“I’m A PC” ads: Ballmer said that the ads had worked—and the company doesn’t plan to stop running them.

Pep talk: Ballmer is known for his bursts of enthusiasm and he did not disappoint, ending the interview by walking around the stage while swinging his arms and telling the audience of Microsoft partners that “Despite the economy, we can really get out there and pump (up) the volume.”


Vid-Biz: Microsoft, Generate, Streaming

Microsoft Meeting with Netflix; in light of partnerships and close ties, would the Redmond giant be a better buyer than Amazon? (All Things D)

Generate Adds $2M to Series A; video production and talent management firm has now raised $8 million in round from Fuse Capital and MK Capital. (paidContent)

Is Streaming Replacing Downloading? Techdirt doesn’t buy the findings of recent research about kids dumping file-sharing for legal streaming. (Techdirt)

TiVo Wants $1B From Dish/EchoStar; sealed motion shows TiVo seeking massive amount for contempt of permanent injunction. (Zatz Not Funny)

CinemaNow Will Have Yahoo TV Widget; Sonic Solutions will enable rental and purchase of movies directly through widget. (Video Business) Meanwhile, Blockbuster Will Be Built Into Samsung TVs; rentals will also launch this fall. (Associated Press)

ClipSync Launches Social Viewing Facebook App; watchers can view Big Brother 11 and The Young and the Restless for now. (release)

Brightcove Officially Launches Localized White-label Video in Japan; comes out of Japanese subsidiary established last year. (release)



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