So LinkedIn’s stock went nuts on its first day of trading today. Now, let me preface everything I say with the fact that I have very little expertise in stocks, IPOs and all the elements in between. However, watching stocks and the furor surrounding them fascinates me.

LinkedIn, valued at $4.5 billion/$45 a share, opened at $80 a share today. It peaked near $120 a share, which technically would have made the initial investors a boatload of cash, and then closed the day at $94.25, still a hefty sum. The first-day craziness might have just been hype related. It could tank tomorrow, but that’s unlikely. I’m thinking it will dip and plateau once the shine wears off.

I’m willing to bet though that other big social media networks and tech stocks were watching LinkedIn like hawks. It is the first major social network to go public, and it has laid the groundwork for the rest. Facebook, Twitter, Quora, GroupOn; all were thinking about their financial future as LinkedIn’s stock flitted wildly like an EKG. I guarantee one of these companies will go public in the next 6-8 months.

Now, even though some LinkedIn folks made some loot today, Henry Blodget (he of Eliot Spitzer/tech stock scandal fame) says they got screwed out of roughly $130 million because they were undervalued by their underwriters. Funny, since some people thought that they were overvalued. And to be honest, I’m not even 100 percent sure of LinkedIn’s business model. Regardless, someone thinks they are valuable. And in the stock world, sometimes that’s all that matters.

It was fun to watch all day, even if I didn’t have anything personal invested in it.

The Columbia Journalism review and Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism have both released two dense reports on digital journalism and habits of those that navigate the news, respectively. I haven’t been able to get through both in their entirety, but judging by their overviews and executive summaries they both contain a wealth of information for anyone in the online journalism business.

The Business of Digital Journalism from the Columbia Journalism Review is a weighty 140-page report by CJR Dean Bill Grueskin, Prof. Ava Seave and Ph.D. candidate Lucas Graves. The report is conveniently broken down into nine chapters that examine different areas of the digital journalism business such as niche sites, aggregation and traffic patterns.

From the Conclusion:

Here’s the problem: Journalists just don’t understand their business.”

That’s the diagnosis from Randall Rothenberg, a former New York Times media reporter who heads the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a trade group representing publishers and marketers.

Whether or not you agree with his sweeping characterization, it’s clear that many sectors of the traditional news industry have been slow to embrace changes brought on by digital technology. They also have been flummoxed by competitors who invest minimally in producing original content but have siphoned off some of the most profitable parts of the business.

Navigating the News Online from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism looks at the way online news consumers are finding the content they want to see and the value of aggregation services and social networking sites. Again, there’s a lot to get through but it is great chunk of research for any online journalism organization that is trying to leverage the various avenues readers have to find their content online.

From the Summary:

Overall, the findings suggest that there is not one group of news consumers online but several, each of which behaves differently. These differences call for news organizations to develop separate strategies to serve and make money from each audience.

The findings also reveal that while search aggregators remain the most popular way users find news, the universe of referring sites is diverse. Social media is rapidly becoming a competing driver of traffic. And far from obsolete, home pages are usually the most popular page for most of the top news sites.

I’m looking forward to reading them in full later this week when I can carve out the time. Both reports are available as PDFs.

What can be said that hasn’t already been said? It’s a big deal, albeit a bit symbolic, and the way the news disseminated across Twitter was amazing to watch. That said, I’ll just share a picture that is making the rounds that is very cool.


Though I must say, after ’24’ and ‘The West Wing,’ I’m a little disappointed in the actual Situation Room.

An amusing list of “story needs/wants” from an Associated Press communication.

— Train wrecks, airplane crashes, drownings, unusual deaths, farm and traffic fatalities.
— Meetings where action of statewide interest is taken or a prominent person speaks.
— Riots, demonstrations, strikes.
— Major fires, explosions, chemical spills.
— Weather news, including ice and hail storms, heavy snow, tornadoes, blizzards, flooding, heavy and damaging rainstorms, record heat and cold. Often, weather details from around the state will be collected and filed in one round-up story.
— Human interest stories; the odd, offbeat, the heartwarming; whatever makes people laugh or cry.

— Routine city council, school board or other public meetings.
— Nonfatal auto or boating accidents, unless the circumstances
are unusual.
— Minor stabbings and shootings; petty crimes; minor house,
farm, building or range fires.
— Suicides or obituaries, unless the person is known statewide or unusual circumstances are involved.
— Publicity handouts, including local pageant winners, fund-raisers and charity events.

— Include pronouncers, name spellings and attribution.
— Offer finished stories, notes or just tips.

Whether your story is used, and how soon, may depend on the news
flow of any given day. We encourage and appreciate all story

The US Navy has published a set of photos related to the “Operation Tomodachi” disaster relief mission in quake- and tsunami-stricken Japan. Some of these are quite striking and, yet again, illustrate the level of the immense disaster in Japan.

(h/t Boing Boing)

Lara Logan, the CBS news correspondent, in Tahrir Square in Cairo moments before she was assaulted on Feb. 11.

If it were anyone but Logan, that would be my first question. But she’s their chief foreign correspondent, so technically it’s her job to go there. Should they have weighed the dangers more carefully (and who knows, maybe they did)? Probably.

If you are unfamiliar with what happened with Logan in Egypt, you can read about it here and here.

Logan is a very smart journalist and knows a lot about being in high-risk zones. I have no doubt she knew exactly the dangers she was putting herself in to and chose to do it because of the story. If you’ve ever seen her or read about her, she is incredibly self aware. She’s a great, passionate journalist that, yes, happens to be very attractive. But should she compromise her job because of that?

It’s unfortunate that her incident, as horrific as it no doubt was, didn’t get told when it was the most relevant. Her singular incident might have helped sum up the sentiment on the ground: a mixture of chaos, happiness and an uncontrollable mob. I’m wondering if, in the end, Logan will be disappointed in CBS because the story that her assault could have told at the time is now lost.

If Anderson Cooper had also been sexually assaulted instead of just punched in the head, would CBS have reported it? Would CNN have as much as they did?

Regardless of the answer, I’m sure anyone can agree that it’s a terrible thing that happened to Logan and one just hopes she makes a full physical and emotional recovery.

There’s more to say, but I’ll let the rest of journalism world take it on.

Damn, this is intense. And a good reminder that those dots you’re watching on CNN/Fox/MSNBC are actual people; people who are hurting, people in danger and people who are being killed.

I realize it’s the type of rubber-necking news the world likes, but seriously, do we really need to go wall-to-wall at every detail of the stupid royal engagement?

I mean the news is relevant in the UK, and they are right for shoving tons of people at it. But why here in the U.S.? It’s sad and slightly sickening to watch America gush over what, in my opinion, is a non-event.

Bonus: Video from Hungary news report on toxic sludge leak.

Just another quick trip of things circling the sphere.

Waffling on breakfast

So with President Obama’s visit to Minneapolis this Saturday my 4-day week has been nixed. However, tomorrow should be an interesting day as I’ll be on my bike running between the Target Center, the Minneapolis bureau and getting any newsworthy pictures along the way. We’ve got some professional freelance photographers for the inside, so there’s no pressure to get the only photos of the event. Good thing too, because I don’t have the gear for something like this.

Today is the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. I’m certainly not going to get into all of the remembrance blubbering, I’ll leave that up to the professionals. What now? What comes next?

*It’s from a movie, don’t get the wrong idea.

There’s a heat advisory in the Twin Cities today, with temperatures in the 90s and the heat index (whatever the hell that means) in the 100s. I thought in moving from Minnesota to Florida I would be trading in my heat advisories for the winter weather warnings, a straight 1:1 swap. Not so much, apparently. However, it seems a heat-advised day here is like an average summer day in Florida, minus the love bugs. Looks like I may have to actually use the pathetic little window a/c unit.

*Post title courtesy of the Surrealist Compliment Generator