West Coast Chops

West Coast Minded Journalism, Art and Culture

Klout 101

Klout is taking a lot of shots these days after it changed it’s algorithm. My score dropped by about 15 points and I was devastated. But in a way, it was a positive, because it broke the spell Klout had over me. For months I was obsessed with my score, religiously checking my +Ks, basically a digital acknowledgment of influence on a topic .

For a while I was the #4 most +K’d journalist on Klout, sandwiched between Jeff Jarvis and Anderson Cooper. I would tweet at Anderson Cooper and taunt him in a “na na” style that was harmless, if not playful—he never responded. Anderson Cooper wasn’t on Klout. Guess he’s too busy.

After a few weeks, and a slew of summer an fall New York Times articles, Anderson bumped me in the rankings. Soon I stopped checking my klout score everyday. My score got pretty stagnant—first I was upset, but then it stopped being a big deal. It was just a number. It meant something, but it didn’t. I got to a place where the number was only as important as I made it. And that put me back in the mode of creating content and commenting without concern for how that would affect my Klout score.

For the Plugged In, Too Many Choices

Social media isn’t about numbers, rankings, or page views. Viewed through the wire-rim frames of old media, it is doomed to that limited perspective.

Success with social media at its most basic level is connection—connecting a message or an idea with someone who can use that content to improve their life.

To that effect, one of the most overlooked social media skills needed to make that connection is loyalty. Whether it’s to a product, a service, or any form of digital or print content— raw information or refined media—loyalty to that business or service is what keeps business rolling. It’s what keeps the reader believing that what they read is true, as opposed to what their friend tells them.

The first step to that ideal producer-consumer relationship starts with creating consistently superior product. Breaking news, exclusive content, juicy scoops. This is the stuff of old-time journalism. Today much of the stories we read are synthesized, modified, aggregated and disbursed by today’s whatever works, plug the hole in the dyke joystick journalism. Because of this setting, keeping the message and image of a brand clean is vital in an era where scandal, plagiarism and content theft happen everyday, sometimes unknowingly and unintentionally (as is the case of Jim Romenesko, fired from the Poynter Institute for allegedly not quoting material).

As online professional in news or entertainment media, it is our job to deliver the best, most honest product we can. Keeping it clean in terms of content, curation and brand message is essential to avoid problems before they develop—it’s like keeping your home clean: dusting, washing, throwing out the trash. It’s all about upkeep, consistency, rhythm.

So, what’s next?

Even 12-Year-Olds Can Write iPhone Apps

We’re close to a change here. A view shift. The powers that be in everything from Fortune 500 companies to local mom and pop corner shops are drinking the kool aid that is Twitter and Facebook. And I think in large, that’s good for business and good for the economy. As long as we keep it honest, and real when it comes to producing content.

Last month at the TEDx Manhattan Beach conference I listened to a 12-year-old app developer speak with confidence and knowledge about youth and technology. This month at Blog World Expo LA, I listened to online professionals from all over the world discuss the state of the blogsphere. There’s a lot of talent out there, a lot of producers, a lot of consumers. The trick is not to be all things to all people. Better yet, there is no trick. Be real.

“I think my job will probably not exist in 5 years,” — New York Times’ Social Media Editor Liz Heron

While I doubt that the same platforms and services we currently have will exist in the years to come, I believe the industry is poised for growth; the medium will evolve and keep incorporating social media into e-commerce. Instead of automation, I think humans will continue to sit behind monitors.

“I think what’s really up in the air, and more to what Liz Heron was saying, is that with the flux in newsrooms and technology, that role may be way different in 5 years time,” I wrote Oct. 28th on the Nieman Lab blog post.  “I think Heron’s comment (“My job won’t be around in 5 yrs”) may have been slightly tongue-in-cheek and said for effect, but that’s not to say she doesn’t really believe that. 5 years ago social media managers/ entrepreneurs were few and far between. Now there are many. Have we finished evolving? Not by a long shot …..”

Through the magic of Twitter, I spoke with Liz Heron about her comments. She said there “will always be jobs for those who understand new forms of communication. In 5 years, who knows what they will be?”

Good answer, Liz.

—Adam Popescu


24-Hour News Cycle: Social Media’s Role In News Production, Publication And Promotion

A look at the relationship and continuing interaction between social media and journalism.

I examine the industry today with a background on the history of how social media has evolved to become a journalistic tool, the ethics and technology at play, modes of communication between online and print media, and current and future trends industry professionals see developing.

The goal of this paper is to show that social media is a tool to promote, distribute and create conversation between readers, content providers and curators. While at one point publications scoffed at the web, most are now embracing its power, using social media as a way to directly target their audience and promote content. This, among other reasons, is why I believe strongly in the value of this form of media as a tool to grow the discipline of journalism.

The following are a list of working professionals interviewed for this months-long investigative project:

1. Ryan Sholin, Director of News Innovation at Publish2
2. Michael Foley, journalist at Desert Sun/ content editor for Waggener Edstrom Worldwide/ social media expert
3. Rob Petersen, President/Founder BarnRaisers llc
4. Jay Adams, new media director for the Atlanta Falcons
5. Brenton Garen, former online video director, staff writer, Beverly Hills Courier, current Editor-In-Chief of the Santa Monica Daily Mirror
6. Amanda Peabody, former staff writer, assistant editor, Beverly Hills Courier
7. Abbey Hood, former news editor, Beverly Hills Courier
8. Sydne Summer, Fashion Editor at the Style Network’s mystyle.com & Editor-in-Chief of ThinkThruFashion
9. Erik Pedersen, senior editor at E! Online
10. Israel Lemus, online editor LAmag.com
11. Dorrine Mendoza, online content producer for North County Times
12. Tommy Tung, contributor to Juxtapoz Magazine
13. Josh Gross, Sports Illustrated mixed martial arts reporter
14. Chad Graham, social media and search engine optimization editor, azcentral.com and The Arizona Republic
15. Vicki Higgins, online producer for LA INC. (official tourism bureau for Los Angeles)
16. Pia Christensen, content manager, editor, Association of Health Care Journalists
17. Sumaya Kazi, CEO of @YoProCo. Award-Winning Entrepreneur. Former Sr. Social Media Manager at Sun, social media strategist
18. John Paul Aguiar, Blogger, Internet Entrepreneur, Social Media strategist
19. Lilliam Rivera, executive editor at Mondette.com
20. Justin Germino, Technology Manager, Blogger/Poet @dragonblogger
21. Robert Caruso, Founder & CEO Fondalo Inc.
22. Wendy Sullivan, web copywriter and journalist
23. Robert Hays, software development manager at DIRECTV
24. David Cohn, founder Spot.us
25. Richard Myer, former editor LA magazine, The Los Angeles Times
26. Larry King, former host of CNN’s Larry King Live
27. Dee Stewart, Owner of DeeGospel PR
28. Tanner Stransky, editor entertainment weekly & ew.com
29. David Politis, President of Politis Communications, a full-service PR/IR/Marcom agency focused on clients in the “green,” high-tech and life science/biotech industries
30. Jennifer Sheppherd, online producer for the Orlando Sentinel
31. Nic Wirtz, freelance Latin American journalist
32. Angela Kim, associate producer, Marketplace, American Public Media
33. Craig Newmark, owner, founder of Craigslist.com
34. Kim Bui, social media and community editor at KPCC
35. Ian Hill, community engagement specialist for KQEDnews.org in San Francisco


Craigslist Founder @CraigNewmark On #SocialMedia

By Adam Popescu

Craigslist is one of the 10 most visited English language web sites–globally. Craig Newmark, the man behind the hugely successful e-commerce site is a man both revered and reviled for revolutionizing the Internet and media.

Back in 1995, he started work on what would become Craigslist, a site that offered users unprecedented access to the advertising market. A site so revolutionary and controversial that its free market openness has landed it in trouble on more than one occasion. The site was once a veritable tool for criminals and was even implicated in murder. In the last few years, crackdowns have removed a seedier element of a site not intended as a tool for pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers.

Within the media world, the site been criticized for gobbling up the classified ad monopoly newspapers once held, and moving them online. The loss of that revenue stream has been written about in numerous publications and linked to the decline of the industry for several years now (Pew, as usual, has terrific research). Newspapers still haven’t quite figured out how to harness the power of the Internet, but at least they’ve finally come to acknowledge its importance.

As for Craig, he’s been focusing on a new venture: Craigconnects, a pseudo-social network platform that describes itself online as a place to “connect people for the common good.” Here’s heavyweight @craignewmark on some of the biggest issues in the news business: social media, credibility, branding, and freedom of information.


Craigslist, founder & customer service rep

Craigconnects, founder

What do you do:

At craigslist, customer service and general direction;

At craigconnects, public service and philanthropy support via social media

How do you use social media / typical day:

Continuously, throughout the day, RSS and Twitter feeds,  occasional look at HuffPost, TechMeme, etc. almost all the time, public radio in background. I try to focus on trustworthy sources and curation.

Your take on the relationship between social media / journalism:

Potentially, people using social media (both in the industry and outside) can help journalism return to basics.  I’m mostly interested in practical ways to get fact checking done, also interested in the separation between reporting and internal financial concerns.

How do you create a brand presence:

Treat people the way you want to be treated.

Do you use social media away from work / if so, for private accounts or on behalf of company:

I do so continuously, via craigconnects, for a whole bunch of public service and philanthropic organizations.

How many hours a week do you work / How big is your staff:

When I’m not doing craigslist customer service stuff, I work on craigconnects with my consulting staff of about six people.

What trends do you see developing?

Increasing insistence on trustworthy reporting and curation.Increasing looking for that from peers and organizations like public radio, NPR, CPI, etc.

Is there a disconnect between online / print media:

Don’t know.

Does online media skew / appeal to a younger audience or are older people starting to get it:


Are bloggers journalists / Is it mutually exclusive:

The terms get in the way, and I’d draw a distinction based on adherence to professional ethics, for example, the SPJ code of ethics.

How did you hear about the Osama assassination:

I think it was public radio, WAMU.

Are you a fan of a paywall system (pay for content):

No opinion.

WikiLeaks: Good or Bad / Why:

Mixed. I think transparency should be the default position in government, but it’s hard to compromise when private discussions are exposed.

In the future, what innovations would you like to see:

Smart ways to help journalism return to basics, like ways to help news staff quickly access existing fact checks, and to get new fact checking via both professional and citizens via crowdsourcing.

In The Economist, you recently said bloggers are like John Locke, Thomas Pain and Benjamin Franklin. Can you elaborate on which bloggers/blogs you were referring to and your take on blogging:

I said that the historical figures were bloggers, much like the bloggers today, for example, Andrew Sullivan, Arianna Huffington, and Robert Scoble.

Craigslist’s role, if any, on the newspaper industry’s advertising troubles?

That’s a craigslist question; it would be better if you talk to CL management on that.  I’m focused on craigconnects.

Brief career path:

* IBM: software developer, then technical customer service

* Charles Schwab: systems architect, and Internet evangelist

* informal contracting: various, including helping build HomeBanking at Bank of America

On Social Media At #PubCampWest

At PubCamp West earlier this month, Amy Baroch interviewed me about the importance of social media to news and journalism.

When It Comes To Rupert Murdoch’s Successor — James, You Are Not It

Eighty-year-old Rupert Murdoch finally named a successor. This week, he said News Corp Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey would replace him if he was “run under a bus.” Nice outlook.

Murdoch had been grooming his son James–before the scandal. Before that it was Rebeka Brooks. Now Brooks is in jail and son James is due to testify once more for British Parliament. It’s going to get ugly before it gets pretty for him.

News Corporation Chief Rupert Murdoch, his son James, the current Chairman of News International, and former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks

Still, for the News Corp company, the move has calmed investors, lifting shares as of Thursday. Profits are up, but News Corp is still down about 10 percent from the time before the News Of The World scandal.

So, without further chatter, here is your next leader of arguably the largest media conglomerate in the history of man:

News Corporation Deputy Chairman Chase Carey

I know nothing about this man, but I can say he has an amazing mustache. Perusing through Getty Images, this thing is no fluke. It’s been around for a long, long time. If Chase Carey spends half as much time working as he does styling his facial hair, he might turn out to be a pretty good leader.

— Adam Popescu

Jaw Dropper

$ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ $ Girl, you know I’ll always treat you right  $ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ ♥ ♡ $

Murdoch On The Ropes

Rupert Murdoch and son James–at times visibly shaken by Parliament questioning, at others, stoic, lamenting, and hard to believe. Body language told the story, and a slouching, slumped elder Murdoch repeatedly banged his hand against the wood table for emphasis.

The Murdochs claimed (many, many times) to be unaware of multiple serious allegations against the News of the World and NewsCorp / News International company. Labour MP Tom Watson did a great job hitting the Murdochs with solid questions the men could in large part not answer. Murdoch Sr. often paused for long periods before commenting. Like a high-stakes card player unaccustomed to losing, he held his hand close.

“If I knew then what we know now…I have no knowledge of that…” from both Murdochs.

“Your father is responsible for corporate governance and serious wrongdoing has been brought about in the company,” Watson countered when son James tried to intervene on behalf of his father.

And then this happened…the proverbial spark that erupted this tense room into a mini-combustion.

That this living legend of the media business has been reduced from untouchable giant to a visibly, old and potentially weak man speaks volumes of how deep this scandal cuts, and how much we the public did not know about the men holding the reigns. This is journalism’s Enron moment.

In his testimony today, the elder Murdoch repeated time after time how much he DID NOT know. The way he told it made one wonder if this was true, which it didn’t seem like it could (or should be), what exactly did old man Murdoch do with his time?

If he really doesn’t know what’s going on at his own company, then Rupert Murdoch has no business at the helm of the NewsCorp ship. If he did know, he’s lying and digging his own grave should other-evidence arise (email, or employee testimony). And in this day and age, with the troves of data abound online, much more information could come to light.

Today’s faux-pie faux-pas reminded me of an enraged Iraqi journalist, who a few years ago threw a shoe at President George W. Bush at the end of a speech. The man was arrested, like today, but the moment was remembered as a tangible moment of dissidence against a Teflon titan.

Even though Jonnie Marbles didn’t quite connect this morning, it’s a black day for journalism.

–Adam Popescu

Changing My Name…To My Name

                                                                                                        Meta World Peace

After a long think and an online chat with my friend @nickcicero I changed my name…to my name..in the avatar, augmented reality that is Twitter.

In this age of digital branding, my only social media account that didn’t have my real name at this point was Twitter. I wouldn’t sign any of my other work with anything other than my full name–why should Twitter’s online version of me be any different?

Damn the API ramifications and the confused tweeters–it had to be done. After a few days of rattling it around upstairs, I pulled the trigger on July 5, the day Googles Twitter contract expired and they suspended the very useful real-time function.

@mcaption is no more. Long live @adampopescu.

Science-Fact or Science Fiction: Eyeball-Controlled Laptops

Sounds Sci-Fi, doesn’t it? Maybe not.

Tobii’s eye-tracking technology allows users hands-free laptop control: with the ability to scroll through emails and documents, hands free. Not sure if typing is plausible, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of functionality was developed to put it on the menu.

The Wall Street Journal’s All Things D blog reported widespread adoption could be a few years out, according to Tobii general manager Barbara Barclay’s comments at the D9 conference earlier this month.

The New York Times reported on Tobii Technologies back in March. Tobbi was founded in 2001 at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. It now has offices in the U.S., Germany, Norway, Japan and China. Products include eye-assistance machines that without-a-doubt help the disable improve day-to-day life.

From DigitalTrends.com: “Before we began the demo, Barbara explained the technology. Tobii’s eye control works a bit like the Xbox Kinect (or a reverse Wii), but on a much closer scale. As you sit in front of the laptop, a row of two synced infrared sensors located under the screen scan your eyes. They do this about 30 to 40 times per second, examining the size and angle of your pupil, the glint in each of your eyes, and the distance between you and the laptop. Together, the two sensors create a stereoscopic 3D image of your eye for the computer to examine. Based on the angle and glint of your eye, Tobii’s technology calculates precisely which part of the screen you are looking at. It can even tell when you look away or close your eyes. To save power, the demo unit on hand darkened its screen when we looked away.”

After years of consuming negative, future-imperfect man vs. machine media in the form of the Terminator, Mad Max, and the Matrix, here’s to the growth of human-machine integration, in a sci-fiesque, positive way.

–Adam Popescu

Johnny Depp / Bizzy Bone : Switched At Birth?

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Johnny Depp. Bizzy Bone. I think the evidence speaks for itself.

The Poop Burger

Japan has given us another innovation: this one for our stomachs.

Madames et Monsieurs, I give you the Poop Burger. Bon Appetit.


Science Fact or Science-Fiction?

Meet the SWITL, the new Japanese product taking the ketchup and mustard industry by storm.

No word yet if it can suck up stains and spills. It does work remarkably well on goop like peanut butter and jelly, but what about liquid? Will this mystery ever be solved?


長岡市Uターン支援事業『でーJobら、ねっと』の長岡の優れた企業を紹介するピックアップ企業コーナーで紹介している新潟県長岡市の古川機工㈱の製品『SWITL !!!

Searching for Muammar Gaddafi

What a guy…here’s the Colonel, playing chess with noted-eccentric and President of the World Chess Federation…all while NATO bombs reign down…guess Muammar’s employing the Sicilian Defense…

A Special Q&A With L.A. Times’ Top Of The Ticket: Andrew Malcolm

In early May, I got the chance to interview Andrew Malcolm, one of the hardest working men in journalism. At 70 hours a week, hands on keys, this Pulitzer finalist’s got West Coast Chops for days.

Here’s @latimestot on some of the biggest issues in the news business: social media, journalistic credibility and branding, and freedom of information.

Title: National online politics columnist LATimes.com.

What do you do: write about US politics.

How do you use social media / typical day: I work noon til 4-5 am writing numerous political items for the column, communicating with almost 64,000 Twitter peeps, handling comments and doing research.

Your take on the relationship between social media / journalism: To the world they are very similar. To the aging generation within journalism they are totally different, which is why they qre dying out.

Why is it important: It’s the next evolutionary step in modern media.

How do you create a brand presence: Let your readers see inside your mind and how you processed whatever you are writing.

Do you use social media away from work / if so, for private accounts or on behalf of company: almost exclusively as part of my work.

How many hours a week do you work / How big is your staff: I have no staff. I have a part time partner occasionally. I work about 70 hrs/week.

How did you get involved in journalism: I heard a foreign correspondent speak to my prep school in the 10th grade and decided that night I wanted to be one.

How did you get involved with social media: An LAT editor asked me to study existing politics blogs and design one that I would like to write for latimes.com.

Is there a disconnect between online / print media: Yes definitely. But it is fading as print people either leave or recognize the inevitability of change.

Does online media skew / appeal to a younger audience or are older people starting to get it: Older people have gotten it for a long time. i.e. me

Are bloggers journalists / Is it mutually exclusive: Yes in a different way. They both tell stories.

Do you trust social media sites (Twitter, Facebook) as sources: As sources of tips only.

Is something credible because the online world say it’s so, before mainstream media reports it: it’s like a parallel universe with its own rules, protocol and standards. It’s wonderful if you don’t take it too seriously.

How did you hear about the Osama assassination: Email news alert.

Are you a fan of a paywall system (pay for content): I don’t care one way or the other.

WikiLeaks: good or bad / Why: Helpful for online readers to get rapid research sometimes verified.

In the future, what innovations would you like to see: I have no great needs. I can work with what I have—cellphone, Bberry, laptop, car and satellite radio.

What do you not like about social media (any limitations): There are wandering political cadres on all sides that have no interest in learning but only in propagandizing. Not unlike print journalism only more pervasive.

Brief career path: Northwestern Univ BSJ, MSJ. NY Times 1967-93.
Communications Dir Gov of Montana 1993-99. Dep Comms Mgr Bush-Cheney campaign and Laura Bush press secy 1999-2001. LATimes Editorial Board 2001-06. Pulitzer Finalist 2004. Online politics columnist 2007 til present

Adam Popescu

The Politician’s Guide To Twitter

1. Obscene tile background of yourself doing something bureaucratic: like giving a speech, mouth dangling open, pray you don’t have a poppy seed from your bagel breakfast stuck in your teeth. Smile for the cameras.

2. You follow 30 people on Twitter. Twenty of them are 20 years younger than you. Further investigation reveals these young women lead sometimes questionable professional lives. Real American values are based on Puritanical. We’re not the French.In this country, it’s wrong for a man over 50 to even think of a young woman sexually, and by young, anything more than 10-20 years younger than you. (Immediately unfollow @gingerlee, @ _kimpham, @RachCamp, @andreadevinney et al). IMPORTANT: You should not be following more XXX Stars than U.S. Gov’t Stars. Keep it one Adult actress for every two real Adults you follow. In fact, don’t Tweet with a Porn Star. Ever. Even jokingly. @Repweiner You’re a Government employee for God’s sakes!!!! Stop it!

3. You send “revealing” photos of yourself in compromising positions and situations. On your public time-line. (Remember, Twitpic is the new Getty Images). You will later deny sending said pics, or claim no knowledge whatsoever of the events. Deny, deny, deny. See #2.

4. You go on a major news outlet like CNN or Fox, and in a panic, pee all over yourself and place your foot deep into your own mouth by calling a professional journalist a “Jackass.” Nice.

5. Finally, after retiring from public view and press for a few weeks and living in mad bunker-behavior denial, you stage a press conference, and in front of your loving family and the American people, you admit to everything. At this point you resign your post, no matter how big or small, and ask for the forgiveness of both your family and America. Depending where you are, you might throw in a couple blessings to the Lord or Jesus right about now. It’s all about spending time with your family now.

6. You wait for the smoke to clear and then do one of three things: serve time (think Kwame K.), keep fighting for your good name (Rod B.), get a job as a political pundit for a network (Elliot S.) or go on the lecture circuit and make some bank (Bill C.) Not that you need it. But you have a tell-all book now. Time to tweet it and get back on Twitter.


A Palin For All Seasons

Don’t cry for me Wasilla…

The Cannes film festival may be over, but a new movie is sure to make waves next month…in Iowa…Confused? Well, you should be.

In a few short weeks, Sarah Palin, yes, that Sarah Palin, will debut her new film, The Undefeated in the Hawkeye state, intended to remind voters that she is an option for the presidential nomination.

Produced secretly, the momma grizzly and newly minted auteur teamed with conservative filmmaker Stephen Bannon on the $1 million tell-all about the former governor and GOP hopeful, explaining why she decided to leave her post as governor of Russia’s neighbor—err—Alaska.

Two versions of the film are set for release, according to Gawker. One, an unrated edition containing obscene anti-Palin language and imagery, the other without.

My only questions is, how long til it hits Netflix? Yeah, it’ll be in theaters for a few weeks, but this one was made for DVD: Special Features for a Special Lady.

–Adam Popescu

In Abbottabad

Check this out.

President Obama says he does not want to release the Osama death pic because he’s worried it will incite militant Islamists. Why, then, are the death photos of Osama’s people flooding the net? Why is that OK—those photos are graphic and chilling. Are there lives any less important, or any less potent in fanning the flames of hate?

The Administration’s pussyfooting and indecision (remember last week FBI Director Leon Panetta said they’ll be released eventually, while Obama vehemently said no) is not stemming ill will from those who hate us. If anything, it’s creating more controversy, and curiosity (check out how the radicals are reacting here). (Actually, now you can’t. The International Business Times sites is down as of May 8—Now back up as of May 10).

Would it not be better to release the photo, so we can collectively take it in and get over it? Holding onto to the photo keeps the debate raging (there are those who say it’s all a hoax) and keeps attention on an event that should be dealt with fully. Let’s not forget there’s also supposedly Navy video footage of the sea burial. What about that video? Is the clock ticking on that one, too?

The New York Times called the decision Situation Ambiguous. Well put.

Osama is dead. That’s it. But until we see the photos, we still have a long way to go, and we’re sitting on a powder keg.

‘Nuff Said

President Obama is deciding whether or not to release the Osama Bin Laden death pic. I say it’s coming. Supposedly, whether or not it comes out will be revealed at a press conference later today. Some are against it, some for it. I’m confident we’ll see it. There are too many skeptical “deathers” that will be silenced when they see a picture of definitive proof, no matter how gruesome it is.

In the aftermath of one of the most amazing assassinations in modern history, new information about the operation continues coming to light.

Interesting to note, is some of the “stuff” found growing adjacent to the compound.

Equally interesting is the fact that the dead Osama was found unarmed, with $750 in cash sewn into his jacket, along with several phone numbers, suggesting he was ready to flee at a moment’s notice.

–Adam Popescu

Marketplace Clips

Interactive Map

Fresh from theMarketplace: world oil production by country from 1960 to today. A short history of oil

Hey! I Broke That

It happened back in February. Watching City Hall like a hawk, I saw that City Manager Jeff Kolin was meting with Google during the closed sessions of City Council. Closed session is the (smoke-filled) back room where deals are made between the city and businesses. Behind closed doors.

Kolin told me Google was going to sign a lease with the city; it was just a matter of time. I was surprised how open he was. I searched far and wide and no one had this story. I wrote it knowing that, knowing that it was a big story. I put it on the front page of the Beverly Hills Courier and kicked back to what I thought would be a positive response.

After I published, city workers in the communications department smiled and even laughed at Google on the cover. Is that the best you can do, Adam? WTF, I thought. Either they didn’t know what was going on, or I had made a mistake. But I knew I didn’t make a mistake. Why would Kolin lie? I knew he didn’t, but that nagging fear common to journalists still gnawed at my stomach. Could I have somehow made a mistake? No, couldn’t be…but still, I waited and waited for another publication to pick up the piece and start writing about the move. But for almost two months, nothing.

At that time, others doubted Google’s move, even a good friend in commercial real estate. He reasoned that if the Mountain View company had spent millions on their recently-acquired Venice location, why would they want to come to Beverly Hills?

Apparently, the 331 Foothill Rd city-owned property will be home to Google’s $100 million dollar YouTube venture, a project Google recently called a cheap way to make television. (Not a big fan of spending big bucks and then calling it cheap, but that’s just me…). Still, succeed or fail, important pages in the future history of technology, social media and television will likely be made there.

Today I read about the deal in a copy of the LA Times. I’d been waiting for this. No mention of my piece, not shocked there.

Online, on The Hollywood Reporter, the “scoop” by my former cub-journo colleague Daniel Miller, who reported a lease to the tune of 11-years at $6.3 million. No mention of my Courier story breaking the deal. I looked elsewhere. Nowhere did I find a mention.

If I wasn’t angry, I felt it was only right to stake my claim and present a time-line of events. So, following the news trail, I commented in that vein at FishBowlLA. And here we are. Sometimes the most interesting stuff never makes it to the audience. Left on the cutting room floor.

—Adam Popescu

Where The Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

Shel Silverstein

Shaky Alibi

Next week is the opening party for my new 2011 display of mixed-media collage at Shaky Alibi at 7401 Beverly Blvd, a fine European-flavored wafflerie and coffee bar where no albi is needed for waffles this good. They even have a ping pong table they bring out at night, so we can take it there. But no beer pong. It’s not that kind of place.

7401 Beverly Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036

Monday March 7
Shaky Alibi
Coffee House and Wafflerie
7401 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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February 7, 2011
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