Jonathan Brun

Dean fills in for Olbermann

Howard Dean and Arianna Huffington on Countdown
Two nights ago, I switched to Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. The show is labelled as a political commentary, but too often resorts to sensationalism, and partiality. While Fox News is certainly the Republican party mouth piece and MSNBC its alter-ego, both are very bad for the United States.

When I tuned in, Olbermann was not at his desk; instead, Howard Dean filled Keith’s shoes. While I may be sympathetic to Obermann’s general political opinions, having Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic Party, fill in for Keith seems like a bit of a stretch. Can you imagine Stephane Dion filling in on CTV or Stockwell Day taking the anchor chair on Global?

Not only was Dean hosting the show, he was interviewing Arianna Huffington of the liberal Huffington Post – both working together to attack the “bonus bankers” and advocate a higher tax or cap on their incomes. When I think of the word “opinion” I think of objective, researched views on the benefits and pitfalls of a given stratey. Not some gut feeling you label as gospel.

At the end of the day, Dean and Arianna were making what I like to call “liberal white noise” to offset the “republican white noise” on Fox. But as anyone with an old TV knows, white noise plus white noise just makes noise – not a signal.

This mindless partisan banter only furthers the impasse in American politics. The best summary of this charade is Jon Stewart’s infamous tirade on the now defunct CNN show Crossfire.

Published on August 1, 2009

Online newspaper design (francais and english)

Here are some screen-shots of some English and French newspapers/news sites. In general, the English sites are less cluttered and easier to read. Despite the excellent content on sites like Courrier International, I have a difficult time finding and enjoying the content.

Note 1: Placing a banner on the top part of the screen eats up a lot of “first view” content space (4/5 french sites and 2.5/5 english ones do) . This obviously appeals to advertisers, but the real risk is that I miss an interesting story and leave the site. People do not tend to scroll down sites.

If the first thing I see is advertisement, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Does the print version of these papers place ads on the top part of the paper? I don’t think so. So why would you do it online?

I want to calculate the print to advertisement ratio on these sites, the amount of black ink to colour ink, and create a contrast-ratio map of the sites. Anyone know how to do this quickly?

Published on March 12, 2008