Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Morning Brief: a day of minor turnarounds; the NYT launches its new home for web experimentation, beta620; recall campaign falls short in Wisconsin

The last 24 hours have seen at least two unexpected developments: the markets have actually gone up, and the Giants finally won a ball game. The latter really caught me by surprise.

Today both the German DAX and the British FTSE are showing modest gains, while the French CAC is down slightly, probably just to annoy the Germans.

Unfortunately, U.S. stock futures are negative following yesterday's dramatic gain in the markets. Look for another roller coaster day.

Why the obsession with the markets? Well,these are the dog days of summer when media news is a bit slow. While we wait for Apple to release iOS 5 and the new iPhone things have slowed down quite a bit. Also there is that nasty thing called the economy which I am quite sure is having an impact on the businesses of many publishers right now. And the last thing we all need during fall planning season is economic uncertainly, right?

The New York Times has launched its lab for experimental web products site beta620, which the paper describes as "a new home for experimental projects from Times developers — and a place for anyone to suggest and collaborate on new ideas and new products." Seen at left is Times Skimmer, a flipboard-like news page.

Others available for viewing include TimesInstant, a Google-like search page, and Community Hub, a home for registered users – which, if you ask me, also looks a lot like a Google designed web page.

It's a nice touch that the NYT has included the names of the developers and in some cases a picture, as well.

Republicans, the Tea Party, and the Koch brothers scored a huge win last evening that could have a ripple effect across the nation. Efforts by unions and the Democrats to recall state Senators failed to win enough support from voters as four of six Republican candidates beat back recall efforts, leaving the state Senate in the control of the Republicans.

The victories by the Republicans could lead to further efforts to weaken organized labor in Wisconsin and increase the influence of big business in the state.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that more than $35 million has been spent on the recall races, according to its source, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. A total of $19.3 million was spent on last year's 115 legislative races.