Five interesting lessons from Jay-Z interview with Terry Gross

NPR Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviewed rapper and cultural icon Jay-Z last month and it proved one of the more interesting episodes of one of the best, longest-running radio shows around. Jay-Z was promoting his new book Decoded (about which Amazon has an interesting video interview).

You should go ahead and listen to the interview right now.

All the highlights are here, but you should look for these discussions in particular, all of which can be found in this transcript, in addition to another longer-form interview.

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New Yorker profile of Nick Denton dives into online news profit

Earlier this month, the New Yorker had a big profile of Nick Denton, who famously launched in 2002 national blog network Gawker Media. It’s interesting, of course, for its personality, but I was drawn most to a few grafs focusing on news profitability.

Check out the profile in its entirety — or another recent big profile on him from New York Magazine — but below, find my favorite sections.

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The Social Network: thoughts and reading on the Facebook movie

I tend to watch films in move theaters when I think they’ll have a particularly significant impact, will be worth remembering years from now and, of course, when I’m lured in by the story.

The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin’s film that tells with some literary license of the meteoric first-year rise of Facebook, fit the bill.

Last week, I saw and was greatly entertained — call it a 9 out of 10, not perfect but sure close and worth the price of admission.

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The Wire: yeah, the HBO Baltimore drama is mad decent

I take something of pride in sometimes indulging in great cultural luxuries long after their novelty has waned.

With that knowledge, I’ll share my thoughts on finishing the complete five-season DVD set of celebrated HBO drama ‘the Wire‘ to encourage readers to watch it again, assuming you’ve seen the show at some point since it first aired in 2002.

It’s not difficult at all to piggyback that suggestion onto the concept of the state of media and the future of news.

David Simon, the creator and primary writer of the serial drama based on the inner-workings of drugs, policing and politicking in gritty post-industrial Baltimore, was himself, quite famously, a newspaper reporter for the Baltimore Sun, giving him a career of insight.

Notably, each of the five seasons take on a different focus of the Baltimore city structure — from the drug trade, to unions to policing to, yes, reporting. So in the past few weeks after finishing the final season, I’ve delved into writing, stories, concepts and conversations. Even if you know the show well, it might be worth seeing what’s out there and, yes, connect it to media.

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‘Closing Time:’ Joe Queenan’s on growing up poor in East Falls

My reading of choice tends to be contemporary Philadelphia non-fiction — its true stories, histories and cultural anthropology.

Across nearly all of this writing from the 20th and early 21st century is a very unexpected theme: someone growing up angry and put-on in some forgotten neighborhood and developing a very hateful relationship with their city.

Joe Queenan, the Irish Catholic, self-styled Horatio Alger character of northwest neighborhood East Falls, writes the king of these stories, from what I’ve read, in his 2009 childhood biography called Closing Time. The son of an abusive drunk and a withdrawn mother. Queenan writes of chasing dreams that he felt he could never find in Philadelphia.

Find ‘Closing Time’ on Google Books. Buy the book at Amazon.

He was mostly angry. A lot of contemporary Philadelphia writing is. But Queenan has a quick pen — the likes of which has won him the praise of all the big writing critics we’re supposed to respect. Some of those passages kept me reading, in addition to his perspective (however bitter, though, I suppose, he softens in the closing chapters).

I wanted to share some that have the most relevance to those interested in urban development — and strong writing.

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Rework: the best of a business book from the founders of 37signals

With 100 simple rules they attribute to their success organized in a dozen chapters spread across fewer than 300 short pages, the founders of web firm 37signals aim to affect any organization or business culture with Rework, their management style book that was released in March.

It has gotten quite a bit of attention — and high praise from some noteworthy authors — so my reading it comes a bit late, so instead I wanted to share what I most took away from it.

Because of its comprehensible and digestible format, I tore through the fast and compelling book. While much of the book was either reinforcing or contained perspective I hope to take away, I thought enough of their rules were valuable enough that sharing my favorites here would be served well.

See my favorite items below as just a primer, go pick up the book. I can’t highlight enough that what I share below are but a small percentage of the insight offered in the book and even those I do share are just the skeletons of ideas.

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Shooting young black males, a column lost to the recycle bin

See this and other 2007 crime maps at http://www.philly.com/inquirer/special/violence/

I’m pretty passionate about the web allowing greater public affairs accountability journalism, not worse.

I was reminded of this while skulking around the Internet searching for a column I remember reading back in 2007.

Noted Philadelphia Inquirer scribe Tom Ferrick — who has since launched politics coverage site Metropolis — crunched the numbers on the shootings of young black men, a trend in all U.S. cities but one that was particularly timely amidst one of the bloodiest years in the city’s history.

Though it was written just back in 2007, it was gone. I couldn’t quite find something that fit its point, so I reached out to Ferrick. He warmly shared some of the details of the now somewhat dated piece, as he said he’s working on revisiting the topic.

If for no other reason than for my own ability to link back to it in the future and to prove how valuable the web can be in making available so much powerful knowledge and information, below, with Ferrick’s permission, I share the notes he sent me.

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New York Times on the price of online journalism; broken pieces to return

Last month, The New York Times Magazine had a big piece on the price of online journalism… or at least content of some kind. I only dug into it this weekend.

It was a big piece riddled with stories of a handful of struggling entrepreneurs and a few buzz-y sites that haven’t prospered, but three paragraphs interested me most.

Let me share them below.

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Freelancers: the rules and tricks of deducting your home expenses on your taxes

The federal tax deadline is barreling toward us. I thought I’d share what little I know and what I’m reading about deducting home expenses for those of us who have done just that this fiscal year.

It’s a great way to keep your home costs down, but, of course, the rules are a bit more involved than they might seem. Some great reading below:

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Required reading from 2009 for hyperlocal news entrepreneurs

If you’ve walked into 2010 with plans on becoming, remaining or sustaining a hyperlocal news venture, there is lots you should already know and have already read.

Still, while thumbing through some links I thought were particularly important, I managed to find five stories from 2009 I think are most valuable.

  1. A Brief History of Hyperlocal News by Keith Hopper
  2. 10 new routines for a Hyperlocal news site by Nieman Journalism Lab
  3. Can the Grey Lady sell ads to hyperlocal businesses by Econsultancy
  4. Let’s build an ecosystem around hyperlocal bloggers by Jeff Jarvis for Guardian
  5. Ad shift throws blogs a business lifeline by New York Times

And, if I could, I might, hesitantly and humbly, also suggest folks read my “Hyperlocal news: a definition,” which argues that there is an important distinction between local and hyperlocal. Might be worth it.

What else might you add to this list?