No pressure or anything …

What did you do freshman year? West Virginia Elects America’s Youngest State Lawmaker:

A West Virginia University freshman who did most of her campaigning out of her dorm room became the youngest state lawmaker in the nation Tuesday.

Republican Saira Blair, a fiscally conservative 18-year-old, will represent a small district in West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, about 1 1/2 hours outside Washington, D.C., after defeating her Democratic opponent 63% to 30%, according to the Associated Press. A third candidate got 7% of the vote.

In a statement, Ms. Blair thanked her supporters and family, as well as her opponents for running a positive campaign. “History has been made tonight in West Virginia, and while I am proud of all that we have accomplished together, it is the future of this state that is now my singular focus,” she said.

Ms. Blair campaigned on a pledge to work to reduce certain taxes on businesses, and she also holds antiabortion and pro-gun positions. She defeated Democrat Layne Diehl, a 44-year-old Martinsburg attorney, whose top priorities included improving secondary education and solving the state’s drug epidemic.

Good for her.


What is fame?

Here’s a piece with plenty of generational observations. Stampede Of Teens: What YouTube’s Convention Taught Me About Its Culture Of Superfans:

YouTube’s challenge is to replicate this fandom offline, beyond the teens and tweens who roved the halls of VidCon. The site is already rolling out billboard and video advertising campaigns to expand their stars’ reach, and to make them more than just Internet famous.

When I wandered just a few steps outside and spoke to food vendors or hotel employees, I found no one had heard of stars like Meghan Tonjes or Tyler Oakley—the kind who drew crowds inside the convention center.

For VidCon attendees who grew up with YouTube, the distinction between “YouTube famous” and “famous famous” may be meaningless.

No one ever said “Ed Sullivan famous.” (Ask your grandparents.) No one ever said “Johnny Carson famous.” (Ask your parents.) The modifier is a diminishing agent. Ultimately you don’t see that person at the airport and say “Oh, she’s only YouTube famous never mind.” You know of her or don’t.

Our media future

Nieman Lab puts us onto a Pew study about our future. What will digital life look like in a decade? Some predictions, from the optimistic to mind control:

Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s initial proposal for what would become the World Wide Web. Think about how different media and technology were in 1989 from today. Now imagine how different things might look at a year that sounded like science fiction not that long ago: 2025.

As you read along, I encourage you to think expansively. If you’re in school this year, you’re liable to work well into the neighborhood of 2060.

Now that you’re head hurts … what do you think your workspace will be like by then?

I could write a long list of tools and trends and ideas that have come, bloomed and either succeeded, failed or altered some pre-existing part of newsrooms in the last 20 years. A long list. There’s no reason to think we’re living at the end of the disruption period. So think big. Where is there a scarcity? Where is an audience of need? How can you serve them? What can you cover, invent, change, shape and make an industry standard?

What neat things we’ll see during the course of your career. These are exciting times.

GoPro moves you, moves themselves

It was never about the feats of derring do, first-person backflips, stomach churning, gravity defying agility or incredible perspectives from the air, or underwater, that we have seldom seen before. If you’ve watched GoPro in the last year or so it felt like a lot more than that was taking place. And what do you know?

Inside the headquarters of GoPro, the video camera maker, there is a racing car, a collection of motorcycles, and drones outfitted with the company’s products. All of them are reminders of the niche that GoPro has carved out as the camera of choice for recording skiing, surfing and other experiences too gnarly for dainty smartphones.

For its next act, GoPro wants to also be known as a media company.

As David Carr recently wrote about Ezra Klein leaving The Washington Post and going to Vox, “(I)t is the emergence of a lasting commercial market, a game that has winners and losers, yet is hardly zero sum.”

GoPro’s CEO told the New York Times: “I think GoPro is producing some of the best short-form content out there today. There’s a phenomenal opportunity for us to leverage GoPro as a media brand.”

It is more than just short-form content. It is intensely different content: prosaic, first-person and sometimes intensely intense content.

My GoPro videos, so far, have been snorkeling and diving with fish. But here’s New Zealand’s Kelly McGarry, kitted out with a GoPro helmet mount, doing all of those normal/not-normal, personal, intense things. He’s bicycling, but not like you or me. You can hear him breathing and grunting and humming. And then, in the second minute of the video, he takes a backflip over a 72-foot canyon.

When you can equip people to document the wow factor anywhere, the ability to tell interesting, compelling, breathtaking stories grows immensely. Why wouldn’t that hardware company set out to become a media company?

And this quote, I think, is tellingly key: “Some of the distributors are begging for our content,” Mr. Dornbusch said. “It’s that entertaining. It’s that aspirational.”

(The story also references Red Bull, which very much has that same pathos at this point.)

Immersive media

We talk a lot in the media world about a concept called immersion. In this context it basically means that the content creator, through a combination of good material and, usually, a variety of storytelling techniques, really, really draws you into the story.

Here are two good examples: Wolves At The Door, from NPR.

And a standard-bearer: The Serengeti Lion, from National Geographic.