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Hedge Fund eyeing on The NY Times

Harbinger Capital Partners, an Alabama-based hedge fund, gave notice Friday that it would try to elect directors to The New York Times Company board. The very same day, Harbinger did the same with Media General, a Virgina based company that owns 25 newspapers and 75 online properties. The Times is almost immune from an unwanted outside push at its board since the Sulzberger family controls 9 of the 13 directors. But no doubt that pressure will grow.
> Story in The NY Times

The power of Visual Information

Have you ever tried to captivate you teenager’s attention on esoteric notions like global macro-economic issues ? Before giving-up : try this. Gapminder is specialized in animated graphical representation of various data. Not surprisingly the company was acquired by Google last year.

> see a representation of income per capita by country between 1975 and 2004, here. (Look at the tiny country thats falls sharply and bounces back : it is Rwanda).

Techmeme : the smart aggregator

In the aggregation business, there is the brute force, math-powered kind, and the more left-brain oriented. Techmeme belongs to the latter. It y aggregates tech news stories from across the web, and displays them in a running stream, with the most popular story of the moment at the top of the page. It provides some interesting context from other sources, way more relevant than the usual blog-barking. Should be considered for general or business news.
> have a look at Techmeme

Geoweb, the ultimate mash-up

Who knew about Skyhook Wireless before last week, when Steve Jobs mentioned it at MacWorld ? Very few for sure. Skyhook is a software-only location platform that provides 20 meter positioning accuracy to any Wi-Fi enabled mobile device. Unlike satellite based GPS systems, WPS uses terrestrial based Wi-Fi access points to determine location. Works perfectly (I’ve tried it with an iPod Touch). This kind of technology bears endless potential for applications. Think about ultra-local news delivery (and advertising to finance it), local e-commerce apps and so on.
> read the case studies on Skyhook’s site.

Close cousin to Skyhook is the Geotagging. The next generation of digital camera — even the cheap ones — will soon have such capabilities. This will be another step in the mash-up frenzy : mixing data location and images.
> story in Forbes

> or take a look at Earthmine, that baseline says : “Indexing reality”.

Do blogs influence journalists ?

The short answer is yes, but there is little reason to worry. According to a survey by Brodeur (a unit of Omnicom), blogs are usually not considered as “source” (thanks God), but they are useful in helping journalists better understand the context of a story, find an angle or even story idea. 70% check blogs on a regular basis. US reporters are active bloggers : 28% of them have their own (vs. about 0.8% at Le Monde… Oops).
> see article in Marketingcharts.

The Future of Print is in India

Rupert Murdoch is planning the launch of an Indian edition of The Wall Street Journal.He’s not alone to look at this gigantic market where print press enjoys a double digit growth. “Last year, all of India’s papers added 12 million new readers, says Raju Narisetti, the editor of the business paper Mint points. That is equivalent to five Wall Street Journals. There are 360 million Indians who can read and write and don’t read a paper”.
> see this great features story in The Independent on Sunday (soon to be available in India))

Search — Targets and Predators

Microsoft is definitely not happy with its 7% market share on search business, versus 21% for Yahoo and 66% for Google. Hence its $1.2 offer for the Norway’s Fast Search and Transfer. No doubt this industry is on the move. According to analysts, Yahoo’s core value is falling. One of them, quoted by New York Times “Bits” said that the value of the company’s cash and stock holdings exceeds its actual business. This Mozart of Excel is putting a value of €14bn for Yahoo, only 7% of Google’s €200bn !
> story in NYTimes Bits
> about the Fast acquisition, story in The Red Herring