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So you wanna break into “the industry.” You’ve got a video camera, still camera, or have been known to put words together to form sentences. You’ve even started your own blog, and for your money, it’s way better than anything else out there. Maybe you’ve even managed to put together a full length video. Clearly you have what it takes to be the next (insert action sport here) media super star. You’re already crushing it with your facebook friends, but it sure would be nice to get published on a website that actually gets some traffic. So how do you do it?

Lucky for you, most major websites are desperate for content. They’ll pretty much post anything, and since your work is the sickest, it should be easy to get to them to run it. Rather than tracking down the appropriate contact and sending them an email about your incredible video/photo/event, the quickest and easiest way to make sure the target website knows about it is to tag them on facebook. Unfortunately, the “media” is often bad at facebook (or their profiles are run by interns with no clout) so this might not work. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to track down those email addresses after all. Clearly the quality of your work is not the issue, so you’ll be able to keep it simple. A link and a line more or less implying that ignoring you might be a bad idea will be fine, for example:

“here is my new video. hope you guys give me some attention.  thanks!”

Now sit back and wait. It’s only a matter of time before they gladly accept your work and you are rolling in the views!

Wait, what is this? They emailed you back and said, thanks, but no thanks. Your video/story/photo isn’t good enough?! How dare they. Now clearly the people running all major websites are morons, and wouldn’t know quality if it hit them over the head. So now you have a decision to make. Do you take their feedback, and make something better? Nah, that sounds hard, and you know what!? SCREW THEM!? How dare they not accept your first ever official submission!? There is really only one way to proceed and that is to let them know exactly what you think. For example:

“dude.  i just made ******* the movie.  you guys didnt post one thing about it. and i gave you guys a free copy.   dont talk to me about quality.  i see the crap you guys put up.”

You see how the deft combination of a guilt trip, with an insult added in for good measure really drives home the point of how hard they blew it? That’s what you need to do to make it in this cutthroat world of free internet content. So take these tips and use them as your path to fame, glory, and your rightful place in “the industry.” Good luck!

Dear PR People of the World,

Thanks so much for sending me that highly interesting press release about your amazing product/brand/event/team rider! I cannot express how anxious I am to get it posted on my website! The only thing is, it appears you’ve sent it to me as if you think I am putting it in a magazine. See, on “the internet” photos don’t need to be 300 dpi and 3000 pixels wide. In fact, most websites top out at about 640 pixels wide, which means I must take your giant pdf or eps file and resize it, which will greatly slow the speed with which I can get this exciting information out to the public! It also fills up my inbox and makes it a lot more likely that I will just delete your email.

While I am sharing, it would also be fantastic if you could give your image files a reasonable and unique name. Believe it or not, I probably already have a file called image.jpg on my desktop from someone else! I wouldn’t want to accidentally overwrite that file, now would I? And even better, if you give me actual information in the file name, I’ll be able to use that information to make my post better and more informative. If my post looks better, we all look better, right?

Finally, I am not a big fan of typing when it comes to posting press releases, so if you could please include the text in copy and paste-able form, that would be great. I’m sure your designer spent awhile laying the text out in that jpg, but Google bots can’t read it! And my site looks awfully funny if there is no readable text in the sections that ONLY SHOW TEXT. It’s also a great deal more likely that I will incorrectly type out the information, and your message will get lost in translation. We wouldn’t want that, now would we?

Well, thanks so much for reading! I am really looking forward to hearing about the latest developments you have in store! Have a great day.

A Web Editor

I used to not check any of the “major” snowboard sites. Frankly I didn’t care or even want to know what they posted. For me, the only thing that mattered is that I was happy with what I was posting on YoBeat. But once I started selling ads, it became pretty apparent, those other sites were competition, and I’d better know what they were doing if I was going to convince people to give us money rather than them. So I set up a Google reader and started paying attention. More often than not, the other feeds looked similar to, if not exactly the same as, each other (of course this method of tracking is faulty because it doesn’t differentiate between site sections, and half the time is hours behind). Not to say I was never guilty– I’d often post some of the same stuff, mostly press releases and teasers. (This is also a necessary evil if you want to keep advertisers happy.) I should have known it was a slippery slope.

It’s hard to keep a website going and updated every day. As a lone person, or even with a few people, coming up with brilliant, original content on a regular basis can only last so long. And the web makes it really easy to get lazy, especially with the sheer amount of videos and brand-created content, uploaded every day, just there for the embedding. Why spend money and time creating new content, when you can just take what’s already there?

So here’s what happens. Eventually it stops being about having “good” content and just about keeping the site updated. Content=traffic, right? I’d find myself posting things (such as the infinite number of teasers,) without even watching them. And this morning (an especially teaser-heavy one) I realized my site looked just like all the others. Same embedded video. Same copy and paste description. Why bother?

I ended up breaking my own rule and took down a couple of those posts. I replaced them with this. It’s still the same teasers, but what’s this? It has an angle. It’s a little different. It’s a reason for someone to come to YoBeat instead of the others. And it makes me feel better, at least.

In writing this I realized I don’t know what I am trying to say. I’m definitely not trying to give anyone advice on how to make a good website! In fact, the more time I spend updating the Internet, the less I feel like I know whats good, bad or even interesting. I think mostly I just need to put this out there for myself as a reminder: if you’re not gonna try, you might as well not bother.

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This was the moment in the party where I thought, no one is going to come and I am going to have to drink 60 beers by myself. Photo: Jared Souney

In 1997 it wasn’t OK to meet people on the Internet, especially not as a 15-year-old girl. But despite all the creepy pedophiles surely lurking in AOL chat rooms, I managed to meet several people who I am still in touch with to this day. One of them was Lee Crane, who at that time was working at an early online media source essentially doomed to fail (at that point mostly because other than pedophiles, no one had computers.) Part of this venture was Snowboarding Online, which is where I spent my allotted internet time each day — talking shit and bragging about my sweet Original Sin sponsorship. I also met Rachel, who was my original partner in crime at YoBeat, and because of YoBeat, Lee took notice and soon hired me to cover some east coast events, essentially starting my career as an extreme journalist. It was that easy.

Fast forward to 2010. Things are a bit different, as between facebook, myspace, twitter, electronic dating sites, craigslist, etc etc etc, “the Internet” is is a completely normal and acceptable place to meet new people. With so many blogs, it can be hard to stand out in the over-crowded landscape of the world wide web, and no one is really hiring anymore anyway. But at least everyone has a computer. When people ask me for advice on how to “make it” in this day in age, well, the only answer I have is do it. Maybe it will work out. And after spending two days at SIA talking to brands, it’s become abundantly clear, media has definitely changed. The old model of big business publications is dead and the era of the independent media is here.

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Danger! Lee Crane, Nick Lipton, Josh Parker and Nick Visconti. Photo: Jared Souney

In the snowboard world, there are several great blogs, several mediocre blogs, and tons of crap. I spend a good portion of my day checking them all out, and I’m always curious to meet the people behind them. It also seems to me that with so many blogs, trying to compete with each other is almost pointless. We all have our own audiences and our own ideas. Which is why the idea of hosting a blogger summit came up.

Lee and I decided it was time to get everyone together and talk. Nothing else. No ulterior motives, no super exclusive invite list, just an email to everyone with a blog or site, that we wanted to meet and/or thought would have something to add. The Shred Blog Summit was born, and took place on Saturday, January 30, 2010 in a desolate conference room in the annals of the Colorado Convention Center. In attendance were bloggers, filmers and weblebrities including tahoedangerzone.com, easyloungin.com, rumorator.com, powderroom.net, boardistan.com, brobomb.com, angrysnowboarder.com, Fuel.tv, and of course, Yobeat.com. We had one guest rider in the form of Billy Mackey, one girlfriend, 60 PBR’s, and it seems there may have been some pot cookies in attendance as well.

We each told our stories, our numbers, and our goals, and realized the one thing we all seemed to share was a desire to do what we wanted to do, because we wanted to do it. Beyond that though, the goals for each site were different — drive business to a shop, promote sponsors, or just to say fuck you to the haters. After two hours of talking, I feel like I came away with a better understanding of what everyone was doing, laughed a lot, and learned something from everyone there. We didn’t come up with a surefire path to Internet success, but I felt it was valuable and not NEARLY as nerdy as I expected it to be (thanks mostly to the Tahoe contingent.) I’m going to call the summit a success, and I’d just like to say thanks again to everyone who came. Hopefully we’ll do it again next year with a new crop of bloggers there too. And maybe by then we’ll all be rich! (jk, lol)

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Blogging is serious business.

People talk a lot about the current state of the media. I am one of them. Seeing as I work in the field, these days as both an editor and a publisher, it is of great interest to me to watch the changing scope of things and read a bunch of articles with “real journalists” freaking out about how they can’t make as much money in this climate and the impending death of the profession. Magazine publishers are having meetings about how to stay afloat, hiring kids to show them how to use facebook to revolutionize their businesses, and investing in those god awful eReaders that, in the words of the internet, have FAIL written all over them. And you get to hear all about it because, well, the media has a voice.

So here’s my take: Everything is different now, and it’s not going back to the way it was. The real problem with these bloated media outlets: the New York Times, or even in action sports brands such as Transworld, is they are too big. They can’t support themselves on “internet money” because not only do they have a high overhead, but they were likely bought and sold using borrowed money at some point, making them even more expensive to keep rolling. But at the same time, brands such as Vice are doing great.

You know what? That’s ok! People don’t need to get rich from the media to keep it alive. Anyone involved in writing, editing, or other creative arts is doing it because they love it. So just because it doesn’t pay as well as it used to, doesn’t mean that it’s going to go away. And let’s face it: it never really paid that well to begin with. And if the NYT, or TWS are really as important as everyone is making them out to be, they’ll be around for years to come. Maybe as leaner outlets with a different business model, but still available.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying writers and photographers shouldn’t be paid for their work, but I do believe the Internet and the constant need for “content” has made things a lot less black and white. I am a lot less concerned about getting paid for a snapshot I dug out of the archives on request than I used to be. Because the fact is, if I didn’t provide it, someone else would have. And I can see the value of exposure for my brand in having that photo on a new outlet. Something as simple as a link back makes me feel good about that transaction. As long as everyone is happy with the transaction, it’s a good deal.

Of course, it might help me feel this way that I’ve all but abandoned trying to “freelance.” The freelance profession is as good as dead, but never fear, there are options. You could follow my lead and start your own brand. Of course, it’s not easy, and only somewhat lucrative. You could get a staff job. Yes, they still exist, there are just fewer of them. You could shift to more of a marketing/advertising role. Or you could realize that maybe this isn’t for you, and move on. The fact is 95% percent of the people complaining about the state of the media are either corporate CEOs who used to make a ton (and screw them), or people who just aren’t very good at what they do.

Writing, photography — they are as much a business as an art. To be successful you have to be prolific. You have to diversify. You can’t be lazy. And you have to be GOOD. Nothing has changed there. Nothing at all. Now, it’s just a lot easier to blame someone else for your own inability to make money doing it. So keep complaining, things will do the changing on their own.

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In case you were wondering what I bought myself for Christmas, it was a much-needed new phone in the form of the Motorola Droid. Verizon managed to grant me my bitchin’ $50 credit towards a new phone on actual Chrismas, which meant I had to wait a full day to get this bad boy. In short, it’s like an iPhone, but not as “cool.” To save you from having to comment, I didn’t get an iPhone because I’ve had Verizon since 2001 and I figure, why switch now. So whatever.

I’m sure you’ve seen the “droid does” commercials, unless of course, you don’t have TV, in which case, I’ll sum it up for you. The claim is this thing can do a bunch of shit the iPhone can’t. Since the third member of my relationship is actually an iPhone, I feel pretty qualified to answer to this claim. Now keep in mind, I refuse to read directions (and the Droid didn’t really come with any anyway,) so this is just from me playing with it.

Pros

- Slide out keyboard and on screen keyboard. NBD.

- There is a Happy Cow app, which is like Urban Spoon for vegetarians. I am not downloading it simply to punish Jared (and cause it costs $1)

-Way, way better service than my broken Blackberry Pearl. And seemingly better battery life than the iPhone.

- Most importantly, (and in no way better than the iPhone, which also can,) I can livestream from my phone, as I have done from family dinner, when my cats got a new toy, and yesterday riding at Meadows:

You can follow all my pointless and uninteresting exploits here, and yes, I insist on starting every broadcast with “you’re live, on the internet!”

Cons

- The camera sucks. Slow, bad at focusing etc. It took my way too many tries to get a cute cat shot for my wallpaper.

-No scrabble app! And the “words” one plays annoying music and costs money to get the real version. Not into it.

- Every time I try to make a call, my cheek manages to repeatedly hang up on people. Now as you will be able to tell from the following photo,  I have abnormally large cheeks, but seriously, this shit is ridiculous.

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In other news, 50 state blogging will be back after the Holidays as I must track down photos from Wisconsin, Minnesota and other random places.

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Posted by Brooke in General | Media - (2 Comments)

Hello Brooke,

My team just forwarded me the link to your blog and I have to admit, you do nice work.  There’s a lot of really cool content, and with the season upon us, it gets me totally stoked for this winter!  That leads me to why I’m writing you.

I’m part of a new social platform called Honk.com, and I think that you would really contribute to our site.  Our focus is on car-shopping, but we’re doing it in a way that’s new to this space.  Instead of focusing solely on mechanical jargon and “gearhead” lingo, Honk is social and people-oriented.  Our consumer reviews and advanced data tools help our members and visitors find the right cars, and see what people in the “real world”, not just automotive journalists, really think about them.  Check out our writeup on Mashable for a deeper explanation: http://mashable.com/2009/11/05/honk/

I’m pulling together a group of contributors from all different walks of life to write on our site about the cars that they most love or hate, and their experiences.  In exchange for their help, we’re going to highlight those reviews and provide special links back to our contributors’ sites, so that their readership can grow as we grow our community.  As I mentioned before – we’re not looking for “car experts” – we’re looking for “life experts” who are great at sharing their opinions and experiences, from their own unique perspectives and lifestyle requirements.

You don’t need to have just purchased a car to contribute, or even to own a particular car to share your views.  Perhaps you’ve rented a car,  borrowed a friend or family member’s, or have ridden shotgun in someone else’s car – share your opinions!!  There are thousands of car-shoppers out there who need help in their search for a perfect vehicle, and I know that your opinions and experiences will really make a difference and bring a fresh viewpoint to our site.

Let me know if you’re interested in contributing, and we can set up some time to talk in more detail, or correspond via email.

All my best,


Neil Budde
Community Outreach
Honk.com

Hey Neil,

Does it pay?

Brooke

Hey Brooke,

Thanks for getting back. The short answer is no, it doesn’t pay, at least in a $$ for review sense. The incentive we’re offering is increased exposure for your site – through special badging for our blogger/lifestyle site contributors. For instance, if you or one of your team members were to write a brief review of a vehicle, the photo or badge next to your review, and also on your user profile, would link back to your site. We’re conservatively projecting traffic to be about 500k unique visitors per month in the first year and I think that this is a great way to grow your readership.

Let me know your thoughts – it would be great to have you contribute!!

Best,
Neil

Part of me is scared to write this post. I think it’s the part of me that sat in a college class and listened to a “real journalist” tell us that if we wanted to get a job we needed to be a little bit paranoid. But the Internet (hack, gag, blogging, but I prefer to use the all encompassing term “The Internet”) is different. There is no such thing as exclusivity, and the only security you have is to do it better than everyone else. If you’re like that old media part of me, you might wonder, why I would want to share my keys to perceived success? The short answer is: it’s not as easy as it sounds. I have seen tons of people try, and fail, at the Internet, because it’s actually hard. It takes an insane amount of self motivation, a serious competitive spirit, a very good self image, and a ton of time. If you feel like you may be lacking in any of the above areas, don’t even bother.

The principles I am about to lay out are obviously inspired by my work in media, but really it’s the same for a brand or anyone using “The Internet” as a tool. Chances are you are starting to realize it may actually be important in the future and the changing scope of the world, and here’s a secret, that’s part of the reason I am writing this. It’s kind of important to address things people are interested in and seeking out on your website. So here are 7 basics to think about.

1. Have a thick skin

This is literally the number one, most important part of doing anything creative on the Internet. If you are doing it well, you are putting yourself out there in a vulnerable manner. Perhaps expressing opinions that not everyone is going to agree with. And unlike the safety net of a printed magazine/newspaper/book, where some one has to be REALLY motivated to complain by including, and not limited to, writing a letter/email or making a phone call, on the Internet all they have to do is press comment. So people will say some nasty things about you. You will have to come up with a coping mechanism for this. For me, it’s laughing at them and their usual absurdity, for others it’s self assurance and the belief, “at least they are reading.” Finally a third method is to realize that most hate comments are from trolls who actually don’t care and are just trying to make themselves feel better. Sometimes a comment will hit too close to home, and it’s easy to get bummed (it happens to the best of us) but just remember, if you let it stop you, they win.

2. Set deadlines for yourself

One of the biggest differences between the online world and the print one is there are no tangible deadlines. Anyone who’s worked for a magazine/newspaper knows you live and die by deadlines. But if something isn’t finished on time for the web, no big whoop. Put it up when it is. However, this can be a constant downward spiral, eventually leading to the end of your site all together. One of the best tricks I’ve found for self-inflicted deadlines is specific content for specific days. Obviously I am not the first or only one to realize this, as most successful feature-style sites you’ll visit boast branded daily content. This serves the previously stated purposes of a deadline, and it also works well for generating traffic. There is a reason TV stations have been putting shows on at the same time, and the same night each week for so long. It works for people. It gets in their heads and gives them some needed structure as well. So implementing it in your website is a no brainer. I’ve also found it helps immensely as far as “coming up with ideas” is concerned as well. One word of caution about the daily branded content though: If every day is basically the same thing with a different name, you aren’t doing it right.

3. Give credit where credit is due

The Internet is all about collaboration and interaction. I know people who claim to never read other blogs because they don’t want to be too “inspired” by someone else’s thoughts. I definitely  can appreciate this, and I think to an extent my number one concern when deciding what to post and what to say is what’s inside my head. But on the off chance that I do find something somewhere else and get an idea from someone, I always link back. Always. Not only is it good for your SEO, but it helps build relationships that are invaluable with other “bloggers.”

4. Give a fuck

The biggest problem with many major media sites is they are trying to do too much. I don’t mean, posting too much stuff, but rather producing print, tv, and who knows what all else to make up for the “economy” (or just because that’s what they do.) So historically the attitude is that web content is secondary. While most media outlets now realize the value of their online presence, they are still trying to sell a magazine, (that’s actually another issue all together.) What I am trying to say here is everything you post on the internet directly reflects on you. A lot of people tend to have a lackadaisical attitude about things because “it’s only blogging” but blogging has gotten me to where I am today (I do this for a living.) And yes, I have put some questionable stuff up, but the nice thing about the Internet is it’s a learning process and you can test things and get almost immediate results. If something doesn’t work once, you don’t have to do it again.

5. Transparency is key

Sometimes on the Internet you will make mistakes. You will post something you shouldn’t have, or something that is just stupid. But the biggest and most regrettable mistake I’ve made is pulling something down. I’d like to say it’s only happened once, but no, I’ve made it again and again and again. All of the linked posts were removed for different specific reasons, but the gist was someone’s feelings got hurt. After some thought, or time, they went back up. It’s never my goal to hurt people, and as long as you are not being malicious in your post, the rule I find is good to abide by is this: Never remove anything unless it’s factually untrue. The fact that you can actually and quickly fix your blunders is one of my favorite things about the Internet. But if for some reason you do decide to remove a post, a good solution is to do another post explaining why. While 90% of people would probably never notice it’s gone, I feel like it adds a level of legitimacy to own up to your mistakes. And that legitimacy is what can set you apart in an overly crowded market.

6. Update, update, update

Not every post is going to be a groundbreaking piece of journalism. Sometimes something quick is fine. As long as you are balancing your site with regular, quality pieces, the smaller stuff is good too. If you want to gain and retain traffic, you honestly need to update your site daily, if not more.

7. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean you have to do it

If you know anything about me, then you can probably figure out the “it” in question is social media. This is honestly a separate post topic (one that I don’t really want to write), but I just wanted to touch on it here.  People all to often get so overwhelmed with social media that it hurts more than helps. Twitter, facebook, stumbleupon, digg etc etc etc. There are so many social networking outlets that it’s a full time job just to keep them all up to date. In my opinion, you are better off concentrating on your site, using only the social tools you find the most effective and using them well, than trying to do a half-assed job at everything. The fact is, if you are doing good stuff, other people will do the work on social media for you. That’s the whole magic of it.

Phew, I think that’s at least the tip of the iceberg. So now, let the interaction begin! Because being honest, the measure of the success of this post is how many views it gets. And the more comments, the more views, so please weigh in.

I had a good three-week run of my list of 5 things more important/interesting than snowboarding, and I still plan to do them occasionally, but being honest, I haven’t really been paying attention to the outside world lately. Rather I’ve been perfecting my sales skills, running too many websites, and even doing a little actual snowboarding. But I know my 8 dedicated brookegeery.com readers demand new content, so here’s 5 Things I Did This Week.

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1. 2009 Alliance Superlatives. In years past this has been a large magazine feature, but as you may have heard, times are tough for print right now. So with reduced page counts, the feature has moved online, making it my responsibility! Other members of the staff did many of the write ups, but I’ve been posting them up each day, and even wrote all of the wakeskate rider awards myself. Check out co-Wakeskater of the Year, Most Improved and Rookie of the year, up so far. The video and “funny” awards are coming next week.

2. Opening Day at Meadows! It’s sort of weird when you are too busy writing about snowboarding to actually go snowboarding, but this week Mt. Hood Meadows opened up and I dropped everything and made it happen. Actually scratch that. I wasn’t smart enough to leave my phone in the car, so I spent the lift rides dealing with various crisis as well as making the above documentary about Timbro. Be sure to check out the post on YoBeat where you can read all about his first day last year and realize how amazing this day really was.

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3. The Make Out Web. This is honestly a story eight years in the making. You can get the whole history of the web itself in the post, but it took me this long to figure out how to do it tactfully. I think it came out well, but I’ll be honest, the real thing was WAY better.

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4. Lunch blogging. We’re still eating our way up and down Hawthorne, although this week included a few off days due to snowboarding and a failed attempt to go to the non-existent west side of Hawthorne, but I did make it to the Barley Mill Pub, Burgerville and Thai Spoon.

5. Sell, Sell, Sell. It helps that YoBeat has officially caught on and people are realizing the value of online advertising too, but my new found responsibility is quite time consuming! Luckily I’ve hired two very awesome interns, who are helping me with with a bunch of the tedious stuff, including migrating all of YoBeat’s old content to WordPress. So thanks Amy and David for all your help!

Wow, it was a slow news week. The balloon boy turned out to be a hoax, and reports of “Michael Jackson ordering take out” were unfounded. I really had to scrounge around the internet to even find 5 things I found important/interesting this week. But I did it, because this is how I give my life meaning and purpose. Here goes:

1. Montana football coach can’t take a joke the truth. In my line of work, I am well aware that some people have no sense of humor. Then Ian tuned me into this story about his alma matter. University of Montana football coach Bobby Hauck is leading his team in a boycott of the school newspaper because they printed an article he didn’t like. Now I am aware, people’s idiocy can reach heights I didn’t even realize. But, at least he got his name in Sports Illustrated!

2. Home Sales Rebound! Good news for the housing industry: existing home sales hit a 2-year high this week. Experts are crediting the rise to the first-time home buyer tax credit. Yes, you heard it here first, government programs actually work! Not let’s get some universal healthcare, because:

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3. Boy lit on fire over $40 video game This story actually happened two weeks ago, but I just found out about it this week thanks to a discussion about health insurance, which his parents supposedly don’t have. Basically, a 15-year-old in Florida was doused by rubbing alcohol and lit on fire because he turned in a classmate for trying to steal his dad’s bike. Scary. For information on donating to the family go here.

4. The Obamas Get their Picture Taken: I mostly just enjoy that the release of this photo on the white house flickr page was “highly anticipated.” But having Annie Lebowitz take your family portrait does seem like one of the best reasons to run for President I’ve heard.

5. Magazines resort to web propaganda: I like magazines, I really do. They pay well for writing, are cool to hold in your hand, and pass time at the doctors office. But this week, magazines stooped to a new low, with this catchy web propaganda video full of seemingly made up statistics. Apparently even the print dinosaurs know the Internet is the place to go to gain support for your cause. And look at the fancy moving graphics and music you can use to do it! But seriously, further proof that the internet is not killing print, the people who run it are.