Welcome to the 60th episode of the Mediatwits podcast, with Mark Glaser and Rafat Ali as co-hosts. We were recording the podcast when the big news came down that Newsweek had decided to end its print edition. Can a digital-only Newsweek survive with all the cut-throat competition online? This week also saw the launch of Circa, a new type of mobile news app that collects the “atomic units” of stories — facts, quotes and images — and puts them into running stories with alerts to updates. We talked to Circa founding editor David Cohn as well as PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy about the prospects for Circa now and in the future. (Check out this story on Idea Lab by David Cohn explaining Circa in more detail.)

After a recent story in the New York Times about BlackBerry users being seen as the “black sheep” of the smartphone world, we talked with a couple BlackBerry power users who still have faith in the struggling platform. The Atlantic’s Zvika Krieger and CIO.com’s Al Sacco both spoke up for BlackBerry users and said as content creators (and people who like the dedicated keyboard) there’s still life in the BlackBerry in an age of iPhones and Androids.


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Guest Bios

Sarah Lacy

David Cohn is the founding editor of Circa. He was the founder and director of Spot.Us, a nonprofit that pioneered “community funded reporting.” In academics he has been a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s journalism school and was a fellow at the University of Missouri’s Journalism school at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

Sarah Lacy is the founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of PandoDaily, a site that aims to cover everything tech entrepreneurs need to know. An award winning journalist who has covered start-ups for more than 15 years, Lacy was previously the senior editor of TechCrunch, a columnist for BusinessWeek and the author of two critically-acclaimed books. She is based in San Francisco.

Zvika Krieger is a contributing editor at The Atlantic, where he coordinates Middle East coverage for TheAtlantic.com, and a senior vice president at the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. He was previously an editor and writer at The New Republic and a correspondent for Newsweek based in Egypt and Lebanon, covering most of the Arab world.

CIO.com Senior Editor Al Sacco is an awarding-winning journalist, editor and blogger who covers the fast-paced mobile/wireless beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on smartphones, tablet PCs and other handhelds.

Our show is now on Stitcher! Listen to us on your iPhone, Android Phone, Kindle Fire and other devices with Stitcher. Find Stitcher in your app store or at stitcher.com.

Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio’s Music Alley.

Highlights from the Show


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David Cohn

1:00: Newsweek decides to drop print

3:00: What about print at the Guardian, which hired Wolfgang Blau as digital head

4:10: Rundown of topics on the podcast

Launch of Circa mobile app

6:00: Special guests David Cohn and Sarah Lacy

8:25: Cohn: Circa breaks down the “atomic units of news”

10:50: Lacy: Circa is perfect for political news but won’t reinvent news

15:40: Lacy: Best comparison for Circa is Wikipedia

Zvika Krieger

17:50: What will the business model be for Circa?

19:00: Cohn: We’re not a river of news about one topic

21:40: Lacy: More publishers thinking about the reader

BlackBerry fans fight back

22:30: Special guests Zvika Krieger and Al Sacco

24:30: Krieger: People do scoff at others who use BlackBerrys, even in DC

26:30: Sacco: What’s really cool is using a phone that works best for you

28:10: Sacco: There’s still 80 million BlackBerry users

Al Sacco

30:00: BlackBerry users can text, tweet and write easier with dedicated keyboard

31:30: Krieger: DC is government town so they are stuck with BlackBerrys because of bureaucracy and inertia

More Reading

Circa Wants to Save Journalism by Killing Articles; What’s Wrong and Right About that Approach at PandoDaily


Circa Doesn’t Want to Kill the Article; It Just Wants to Put It in Its Place at Editors Weblog

The News App That’s Going to Drive the Media Insane at BuzzFeed

Something new in news: Circa launches a mobile app in which news follows you at VentureBeat

So How Is Circa Different From Writing Articles at Idea Lab

The BlackBerry as Black Sheep& at NY Times

Why Using a BlackBerry Can Still Be Cool at CIO.com

Very Uncool NY Times Article About BlackBerry at CrackBerry.com

In Praise of the BlackBerry# at The Atlantic

In California, the BlackBerry owner is the guy with the bag over his head at National Post

MediaShift Poll

Don’t forget to vote in our poll, this time about which cell phone you use:

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian and fiancee Renee. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit. and Circle him on Google+