Talking shoes, TMZ raising bar for journalism, other unlikely statements - SXSW DAY 2
blog by S.J. Velasquez • March 09, 2013 @ 11:58pm
Day two of SXSW Interactive was full of the unexpected, and I sure do love surprises. Here’s a quick rundown of highlights from today at the interactive festival:
Google’s talking shoe
Google debuted an unlikely prototype earlier today when it unveiled its talking shoe at the Art, Copy, Code event right off the main SXSW drag.
The shoe responds to motion, or lack thereof. If the wearer of the shoe—which attendees could test out at the Google Playground—stands still, the shoe projects trash talk to a monitor.
“If standing still was a sport, you’d be world champion,” the shoe communicates when it senses stagnancy.
TMZ’s high standards for journalistic integrity, accuracy
For being a celebrity news site, TMZ does a fair job of keeping away from gossip. Really.
Honestly, TMZ (both the website and the TV show surrounding the site’s newsroom activity) is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I never gave the reporters nor the brand much credit until today. Turns out, TMZ founder Harvey Levit does not hire hacks. He explained his high standards for journalism, die-hard dedication to accuracy and passion for employing the most enthusiastic and dedicated reporters.
“We can’t be wrong. We have to be right,” Levin said of his team’s focus on factual accuracy.
Levin admitted that he never intended to be the next Google or Facebook. He simply wanted to create a website that filled a niche otherwise ignored.
“There was an opening,” he said of the missing coverage of gossip-free, fact-checked celebrity news.
SXSW is filled with California entrepreneurs and fancy-pants Manhattan media moguls, but the interactive festival does not lack in upstate New York representation.
I joined a crew of fellow Syracuse University alumni in the morning to watch the Orange game against Georgetown. Though the Hoyas won, spirits were high among ‘Cuse grads who shared laughs and talked about life beyond the Salt City. Orange pride runs deep, so deep that even Foursquare co-founder and CEO (and SU alumnus!) Dennis Crowley joined in the fun. He’s a down-to-earth guy with unending devotion to his SU roots.
Later in the day, we caught up with Buffalo’s own Margaret Sullivan, former editor of The Buffalo News and current public editor at the New York Times. Sullivan was gracious enough to sit down for an interview, which I’ll post to Buffalo.com on Monday after checking out her panel session, “Version Controlling the News. How We Can Archive.”
Sullivan, a Lackawanna native, shared her expat epiphanies, reflections on first months at the Times and social media insights. Be sure to read get back to Buffalo.com early next week for the full interview.
Super cool note: On our search for a quieter interview venue, Sullivan spotted Times contributor Nate Silver and introduced us (Kat and me) to him. The celebrious statistician and author of the ultra-popular FiveThirtyEight blog is in town to speak at the conference early next week.