From the desk of [your news outlet] and Scribd

The words “Document-sharing website” probably won’t thrill too many people who aren’t stationery geeks. Nevertheless, one such website,, has released a new feature that could make online news reporting a more interesting experience for the journalists and the readers.

But first, a dose of background: Scribd is a website that lets you do all sorts of things in publishing, including selling electronic copies of books. Some of us at Media File use it for a different purpose: embedding documents related to our reporting inside blog posts. See this blog post I wrote about pharmaceutical company Mylan’s legal tussle with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. At the bottom of the page, you can see the legal documents that I wrote about in the blog post and posted by using Scribd.

On Wednesday, Scribd said news outlets The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Mediabistro will use Scribd’s document reader on their sites in the same kinds of ways that I used it on Media File.

Scribd is letting the sites use it for free, sensing what advertisers and publicists like to call a “branding opportunity.” The reader would include Scribd’s name on it, but also the name of the media outlet in question. Think of your personal notepaper that reads, “From the desk of…” at the top.

Here’s more from Scribd’s press release:

The document reader turns nearly all file types — including PDF, Word and PowerPoint — into a Web document that can be shared on and any website that allows embeds. It can help news organizations:

So long analog TV; it was great knowing you

Isn’t today the big big day for the transition to digital television? You can be forgiven for forgetting — in fact that’s just how the Obama administration wants it.

Ill-prepared back in February, when the U.S. was supposed to go all-digital all the time, the government decided to push back the switchover date by four months. Experts tell the Los Angeles Times that the delay should help avoid major problems, although about 2.8 million people could be left out in the cold when they try to turn on the tube.

The smart folks over at RPA, the advertising agency based in Los Angeles, put together of list of the markets that are best prepared — and those that aren’t. It cited data from The Nielsen Co, which has been studying preparations for the transition.

On swine flu, Scribd calls itself the “anti-Twitter”

Use Twitter’s name even when you’re dissing it: that could be a good way to ensure some publicity, given the hype around everyone’s current sweetheart. But maybe Scribd, the social publishing startup that lets you upload all kinds of documents online and embed them into blog posts, does have a point about the misinformation that Twitterers could be putting up in 140-character bursts.

After all, at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) conference last week, CUNY J-school professor Sandeep Junnarkar did begin his workshop on Twitter for journalists with a caveat: “Everything you find on Twitter is rumors, false information. That’s the default position.” Kind of like what journalists and students are always told about Wikipedia.

A press release that landed in my inbox from Scribd seeks to distinguish the San Francisco-based startup as “anti-Twitter” — the antithesis of Twitter. Scribd is “quickly becoming a trusted source for unfiltered, detailed information about the swine flu,” the release says.