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Troy

Prolific AALBC Contributor Kam Williams Passes

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AALBC Mourns the Passing of Kam Williams, May 30, 2019

Kam Williams photo

 

I have not shared this on social media but I'll mention it here. Despite publishing almost 900 of Kam's articles since the early years of AALBC's website and considering the Brother a friend. I had to stop publishing Kam's articles several years ago. Why you might ask; Google.

 

You see a Google does not like syndicated content, which was Kam's business model.  The articles he wrote were published on, at his peak, over 100 websites and print publications -- including many Black-owned newspapers.  He got a number of awards.  I attended one ceremony in which the Network Journal gave him an award and he attended a few of my events including a Black Pack Party almost exactly 10 years ago.

 

Back to Google.  One of the disastrous consequences of Google infamous Panda update is the sites publishing syndicated content were hurt. This was not a simple matter of Google picking a winner for whatever article was published and not ranking the others -- no, Google punished the other websites. My traffic dropped over night and took 5 years to recover -- permanently and adversely altering the trajectory of the sites that survived and killing many more (have you ever checked the traffic of the average Black-owned newspaper?).

 

I know one published of Kam's content (a white owned company) who went to the trouble of deleting over 1,200 of Kam's articles.  The site never recovered.  The problems seems to have been made worse by a site that programmatically generated scores of websites using Kam's content.  Google rather than penalizing THAT website they simply penalized ALL the websites who published this content.  Google is not nearly as sophisticated and refined as they'd like you to believe.  Google uses a sledgehammer and the WWW is less rich as a result.

 

 

The email announcing Kam's passing, linked above, was shared to the same network of publishers and Google may screw me over -- F them!

 

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@Mel Hopkins my comments above will give you some insights into that "article" you read. The family sent it out using Kam's same self-syndication model. 

 

Some entities publish Kam's content without saying who wrote it or where it came from, leading the reader to assume they wrote it. I think this is wrong, but the web us rife with this.

 

Often when one cites a source on socisl media we have no clue where is came from because it is often published without attribution. Who is Insight News anyway?

 

 

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52 minutes ago, Troy said:

Who is Insight News anyway?

 

Insights News is owned by  Al McFarlane - https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/al-mcfarlane



Media executive Al McFarlane was born on September 15, 1947 in Kansas City, Kansas. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia from 1965 to 1966, and the University of Minnesota School of Journalism from 1969 to 1971and graduated from there with his B.A. degree in mass communications. 

McFarlane worked as a reporter for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press before moving to General Mills where he worked as the community relations coordinator from 1971 to 1972. He then was hired by the Midwest Public Relations division of Graphic Services as vice president, a position he held from 1973 to 1976. In 1974, McFarlane became editor-in-chief at Insight News, a community newspaper serving African and African American residents of Minnesota. He also established McFarlane Media Interests, Inc., a multimedia marketing and information services firm with newspaper, internet and broadcast properties. McFarlane purchased the rights to Insight News in 1975. 

In 1992, McFarlane served as chairman at Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium, a marketing and advertising sales advisory for Minnesota African & African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American newspapers. He also was named president of the Black Publishers Coalition, which managed regional and national advertising contracts for Black newspapers and the member group of print media investor-owners in Chicago, Toledo, Detroit, Milwaukee and Minnesota. In 1996, he organized ethnic newspaper owners in the formation of the Minnesota Minority Media Coalition. 

In 1997, Insight News initiated a series of public policy forums, “Conversations with Al McFarlane.” McFarlane served as host of the series that aired in partnership with the community radio stations KFAI and KMOJ, in Minneapolis. In 2002, McFarlane worked as president and CEO at Midwest Black Publishers Coalition, Inc. In 2010, McFarlane won a Federal American Recovery and Restoration Act grant that provided the University of Minnesota a $3.7 million grant to create public computing centers in targeted ethnic and urban communities to increase broadband access and awareness. McFarlane also launched Garth McFarlane & Mudd, LLC, a national media buying and promotion firm in 2011. McFarlane was also elected chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation Board of Directors from 2015 to 2017.

Al and his wife Bobbie P. Ford McFarlane have five adult children.

Al McFarlane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 20, 2018.

52 minutes ago, Troy said:

The family sent it out using Kam's same self-syndication model. 


Do you mean through prnewswire or business newswire?  I haven't checked through the my news releases in the past few days (kind of busy) but sure - every news outlet has access to news releases - but it's up to the journalist to follow up on it or include their own information.  Are you implying there were some inaccuracies in the Insights News

https://issuu.com/insightnews/docs/june_3__2019_-_june_9__2019_insight

article?  I'm sure if you contacted them - they would correct it.  Mr. McFarlane seems to have been a journalist before you or i could write our name LOL (just kidding)

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18 hours ago, Troy said:

Back to Google.  One of the disastrous consequences of Google infamous Panda update is the sites publishing syndicated content were hurt.

 

Yes, this is frustrating and time consuming because I have to write so many version of my articles. I'm writing an article right now that I want to post on linkedin because it's professional insight but I also want to post it on my  OWN website too.  I have to decide what to do once I finish it.  I don't think google should be in everyone's kool-aid like that but it does hurt the writer because we can't scale our work. We have to produce original works for everywhere our work appears on the internet.  I have more than 300 posts on my websites but I have to re-write a lot of it because I don't always remember where it's visible.  I end up  making  lot of my work private. I have even on occasion removed some posts from AALBC.

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So if yiu dont show up on a g_oogle search 90% (guestimate) of people can't find you. But if you do you can't prevent your work from being stolen? I have seen sites where you can't copy the content. Most notably Gacenook posts. Perhaps you can watermark your content or embedd it in a photo that you ©. And sue foogle this way you cut off and stop yhe theft at the source. I have noticed something else about gavebook. It has breadcrumbs. If you copy a post the url shows where or rather who you copied it from on hacebook. Which i discovered when copy post from takebook. I have even seen astrologers plagiarise " friends" ' work without credit. 

 

As an aside just yesterday i made ixquick may default browser. Sinve foogle downloaded json file three times onto my hard drive without my permission. On addition i think I may save my passwords on paper rather than on foogle 

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2 hours ago, Mel Hopkins said:

Do you mean through prnewswire or business newswire?

 

Kam was his own wire service. Initially I paid for the entire "feed," ultimately paying on per article basis. The last book review I paid for was published late last year and the author tore me a new a-hole 🙂 (she overreacted IMHO) the review is still on the site: https://aalbc.com/books/bookreview.php?isbn13=9781250171085

 

2 hours ago, Mel Hopkins said:

Are you implying there were some inaccuracies in the Insights News

 

No the article was essentially the same we both added our own platforms as publishers of Kam's content. They essentially copied and pasted the article. I added additional personal info at the intro.  However if you read what the article as published can you tell who wrote it? Shouldn't they make that clear? Again, the family wrote it techically it is a press release. Insight News presented it as if they wrote it.

 

Yeah i used to "customize" Kam's articles too. Generally "news" sources win the search battle, so ultimately it was not worth the effort -- even if the articles were free!

 

Again I don't mind losing the battle for search on Kam's content but don't penalize the sites. 

 

For the and other reasons Google has killed web based indie booksellers.

 

@Delano yeah ditching "Foogle" will be hard. Social is done. Amazon is next. Ill get to Google last but they have so many monoploies they are tough to crack. 

 

Man i use Google to save password even allowing them to create pws for me.... i know, i know give me time there are other providers of this service i just have to pay for it. Paper is not a viable option for me.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Troy said:

Kam was his own wire service.

Wow!  Leave it to a technite to syndicate himself! Fabulous! 

 

7 minutes ago, Troy said:

No the article was essentially the same we both added our own platforms as publishers of Kam's content.

 

Gotcha!

 

Yes, that is unethical.  In fact, it’s plagiarism!   I’ve seen this happen on The Root and once on Black Enterprise.  But they aren’t the only publications who “copy” - I’ve been on twitter when folks have outted white publications for “copying”original content. 

 

I’m an old school journalist - if I’m tempted, I simply just add one line intro and link to the source. Then I’ll go back later and write a synopsis. 

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I'm sorry to hear this.

I don't recall any exchanges with the brother, but I did hear Troy mention him from time to time.


I hope he's at peace right now.

 

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Kam did not use social media or do discussion forums, so it was not likely that you would have exchanged with him online. For a few years I was posting 2, 3, or more of Kam's articles or reviews a week.

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