What’s It Like Looking for New Media Work Now?

Layoffs have become the dominant story as we near the end of 2008. After writing about the cold economic realities for companies that have had to cut staff, we wanted to find out what it was like for the people who are now unemployed. Just how bad is it out there for new media folks looking for work? We talked with three people at different stages of their job search to see what, exactly, they’re up against.

sarahlaneSarah Lane was with Revision3 for a year and a half before being laid off at the end of October. While she did a lot at the company, she was best known as the host of popSiren. I spoke with her just a couple weeks after she had been let go.

“It’s great to be unemployed sit in my pajamas for like five minutes,” Lane said. The problem she encountered is that even though there are companies interested in her, there’s just a tremendous amount of uncertainty in the market right now. “Some people have said ‘If I could guarantee that you had a job in a year I’d hire you,'” said Lane. Problem is, those companies can’t guarantee anything right now.

Read More about What’s It Like Looking for New Media Work Now?

Evergreen Solar to Barclays: Give Me Back My Stock!

Remember those tens of millions of shares that Lehman Brothers held in solar companies as part of convertible bond deals it underwrote? It seems Barclays PLC ended up holding them after it bought Lehman’s broker dealer business following the U.S. investment bank’s bankruptcy.
A couple of weeks ago, Barclays filed notice with the SEC to disclose that it now owned sizeable stakes of Evergreen Solar (s ESLR), SunPower (s SPWRA) and JA Solar (s JASO), which meant it was in a position to sell all of them into the open market and dilute the stocks just when the solar industry is facing what the New York Times called “big new challenges.” Read More about Evergreen Solar to Barclays: Give Me Back My Stock!

Chris Crocker Fails to Leave YouTube As Promised

Like Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking at the front door, a breakout the night before the big dance and other annoyances, one would think the right approach to Chris Crocker ought to be, “Ignore him and he’ll go away.” Alas, that appears not to work. After declaring dramatically last month that he was leaving YouTube forever, Crocker posted a new video yesterday entitled I Am YouTube.

What do you get for your two minutes and 20 seconds? Some claims that he’s made up with the YouTube powers-that-be (though he is still not a YouTube partner), some shameless boasting about being the so-called “face of YouTube,” a Tay Zonday ejaculation joke, and then some shameless plugging of his new single — that’s right, Chris Crocker is now available in dance music form. (The single reached the top iTunes top 100 the week of Sept. 22nd, according to a video blog post that week; it has since dropped off the charts.)

Crocker continues to intrigue me mainly because I fail to understand what his appeal is. While much of his earlier popularity was built on his championing of alternative lifestyles, ever since Leave Britney Alone! Crocker has abandoned his message to instead focus on self-promotion. Who are the people who now consider themselves Chris Crocker fans? What percentage of them contributed to the nearly 100,000 views I Am YouTube has so far received? What percentage does that leave? And how many viewers are like me, just gawking?

Lehman Collapse Unsettles Solar Sector

The turmoil on Wall Street has until now had a muted impact on clean technology, but that’s starting to change. Some solar stocks are reeling from the shock waves of Lehman Brother’s bankruptcy.

Evergreen Solar (ESLR), JA Solar (JASO) and SunPower (SPWR) took hard hits early Tuesday, falling between 10 percent and 28 percent at the opening. Although each stock has since regained ground — JASO and SPWR were actually back in the green as of midday trading — the three stocks have given up between a tenth and a third of their value this week.

Each company had been in a stock-lending agreement with Lehman, leaving the bankrupt firm with shares that could complicate their future earnings. As Reuters explains,

“Under the deals, the three companies all lent shares to a Lehman subsidiary as part of stock issuances. If Lehman fails to return the shares as laid out under the agreements, they could be counted as part of their outstanding share counts, diluting the earnings per share of the companies.”

Read More about Lehman Collapse Unsettles Solar Sector

Yahoo defending its turf: display ads

After spending $680 million to scoop-up Right Media, Yahoo today announced a deal with Comcast to sell display and video advertising on Comcast’s web sites, which get a total of 2.5 billion page views a month. The deal also covers planned Fancast website.

Comcast has been slowly transforming itself into a web giant, and is ranked amongst the top ten web destinations, according to Comscore. Comcast has plans to launch many other destinations, as it chases the web opportunities.

Like most broadband providers, Comcast has realized it has been leaving ad-dollars on the table, and is now getting pretty aggressive about trying to mop some of that up. It needs to in order to finance some of the network build-outs it has to undertake in the near future.

Read More about Yahoo defending its turf: display ads

SanDisk USB card readers are the smallest anywhere

Sandisk_readersSanDisk recently announced two new media card readers in the MobileMate line. The MobileMate SD+ 5-in-1 reader supports SD™, MiniSD™, MultiMediaCard™, RS-MMC™ and TransFlash™ while the 4-in-1 MobileMate MS+ reader has one slot for Memory Stick™, Memory Stick PRO™, Memory Stick Duo™ and Memory Stick PRO Duo™. The flash memory cards can be plugged directly into the readers. No card adapters are required. Both readers are fast USB 2.0 based peripherals and are so tiny (think stick of gum sized) they can be carried anywhere. Each MobileMate reader will carry a suggested price of under $20 and they should be available in many outlets in November.(press release via Pocket PC Thoughts)