If its absurdist twists and wicked parodies of conventional journalism are just a joke, thecountry's leading satirical newspaper is having the last laugh.
Although few are talking about it, the new video app could be a perfect tool for citizen journalists, and news organizations that want access to real-time news.
"Hyperlocal" news sites that focus their coverage on small towns and city neighborhoods are reporting big traffic surges from Sandy, with local residents keen to find out about their towns' storm preparedness yesterday and about property damage and when power will be restored today, with much of it driven by search.
If you’re really looking for trouble, try posting something on Facebook about your political preferences! A study from the Pew Research Center discovered the remedy for 20% of social networkers who received political puffery too frequently or political opinions antithetical to their own was – wait for it – unfriending or blocking!
Throughout the succinct two-year history of social television, successes and failures have taught practitioners three valuable lessons. In fact, these lessons apply to practitioners in any major medium (radio, film, television, journalism).
If there's any sign that the media ecosystem is on the verge of dramatic change, then these four digital trends bubbling to the surface are the latest proof points of that. These aren't random trends but are illustrative of tectonic shifts that will change the media business dramatically.
One daring digital news operation seems to be failing; simultaneously, another expands and appears to march forward, recruiting more journalists as it goes. And there’s an awkward question that links these swings and roundabouts. Simply: has the typical general newspaper, conventionally conceived and structured, had its day? Is it, as a concept, what evolving news online is about?
Publishers are bleeding themselves dry, giving up the very customer data that hold the promise of their continued relevance in the digital age. They struggle to monetize online users, as the dimes from digital will never replace the analog dollars they no longer receive from print. They see social sharing as a way to drive page views on their traffic-starved websites. But many of these social-sharing tools are data vampires.
The future of media on mobile devices isn't with applications but with the Web. For publishers whose businesses evolved during the long day of print newspapers and magazines, the expansion of the Internet was tremendously disorienting. The Internet taught readers they might read stories whenever they liked without charge, and it offered companies more efficient ways to advertise. Both parties spent less.
'The Guardian' huffed and puffed and made one of the year's best ads. Did it sell papers? Newspapers aren't known for their compelling self-promotion. Yet in the grip of their existential crisis, that's what they need—a riveting argument for their own value, evolution and place in the cultural conversation. In late February, London ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty delivered just that for The Guardian.
What do you get when you combine a photo-sharing mobile platform like Instagram with more geo-location awareness and a Reddit-style voting system for stories breaking all over the world? Answer: Signal, the app citizen journalism may well have been been waiting for.
From Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal’s former CEO. In talking about digital video, he said: “Our challenge with all these ventures is to effectively monetize them so that we do not end up trading analog dollars for digital pennies.”
Innovative digital journalism played a starring role in the wake of a massive document release during an inquiry into British media ethics. Three major news organizations sifted through the information and collaboratively covered the investigation stemming from British journalism’s biggest scandal in recent memory.
The country's biggest newspapers are taking different tacks on social media. The New York Times recently dissolved its social media editor post after less than two years, while USA Today simultaneously appointed its first social media editor and The Wall Street Journal continues to plug ahead with an outreach editor who's been in place for a year. All three are trying to answer the same questions facing newsrooms everywhere: Should social media belong to a designated editor, to the whole staff or both?
Maybe you have seen the news. In case you missed it, Shel Israel wrote about it in a recent post on braided journalism, a term he coined a little while ago to describe a developing practice of traditional and citizen journalists starting to intertwine through mutual need. This is also the latest example of enlightened experimentation from Dell, an organization that is leading on its way to what Dachis defines a social business. They were first in implementing a site for customers to submit and vote on product ideas -- IdeaStorm -- and first to coordinate social product launches at the same time with traditional announcements.
What’s happening to Journalism? Is it ‘over’ – or just evolving? One thing is certain, many of the subjects of mainstream journalism are taking the pen in their hand and becoming content creators themselves. If anyone knows, it’s Richard Sambrook, whose storied career at the BBC spanned newsgathering, technology, and the World Service.
As Rupert Murdoch’s News International prepares to launch the second part of its paywall project in the UK this month, there are signs that apps might be a better way to get people to pay for their news. The Guardian reports today that the Financial Times’ iPad app has generated over £1m in advertising revenue since its launch in May. Also today, the Press Gazette reports that News International’s The Sun is launching a dedicated celebrity news app costing £1.19 for a 30 day subscription, something it wouldn’t try if it didn’t think there was a market for it.
If you were going to pick an epicenter for mainstream media, The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz would not be a bad place to land. With his running scorecard on Beltway journalists, his interviews of other scorekeepers on his “Reliable Sources” show on CNN, and his ceaseless fascination with network news, Mr. Kurtz embodied the folkways of the traditional press. Until last week, when he announced he was leaving his privileged perch to become the Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast, a two-year-old toddler of the new digital press conceived by Tina Brown and owned by IAC, run by Barry Diller. Mr. Kurtz’s lane change evinced gasps reminiscent of when Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.
I had an inane exchange with a social media consultant on his blog last week that reminded me of a truism: just as the rule for understanding politics is to follow the money, an important quality of social media experience is revealed when you consider the role of the megaphone owner...or, in this case, the guy who operates the guillotine. Our topic wasn't important and the guy is probably an otherwise fine human being; I'm much more interested in what our "conversation" told me about the role of social tools like blogging, especially when they seem to be considered by many people to be viable alternatives to traditional media outlets, or often an outright replacement for them. I'm troubled by that prospect, even as I'm thrilled and encouraged for the future potential applications of social media technology
Journalists are coping with the rising information flood by borrowing data visualization techniques from computer scientists, researchers and artists. Some newsrooms are already beginning to retool their staffs and systems to prepare for a future in which data becomes a medium. But how do we communicate with data, how can traditional narratives be fused with sophisticated, interactive information displays?
The future of social media in journalism will see the death of “social media.” That is, all media as we know it today will become social, and feature a social component to one extent or another. After all, much of the web experience, particularly in the way we consume content, is becoming social and personalized. But more importantly, these social tools are inspiring readers to become citizen journalists by enabling them to easily publish and share information on a greater scale. The future journalist will be more embedded with the community than ever, and news outlets will build their newsrooms to focus on utilizing the community and enabling its members to be enrolled as correspondents. Bloggers will no longer be just bloggers, but be relied upon as more credible sources. Here are some trends we are noticing, and we would love to hear your thoughts and observations in the comments below.
BBC.com originally forwarded visitors to BBC.co.uk, but before long, the British news service will have a home away from home in the U.S. Launching soon, BBC.com is aimed at expanding its American audience, and will feature "U.S.-focused articles on politics and general news," according to AdAge. Is this now the time for American journalism to follow suit and start its own publicly-supported press service?
What happens to news organizations as we know them if this atomization of content is so thorough and irreversible that no publication can pull its discrete articles into a coherent whole? Without coherent brands, will any publication host writers and write checks?
If you're trolling the web and hit upon an Examiner.com story, you might think you're reading the San Francisco Examiner. But you're not. Instead, Examiner.com is a crowd-sourced content play with the backing of billionaire investor Philip Anschutz. With over 40,000 freelancers in more than 240 neighborhoods, the Denver-based start-up aims to dominate every province of local news, bringing marketers and advertising along with it.
Twitter has just launched a new site called Twitter Media, where it’s offering media organizations and journalists some case studies and guidelines to better connect with their Twitter fans. Alongside the new portal, Twitter has also launched an official Twitter Media account. The site has the description, “Knowledge and tools to help you use Twitter to transform media, entertainment, and journalism.” at the top, then gets right down to business with a series of blog posts.
Toyota has announced three major recalls covering a total of eight million vehicles globally since October 2009. The recalls are for defects that have been associated with 52 fatalities and 38 injuries so far. Not surprisingly, the business media and notable Toyota experts are starkly pessimistic. We looked at 108 Wall Street Journal articles discussing Toyota during February, 2010, and found that 106 were negative to Toyota. In a recent column by Dennis Seid, Jeffrey Liker, an economist and author of The Toyota Way observed that the hearings and the resultant lawsuits could severely damage the company in many ways.
A national survey, conducted by Cision and Don Bates of The George Washington University, found that an overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories. Among the journalists surveyed, 89% said they turn to blogs for story research, 65% to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% to microblogging services such as Twitter. The survey also found that 61% use Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia.
In the era of the real-time Web, information travels at a greater velocity than the infrastructure of mainstream media can support as it exists today. As events materialize, the access to social publishing and syndication platforms propels information across attentive and connected nodes that link social graphs all over the world. Current events are now at the epicenter of global attention as social media makes the world a much smaller place.
There’s one thing that Rupert Murdoch, Arianna Huffington, Steve Brill, and I agreed on yesterday – and and there’s probably nothing else one can imagine this group would ever find consensus around. At the two-day Federal Trade Commission “workshop” (read: hearing) that asked how journalism will “survive” (their word) in the internet age, we all told the commissioner to kindly butt out.
The Twitter community is abuzz this week about the site's new "Lists" feature, which allows users to create collections of interesting people to follow on the micro-messaging service. From lists of sports stars to comedians to political pundits, Twitter has provided its members with the tools required to splice a torrent of updates into a series of relevant, topic-based streams. In doing so, the social networking startup may have hit upon the long-overdue cure to information overload and birthed a new breed of editor: the real-time Web curator.
In media and blogger relations, PR typically wields two powerful tools to help boost the effectiveness of pitching and potential placement of news: the embargo and the exclusive. In the case of an exclusive, a story is usually packaged prior to official release for one particular writer, fully understanding their style, nuances, and audience. If the story is accepted, it is not pitched to any other media outlets until after the story runs. The benefit for PR is that it can bank on the publishing of a guaranteed, high profile story. The advantage for the reporter is that they maintain a position of authority on that particular event. The con for PR, is that usually, other media properties will forgo participating in the round of coverage because it quickly become old news.
The future of news is entrepreneurial. There’s a lot in that statement. It says: The future of news is not institutional… The news of tomorrow has yet to be built…. The structure – the ecosystem – of news will not be dominated by a few corporations but likely will be made up of networks of many startups performing specialized functions based on the opportunities they see in the market…. Who does journalism, why and how will change…. The skills of journalists will change (to include business)…. We don’t yet know what the market will demand and support from journalism…. News will look disordered and messy…. There will be more failures than successes in the immediate future of news….
Fees from telecoms bills or internet service providers should be diverted to a fund for local news akin to the National Endowment for the Arts, according to a new study of future models for ensuring the survival of “accountability journalism” in the US. The report by Len Downie Jr, who spent 17 years as executive editor of The Washington Post, and Michael Schudson, professor of communication at the University of California, was commissioned by Columbia University. “American society must now take some collective responsibility for supporting news reporting,: the authors argued, calling for support in the form of tax breaks, philanthropic donations, university partnership and funds diverted from other areas.
Journalists are truth-tellers. But I think most of us have been lying to ourselves. Our profession is crumbling and we blame the Web for killing our business model. Yet it’s not the business model that changed on us. It’s the culture. Mainstream media were doing fine when information was hard to get and even harder to distribute. The public expected journalists to report the important stories, pull together information from sports scores to stock market results, and then deliver it all to our doorsteps, radios and TVs. People trusted journalists and, on our side, we delivered news that was relevant—it helped people connect with neighbors, be active citizens, and lead richer lives. Advertisers, of course, footed the bill for newsgathering. They wanted exposure and paid because people, lots of people, were reading our newspapers or listening to and watching our news programs. But things started to change well before the Web became popular.
In the first part of his analysis of the news business, BusinessWeek chief economist Michael Mandel equates bad news about news with the number of journalists employed. But there is the nub of a much bigger trend: the fall news as an industry paralleling the end of the industrial economy. That’s not just about shedding the means of production and distribution now that they are cost burdens rather than barriers to entry. It’s about the decentralization of journalism as an industrial complex, about news no longer being based solely on employment.
Google has an image problem – not a PR problem (that is, not with the public) but a press problem (with whining old media people). Google is trying hard – too hard, perhaps – not to argue with the guys who still buy ink by the barrel. Google is only causing them to buy fewer barrels. And newspaper people will use their last drops of ink to complain about Google’s success and try to blame it for their own failures rather than changing their own businesses. What should Google do? I think it needs to become news’ best friend.
Among the conundrums left by the newspaper die-off: What is the new model for local news and information, once the sole province of community newspapers? MSNBC.com snapped up one of the more promising efforts, EveryBlock.com. The startup, founded by programmer and journalist Adrian Holovaty, was funded by the Knight Foundation's "news challenge" program, an annual contest for innovations in local news.
Of all the dismal and discouraging numbers to have emerged from the world of newspapers—the sharp plunges in circulation, the dizzying fall-off in revenues, the burgeoning debt, the mounting losses—none seems as sobering as the relentless march of layoffs and buyouts. According to the blog Paper Cuts, newspapers lost 15,974 jobs in 2008 and another 10,000 in the first half of 2009. That's 26,000 fewer reporters, editors, photographers, and columnists to cover the world, analyze political and economic affairs, root out corruption and abuse, and write about culture, entertainment, and sports.
Like everyone else I’ve watched the print media world fall apart over the last few years. The poster child for that industry is the New York Times, of course, and their many missteps in recent memory have been well chronicled. In early 2008 Marc Andreessen started a New York Times Deathwatch, and the company’s financial performance has degraded since then. I keep wondering what would happen if the top 10% of the writers at the NYTimes just…walked out. I know it’s crazy, but let’s just explore this a bit for the heck of it.
Is journalism a charity case? It's beginning to look that way: the Bureau of Investigative Journalism will launch in the UK with a £2m donation from the Potter Foundation, while the Huffington Post has started a nonprofit investigative unit funded by $1.75m in donations. The new Texas Tribune will fund coverage of the state capitol from gifts from a local venture capitalist and friends. The New York Times has even confessed to discussing the idea of seeking funding from foundations for its reporting (though in fairness the company is looking under every possible rock for revenue). And this newspaper is supported by a trust. Will the tin cup be the sole support of journalism? I'm not ready to surrender the hope that news can be a sustainable business.
PSFK recently asked our global network of experts, The Purple List for their thoughts on the future of journalism. We received answers that imagine a variety of possible scenarios, though a common theme emerged which points to a system that combines crowd-sourcing with some kind of editorial curation and professional reporting.
The New Business Models for News Project is now well underway at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. Here’s the blog and post explaining our work:
It all started at 10:40 p.m. on an otherwise quiet Sunday night. After talking about the Iranian election on and off for several hours, I saw a tweet in my Twitter feed that pointed out CNN's failure to cover the story. As an obviously rigged election in one of the world's most important countries was being perpetrated, America's oldest 24-hour news network was reporting primarily on consumers' problems in this country with digital TVs.
An alarm went off on some desk at The New York Times business section: Oh-oh, time to slam blogs again. But the latest assault reveals as much about The Times and the culture of classical journalism as it does about bloggers. Like the millennial clash of business models in media - the content economy v. the link economy and the inability of one to understand the other - here we see a clash over journalistic culture and methods - product journalism v. process journalism.
With newspapers’ traditional business model in free fall, the top media minds at global design firm IDEO (designer of the Apple mouse, consultant to Fortune 500 companies) were asked to imagine: How will we get our news after the traditional model falls apart? Here's their answer.
Josh Young writes a fascinating and nicely written essay about the shape of news and competition around it in the Google (read: internet) age, but I think it badly needs a clear lede summarizing his point to prove his point. So I’ll summarize: He’s saying that Google is causing news to be reshaped so it can be found, now that it has been unbundled from the products we used to have no choice but to buy: our newspapers. He says that news is an “experience good” we can’t really know until we taste it. He says we need a new experience of news and it ain’t Google. I will argue, though, that this very post, the one you are reading now, is the antidote to what he sees, for I experienced his essay and I recommend it to you without Google while also giving you the search-engine-and-browsing-friendly summary - a reason to read - that we now expect before investing in content online. And there’s my point.
For a long time now, I’ve been pushing hard the idea of journalist-as-curator. Every priesthood, it seems, is having a fit over loss of its centralized control: How dare people pick what they like without history degrees or share what they know without journalism degrees! The nerve!
While we casually discussed our most current endeavors and experiences, the dancing shifted to deep conversation, ultimately transcending into a zeitgeist for the future of journalism in the era of socialized media with one simple question, “are newspapers worth saving?” Walt thought for no more than two seconds and assertively replied, “It’s the wrong question to ask. The real question we should ask is if whether or not we can save good journalism.” He continued, “Think about it. Of the hundreds, thousands, of newspapers around the country, there are really only a few that matter. Good journalism and journalists, on the other hand, are worth saving.”
It’s no coincidence that the fifth and final season of the HBO cult hit The Wire—one of the smartest and toughest dramas to hit the small screen in decades—focused on the floundering of the city newspaper in the struggling city of Baltimore.
This week, a new Web news site is entering the fray, with a novel approach to journalistic entrepreneurship, new forms of advertising, and an effort to blend journalism and social networking. The site, called True/Slant, at trueslant.com, is opening its doors via an odd preliminary status it calls an "open alpha." This means it's rough around the edges, and not yet taking in revenue, but hopes to attract enough participation to hone its design and operation.
First, a constructive proposal: News organizations need to band together — not to cut off their content, along with theirs noses, or to collude in antitrust cabals — but simply to set a new metadata standard identifying original reporting. If every news story carried a switch identifying original reporting, then aggregators like GoogleNews and Daylife (where I’m a partner) could give precedence to and link to that journalism at its source, helping support that reporting in the link economy.
The AP reports that Huffington Post is going to announce tomorrow the creation of a $1.75 million fund with various donors to pay for investigative reporting. First target: the economy. This, I’ve long held, is where foundation and public support will enter into the new ecosystem of journalism: not by taking over newspapers but by funding investigations and other slices of a new journalistic pie.
At CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism we just told the students that they no longer need to commit to a media track - print, broadcast, or interactive. We believe this is the next step in convergence. All media become one.
While many entrenched in the media industry are trying to find ways to prop up the traditional model of print - micropayments, subscription models, media cartels - in the face of economic turmoil, some thinkers - Steven Berlin Johnson and Clay Shirky among them - believe that this attempt at life support is only delaying their inevitable demise or perhaps, reorder.
Thoughts upon the venerable Seattle daily becoming a Web-only operation.
The State of the News Media 2009 is the sixth edition of our annual report on the health and status of American journalism.
Charlie Rose today started a series on the future of journalism. It was a fascinating discussion about micropayments, subscription models, and how newspapers can adapt to the challenge of low online ad revenues. Robert Thomson, Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal, said, "Google devalues everything it touches. Google is great for Google but it's terrible for content providers." He said that Google doesn't distinguish between the quality of the content around which it serves up ads, it is concerned with quantity rather than quality.
This past year has been catastrophic for the New York Times. Advertising dropped off a cliff. The stock sank by 60 percent, and by fall, the paper had been rated a junk investment, announced plans to mortgage its new building, slashed dividends, and, as of last week, was printing ads on the front page. And yet, even as the financial pages write the paper’s obit, something hopeful has been going on: a kind of evolution.
Can The New York Times, America’s paper of record, survive the death of newsprint? Can journalism?