Remember that when iTunes began, the music industry was being decimated by file sharing. By coming up with an easy user interface and obtaining the cooperation of a broad swath of music companies, Mr. Jobs helped pull the business off the brink. Those of us who are in the newspaper business could not be blamed for hoping that someone like him convinces the millions of interested readers who get their news every day free on newspapers sites that it’s time to pay up.
Today, rather than paying for a daily newspaper, most people get their news for free online and many incumbent media businesses have begun erecting paywalls for their content. Yet, as I’ve said before, paywalls aren’t generally a smart way to go. Successfully implementing a paid platform requires a smart business model, not a moral crusade.
The potential and pitfalls of an ambitious play for the future of digital journalism
The RSS feed — or as we now know it, "the feed" — organizes the world into a series of neat, clickable, constantly updating bits of information. But it's a relatively new concept — just 10 short years ago, there was no way to know what a public figure such as Justin Bieber was thinking in real time.
When Facebook added hashtags last year and almost no one used them, you might have thought the social network would give up on trying to become more like Twitter. You'd have thought wrong.
With just 15 seconds, you'd think it'd be difficult to create visually compelling videos, but more users are getting the hang of it every day. Artists, athletes, journalists and musicians are all using Instagram to express themselves in fascinating ways.
When a plane crashes or a protest turns violent, television crews speed to the scene. But they typically do not arrive for minutes or even hours, so these days photos and videos by amateurs — what the news industry calls “user-generated content” — fill the void.
The downside is possible brand depreciation, but the upside is extreme relevance created by converting your small, brilliant post into Big Content, which travels across channels to reach your audience with enduring meaning.
The revolution will not be televised, but it might be tweeted. A new study shows that Twitter has a lead time on newswires for certain stories--including sports, disasters, and sometimes riots.
A new report on the consumption of Digital News from the Reuter's Institute of Journalismin Paris, reveals that while more of us than ever get our news via social media, we don't trust social networks themselves as a source of news.
Survey of 11,000 internet users in nine countries reports that paywalls and apps are increasingly part of everyday life
Social news site and meme aggregator Buzzfeed is partnering with CNN and YouTube to create a new online-video channel called “CNN BuzzFeed” that will be unveiled later today.
What does the Boston bombing tell us about how news is changing?
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.
Despite all the talk about newspapers being a dying business, plenty of them are profitable. Recent history shows that profits are hardly necessary for a sale if the buyer's motivation and the price are right.
644 million people worldwide accessed online newspaper sites in October 2012, making up 42.6% of the total internet population. Mail Online was the most popular online newspaper, attracting more than 50 million unique visitors during the month.
NDN has grown because online publishers can’t get enough video content (and the ad dollars that come with it). The company's selling point is that it provides the platform and video content and sells the advertising at no cost to its partner publishers—while giving content creators wider distribution for their video content.
"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!
The sports highlight is extremely predictable by now: an amazing play, sequence or moment is replayed from one or more angles, while a news anchor or announcer recaps what happened. Sometimes the video runs along with its original play-by-play audio, or maybe with the live radio call. But, in the age of social media permeation and mobile video proliferation, this is no longer enough, according to UNITE.
Are New Devices Adding to News Consumption? What does the growing expansion of mobile mean for news consumption overall? Are people who own mobile technology getting more news now that they have more ready access to it? Or are they merely replacing one platform with another? Here, the findings are as strong as in 2011, and in some cases even stronger, in suggesting that mobile technology is increasing news consumption.
The headline conclusion of Pew's latest monster survey of the media landscape was the demise of TV news. "There are now signs that television news is increasingly vulnerable," the authors wrote, "as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers." But the larger story is the rise of the Web, which has surpassed newspapers and radio to become the second most popular source of news for Americans, after TV
The lifeblood of college football fandom is changing. The painted faces crammed into the student section of stadiums nationwide have turned away from newspapers and talk radio toward social media to get stats, scores and even messages from coaches and players in real time. As social media infiltrates stadiums and clubhouses, teams are scrambling on and off the field to reach students and young alumni
"I am not here dreaming of (or worrying about) a world in which computers have displaced the printed word, and us too. I could find no one at this conference who would predict the demise of the newspaper. No one. All saw an important place for us."
A great new way for you and your Facebook friends to share your favorite articles.
Pulse, the popular news reading app for iOS and Android, is finally available on the web. The service, which launched two years ago and now has over 15 million users, only focused on mobile platforms until now.
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?
Canadian franchise Tim Horton is pairing fresh coffee with fresh news in the UAE. Recognizing the parallels between news and coffee, Y&R Dubai adapted Tim Hortons’ coffee cup sleeves turning them into an advertising medium for Gulf News.
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.
In adjusting its style guide to use calendar days instead of “yesterday,” “today,” or “tomorrow,” the Globe is trying to adapt to the pace of online news.
The New York Times company's latest quarterly numbers contain a rich trove of data regarding the health of the digital news industry. Today, we'll focus on the transition from traditional advertising to paywall strategies being implemented across the world. Paywalls appear as a credible way to offset – alas too partially – the declining revenue from print operations.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others.
The New York Times' Facebook Timeline goes all the way back to 1851, and it's filled with some choice photos and milestones from the paper's history. It also tells the story of how technology changed the business of keeping you informed.
The internet is taking the news industry back to the conversational culture of the era before mass media.
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.
Social media and the power of peer-to-peer recommendation can boost revenue streams and brand loyalty, according to a new survey from CNN. The results of a CNN inaugural study into the power of news and recommendation (POWNAR), showed a "halo effect,” with substantially higher engagement around recommended content compared with randomly consumed content, said Didier Mormesse, senior VP of R&D and audience insight at CNN International.
We are working in times of exponential growth in the media landscape. To the marketer, it seems as though new media channels for reaching/ engaging audiences are emerging in near real-time. The diffusion of innovation curve for digital/mobile innovation is no longer bell-shaped, it's practically vertical. We move from a glimmer of an idea to mass consumption in no longer than a few CPG purchase cycles.
There are many more ways to get the news these days, and as a consequence Americans are spending more time with the news than over much of the past decade. Digital platforms are playing a larger role in news consumption, and they seem to be more than making up for modest declines in the audience for traditional platforms. As a result, the average time Americans spend with the news on a given day is as high as it was in the mid-1990s, when audiences for traditional news sources were much larger.
There’s been plenty of debate lately about whether Twitter has become “mainstream” or not, but examples continue to pile up of how the social network/microblogging platform has worked its way into our lives, to the point where it has become a form of media unto itself. Whether it will ever become mainstream in the sense that it gets used by your aunt or grandmother is almost irrelevant — the reality is that, for all its flaws, Twitter is a publishing tool, and an increasingly powerful one. And it can be used by anyone, journalist and non-journalist alike.
GM plans to make a big splash on next year's Super Bowl, which I find surprising and disappointing. It's a surprise because it's such a dumb idea. Ads on the Super Bowl are a rarefied group intended to one-up one another with creative and/or sleaze (or both). It's a big viewership event, for sure, but brands have to pay big time for the privilege of exposure while dumbing down the marketing content so there's any hope of breaking through the clutter. Super Bowl ads are reviewed and remembered as advertising, not meaningful communication. GM use to waste money on it back when it used to waste money on everything. It was a dumb idea then, and it's still a dumb idea now...for any brand.
More and more brands are jumping on the Foursquare bandwagon, enticing users with timed incentives, special badges and curated hot spots. But what brand is the most popular on Foursquare? According to the new Foursquare Brand Leaderboard from Osnapz, it’s foodie favorite Zagat, which boasts 48,136 followers and counting. The new leaderboard ranks brands by number of followers.
Pulse is teaming up with Posterous to create a simple way for users to create their own “Pulses.” What this means is that they can with one tap add any article to their own Pulse — thus making any user an aggregator of news. Posterous comes in because each of these Pulse items are transfered to a free blog which is automatically created for you. “This blog will post the articles you have picked, hence enabling you to share this even with friends who don’t have Pulse,” Alphonso Labs co-founder Akshay Kothari says. But if your friends are using Pulse, there will be an easy way for them to subscribe to your Pulses, simply by searching for their name or username.
Cisco Systems is enjoying prominent screen time within news programming on the business-news cable channel CNBC, which is using Cisco's TelePresence videoconferencing technology to snare a wider array of talking heads to discuss on the big stories of the day. Cisco is not paying CNBC to use TelePresence screens on air, according to CNBC and NBC Universal executives; CNBC is actually leasing the equipment for its editorial and technology operations teams.
Publish2 has unveiled its first big play — a news content bartering system intended to make major online news sources capable of achieving scale, to let a network of news providers compete with syndication monopolies like the Associated Press and others, and to allow trusted brands to leverage quality content across media, including print. Karp’s premise is that there is a latent “content graph,” analogous to the social graph being leveraged by Facebook and Twitter.
Listen up, journalists — your cellphone is more than just a channel by which to reach sources, your editor and sustenance (you have the local Thai joint on speed dial, don’t front): It’s an essential tool for both local news-gathering and dissemination.
Google is making some very noticeable changes to its familiar search results pages, rolling out the changes gradually on Tuesday and Wednesday. The search giant is adding a new left-handed navigation panel to most results pages, adding some visual clutter at the expense of offering users tools to help more narrowly focus their query. What will show up on this new left panel depends what a person is looking for.
The news is in the news yet again. People familiar with the situation are throwing cold water on an online report from New York magazine that suggests CNN and CBS News are once again on the cusp of a partnership -- although there are plenty of reasons why a deal could make sense for either side.
Today, Facebook co-founder and My.BarackObama.com alum Chris Hughes announced the soft launch of Jumo, his new philanthropic start-up that works to match do-gooders with appropriate causes. Currently, the Jumo site is merely an elegantly designed homepage that announces Hughes’s mission to “bring together everyday individuals and organizations to speed the pace of global change. We connect people to the issues, organizations, and individuals relevant to them to foster lasting relationships and meaningful action.”
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.
I don’t know if you’ve ever asked yourself the question from the title, but we’re about to get an answer. AFP writes that five French journalists have agreed to lock themselves in a farmhouse in France for five days, where they’ll write news based only on what they read on Twitter and Facebook. The rules are: no smartphones, no web surfing. They will be given cellphones that cannot connect to the internet, but from the story it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to verify the news they see on Facebook and Twitter (probably not, as the experiment would make little sense then).
Amid criticism from media companies that it unfairly profits from news content, Google is closing a loophole that allowed some motivated newshounds to read large numbers of articles on subscription-based sites without paying for them. The company’s “First Click Free” program, which publishers of pay sites can choose to participate in, is designed to allow readers to get a taste of a site’s content. For example, someone who finds a Wall Street Journal article through Google News can read it free, but if the reader tries to reach other articles from that page, he or she is asked to buy a subscription.
When a media industry insider last week floated the idea of an exclusive deal to list News Corp. content on Microsoft’s Bing search engine, stiffing Google in the process, it drew some predictable responses. Bloggers and technology analysts crowed that Rupert Murdoch, News Corp.’s septuagenarian chief executive, had conclusively proved that he just didn’t understand the Internet. Some people in the newspaper business said hooray for Uncle Rupert, standing up for the value of old-fashioned content and telling the geeks with their algorithms to get lost. Google, meanwhile, made the reassuring noises it does anytime anyone raises the possibility that its goals, and those of the media companies whose content it indexes, might not be 100 percent aligned. Google said it provided news organizations’ Web sites with 100,000 clicks a minute, every one of which “offers a business opportunity for the publishers to show ads, win loyal readers and sell subscriptions.”
At a Yale conference a week ago, Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer talked about the life cycle of the value of news in his business. When a piece of financial news comes out, it is at its most valuable for a very short time, he said. I asked him later how long that is. “Milliseconds,” he replied. Milliseconds. That’s as long as a computerized trader has to take advantage of news before the market knows it, before the news is knowledge and is thus commodified and loses its unique and timely value.
The role of influence is changing and diversifying and with it, the rules and responsibilities of engagement are also reshaping. While PR, analyst, and investor relations were clear yesterday, the rise of new influencers, tastemakers and authoritative users and customers becomes both pervasive and uncertain. As such, new opportunities for engagement emerge; creating new opportunities for cultivating distributed relationships. However, each new connection requires management, a support infrastructure, including a dedicated host.
National news outlets' battle to provide local news and win local advertisers is suddenly heating up fast. The Wall Street Journal's new weekly San Francisco Bay Area edition will appear for the first time tomorrow, confronting a similar Fridays-and-Sundays push from The New York Times that began there on Oct. 16. The Journal is simultaneously planning to hire new reporters for metro coverage of the New York area, according to insiders who confirmed a New York Times report breaking that news yesterday. And The Times plans to introduce a Chicago edition in the next few weeks, fed by a deal with the new Chicago News Cooperative.
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….
2009 has been an interesting and dare I say it even a breakout year for hyperlocal thus far. The New York Times launched The Local a few months before it announced it was cutting 8% of it newsroom jobs, MSNBC bought Everyblock, and services like Patch.com are slowly but surely growing in popularity. ESPN launched a series of local efforts this year too, and although they’re not what I would call truly hyperlocal yet, (rather local aggregations of mostly major league sports coverage), it’s another example of big media exploring the area.
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.
So what links are Twitterers actually clicking on? Based on a user sample released Friday by Chitika, an online ad network, Twitter users most frequently accessed links directing to information about current events and news (28.49 percent). The sample consisted of about 974,000 impressions collected from Sept. 1-7.
With Halloween upon us, I thought I would partake in the festivities by channeling Washington Irving. This is a scary, yet realistic, story called "The Tale of the Headless Media Company." Once upon a time, we would browse from site to site, visiting each online media palace one at a time. But suddenly, the supply of information outstripped demand. The "destination web" died, and in ushered an age of "media brand agnosticism." No longer could media brands hope that if they build it, we will come. The next great media company will need to be all spokes and no hub. Yes, I am saying that media companies can exist without having their own website, or head.
This week, I moderated a session at SMX about real-time search. Personally, I find the convergence of social and search to be perhaps the most significant trend of 2009. Social adds an entirely new dimension to search. Traditionally search has been used to find "what" you wanted to know more about. Social adds the dimension of time. Suddenly, relevance isn't the only measure. Search now needs a "stale date," a measure of the freshness of the results.
Radio and TV station Web sites may be growing, but keeping up with changes in digital technology remains a constant struggle. According to the results of a new survey released today from the Radio and Television News Directors Association and Hofstra University, only 38 percent of news directors responded that they’re comfortable that their stations are on top of new technology.
Although a bit late to the party, CNN has made a decisive entry into the mobile news space with a well-designed iPhone app with that costs $2 to download, nothing to use and makes it easier for citizen journalists to file their own video news reports from the field. And in choosing a middle ground in the free/fee debate CNN is carving out a niche that extends their free online offerings to the fast-growing mobile platform while charging something for the work that goes in to developing for the iPhone platform — and there are ads too.
I received my first Lenovo News email last week, telling "Dear Sir/Madam" that "information can be 'the' critical factor in establishing a competitive business advantage,"so I could look forward to having "a direct pipeline to the latest Lenovo and hottest PC industry news." Only the email doesn't contain any news. It's spam. CRM gone amok. A sales message sent without even the presumption that the recipients are anywhere near even considering the possibility of buying. What a missed opportunity.
Avid Twitter-er and author of the upcoming The Social Media Marketing Book spent nine months analyzing roughly 5 million tweets and 40 million retweets (which are usually symbolized with an "RT" on Twitter). He noted when they were posted, which words they used, whether or not they included links, and more. Then, he says, he compared the two groups to get the first "real window" into how ideas spread from person to person: "Retweets may seem like a small idea...but many of the lessons [they teach us] will be applicable to viral ideas in other mediums."
The New York Times Co. has big plans for Twitter. The venerable news organization is exploring plans to build search products that can sift through thousands of Twitter feeds and pull together commentary on specific topics. According to Martin Nisenholtz, svp of digital operations at NYT Co., the company has built such a product for its popular fashion-themed blog The Moment, which aggregates Twitter commentary from both editors and readers related to the high-end fashion world.
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.
The Telegraph recently featured a list of fifty things that are being destroyed by the Internet. The article is hardly surprising given the massive shifts the Internet brings to society, but it does raise a debate about what will be missed from a bygone era and what will be rightly forgotten. The list covers the lost art of polite disagreement, various cumbersome fact checking situations and the blackout of news during holidays
Google, long seen as an enemy by many in the news industry, is making a bold attempt to be seen as a friend with a new service it hopes will make it easier for readers to read newspaper and magazine articles. On Monday, the company introduced an experimental news hub called Fast Flip that allows users to view news articles from dozens of major publishers and flip through them as quickly as they would the pages of a magazine. Google will place ads around the news articles and share resulting revenue with publishers. Fast Flip, which is based on Google News, tries to address what Google considers a major problem with news sites: they often are slow to load, and so they turn off many readers. Google, the leader in Web search services and advertising, argues that if reading news online was closer to the experience of scanning through physical newspapers or magazines, people would read more.
If the Newspaper Association of America and Google were to display their relationship on Facebook, the description would read “It’s complicated.” As newspaper revenues continue to tank, the NAA has stepped up its sort of passive-aggressive lashing out at the search giant for, well, essentially being more effective at monetizing the distribution of its content than they are. In a twist that’s probably a surprise to almost no one, the potential suitor for saving the newspapers from the bugaboo of Google might well be… Google. The company submitted a document indicating it is in the process of building a sophisticated micropayments system based on Google Checkout that would allow publishers to charge for individual pieces or bundles of content.
It's not how you think. A Boston research group called the Web Ecology Project has analyzed 12 of the service's most popular users over the course of a 10-day period, in order to understand how influence works on Twitter. The result of the 18-page report (PDF)? It doesn't matter how often you tweet. It matters why you tweet, and the role you play in followers' feeds.
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.
eBay announced it was selling Skype, while Disney announced it was buying Marvel this week. Meanwhile, thieves cleared out an Apple store and aliens descended on Google. The People of Walmart discovered their friends were Facebook quitters, and we all got ready to ride the Google Wave. Without further ado, here are the highlights of a topsy-turvy week in social media.
It's become fashionable among a certain set to declare that RSS is no longer the foremost pipeline for news and information on the Web. Steve Gillmor and innumerable others have said they've abandoned their RSS readers in favor of Twitter. Twitter hiring Feedburner's CEO seemed to compound this trend towards dismissing RSS as old hat (though headlines shouldn't always be taken literally). The usual suspects, such as Dave Winer and our own RSS geek, quickly jumped to the defense of really simple syndication. But where was the data to back them up? And what do businesses think about RSS? The McKinsey Global Survey on Web 2.0 in business came out yesterday, and out of the almost 1,700 executives they talked to, 42% said they see a measurable benefit from RSS. That's 24% more than those who see any benefit from microblogging (i.e. Twitter).
While producing information costs money, information as such doesn’t necessarily carry monetary value; it mostly carries intellectual, social, artistic, practical value. And that’s why, historically, news has been commercially, publicly, politically and privately subsidized. That information is not necessarily connected to a physical good (paper) or a concrete service (the delivery), or a limited quantity anymore, making it difficult to measure its price. We have difficulties spending money for digital information because at the end of the transaction we neither save time nor do we hold anything concrete or limited in our hands. It feels like buying air.
Surchur has been around for more than a year, but its recent facelift aims to take real-time search toward a new idea: real-time discovery. It may sound like splitting hairs to some, but the point is valid: Real-time search isn’t of much value if you don’t know what to type into the search box. This is why Twitter’s new home page has links to a couple dozen trending topics. It’s why the new delicious.com home page has a tab showing the hottest bookmarks. It’s why Collecta shows what’s “hot now” on its home page, and why OneRiot does, too. But Surchur is going a lot further with its new home page. Founder Todd Hogan calls it a merger of real-time search with real-time discovery.
Marshall Kirkpatrick takes on the “RSS is dead” meme, started by Steve Gillmor, but really started by all those people who haven’t been using RSS much anymore. My answer to Marshall: I’m not in the news business anymore, but if I were I’d keep Twitter up on screen. I’ve been looking closely at Google Reader’s latest features, Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed and I gotta say that most of what shows up on TechMeme shows up in my Twitter feed up to a day earlier.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing thinks he has a jump-shot for his troubled city: He is in talks with Time Inc. executives to work together on a year-long flood of stories about the re-invention of Detroit, says an ad industry insider. Edward Cardenas, a spokesman for Bing, won't reveal details but confirmed the discussions. "We have to explore the best ways of telling our story."
An interesting thing happened in the past 24 hours or so: two major news stories were broken on Twitter. By itself, that’s not very remarkable; news breaks on Twitter all the time. But usually, when news first appears on social media channels such as Twitter, it’s the type of broad-reaching story that affects a lot of people on the ground.
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.
Championing a future where the dissemination of news is less about distribution deals and more about sharing stories among friends and colleagues, news aggregator The Huffington Post has partnered with Facebook to launch HuffPost Social News. The new platform will allow HuffPo users to interact with their Facebook friends.
Does Rupert Murdoch have one more revolution in him? The man who took over newspapering in Australia and Britain, and upended the cable news business here, planted a new flag last week, pronouncing that, contrary to popular reports, information does not want to be free; it actually wants to be paid for.
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.
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.
A new Columbia Journalism Review opinion piece argues persuasively (in my view) that Google “owes” something to traditional journalism and news organizations. Google, typically, is a stand-in for “the internet” in these discussions. This notion of responsibility to publishers is unpopular among bloggers and Internet denizens more generally.
It's undeniable that the going rate for information on the internet is "free." That's meant big trouble for newspapers, which have seen nearly all of their traditional roles usurped by better, faster, free online services over the past few years. If a newspaper doesn't make its content available gratis on the Web, it's irrelevant. If it does, it's got nothing left to sell but fishwrap and inkstains.
A new study by Cornell researchers shows that traditional (old-media) news outlets lead the blogosphere by 2.5 hours when it comes to breaking news. It's a sign that the old guard should chill out about blogs and how they're destroying the news world.
The Associated Press' new social networking policy shows, once again, that the news organization hasn't yet grasped the workings of digital media.
If you are reading this, I am doing my job. Roughly speaking, that is the compact that has underpinned the ties that bind those who write the news to those who read it.
Recognizing that the online encyclopedia Wikipedia is increasingly used by the public as a news source, Google News began this month to include Wikipedia among the stable of publications it trawls to create the site. A visit to the Google News home page on Wednesday evening, for example, found that four of the 30 or so articles summarized there had prominent links to Wikipedia articles, including ones covering the global swine flu outbreak and the Iranian election protests.
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 soon will be - if it not already is - known as the Twitter revolution in Iran. But I’ll think of it as the API revolution. For it’s Twitter’s architecture - which enables anyone to create applications that call and feed into it - that makes it all but impervious from blocking by tyrants’ censors. Twitter is not a site or a blog at an address. You don’t have to go to it. It can come to you.
This past weekend the Twitterverse spoke-out in exasperation and opposition against traditional media networks (CNN specifically) and the absence of instantaneous coverage of the Iranian election and the resulting fallout. “We the people” wanted real-time information regarding the violent protests that erupted on the streets of Iran and the stories probing potential foul play in the results. We took to Twitter to express discontent and to also uncover the real story as it was unfolding live through citizen journalism. The world was watching…and it did so on Twitter and not CNN or any other news network.
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.
In March of this year, National Public Radio (NPR) revealed that by the end of 2008, 23.6 million people were tuning into its broadcasts each week. In fact, NPR’s ratings have increased steadily since 2000, and they’ve managed to hold on to much of their 2008 election coverage listenership bump (with over 26 million people tuning in each week so far in 2009), unlike many of their mainstream media counterparts.
Ailing news organizations seeking to make money from both online readers and the Web sites that republish their stories are looking at the way music publishers collect a fraction of a cent for every song played in public, from the corner bowling alley to the stage of "American Idol."
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.
Popularity is, unfortunately, still all the rage. The Internet has facilitated an outbreak of popularity contests as online news providers rank the top 10 most-read, -emailed or -commented articles on their home page.
How much would you pay to read this page? At about 2,000 of the roughly 50,000 printed words in a typical copy of the Financial Times, it should in theory be worth about 4 per cent of the newspaper's cover price - 10 US cents, 17½ euro cents or eight pence. To readers particularly interested in the subject, perhaps, it may be worth more. To others, though no journalist would like to admit as much, it will be worth nothing. Similar questions are being asked with growing urgency in boardrooms across the news industry and the wider media sector, as stalling economies challenge the foundation on which most content owners' digital strategies have been built.
The Observer’s John Koblin reports that the NY Times is considering putting a meter on usage of its site and charging once you’ve read too much. Incredible. They’ve spent the last 15 years trying to get people to stay longer and read more on their site and now they’re going to penalize their best customers?
What Domino's and other brands under stress can do to revive and thrive, post catastrophe.
Murdoch and his team can keep news organizations afloat. They can move the needle of a media company—they’ve proven that over the decades. But though Murdoch went to considerable lengths to acquire the Journal, he and his top lieutenants have displayed barely disguised contempt for its core strengths. They have moved the paper decisively toward a more terse, scoop-oriented form of journalism that they believe is more in keeping with the information age. The question, then, is whether this strategy will work at the Journal, and if so, at what cost? Murdoch’s managers, as one reporter put it, “don’t fully appreciate what they have.”
For the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY a key model we want to build is hyperlocal. There are, of course, many views of hyperlocal and it will involve many different kinds of players, from sole bloggers to news organizations. The way I’d like to attack this is to try to create one or two optimal models for sustaining coverage in a towns, or collection of small towns, or neighborhoods in a city - the size of critical mass of the ideal minimarket is itself a key question.
In the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY, we will be fleshing out three kinds of business models to start: hyperlocal from the local perspective; a news ecosystem that comes after a metro paper; and paid content. We will be joined by business analysts who’ll be making the models. But to make them work, we need much information and many perspectives.
The Wall Street Journal, one of the few newspapers that charges for content online, released an app for the iPhone Wednesday which sets their content free, poking another hole in one of the internet's oldest pay walls.
Readers have come to rely on interactive presentations to understand complicated stories, using them to zoom in on periods of time and highlight areas of interest. Yet to investigate these stories, reporters often create what amounts to handcrafted investigative art: flow charts with circles and arrows, maps shaded with highlighters and stuck with pins. More and more, though, some reporters are using data visualization tools to find the story hidden in the data. Those tools help them discover patterns and focus their reporting on particular places and times. Many of the presentations, which can have rough interfaces or less-than-sleek design, are never published.
The global publishing giants have declared war on the new technology generation of content distributors -- but they have lost sight of what consumers value and how they want to get to the value. It's time to separate content creators from distributors. It's time for a new business model which requires technology understanding and leadership to develop -- and one that new generation search applications like Google News and Digg for the consumer, or FirstRain for the professional investor, can sign up for to get the right news to the right people at the right price for them.
The last time Paul Farhi and I disagreed, it was about who’s to blame for the fall of newspapers (he found journalists blameless; I didn’t). We disagree about the same topic again. This time, he’s arguing - in an incredibly long American Journalism Review piece - that it’s the Associated Press’ fault for selling content to portals. I’m going to suggest that you compare his analysis to that of Joey Baker, who writes a heavy metal rendition of Clay Shirky’s already-legendary essay on the economics of news.
At the moment, we are good at making meaning (Facebook) and good at making money (Amazon), but we are not good at doing both.
Nick Bilton, an editor in the New York Times research and development lab, doesn't think much of newspaper. In fact, he doesn't even get the Sunday paper delivered to his house. Thankfully for Bilton and his employer, he's bullish on news. It's just the paper he hates.
In recent weeks, I've realized that each day I use the best feed reader of them all and I didn't even know it: Twitter. Since then, I've used it exclusively as a replacement to my RSS reader and I couldn't be happier. Believe it or not, Twitter is the best way to find all the best news.
Tina Brown’s four-month old Web venture, The Daily Beast, has yet to establish its business model, but the clock is ticking.
TweetNews uses Twitter to rank stories that are so new they may not have enough inbound links for algorithm-based ranking systems to prioritize them. The result is a search engine mashup that tracks breaking news stories ranked by Twitter search results, offering faster updates, better relevance and more in-depth coverage than either source by itself.