Later this week the Content Bridges blogger and industry veteran Ken Doctor releases Newsonomics, his book on the evolution of journalism in the digital age.
Most interesting (partly because it's one of the few advance peeks) is Alan Mutter's take in
Reflections of a Newsosaur on Doctor's conclusion that community knowledge has been depleted in this era as local reporting heft has diminished.
Indeed, he calls it "tens of thousands of years of community knowledge" lost as experienced journalists left or were moved out of their roles. Mutter's review doesn't suggest the involvement of new voices in start-ups has been able to replace the loss.
In recent months it is increasingly clear that the major cost challenge ahead for newspapers isn't the creation of journalism but the manufacturing and distribution of the journalism.
So, why not use the latest technology to bypass the printing press and the delivery infrastructure, borrow a page from the phone companies and hitch an iPad to a newspaper subscription?
The Joe Zeff Design blog suggests this
and it is not alone in conceptualizing a multi-year subscription coupled with a cost-defrayed iPad. The notion is that this would be win-win.
The challenge is twofold: First, not everyone wants or can use a substitute for ink on paper, and second, it's unclear what a newspaper could do once the subscription term ran its course. Would it have to continually refresh technology --- as the phone companies do --- to keep the customer?
The day-later fallout from Apple's announcement of the iPad in the newspaper industry is one of caution. While there is little question the imminent arrival of the device can help deliver newspaper-driven content, it isn't any kind of panacea.
The chief economist of Google weighed in quickly Thursday
with a sobering view. Hal Varian believes the iPad will help, but that full-on reinvention will be needed to make the newspaper's economics viable.
Varian believes the iPad will help newspapers reach people during the day, but he's not a proponent of paywalls between them and content.
"The challenge is, how can we make newspaper reading a leisure-time activity again? We know reading the news is valuable to our customers, but they don't spend much time doing it." .
Media critic/comedian Charlie Brooker has articulated in two minutes the components of a television news report.
The attached video will feel all too familiar.
Hat tip to colleague Alfred Hermida at Reportr.net
for finding this from a fellow Brit.
The author and media writer Ken Auletta has some advice
for companies trying to cope with the challenge of continual change: If he were in your shoes, he'd have an engineer alongside.
It's important to have lean-forward, not lean-back executives, he told a confererence this week. But it's also vital to have an engineer to bounce your ideas off.
Auletta believes we're in an era of "maybe models" involving uncertain financial underpinnings of journalism. As he sees it, paying for content is going to be essential in the time ahead. Advertisers are shunning low-quality sites, he asserts.
Today's significant announcement by Apple
of the iPad is already being pronounced as a larger iPhone, a smaller MacBook and a rangier iPod.
The 9.7-inch screen weighs 1.5 pounds and is a half-inch thick. Its supposed battery power is 10 hours, with one month on standby, and it can play HD. It has Wi-Fi, comes in a 3G version, and has a U.S. deal with AT & T on data storage. International Wi-Fi versions will be ready in 60 days.
The price tag is lower than expected: $499.
It seems particularly suited to video, but The New York Times has unveiled its partnership this morning with it to emulate the newspaper reading experience.
There's a major league baseball video application on the way. And it has introduced iBooks as an e-reading technology. It has developed iWork for it and has access to the educational market.
Alan Mutter on Reflections of a Newsosaur
has some instant prescription for the industry on how to work with the device.
Engadget kept a very strong running comme
Search engine optimization (SEO) and meeting the Google News algorithm's demands are essential for any newsroom aiming to lure traffic.
So, when Google talks about anything in this field, it's time to pay attention.
The latest Google News blog post
indicates a new recrawling feature has been implemented to find the most relevant, updated articles.
"How do you balance looking for new content against the need to update older content? How can you make sure the content is fresh, doesn't link to dead pages or display headlines that have been changed by the publisher?"
"For readers, this feature is intended to reduce the number of outdated headlines and dead links you might find. And for publishers, rest assured that we'll be back to find your latest stories and updates as soon as we can."
The latest Standard & Poor's U.S. media tracking and forecast
indicates the final quarter of 2009 will provide better year-over-year numbers (because of the collapse a year earlier) but weak 2010 numbers as the economy only slowly recovers.
Most hard hit: Local television, radio and print.
Bright spot: Local search advertising. Not entirely bright but not dim, either: Online advertising overall.
Newspapers are nearing their bottom, but may not come out of there this year, S & P suggests.
Media strategist Steve Safran recently provided newsroom tips on social media. They're collected in a post
on the Knight Digital Media Center site by seminar attendee Nikki Usher.
Among his points:
1. Don't overTweet. Make your Tweets worth the time of others.
2. Adopt Web 2.0 by unbundling content, making it mobile and interactive, create widgets and offer feeds.
3. Connect with the outside world.
4. Link out, optimize to be found with search engines, become the best RSS feed.
Usher's post elaborates on the delicate situation many legacy newsrooms find themselves in at the moment, balancing old and new needs in allocating resources.
In his latest post
, Robert Niles identifies a common challenge as newsrooms gain some traction in the mobile space: The design doesn't always fit the function.
He found a handful of technical problems with some major sites, which suggest that smaller Web operations are having similar or even more significant problems converting their site designs to the mobile space.
He concludes: "It doesn't matter how pretty your design team makes something if the fastest growing segment of your market can never see it."