I waited a few days to see if perhaps the initial reports were somehow out of context or perhaps lost in translation, but I can't find anything to dispute the move last week by the Romanian Senate to pass a law mandating that 50 per cent of all broadcast news be positive.
The law will be implemented by a national council, which will have the enjoyable task of determining what constitutes good and bad news.
As a news manager, I'm asked all the time why we don't carry more positive news. I typically reply that there is plenty there for the perusing: Sports sections chronicle athletic prowess, Arts sections examine creativity, Business sections look at the generation of wealth and entrepreneurial innovation, and the news sections contain all sorts of stories on advances in medicine and science and the betterment of society. The adage in broadcasting --- if it bleeds, it leads --- hasn't been effective for some time, even if newscasts often start with the most shocking developments to attract interest.
But I don't think anyone would like a quota of even five per cent. The community will decide if you're too negative by moving to some entity that isn't.
Steve Outing, the ahead-of-his-time Editor & Publisher columnist and entrepreneurial journalist/consultant, has an interesting post on the so-called individuated newspaper. He attended a conference on the topic last week.
The notion that a personally-tailored newspaper (or any kind of content product) is futuristic is wrong. The tech is here now and has been for some time. The bigger question is when some company will decide to stake a lot of energy and resources on the bet that people will consume something directed more specifically than conventional media.
When I examine our Web traffic at vancouversun.com, it's obvious we're part of the experience of many people's workdays. How else to explain how our traffic soars around 9 a.m. and seems to subside around 5 p.m.?
Now a study is wondering why Web sites aren't more actively trying to capture the captive audience at work and advertising to them directly.
The U.S. workplace is "the most lucrative channel" for directing ads that will generate sales, a marketing executive comments on the BIGresearch study in a story by the Center for Media Research.
The study found that Americans scout products, troll online and look for electronics, groceries and other consumer goods while at work. They are looking to consolidate drives, what with gas prices soaring, so they look for nearby shopping offers.
The study has a clever directive to it: Get the shopper at work, not necessarily at home.
A leading edge of information consumer is the senior executive. How he/she believes data serve best is an important sign for media. Time was, that source was the newspaper. But a new study from Gartner and Forbes.com suggests the Internet is overtaking print as a principal first-thing-in-the-day source.
Hardly surprising, but noteworthy.
So-called "C-level" executives (with the word Chief in the title) have shifted to the Internet as a prime source in large numbers over the last three years. The increase in Internet reliance is 22 per cent, while the decrease in newspaper reliance is 11 per cent. The supremacy of Internet is clear: 67 per cent prefer it, up 37 points in three years.
There are a number of ways to interpret the British House of Lords report on media ownership:
1. It's not wise to relax ownership restrictions because there are more media sources.
2. It's not wise to relax ownership restrictions because more media does not equal better media sources.
3. It's not wise to relax ownership restrictions because more media does not mean more investment in journalism.
Any way you interpret it, the report found that the growth of news sites isn't necessarily contributing to proper investment in news gathering. The pool is wider, but not particularly deeper. Of particular concern are investments in investigative work. Much of the new sites are repackages of other content, not generation of original material.
While proprietors argued that the proliferation of news sources made it possible to relax restrictions, the report says more is not necessarily better, and relaxing the situation might only make it worse.
Hitwise, the online tabulator, is reporting that one of the largest growth areas in Web advertising is the lovely coupon.
Coupon site visits grew 56 per cent in the week ending June 6 over the same period a year earlier. Coupons.com, with the most accessible URL of the bunch, has a 29-per-cent share of the market, up 190 per cent from a year earlier. Search engines drive about 20 per cent of the traffic to coupons, and about 60 per cent of searches were for a specific product or brand.
The over-50 generation will continue to nurture and support traditional media, and if anything their loyalty and longevity ought to help ensure survivability and transition. That conclusion comes from an analysis of a further public release of information from last week's massive annual PricewaterhouseCoopers media and entertainment forecast.
The population growth of the older-than-50 cohort will "help sustain traditional formats," the report notes.
For some time demographers have tried to reassure the doomsayers about conventional media. People are living longer, more prosperously, and more leisurely into their 60s, 70s, and 80s. Presumably they will continue to consume through patterns and habits the media they grew old with and be less inclined to adopt new formats.
Unquestionably the growth of sub-30 populations is fueling an enormous rise in new media consumption. But the PwC report indicates a balancing factor is the ongoing support of the older generation.
When veteran newsman Neil Budde announced recently he was joining DailyMe.com, you had to expect good things would come about. This week the customizing news aggregator rolled out three products: DailyMe (your custom aggregation), DailyWe (a community-built aggregation) and a Top News (a sort of top-down approach aggregated by the editorial team).
The clean part of DailyMe is that it licences all of the content it serves up, so no skirmish with the likes of The Associated Press (a service here) will ensue.
While I found a few services I might like to see (ahem, there is more than just The Canadian Press for Canada, and The New York Times is missing, as are leading British broadsheets), DailyMe has assembled a pretty strong lineup that is only bound to get better.
The rise of Internet advertising at some point had to overtake another medium, so radio is the next rung on the ladder. According to the Publicis advertising group, online will surpass radio this year. Magazines are next. Cinema and outdoors already were passed.
Internet advertising will grow 28 per cent this year. The overall advertising market will grow about 4.7 per cent.
Business Week weighs in with a take on the flap between The Associated Press and the blogosphere with a clearly argued take on how big media might soon expect a chunk of small media if the little guys use the big guys' material.
The presence of software like Attributor (familiar to some of us in newsrooms) makes it rather simple to find out who is squeezing the grape once more on content generated elsewhere.
Is it only a matter of time before transactions occur for the use of content?