Here are some media stories of note for Thursday, June 13, 2013:
A survey by the Pew Research Center, reported on its new FactTank service,
suggests there is some support among non-profit news organizations for government support of their work. This finding runs somewhat counter to the conventional view that these services want financial and operational independence at all costs. Pew found 39 per cent would support such support, 30 per cent would not, and 28 per cent were unsure.
Jared Malsin, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review
, looks at the scarcity of western journalists in Iran to cover Friday's election. Not only has the government denied access, there are longstanding complaints that coverage there focuses on diplomatic tension and security, rather than on Iranian society itself. It is the Iran conundrum, he concludes.
Mathew Ingram, writing for paidContent
, praises the Washington Post's initiative in sponsored content. The Post's new Sponsored Views feature permits advertisers to post content next to editorial content on the same theme. The effort is being applied in opinion content and appears just below the editorial piece and above the online comments. Ingram says it is one of the smarter attempts to drive revenue (although he is skeptical of how much) and address demand for new forms of advertising.
A follow to the story on Greece's abrupt closure of its state broadcaster (defied by the broadcaster by moving to an Internet stream of its content): European broadcasters have stepped in and shifted the broadcaster's content to a satellite channel that feeds it back into the country, the Guardian reports.
What isn't clear is how anyone will be paid.
A few media stories of note for Wednesday, June 5, 2013:
The World Press Trends annual report
indicates newspaper circulation worldwide declined 0.9 per cent in 2012, largely due to advances (1.2%) in Asia that offset most of the losses in North America (6.6%), western Europe (5.3%) and eastern Europe (8.2%). Still, it meant more than 2.5 billion newspapers in print
and half the world reading a daily newspaper, with more than $200 bilion in revenue. Moreover, when digital extensions of the paper are tallied, the content is reaching more people than ever, the report says. Advertising revenue declined 2% in the year (but 22% since 2008) and the report notes that 80% of classified advertising is now digital. The report indicates audience engagement is a key to future success.
Worldwide entertainment and media spending will continue to grow over the next five years to $2.2 trillion from $1.7 trillion, with digital and its associated consumption accounting for the most of the increases. The annual media and entertainment report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers
says the rise of tablets and smartphones and the rapid growth in India, China and Brazil as vibrant media markets will lead the growth. The Los Angeles Times reports
digital media will account for 43% of all media spending in the U.S. will be in digital by 2017, up from 31% in 2012.
The future of news is necessarily small. That's the view of Harvard Business School's Nicco Mele. Writing for the Nieman Reports,
he says scale is elusive in the new business models and it isn't clear yet how investigative journalism will be financed in the new era. He suggests new players --- academia, entertainment firms, even industry associations --- might be keys to the financial puzzle.
Some media stores of note for Friday, May 31, 2013:
Jeff Jarvis, posting to Medium
, argues the case against sponsored content. (The New York Times is reported considering more such content, Bloomberg reports.)
Jarvis asserts that the trend in sponsored material diminishes the news brand, gives rise to conflicts of interest, and confuses the audience with inconsistency. He also argues that news organizations ought to focus on being in the relationship business, more so than the content business, and that marketers should recognize that sponsored content won't benefit from the sponsored content business, either.
The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, met a handful of news organizations Thursday (another handful declined his invitation) and acknowledged mistakes had been made in spying on media that were evincing leaks from government. Politico reports
that Holder told organizations he understood what had been done wrongly. Meantime, National Journal argues
there were good reasons why journalists shouldn't have met Holder.
The largest media owner is Google. That is the finding of the ZenithOptimedia report. Press Gazette says
the report suggests Google's holdings total 65 of all Internet searches and 82 per cent of all Internet paid search advertising. The value is an estimated $37.9 billion.
Some media stories of note for Thursday, May 30, 2013:
A day-later catch-up on the release of the annual Internet trends report from respected media analyst Mary Meeker (embedded below), who issued a lengthy slideshow
at the D11 conference. Among her more notable observations: people pick up their smartphones 150 times a day and there is a huge opportunity in monetizing advertising in mobile as a result. Liz Gannes of AllThingsDigital notes
there is a steep growth in tablets and a steady growth in mobile as a portion of Internet use, and Andrew Beaujon of Poynter suggests
that the erosion of print as a portion of the advertising pie should not be so worrisome (in that the declines are slight). Bloomberg reports
that Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer for Facebook, is acknowledging that the platform is facing formidable competition for teens now with Tumblr and Twitter. But she says we are a long way off from a zero-sum game and that Facebook still is growing among that demographic.
Regional and local British newspapers are accusing the BBC of being a "thug at the end of the street" in dealings with them. The Guardian reports
their representatives told a conference that BBC does not credit stories it follows and that they are treated as competitors instead of potentially constructive allies. The effect is to undermine their businesses, they insist. They oppose recent BBC Trust suggestions that the broadcaster invest more heavily in online local coverage.
Some media stories of note for Wednesday, May 29, 2013:
Matthew Cooper, writing in The National Journal,
argues that a new shield law for journalists in the U.S. is only a portion of what's needed. Unless prosecutors stop pursuing reporters, the law has little effect. This is one area where custom trumps statute, Cooper writes, and where prosecutors have options they simply don't use. Unless they desist, he says the shield law will prove ineffective at preventing journalistic chill.
Craig Silverman, writing for Poynter,
identifies three key areas that would be useful for journalists (and the public) in the absence of a correction tool for Twitter. He says it's a good idea to develop an understanding of best practices and to widely distribute them. He believes there are tools to use for verification and to enable those best practices. And he argues that there is value in finding ground to cooperate in so-called breaking news.Mashable reports
(on an eMarketer
report about a Brightroll study
) that suggests advertising executives believe online videos are just as or even more effective than television advertising in reaching audiences. Those surveyed also believe video ads are more effective than other forms of online advertising. Research indicates that video advertising spending will grow substantially this year.
Some media stories of note for Friday, May 24, 2013:
Controversy lingers for the Obama Administration over its surveillance of reporters and Alex Pareene, writing for Salon,
wonders if the president will fire his attorney general in light of the revelations. The president yesterday reiterated
concern that the press not be targeted or chilled, and that the real targets should be the leakers of secrets and not those who distribute them (although the attorney general will lead the probe into what amounted to his own activities).
Several media organizations carried vivid video and still images following the terror attack this week on a British soldier. Not surprisingly, there was public criticism. Also not surprisingly, media organizations are defending their decisions. Britain's Press Gazette looks at the controversy,
the ethical considerations involved, and the implications of the move.
The controversial decision by Gawker to crowdfund the purchase of video allegedly depicting the mayor of Toronto smoking crack cocaine has hit a snag.
The organization can't find the supposed drug dealer with the smartphone and the video. Gawker has raised more than $145,000 of its $200,000 target to buy the content (and finance the video owner's relocation), but it has suggested the fundraising may be for naught.
Some media stories of note for Thursday, May 23, 2013:AdAge chronicles Twitter's recent forays
into television advertising space through partnerships with broadcasters. It notes that the deals add content and offer advertising opportunities to reach users, but uses technology to match those users with conversations. In some cases it involves highlights of programs, particularly sports, but in others it involves Twitter while programs are airing.
Twitter, concerned by many recent hacks into high-profile media accounts, has started to offer two-step verification
to reduce the threat. It sends a PIN code to a user's phone via text to authenticate identity when passwords are changed. Jeff John Roberts, writing for GigaOm,
says the two-factor authentication would have thwarted the recent hacking.J-Source compiles a series
of stories involving the journalistic ethics of reporting on allegations of crack cocaine use by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. It features stories on the ethics of raising funds to purchase the video at the centre of the controversy, the conduct of the press and its obligations, and on the overall relationship between the mayor and the press.
Some media stories of note for Tuesday, May 21, 2013:
Taylor Miller Thomas, writing for Poynter,
looks at how news organizations use Tumblr, the platform purchased by Yahoo this week for $1.1 billion. Thomas identifies the techniques of media and Tumblr to connect and interact with audiences, in particular to answer questions.
Jack Shafer, writing for Reuters,
argues that the problems James Rosen of FOX News (accused in a Justice Department affidavit as a "co-conspirator" in breaching government secrecy) have encountered are in part of his own making. Namely, Shafer suggests that Rosen wasn't all that intrepid in covering his tracks and ensuring his source could do the same. It's a contrarian take on what has largely been journalism concerned with the plight of the craft under surveillance.AdWeek examines how
The New York Times is applying its ingenuity to rework the online banner ad. The innovation largely associated with its editorial department is alive in its R & D Lab to generate advertising campaigns that are more interactive and effective. It has potential applications elsewhere with news organizations looking for more avid use of its online advertising.
Here are some media stories of note for Wednesday, May 8, 2013:
Josh Stenberg, a former newspaper advertising executive, writes an insiderish account for Digiday
on why many newspapers are struggling. He writes of the "blind and bold arrogance" that resists digital change, the oversized ad departments that haven't separated remnant accounts from golden opportunities, the emerging role of messaging and planning that newspapers will be used for by advertisers, the mistake of looking for a single solution, and his assertion that paywalls won't work.
Frustrated about the vulnerability of your online activity? The MIT Technology Review notes
that a U.S. government lab has been operating a "quantum Internet" for about two years that sends secure messages between two points using a hub that converts the content and makes it technically impossible to eavesdrop. "The idea is that messages to the hub rely on the usual level of quantum security," the site's physics blog writes. "However, once at the hub, they are converted to conventional classical bits and then reconverted into quantum bits to be sent on the second leg of their journey. So as long as the hub is secure, then the network should also be secure."
Roy Peter Clark, in a piece for Poynter,
argues that sometimes there can be too much transparency in the journalistic narrative. He asserts that translucence, the balance between transparency and opacity, is a much more optimal result in many cases because it achieves authenticity while preserving the good reading experience. That said, he also knows that for certain straight news or investigative work, where the writing is less important than the reporting, transparency is much more important.
Some media stories of note for Tuesday, May 7, 2013:
Steve Buttry, the digital transformation editor for Digital First Media, has been publishing a series of advice for editors. His latest is a succinct entreaty
to admit mistakes. "You’re not perfect," he writes. "You know it and your staff knows it. Admitting your own errors (and apologizing for them, if an apology is due) builds credibility with your staff, especially if you’re going to be critical of them."
Randy Bennett, a former newspaper executive writing for TVNewsCheck,
argues that there are parallels in the decline of newspapers and the early stages of decline in local television. The audience and advertisers are moving to digital, but the returns are not as significant. He asserts that local TV needs to learn lessons from the other medium's adaptation (or lack thereof) by diversifying revenue (in part through sponsored content), embracing user content, exploring partnerships, and moving more effort into mobile applications.
James Poniewozik, writing for Time
, looks at this past weekend's interview of media writer Howard Kurtz on his own show for his handling of last week's story of NBA player Jason Collins, the first active professional athlete to declare he is gay. Kurtz erred in his initial reporting on the issue, parted ways with the Daily Beast, then found himself under scrutiny for his involvement in a startup firm. He became a story himself. Poniewozik said it was a healthy sign that media critics can themselves subject themselves to scrutiny, that critics can be critiqued.