Some media stories of note for Monday, May 20, 2013:The New Yorker examines
the ethical challenge of what a media organization does with a sponsor who might be aggrieved. Jane Mayer looks at how PBS dealt with David Koch, the conservative billionaire/philanthropist who was featured in a critical documentary it was about to broadcast.
Mark Thompson, the CEO of The New York TImes Company, spoke last week to Columbia Business School graduates and suggested the decision to institute an online paywall was among the shrewdest moves the organization has ever made. His commencement address did not note, as Jeff John Roberts did in paidContent,
that the Times' subscription base may have reached a plateau.
The BBC Trust has given a general seal of approval to the BBC websites, but found that its local news services aren't as strong as they ought to be. The Guardian reports
the Trust identified some weaknesses in quality and the ability of users to personalize content locally.
Some media stories of note for Friday, May 17, 2013:
Margaret Talbot, writing for The New Yorker online,
examines the recent spate of incidents involving the Obama Administration and the press. She argues that they have damaged the credibility of the government and threatened the freedom of the press. An effect, she fears, is the chilling of sources of information who fear their anonymity cannot be protected. The result of that will be fewer stories that explore significant secretive information and a reduction in civil liberties.BBC reports
on a new British study of 35,000 young people that suggests they now prefer to read on a screen than on paper. They engage in social networking and one-third prefer to read fiction on a screen. The National Literary Trust report, based on interviews with those eight to 16 years old, concluded that 52 per cent preferred a screen, while only 32 per cent preferred a print experience.
The controversy this week involving Bloomberg reporters monitoring the online activity of their clients on Bloomberg terminals has raised a series of ethical issues. The Associated Press has a look
at what experts feel is a shifting landscape in which more access to technology and user activity will permit greater access to consumer information once considered private --- and where privacy is not as respected as it once was.
James Breiner, writing for Poynter
, looks at recent developments in journalism education to teach students how to be entrepreneurial. With more opportunities to build businesses, and less likelihood of one-company careers, journalism schools are finding it valuable to impart business start-up and operational skills in their journalists to teach them how to create and manage their own companies.
Media notes for Thursday, April 25, 2013:
Most national British newspapers have rejected a government royal charter plan to regulate the press and have proposed an alternative plan that avoids state-sponsored regulation they say would reduce press freedom. BBC reports
the move, supported so far by nine of 11 national titles, has thrown open the debate once more on how to regulate the press following the Leveson inquiry's efforts to identify a new process in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
The New York TImes, which Bloomberg notes
missed analysts' revenue expectations in its first-quarter results, has revealed a new digital strategy. Forbes.com reports
the plan includes tiered pricing that would permit access to "important and interesting" stories only at a lower rate (a plan now termed NYT Junior, aimed at younger readers), an expansion of its live events, and even an initiative to introduce games.
Not so long ago it was considered beneficial to be included on Twitter lists because it spread your content and associated you with particular expertise. But Nina Diamond, writing for Poynter,
suggests journalists reexamine which Twitter lists they are on and consider removing themselves from ones that do not help their brands, make you uncomfortable or are inappropriate.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, March 26, 2013:
An international study commissioned by the BBC examines the use of television and tablets in consuming news. It suggests a TV-first habit remains in the consumption of breaking news but that tablets and the Internet are increasingly the resource to dig deeper. Rather than take away from television, tablets are integrating into an environment of smartphones and laptops, says the study reported in TechCrunch.
Indeed, nearly have of the tablet owners say they are watching more television.
The BBC has created a database of "expert women" to increase the proportion of women seen and heard on its news programming. Poynter notes
the database is part of an initiative that recently saw BBC train experts in presenting their views at its BBC Academy. A YouTube channel was launched featuring some of these presentations.
Ken Doctor, the news executive who writes for Nieman Journalism Lab
, explores the recent State of the News Media report's assertion that most news companies may have missed the opportunity to capitalize on the emerging mobile and local digital advertising market. The strength of the so-called GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Apple) in securing the front row may have precluded their significant presence.
Three media stories of note for Thursday, March 7, 2013:
The Guardian has an excerpt
of a chapter about journalism's challenges following the Leveson inquiry. The chapter's contributor is Richard Sambrook, former BBC News executive and current journalism school director at Cardiff University, He writes that, post-Leveson, journalism needs to apply a premium on transparent standards in order to rebuild trust. Rather than address standards through statute, what's needed is a shift in perspective by newspapers toward their staff and the public.
Frédéric Filloux, in his Monday Note,
has a look at last week's massive Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Among what interested him: 3.2 billion mobile subscribers, great machine-to-machine growth and data growth, meaning a large opportunity for media through video streaming. He identifies a challenge in the range of screen sizes, features and operating systems.
Earlier this week freelance writer Nate Thayer took The Atlantic Online to task for asking him to rewrite free an article he'd contributed elsewhere. Matthew Ingram, writing for paidContent,
notes that the episode epitomizes the changing landscape for writing --- namely, that there is plenty free writing good enough to meet the audience's expectations. He concludes that a writer's competition isn't the better product but the one that is good enough for others and is free.
Media stories of note for Tuesday:
The British Information Commissioner has expressed concerns
about the potential impact of recommendations of the Leveson inquiry into journalism. The Guardian reports Christopher Graham is particularly worried about a proposal to permit those covered by the press to have access to information journalists hold about them, a move he says would have a "chilling" effect on investigative work. He also believes the inquiry's recommendations reshape his office in a manner that borders on that of a press regulator.
Steve Hermann, the editor of the BBC News website, outlines for the Journalism.co.uk site
a range of essential skills for the emerging journalist: traditional curiosity and legal understanding, speed and accuracy, visual storytelling, social media and an appreciation of data.
Joyce Wadler, a reporter for The New York Times, writes for the Silurian News (reprinted here
by the Columbian Journalism Review) on the importance of building trust as a journalist.
The independent inquiry called to examine the BBC's handling of allegations involving its former host, Jimmy Savile, has found signficant structural problems in the way the network dealt with the controversy. Several executives and managers have been reassigned or are retiring as the report is issued.
The Pollard inquiry
found serious mistakes were made in dropping a BBC Newsnight investigation into allegations that Savile, the now-deceased former host of two popular BBC shows, had sexually assaulted many young people.
Pollard concluded BBC was "completely incapable" of dealing
with the fallout of the squelched investigation, in particular an inability to get the truth about why the program dropped the investigation. The inquiry blamed, in part, the rigid management structure of BBC.
One person redeemed in the inquiry is Helen Boaden, who had temporarily stepped aside as news director. She will return to her role after the inquiry found she played no part in stopping the investigation.
A separate report
by the BBC editorial standards committee examined the incorrect identification of a former MP as being involved in the Savile scandal. It strongly criticized BBC's reporting on the matter.
Jakob Nielsen is the acknowledged seer on Web usability, and his Alertbox site produces and collates some of the most interesting behavioural information on browsing.
In catching up to his latest annual usability report, which BBC News outlined this weekend, I came across this great fact: On average people read on average at most 28 per cent of the words on a page per visit. In fact, 20 per cent might be closer to the truth.
Nielsen cites research that articulates a formula for how much people read, and how much more they'll read as you add text to a page.
The research also indicates the Back button is dropping down the charts. It's now the Number Three Web page feature, down from Number Two, behind clicking hyperlinks and the new rising star, clicking buttons that go to new pages.
Nielsen notes that people are much more impatient than ever, that they are more familiar with design and functionality, and that it's a larger challenge than ever to get people to stay online with promotions and other attributes that try to keep their attention.