Here are some media stories of note for Friday, June 14, 2013:The New York Times chronicles
the process that led several major digital firms to participate in the PRISM surveillance program under the National Security Agency that has stirred debate on the balance of privacy and spying in U.S. society. A secret court hearing and ruling determined how Yahoo participated. Other major firms are part of the program to share their data.
Jay Rosen, the NYU media scholar, writes on the differing approaches
to political journalism (some with a commitment and viewpoint, versus an approach with none evident). He uses the case of Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, who this past week has revealed several elements of the National Security Agency spying case via source Edward Snowden, as his example of one of two valid approaches to reporting. He calls these two approaches politics: none and politics: some. He feels both need to share the stage.
The New York TImes looks at the practices
of the Bloomberg News agency and reports a symbiotic relationship between the news pursuits and business pursuits of the company, in part through the use of its powerful data terminals to break news. The Times raises questions about the ethics of the tactics by reporters to generate market-moving content.
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 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 stories of note for Tuesday, May 14, 2013:
The Associated Press revealed Monday
that the U.S. Department of Justice had secretly obtained two months of telephone records for its journalists at several of its operations. AP decried the move
as an unprecedented intrusion into the rights of a free press. Details of the probe are not known, but it was believed to be in connection with AP's reporting on a foiled terrorist plot. The New Yorker's John Cassidy looks
at the wider political implications of the issue for the Obama Administration.
The Bloomberg terminal controversy continues to draw commentary. It was revealed that reporters were able to advance stories on the basis of their monitoring of login activity of clients on the Bloomberg data terminals. Gawker notes that
the monitoring was supposed to stop, but didn't. And the Guardian suggests
the matter is not a big deal. That said, the Wall Street Journal reports
Bloomberg and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation are cooperating on examining the issue.
Joel Smith, writing for the Pacific Standard,
explores an innovative effort in sociology and journalism in Alhambra, California, to study the news consumption of residents and marry them to a grassroots organization that would use a range of contributors to produce community journalism. He writes that the effort has promise in linking expertise in consumerism to a market's need for content.
Media stories of note for Monday, May 13, 2013:
Bloomberg has found itself in the middle of a controversy in recent days. Its reporters are able to see some, but not vast, information about a client's use of its vaunted terminals. And a complaint was launched that suggested this access was inappropriate and infringed on privacy --- or worse, that reporters might have benefited from the access. The New York Times reported
that Bloomberg journalists were trained in how to use the login activity to advance news coverage. Bloomberg's editor-in-chief today responded.
Matthew Winkler indicated that, while the access was limited, it should not have happened. Policies have been changed so reporters have no more access to information than do clients.
Rick Edmonds, writing for Poynter
, notes new McKinsey and Company research
that indicates people spend 92 per cent of their news consumption time on legacy platforms. The research suggests 41 per cent of the time is spent with television, 35 per cent with newspapers and magazines, and 16 per cent with radio. Laptops and desktops account for four per cent, and tablets and smartphones amount to two per cent of time spent.
Frédéric Filloux, in his weekly Monday Note
, examines the different strategies of The New York Times and Washington Post. The former has created a paywall, the latter is moving toward one. But Filoux notes the Times is increasingly able to develop a digital subscription model and other media firms might be able to do so because the approach is common. "It is increasingly clear that readers are more willing than we once thought to pay for content they value and enjoy," he writes.
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 Thursday, April 11, 2013:
As it finds new business models to sustain journalism, the industry is trying a variety of approaches, including digital subscriptions. In one Dutch case, an organization is asking readers to subscribe to an individual journalist. For less than two euros a month, readers of De Nieuw Pers can subscribe to a journalist-driven channel of content. Nieman Journalism Lab reports
on the new operation for freelance journalists in the Netherlands.
The shifting business model is attempting to find revenue from social media or create some form of currency. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports
on a proposed Korean effort that rewards readers with access to articles if they share the organization's articles across social media. The literary magazine, Sasannge, will be relaunched on the Web. Readers will be given a certain number of "points" they will use as they read. If the share the content, their points are replenished.
Poynter's News University, the e-learning site underwritten by the Knight Foundation to teach best practices online to the industry, is eight years old and has served 250,000 registered users. Howard Finberg, its creator, writes on some of the lessons learned:
participants are different, engagement is vital, clear objectives are important, interactivity is essential, measurement is a must, listening is required, and there should be no assumptions. Oh, and have fun. They are lessons he believes can be applied more broadly to journalism.
The journalism adage on investigations --- follow the money --- is also a necessity in media management in times of great change. In this digital age, where is the money going? Last week's State of the News Media report concluded there was a dangerous decoupling of news and advertising emerging in the transition to greater digital presences by the conventional media organizations.
Today it was possible to see three takes on the advertising outlook in the stressed U.S. market. Bloomberg is reporting a real stuck-in-the-mud feel to advertising in conventional media, according to TNS Media. USA Today has a piece following a PQ Media study that suggests new media advertising is going to surge. And Jack Myers is suggesting that big media that invest in digital are going to reap big benefits in a soft advertising market.