Some media stories of note for Friday, May 10, 2013:
Large British newspaper proprietors have made a concession in the negotiation to create a press watchdog. They have conceded they cannot have a veto power over the appointments to the new self-regulating body, a move that aims to assuage concerns that they would steer control of the entity into hands favourable to them. It also makes more likely that other newspaper groups will join the effort to create the regulatory body. Talks are ongoing on the structure of the new watchdog in the wake of the Leveson inquiry, the Guardian reports.
The Centre for International Media Assistance has released a report
that examines the need for ethical standards for media owners. The focus of media ethics has been on journalists, but this handbook examines the conflicts that arise from ownership, particularly the conflict of content against commercial interests. The handbook, written by veteran journalist Eugene Meyer, asserts the need for the application of principles of ownership that are congruent with the journalists in their employ.
Ann Friedman, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review,
argues this is the best moment to be in journalism. There is access to a world of sources, consumers have access to the widest range of media, and journalists have access to those who consume their work. Besides, she argues, there is little point in lamenting the days of old: They aren't coming back.
Media stories of note for Friday, April 19, 2013:
Ryan Chittum, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review,
casts his eyes on the way digital media was able to report on the overnight manhunt for two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings and the killing Thursday night of a police officer of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Through social media and many advanced techniques of international investigation, many organizations were able to amass stories rich in detail in short order. Here, for instance, is the New York Times account
only hours after the manhunt resulted in one suspect dead and the other at-large.
Ken Doctor, writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab,
looks at the connection between investment in journalism and awards. He examines the economics (or newsonomics, a term he coined some time ago) of editorial and how newsrooms that have retained their spending have fared better with industry recognition. Mainly, though, his column is a call for a stronger examination of whether certain metrics are bound to confer good business practices for the craft.
Fujitsu has developed technology that turns paper (or any surface, for that matter) into a touchscreen-like property. The advancement, reported by DigInfoTV,
permits the seamless transfer of data between the virtual and real world. "Using this technology, information can be imported from a document as data, by selecting the necessary parts with your finger," it reports. A video explaining the technology is here.
Media stories of note for Wednesday, April 10, 2013:
The veteran news executive, Alan Mutter, argues in his latest post
that online paywalls are not the blessing they appear to be. While they are helping to staunch the revenue declines many newspapers are experiencing, their main impact is to extract revenue from loyal readers. In effect, they fail to broaden audience appeal, a necessary condition for media sustainability. Mutter believes a partial solution comes in the form of reinvesting subscription revenue into new technologies in mobile.
Curtis Brainard, writing for Columbia Journalism Review,
discusses seven rules to avoid gratuitous descriptions of female scientists. The rules are called the Finkbeiner Test, named after a science blogger, and they suggest no story mention a) that she is a woman, b) her husband's job, c) her child-care arrangements, d) how she nurtures underlings, e) how she was taken aback by the competitiveness in her field, f) how she is a role model for other women, and g) how she is the "first woman to" do something.
The European has published much of a conversation
between its deputy executive editor Martin Eiermann and NYU media scholar Clay Shirky on the meaning of journalism in 2013. There are several threads of note, including the assertion that journalism has failed to comprehend the need for collaboration with the audience and some insight on why Shirky resists identifying a business model to help solve the economic challenges of the industry.
Media stories of note for Friday, April 5, 2013:
Craig Silverman, writing for Poynter. org
, notes the development of an industry handbook
to deal with issues of plagiarism and fabrication. It was created by 14 news organizations, 10 associations and 10 institutions. Essentially it uses truth as a guide and calls for the "golden rule" in attribution, among other things.
Tracie Powell, writing for Columbia Journalism Review,
argues that the next Federal Communications Commission chair is going to have a significant impact on journalism. Apart from concentration issues, the FCC will be looking at broadband, broadcast diversity, and transparency in political advertising.
Jeff Israely, who has been chronicling his adventure in starting a media site for the Nieman Journalism Lab,
argues that it's a myth people are not paying for news. He wants to delete the term "subsidy" to describe the support for news. Rather, he notes, there is reason to be optimistic that people are paying, and will pay, for news.
Four media stories of note for Monday, April 1, 2013:
PaidContent contributor Eliza Kern writes about her own "Generation Mooch"
and how it will be difficult, to say the least, to get her cohort to pay for content that has been freely available. This generation has little or no experience paying and she notes it even rides on a parent's subscription for content in behind a paywall, so it is a real question on whether it can be turned into an audience that change its habit and financially support content.
Karen Rothmyer, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review,
reflects on her time as the first public editor for the Kenya TImes. She notes the precious concept of press freedom in developing countries has brought with it a respect for standards and a determination to independently oversee them, even if the work produces some uncomfortable results.
The Los Angeles Times raises questions
about an advertising deal in the Orange County Register with three universities who will receive editorial coverage in exchange for their financial support. The Times notes the universities would help generate the editorial ideas and coverage. The paper asserts it retains editorial control, but the Times says some staff are uncomfortable with the arrangement.
The American Journalism Review looks at DNAInfo.com,
one of the newer entrants in the hyperlocal journalism field. Underwritten by billionaire Joe Ricketts, the sites write extensively about a range of elements in New York and Chicago and have built impressive audiences in the early going. The question now is whether the financial support will follow the audience support, the article notes.
Here are some media stories of note for Friday, February 22, 2013:
Given that Google's large search engine is in turn an engine for news site traffic, an understanding of its algorithm to rate content is essential to a site's success. Computerworld has examined
Google's latest patent application that reveals the elements of what it gauges in ranking site content. There are no particular surprises, as it might be expected: the site's productivity, article length, deemed importance, speed, staff size, circulation, originality, style, diversity and breadth of coverage all factor in the ranking, among other things.
Magazine editor Ann Friedman, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review
, argues it's time to stop pronouncing the death of print. Many print outlets continue to thrive, she notes. Rather, it's time to simply recognize the end of the primacy of print.
Tom Rosenstiel, the veteran news executive and head of the American Press Institute, writes regularly for Poynter Online. His latest involves
what he describes as the twin delusions of the White House and the press corps. The latter has complained that the Obama Administration has managed to avoid major newspaper interviews and focused instead on local and digital sessions. Rosenstiel, who interviews extensively for the column, concludes it is wrong for the White House to think it can bypass major media and wrong for the press corps to believe it is somehow the lone gatekeeper.
Some media stories of note for Tuesday, February 19, 2013:
The Columbia Journalism Review writes about
how big and small outlets alike are increasingly looking to journalist programmers to help them enter and occupy the world of data journalism. It suggests that students can have jobs before they graduate if they choose to enter that field.
Last week The New York Times irked the carmaker Tesla with an unflattering review of its electric car's range in cold weather. The CEO, Elon Musk, accused the Times of falsifying its account. The public editor of the Times, Margaret Sullivan, spent days trying to sort through the dispute
and her account suggests the review was of integrity and goodwill, even if the reviewer left himself open to valid criticism in his note-taking and in his judgment of when to recharge the car along the way. Her account of this saga is a strong example of the value of a public editor in sorting through public complaints.
Last week the Committee to Protect Journalists released its annual report
on the risks to journalists worldwide. It found a significant rise in the number of journalists attacked, imprisoned and killed in the year. Some 70 were killed, a 43-per-cent increase over 2011, and more than 35 disappeared as repressive regimes exerted even more media influence on dissent. It was a sad year for press freedom, the committee concluded.
Media stories for Wednesday:
Scientific American's Bora Zivkovic provides an extensive, exceptionally researched guide
to the strengths and weaknesses of online comments and the challenges they pose for media. He has a long list of recommendations, mainly involving increased engagement and moderation, but all pointing to the need for greater effort to enhance dialogue.
Alan Mutter, in his latest post on his Reflections of a Newsosaur,
argues that too many newspaper stories are too long. In recent weeks the Columbia Journalism Review surveyed papers
and found a decline in longform reporting. Mutter says many stories should be told not necessarily entirely with words, but with charts or other visual data. He concludes that "no one has time for this self-indulgence any more." He kept his column to 722 words.
On the other hand, AdWeek notes
the uptick in longform online sports journalism. In a feature on the development, AdWeek observes that some journalists are heading to the web to develop "rambling reads" when their print outlets are backing out of the business of lengthy pieces.
Media stories for Friday:
This week's online/offline sponsored feature on The Atlantic Online from the Church of Scientology reprised questions about the viability of sponsored content in harmony with editorial standards. The Poynter Institute's Jeff Sonderman takes a crack
at identifying the sweet spot in a lengthy feature on how the two concepts can coexist. The features need to be honest, serve the reader, be congruent with the editorial style, be independently created and reviewed, and be such that a news organization might very well run it if it weren't sponsored.
The Columbia Journalism Review confirms in an audit
what many have suspected: The number of longform stories at major news organizations is in decline. Reporter Dean Starkman acknowledges that length does not equal quality necessarily, but that the decline suggests news organizations are devoting less of their resources to complex stories.
Earlier this week, Alan Mutter wrote that newspaper readers were aging considerably --- that three-quarters of them were over 45. But Tom Rosenstiel, the American Press Institue chief and former news executive who oversaw the study Mutter cited, asserts that the
conclusion isn't necessarily accurate. The readership across platforms is considerably more diverse and the data suggest there is a migration to new platforms and not a drift away from legacy media.
Some stories of note Wednesday:
Andrew Sullivan, one of the most iconic bloggers, has decided to break away
from The Daily Beast and take his team to run The Daily Dish as a stand-alone, reader-financed outlet. Even though Sullivan is one of the better known commentators online, his "declaration of independence" will be a test of the digital business model.
The successful bidder for Current TV appears to be
Al Jazeera, says Brian Stelter of The New York Times. The network formed by former U.S. vice president Al Gore offers Al Jazeera a long-sought foothold in the American cable and satellite market, with a penetration of about 60 million homes.
Hamilton Nolan, writing for Gawker, has some advice
for aspiring journalists: It's not about you. He bemoans narcissism and points to the billions of fascinating lives there to cover.
And the Columbia Journalism Review weighs in with a withering review
of health-related journalism, particularly in the realm of promising medical science that never pans out.