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.
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.
Some media stories of note for Thursday, May 2, 2013:
Friday is World Press Freedom Day. In advance of it, the annual report from the Committee to Protect Journalists
has been released to demonstrate where it is most hazardous to practice the craft --- its Impunity Index. Nigeria, Somalia, Brazil and Pakistan feature rising levels of deadly, unpunished violence against journalists. The report suggests conditions are improving in Nepal and Russia. Poynter's Andrew Beaujon reports
that Iraq remains the most dangerous country and that half of the victimized journalists worldwide covered politics or corruption.
The Los Angeles Times, taking the lead from recent language style changes at The Associated Press
, has updated its guidelines for reporting on immigration. Its reader representative, Deirdre Edgar, writes that
the organization will no longer refer to individuals as illegal or undocumented immigrants, but will instead describe their circumstances.
A job posting isn't always notable, but this one arguably is. Twitter is looking to increase its connection with journalism
in seeking its first-ever Head of News and Journalism to cultivate and manage relationships with news organizations and expand the reach of the platform into the craft. The job posting is indicative of the ambition of Twitter to develop a greater presence in conventional news.
Media notes for Friday, April 12, 2013:
Nieman Journalism Lab carries a column
from the author of The End of Big, digital strategist Nicco Mele, and fellow Kennedy School lecturer John Wihbey. They suggest news organizations could benefit by serving as platforms for talent. While the Internet blurs brands, it can empower individuals,they write for Nieman. Organizations should recognize that all media will be social media soon, so their best bet is to tout those who create their content as a new form networked news emerges. The challenge isn't saving the news business, they argue, but the individuals creating for it. In other words, their actual brand.
John Newby, an Illinois newspaper publisher writing for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association,
looks at the very different approaches of Warren Buffett (a buyer of community newspapers) and Advance Publications (a reducer of print frequency in its newspapers) and wonder which one is right. He notes community papers may suffer some declines and revenue challenges, but are in the best position to deal with digital transformation because of their market dominance. And the papers in heavy competition are smart to reduce those legacy costs to preserve their operations. In other words, both approaches are right.
Two product launches of note at either end of the new and legacy media: Twitter is launching
its own stand-alone music application that recommends on the basis of personal signals (including who one follows), and the U.S. newspaper industry is launching Wanderful,
an online shopping tool aimed at buttressing its insert business, at 327 sites. Both services are ambitious expansions
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.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, March 19, 2013:
The British House of Commons has passed measures
to establish a new press regulator. Press Gazette reports that judges will be permitted to award punitive damages against publishers who do not sign on to the new entity, which will be established by royal charter, seek arbitration of disputes, and be amended only by two-thirds support in both Houses of Parliament. Major newspaper firms have reacted critically
. The measures follow the Leveson inquiry into press conduct.The Atlantic delves into data from the new State of the News Media report and identifies the critical slide in advertising revenue for the newspaper business and their websites. In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in ad revenue for every $1 they gained in online ad revenue. Indeed the entire growth in the last decade of digital revenue does not make up for a single year of declines since 2003.The Knight Foundation is critical of many journalism schools, noting they haven't mastered the Web much less prepared their students for even more modern developments in gathering, telling and distributing their content. Where Knight is financing social and mobile applications, some schools haven't found ways to integrate the Web, Poynter's Andrew Beaujon reports.
Three media stories of note for Tuesday, March 12, 2013:
A proposed Texas law rearranges the obligations of media and the opportunities for litigants in defamation cases. Nieman Journalism Lab reports
on the proposed "retraction statute" that would oblige those who believe they have been defamed to contact publishers to give them an opportunity to retract, correct or clarify with the same prominence as the original publication. If they do so, a plaintiff can't be awarded punitive damages. If they do, they are entitled to a reasonable amount of information that can confirm the error. Out-of-court efforts would be made, too, to avoid expensive and protracted legislation. The bill would promote "truth in publication."
Gawker's Deadspin blog, known for its verve, has taken a detour in its approach and suddenly opened itself to a public "contributor network" with the same creative tools as its writing staff. It has PandoDaily pronouncing it
as throwing in the towel and taking the route toward Huffington Post and Bleacher Report and away from its original path. PandoDaily's Bryan Goldberg says all media properties need to embrace the fact that more traffic is better than less, professional writers are not the only valid voices, and innovation is the only route out of the challenging economics.
Veteran news executive and advisor Gordon Crovitz weighs in on last week's spat
between freelance journalist Nate Thayer, who worked for him in Cambodia, and The Atlantic Online. It will be recalled that The Atlantic wanted Thayer to rewrite his reporting fot them free. Crovitz, writing for the Wall Street Journal, laments this and notes that the tumult in journalism is driven by declines in advertising. Some journalism will be free, but the important journalism will require underwriting. "We need to find ways of paying for it," he concludes.
Three media-related stories of note for Friday, March 1, 2013:
The exhaustive dispute between Google and Germany reached the end of another chapter Friday when legislation was finalized to bring about a compromise on the degree of information the search engine could reveal. Google will be permitted to show snippets. Publishers had been arguing that Google should pay fees to produce those results. Spiegel Online reports
that the permitted length of these snippets is still unclear.
Keith Somerville, a senior research fellow at the Commonwealth Institute and veteran journalist, provides a primer in Mmegi Online
on the framing of two recent African stories to fit Western perceptions. He examines the South African Crime frame to discuss the Oscar Pistorius case and the War on Terror frame to discuss violence in Mali, and he notes how both suit the Western audiences but only tell small parts of the stories. While frames are not necessarily wrong, he says, journalists need to provide more context to help readers understand what led to the events.
A new survey from Rasmussen Reports
discusses American sources of news and finds that cable TV ranks first (32 per cent use it). But the major change is in the rise of the Internet (25 per cent) over network television (24). Newspapers (10) and radio (7) were well back. Trust among all was quite low. While 56 per cent found media somewhat trustworthy, only six per cent found them quite trustworthy.