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.
Five media stories of note for Wednesday, March 13, 2013:
The chairman of the India Press Council has proposed there be minimum qualifications for journalists. The Hindu reports
that Justice Markandey Katju has established a committee of two other council members and a professor in order to make recommendations for legislation. He says that untrained people enter journalism and do not hold high standards. It is time for there to be professional qualifications enacted in law, he says. Industry reaction, not surprisingly, has been critical of the proposal.
In Australia, meanwhile, there is political and industry opposition
to the government's new package of media reforms. Among them is the establishment of a public interest advocate to oversee the self-regulatory press council and to review such industry transactions as mergers. The government defends
the reforms as integral to public trust of media, while industry suggests the reforms are intrusive. News Corp., the largest media company in Australia, has called the moves Stalinism.
A two-part post in theMediaBriefing
features a presentation by German academics who argue that a rethinking of editorial models is necessary in the time ahead to invest in high-quality, unique content. But they argue that the fear of crisis inhibits innovation.
Could a print-on-demand model help publishers in the digital age? theMediaBriefing writes
of the success Scientific American enjoyed in creating a print version of a digital application. While it wouldn't replace print revenues, it might augment digital-centric operations.
A new study for the U.S. National Newspaper Network has good news for the print media: It's the choice of sports fans. A survey conducted for the network found sports fans preferred newspapers over television, radio or other print outlets for coverage and analysis of sports. Poynter Online, in summarizing the study
, also noted newspaper websites were preferred over their digital counterparts.
Some media stories of note for Tuesday, February 26, 2013:
Is there some science behind successful Tweeting? Seems so. Poynter's Jeff Sonderman writes about a Georgia Institute of Technology study that suggests negative Tweets are largely a turn-off in securing a larger audience. Given that Twitter is a weak-tie platform, the more negative Tweets tend to make unfamiliar people uncomfortable. Another conclusion: Feed those followers information, not your eating habits.
There are three different takes arguing the necessity of media change.
Kylie Davis, the national real estate editor for News Corp. in Australia, challenges print media
to embrace content marketing or face its wrath -- the departure of advertisers who will become direct competitors. She writes for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA) blog that it can deliver a targeted audience, take time away from traditional media, and might even be better in some cases as storytellers. "Choosing to ignore it or claim it is not relevant will end only in shouts and tears."
Mark Challinor, the director of mobile for the Telegraph Group in London, says print will remain the cornerstone of his business. Challinor, writing for the INMA blog, suggests print will be integrated
with mobile as a vehicle to cut through the clutter and deliver audiences to advertisers with rich content.
David Lieberman, the executive editor of Deadline New York, writes about an analyst's view
that big media companies are taking the rise of mobile streaming far too lightly. Laura Martin of Needham & Co. says a new wave of streaming tech companies are sneaking up on the traditional networks and outlets with short-term premium videos designed to attract younger viewers of tablets and smartphones.
The New York Times' David Carr has a take
--- and a relatively negative one at that --- on Rupert Murdoch's plan to create a firewall and charge for online content at his newspaper Web sites.
Carr said he's personally unlikely to pay for something he now consumes free and expects other consumers are in the same place and space. But he does ask if Murdoch has one more revolution left in him.
While no expects a full firewall around all of the News Corp. content, Carr believes Murdoch will have difficulty generalizing the narrower successes now experienced at his Wall Street Journal and the rival Financial Times.
"The deeper problem for Mr. Murdoch and every other newspaper owner is that although the revenue picture for newspapers has changed considerably in the last two years, the consumer is still stuck on zero when it comes to what he or she will pay for the vast majority of content," he writes.
"Quality journalism is not cheap," Rupert Murdoch said Wednesday.
The upshot is that his titles prestigious and big, from the Times of London to News of the World, will be charging for online content by next year at this time. The free ride is ending and Murdoch is signalling his intention to enforce his copyright on material.
"We'll be asserting our copyright at every point," he told the Guardian.
At the moment only his Wall Street Journal charges for online content --- although it also makes some content freely available. But Murdoch, like all proprietors feeling the impact of the recession on advertising, believes there is revenue in subscription.
He points to some of his tabloids, like The Sun and News of the World, and concludes that even their celebrity scoops are going to be attractive for subscriptions.
Rupert Murdoch is urging newspapers to charge for content.
His Wall Street Journal remains one of the few successful examples of subscriber-underwritten sites. Murdoch says the advertising industry can no longer support the required replacement of revenue as print softens and digital rises.
He hints his News Corp. is looking at a digital e-reader and he didn't hint --- he said bluntly --- that Google needs to pay for using newspaper content.
I don't do this often, but it's worth having a look at an excerpt of a speech delivered as the Boyer lecture Sunday in Australia by News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, called The Future of Newspapers, Moving Beyond Dead Trees:
"Too many journalists seem to take a perverse pleasure in ruminating on their pending demise. I know industries that are today facing stiff new competition from the internet: banks, retailers, phone companies and so on. But these sectors also see the internet as an extraordinary opportunity. But among our journalistic friends are some misguided cynics who are too busy writing their own obituary to be excited by the opportunity.
Self-pity is never pretty. And sometimes it even starts in journalism school, some of which are perpetuating the pessimism of their tribal elders. But I have a very different view.
Unlike the doom and gloomers, I believe that newspapers will reach new heights. In the 21st century, people are hungrier for information than ever. And they have more sources of information than ever.
Amid these many diverse and competing voices, readers want what they've always wanted: a source they can trust. That has always been the role of great newspapers in the past. And that role will make newspapers great in the future.
If you discuss the future with newspapermen, you will find that too many think that our business is only physical newspapers. I like the look and feel of newsprint as much as anyone. But our real business isn't printing on dead trees. It's giving our readers great journalism and great judgment.
It's true that in the coming decades the printed versions of some newspapers will lose circulation. But if papers provide readers with news they can trust, we'll see gains in circulation: on our web pages, through our RSS feeds, in emails delivering customised news and advertising, to mobile phones.
In short, we are moving from news papers to news brands. For all of my working life, I have believed that there is a social and commercial value in delivering accurate news and information in a cheap and timely way. In this coming century, the form of delivery may change, but the potential audience for our content will multiply many times over.
The news business is very personal for me. For more than a half century, newspapers have been at the heart of my business. If I am sceptical about the pessimists today, it's because of a simple reason: I have heard their morose soothsaying many times before.
The challenges are real. There will probably never be a paperless office, but young people are starting paperless homes. Traditional sources of revenue -- such as classifieds -- are drying up, putting pressure on the business model. And journalists face new competition from alternative sources of news and information.
So we have a steady stream of stories such as The Economist covers declaring that "newspapers are now an endangered species". That's quite ironic coming from a successful and growing magazine that likes to describe itself as "a newspaper".
My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: it's not newspapers that might become obsolete. It's some of the editors, reporters and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper's most precious asset: the bond with its readers.
When I was growing up, this was the key lesson my father impressed on me. If you were an owner, the best thing you could do was to hire editors who looked out for your readers' interests and gave these readers good, honest reporting on issues that mattered most to them. In return, you would be rewarded with trust and loyalty you could take to the bank.
Over many decades in newspapers, I have been privileged to witness history being made and printed almost every night. Today I'd like to talk about what these experiences have taught me and why they give me confidence about the future.
My intent is to use my experience to illuminate the way we need to respond to the two most serious challenges facing newspapers today. The first is the competition that is coming from new technology, especially the internet.
The more serious challenge is the complacency and condescension that festers at the heart of some newsrooms. The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted.
The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception.
I became an editor and owner well before I had planned. It happened when my father died and I was called home from Oxford. That was how I found myself a newspaper proprietor at the age of 22.
I was so young and so new to the business, when I pulled my car into the lot on my firstday, the garage attendant admonished me, "Hey, sonny, you can't park here."
That paper was (Adelaide's) The News. Its newsroom was a noisy place. But it was noise with purpose. The chattering and pounding of typewriter keys reached a crescendo in the minutes before a deadline that was stretched beyond breaking point by gun reporters determined to get the latest, freshest version of a story.
That background music created an urgency all of its own. When the presses began to run, everyone in the building felt the rumble. And when the presses were late, the journalists felt me rumble.
Readers want news as much as they ever did. Today The Times of London is read by a diverse global audience of 26 million people each month. That is an audience larger than the entire population of Australia, an audience whose sheer size is beyond the comprehension and ambitions of its founders in 1785.
That single statistic tells you that there is a discerning audience for news. The operative word is discerning. To compete today, you can't offer the old one-size-fits-all approach to news.
The defining digital trend in content is the increasing sophistication of search. You can already customise your news flow, whether by country, company or subject.
A decade from now, the offerings will be even more sophisticated. You will be able to satisfy your unique interests and search for unique content.
After all, a female university student in Malaysia is not going to have the same interests as a 60-year-old Manhattan executive. Closer to home, your teenage son is not going to have the same interests as your mother. The challenge is to use a newspaper's brand while allowing readers to personalise the news for themselves, and then deliver it in the ways that they want.
This is what we are trying to do at The Wall Street Journal. The Journal has the advantage of having a very loyal readership -- a brand known for quality -- and editors who take the readers and their interests seriously. This helps explain why the Journal continues to defy industry trends.
Of the 10 largest papers in the US, the Journal is the only one to have grown its paid subscriptions last year.
At the same time, we intend to make our mark on the digital frontier. The Journal is already the only US newspaper that makes real money online.
One reason for this is a growing global demand for business news and for accurate news. Integrity is not just a characteristic of our company, it is a selling point.
One way we are planning to take advantage of online opportunities is by offering three tiers of content. The first will be the news that we put online free. The second will be available for those who subscribe to wsj.com. And the third will be a premium service, designed to give its customers the ability to customise high-end financial news and analysis from around the world.
In all we do, we're going to deliver it in ways that best fit our readers' preferences: on web pages they can access from home or work, on still-evolving inventions such as Amazon's Kindle (a wireless book reader), as well as on (mobile) phones or BlackBerrys.
I do not claim to have all the answers. Given the realities of modern technology, this very radio address can be sliced and digitally diced. It can be accessed in a day or a month or a decade. And I can rightly be held to account in perpetuity for the points on which I am proven wrong, as well as mocked for my inability to see just how much more different the world had become.
But I don't think I will be proven wrong on one point. The newspaper, or a very close electronic cousin, will always be around. It may not be thrown on your front doorstep the way it is today. But the thud it makes as it lands will continue to echo across society and the world.""
Some brave words from the president of News Corp., Peter Chernin: Spend more time developing new business models than protecting old ones.
He was speaking in the context of the incessant drop in sales and incessant rise in piracy in the video business, but he was seemingly making a point about the overall digital sphere.
"To the degree we're only trying to protect existing business, we're toast," he told the U.S. National Cable and Telecommunications Association's annual convention. "All we're doing there is staving off the inevitable. We'll be dinosaurs sentencing ourselves to extinction."
The message was clear in that respect: Build new models or die.
The world's largest press baron is stating quite clearly now (if anyone didn't hear him before) that the media revolution will yield a personalized, customized experience for consumers. No more strictly top-down, quite a lot of bottom-up.
Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp., spoke at Georgetown University on how news is being reshaped by users with capabilities to choose and frame what they'd like, when they'd like it. A bi-product of this age: People who traditionally weren't able to afford such wide access through conventional media now will have it in the digital space.
The world's biggest press baron is clearly sounding concerned about the U.S. economy. Rupert Murdoch is indicating the advertising picture for the Fox Network (now America's most-watched) is feeling the pinch. He suspects the downturn is going to be there for a year or so. Not surprisingly, he pulled News Corp. out of the running for Yahoo! He was quite clear: Microsoft has more cash.
But what he had to say Monday about newspapers and their classified advertising at the Bear Sterns conference was quite revealing. He believes in the future of newspapers (he should, after all), but thinks local classified advertising will pretty much move over to free vehicles. In his view the result will be fewer journalists (international bureaus, for instance, will disappear) in part because newspaper margins will decline.
More than anything, those were remarks of impact.