Here are some media stories of note for Wednesday, May 8, 2013:
Josh Stenberg, a former newspaper advertising executive, writes an insiderish account for Digiday
on why many newspapers are struggling. He writes of the "blind and bold arrogance" that resists digital change, the oversized ad departments that haven't separated remnant accounts from golden opportunities, the emerging role of messaging and planning that newspapers will be used for by advertisers, the mistake of looking for a single solution, and his assertion that paywalls won't work.
Frustrated about the vulnerability of your online activity? The MIT Technology Review notes
that a U.S. government lab has been operating a "quantum Internet" for about two years that sends secure messages between two points using a hub that converts the content and makes it technically impossible to eavesdrop. "The idea is that messages to the hub rely on the usual level of quantum security," the site's physics blog writes. "However, once at the hub, they are converted to conventional classical bits and then reconverted into quantum bits to be sent on the second leg of their journey. So as long as the hub is secure, then the network should also be secure."
Roy Peter Clark, in a piece for Poynter,
argues that sometimes there can be too much transparency in the journalistic narrative. He asserts that translucence, the balance between transparency and opacity, is a much more optimal result in many cases because it achieves authenticity while preserving the good reading experience. That said, he also knows that for certain straight news or investigative work, where the writing is less important than the reporting, transparency is much more important.
Some media stories of note for Monday, April 29, 2013:
A study by Quantum Media Holdings suggests Americans are spending 16 minutes per hour attached to social media, Australians are spending 14 minutes and those in U.K. 13 minutes. The principal driver in this data is smartphone use. Fox Business reports
that Quantum says a lot of the time spent is "ego-centric" generation of photos and messages about personal activities, more so than browsing content.
For years publishers have been pushing for Google to pay royalties for their content. But The Wrap notes
another such advocate has entered the fray and he is no shrinking violet. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein says Google's failure to pay creators for content amounts to stealing, and that technologist are earning billions while artists are struggling. He noted YouTube's dominance as a video site, expressed concern about the fate of newspapers and magazines in this environment, and encouraged Congress to pay a law that would generate royalties for creators.
A Canadian lawsuit stands to test the boundaries of libel in online comments. The former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brian Burke, has filed a lawsuit against 18 anonymous commenters who posted what he says are libels about him. He intends to unmask the commenters and pursue legal action against them. The Globe and Mail reports
that privacy law experts believe it is only a matter of time before other such suits test the limits of what sites and message boards can legally post.
Media stories of note for Thursday, April 18, 2013:
The South China Morning Post notes a new press regulation
in China that prohibits quoting any foreign media content without state approval. The regulator wants "strengthened management" of media, effectively a signal that media may not report what has not already been published by state-approved media. It notes a strengthened role for the regulator in recent weeks as it merged broadcast and print oversight.
It may seem self-evident that following a link to open an article would not constitute a copyright infringement, but the British Supreme Court has formally ruled on it. The court overturned an earlier ruling that found newspaper owners' copyright was breached. The Guardian reports
that the case is considered significant enough the court has referred the matter to the European Court of Justice so there may be continent-wide common understanding of rights.
Matt Waite, writing for Poynter,
discusses the emergence of sensor journalism, the use of technology to measure sound, temperature, movement and other factors to create data that are then converted into stories. He looks at sensors used to chronicle cicadas, but offers his own idea to explore how certain city districts have higher noise levels than others. Waite views sensor journalism as a new form that capitalizes on simple devices to make sense of complex information.
Media stories of note for Wednesday, April 17, 2013:
Barry Diller, the veteran media executive and chairman of IAC, says death will come for irrelevant media and those who innovate will be fine. While that isn't a particular revelation, his views on newspapers are. For one, he notes they have a larger audience than ever due to their web reach. But more importantly, they have the ability to be "granular" in their look at communities. He told a conference
this week he is surprised they don't.
Meanwhile, paidContent looks
at a new Newspapers Association of America survey that indicates newspaper audiences are highly engaged. But it points to the need for a stronger presence in mobile to deal with declining advertising revenue. The survey looked at 11 metrics --- from ethics to effectiveness of advertising --- and newspapers and their online counterparts came out on top of all media.
Digital advertising revenue has climbed 15 per cent in the U.S. in 2012 to reach $36.6 billion, nearly half of which came from search advertising. A large growth area was display advertising, including video, which rose nearly 33 per cent in the year. The Interactive Advertising Bureau study was reported by Reuters.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, April 16, 2013:
The explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday were captured by media, but Erik Wemple of the Washington Post notes how Twitter served as a form of media ombudsman
in the hours that followed to verify and not the many assertions and sources that emerged with information about the blasts. Wemple notes Twitter is also a home for those emphasizing caution in reporting on breaking news.
There continues a dispute between the London School of Economics and the BBC over an LSE trip to North Korea in which the BBC had embedded three journalists posing as professors. The Guardian reports
some of the students indicated BBC did not gain informed consent and they only learned of the undercover journalists upon arriving in North Korea. BBC insists the students were briefed in Beijing about the move.The Daily Telegraph notes
the European Commission has poured millions of euros into initiatives aimed at stronger Europe-wide regulation of the press. Among its early work is a report that recommends newspapers be regulated as are broadcasters, much more tightly and with requirements for balance.
Media stories of note for Monday, April 8, 2013:
The good news for U.S. newspapers is that their revenue declines slowed in 2012, in part because some digital revenue stepped in somewhat to ease the slide, particularly revenue from digital subscriptions. The bad news is that the decline continued, the Associated Press reports
, to the extent of about two per cent. Revenues for the industry were $38.6 billion, down from $39.5 billion.
Sources of strong revenue for smaller community newspapers are legal notices on bankruptcies, name changes, estate wills and the like. But a proposed California law would permit such notices to only be posted online,
a move that would seriously undercut the business models of the papers. Other states have started to implement such laws, in part because they are more affordable ways to publish such notices.
The New York Times examines the growing presence of sponsored content
online, noting that other forms of advertising have not been effective and that the association of a brand with editorial material has started to demonstrate greater appeal. Of course, the approach has its critics.
Media stories of note for Wednesday, April 4, 2013:
Matthew Ingram, writing for paidContent,
examines the effort by the new owners of the Orange County Register --- owners with no media experience --- to rebuild the newspaper and online site. They have invested millions of dollars in content and in gestures to make the operations subscriber-first, rather than advertiser-first, entities.
Ben Elowitz, the CEO and co-founder of Wetpaint, writes for AllThingsDigital
that it is important for media companies to understand the principles of programming. Not computer programming, but broadcast programming, and how there is a time to deliver particular content to particular audiences. He argues that sites would be much more successful if they understood that timing is everything.
The Associated Press has altered its Stylebook to remove the term "illegal immigrant," a move that has implications for the language media use to describe those living without legal permission in the country. It has transferred the concept to the action from the person. Thus there is "illegal immigration" and people living illegally in the country. Poynter examines the implication
of this seemingly subtle move.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, April 2, 2013:
Aereo, the Barry Diller-supported Internet streaming service the captures over-the-air television signals and transmits them to users, has won another court battle
over television networks that want to knock it out of business. Bloomberg reports the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York turned down an appeal of a lower-court ruling that had denied a preliminary injunction against Aereo, which now plans to expand its service nationally. Doubtlessly, with stakes so high, the court proceedings are not over.
A new Dutch online news operation has successfully crowdsourced funds beyond its start-up needs for it to start an advertising-free high-quality journalism site later this year. The Irish Times reports
the title will be de Correspondent, based in Amsterdam, and its principals say it will aim up-market. More than 15,000 people have paid in advance their subscription fees, giving the title more than one million Euros to start.
Mashable weighs in on the successes of Financial Times,
in particular its ability to effectively gather data about its audience. Rather than view paywalls as a way to repel those who want the content free, the FT uses the paywall to register and gather fairly extensive data about those it grants access to eight free articles a month. The result is a more sophisticated understanding of who it reaches.
Always beware information on that first day of April. Arguably the most intriguing of these assertions on April Fool's was TechCrunch's intrepid coverage
of a French plan to enlist drones to deliver newspapers in France.
Media stories of note for Monday, March 25, 2013:
Matthew Ingram, writing for paidContent,
relates his discussions with media scholars Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky on the future of media. Their conclusion: there is a "barbell" issue in media, with either end of media, big and small, generally in good shape with strong reputations or relationships. But the middle remains quite uncertain. While Ingram doesn't suggest solutions, he concludes the challenges for medium-sized media are significant.
Matt Sokoloff, writing for the hyperlocal StreetFight blog,
suggests newspapers could evolve into "local membership" organizations, using their reach to connect people to a series of services, programs, discounts and offers. The opportunities would deliver strong revenue, too.
Lauren Hockenson, writing for 10000 Words
, discusses the relatively new phenomenon of hacking journalist accounts and provides a tip sheet on two-step verification to protect online identities. She argues it's a necessity, given some of the recent events.
Media stories of note for Thursday, March 21, 2013:
Earlier this week Allyson Bird blogged about
why she left newspapers. Her post has since gone viral. She tired of the extended hours for relatively little pay, emotionally exhaustion and under-appreciation. "I left news, not because I didn’t love it enough, but because I loved it too much – and I knew it was going to ruin me," she writes. Bird, a former Palm Beach Post reporter, now writes more happily for a hospital fundraising arm.
A new study from Deloitte suggests Americans are rapidly becoming "digital omnivores," owning a laptop, tablet and smartphone. Some 26 per cent had all three at the end of 2012, up from 10 per cent only a year earlier. The result, Hollywood Reporter says,
is a massive growth in streamed video online.
Emily Bell, the former Guardian online director and current director of the Tow Center for digital media at Columbia University, adds her perspective
to new British press regulations. She says they're seriously out of touch with the way the Internet has changed journalism. As a result it fails to address privacy concerns and press freedom attacks in a connected society.
Robert Cringely, writing for InfoWorld,
writes about the "death" of Web journalism at the hands of advertisers. He notes the rapid rise of so-named "native advertising" or sponsored content and the increasing number of publishers who are prepared to blur the "fine line between shills and scribes."