Here are some media stories of note for Friday, June 7, 2013:The New York Times writes
about the sudden prominence of security/surveillance of journalism blogger Glenn Greenwald, whose report late Wednesday on the secretive court order
to compile Verizon phone data has sent substantial shock waves through the communities interested in privacy, journalism and politics. Greenwald himself, writing for The Guardian,
followed that report Thursday with a co-written one on Prism, an NSA program that involved six large digital companies. Jeremy Harris Lipschultz, a University of Nebraska communications professor, writes for Huffington Post
that it is very hard for the Obama Administration to profess a respect for freedom when it is spying on its citizens.
Last week, digital analyst Mary Meeker's annual report drew attention for a surprising statistic: smartphone owners use their phones on average 150 times a day. The reference has made it across the Web widely (half a million references to it in Google search, for instance). SFGate reports
that the claim can't be supported by any data. Jeff Elder, the social media director for the San Francisco Chronicle, says Meeker's firm defends the claim but that the original source she cites has distanced itself from the claim, too.
Stuart Watson, an investigative report for a Charlotte TV station and a former Nieman fellow, debunks the myth that investigative reporting is for lone wolves. He writes in Nieman Reports
that it's a collaborative, iterative process that is "inherently social and almost always derivative." Watchdogs need to work together, he says.
Here are some media stories of note for Thursday, June 6, 2013:The Guardian summarizes
the recent violence against journalists in Turkey and notes the concern by press freedom groups about the country's crackdown on social media and other communications as protests grow. Demonstrations against the development of Gezi Park on Taksim Square have been particularly violent, with reports of tear gas and water hoses, reports The Guardian's Roy Greenslade. Pro-government media have also been the target of public demonstration and violence.
Glenn Greenwald, writing for Comment is Free in The Guardian,
argues that reader-funded journalism is an important key to the future of adversarial and investigative journalism. He believes that such work preserves independence of the craft, in that it is not beholden to advertisers or corporate interests, and advances the accountability of journalism to its audience. Moreover, he asserts, the model "elevates the act of journalism into a collective venture."
Taylor Miller Thomas, writing for Poynter,
examines the efforts by some science organizations (NASA in particular, in this case) to adopt media platforms to directly communicate with the audience. She writes about NASA's efforts across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Google+ to report its own news. She notes the decline of science reporting in traditional media and the effort by some agencies to report in order to build public support for their initiatives.
Ken Armstrong, the Pulitzer-winning reporter for The Seattle Times, has a short piece in the latest Nieman Reports
that suggests journalists need to enlist the public more in shedding light on reluctant and resistant agencies. He thinks more should be done to identify organizations that are stonewalling reporters (and to positively identify those that are more accommodating). "Let readers know," he writes.
A few media stories of note for Wednesday, June 5, 2013:
The World Press Trends annual report
indicates newspaper circulation worldwide declined 0.9 per cent in 2012, largely due to advances (1.2%) in Asia that offset most of the losses in North America (6.6%), western Europe (5.3%) and eastern Europe (8.2%). Still, it meant more than 2.5 billion newspapers in print
and half the world reading a daily newspaper, with more than $200 bilion in revenue. Moreover, when digital extensions of the paper are tallied, the content is reaching more people than ever, the report says. Advertising revenue declined 2% in the year (but 22% since 2008) and the report notes that 80% of classified advertising is now digital. The report indicates audience engagement is a key to future success.
Worldwide entertainment and media spending will continue to grow over the next five years to $2.2 trillion from $1.7 trillion, with digital and its associated consumption accounting for the most of the increases. The annual media and entertainment report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers
says the rise of tablets and smartphones and the rapid growth in India, China and Brazil as vibrant media markets will lead the growth. The Los Angeles Times reports
digital media will account for 43% of all media spending in the U.S. will be in digital by 2017, up from 31% in 2012.
The future of news is necessarily small. That's the view of Harvard Business School's Nicco Mele. Writing for the Nieman Reports,
he says scale is elusive in the new business models and it isn't clear yet how investigative journalism will be financed in the new era. He suggests new players --- academia, entertainment firms, even industry associations --- might be keys to the financial puzzle.
Some media stories of note for Wednesday, May 22, 2013:
Jonathan Stray, writing for Nieman Journalism Lab,
examines the slow evolution of journalism from "just-the-facts" to "what it means" reportage. He cites academic research on content and concludes that prominent work today is more regularly contextual. He attributes this to the shift away from the pursuit of objectivity to one of analysis, backgrounding and connecting the dots.
Anthony de Rosa, posting on Soup
, decries the duplication in today's journalism. He doesn't cite particular outlets but notes that so many stories are simply matched by those who do not advance the material. He thinks it's time to relent and devote precious resources to original content. The medium no longer requires matching, he argues.
Dana Milbank, political columnist for the Washington Post, devotes attention to the
Obama Administration's surveillance and seizure of journalists' records and concludes this is a serious matter deserving of much wider attention because of its collision with constitutional rights of freedom of expression. Milbank says the administration needs to address the recent series of episodes involving organizations or else its "ominous" precedent is bound to be followed by later leaders without a real dedication to the First Amendment.
Some media stories of note for Thursday, May 16, 2013:
It may seem incongruent, but as the White House deals with criticism of the Department of Justice's seizure of phone records for reporters at The Associated Press, it is reviving its efforts to create legislation that would shield reporters' sources and communications from disclosure. The New York Times reports
that the President's Senate liaison called Wednesday to ask a Democratic Senator to reintroduce a version of a 2009 bill that didn't make it through Congress.The New Republic explores
the context of the DOJ/AP phone-seizure issue by looking at the chilling effect official surveillance might have on national security reporting. It interviews journalists who believe their phones were tapped and activities tracked. Sources are less willing to part with sensitive information in this climate, the story concludes.
Ken Doctor, writing on "newsonomics" for the Nieman Journalism Lab,
examines what went wrong with NewsRight, the effort by the AP and others to deal with illegal or unfair use of their content online. NewsRight was wound up this week. Doctor chronicles the questionable and vague strategy, the evolution of the news licensing field with such players as NewsCred and Flipboard, and some of the decisions made along the way. "Thumbs down to content consortia," he writes. "Thumbs up to letting the freer market of entrepreneurs make sense of the content landscape, with publishers getting paid something for what the companies still know how to do: produce highly valued content."
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 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 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.
Media stories of note for Tuesday, March 26, 2013:
An international study commissioned by the BBC examines the use of television and tablets in consuming news. It suggests a TV-first habit remains in the consumption of breaking news but that tablets and the Internet are increasingly the resource to dig deeper. Rather than take away from television, tablets are integrating into an environment of smartphones and laptops, says the study reported in TechCrunch.
Indeed, nearly have of the tablet owners say they are watching more television.
The BBC has created a database of "expert women" to increase the proportion of women seen and heard on its news programming. Poynter notes
the database is part of an initiative that recently saw BBC train experts in presenting their views at its BBC Academy. A YouTube channel was launched featuring some of these presentations.
Ken Doctor, the news executive who writes for Nieman Journalism Lab
, explores the recent State of the News Media report's assertion that most news companies may have missed the opportunity to capitalize on the emerging mobile and local digital advertising market. The strength of the so-called GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Apple) in securing the front row may have precluded their significant presence.