Some media stories of note for Monday, May 20, 2013:The New Yorker examines
the ethical challenge of what a media organization does with a sponsor who might be aggrieved. Jane Mayer looks at how PBS dealt with David Koch, the conservative billionaire/philanthropist who was featured in a critical documentary it was about to broadcast.
Mark Thompson, the CEO of The New York TImes Company, spoke last week to Columbia Business School graduates and suggested the decision to institute an online paywall was among the shrewdest moves the organization has ever made. His commencement address did not note, as Jeff John Roberts did in paidContent,
that the Times' subscription base may have reached a plateau.
The BBC Trust has given a general seal of approval to the BBC websites, but found that its local news services aren't as strong as they ought to be. The Guardian reports
the Trust identified some weaknesses in quality and the ability of users to personalize content locally.
Some media stories of note for Thursday, May 9, 2013:
Poynter has two stories that examine the qualities of the reporting of the saving of three women from captivity in Cleveland earlier this week. Eric Deggans writes
about some of the flaws of the early reporting of Charles Ramsay, whose interview following the rescue of the women made him an Internet sensation. Was it a case of jumping on a good story without adequate verification? Were there factors that made Ramsay a particularly attractive story? Then Kelly McBride writes
about how to fairly cover the impending rape trial in which the three women have already been identified. "Their names are already central to the story, and that cannot be avoided," McBride writes. But there are several ways for media to minimize harm in the coverage by using clear language and reflexivity to avoid further victimization.
Mathew Ingram, writing for paidContent,
explores the idea of the "open interview," in which the full discussion is made available publicly. He notes that many journalists don't provide a transcript or tape unless there is some challenge about the context of a quote or a question about its accuracy. Technology easily permits it now, Ingram writes. Even though there are drawbacks --- not all journalists know how to get to the point when asking a question, and some will appear less than authoritative in their interrogations --- Ingram concludes it's a valuable approach to build audience trust.
Ingram also has a look
at LinkedIn's evolution as a platform as it ventures more and more into news provision. He notes the changes in LinkedIn Today's stream of business news with a series of content channels that open inside your profile. While Ingram doesn't accept that LinkedIn has become a media empire, he does note that it is finding a way to direct relevant content to a business-oriented audience.
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 Thursday, April 4, 2013:
Felix Salmon's latest post for Reuters
identifies trends in the evolution of online paywalls. In discussions with Mather Economics and Mediapass, Salmon notes that different paywall models are emerging that might be more adept at securing subscription revenue and subscriber loyalty, principally by recognizing audiences for certain content and by offering a clearer mix of free and metered material.
Mathew Ingram's latest post for paidContent
delves into Present Shock, the new book by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, and his premise that traditional organizations are finding themselves trapped these days between the desire to be reflective and analytical and the need to be part of a more iterative, intense media --- what he calls the trap between the reservoir and the stream.
Kylie Davis, the News Ltd. editor who writes for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association blog
, identifies traits for successful editors: reflexivity on why people should follow you, humility, personal change, tough empathy and daring to be different.
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.
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.
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.
Three media stories of note for Thursday, March 7, 2013:
The Guardian has an excerpt
of a chapter about journalism's challenges following the Leveson inquiry. The chapter's contributor is Richard Sambrook, former BBC News executive and current journalism school director at Cardiff University, He writes that, post-Leveson, journalism needs to apply a premium on transparent standards in order to rebuild trust. Rather than address standards through statute, what's needed is a shift in perspective by newspapers toward their staff and the public.
Frédéric Filloux, in his Monday Note,
has a look at last week's massive Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Among what interested him: 3.2 billion mobile subscribers, great machine-to-machine growth and data growth, meaning a large opportunity for media through video streaming. He identifies a challenge in the range of screen sizes, features and operating systems.
Earlier this week freelance writer Nate Thayer took The Atlantic Online to task for asking him to rewrite free an article he'd contributed elsewhere. Matthew Ingram, writing for paidContent,
notes that the episode epitomizes the changing landscape for writing --- namely, that there is plenty free writing good enough to meet the audience's expectations. He concludes that a writer's competition isn't the better product but the one that is good enough for others and is free.
Some media stories of note for Tuesday, March 5, 2013:
Nate Thayer, a freelance journalist, carries his email exchanges
with an editor at The Atlantic on its attempts to get him to revamp a piece on the "basketball diplomacy" of Dennis Rodman in North Korea free in exchange for the large platform it would reach. Thayer's exchange reflects an emerging trend of platform-as-currency for creators.
Twitter is often cited as a gauge of public opinion, but a new Pew study suggests
it is more often than not more of an extreme indication. The study examined eight events over the course of a year and found that general public opinion differed from what the Twitterverse produced. There is no particular theme involved: at times it is more liberal, at times more conservative.
Publishers are charging more and offering fewer free articles as they develop more metered delivery of their content online. The paidContent site examines data
from more than 400 publishers in the Press+ fold and found the average subscription price was $9.26 in January, up five per cent from a year earlier and 40 per cent from two years earlier. And fewer free pieces were being offered before a paywall cut off the reader.
Some media stories of note for Thursday, February 28, 2013:
The discipline of verification isn't always disciplined. Craig Silverman, writing for Poynter,
examines a Canadian study on media practices to confirm information and finds them inconsistent and a little improvised. The study
(full disclosure: some authors are or have been colleagues) found that verification can't always be verified.
Last month The Atlantic ran into criticism for carrying sponsored content featuring information on the Church of Scientology. The episode prompted The Atlantic to take down the content, apologize, and create new standards to reflect those of the editorial work of the organization. Jeff John Roberts, writing for paidContent,
discusses the lessons learned --- mainly that this sort of content is difficult to carry off with a news brand.
Lately there have been several pieces touting the value of LinkedIn as an emerging, even established player in the publishing space among social media. Evelyn Rusi of The Wall Street Journal takes a larger look
at the impact of the professional network --- what it terms the ugly duckling of social media --- in specializing and commanding a high-end market.