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.
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 Tuesday, May 28, 2013:
Meena Thiruvengadam, writing for Poynter
, looks at the increasing value and presence of Instagram as a tool for newsrooms in engaging audiences, generating and curating content, and reporting. She looks at the work at the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and NBC News in developing new paths to markets using the instant photo delivery platform.
Financial Times reports (registration required for link)
on a British study that suggests Britons are increasingly prepared to pay for digital content. It also finds declines in television viewing, social media use, and reading books. The study for KPMG's annual entertainment and media survey indicates online gaming and ebooks are the top sellers, driven by smartphone and tablet applications. On a related matter, early data from The Telegraph
suggest a strong continuation of audience support for its metered paywall.
Gawker has reached its $200,000 crowdfunding goal to purchase a video allegedly depicting drug use by Toronto's mayor. The Globe and Mail notes
the effort has stirred questions about the ethics of purchasing content, particularly from those allegedly involved in drug dealing. Naturally, all might be for naught, in that the source of the video (which Gawker and reporters from the Toronto Star have seen) has not been in contact for many days. Meantime, the Globe's public editor has weighed in
on the paper's recent investigative story on the mayor's family's background, particularly its use of anonymous sources.
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.
Five media stories of note for Thursday, March 14, 2013:
Anette Novak, a media consultant blogging for the International Newsmedia Marketing Association,
examines and argues for the involvement of legacy media in building community competence and awareness. She believes media can help their communities understand the three C's: critical thinking, consent and copyright. She says this would improve relationships and build credibility.
Casey Frechette, a journalism professor and digital strategist, has created a primer at Poynter.org
for journalists who want to understand effective web design. She identifies techniques to achieve simple, effective expression: design grids, repetition of elements, white space, hierarchy, texture and depth, the use of colour to express meaning, and contrast.
A new study from Pew Internet suggests
one-quarter of teens mainly gain access to the Internet through their smartphones. One in four teens are "cell-mostly" users. Among many lower-income and lower-educated households, teens focused on their smartphones in the absence of computers. One in four teens owns a tablet, similar to the level among adults. Smartphone ownership has grown to 47 per cent, up from 23 per cent in 2011.
A British study suggests women Tweet more often than men, and are more likely to talk about personal matters, television and work, while men talk about sports, gaming and news. The Telegraph reports
on the Brandwatch study of 1,000 Twitter accounts and concludes women (15 Tweets daily) and men (nine) not only discuss different things but use different language to do so.
John Pavlus, writing for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Review,
looks at the very different tracks of two major media sites: The New York Times and the Daily Mail. The former is designed to encourage reading and the latter "doubles down" on anti-readability, he notes. But the Daily Mail just keeps on growing and striving for clicks, while the Times' strategy hasn't been proven effective just yet.
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.
Some media stores of note Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013:
If paywalls are an important part of the revenue stream for news organizations, then they need to make them walls and not fences. They are easily breached at the moment, defeating much of their purpose. The New York Times has moved to close a few leaks
in its online paywall, New York magazine reports. Among other things it has adjusted URLs to make evading the wall more difficult.
ZenithOptimedia has released a new study
on new media adoption and found Western Europe leads the way in adoption of smartphones, Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) and tablets. It says the region will continue to be a strong adopter in the next few years, with four of the top five markets.
The American Journalism Review examined
the approaches of four U.S. newspapers in devising new functions and connections in their communities. The general conclusion of the piece is that papers have to stop occupying defensive territory and move into a proactive approach.
The Washington Post's Paul Farhi examines
the White House communications strategy for President Barack Obama and concludes he's just not into newspapers. Obama gave most of his interviews to television outlets.
A new report
from the Pew Internet & American Life Project suggests we have entered the era of the mobile application. The use --- and particularly the growth --- of apps is trending such that it now is where the industry action is.
The report indicates more than one-third of adults --- particularly men and young adults --- have applications on their smartphones, although only one-quarter of adults use them. It is, as the report suggests, pretty significant in view of the fact there weren't such applications only a couple of years ago (pre-iPhone and Android).
Among cellphone owners, 29 per cent have downloaded apps and 13 per cent have paid for them.
The New York Times reviews the declaration last week that the Web is dead by contending with media history. Its conclusion
: Media adapt to newcomers and rarely die just because of them.
"Today, traditional media companies face the adaptive challenge posed by the Internet. That challenge is not just the technology itself, but how it has altered people’s habits of media consumption," writes Steve Lohr.
But Lohr notes that history shows evolution, not dissolution, is the order of the day when media are threatened by new forms of communication. What is different this time is the speed of change and the disruption of consumption patterns. As one academic tells him, change has changed.
College students don't wear watches, they carry cellphones as time pieces. They don't email, they text. People don't talk as much on phones; they text and arrange calls for important matters. People aren't blogging as much; instead, they're using social networks to tell their stories.
A few weeks ago the Digital Media Test Kitchen at University of Colorado unfurled some impressive work on the early stages of mobile applications from newsrooms. It's worth taking another look at one element of its work on the specific challenges for news organizations as they embrace --- or don't --- mobile.
Author Lauren Seaton concludes
that the initial apps coming into the market are tepid, far less innovative than non-news organizations are producing, and she wonders why.
"While templates and layouts are similar from app to app, they generally lack originality and creativity," she writes. The smartphone offers opportunities for news organizations to reach audiences, but "most of the news applications that have been created by single news brands do not do enough to encourage interactivity, customization, or creativity."
In another chapter
on the far-reaching report, author Jordan Wirfs-Brock notes the new uses emerging with smartphones and suggests opportunities exist for news organizations in such areas as geo-location, augmented reality, voice-to-text, financial transactions, push reminders, social incentives, multi-touch, and gesture.