Media stories of note for Tuesday, March 19, 2013:
The British House of Commons has passed measures
to establish a new press regulator. Press Gazette reports that judges will be permitted to award punitive damages against publishers who do not sign on to the new entity, which will be established by royal charter, seek arbitration of disputes, and be amended only by two-thirds support in both Houses of Parliament. Major newspaper firms have reacted critically
. The measures follow the Leveson inquiry into press conduct.The Atlantic delves into data from the new State of the News Media report and identifies the critical slide in advertising revenue for the newspaper business and their websites. In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in ad revenue for every $1 they gained in online ad revenue. Indeed the entire growth in the last decade of digital revenue does not make up for a single year of declines since 2003.The Knight Foundation is critical of many journalism schools, noting they haven't mastered the Web much less prepared their students for even more modern developments in gathering, telling and distributing their content. Where Knight is financing social and mobile applications, some schools haven't found ways to integrate the Web, Poynter's Andrew Beaujon reports.
Arguably the most comprehensive examination of news media arrives in the form of the annual State of the Media report
from the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. It looks at each platform, trends in creation and consumption, some of the economic conditions and ambitions, and summarizes the environment in which journalism (primarily North American journalism) operates.This year's report is out, and not surprisingly its focus is on the technological thrust of content delivery. Its findings note a rapid growth in mobile consumption
. that social media are not yet large drivers of news, that television news continues to grow, that subscription models will expand, and that privacy considerations will increasingly intersect with newsgathering. It concludes that business models are still far from certain in this new environment and it chides the traditional media industry for not viewing the engineering function as an economic and operational necessity in the digital age.As for standards, an area of the study's focus is on the reductions in local coverage of civic affairs. It notes that newspapers have been the primary sources of such information and that newsroom cuts have serious consequences for such coverage. The report also speculates that it may be a matter of time before the large technological platforms begin to acquire traditional content providers.The report has several elements and is generally considered required reading in the industry.
The Project for Excellence in Journalism issued its annual
State of the Media report Sunday. It is typically massive and comprehensive and, not surprisingly, even a cursory reading reveals a very sour note.
The message: Even with everything new in media, what has been lost cannot be replaced.
Some of the initial points in the report:
1. Consumer behaviour has changed. Media business models are affected. Journalism will be influenced as a result.
2. New and old media are more tethered than they think. The former needs the latter to reach an audience.
3. News media are not shrinking, but reportorial work is.
4. Technology is shifting control to newsmakers, who are using it to influence early perceptions of events.
5. The rise of special interests online is going to force journalism to forge new relationships.
6. Traditional media continue to hold sway with audiences online, so cuts in their newsrooms have an impact on online content, too.
On newspapers, the report notes they aren't disappearing, but their ad declines are threatening to make them insubstantial. On online journalism, there is no business model and it difficult to see where one will emerge. On network television news, an erosion --- not a collapse --- in evening newscasts is occurring. On cable news, ideology is responsible for growth. On local TV news, all signs point downward. On magazines, it was a tough year. On ethnic media, it was a year of holding one's own.
In its early report on the volume, The New York Times focuses
on the relative monogamy of news users. They tend to have a narrow selection of preferred sites to surf.
The report usually takes a few days to absorb. More to come.
The State of the Media report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism has published a special report today from a survey of 300 Online Journalism Association (ONA) members (me included).
It examined attitudes and practices in the craft and drew some conclusions based on the large sampling. Among the findings from online journalists:
- More optimism than their legacy counterparts and a strong belief journalism is headed in the right direction.
- Support for the rich-media attributes of digital journalism as positive developments for the craft.
- Concern that standards were loosening, journalists' power was weakening, and speed was subsuming accuracy.
- Predictions that advertising support will be the prime revenue stream in the years to come.
The survey determined a majority of online sites were profitable but had been cross-subsidized by legacy media.
The sixth annual State of the Media report was released late Sunday and its online chapter suggests great promise and equally great challenges in online journalism. This is my third take on the report and other posts will come in the time ahead.
The report authors suggest 2008 may be looked upon historically as a milestone in the history of the Web as a news destination. Traffic is growing and the Web now surpasses all but television in the U.S. as a news source. Established media gain the lion's share of audience, but there are many new players breaking into large markets for their original work.
But the Project for Excellence in Journalism also concludes that the model that built legacy media --- advertising-based support --- will not work in the new. The stall, then decline of online advertising makes clear that a new revenue model for news is necessary, yet little or no progress was made in the year in finding one.
Time is short, the report suggests, and it is no better for the upstarts than the challenged legacy players: " Among new alternative outlets, the economic model looks no more promising. For all the experiments with new ways of reporting, producing, disseminating and sharing news content, most of the money to support them has come from philanthropy or private individuals. There has been little honest assessment of economic sustainability."
The sixth annual State of the Media 2009 report released late Sunday offers the hardest portrait yet of the American newspaper industry. This is the second take I'll summarize and there will be more to come in the time ahead.
The report authors set the tone in the opening sentence: "The newspaper industry exited a harrowing 2008 and entered 2009 in something perilously close to free fall."
With that said, the Project for Excellence in Journalism report does not believe the newspaper is dead or even really dying --- at least, the multiplatform efforts of the newspaper-built newsroom. It notes the sector was quite profitable in 2008, that it holds a very large share of advertising, and that its audience remains quite strong.
But it is under some siege, the economic downturn has distracted its efforts to reshape the business, it has made some questionable calls, and it is by no means assured a bright future.
In the present circumstance, the authors say it does not make sense for newspaper companies to shut the presses and go online-only. But that doesn't mean change isn't necessary: Costs need to be controlled, and with that will come less journalism and the potential that cuts will disaffect customers.
There is little room for price increases or to charge for content online, the report asserts. The business will rebound on the basis of its journalism, and while the newspaper industry seems poised to capitalize on innovation, it isn't clear if it can attract the sort of innovation necessary to succeed.
The fifth annual State of the News Media report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism was released this morning. While its examination is of U.S. print, broadcast and online news, there are implications worldwide of its findings.
It's a long read and it's early to divine the conclusions, but the first message you take away is that the crisis in journalism isn't necessarily the loss of audience but the uncoupling of news and advertising as media migrate into a digital model.
The traditional media are actually more dominant in the online space than they have been in so-called legacy media. But advertising isn't following.
The good news: Newsrooms are innovating.
The not-so-good news: The paid search function online isn't a priority for news sites, and that's where the money is.
In transforming to multi-media entities, newspapers feel confident they're going to be chosen as reliable sites for content. They command the most resources among local media, generally speaking, so their challenge is to adopt and adapt as their audiences find new ways to consume information.
The Newspaper Association of America has new data on the growth in Web site traffic for newspapers, and it's generally encouraging. Unique visitors increased about six per cent in 2007, to about 60.6 million Americans. The last quarter of 2007 was a record quarter. and some 39 per cent of all Web users visited a newspaper site. There were about three billion page views in the fourth quarter, which represents an increase of about seven per cent --- not gigantic, but quite good.
There are some challenges for papers: Visitors spent somewhere around 44 minutes a month, which is about what they'd spend in a day with a newspaper.
The recent State of the Media report signalled many of the same findings of growth and adaptation, but did suggest the audience for news online may be peaking --- in essence, that newspapers are entering a period of fighting for market share.
The association is, as you might expect, quite bullish on the numbers. It argues that newspapers are becoming the trusted sources in the digital environment.