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.
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.
Media notes for Saturday-Sunday:
Jay Rosen, the journalism scholar at New York University, publishes on his Pressthink blog
a succinct yet wide-ranging argument about the climate in traditional journalism --- what it is right about (among other things, overload), what it is wrong about (among other things, business ignorance) --- that summarizes the challenges of the craft.
Jay Kirsch, the president of AOL's business, technology and entertainment group, weighs in on
the recent controversy involving CBS' involvement in its subsidiary CNET's decision to recognize a CBS rival and litigant with an award (the award was rescinded and CNET was restrained from writing about the rival Dish Network product). Kirsch writes at TechCrunch (one of AOL's holdings) such involvement in the so-called church and state relationship doesn't hurt the church --- it hurts the state.
David Gelernter, the Yale computer science professor widely credited for his foresight about the web, writes for Wired
on the emergence of information timeline streams and how they will create the end of the web, the reorienting of search, and the shift of computers to devices that "tune in" to the latest information.
New British research suggests there is no correlation between a media outlet's Internet success and print decline. Indeed, as goes one, so goes the other, for better and worse.
British media analyst Jim Chisholm has found
that newspapers that do well on the Web are also doing well in print circulation. "Understandably worried traditional journalists should know that the internet is not a threat," he told the Guardian.
Chisholm argues that the real issue isn't traffic but frequency of visits and loyalty as repeat consumers.
The Web analytics firm, Sysomos, has examined the pathology of Twitter
and determined that it's not quite the social network one thought --- mainly, people use it to broadcast information but the sharing has its limitations.Sysomos looked at 1.2 billion Tweets over the last two months and found 71% generated no response whatever. Some 23% generated a reply, but a very small percentage (6%) were deemed worth sharing with one's followers upon receipt. And perhaps the more startling finding is how Tweets wither on the vine quickly --- if they're not ReTweeted in the first hour, they tend not to be at all.
Some 92% of ReTweeting took place in the first hour, Sysomos found. (It is possible that Twitter streams are so vast that users can't keep track of what they're sent, so they don't dig very far back to look for content to share.)
How deep are conversations on Twitter? Sysomos said not very. The number of Tweets three levels deep --- that is, those that are sent, replied to, replied to again and replied to again --- amounts to about 1.5%.
In his latest post
for his PoMo Blog, Terry Heaton sounds the concern many publishers have about the drive for page views at all costs.
He vents a little on the tendency by some to chop stories into pieces to improve the number of ad impressions --- the "price of interaction" being high. He takes the view that the effort doesn't take into account the user, then publishers wonder why the advertising isn't working.
"Somehow, some way, we’ve got to figure out that attaching ads to content the way we’ve done it before just doesn’t cut it online. Until that happens, we’ll continue killing the goose that potentially could be laying golden eggs for us," he writes.
The shift of searching to getting is at the heart of the Wired.com pair of pieces
that identify the decline of the World Wide Web and the rise of the application in our digital lives.
Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, one a prominent editor and the other a prominent columnist, have produced companion arguments that the Web is no longer what we use --- that the Internet is a mere conduit for the apps that dominate our time online.
"It’s driven primarily by the rise of the iPhone model of mobile computing, and it’s a world Google
can’t crawl, one where HTML doesn’t rule," Anderson writes. "And it’s the world that consumers are increasingly choosing, not because they’re rejecting the idea of the Web but because these dedicated platforms often just work better or fit better into their lives (the screen comes to them, they don’t have to go to the screen)."
That it's also a more optimal environment for monetization only strengthens the situation, he says.
Wolff, meanwhile, examines how the open Web is closing and reestablishing a corporate hierarchy --- the "collectivist utopianism" is disappearing and a top-down theme is reemerging. The alternative to the Web came as some entrepreneurs sought to have the clout of Google, only without the open-source approach.
Wolff's piece is far more critical of the developments --- of the value of advertising, of the value of the audience, because of search engine optimization. He says we flirted briefly with the "transformative effects" of the Web but now are "returning home" to Apple
, all systems that are closed and traditional.
Anderson's conclusion: Blame Us. Wolff's: Blame Them.
The Wall Street Journal extracted pretty much everything
there is to extract from Eric Schmidt, the Google CEO, on the direction and challenges of media. Holman W. Jenkins Jr.'s extensive feature gives over much:
1. Google's focus is ensuring it doesn't lose its strangehold on Web advertising when searching is no longer as necessary.
2. It doesn't mind giving away the operating systems for Android --- if you get a billion people using a device, Schmidt notes, you can do something with it.
3. Brands will matter in the time ahead, which is good news for an otherwise lamentable situation for U.S. newspapers.
4. Targeted ads are the only way Schmidt sees salvation in what ails media economically.
5. Serendipity, that great surprise factor for the media consumer, now can be replicated electronically.
These days it is a truism that understanding search engine optimization bears as much on success as does understanding the needs and wants of the audience. One without the other won't achieve nirvana online.
But also contending for attention is the large area of analytics, how many visit and how often, where they come from and what they seem to seek, the sources of their arrival and the time they spend and where they go later --- all of it is important to understand.
The 10,000 Words blog has assembled a handy Analytics 101
for anyone with a website looking to comprehend the portrait of the audience. There is nothing advanced in the piece, but it's an excellent and clear starting point.
Today the Publish2.0 organization launched the
Publish2 News Exchange, what it calls a 21st century alternative to The Associated Press that freely moves news and other information between Web and print properties.
It's a little different than the news cooperative model of AP, in that the terms of sharing content are set by the source organization. It seems most clearly focused initially on supplementing and formalizing the newsroom-to-newsroom informal exchanges that already take place but often are tedious to manage and not necessarily helpful with real-time needs.
The platform provides Web publishers with access to print distribution, something they've had to work through individually or through syndication. And it permits them to set the terms by which they'll provide the content --- to whom, when, and for what price.
What isn't clear at the outset is whether the batch of content providers in the fold --- and there are some impressive ones --- cumulatively form enough of a content file for properties to cut the ties with AP. It's not an easy feat, as many have found, and it is best judged by the newsrooms themselves.
More details will emerge this week and are bound to gain the attention of newsrooms who find the cost of a full wire service too onerous. Did we mention the word "free" in the mix?