Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Yale Herald: Yale professor and Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson spills some trade secrets

From The Yale Herald:

Abramson: "Some worry that the dominance of the Internet has disrupted the business model of newspapers, but I see it presenting us with a great challenge. That challenge is to publish the best newspaper in the world—which still makes a nice amount of money and has a very avid readership—but also to develop what I think is the best news site on the web, and to be terrific at both. The Internet has made us more creative and more competitive in many ways."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Scotsman: Anarchy in cyberspace

From The Scotsman:

"FRENCH elections are typically volatile affairs. But when Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front party (FN) set up a virtual campaign headquarters on Second Life, the internet site where over 2.9 million registered users live a double life, it caused a cyber-riot. The arrival of the xenophobic party in the "geographical" area of Second Life known as Porcupine sparked protests by outraged virtual characters known as avatars. They protested, waving placards and banners decorated with an unflattering portrait of Mr Le Pen sporting a Hitler moustache."

Comment: Snow Crash, here we come!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Inside Higher Ed: A Stand Against Wikipedia

From Inside Higher Ed:

"While plenty of professors have complained about the lack of accuracy or completeness of entries, and some have discouraged or tried to bar students from using it, the history department at Middlebury College is trying to take a stronger, collective stand. It voted this month to bar students from citing the Web site as a source in papers or other academic work. All faculty members will be telling students about the policy and explaining why material on Wikipedia — while convenient — may not be trustworthy."

Comment: I completely disagree with Middlebury's approach. At least the reporter for this piece, Scott Jaschik, included perspectives that make more sense. Roy Rozenzweig from George Mason University found that Wikipedia is "as accurate or more accurate than more traditional encyclopedias." And Steven Bell from Temple University made the best argument -- students should be taught how to evaluate the quality of information, regardless of the source.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Editor and Publisher: 'LAT' Editor: Web Will Be 'Primary Vehicle' for News Delivery

From Editor and Publisher:

"Speaking to hundreds of Los Angeles Times journalists in the newspaper's Harry Chandler auditorium this morning, editor James O'Shea outlined a bold plan to increase traffic and revenue from in the face of an increasingly difficult economic climate for newspaper publishers, and urged journalists to think of the Web site as the newspaper's primary vehicle for news."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Reuters: Web newspaper blog traffic triples in Dec-study

From Reuters:

"The number of people reading Internet blogs on the top 10 U.S. newspaper sites more than tripled in December from a year ago and accounted for a larger percentage of overall traffic to those sites, according to data released on Wednesday. Unique visitors to blog sites affiliated with the largest Internet newspapers rose to 3.8 million in December 2006 from 1.2 million viewers a year earlier, tracking firm Nielsen//NetRatings said."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 Google This: U.K. Papers Vie to Buy Search Terms


"Newspapers are buying search words on Google Inc. so that links to their Web sites pop up first when people type in a search... Many papers are also tailoring their Web sites to attract Google's news site, which has links to thousands of news articles."

Innovation in College Media: Interview with Howard Owens

From an interview with Howard Owens:

"Students and faculty should just assume their future is online, and design curriculum and publication efforts accordingly … be even more dismissive of print than mainstream pubs are right now."

Poynter Online: SacBee begins distributing web traffic reports

From a memo written by Sacramento Bee executive editor Rick Rodridguez to Sacramento Bee staffers and published by Jim Romenesko:

"Starting today, we are sending out daily reports on stories that are generating the most traffic on our websites, sacbee and sacticket. We are doing this to give you an idea of the types of stories that attract online readers most. We will not allow web traffic statistics to dictate story play in the newspaper."

Comment: Sure... because newspapers never cater to readers to influence circulation numbers.

Monday, January 15, 2007 For Local News Site, Model Just Didn't Click


"Most community news sites like Backfence, which rely on reader-generated content to draw advertising dollars, are still trying to make a profit off 'hyperlocal' Internet publishing. Strings of neighborhood sites haven't been able to attract enough users to persuade advertisers to bank on such targeted media outlets, analysts said."

Comment: I suspect hyperlocal journalism will be more sustainable as a nonprofit venture, but then that's what I think about good journalism in general -- it's something people need, but not necessarily something they'll pay for.

Saturday, January 13, 2007 Jon Stewart to Cover Election for Washington Post?

From the Washingtonian:

"Sources who are part of the talks report that the Post’s Web site is talking with Comedy Central about joining forces with The Daily Show to cover the 2008 presidential campaign."

Comment: If you weren't already convinced that the media landscape has changed, this should remove any doubts. Journalists and editors: If you think this is cool, you will survive in the 21st century media landscape. If this makes you nauseous, you might want to think about changing careers...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Poynter Online: Take a Blogger to Lunch (And Other Radical Ideas for Journos Struggling to Understand the Web)

From Keith Jenkins, picture editor at the Washington Post:

"If we are to survive as news organizations, survival will have to be charted by people who live in the new world, rather than by people who view the Web as either a threat or a tool to gain temporary power in a mortally wounded industry."

Comment: This is a very controversial article, and the negative comments have already started coming in. Alex Dering writes, "The blogs (and the bloglike) frequently devolve to "this is how I feel about this and how I feel is far more important than just reporting on something with logic and common sense and restraint."

Here's the thing - Jenkins is right. It doesn't matter if what we have today is good or bad. It's too late to go back. Journalists of every stripe are going to have to learn to deal with it.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Columbia Journalism Review: Beyond News

From Mitchell Stephens:

"The notion that journalists might be in a business other than the collection, ordering, and distribution of facts isn't new. In the days when the latest news was available to more or less anyone who visited the market or chatted in the street, weekly newspapers (at the time, the only newspapers) provided mostly analysis or opinion -- something extra. The growth of cities, the arrival of dailies, and the invention of swift fact-transmitting and fact-distributing machines (the telegraph and the steam press) encouraged the development of companies devoted to the mass production and sale of news. Their day lasted more than a hundred years. But the sun is setting."

Comment: Great article focusing on the future of journalism, not the future of any particular method of distribution (i.e. newspapers, cable tv, etc.).

Washington Post: Too Casual to Sit on Press Row?


"After two years of negotiations with judicial officials across the country, the Media Bloggers Association, a nonpartisan group with about 1,000 members working to extend the powers of the press to bloggers, has won credentials to rotate among his members. The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the highest-ranking Bush administration official to face criminal charges, could "catalyze" the association's efforts to win respect and access for bloggers in federal and state courthouses, said Robert Cox, the association's president."

Monday, January 08, 2007

BuzzMachine: News served raw

From Jeff Jarvis:

"Journalists still have a job to do: Help the public interpret all of the raw, unedited events."

Friday, January 05, 2007

Editor and Publisher: Grading Newspapers' Website Progress: B-

From Steve Outing:

"With all the hand-wringing in the industry about how to cope -- and the acceptance at the corporate level that big changes are required right now to address the challenges faced by newspapers -- I'm surprised in looking at today's state of the newspaper website that the changes aren't more dramatic."

Online Journalism Review: The silliest, and most destructive, debate in journalism

From Robert Niles:

"Perhaps this will be the year that we can end forever the silliest and most self-destructive debate in our industry, that of "mainstream" vs. "citizen" journalism."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Editor and Publisher: Some Words of Advice for Small Newspapers

From Steve Outing:

"My advice is to ONLY hire people whose skills cross media platforms. Look for people who not only understand and are enthusiastic about online media, but who also can serve the print edition well. If a job candidate says she has always aspired to be a newspaper reporter, and doesn't come in the door with some multimedia skills and experience such as video and audio production, frankly I'd keep looking."