Creating more valuable online ads in 3 steps

Posted: December 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , | View Comments

Local moms love Uncle Rupert

The world of media can be largely divided into two different kinds of individuals: ad people and journalism people.

As both firsthand experience and the creators of Mad Men have taught me, ad people are suave, snazzy dressers with a silver tongue and a taste for quality scotch. I, on the other hand, drink PBR, sport a hole in my shabby work pants and get excited when the AP announces changes to its style book.

But regardless of my classification, both my income and my industry depend on advertising, and I think it’s important to keep an eye on where it’s headed.

That’s why I find it particularly troubling when Rupert Murdoch decides to chime in on the bleak future of ad-supported journalism.

Like him or not, Murdoch is a media sage and a shrewd businessman. When he speaks, people follow. Read the rest of this entry »

Gems from the German Internet Manifesto

Posted: September 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , | View Comments
Two minutes, Turkish.

Two minutes, Turkish.

While Google and the Newspaper Association of America scheme on how best to nickel and dime readers in the States, a group of German bloggers recently banded together to provide their take on how journalism in the world of the Internet really works.

The result is the Internet Manifesto.

The Bavarian e-tome consists of 17 points that should give journalists a lot of hope for the future — news executives … not so much. Read the rest of this entry »

How fear cripples courageous newsrooms

Posted: September 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | View Comments

To Roger Fidler, 1995 represented a sea change in journalism.

For the last three years, Fidler had been directing the Information Design Lab at Knight-Ridder Inc., the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain.

Up until that point, things were looking good. Under the leadership of Jim Batten, a reporter/editor turned chairman, the company was flourishing. It owned about 30 newspapers across the U.S. and was posting millions in profits.

With Batten at the helm, the company was also investing in R&D amid a period of rapid technological change. From the IDL facility in Boulder, Colo., located right next door to an Apple Computer Inc. lab,  Fidler led a staff of 10 people who were tinkering with a variety of new media techniques. They worked closely with their next-door neighbors to develop content for the Newton, a PDA predecessor. They had close ties with Japanese electronics firms Toshiba and NEC. Read the rest of this entry »

Will pay walls make news orgs irrelevant?

Posted: June 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , , | View Comments

box_kittensAs a follow up to Tuesday’s post, I contacted John Robinson, editor of the Greensboro News & Record, to get his thoughts on the fact that 75 percent of the N.C. Press Association‘s newsroom leaders are at least thinking about charging for online content.

Robinson has fully embraced social media. He sports about 800 followers on Twitter and frequently uses the microblogging service to create a dialogue with his community as well as fellow journalists. I figured that makes his opinions particularly salient, since I feel like its social media that will be impacted by a news organization’s decision to placed their content behind a pay wall.

Robinson agreed to answer a few questions via e-mail about his perception of pay walls and the future of online content for the News & Record. Read the rest of this entry »

Combating the myth of the 'free giveaway'

Posted: June 23rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , | View Comments

Pay walls will solve all our problems!

The North Carolina Press Association just released the results of its May survey on charging for online content. Although the response rate was 86, the group was mostly made up of publishers, editors and general managers.

It seems the talk of shoring up pay walls to keep the Internet Huns at bay is beginning to influence some of the state’s newsroom leaders. More than 75 percent say they’re at least thinking about charging for their news content online. Read the rest of this entry »

Steve Brill's own words, visualized

Posted: June 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , , , | View Comments

Following talk of the clandestine Chicago meeting of the nation’s most powerful newspaper editors, the folks over a the Nieman Journalism Lab got ahold of the presentation from Steve Brill on a new venture called Journalism Online.

In short, it would allow member organizations to charge for their online content through a single system, meaning you won’t have to whip out your credit card to pay for an L.A. Times article and go through the same steps to read a N.Y. Times article 5 minutes later.

Ingenious, even down to the revolutionary name.

Exhausted sarcasm aside, they’re hoping to keep 88 percent of their page views and completely avoid doing anything revolutionary with their content — like make it better, for instance.

I thought it would be interesting to plug the text of the presentation into word cloud generator Wordle (absent a few of the scenario slides). The result is above.

Granted, this presentation was directly pitched to news businessmen. But I think it’s rather telling that words like “publishers” and “revenue” loom so much larger than “readers.” I also like how “staffed” and “invest” are almost nonexistent.

It’s a silly exercise, I know, but interesting nonetheless.

There are, however, a few words and phrases that make me very uncomfortable and don’t appear in the word cloud.

  • “we will restore the value proposition of the print medium by eliminating the fully free online alternative” (creating artificial value by choking alternatives?)
  • “Restoring a Balance of Power” (seriously?)
  • “Think premium CPMs and focusing on most engaged readers” (what happens to the least engaged readers?)
  • “Negotiating power improves with intermediaries through the combination of multiple publishers” (antitrust anyone?)

Something tells me this might be one rocky summer.

They're just not that into you

Posted: March 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , , | View Comments

"Suspension of disbelief"

OK, Newspapers, I get it.

The Seattle P-I is now online only, the Rocky Mountain News has folded and it seems all those apocalyptic scenarios about the death of the deadtree edition are finally starting to come true — so I know you’re a little irrational right now. But as a friend, I feel like I need to step in and stop you from doing something stupid.

All this talk of pay walls, government intervention and lawsuits has you looking a little desperate, and frankly, it’s unattractive and unbecoming.

I know you’re worried. But right now, you’re about as delusional as a geek playing Romeo.

I only want the best, so I feel I have to be straight with you. It’s time to face a few simple truths about your Audience — they’re just not that into you. Read the rest of this entry »