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Posts Tagged ‘Newspapers’

What do user-generated porn sites and Rupert Murdoch have in common?

Posted by andreaitis on August 6, 2009

originally posted to Flickr at http://www.flic...

Image via Wikipedia

Free-to-fee.

Repeat three times and click your heels:  Free-to-fee.  Free-to-fee.  Free-to-fee.  

That’s what user-generated porn sites and Rupert Murdoch have in common.  They both want to start charging for content that up to now has been free to consumers online.  Murdoch made a bold declaration yesterday, emphatically stating that he would start charging users to access all of his news websites by the end of next summer.

Can’t be any clearer:
1. Charging for ALL of his news websites
2. By end of next summer

Stung by a collapse in advertising revenue as the recession shredded Fleet Street’s traditional business model, Murdoch declared that the era of a free-for-all in online news was over.

“Quality journalism is not cheap,” said Murdoch. “The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites.”

Rupert Murdoch plans charge for all news websites by next summer | Media | The Guardian

Turns out the user-generated porn industry is struggling with the exact same issue.   Traffic is high.  Revenues are low.  Content is free. Long-term viability is in question.   Perhaps it’s not much of a surprise that they’re reaching the same conclusion.

“Tube sites”–adult content Web sites that mimic YouTube in hosting everything from professionally made videos to user-generated clips–have quickly risen in popularity since they came onto the scene a few years ago, and rank among the highest traffic-getters globally. Some, like Youporn and Pornhub, attract more views than the Web sites of The New York Times or Apple ( AAPL – news – people ). But like YouTube and other video-sharing sites, tube porn sites have struggled with profitability and piracy.

“Tube sites have become part of the adult landscape now,” says Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of prominent adult movie studio Vivid Entertainment.  “But when all of this adult content is free, how do we get people to go from free to pay? ”

via The Challenge Of User-Generated Porn – Forbes.com

I don’t think anyone anticipated the intersection of porn and news in quite this way.   Although, knowing Murdoch, perhaps it’s to be expected.   We should’ve seen it coming in the fine print of his British tabloid The Sun.
See for yourself.  It’s all laid bare on The Sun’s Page 3.

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Attention Newspapers: Don't 'Just do it.'

Posted by andreaitis on June 15, 2009

MediaShift’s Mark Glaser twittered the top 10 list below while he was hooked up to an iv,  stuck in a hospital bed for several days.   When I see stories like this, I tend to replace Newspaper with News.    After all, the paper is the platform; news will endure.  Newspaper/hospital  metaphor notwithstanding,  though, number 6 caught my eye.  A single sentence: Don’t do it just to do it.

Don’t let desperation or emotion drive decisions.   Don’t jump on a bandwagon because everyone else is jumping.  Don’t lose the essence of good reporting:  be curious, ask questions, piece together a cohesive story, ask more questions, look at the facts, strive to understand.

Don’t do it just to do it.

10 Steps for Saving Newspapers

1. Do custom small print runs targeted to neighborhoods and interests. Not daily.

2. Support local writers, reporters and bloggers; help market them, sell their ads; decentralize the operation.

3. Replace circulation, printing, print production staff with tech, SEO, community managers.

4. Find out what the community wants in real face-to-face meetings, not focus groups. Then do what they want.

5. Use pro-am methods. Include community-contributed content edited and vetted by pros.

6. Smart multimedia. Don’t do it just to do it. Use the right medium to tell the right story.

7. Promiscuous revenues. From ads, niche paid content, donations, non-profit grants to directory listings.

8. Produce mapping and database projects. Employ or train hacker-journalists.

9. Meet regularly with local businesses to gauge their needs. Create online directories of local businesses.

10. Create a bottom-up organization where innovation is encouraged and rewarded at the edges. Use good ideas from anyone.

via MediaShift . 10 Steps to Saving Newspapers | PBS

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Deny no more: AP Stylebook includes Twitter

Posted by andreaitis on June 12, 2009

AP Stylebook, 2004 edition

Image via Wikipedia

As if the media bandwagon needed more incentive to jump – or more proof of the need to experiment, adapt and change – the bible for newsrooms everywhere has now legitimized Twitter.

Twitter, the social networking tool that has turned millions of people around the world into instant micro-bloggers, has made it into the 2009 edition of The Associated Press Stylebook, along with complicated business terms such as credit default swaps and derivatives that have gained more exposure amid the global recession.

Twitter, the Middle Eastern eggplant dish baba ghanoush and texting as a verb are among more than 60 new or updated entries in the new AP Stylebook, which includes more business, food, medical and Arabic terms and expanded information on major U.S. and international companies.

via Associated Press

Of course, CNN was way ahead of this curve.

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Will the new Kindle put books on the endangered species list?

Posted by andreaitis on May 5, 2009

On Wednesday, Jeff Bezos will unveil the Amazon Kindle DX.   There has been much speculation and hype about the DX, including the question that has quickly turned trite:  Will this save newspapers?   A silly question, really, because A) it won’t,  the point of the Kindle is that it’s paper-free and  2) newspapers are long past saving, at least  in their current state.   What about the other question that has also quickly turned trite: Can it save the news industry?  Well, no…but it can provide an outlet for additional reach and experimentation with revenue models.

There is some potential here.  The DX has  a 9.7-inch display (the current Kindle is a six-inch unit), a built-in PDF reader, and the ability to add notes and highlights.  Engadget is reporting that the New York Times will offer a $9.95 / month subscription, a little lower than the current $13.99.

But one of the more interesting angles here is that the Kindle could become the new super-charged textbook on college campuses, saving students time, money and back-aches from dragging around backpacks that weigh more than a keg.   And if it works for college students, the trickle-down effect could lead to Kindles in the Kindergarten class.  Forget newspapers…could this be the end of good old-fashioned books?

Amazon Kindle

Chief information officer for Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University — the college whose president will be taking the stage with Jeff Bezos — Lev Gonick said select students are being issued the new, larger screen Kindles (doesn’t specify DX) in the fall semester with pre-installed textbooks for chemistry, computer science and a freshman seminar. Five other universities including Pace, Princeton, Reed, Arizona State, and Darden School at the University of Virginia are also said to be signed up for the trial.

Amazon Kindle DX to feature 9.7-inch display? Update: Pictures!

Posted in technology | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

dude, where’s my journalist?

Posted by andreaitis on January 13, 2009

a couple of things happened over the last few days that got me thinking:

1.  i was on a call to prep for a digital breakfast panel on the future of news and information.  it’s put together by gotham media ventures, and will be at the harvard club.  fancy.   the call was supposed to be a quick intro but lasted twice as long because, rather than just prepping, we got into the actual conversation ourselves.

2.  fredwilson wrote avoiding the big yellow taxi moment, a post about newspapers, journalists, reporters and the yet-to-be-solved business model.  it prompted a lively and insightful discussion with  over 150 responses — including a comment  from our ceo.

3.  i spoke to a sportswriter who is now teaching journalism at loyola college in maryland.   i asked her:  how do you teach journalism today?   she said she is asked that question more than any other.

it occurred to me this morning that there is a correlation between what’s happening in the video world and what’s happening in the print world.   we used to watch tv by network — must-see-tv on nbc — we were loyal to the network.  now, i can watch tv on my pc or when i’m mobile using hulu, or i can use boxee and watch anything i want on my tv.  i become the network.   my loyalty is not to the tv networks of old, but to the shows and personalities.    i watch house and  jon stewart and true beauty.    (btw, ashton kutcher and tyra banks might be geniuses.)

it’s the same with print.  i talk about andrew sullivan’s  ‘why i blog’ and michael hirschorn’s ‘end times.’ both are connected to the atlantic, but that’s not how i reference them.  i am aligned with the writer, not the publication.  my loyalty is to the human brand.  this isn’t 100%, of course.  there is credibility attached to certain media brands, tho that’s been impacted by an influx of fakes and phonies like jayson blair and stephen glass, among others.

which leads me to my next thought:  are journalists a dying breed?   to me,  ‘journalist’ was a word uttered with wistful reverence.  it was aspirational, something to work for and earn, almost like being knighted.   in all my years in news, i never called myself a journalist; i thought of myself as a storyteller.  but i know i did the job with integrity and ethics.  i know i was careful and thoughtful in my reporting.  i was never cavalier; the details mattered.

there are different pieces to being a journalist: the research, the angle, the hunches, the facts, the writing, the presentation….the parameters when you’re chasing the story, and the boundaries when you’re telling the story.   it’s the training, the skills that build solid reporting and credibility, that allow you to responsibly push those boundaries.

anyone can  ‘report’ today.  we all know that, and we’ve talked about mass quantity and the credibility spectrum.  but below the surface is this question: will the next generation learn the skills of basic reporting?  will they want to, or will they feel it’s unnecessary because they can instantly publish?  we learned so much of the craft from actually being in a newsroom, eavesdropping on phone conversations and hanging out in the bar.   every newsroom in every media company had such a bar.  we didn’t even use the name, just called it ‘across the road.’    i’m not sure digital communication can replace that physical presence.   and those bars?  some aspiring journalist would do well to take a tour of those bars and pubs.  there are stories to be heard and stories to be told, and they won’t be there forever.

it’s possible today to  be a ‘reporter’ without ever leaving your house.    i’m just not sure that’s a good thing.   the role of the journalist will be redefined and reshaped as the industry continues to change; we’re just at the beginning of that transformation.  and up-and-coming journalists?  i guess the ones who will make it will understand the steps they need to take along the way.  at least, i hope so.   because, content isn’t king anymore.  credibility is.

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bitter trousers

Posted by andreaitis on July 9, 2008

ben and rich heidorn, a father-son team, have launched Treehouse Media Project to help educate journalists about new media.

news flash:  it’s not ‘new’ media anymore.  and if you’re a real journalist, you sorta shoulda seen this coming.

journalists are, in essence, story tellers.  and the medium shouldn’t matter.  i like reading the newspaper as much as the next geek, the feel of the paper, the ink smudges, the intricate folding patterns when on a cramped commute.   but the story is the story, and it’s all about finding the audience.

funny that so many journalists seem to be approaching this story with such grudging reluctance to change.  where’s the renegade spirit?  where’s the fight for the new frontier?

c’mon.  let freedom ping.

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