July 2009 Archives
July 31, 2009
- The Nichepaper Manifesto - an articulate and well argued guide to how niche publishing might looks going forwards.
- Media as a Hobby is not Sustainable As a Business - you can always rely on Alan to beat the ideas of idealists soundly with the hammer of reality. (Boy, was that a Friday afternoon metaphor)
- Some Thoughts on Local News - Some ruminations from long-time south east London blogger 853 on how hyper-local (ie geographic hyper-niche) journalism might look.
- Reed New Boy Smith Makes a Big Splash - Some hints here as to what we're focusing on within RBI.
- Comments Add Value to Newspaper Websites - I've long been ambivalent about adding comments to traditional journalism, but Patrick makes some compelling arguments around how they can really be made to work.
And now everyone is piling back into the discussion as panic begins to set in throughout organisations that never looked for revenue models beyond the "sales and ads" combo. And I was reminded of this by a throwaway comment in a blog post about a totally unrelated discussion (the old Apple versus PC discussion):
Google isn't a tech company, it just gives the appearance of being one (as I've said many times before, it's really in the business of ad sales, like any publisher - it doesn't sell technology).This, my friends, is the elephant in the room: we never sold journalism. Sure, we charged people for a package that included journalism. But, with some honourable exceptions, what we actually did was charge people for an advertising delivery vehicle. Often, in fact, we gave away the delivery vehicle. We call it controlled circulation in the B2B publishing world.
And then, somebody built a better mousetrap. Google isn't a threat to the publishing industry because it "steals" its content for Google News. It's a threat because it destroyed our advertising models.
And that's the issue I see too many people skating around in the call for a shift back to paywalls. We have never charged truly charged what news cost to produce, and there's no way we can suddenly ask people to start doing so, just because our advertising model went bust.
I have one of those long, ranty blog posts building in me right now.This isn't it.
- With the news that NetNewsWire, my RSS reader of choice, is now syncing with Google Reader, I took the opportunity to clear most traditional print media RSS feeds out from my subscriptions.
- I read this blog post, nodding so vigourously that I nearly spilt my coffee. And for those of you who know how I feel about coffee will realise how serious that is. To quote Kevin:
Most of what obsesses the media is remarkably juvenile, and as the media's fortunes have waned, they have becoming annoyingly shrill in trying to reassert their role in society. Watchdogs? Defenders of democracy? I wish. Mostly of the media operate as little more than professional gossips and hypocritical scolds.
July 30, 2009
Be2camp is a series of unconference-style events focusing on the use of social web technologies in the built environment. And given that those are two of my passions, I'm looking forward to it hugely.
July 29, 2009
Likewise, iTunes sells a lot of music that you can get for free on the internet, so they're not really selling the music, they're selling the service of getting the music without having to muck about with P2P software and unsure quality.
The problem the news business has is that high-quality free news is significantly easier to find than free music, and is legal, too. Making it harder to find wouldn't just require all the existing newspapers to push their content behind a paywall, but all the related bloggers and other community publishers, too. If that doesn't happen, there just isn't a compelling gap in the market for a paid approach to making news easier to find.
Update: There's an interview with Anderson about his views on the future of news on Salon.
- Rebecca Froley of Computer Weekly who posted about Off The Job Training for Journalists. She can be found blogging at WITsend.
- Simon Clark, who works for Approved Index, blogged about Social Networks at Work. He can be found tweeting at @simonrclark
- Christian Metcalfe of Estates Gazette, who posted about Lego Dioramas and Baby Killers. And he can be found blawging on the Property Law Blog.
July 28, 2009
July 22, 2009
Legal news reporter, Estates Gazette three years, blogging since May, Twittering since June.
How social media is changing the way I work?
Work output for magazine has decreased as social media consumption has risen - perhaps change when honeymoon period ends.
At opposite ends of the spectrum of human experience, two of the most memorable moments were entering the world of lego dioramas and reading the tweet from @RSylvester that a nasty piece of work in Wichita had been found guilty of murdering his 18-month old daughter.
Remember, the media is not the message.
July 21, 2009
I am a Search Marketing Executive at one of RBI's newest acquisitions, Approved Index. Unsurprisingly for an online lead generation business, PPC and SEO are our main marketing channels, and the internet and marketing sectors make up the majority of our business. As such it is important for us to keep abreast of the fast-moving online world and the challenges and opportunities it offers. I'm currently researching how (but firstly, if) we can use social networks as a marketing channel.
In this guest post I'm going to give you an overview of how I use the internet and social networking in my day to day life and at work. If you don't think social networking can be useful or worth the time, I expect you'd have stopped reading by now, had you even started. My experience is that the internet offers an array useful tools, and social networking is currently - perhaps permanently - at the centre of the majority of them.
I'm probably just about young enough to be considered a digital native, having used computers since the first years of primary school. I have qualifications in computer science so I accept that I'm probably more interested in technology and more inclined to try new tools and systems than most. I also have some editorial experience, and although working at Approved Index means I'm not strictly part of the publishing side of the business, I hope I'll provide some insight for those of you that are.
What I Use
Twitter is probably the social networking tool I use the most. It has been highly publicised of late, and seems to be just about as celebrated as it is maligned. Twitter has rapidly become very useful to me for a variety of reasons. I follow personal friends for social chatter and sharing links and photos. I follow a few entertainers (yes, I follow Stephen Fry). I also use Twitter instead of RSS feeds, because the 'micro-blogging' encompasses a lot of functionality in an incredibly convenient format. Furthermore, following a person on Twitter rather than a website or blog via RSS allows for discussion through the same medium, and choosing like-minded individuals to follow means I save a lot of time filtering through the noise of online information overload.
July 20, 2009
Hi! I'm Rebecca Froley, deputy web editor of ComputerWeekly.com, and the first of Adam's guest posters this week... Finally... Sorry for posting so late in the day!
How do you learn? It's a question I've been asking myself since last week's lunchtime 'BrainFood' discussion session here at RBI, which touched on the question of how we should be reskilling ourselves, and skilling up new trainees, to meet the needs of our B2B publishing business for the (probably mostly online) future. Especially given cuts to budgets are limiting the amount of traditional training that's available, so 'research, deliver and attend new courses' probably isn't a practical answer...
The BrainFood format, certainly, is one option - for those outside the company, this is a monthly in-house seminar-style group where we get together for an hour to look at a video or some other stimulus to get us thinking and talking about the future of publishing and communications, in a more wide-ranging - and democratic - manner than a traditional corporate training session. For me, this is exactly how I like to learn - through sharing a starting point with others that provides the opportunity for everyone to springboard off into some creative thinking and exploration of their own - and with a bit of a lateral approach.
The video in question this last week was Jeff Jarvis' introduction to journalist training at CUNY (part 1 and part 2 are both on YouTube), and it's worth a watch if you've not seen it already, as it includes a useful list of the kinds of skills (round about 6:42 of part 2 or pictured here), and levels of skill (about 6:20), that Jarvis thinks today's journalists need to acquire.
Sadly, I'm a little too far away to attend CUNY myself to find out exactly how they deliver that essential training (although I'm sure there'll be plenty more of use on their YouTube channel once I get chance to trawl through it). But maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe, I'm thinking, we can create our own reading / viewing / exploring list that covers all these basics, right here, right now...
To kick it off, here's my list of stuff that's helped me think about information architecture and the way the web works as a medium, or 'web structure - familiarity' and 'web pages - spec' as Jarvis puts it, during my 10+ years in onscreen/online publishing. Given I prefer the lateral approach, the first couple of suggestions, are, I hope, a little bit offbeat and off-the-job, but might still inspire you as they have me. And with any luck, some of you will share your own suggestions for these and other online journalism essential skills too!
July 19, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 16, 2009
News organisations with specialist skills and knowledge have the opportunity to thrive. The mediocre middle is much more at risk.Couldn't agree more. The internet is ruthless with mediocrity, far more so than print.
However, there's stuff I really disagree with:
Barber said building online platforms that could charge readers on an article-by-article or subscription basis was one of the key challenges facing news organisations.Oh, dearie me. I couldn't agree less. I was just gearing myself up to write a riposte to this argument, when I discovered (by means of RSS-reading prevarication) that Shane Richmond has already done it for me, and nailed what I think is the solution in his last paragraph:
However, we have known for years that readers will pay for niche services, such as Fantasy Football or crosswords. So what services, what products, what scarce goods can we provide to our regulars, our loyal readers, our community? I'm certain that the answer to our problems lies in the answer to that question.And all this business of article-by-article charging, or shoving traditional news content behind a paywall is just a distraction from getting on with that.
July 15, 2009
You will be pleased to hear that I am receiving my first back-hander for blogging. As I posted a link to a review about a new book called "[Redacted]", which grew out of a blog about the fictional life of a [redacted], the author has promised me my very own copy if I promise to do my own review for the blog.
I am v pleased.
I could be being terribly naive here, but isn't that called a "review copy" and standard practice? My colleague is going to have to work harder than that before I consider them corrupt. :)
(And yes, Tim, I am aware that I owe you a review of that camping guidebook)
July 11, 2009
Some stats to back up the need for active hosts in any online community
A depressing deconstruction of how too much newspaper publishing as become mediocre and homogenous.
July 10, 2009
- Circulate: they do semantic analysis on your content. Users sign up, and the system gives you new content based on your implicit and explicit interests.
- Journalism Online: High-powered startup. They're doing an arm-twisting job with content providers. Kevin doesn't see what their proposition is for users.
- ViewPass: Gated content - create a network of content providers
- Kachingle: Gift economy way of funding content: based on attention.
- Niche advertising networks.
Martin Belam, talking about news beyond chronology
From the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle to liveblogging, there's a tyranny of chronology. Events happen over time with consequences.
You children, if set homework to study climate change, they'll go to Google and end up on Wikipedia, not any of our news sites. Why does Wikipedia do better? It's not tied to the tyranny of chronology.
Yet, we do put packages together around great stuff.
Our atom is the story. A national newspaper will have loads of articles about foreign policy, and Cuba and Obama. And you have loads of travelogues,
"obama foreign policy cuba Venezuela" - produces a search page of articles.
We can do better - break stories down to paragraphs and sentences and then tag them as what they are.
July 9, 2009
Well, today, I'd like to offer you something different. When I walked into one of the training rooms this afternoon, this is what greeted me:
July 8, 2009
You waste your shot by blaming it on The Mainstream Media instead. When I get to the end of your heroic screed I'm tempted to click the "Comment On This Post" button and ask you to explain what role, precisely, the Kansas City Star played in this hypocrisy and how they benefitted.
"Oh, all those Mainstream Media organizations behave the same way," you counter. Ah. Is that why you won't rent an apartment to one?
Again I say: it's a meaningless term. Look at the state of publishing today. Does this look like an industry that's good at working together on any kind of a common agenda?
Well worth a read, whatever side of the discussion you perceive yourself as supporting.
One thing is that knowledge is suffering over there. See, here, it is easy to find old blogs. Just go to Google and search. What would you like me to find? Chinese Earthquake? Google has it.
Now, quick, find the first 20 tweets or FriendFeed items about the Chinese Earthquake. It's impossible. I'm an advanced searcher and I can't find them, even using the cool Twitter Search engine.
That plays very much to the idea we're playing with about the cycle of news (or, more often these days, the "news tree"), which in its most simplified form looks something like:
Twitter -> Blogs/Social Media -> Traditional Online News -> Print News
That's essentially the shift from the "now" to the "archival" with a number of steps along the way.
July 4, 2009
In the last six months, we've seen uploads from mobile phones to YouTube jump 1700%; just since last Friday, when the iPhone 3GS came out, uploads increased by 400% a day.