A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

The lack of a buyer for Twitter is coming back to bite it:

Twitter is gearing up to lay off 300 employees this week, Bloomberg reports.

That means the company’s workforce will shrink by about 8 percent.

Lord, I hate saying this, given that I’ve been on the wrong side of the layoff equation, and know how utterly horrible it is, but Twitter probably needs this. It’s clearly too bloated for any reasonable expectation of future revenues, and that can’t last forever.

Best wishes to my friends there, though.

Dave Winer:

You can look at journalism as a process that yields a result. It begins with an interest or a question. Are young blacks voting for Hillary? Begin with interviews, find young blacks, ask them. Talk to a few pollsters and sociologists, get expert opinions All the time you’re doing searches to find these people, you may not even have to speak with them, just read what they’ve said on Twitter or their blogs. Then you write it all up, edit it, add some pictures, maybe a video, give it a title, hit Publish. That’s a process and the result it yields. That’s journalism, imho.

Y’know, that’s not bad.

Google is going to make its forthcoming mobile search index its primary dataset:

Google is going to create a separate mobile index within months, one that will be the main or “primary” index that the search engine uses to respond to queries. A separate desktop index will be maintained, one that will not be as up-to-date as the mobile index.

While it’s not yet clear exactly what this means, we can infer that mobile-friendliness – already critical – is now de rigeur if you want to be found in search at all.

Nobody wants to buy Twitter. It made it obvious it was up for sale – but one by one the buys dropped out. The reasons seem numerous – the trolling problem for one. But, at its core, the reluctance seems to be based around the fact that Twitter is out-of-control financially.

John Hampton has a suggestion:

The problem is if you mix this with a or similar company it will be really hard to take costs out in a disciplined fashion without upsetting the culture of the home company. Instead this should be fixed (with extreme prejudice by a disinterested outsider) before it is sold again to a strategic buyer.

Or – in summary: the best bastards are from Wall Street. And this needs a Wall Street bastard.

It’s unpleasant to think about – especially as I have friends at Twitter – but perhaps what the service need is a brutal paring back of staff and focus to makes it concentrate on improving its core product, rather than odd VR plays.

I badly want Twitter to survive – and thrive – but it really needs an intervention right now.

Jessica Davies:

BuzzFeed’s shift to video is taking hold in its U.K. operations. The digital media company is doubling the size of its London office so it can house two new studios with a particular focus on sponsor video.

The goal: to bring all video production made on behalf of U.K. advertisers in-house.

So, it’s all ads rather than editorial video – but it’s a telling sign of how important video is becoming to monetising content. And another step in Buzzfeed’s shift towards video.

During one of my lecturing sessions at City, University of London last week, I made the point that just because you’re most associated with digital, doesn’t mean you don’t – and can’t – love print, too.

That’s certainly the case for me. My first love was print, and two decades ago, my major goal was to be a print magazine editor by the time I was 30 (a goal I only missed by a year or so). There’s no doubt that the advent and growth of the web has changed how I perceive print. More than that, it’s changed how I consume print. About 10 years ago, print started a precipitous decline in my life, one that was only hastened by the iPad and the Kindle.

It’s rare that I pick up a printed book or newspaper these days. But I’m buying more magazines than I ever have – they’re just better and more expensive.

In that sense, I’m an addict. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is my dealer:

The Magculture shop on St John Street, London

The Magculture shop seen above sits just down the road from City – which, in its journalism department, probably has one of the greatest concentrations of print enthusiasts left in the country. And it’s chock full of the sort of magazines I actually like. Big. Thick. Printed on good quality stock. Limited adverts. Superb design. Sticker shock prices.



Here’s my theory about the long-term future of print: it’s going to turn into theatre.

Film and TV and YouTube have progressively relegated theatre from a mainstream entertainment form to one that’s much more specialised. In essence, theatre has split into upmarket, expensive “occasion” shows – and cheap, experimental “theatre above a pub or in a warehouse” efforts. The rise of these specialist – almost, dare I say it, artisanal, magazines is a sign that the former is well on its way to coming true.(I believe the correct term is “independent magazines”, but I dislike using it, because of bad school memories of “indie label” record snobs.)

Aggressively niche – and aggressively priced

Many of these magazines are aggressively niche compared to the mainstream titles you see lining the walls of WHSmiths. I have two devoted to artisan coffee culture within easy reach of me right now. One of my absolute favourites is a magazine devoted to online culture:

Offscreen Mag

Yes, that’s a print magazine about digital. How can you not love that?

Like so many of its ilk, it’s not full of adverts – it has a handful of “supporters” who get a section in the middle – and it costs around £10, which is double – or more – most high street titles. But for that money, you get better design, better photography and an all-round excellent experience.

This is the Doctor Who theory of print – it’s not dead, it’s just regenerating. And much like the new series of Doctor Who that came back in the mid-2000s, it has much higher production values than its predecessor.

Magazines and magazines and magazines

Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about some of my favourite artisanal magazines, and the reason I like them. But for now, it’s always worth remembering that being digitally-focused doesn’t mean you can’t love print, any more than beings a TV fan means you have to shut film and theatre.

It’s very rare that a new medium will kill old media. But it almost always changes them.

Here’s a photo of my morning workstation:

iPad and Mac in ad-blocking scandal

On the left, my iPad happily showing a news story about the presidential debates from last night – and the #kenbone hashtag in particular.

On the right, my MacBook Pro showing the same story – except it’s been blocked by anti-adblocking tech.

This is what is says:

Ad Blocker Blocked

The irony?

The iPad has an ad blocker installed.

The Mac doesn’t.

In their haste to punish people blocking ads, Deadline is actually excluding genuine visitors. And therein lies the problem with “ad blocker sniffing” tech – it doesn’t always work, and sometimes it throws false positives. And it inadvertently left me wondering if maybe I should have an ad blocker on my Mac, too.

This arms race will not end well for publishers.

Kindle Oasis in use

Some sobering news for ebook enthusiasts in the New York Times:

Sales of adult books fell by 10.3 percent in the first three months of 2016, and children’s books dropped by 2.1 percent. E-book sales fell by 21.8 percent, and hardcover sales were down 8.5 percent. The strongest categories were digital audiobooks, which rose by 35.3 percent, and paperback sales, which were up by 6.1 percent.

So, are the print fundamentalists right? Is the magical smell of paper winning, and that insipid upstart, the ebook, banished to the technologies of the past? Which other possible explanation could there be?

But e-book sales have fallen precipitously for months, in part because many publishers have raised their prices after negotiating with Amazon and gaining the ability to set their own prices.

Oh. Publisher greed.

And while some book buyers may have traded e-books for print books, others may be buying cheaper, self-published e-books on Amazon.

Double oh. New, cheaper competition.

Where have we seen this pattern before, exactly?

Stock content for the ages.

What happens when you stop publishing new material and take a hard, professional look at your archives?

The Buffer team decided to find out:

Having not published original content on the blog for 30 days, we saw only a 4 percent dip in traffic compared to the previous month.

Basically, they took a professional approach to revising, revamping and repromoting evergreen or stock content – and reaped the traffic rewards.

This is still the least-appreciated aspect of running a website amongst news-centric publishers.

Also worth noting: this is a post from 2015, which I discovered because they repromoted it…