Newspaper employment has utterly collapsed in the last 15 years, with employment numbers now around where they were in the mid-1950s.
The good news: It's a great opportunity. The next decade will give birth to new forms of reporting, more in tune with today's technology and news consumption habits.
Going digital is not an excuse for opting out of the class war, or the gender war. It is not a neutral space you can go to because you’re “not really interested in politics” and just want to be creative.
Archive for December, 2009
In the 21st century, news media is much more centered around individual reporters. Maybe a staff's down to a single writer covering a particular beat. Or even if others remain to file for the paper, a writer individually maintains a blog and Twitter feed.
What happens to those when the writer goes on vacation? Too often, they go dark until the writer returns. No news organization can get away with that anymore, not in this hyper-competitive online news market.
Perhaps one of the most exciting developments to come – and potentially truly massive business plans – appears to be the one which has been worked on for the past two years or so by Steve Sampson and his team working in a secret bunker.
Why not take a page out of blog design and have a running tally of your most recent major headlines? This way I can visit a news site any time of the day and see what I missed previously. Can’t you safely assume that a majority of the readers aren’t going to scan the whole front page for something that interests them, especially if you are trying your best to draw their attention with major headlines?
Firstly, we all understand again that resources are what determine editorial results. Digital technologies can be wonderfully efficient but you still get what you pay for. Are we prepared to invest in good online journalism? Unless we add value, why should we expect the public to pay? Forget how we used to do it, what is going to work?
To give you a flavor for some of the less supportive comments, I have been called a clown, narcissistic, a nobody, arrogant, envious, holier-than-thou, a blowhard, self-obsessed, an idiot, puritanical, misguided, a hater, a fascist, a moron, a pinhead, and ignorant. And that's just a short list. I admit that the veracity of these descriptions are up for debate, but I'll leave that discussion to the readers of my blogs.
There has been a lot of discussion about labeling links with literal callouts for the action or word to click. The appendages for “here” and “click here” are contextually messy and visually ugly, but if they improve usability, it might be a worthy tradeoff. For this test, I was curious about how it would affect the raw clickthrough rate.
This result surprised me. Simply adding “here” as the link at the end of the phrase increased the clickthrough rate by 27% to 12.81%.
“ONLY £2 a month on THIS DEAL NOW. Two days and counting” according to the spam which dropped into my inbox this morning from those plucky chappies at Manchester Confidential.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been a bit miffed, to say the least, at the sheer volume of spam ‘newsletters’ being pushed out since publisher Mark Garner decided that the entertainments blog was mostly going behind a paywall.
In what could be the biggest gamble of the entrepreneur’s life, from January 1, users are required to pay up for restaurant reviews, offers and competitions which were previously free of charge – although some stories will still be free to all.
Correction: As Garner notes below, the pay walls go into place on the 15th of the month; the current discounted deal finishes at the end of this month.
Being no stranger to the sort of online businesses which do make money (having previously run RedHotDutch for instance) Garner says he understands the digital world and he’s certainly been talking a good fight since he announced the plan.
Just last week he explained the extension of the subscription offer deadline until the end of this month as a way of helping people who felt overstretched due to Christmas after telling HowDo last month:
“We’ve never courted Google, never engaged in any SEO, so I think our readership figures are more robust than say the MEN’s online stats, or The Daily Mail with their countless millions of readers – ours generally don’t find us by accident – but there’s still fluff.
“What we hope to concentrate on is perhaps 50,000 to 80,000 key transactors – people that gain value from our site and our deals, and people that our advertisers want to engage with.
“We’re not frightened by losing the fluff.”
If you want to be a friend to the Manchester Confidential blog, the full details of what you’ll get for your £2 are right here.
Not long now until we find out whether there’s enough friends and heroes to go round and make a success of Manchester’s first media organisation paywall.
There can be no doubt that 2009 has been a year of turmoil with plenty of surprises, some shocks – and a few treats as well – for media folk in Manchester.
As we bid it farewell and look forward to 2010, I’vestarted putting together this timeline with some of the events which came across my radar during the past 12 months.
Perhaps predictably for me, the comings and goings at MEN Media as well as the ongoing emergence of the Media City with all the hopes the BBC move brings for the city, have been constant themes running throughout the year.
But there’s also been the ongoing successes of digital media fixtures such as the Big Chip in its 11th year and the Manchester Blog Awards in its fourth year, as well as relative newcomers Social Media Cafe Manchester marking its first anniversary.
It’s not as detailed in some months as I’d like it to be (mainly because I’ve worked away from the city at points during the year) but it’s an attempt to keep a record for the future, so, if you’ve got anything to add, please drop me a link to include.
And here’s to 2010!
It’s a reminder that journalists will do anything to avoid getting real jobs, including conjuring a new kind of workplace that doesn’t include any of the legacy costs of trucks and printing presses.
New guidelines will say that local authorities will still have to advertise in papers and councils will be required to publish information about planning applications on their websites.
It’s an online co-op where former Times reporters, editors, and designers can hang a freelance shingle and land jobs. The site, which evolved out of an email list for laid-off staffers, currently has around 30 members. And it’s throwing its hat into the ring for a Knight News Challenge grant.
cool infographic being passed around online. Made by the guys at Trendstream, it maps social media access and involvement around the world.
Here's why I think this is going to be both successful and important to the future of journalism. Advertisers crave a reliable, predictable audience. The more precise your target audience is, the better able you are to rely on advertising to keep the program streaming across cyberspace. Our human spaceflight program has always brought amazing benefits. Wouldn't it be awesome if coverage of the final frontier creates a new frontier for journalism?
This year, we were talking not just about what new features to add to our current sites, but also about the possibility of building an entirely new website for the first time in a couple of years.
But size isn’t the only important factor, Potts says. Demographics matter too. The ideal community for a hyperlocal news site would include lots of school-aged kids, homeowners, well-established community groups and a local political system. “No one cares about county government,” he says.
When journalists say "you get what you pay for," there's often a moralistic tone to it that does no one any good. No one's going to save journalism by hectoring people. Instead, journalists, and their audience, should look at it as a simple practical question: as it stands today, if you pay less, eventually you will get less. (Assuming, that is, no one invents a new means of subsidizing journalism without you paying anything.) Are you OK with that?
DayLeeds is an initiative intended to reboot ‘old media’, provide mechanisms for blending social media with mainstream content, create conversational content and ultimately provide a chorus of new voices for an old city. Though DayLeeds is rooted in efforts to reinvent Leeds’ media ecosphere, the underlying practices, platforms and technologies are in essence “tools for a post-digital newsroom”, applicable to any geography.
At various locations in recent months I’ve been stalking online experts with my trusty Flip and asking them one question: How has social media impacted on The Media?