Communication Leadership Blog
Muck Rack, a service that aggregates the Twitter feeds of journalists, has added several new features in its recent redesigns that significantly improve the site. First, new users can organize those tweets into broad beats, ranging from technology to arts journalism. This allows people to focus on the more interesting content. Second, Muck Rack has added a list of trending topics, so viewers can tell at a glance what the world's journalists are tweeting about.
POLITICO, ABC,and Google are partnering to offer mulitmedia coverage of local political events, beginning with a debate between the candidates for governor in Virginia. ABC will broadcast the event live, and beforehand viewers will have a chance to submit video questions and text comments. The questions will be chosen using Google Moderator, which lets users rate the questions. The most popular questions will go to the candidates.
If a newly proposed bill passes, New York's shield law, which protects journalists from disclosing confidential sources in state court, would be extended to include journalist bloggers. The bill was proposed by State Sen. Thomas Duane and Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. The proposal would protect journalist bloggers who write for "a Web site or Web page that contains an online journal containing news, comments and offers hyperlinks provided by the writer."
Talking Points Memo, the eight-year-old political blog, has hired its first vice president of sales, who will lead its in-house advertising efforts. Diane Rinaldo, formerly director of political advertising at Yahoo!, holds the new position. Until her hire, TPM relied solely on advertising services like Blogads. In March and April, Rinaldo reports, TPM sold more advertisments than it did for all of 2008 (this refers only to in-house sales, rather than total advertising revenue).
The decline in advertising, coupled with a decline in viewership, has hurt local TV news almost as much as newspapers. The Philadelpha Inquirer reports that, in response to this trend, local TV channels are attempting to gain advertising from companies and products that do not normally buy many spots. This means that local advertisements, from Empire Carpeting to the Snuggie, are more likely to show up in places they didn't before.
The Financial Times is building two studios that will allow its correspondents to produce video and audio content for the website. FT.com will charge non-subscribers to watch the videos, if they exceed 10 videos a month. The site already produces 170 videos per month. FT.com has over 11 million unique viewers per month, and over 100,000 subscribers.
The Federal Trade Commission announced that it will host a hearing on Sept. 15 to discuss the struggle for new business models for journalism. Though an agenda has not yet been released, the FTC says that witnesses will include a host of interested parties -- from journalists to privacy experts to consumer advocates. The purpose is to investigate how the failing news industry, and any potential solutions, may have an impact on competition and the consumer.
Bill Mitchell at Poytner Online reviews the Kindle, which he sees as a "supplement to print and online as opposed to a substitute for either." The demographics for the Kindle, he argues, appear to skew older, which may be bad news for newspapers hoping that the device will save their industry. He notes some problems with the format and function of the Kindle, but in general has a positive review.
In the UK, Google is arguing that laws should be relaxed to allow newspapers to consolidate. In papers submitted to the Office of Fair Trade, the search engine suggests that revising the existing barriers to merging would allow local and regional newspapers to compete with Google itself as well as other internet sites. Google's comment comes as the OFT is reviewing the newspaper merger framework.
This summer, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to release new guidelines for bloggers and the way they handle sponsored posts. Specifically, the guidelines will dictate that bloggers disclose when they're voicing opinions that aren't their own, or are writing about a product they received for free. The rules are not binding, and may leave some wiggle room, but are an attempt to provide the same level of transparency and accountability in social media as exists in traditional media.