Communication Leadership Blog
If newspapers go under, the argument goes, blogs and aggregators will lose the source of much of their news. To assess the validity of that assumption, Daily Kos looked at its "front page" posts for the week of April 6 through April 12, and counted up the sources of their linked items. They found that the plurality came from newspapers, 123 items, but that the newspaper content amounted to only 20 percent of the news items that Daily Kos linked to during the week.
Starting today, The Middle East Times is available online only via subscription. The publication, which originally began as a printed weekly based in Cairo, had been publishing its content online for free. The online newspaper expressed regret over the change, but emphasized that a subscription model was necessary. The Times will be publishing more limited content in the next couple of weeks as it reorganizes as a subscription publication.
The New York Times has launched a new, customizable widget called "My Headlines." Viewers choose from the NYT list of sections and features to create their own list of news that appears alongside the other headlines on the site's homepage. This is the latest in the increasingly customizable world of online news.
Peter Scheer discusses the legal factors involved in instituting pay walls for online content, specifically the concept of "fair use." He argues that the current interpretation of fair use -- which enables people to rewrite the first few paragraphs of a story while maintaining the central ideas, as aggregators often do -- will hurt some new sources more than others. Those that will suffer have news contained in the lead paragraphs, like wire services and major metropolitan dailies. Long-form journalism, such as that practiced by the New Yorker and hyperlocal sites, will fare better under this definition of fair use.
An editorial in the Los Angeles Times makes the case for a federal shield law to protect journalists from prosecution if they are protecting their confidential sources. Though many states have such a law, the federal government does not currently offer such protections for reporters. The House recently passed a shield law, and the Senate has an alternative on the table. The editorial finds some of the Senate measures, particularly the definition of protected journalists as one who engages in journalism, as superior to the House version.
Jack Shafer at Slate says journalists should stop criticizing The Huffington Post for copying and rewriting their original content. Shafer notes that such antics are a long-established tradition in journalism, from Pulitizer's blatant theft of Hearst's copy to Time Magazine's deft rewriting of the newspapers' news. Aggregation and substantial borrowing are simply part of journalism.
Last month, Time Inc launched a new experiment with Mine, a customizable print magazine. Joshua Benton of the Nieman Journalism Lab reviewed his copy today. Though Benton thought the experiment worthwhile, he was confused by the nearly two-year-old content in the magazine, and was slightly uncomfortable with the adaptions of the Lexus advertisements that funded the project.
Even as newspapers around the country close, New York City is getting another daily Spanish-language newspaper, called NY Al Dia. The paper will launch on April 20, and sell for 40 cents at 1,800 locations throughout NYC. The daily is staffed by 13 former employees of Hoy New York, which closed in December. The new newspaper will compete with El Diario/La Prensa, the existing Spanish-language daily in New York.
Clint Reilly worries that media monopolies would endanger the public good that news outlets are supposed to protect. He suggests that, as newspapers consolidate, we impose three methods of oversight over the news media: a council of citizens to monitor the news, incorporating citizens on the newspapers' editorial boards, and a state newspaper regulatory board appointed by the governor. These three mechanisms would serve as a check to ensure that newspapers continue to serve as the public's watchdog.
Just as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer experienced a drop in viewership after the newspaper went online only, a finanical newspaper in Finland has seen a similar trend. According to researchers at City University London, when Taloussanomat switched to an online-only format, it initially saw a small uptick in viewership. Five months later, however, the site found that their unique viewers had dropped by 22 percent. Two British newspapers saw their websites' unique viewers increase by significant margins during that same period. The Finnish newspaper has since gained in viewers, in part due to the global economic crisis.