Communication Leadership Blog
This week, the Financial Times began asking its readers to contribute to online editoral content. Readers will contribute to the Arena blog, which launches today. The first topic centers on higher taxes. This development is the latest in a trend of crowdsourcing. Earlier this week, the New York Times put out a similar call for contribution from its readers.
The Windsor Star explains some of the reasons that Canada's newspaper industry is performing better than its counterpart in the U.S. Among the reasons are higher readership, less competition for ad revenue and a less devastating economic downturn. This is not to say that Canadian newspapers are not struggling.
The Internet has been praised for increasing the level of interaction between the producers of news and its consumers. Yet Virginia Heffernan of the New York Times questions just how valuable the online "Comments" section of articles really is. Using Slate/Washington Post columnist Ann Applebaum as an example, Heffernan notes that this journalist, who has been called one of the "world's most sophisticated thinkers," reguarly receives anti-Semitist, angry, superficial, and just plain irrelevant comments for her pieces.
The Attributor Corp has joined with a group of online publishers to form the Fair Syndication Consortium (FSC), a venture that hopes to gain advertising revenue from sites that reproduce their content. Attributor already works with the AP and the Financial Times to track their content, so that those organizations can request that their work be taken down if used inappropriately. Now, however, the FSC hopes to use that same technology to track the use of their content and persuade the reproducers to share in the advertising revenue.
You can read the announcement on the Editors' Weblog here.
UPDATE: The Consortium, which now includes POLITICO, Reuters, among others, held its first meeting Monday. Attributor found that for every one viewer who reads an article on the producer's website, another five find it in full elsewhere.
You can read the Editors' Weblog update here.
Even as their newsrooms contract, local TV news stations are adding time to their broadcasts, totaling on average half an hour per day. In these tough economic times, the local news stations hope that by increasing their news hours, they will remain competitive and vibrant operations. Yet local news remains less profitable than in the past, and the vast majority of stations have had to consolidate and lay off workers. Read the Huffington Post story -- April 27, 2009.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt has a plan that he believes may help newspapers generate more revenue for their content. Google's algorthims will start bringing users the news, adapted to their preferences, without the users even looking for it. Because the news will be personalized and highly targeted, the site can charge for premium ads alongside the stories. Problematically, the content producers will not receive a cut from this additional revenue, but Google says that this will still help the newspapers as they will receive more hits on their sites.
In an experiment aimed at increasing reader interaction, the New York Times has turned to crowdsourcing -- using its readers as the sources for news. The paper has published over 650 pages of Timothy Geithner's schedule as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and asked that its readers supply their thoughts on what is worth noting in the document. The NYT has already published some of its own insights and perspective, but is offering the masses a greater chance to weigh in.
Fifteen digital journalists from 10 states have been selected for the inaugural class of the Knight Digital Media Center's Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC's Marshall School of Business, the Center on Communication Leadership and Policy at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and USC Annenberg's Online Journalism Review.
Alex Jones has led one of the nation's most successful nonprofits on politics and the press for nearly nine years. Like many people, though, he doesn't think the fundamental answer to the news media's precipitous slide will be found in the largess of philanthropists and foundations.
"The solution to what's happening to news media these days is going to be a commercial one," said Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
There are two exceptions, though, and one of them is a big one.
Jones wants one or more of the world's richest people to establish a $2 billion endowment that would provide permanent funding for PBS' "NewsHour."
Eric Gertler, in The Huffington Post, writes that newspapers should focus less on producing content that they can charge for online and instead work to leverage their brand. By creating new ventures like resume services, membership clubs and classes, newspapers can start to make money off their brand. Newspapers need to hurry, though, as other online competitors, from Yelp to The Huffington Post, continue to take over spaces where newspapers traditionally dominated.