Communication Leadership Blog
The BBC director of future media and technology, Erik Huggers, spoke yesterday at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch. He argued that newspapers should make their online content look more like it does in print, and emphasized the potential of devices like the Kindle that could mimic the traditional feeling of reading the newspaper. Huggers also discussed the potential of Project Canvas, a venture that would link digital television and the Internet so that viewers can watch online content on the TV screens. He said that the project would bring the best of television and the best of the internet together.
The NIS News Bulletin, a English-language Dutch news service, reports that the Dutch media minister is set to hire 60 journalists. The journalists will work at one of 30 commerical newspapers that cover national or regional news. The Minister explained his decision by saying that younger journalists are frequently the first to be laid off. About 4 million euros have been set aside for this project. The minister has also set up a committee to study other possible initiatives.
Greg Horowitz at the Digitalists raises an often-overlooked question about the impact of micropayments on the journalists who write the stories. He fears that news companies, armed with data about which articles brought in the most revenue, will increasingly adapt their coverage based on what sells. Journalists themselves may be rewarded or let go based on their ability to spur micropayments, and they may start to couch their pieces in more attention-grabbing styles. All of these developments, Horowitz argues, would be bad for journalism. Read the Digitalist post -- May 13, 2009.
Not everyone is convinced the Wall Street Journal's announcement that it will start charging micropayments will prove successful. Mike Mansick at TechDirt argues that charging micropayments actually decreases the value of the content for its users: These days, many people value content for the ability to engage with it, comment on it and share it with others. Micropayments take away that ability, and thus decrease the value of the content, Mansick says.
Business Week discusses why David Geffen, the Hollywood billionaire who once chaired the Dreamsworks studio, would make an offer to buy a stake in the New York Times. It is, after all, no secret that the paper is in financial trouble. Geffen certainly understands this, and therefore likely sees his offer as a civic investment rather than a business venture. Geffen tried to buy the Los Angeles Times in 2006.
Washington state has agreed to provide its newspapers with a tax break, granting the industry a 40 percent reduction in the state's main business tax. The cut is similar to ones bestowed upon Boeing Co. and the timber industry in the past. The tax reduction plan is receiving a mixed reaction. The Business Insider, for one, remains critical.
MarketWatch, a financial website published by Dow Jones, has redesigned its website. Along with adding new features and emphasizing original content, MarketWatch launched the new site in an effort to boost online advertising sales. Even as its competitors like Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal require subscriptions for content, and as its parent company NewsCorp looks into charging for online content, MarketWatch is hoping that the redesign will allow them to keep providing business news for free.
Through innovation and newsroom changes, Britain's Telegraph receives 8 percent of its traffic, translating into 75,000 daily unique visitors, from news aggregators and social networking sites. The Telegraph cites a variety of changes -- instituting a new technology lab, merging the print and digital operations -- with strengthening its traffic. The Telegraph relies on its readers to recommend their articles to others via Digg, Delicious, Reddit and others.
You needn't look far to find skepticism about the potential of foundations and philanthropists to bankroll the work that newspapers have long done. Conventional wisdom is that funders of nonprofits can make only a marginal difference, that the real answers will come from private sector innovators.
But these skeptics aren't much found in evidence at the nation's leading investigative reporting nonprofits.
The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), ProPublica and the Center for Investigative Reporting are all on the move, all seeing growing opportunities for nonprofit investigative work, all hopeful about future funding.
Jack Shafer in Slate discusses the 1962-1963 New York newspaper strike, and considers it a case study in what people do when the newspapers shut down. He argues that, despite today's oft-stated assumption, democracy and government did not appear to suffer too much under the 114-day strike. Instead, people turned to other news sources for information -- television, news magazines and books. Meanwhile, the circulation of newspapers not involved in the strike rose dramatically.