Category Archives: Future of the Media

State of the Media

Several paragraphs into this article, we discover in a parenthetical aside that three hours passed after the Safeway assassination in Arizona before any mention of it broke at the state’s largest newspaper, The Arizona Republic. Three hours, presumably because the paper has cut staff, and the murders happened on a Saturday, and what few reporters remain on-staff had to be rustled from their beds.

Pay attention, fellow news junkies, ‘cuz this is major-league mainstream corporate journalism in America, 2011.



News orgs must reassess why they are using social media, says Ben Hammersley


Media can either aggregate cheap and plentiful content to draw in a mass audience or opt for high quality content, which pulls in fewer but more valuable people for advertisers, says Hammersley.

Wired, which launches in the UK next month, will opt for the latter. With at least five 8,000-word articles in each monthly issue, the Conde Nast title will bring a new kind of long-form, literary journalism to the UK strongly influenced by the US’ Vanity Fair, Esquire and New Yorker style, he adds.

“Everything in the middle [between aggregation and high quality] will die away and you’re going to see that in every industry, which is why we’re launching a big glossy magazine in the middle of a recession,” he says.

Read the story HERE…

Forget Micropayments — Here’s a Far Better Idea for Monetizing Content

While Time magazine and others claim the answer lies in asking readers to pay in small increments, that model will only hasten newspapers’ death spiral. Instead, consider what may prove to be the solution: a California start-up called Kachingle.

Read the Article… Click Here

Berkeley Daily Planet launches ‘Fund for Local Reporting’

Posted by Laura Oliver for

In a frank article about the paper’s future, the owners of US independent newspaper the Berkeley Daily Planet admit they don’t have a solution for plugging the revenue gap in their ailing ad-supported business model.

Enter the Fund for Local Reporting, which is asking for donations large and small to keep the Planet running.

“As we explained in a recent editorial, paying salaries and benefits just for the reporters and editors who cover local news adds up to at least $250,000 a year. That doesn’t include production, rent, printing, distribution, sales etc,” reads the online payment form.

The O’Malleys, the paper’s owners, are also exploring developing the fund into a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organisation. Indeed, they’ve been toying with lots of ideas – part of a ‘reality check’, the editor says – including voluntary subscriptions and migrating to the web . They might not know what the solution is, and this might be a last roll of the dice, but they’re certainly going for it with all they’ve got.


Wanted: ‘survival strategies’ for dying US newspapers

Source: Raw Story

The fate of US newspapers is in the news as journalists, editors, bloggers, media pundits and concerned citizens debate the future of the troubled industry.

“How to Save Your Newspaper,” is the cover story in Time in which Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor of the magazine, revives a plan to make readers pay for news online through a “micropayments” system.

“Battle Plans for Newspapers” is the headline on a feature in The New York Times in which the editors of the paper invite eight prominent media and Web figures to suggest “survival strategies” for endangered US newspapers.

Among the contributors: Craig Newmark, the founder of and the man some in the newspaper industry accuse of singlehandedly destroying their lucrative classified ad business with his free online service.

Newmark, stressing that “vigorous journalism, particularly investigative journalism, must be preserved,” pointed to “hyperlocal” news websites and “philanthropic” ventures like as possible future models.

Micropayments, hyperlocal and philanthropic schemes are a few of the ideas being bandied about in the pages of dying US newspapers — which cut more than 20,000 jobs last year — and in scores of blogs on the Web.

In a recent opinion piece in the Times, David Swensen, the chief investment officer at Yale University, and Michael Schmidt, a financial analyst, argued that US newspapers should be turned into “nonprofit, endowed institutions — like colleges and universities.”

Most industry observers tend to agree on what is killing US newspapers.

Print advertising revenue is steadily declining and circulation is falling as readers go online to get news for free. Online advertising revenue has been rising but is not keeping pace with the drop in print advertising revenue.

What they do not agree on is the solution.

Much of the debate has focused on whether readers, accustomed to getting news for free online, will be ready to pay for quality journalism.

The Wall Street Journal is currently the only major US publication which has succesfully managed to make readers pay to gain access to all of the content on its website.

In a recent online question and answer session with readers, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said his paper may also put some of its content behind a pay barrier, less than two years after a failed experiment with just such a system known as TimesSelect.

“Really good information, often extracted from reluctant sources, truth-tested, organized and explained — that stuff wants to be paid for,” he said.

“So far, it gets paid for mainly by advertisers, but a lively, deadly serious discussion continues within The Times about ways to get consumers to pay for what we make.”

In his Time cover story, Isaacson said “the key to attracting online revenue, I think, is to come up with an iTunes-easy method of micropayment.

“Under a micropayment system, a newspaper might decide to charge a nickel for an article or a dime for that day’s full edition or two dollars for a month’s worth of Web access.”

Getting readers to pay was also the subject of a recently leaked memo from Steve Brill, the founder of Court TV, to the Times in which he suggested a “new business model to save the New York Times and journalism itself.”

“There is simply no example, not one — in print, online, in television — of quality content offered for free ever resulting in a viable business,” he said.

Noting that the Times website averages 20 million unique visitors a month, Brill proposed a 10-cent fee for each article, a 40-cent “day pass,” a one-month fee of 7.50 dollars and a yearly subscription of 55 dollars.

Journalist Steve Outing was among those taking issue with micropayments saying the idea would just “hasten newspapers’ death spiral.”

“This approach hasn’t worked. It won’t work. Is completely counter to the nature of the Internet,” Outing wrote on his blog,

Putting content behind a pay barrier prevents it from being found and shared by search engines such as Google, he added. “If Google can’t point people to your content, you may as well not be on the Web. And you’re out of business.”

Outing instead pointed to a California start-up venture called Kachingle and a voluntary system under which readers would “agree to pay a monthly fee to support valuable online content from publishers and bloggers you like.”

T.J. Sullivan, a Los Angeles blogger, is calling for drastic measures.

Sullivan is circulating an online petition calling for US newspapers to shut down their websites to non-paying subscribers for a week in July and to publish only in print.

“Now is the time for newspapers to do something proactive; time for them to demonstrate what life would be like without them,” he wrote on the website LA Observed.

Survey: Internet Radio Listenership Gaining

By Joseph Palenchar — TWICE, 12/1/2008

Internet radio listening is gaining in popularity, increasing the market potential for home audio products incorporating Internet radio streaming, an Edison Media Research study implies.

In 1998, only 6 percent of Americas ages 12 and older had ever listened to Internet radio, but that percentage has tripled to 19 percent in a survey conducted earlier this year by the research company. About 21 percent of people in that age range, or a total of 54 million people, listened to Internet radio in the prior month, and 13 percent, or around 33 million, did so in the previous week, the survey found. All told, 46 percent of people ages 12 and older have listened to Internet radio at some time in the past.

The percentage of people ages 12 and older who listened to Internet radio in the past week is also way up, clocking in at only 2 percent in Edison’s 2000 survey and rising to 13 percent in the 2008 survey.

Although the weekly Internet radio audience skews slightly male, it attracts a broad range of age groups, and the most avid listeners aren’t necessarily the youngest, the survey also found. In fact, the 45 to 54 age group does the most listening compared to other age groups. A total of 27 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds listened to Internet radio in the prior week, as did 18 percent of 45- to 54-year-olds. In the 25 to 34 group, it was 15 percent, and 12 percent of the people in the 12 to 17 group and in the 18 to 24 group listened to Internet radio in the previous week.

Weekly Internet radio listeners were 52 percent male and 48 percent female.

Audio podcasting listening is also on the upswing. Eighteen percent of the surveyed people have listened to an audio podcast, up from 13 percent in 2007. Nine percent, or an estimated 23 million, have listened to an audio podcast in the past month.

Edison also determined that Internet radio is gaining on traditional radio as a medium for learning about new music. In 2008, 49 percent of surveyed consumers called traditional radio the medium “you turn to first to learn about new music,” with 25 percent citing Internet radio as the medium to turn to first. In 2002, in contrast, 63 percent said they turned first to traditional radio, with only 9 percent turning to Internet radio.

Among teens, however, “the Internet now leads radio for music discovery,” Edison said.

“Users continue to prove that they want to consume radio on their terms,” said Tom Webster, Edison VP. “On-demand media and a wealth of portable devices are creating listening occasions that were previously either unavailable or under-utilized, which is increasing the overall demand for audio content.”

A total of 1,857 people were interviewed earlier this year by telephone .

Fl Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie

By Mike Gaddy

On February 14, a Florida Appeals court ruled there is absolutely nothing illegal about lying, concealing or distorting information by a major press organization. The court reversed the $425,000 jury verdict in favor of journalist Jane Akre who charged she was pressured by Fox Television management and lawyers to air what she knew and documented to be false information. The ruling basically declares it is technically not against any law, rule, or regulation to deliberately lie or distort the news on a television broadcast.

On August 18, 2000, a six-person jury was unanimous in its conclusion that Akre was indeed fired for threatening to report the station’s pressure to broadcast what jurors decided was “a false, distorted, or slanted” story about the widespread use of growth hormone in dairy cows. The court did not dispute the heart of Akre’s claim, that Fox pressured her to broadcast a false story to protect the broadcaster from having to defend the truth in court, as well as suffer the ire of irate advertisers.

Fox argued from the first, and failed on three separate occasions, in front of three different judges, to have the case tossed out on the grounds there is no hard, fast, and written rule against deliberate distortion of the news. The attorneys for Fox, owned by media baron Rupert Murdock, argued the First Amendment gives broadcasters the right to lie or deliberately distort news reports on the public airwaves.

In its six-page written decision, the Court of Appeals held that the Federal Communications Commission position against news distortion is only a “policy,” not a promulgated law, rule, or regulation.

Fox aired a report after the ruling saying it was “totally vindicated” by the verdict.