Friday, October 30, 2009

10 gamechangers for the media?

     The Huffington Post offers ten gamechangers for the media. Some of them will surprise you (did you immediately think of Henry Louis Gates?). 

      For me, the presentation is even more interesting than the content. The link takes you to a introductory page, with each of the ten offered on a slideshow with photos and supporting text. It's a good way to use the Internet, in the sense that it's non-linear and, clicking through, offers ad display space.  Of course, I could have read it in half the time in text and standard photo format, but that's not new media enough these days.

Some newspapers move to save costs by reducing publication

     I've often wondered why the Postal Service, which seems to be constantly struggling for money, delivers on Saturday.  Newspapers are constantly struggling for money, and some of them are wondering the same thing about their product.  More than 100 have opted to reduce frequency of publication. Last week, there was a good discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the move, including some interesting points we don't often think of (like breaking the habit of reading).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Newsday takes much of its content off-line

    Newsday is the first major U.S. newspaper to put its entire content behind a wall, available only to subscribers of the newspaper or persons who pay $5 a week to subscribe to the online version. The online site offers only headlines and teasers. Editor & Publisher described the site, ending with this interesting observation: 

"Some of the free summaries present stories with almost a cliffhanger-like ending if you do not subscribe. An article about a gas station attendant thwarting a robbery detailed the events up to this sentence: 'The rifle-toting suspect banged on the door and ...' 

"Yes, pay up to see the rest."

      It's the first of many newspapers going that route.

      Meanwhile, Sam Zell, the guy who is taking the Chicago Tribune down the tubes, says that no newspaper will survive. Given the incredibily bad management of many of them, he may be right.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fourth Street Forum to focus on newspapers and democracy

This week's Fourth Street Forum will focus on whether the declining newspaper situation is a threat to community and democracy. It will be taped at noon on Thursday at Turner Hall (open to the public), and aired at 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Sunday, both on on Channel 10.1.

Guests are Mikel Holt of the Milwaukee Community Journal, Louis Fortis of the Shepherd-Express, Jo Ann Willow of the Third Coast Digest and Ricardo Pimentel of the Journal-Sentinel. If I weren't going to be out of town on Thursday, I'd be at the taping for sure. I'd recommend you get there if you can; it should be an excellent discussion, especially with the input from leaders of the alternative press.

Newspaper circulation continues to dip

A new study shows big newspaper circulation decline continues. Worse, according to the MediaPost analysis, it's getting bigger. The study covered 83 of the nation's largest newspapers, which, I think, is skewing the figures a bit since the largest newspapers are the ones taking the biggest hits. Nevertheless, the study shows that the circulation decline hasn't bottomed out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One way or another, newspapers are going to charge for online content

       How many ways can you charge online?  American newspapers are going to find out. As of now, several different models are very close to implementation.  Interesting is that the New York Times has had readers asking to pay. We're in for a real ride the next couple of years.

40% of Internet users visit newspaper sites

A new study shows that 40 percent of Internet users visit newspaper web sites. That figure has stayed the same in recent years, and reflects the continuing interest in news among the Internet users.

Of course, there's a downside as well. There always seems to be a downside these days. This one is that the study reflects the continuing inability of newspapers to make money from their web sites. Free doesn't pay the bills.