Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can Times get away with a pay wall?

Media leaders and experts weigh in on the New York Times' announcement that it will start charging for content. Interesting viewpoints with most of them commenting on how cautious the Times is in this move.

Will Apple's new product revitalize old media?

Given that we don't know much about it, I've avoided posting about Apple's newest product, which is to be introduced January 27. But there's an excellent story in today's Wall Street Journal headlined "Apple Sees New Money in Old Media" that caught my eye for obvious reasons.

The gist of the story is that Apple's new product, widely expected to be a tablet, will "reshape businesses like textbooks, newspapers and television. . . ." The Apple tablet will be the delivery method for all sorts of old media, revitalizing them since their content would be valuable just as songs are sold on iTunes.

The story says Apple's business plan is to make money by making the content valuable unlike, say, Google's plan where the money comes from Google advertising and content really doesn't matter (or in the case of the Kindle, gouging content providers).

I've long believed that paper versions of newspapers and magazines are easier to digest information from than a website, which generally requires you to drill down to figure out what's in a story rather than the paper version where we quickly scan it. Seems to me that Apple's product has the potential to replicate that experience. It's just a matter of waiting for the actual product to see.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's going wrong at the Washington Post?

Building on the fiasco last year of its plans for "off the record" salons, The New Republic offers a long take on the Washington Post, the gist of which is that the newspapers is off the track and lurching from one idea to another. It's a scary thought for those who like newspapers.

In essence, the story tells a tale of missed opportunities, misjudgement, and just plain poor management (something that puts the Post in company with most newspaper companies). Though filled with inside-baseball style references, the story is very instructive of what's been happening to the entire old media world.

FTC examines Facebook privacy

I predict a continuing rise in questions about Internet privacy even as media look to increase its use of the Web for targeting consumers. The latest wrinkle is that the Federal Trade Commission apparently is looking into the Facebook privacy settings controversy.

Basically, allegations are that Facebook is tracking every move made using its site, whether users delete them or not. Questions are also raised about a new iPhone application that transfers phone contacts to Facebook as "friends," a feature that I'd never use (do I really want my plumber, attorney, M.U. Public Safety, and a host of restaurants as "friends"?).

Stay tuned. There's going to be more of these questions as media and Netizens push the envelope.

Chapter 11 draws another media group

Yet another big media group has filed for chapter 11 reorganization. It's MediaNews, publisher of newspapers in Denver, Oakland, San Jose, and Detroit.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Can nonprofits save journalism?

Will nonprofits be enough to continue the long journalist tradition of muckraking? ABC News raises that question, answering with a solid "maybe." The short answer is that nonprofit journalism has had some hits, but questions remain about its sustainability (similar to just about everything else in journalism these days). It's a nicely-done story, and I hope it has a happy ending.