Thursday, December 16, 2010

Debunking myths about social media sites

New study backs up earlier study in debunking some myths about social media and young adults. In short, the report says, college students may keep tuned in to a social media site like Facebook, but they use search engines to research possible purchases, not a social site.

It makes all the money being thrown at social sites look like money thrown away

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Survey results raise questions about online ads

Interesting story today on Internet advertising. I'm not an advertising expert, but this story raises a number of questions that I have to ask as a media observer.

Online Media Daily, quoting an online marketer's study, found that most Internet users are aware of advertising they assume is targeted at them -- but more than a third of those viewers dislike the ads with many concerned about privacy.

The study is filled with contradictory information like that, but it left me with a question for those who are advertising experts -- is it a good thing if people are aware of your advertising, but hate the ads? An anecdote: I complete online crossword puzzles most days and there is one particular advertiser whose popup ad is incredibly bothersome. I don't go to this large retailer even though I've enjoyed it in the past.

Ethnic media isn't keeping pace in influence

Ethnic media continue to grow in audience, but its influence isn't keeping pace, conference determines.

The numbers attract attention (57 million and growing, not counting Univision and the Black Entertainment Network power), but general audiences want to use ethnic media to sell products but don't listen to what's being said, said Félix Gutiérrez, a long-time student of ethnic media.

It's a shame since ethnic media is clearly fulfilling key roles in places like Milwaukee where it's the only media around (except for the Internet) that continues to grow. We really see that with Wisconsin's new governor effectively killing the only new industrial facility built in our central city.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AP suspends internship program

A report quotes the Associated Press' Media Relations Director Paul Colford as saying that AP is suspending its internship program for a year. Not only is this bad news for prospective journalists, but it's yet another dumb idea from an industry wallowing in dumb ideas, I think. Interns are the cheapest labor possible (as well as being some of the best), and keep supplying content when regular staffers are off. It shows once again that too many media companies don't really understand that content is what sells.

Freelancing, business style

Freelance business journalists make $25,000 to $30,000 a year, survey shows, but most of them wouldn't take their old jobs back if they could (40% were laid off).

The Society of American Business Editors and Writers conducted the survey, and plans to repeat it annually. It's yet another brick in the edifice that is the new journalism. I remember making more than $20,000 a year freelancing back in the '80s, and think it is a viable way to make a living. At least it's better than working for some of the media companies out there.

What's the world's largest new site?

The experiment is intriguing; a new report calls it the largest "news" organization in the world. Don't really trust these reported numbers, but it's certainly worth following. The link above takes you to the organization's Milwaukee site -- today featuring a story on M.U.'s Vander Blue. The site unfortunately is littered with old stories as well as credibility issues, but it's certainly interesting.

The great paywall debate -- part (x)

The planned paywall at the New York Times prompts frenzied (well, frenzied for journalists anyway) debate at the Nieman Journalism Lab's online newsletter, with many contributors saying it'll be a flop or won't happen at all with others saying it'll be a big success. Interesting reading. I'll go with one of the commenters -- I just won't tell you which one.

Press freedom and Wikileaks

It's interesting that the best discussion of the implications of the Wikileaks situation from the point of view of freedom of the press that I've seen so far comes from a German site.

Spiegel online's Thomas Darnstadt argues that press freedom has come under attack ever since 9/11 and that "the U.S. government has transformed itself into a huge security apparatus." He makes a strong case for fighting back in the article titled "Is Treason a Civic Duty?"

Press freedom is vital, he argues, and this essay will make you question some of our assumptions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How far has CNN fallen?

Deborah Potter muses about how far CNN has fallen, and her short essay in the American Journalism Review online offers some sobering thoughts about how American news media is approaching news.

"Whatever happened to the CNN where the news once mattered?" she wonders aloud. It's something that the rest of us have also wondered as we watch 24-hour "news" channels fill prime time with opinion. As a certified news junky, I don't know how many evenings I've just given up -- driven to YouTube to find video of news (this happened yesterday when I wanted to see video of the dome collapsing in Minneapolis).

Potters looks at the CNN personnel for its evening lineup and finds them all wanting, at least one of them ethically challenged, and the only real newsperson among them, Anderson Cooper, planning a daytime syndicated talk show when Oprah Winfrey retires.

She closes with longing: "When I worked there briefly in the early '90s, the mantra ' news is the star' didn't seem laughable in prime time. Sadly, it does now."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Violence and the journalist

A Russian journalist writes of his being physically beaten in today's New York Times. Oleg Kashin listed three theories that abound as to who was behind the attack. In each case, though, the ultimate villain is the government itself.

It prompts some thoughts as to recent political campaigns in the U.S., where reporters have been verbally attacked not only by those attending rallies but, often, by politicians themselves. The intriguing part of Kashin's account is that it seems to be taken for granted that reporters are fair game for violence.