Friday, May 13, 2011

Newspapers, economy booming in India

Hottest news out of India these days is the huge boom in printed newspapers. Interesting: India has the second hottest economy in the world (behind only China) and newspapers are booming. And, yes, the papers are filled with advertising. I've wondered for some time if part of our economic problem isn't the advertising industry rushing to the Internet where I'm still waiting for any evidence that advertising works except for the limited immediate clickthrough ads.

The answer is "Yes."

Slate headline writers, featuring a Ben Yagoda article on writing, asks "Is it wrong to put the period outside the quotation marks." In fact, the headline on the piece does just that. Yagoda writes entreatingly about why Americans put the period inside quotation marks while the British -- and, increasingly, young Americans -- put it outside.

Yagoda, a professor of English at the University of Delaware, makes a good case for what he calls "logical punctuation." But a word to my students: He didn't convince me.

Newest Google app goes hyper-local

Feature on a new Google feature (offering "news near you") does a nice job of explaining the new feature, but uses the new hyper-local feature to attack newspapers for continuing their mass media approach.

Mathew Ingram writes: "News outlets have typically thought of their readers as being rooted in the ground, and thereby captive audiences. As anyone with a smartphone or an iPad knows, that's no longer the case for many people Thanks to ubiquitous connectivity and smart digital devices, they can consume news and content wherever they might be, and in some cases that's going to be locally-specific content. Google is prepared for that future, but are other news outlets?"

Hyper-local news works somewhat, but not everybody wants the same news -- or delivery platform.

A change agent talks about media change

The Christian Science Monitor, which was one of the first newspapers to dramatically remake itself decades ago, says in a headline, "Online media is replacing newspapers and TV. Is that a bad thing?" Great question, and excellent long-form look at the topic of the last few years.

Years ago, the Monitor was a good daily, print newspaper noted for its solid reporting. It was established by the Christian Science church, but never was seen as a religious newspaper. As its circulation dropped, the Monitor dropped its daily print edition, going online with a weekly print. At the same time, it shifted its emphasis from news to explanatory articles.

Given this history of making changes necessary to stay in existence, the Monitor itself is what media needs to do to survive today. The article on new media shows that online-only doesn't necessarily mean shallow or short journalism.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

German leader sees digital, paper coexisting

A prominate German media leader believes tablets are a "gamechanger" for newspapers, but they won't hurt the print publications. "Is our core business to print newspapers," Mathias Doepfne says, no, "our core business is to create branded content and to monitarize it."

"We are reaching new readers with our digital offerings," he said, explaining that he doesn't see digital products "cannibalizing" print products. Asked if he sees newspapers lasting, he said they'd be here a lot "longer than people speculate." The real gamechanger he says would be electronic paper, a product that is being researched now.

His view is important since Europeans have taken over media leadership. Rather than curl up and waiting to die, as so many American media companies are, Europeans are aggressively experimenting to see what work.

Doepfne is CEO of Axel Springer AG, which owns more than 260 newspapers and magazines as well as more than 80 online publications along with radio and television stations.

Traffic down, profits up at NY Times site

Traffic on the New York Times website is down almost 20 percent, indications are, but an influential stock analyst makes the company a "buy" since the paywall seems to be working.

This is more significant than it seems since there are those -- including me -- who believe that people will pay for content if they perceive it's of value.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

National Geographic wins top magazine award

National Geographic wins "magazine of the year" award. To me, it's the epitome of what makes a print magazine great. It's something to savor while reading with the combination of great photographs, great writing, and great ideas.

There are other winners as well, but the Geographic stands out.

Monday, May 9, 2011

On new media and understanding content

Interesting column from Adweek's Michael Wolff about how so many new media folks miss the boat because they don't understand media, just the technical parts. Content, he contends, drives viewers (see item on Pew survey below), which should drive dollars.
You can tell what he's getting at from the column's title, "When will the techy guys understand what business they're in?"

New report shows strength of news in driving online media consumers

Whoa! Stop the presses! Online viewers are drawn to stories about specific events!

OK, no more sarcasm. We know the strength of news. Online media consumers are no different from print or audio/video media consumers. They are attracted by big stories. Still, this Pew Report (here's a nice summary from Mark Walsh at Online Media Today) demonstrates the strength of this attraction.

One piece of news we should all be thinking about is the role of social media in driving viewers. As the report summary says, "Social media, however, and Facebook in particular, are emerging as a powerful news referring source. At five of the top sites, Facebook is the second or third most important driver of traffic." Google is tops. That means we in the professional media ignore social media at our own risk.

Read one or both of these reports to keep up on what's happening.