Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ABC to stop paying for interviews

The headline on today's dailybeast.com media page was intriguing, "ABC Bans Paying News Subjects." But the subtext was even more. ABC had been paying for interviews, even while denying the practice.

Seems ABC was following a common industry practice of not actually paying for interviews, merely paying for photos or videos -- thus passing money along to an interview subject. Following the practices noted in our Wisconsin Supreme Court justices' advertising, it wasn't actually a lie to say they weren't paying for interviews because they were actually paying for the photos. Wink, wink.

Sadly, other networks (and print and online publications) haven't abandoned the practice.

Consumers hate advertising tracking

As the media become more and more digital, especially in planning, evidence is piling up that consumers are not as eager for that future -- especially as seen by the advertising industry. Yet another survey shows that a huge majority of Americans don't like their browsing tracked by advertisers, even if that resulted in more relevant ads.

I fully realize -- especially since I live in Wisconsin -- that merely because we consumers don't like something doesn't mean it won't be pushed down our throats. But I think the surveys show there is a depth of anti-tracking that must be considered.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Is the media biased? The public thinks so

Meanwhile, another poll shows that American likely voters overwhelmingly believe the media is biased. A poll by the congressional newspaper, The Hill, found that 68 percent "consider the news media biased," 46 percent believe the media generally favor Democrats, while 22 percent believe Republicans are favored, with 28 percent saying the media is reasonably balanced. Some things don't change.

Oh, yes. We're also seen as too cosy with politicians.

What is the future for comics, both in newspapers and in book form?

One area of media that seldom gets mentioned, but I believe is very important, is comics, both newspapers and in comic book and compilation book form. Comics were seen as vital to bringing in newspaper readers a hundred years ago, and I believe they serve the same function these days despite the industry's virtually ignoring them in recent years.

I don't know how many times when I was talking with readers while at the Milwaukee Journal, the comics came up. Often it was "I started reading the newspaper with the comics," or "They're the only thing my son/daughter reads." The same with comic books, which are a way of getting children to read (an active intellectual pursuit) rather than just watch television (a passive media experience).

Tom Siebert files a long and thoughtful post on the current state of the comics business from the San Diego Comic-Con (it includes lots of links for those wanting more). His takeaway is that, despite the splash comics are making in movies and on television, the actual comics themselves aren't doing too well financially but remain important creatively. Even if the 32-page, full-color comic book is merely a loss leader these days, as he concludes, its importance to the industry is that it spawns the compilation books that are big money-makers (not to the mention the films).

Meanwhile, those readers remain lonely, but Siebert's post shouldn't. It should be read by anyone interested in media future.