Thursday, August 18, 2011

And the answer is "yes"

Are magazines treating women as sex objects more than in the past? This study uses Rolling Stone covers to dramatically make its point.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Magazines looking to crowdsource some covers

One of the things I've learned over the years is the value of reading across a broad spectrum. I've also learned that magazines like Ad Age and Woman's Wear Daily have a lot of material of interest to me.

For example, WWD offers a nice piece about the lengths magazines are going to appeal to young people, including the pictured current cover of Seventeen magazine, which is offering a cover spot to regular readers (OK, it's a contest with finalists already selected). But it demonstrates the lengths magazines will go to in appealing to their target demographics. The story has some real insights into what magazine folks are thinking these days.

It also shows how unscientific these plans really are.

Attention web designers, news works

In a sophomoricly-written piece (actually it's the stretch in the lead that I object to), Nieman Research Labs offers some excellent research and advice for news websites by examining the Los Angeles Times' website, which, it says, is showing major gains in traffic.

The report emphasizes reader engagement and constant updating, but another look at its numbers reminds me that what it's really talking about is content -- the Times is offering readers/viewers lots of content. I still think content is king. It doesn't matter if its in a blog, a story, a Tweet or whatever. If a site/stream/feed offers me something I want to know, I'll look for it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Search engines, email still favorites

Surprise, surprise. People "stubbornly" keep ignoring social media platforms for old school search engines and email, Pew reports. That means that, no matter how dorky it is, web designers need to keep those old-fashioned technologies in mind while designing their sites.

OK, the snarkyness is mine, but after years of reading "digital experts" tell me that this new platform or that one is "the one that everybody will use," I'm sort of burned out on those predictions. Search engines do what I want, quickly and efficiently. If I want to know how something works, I'm not going to Twitter the subject. I'm going to use Google or Yahoo to find out. Same with email. I get more than a hundred messages a day. I miss so much of Twitter and Facebook because new posts keep crowding out old posts, and I'm not going to spend my entire day just updating social media accounts.

Obviously, I'm not alone.

Would you care?

Once upon a time newspapers viewed their front pages as a way to guide people into their newspapers. In fact, comics were often wrapped around the Sunday papers since they were high readership items. Editors and Publishers used front pages and headlines to make their newspapers interesting to readers.

That was then and this is now. The Richmond Time-Dispatch covered its front page with an ad. When someone complained, the publisher blithely blew them away telling Poynter's Jim Romanesko that "the reaction here is a real snoozer." I suspect that's because most people threw away the paper thinking it was just more of the trash that appears on our doorsteps or in our mail.

Or that they're so used to being abused by publishers that they don't care any more, and are too busy reading real content on their iPads to care.

EXCLUSIVE, Breaking News

A Washington media blog, Fishbowl DC, criticizes ABC for its excessive use of "Exclusive" tags on stories. It's got a great point, one that comes to mind for me just about every evening when I see Milwaukee's local TV plastered with "Breaking News" announcements (complete with dramatic sound and, of course, a dynamic logo hitting my screen). My thought when the breaking news turns out to be yet another development in a story that's hardly important: Didn't these news directors ever hear the story of "The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf?" If every story is "Breaking" or "Exclusive" what cues to to something that actually is news or is interesting? There's a reason why I turn to the "Daily Show" after viewing the promo for local TV's "top" story.