Friday, April 27, 2012

Rupert Murdoch on the future of print newspapers

What would a day be without word from or about Rupert Murdoch? Love him or hate him -- and there's little in between in our business -- Murdoch is probably the most important single figure in the media business.

So when he says print newspapers will die but it might take 20 years, it's worth reading.

Advertising Age reports his testimony during Britain's inquiry into telephone hacking where to talked about his believe in what lies ahead. While I might question his ethics and even his judgement, I've found Murdoch's predictions to be spot on. He also goes on at length about the situation caused by the digital explosion, including why newspapers should demand payment for access, in his opinion. As usual, well worth reading.

Kim Kardashian and the news of Osabama bin Laden's death

Fascinating story reported in the Times of India about how celebrities and opinion leaders spread the news of Osama bin Laden's death via Twitter. The conclusions drawn by researchers, the newspaper reported, found that celebrity equals followers, which meant that when an opinion leader, like a former aide to Donald Rumsfeld who was identified as the first to mention the death, or a celebrity, like Kim Kardashian, tweeted the news, it was widely spread.

Another finding was that by the time television first announced the news 21 minutes later than former Rumsfeld aide Keith Urbahn broke the news, 80 percent of the Twitter posts were reporting it as fact.

Perhaps most surprising was the role of celebrities who are mainly non-political in spreading the news of a serious subject. It demonstrates an aspect of crowdsourcing that we don't often talk about.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Newspaper website traffic rises 4.4%

Newspaper website traffic is up more than four percent in the first quarter, according to the National Newspaper Association. The report has lots of other statistics, but a key takeaway is the newspapers seem to have figured out a way to appeal to their audiences, one that I suspect is based on doing their job -- providing news.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Journalism graduates have lower unemployment rate than average college grads

Everybody knows journalism schools are turning out students who can't get a job, right?  Wrong. A new study from Georgetown University (which doesn't have a journalism school) says the unemployment rate for journalism school graduates is below the average of other recent college graduates as well as being lower than the general unemployment rate.

The survey said that recent college graduates with an undergraduate degree in journalism have a 7.7 percent unemployment rate; experienced grads have a 6 percent rate, and people with graduate degrees in journalism have only a 3.8 percent unemployment rate.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Murdock sweats; I enjoy watching

Speaking of journalism and ethics, is everyone enjoying watching James Murdock sweating it out in court over the hacking scandal as I am? The testimony over the past couple of years has demonstrated that everything people said about the Murdock empire was true (OK, not really everything, but an awful lot -- especially about its ethics). I've only linked to one story, and there are many, many more. It's all such fun.

Breivik's chilling testimony sparks an interesting discussion of journalim's duties

Years ago while covering a fire in southern Illinois I had a father come up to me crying, showing his blistered hands, and wanted to tell me the details of how he could hear his three children trying to get out of their blazing house and crying "Daddy, Daddy."

They died, and I remember every moment of that "interview" to this day. I also think about that night and his emotional story and question what was my duty: to tell his story, which he wanted, or not.

These memories of self-doubt are stirred by an interesting discussion in the Sidney Morning Herald of the merits of media censoring hateful testimony of Anders Bering Breivik in which he is dramatically describing how he shot his 77 victims last summer in Norway. It's the kind of question that editors wrestle with all the time. The paper reaches out to a variety of people for their views, including an attorney, a psychiatrist, and a woman whose father was one of Breivik's victims.

The rational discussion of journalism's duties shows once again that journalists have a great responsibility in deciding what to publish -- and the answers, like those I faced outside the burning house, aren't easy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Guardian writer is spot on, as the Brits would say

It's almost worth more that this report on the Pulitzer prizes comes from a British newspaper than it is to report on its contents, but the most analytical piece I've seen on the Huffington Post winning a prize does, indeed, come from the Guardian.

Nevertheless, the analysis from Columbia University professor Emily Bell in the Guardian offered a forward-thinking look at the change in the journalism awards that allowed a site such as Huffington Post to be considered.

As usual, I recommend you read the comments. They offer some other views.

Newspapers discover profits in online subscriptions

Bloomberg media columnist Robin Farzad discovered something surprising the other day -- newspaper managements may have stumbled upon the path to success in the digital age. It's online subscriptions.

Using the New York Times as an example, Farzad outlines the profits being reaped from circulation sales, even while acknowledging continuing declines in advertising revenues, including, surprisingly, online advertising revenues.

Still, the Times model shows that content alone can lead to profits, if managed correctly.

If a video ad runs in the Internet forest and no one watches, did it make an impression?

Interesting. The headline on the OnlineMediaDaily post was "Americans watch billions of video ads monthly." The report went on to say that, based on data from comScore, video ads reached 51 percent of Americans with each watching an average of 53 video ads a month.

Can't dispute the data, although that seems quite high, but I will question the wording of the story. It assumed that just because I clicked on a site containing a video ad that I watched the ad. I don't. Using me as a typical heavy Internet user, I think of the video ads I come in contact with. They come on, and I do something else until they've used up their allotted 20 sections (the average length, according to the data), then turn to whatever it was that I wanted to do when the ad started. It's a big jump from a video ad playing to my actually watching it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Once again, tweeting gets someone in trouble

Gotta love people. We in journalism school after journalism school echo editors in telling students and journalists that they are risking major embarrassment by posting inappropriate material on social media venues. And they still don't listen.

Today's object lesson comes courtesy of Richard Grenell, a newly-named campaign official with the Mitt Romney campaign. Grenell reportedly has removed thousands of tweets that -- again reportedly -- made snarky comments about the media and various women Democrats.

His response was the old attempt used by those caught with their hand in the cookie jar: The tweets were all meant to be jokes, he told  the Huffington Post"My tweets were written to be tongue-in-cheek and humorous but I can now see how they can also be hurtful. I didn’t mean them that way and will remove them from twitter. I apologize for any hurt they caused."

RIP for Facts, which died April 18

Chicago Tribune columnist Rex Hupke offers the obituary for Facts, which died April 18.  It's a spot-on indictment of the media, which far too often treats facts as objects that are up for debate. My hope is that Marquette journalism graduates know better.

According to Hupke, "Facts is survived by two brothers, Rumor and Innuendo, and a sister, Emphatic Assertion."