Saturday, March 7, 2009

Real change, not superficial tweaks

My colleague told me about this about a week ago -- this blog post by Adrian Holovaty was written in 2006, but it's spot on in terms of describing the fundamental problem that the media industry, specifically print, has in negotiating technology and the internet.

He looks at the way in which the newspaper industry is presenting and sharing news on the internet. What he suggest in simple -- stop having such a story-centric (read: blob of text) view of the world and look at presenting news/information in different ways, say through databases.

Of course that brings up the question, is this journalism? To which he says:

Journalists should have less of a concern of what is and isn't "journalism," and more of a concern for important, focused information that is useful to people's lives and helps them understand the world. A newspaper ought to be that: a fair look at current, important information for a readership.

Ultimately, he says, newspapers should move away from the story-centric CMS (content management system) and start having CMSs that can "slice and dice" information and collect them in databases, which can then be used help to explain trends, and inform readers. Importantly, it's about enriching the readers' access to information, not about replacing stories.

Read more here:
A fundamental way newspaper sites need to change
Written by Adrian Holovaty on September 6, 2006

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Greenslade on why there's no need for subs

Yes, you read it right. An advocate for good journalism dissing subs? Have a read and tell me what you think:

Subeditors: another attempt to explain why they are becoming redundant

An interesting little discussion broke out yesterday afternoon over the value and fate of newspaper subeditors during a Publishing Expo seminar at London's Olympia.

I used the opportunity to make clear where I stand on the subject, but probably failed to get across that I do not approve of the wholesale junking of a section of journalists. (And whatever writers, reporters and columnists might think, subs are journalists too). MORE

Wires grow as newpapers die

Or so The Economist argues. Can newswires like AP, Reuters, AFP and Bloomberg survive the decline of the print industry?

High wires
Feb 12th 2009
From The Economist print edition

With newspapers in crisis, newswires may learn to live without them

WHERE does news come from? The answer, much of the time, is from newswires. Many of the stories in newspapers, on television, radio and online are based on dispatches filed by the big news agencies. The biggest international newswires, Associated Press (AP) and Reuters, date back to the expansion of the telegraph in the mid-19th century, when rapid newsgathering first became possible. The agencies have usually been wholesalers of news; newspapers, broadcasters and websites act as retailers, repackaging and selling news to consumers alongside material generated in-house. MORE

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bye bye print

Two articles today about the decline of newspapers:

Fall in advertising prompts obituaries
Miriam Steffens, SMH

Just over two years ago The Economist predicted the rise of the digital age would see the last newspaper rolling off the presses some time in early 2043. But as the world slides into recession, the growing number of newspaper casualties has raised fears of a demise much sooner. MORE

Online revenue no match for print costs
Lara Sinclair, The Australian

Newspapers are facing a future where smaller newsrooms will need to turn out smarter reporting in a variety of media, while the printed product is sold at a higher price to fewer advertisers and a smaller paid circulation. But advertising staff, as well as journalists, will need to change the way they work if newspapers are to prosper in the web 3.0 world, according to Caroline Little, chief executive of Guardian News & Media in North America. MORE

Monday, January 19, 2009

Learn coding ... does it matter?

Continuing the journalists/developers train of thought ...

This blogger thinks all new journalists should learn how to code. And if you can, you'll be able to code a nice, functional and pretty map like this one on The Guardian.

If I had one piece of advice to a journalist starting out now, it would be: learn to code

Yes, it would. Seriously, if you’re doing one of those courses where they’re making you learn shorthand and so on, take some time to learn to code. MORE

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The future: journalists-slash-developers?

A good piece on interactives ventures at the website. The way of the future for newspapers, methinks.

The New Journalism: Goosing the Gray Lady

What are these renegade cybergeeks doing at the New York Times? Maybe saving it.
By Emily Nussbaum Published Jan 11, 2009

On the day Barack Obama was elected, a strange new feature appeared on the website of the New York Times. Called the Word Train, it asked a simple question: What one word describes your current state of mind? Readers could enter an adjective or select from a menu of options. They could specify whether they supported McCain or Obama. Below, the results appeared in six rows of adjectives, scrolling left to right, coded red or blue, descending in size of font. The larger the word, the more people felt that way. MORE

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Activist reporting and more ...

More on the downturn in the fortunes of the newspaper industry and what, if anything, can be done to reverse it.

Newsrooms must get active to survive the economic meltdown
By Robert Niles

The financial trouble throughout the industry is leading many to consider a future without newspapers. Or, at least, without newspapers as we now know them. LA Observed's T.J. Sullivan asked: "Ever wonder what the world would have been like if Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein hadn't uncovered Watergate? I fear we'll learn the answer in the next couple decades."

With all due respect to T.J., I fear that we already know the answer. Because we've been living in that world for the past 10 years already, a time when traditional journalists failed to uncover emerging scandals and to warn the public about abuses of power at the highest levels of government and industry. MORE

When A Newspaper Stops Publishing In Print, What Happens To The Print Advertising Dollars?
by Scott Karp

With all the debate over the future of newspapers, here’s a question I haven’t heard anybody ask (much less answer): If a metropolitan newspaper suddenly ceased to publish, leaving the city with no newspaper, what would happen to all of that newspaper’s ad dollars? MORE

French publishers vs Google: ‘You are becoming our worst enemy’
December 16th, 2008
Posted by Laura Oliver

The headline quote comes from a round-up up by Eric Scherer of a meeting involving French newspaper and magazine publishers and Google. The meeting suggests some heavy anti-Google feeling on the publishers’ part. MORE

The Fundamental Problem of Newspapers on the Internet
Robert Ivan December 08, 2008

I introduce you to the fundamental problem of newspapers on the internet: The Krugman Paradox - named by me after watching (PETS) ads appear next to Paul Krugman for three days after it was announced he won a Nobel Prize.

I couldn't believe there wasn't a better way to monetize his presence on (NYT). Further investigation revealed that the Krugman problem was not unique.

Here goes. MORE

Glimmers of hope for journalists in a grim world of redundancies
Andrew Keen

In the holiday spirit, two glimmers of new media hope for print journalists depressed by the drip-drip of redundancies, cuts and falling readership. MORE