Category: Media


Early morning reading…

August 14th, 2009 — 9:23am

newspaper

The Evolution of Blogging

Over at GigaOm, Om Malik argues for an evolution of blogging toward real-time, social publishing. Basically, context matters now more than ever after the rise of real-time mass messaging services such as Twitter, Facebook’s News Feed, Friendfeed, and the like. This explosion of short snippets of information and data points makes context paramount.

The Pushbutton Web: Realtime Becomes Real

Anil Dash describes a new set of technologies he dubs the “Pushbutton Web,” which he says will push online publishing ever further into realtime communication. He writes for a technical audience, but it’s certainly apropos in the wake of Facebook’s purchase of Friendfeed. I say that because I’ve had quite a few friends ask me in the last few days why Facebook buying friendfeed matters (many of whom had never heard of friendfeed before the news hit). My answer is that the Web values immediacy. Facebook, which has always been more ‘turn-based,’ can better compete with Twitter with friendfeed’s technology (not to mention their development team, which includes a bunch of ex-Googlers).

Distribution…now

John Borthwick, CEO of a company called betaworks, describes the emerging Web as a stream, and offers some great analogies to the uninitiated for understanding what’s happening online.

Comment » | Journalism, Media, New Media, Newspapers

Young Journalist on the Job Hunt

August 13th, 2009 — 1:21pm

I recently got a question from a young writer type asking how to get into the publishing industry right now. Below was my advice. I had meant to post this months ago, but got sidetracked…

Bad News…

Layoff Sign

As for getting into the industry in general (in this economic climate), I’m not sure I have any good advice. Here’s my bad news first: Everywhere you turn it seems that more and more publications are laying folks off, cutting back circulation or stuck in a hiring freeze. It’s a bad job market, and from what I hear from friends, colleagues present and past, etc., it’s not a good time to be looking. You mentioned Southern Living, for example? While there, I was told the best thing about working there was the job security because they never let anyone go. Then this…

Silver lining…

But here’s my good news. You’re young, so you don’t need to be paid as much as someone who has been there forever and a day. You’re young, so you’re more tech-savvy (I used to cringe when people said that because I thought it reflected an ageist attitude, but now that I’ve worked for a while, I’ve basically accepted it as true). And you’re young, so you’re flexible and can take on long work hours, have more time learn a lot of different skills since you don’t have kids, etc.

My take…

So here’s my advice in general: I’d look at getting involved in writing as much as possible. I’d look into a company such as b5 media (a network of bloggers). They don’t pay much, but the experience you would gain by a) writing on a daily (if not hourly) basis would be invaluable and (b) learning the vaguely defined skill of “building an online audience” is extremely valued these days. If you can head into a job interview at a more traditional media company such as the ones you described and tell them how you launched a blog with b5 media and grew it from nothing to 10,000 visits a month – well, that’s going to mean a lot to them. Also check into mediabistro & Poynter – they have good job postings.

Finally, my last bit would be to look online (as in, look at new/online media companies) in general and avoid print. Print companies aren’t hiring right now and, to be honest, I don’t think they are all that exciting to work for (that’s my “new media” bias though). At Southern Living, I was given a lot of encouragement to try different things on their Web site, because I didn’t work on the print side of things, and it was awesome! I launched a podcast, a blog, picked up some (rudimentary) Flash experience and learned a bit about Omniture’s Web Analytics software. It was a true jack-of-all trades experience, but I couldn’t have gotten it fetching coffee for the food editors like some of the other interns who worked on the print side of things.

Anything you would add, subtract, disagree with?

Comment » | Journalism, Media, News, Newspapers

Where do people find the time?

August 15th, 2008 — 6:42am

Growing up with the Internet (my parents got dial up when I was eight or nine years old), I always despised the television, but lacked the historical framework to explain why. Broadcast news and sitcoms were my usual targets, and I would contrast the passive isolation of watching television with the participatory, group nature of the Web.

Clay Shirky offers a persuasive framework for understanding how the Web is changing/has been changing/will continue to change society.

Enjoy.

1 comment » | Broadcast, Communication, Media, New Media, Online Video, Television, Web 2.0

The best new magazine Web site of 2008

January 29th, 2008 — 11:34pm

PopSci LogoI just wanted to take a moment and recognize the folks over at Popular Science magazine for their Web efforts. They quietly launched a redesigned site, PopSci.com, in 2008. It’s built on the Drupal platform and one way of looking at it is that, functionally, it’s a group blog. Each navigational bucket along the top represents a category, but all posts/articles/stories appear time-stamped in reverse chronological order on the home page.

PopSci home page

If you haven’t checked it out, I recommend.

It offers a unique model for a traditional print company to leverage their assets on the Web. It also gives me hope that old media companies will come to realize that a blog is just as easily (and perhaps more helpfully) understood as a medium, not as a genre.

4 comments » | Journalism, Magazines, Media, New Media, Old Media

Catholicism 2.0: Religious blogging, podcasting & online communities

January 24th, 2008 — 8:20pm

Call to Action logoEach year Call to Action, a progressive, reform-minded organization within the Catholic Church, convenes a National Convention. This year the group aims to hold a few sessions on how to utilize new media technologies to inform and galvanize the laity to action. Some suggested sessions include blogging, podcasting and social networking. I had a conversation last night with an organizer, and hope to sit on a panel for the group. The convention is in November and preliminary information can be found here. More to come soon…

Comment » | Blogging, Journalism, Media, New Media, Online Communities, Social Networking

Facebook’s Social Ads uses the wrong approach

November 9th, 2007 — 8:14pm

Facebook logoA lot has been said regarding Facebook’s controversial advertising scheme dubbed Social Ads. Here’s my problem with it: it uses its users instead of empowering them.

No way to opt out

One thing I’ve read thus far is that there is no opt out option for the Social Ads program. This fact overlooks another interesting one: there’s no opt in. Why not build the program and ask users if they even want to participate, and then share the revenue with its users.

Now, I’m sure there are a ton of issues with this route as well. But, I think it’s better than what Facebook is doing. What do you think?

2 comments » | Advertising, Facebook, Media, Social Media

The future of journalistic objectivity

November 3rd, 2007 — 12:35pm

Chicago Tribune logoTimothy McNulty at the Chicago Tribune wrote a great article yesterday on journalistic objectivity.

Objectivity is an oft-debated topic amongst journalists. To what extent is it possible? Where are the lines drawn? Has it diminished in the age of cable TV’s talking heads and the numerous opining bloggers? Or, as McNulty says, does objectivity get reduced to neutrality? “On the one hand this” and “on the other hand this,” without any attempt to truly seek the truth?

One thing that interests me is the potential of objectivity on a macro level – especially given the democratizing potential and decentralized nature of the Web.

Continue reading »

1 comment » | Broadcast, Journalism, Media, Medill, New Media, News, Newspapers, Online Communities, Tribune

One definition of a journalist: you have to get paid

November 2nd, 2007 — 10:24am

Medill MagazineA Medill graduate, Ed Finkel, is working on a story for the recently redesigned Medill magazine on citizen journalism, the impact of blogs on journalism, and how we define a journalist in this new media landscape.

Money makes the title

I don’t pretend to have an answer to Ed’s question. But I did think of one interesting place to look: the government.

Recent legislation pushed through the House proposes a reporter’s privilege, or the right to protect one’s sources against court subpoena. (For more on the background of the Reporter’s Privilege, here’s a great article in U.S. News & World Report, or check out the The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.)

The Free Flow of Information Act, as the legislation is titled, defines a “covered person” as:

a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person’s livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

I think it’s interesting because it expands the definition of a journalist, for the purposes of a reporter’s privilege, to bloggers, podcasters, or anyone else who performs acts of journalism – but only as long as they make money.

Now this isn’t the only definition, and it is a narrowly construed one at that, but it could ultimately become an important one that shapes the debate from here on out.

Comment » | Journalists, Media, Medill

IndyStar blogger fired for racial slur

November 1st, 2007 — 10:16pm

Check out this post here for a detailed timeline of the debacle.

IndyStar logoBasically, a writer/blogger for the IndyStar.com wrote up some harsh criticism of a “city-county council president” near Indianapolis. What’s really interesting is that the writer/blogger revised his story a number of times. Apparently, he watered it down a little each time, before an editor at the newspaper read the post and took it down. Here’s the formal mea culpa.

stAllio!s wayWhat’s interesting, however, is that in the timeline mentioned above, an Indy blogger (on stAllio!s way) searched through the Google cache to find previous versions of the post, chronicling the “timeline of a slur.”

The whole situation is unfortunate, to say the least. But it brings an interesting point about blogging and the Web. Whereas it’s become popular to think of blogging and the internet as a wild, no-holds-barred, “anything goes” medium.

I’ve just never bought that.

People, and especially journalists, are still accountable for what they say or write, regardless of the medium. The ability to reach a global audience with no barrier to entry changes the way we communicate, sure. But I suspect that norms and mores surrounding that way of communication will evolve. And once that happens, we’ll look back on that perspective of the Web as a safe place for over-the-top commentary and editorial as pretty naive.

Update: It looks like some of the pages are even gone now from Google’s cache. The blogger is now linking to .jpgs he’s made of the original post

Comment » | Media, News, Newspapers

Measuring newspapers’ footprints

October 31st, 2007 — 11:32am

Newspaper footprint

Nearly 4 in 5 adults are touched by the “footprint” of newspapers, according to a report issued by the Newspaper Association of America, using data from Scarborough.

The report (PDF here) emphasizes a few key points:

  • Newspapers and newspaper Web sites (the newspaper footprint) reach 77% of adults in a given week.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 65% of young adults (18-24) in a given week.
  • In a given week, the newspaper footprint reaches 66% of adults who have been in their home less than a year.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 76% of food shoppers with long recipts($150+) in a given week.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 81% of consumers planning to spend $35,000+ on a new vehicle in the next 12 months.
  • The newspaper footprint reaches 82% of adults who have made any Internet purchase in the last 12 months.

In the market for a new car…

I find the statistic on vehicles interesting. Here at Medill, where our Integrated Marketing Communications department harps on targeted, relevant advertising, we often discuss the inefficiency of car and real estate advertising in newspapers.

Traditionally, newspapers provided the only blanket coverage of a particularly geographic area. On the other hand, however, not many people are in the market for a car or a home at any given time.

On its face, that statistic affirms the traditional wisdom: if you want to reach someone in the market for a car, the newspaper will probably achieve that for you. On the other hand, you’ll be reaching a whole lot of people not in the market for a car. Not terribly efficient. And this report doesn’t seem to speak to that concern.

What happens when that number slips to 70 percent, then 60 percent? Of the population of people in the market for a car in the next 12 months, I wonder how many of them can be reached through ads on Cars.com?

Comment » | Advertising, Classified Advertising, Media, Newspapers, Real Estate

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