Friday, October 28, 2011

Is it really a big deal if journalists share personal opinions?

poynter reporting:
News about “World of Opera” host Lisa Simeone becoming an Occupy Wall Street spokesperson has renewed attention to questions that journalists have grappled with for years. Should journalists’ personal lives have any bearing on their work as journalists? And if you’re a journalist, should you give up certain rights?
It used to be that journalists wouldn’t post political signs in their front lawns. In an age where people are so accessible online, is it OK for journalists to post personal information and opinions? If they “like” one politician on Facebook, should they like them all?
These are important questions to ask, especially given that it’s gotten easier for the public to catch a glimpse of journalists’ work and lives. Some have said that “transparency is the new objectivity.” The challenge, of course, is figuring out just how transparent you want to be and how your audience will respond.
During a live chat, Jack Shafer shared his opinion on this topic and answered several questions from participants. You can replay the chat here:

4 lessons for hyperlocal media from inaugural Street Fight Summit

Poynter reporting:
Deals don’t mean dollars. That was a point of consensus at the inaugural Street Fight Summit in New York City Oct. 25 and 26. Over two days, the summit’s 60 presenters and panelists analyzed their adventures in the trenches of hyperlocal media. Some panels addressed the evolution of daily deals and the looming impact of location-based services. Other sessions focused on the economics of local publishing and lessons learned by successful and failed independent journalism ventures.
A key question threaded throughout the conference was how best to turn local consumers into reliable revenue streams. The most valuable insights for independent publishers in attendance centered around new opportunities for better serving local businesses. Over the course of 20 sessions packed into two days, four themes emerged.
1. Local businesses need hand-holding, full-service partners. Local news sites may have an opportunity to fill that function.
Faye Penn, the founding editor of, a blog based in Brooklyn, NY, came away from the conference with new interest in, a platform publishers can use to help local businesses with everything from a landing page to social media and search engine optimization. She said it’s increasingly clear to her that the path forward for independent publishers is a challenging one.

The newsonomics of NYT’s Sunday gain and paid content 2.0

NiemanLabs reporting:
Next Tuesday, look for The New York Times to announce its first Sunday print circulation gain…since 2006. Let three words soak in: Print. Circulation. Gain. Those are wonderful words to anyone in the newspaper business and a small encouraging sign of our turbulent times, right?
In a word: Yes. But…
I’ve been following the Sunday print/daily digital trend since the Times went public with its pay system in January. In an elementary, sleight-of-marketing hand, it priced its Sunday + digital offer cheaper than its digital-only offer, which has apparently worked with its many smart readers who can do basic math. Why not get the Sunday paper in print and smartphone/tablet/online access, especially if it’s cheaper? For readers, it makes common sense. For publishers — almost all of whom applaud the Times ploy — it’s a way to bolster their highest-profit day of the week, a day that brings in a third or more of their ad revenue and is home to that precious keep-it-to-the-bitter-end preprint business.
That simple pricing twist has apparently turned a five-year-old negative line into a thin, positive one at the Times. In addition, circulation revenue is up — not a lot at 1 percent, but up — at the Times in the last quarter, so the overall move to get readers to pay more of the freight of the news business is moving in the right direction.
What’s been dismaying this week, as I talk with many publishers at the dozens of other dailies now charging for digital access, is that it’s hard to find the Times model moving similar Sunday-plus trends elsewhere. Publishers don’t want to disclose actual numbers, but the apparent consensus among those who have charged for six months or more (which covers the reporting period we’ll see when the Audit Bureau of Circulation FAS-FAX numbers releases its half-yearly numbers Tuesday) is that print/digital reader bundling hasn’t had much effect on the decline in circulation numbers.
Why? It may well be that it’s too early, with pay psychologies just kicking in.;postID=7341912768076313111

Oct. 27, 11:30 a.m. The path of disruption: Did Newspaper Next succeed in transforming newspapers?

NiemanLabs reporting:
In any good Hollywood summer blockbuster, there comes a point where someone, usually in a lab coat, warns of a coming disaster for humanity and the need for one last best hope to avoid annihilation. For newspapers that moment arguably came in the fall of 2006, when the American Press Institute published Newspaper Next, a research project that attempted to diagnose the industry’s woes and offer a prescription for the future. Newspaper Next was ambitious, maybe even aggressive in its fervor to shake newspapers out of their decline. It wasn’t simply a report; it was billed as a “blueprint for transformation” and “groundbreaking research into new business models for the newspaper industry: new ways to see opportunities, produce sustainable growth, and reshape organizations for consistent innovation.”
Five years have passed since then, and to return to the movie analogy, you could say the asteroid has hit and now we’re dealing with the aftershocks. Print advertising revenues are still in decline and online dollars aren’t covering the gap. Circulation numbers are either slipping or flat. Healthier newspaper companies are looking to merge; the sicklier ones are in bankruptcy or slowly emerging from it. Newsrooms are smaller, and in some cases just gone altogether.
So did Newspaper Next succeed in its mission to reshape the industry? Not exactly.

The Guardian introduces @GuardianTagBot, a “Twitter-based search assistant

Niemanlab reporting:
So robots are one step closer to world domination. Or at least to info domination. This morning, the Guardian announced the birth of @GuardianTagBot, the living, tweeting, occasionally sleeping Twitter account that serves as the public face of the Guardian’s content API explorer. Tweet @GuardianTagBot with a search term — or a whole group of search terms — and it’ll @-reply you with a link to Guardian content that matches your query. Whether you’re looking for Nieman Lab mentions in the Guardian (who isn’t?), or wondering what Nick Clegg is up today (ditto), or concerned that David Cameron may be a lizard (um)…the bot probably has your answer.
“It’s rather like playing fetch with our articles, videos, galleries and audio,” Nina Lovelace, the Guardian’s content development manager, explained in a post announcing the tool. While returns are ad hoc — you have to re-ask @GuardianTagBot each time you want updated search results — if you save a search for GuardianTagBot, Meg Pickard, the Guardian’s head of digital engagement, points out, you can see results in real time, as well.
Again: world domination. Siri-ously.
The TagBot was developed in collaboration with the social media agency Smesh. When I asked Lovelace for more detail about TagBot’s interface, she replied in an email that the tool:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Data Points: Making The Brand Infographic

adweek reporting: results of a survey

Google’s Ad Rank to Consider Phone Calls, Not Just Clicks Bid-per-call coming to AdWords

adweek reporting: oogle AdWords is going beyond the click. Soon, the company’s key advertising product won’t just let advertisers bid for phone calls; it will factor those calls into Ad Rank calculations.
“It’s a giant step forward for AdWords,” said Surojit Chatterjee, senior product manager for Google.
For the past year, Google has been refining click-to-call features that help advertisers quantify the offline response they get to online search ads. For example, AdWords call metrics, which launched in beta last November and opened up to all advertisers in the U.S. and Canada in July, assigns a unique phone number to businesses which is included in the ads, so that companies can track call volume and results. Google said it’s already connected more than 12 million calls (with an average length of six minutes) for thousands of businesses.
Over the next few weeks in the U.S. and the U.K., Google said it will introduce a bid-per-call option that lets businesses bid for phone calls (in addition to clicks) when they create Google search ads for computers and tablets. On mobile devices, users can call a business directly by clicking on an ad, so it’s priced as a cost-per-click.
The bid itself and the call volume will factor into an advertiser’s Ad Rank and, therefore, influence the position of the online ads, Chatterjee said.
“Many businesses tell us that they value phone calls very highly and treat calls as leads,” he said, adding that some advertisers rely on phone calls more than anything else for getting leads. “If an advertiser gets lots of calls and they bid for those calls, those calls will improve their rank and their quality score, which is very, very unique.”
While Chatterjee expects the new feature to be appealing to a wide range of advertisers, he said that advertisers with long and complex business cycles, such as insurance companies, cable TV providers, local businesses, and travel-related firms, might be particularly interested in maximizing phone call results.

Amazon Kindle Sales Surge, but Expenses Smoke Profits

adweek reporting:
Amazon’s Kindle Fire may be a hit with consumers, but the company is going to have to reignite confidence from Wall Street.
After reporting lower-than-expected net income and guidance for the fourth quarter, shares in Amazon sank as much as nearly 20 percent in after-hours trading.
In the last quarter, the Seattle-based e-commerce giant said net income plunged 73 percent to $63 million, or 14 cents per diluted share. Analysts expected the company to report earnings per share of 24 cents. The company also said that, in the fourth quarter, it expected an operating loss between $200 million and $250 million and revenue to be between $16.45 billion and $18.65 billion, while analysts are anticipating $18.1 billion.
The picture wasn’t entirely grim. Amazon said net sales increased 44 percent year over year to $10.88 billion. It also said that Sept. 28 (the day it revealed the new Kindle Fire) was the “biggest order day ever” for the Kindle.
"In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic ink Kindles are double the previous launch,” said CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement. “And based on what we're seeing with Kindle Fire pre-orders, we're increasing capacity and building millions more than we'd already planned."
On a call with analysts, Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak said the company is “seeing the best growth rates we’ve seen since 2000.” To keep up with the growth, he said, it had to build more fulfillment centers and invest in retail growth and the digital business for the Kindle, which drove up operating expenses.
“We’re investing in a lot of capacity,” he said. “That’s what we’ve talked about over the past few quarters and that’s what you’re seeing in our Q3 results.”
While he didn’t give sales figures for the Kindle, he said that they feel “very, very good” about the growth and the company’s prospects for the holiday quarter. He also said that the capacity investments are important because they think about the economics of the Kindle “in totality”—not just the initial hardware sale, but the “lifetime value of those devices,” including the digital content and advertising opportunities (on some of the Kindles).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chart: Comparing The Two Timeses’ Subscriber Growth

paidcontent reporting:
News Corp.‘s The Times and NYTCo’s The New York Times each introduced online charges in summer 2010 and March 2011 respectively. So how are they each faring with subscriber acquisition? Here’s our analysis… (NYSE: NYT) has managed to sign up more customers in less time than its UK namesake, and growth is steep.
How come?’s paid content strategy is a softer, more porous on-ramp than The Times’, operating a free story allowance before subscription is required. This may be reflected in the graph above.
But likely what the comparison really shows is the differing scales of the news publishers’ different addressable markets. The U.S. is larger than the UK, New York larger than London, and 12 percent of’s subscriptions are coming from outside the States, while NYTCo also operates the adjacent International Herald Tribune. The Times remains a firmly British publication.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

4 reasons the Sunday front page now looks a lot like the Monday front page

Poynter reporting:
Where are all of the truly great Sunday, front page designs in the U.S. these days?
As I do my daily run through the Newseum’s collection of front pages, Sunday looks a lot like Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
“Papers seem to be taking fewer chances,” said Suzette Moyer, creative director of the St. Petersburg Times’ Bay Magazine. “Instead of blowing out that one big story that they know is good, papers are trying to appease every reader by cramming it all on the front page.”
You have a little more time to read on a Sunday, right? And more time to analyze what you’ve read. It should be special.
Granted, there might be a beautifully executed front page on any given Sunday in any given town with the ability to stop a reader in her tracks. Some papers excel at this (see examples below). But, by and large, I think the volume has been turned down to a rather monotonous murmur around the U.S.
“I don’t think there is enough surprise to most Sunday papers,” said Moyer.
And no big surprise as to why.
Supposition 1: There are tough cuts in every part of the newsroom. It’s unfortunate and inevitable. But perhaps we’ve reached a tipping point in quality by eliminating too many positions for visual journalists?
Design and graphics staffs are about half the size they were 10 years ago, says Jeff Goertzen, graphics director of the Denver Post (and soon to be director of graphics at USA Today), who conducted an informal survey of about 50 newsrooms earlier this year.
“The average design staff that was about 22-24 people 10 years ago in a big newsroom is now around 12 or 13 people,” said Goertzen. Where there were once nine artists, those staffs now have three or four. Eight of the major papers surveyed have no graphic artists at all. Copy desks and photo staffs have taken tremendous hits, too.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Advertisements in ebooks – is it a good idea?

GoodEreader reporting:
Many publishing companies are toying with the idea of building advertisements contained within books. The idea is that books can be sold at tremendously reduced costs or given away for free with the intention of making long term gains with making money on ad-clicks or people purchasing products. Would customers accept this?
Amazon obtained a patent back in 2009 that describes the steps they would take in order to put adverts within books and another for printed content. In the details the company said “Including advertising and/or related content with on-demand printed content may prove advantageous to a consumer. For example, a lower price may be offered to a consumer regarding a request for on-demand printed content if the consumer is willing to accept advertising in the printed content.” The company has not used this technology yet within ebooks but has proved that subsidizing the price of hardware with adverts being displayed is quite tantalizing.
There is no dispute that with the growth of e-readers and ebooks that rampant piracy is growing. You only have to look at some of the largest sites on the internet to see the tremendous growth. Websites such as Demonoid and the Pirate Bay have combined over 700,000 + books in their database , which is growing exponentially as hardware prices come down and the public is more aware of e-readers and tablets. I could see ebooks with embedded advertisements allowing authors and publishing entities to make money from their book being circulated on those websites.
The big advantage with advertisements being displayed within ebooks is the cost to the end user. It would encourage people to pirate less because they could get the official version for free and give the companies important data on downloads and customer demographics. Most users want to do the right thing and get the book via legitimate channels. A fair chunk of users would continue to purchase the ad-free books but the option to give it away with the ads embedded in the book might be a solid option.
The newspaper and magazine industry was built on the pillars of advertising. This is in many cases a large chunk of their financial strength comes from companies paying for ad placement in their publication. This is why in many instances why magazine subscriptions and single issues cost less then their ebook counterparts.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New tablet publishing alliance: Adobe bought the delivery solutions of Woodwing

New agreement includes also cancellation of Woodwing reader app and ofip, the open source format for digital publishinng Woodwing has touted. Woodwing reader in iPad has several advatanges compared to Adobe reader, including wider social sharing abilites, but is expected that Adobe reader will be soon at the same level. Current customers of Woodwing will go through transition period where folio-format and Adobe-reader will replace Woodwing tech.

More information about the new alliance press release and from Woodwing faq (PDF).

Kobos answer to Kindle Fire

eReaders are going colour!
The new devices rely on modified Android OS. After Kindle Fire the canadian eBook vendor Kobo has announced Kobo VOX, the under 200 dollar colour-ereader.

How tablets are being used in business; listed by industry

Techrepublic reporting:
The list itself is consistent with what I’ve seen and heard from IT and businesses professionals throughout 2011. It also throws out some scenarios I haven’t seen, but that make a lot of sense. So, here’s a look at Gartner’s list, which compares how consumers are using tablets versus the business uses, broken out by industry.

How consumers use tablets

  • Media consumption
  • Touch to act
  • Picture/video capture
  • Social collaboration
  • Web browsing
  • Communication
  • Games
  • Mapping and route planning

Business uses, by industry

  • Waiting rooms
  • Patient care info.
  • Medical reference
  • Diagnostic images
  • E-prescribing
  • Appointments/scheduling

WSJ Launching German Digital-Only Editions

paidcontent reporting:
Dow Jones (NSDQ: NWS) is building its German-language news wire service in to a full-fledged Wall Street Journal edition for Germany.
Published on web, mobile and tablets, the edition is due to launch in January and shows what is now likely a strategy for many media companies - launching in new markets, but not with analogue media.
WSJ already has a Europe edition plus local language services in China and Japan. But Germany’s place as Europe’s key economy is only increasing.
German media conglomerate Axel Springer in November sold its 75 percent stakes in business news site WallStreet:Online and stock broker WallStreet:Online Capital, plus its 33.3 percent share of business certificate site ZertifikateJournal, to their managers and shareholders, to focus on its other finance portal,, which it said has higher reach. FT Deutschland is no longer jointly owned by Financial Times.
Thomson Reuters’ Wall Street editor Knut Engelmann is being named German managing editor for both newswires and Dow Jones’ German managing director Dr. Matthias Paul ads the role of publisher for the new site.
The service will include both free and subscriber-only content from WSJ and Dow Jones.

Apple’s Newsstand Is Already Booming For Some Magazine Publishers

Early indications are that Apple’s new iOS features for publishers have had an immediate beneficial impact.
  • Exact Editions, which says it made about 10 percent of the Newsstand app titles on iTunes Store, says downloads of freemium sample editions jumped by 14x in just a few days, whilst some titles’ actual sales have more than doubled.
  • Consumer magazine publisher Future says free container apps for its titles were downloaded two million times in three days and reports “consumer spending well in excess of normal monthly revenues”. “Future has sold more digital editions in the past four days through Apple’s Newsstand than in a normal month,” says UK CEO Mark Wood...
  • “Apple seem to have got this just right,” says Exact Editions co-founder Daryl Rayner. “In July they introduced the new in-app purchasing and auto-renewal system. This has worked a treat with high renewals (over 80 percent). We saw sales more than doubling between June and August, and it looks as though Apple have now pushed the Newsstand into the foreground and this will provide further sales uplift.
    “Magazines with a strong visual impact are doing particularly well (The Wire, Selvedge) and, interestingly, the literary magazines are equally strong (The Spectator and Le Monde Diplomatique).
    “It’s all about the iPad. iPad owners are buying digital magazines (85-plus percent of our customers are buying titles for their iPad) and publishers need to get their magazines into the iTunes mix before the holiday season.”

The Importance of Social Search

Technorati reporting:
Two recent studies highlight the importance of search in the purchase process and thereby provide indirect support for social search. GroupM called it “The Virtuous Circle”—wish I’d thought of that first. Their study early in the year found that 58% of potential purchasers started with search while only 24% started with the company site. 51% of the searches converted compared to 48% for search and social combined in the purchase process (which they found to generally be 15 days) but only 1% for search alone. A followup study by GroupM, reported in Media Post, showed 86% of shoppers using generic search terms before the shopping trip and 90% clicking on the generic results when compared with branded search.
It suggests that we should all be following social search best practices because search is still key in the purchase process. Some of those, according to Overdrive are:
• Create compelling content that is worthy of being shared and use sharing tools to encourage your visitors to share.
• Keep your social profile updated.
• Be sure your website and blog are socially enabled. Overdrive also has an excellent ebook on the use of chicklets.
• Understand how your content looks on the various platforms.
• Keep up to date. The controversy surrounding Google’s ‘Panda’ update is a good example.

Kobo launches Vox, ‘the first social eBook reader’, with Facebook integration

TNW reporting:
Kobo Vox is the latest eBook reader in the Kobo family and it is referred to as ‘the first social eReader’. In this case, social means that you’ll be able to connect with your friends and other readers on social networks; that way you can discover new books through Facebook, the company says.
During the recent Facebook’s f8 conference, Facebook selected Kobo as its only eReading partner, which makes the Canadian company the first eReading platform to be integrated with Facebook Ticker and Timeline to enable further reading discovery and entertainment.
Vox, based on the Android 2.3 OS, will be equipped with a 7-inch color touch screen which will be great for reading, but also for browsing the web, e-mail and social networks as well. You can even watch movies on your Kobo.

Phone hacking: NI lawyer says he knew its 'rogue reporter' defence was wrong

guardian reporting:
A lawyer who acted for News International (NI) over phone-hacking claims has told MPs he knew the company had misled parliament about the affair but he had not spoken up because of client confidentiality.
Julian Pike, a partner at Farrer & Co, the law firm whose clients include the Queen, told MPs on the Commons culture, media and sport select committee on Wednesday that he was aware the company's often-repeated "rogue reporter" defence was untrue.
Pike said he had seen evidence in 2008 that suggested there was "a powerful case" that an additional three News of the World journalists were "illegally accessing information in order to obtain stories" and had informed NI of this.
When asked by Labour MP Paul Farrelly how he would feel about newspaper headlines that might read "Queen's solicitors knew News of the World was lying and did nothing about it", Pike replied: "That sort of headline is obviously not ideal." But he insisted that Farrer & Co was not part of a cover-up and denied he was embarrassed professionally by his decision to stay silent.
In evidence to MPs on the committee two years ago and in 2007 NI executives said phone hacking was the work of a single journalist, former royal editor Clive Goodman. It has emerged since then that the practice was more widespread.
Pike also told MPs that former News of the World editor Colin Myler had met with James Murdoch, who is now deputy chief operation officer of News Corp, in May 2008 to discuss a phone-hacking claim brought by Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association.
It is the first time that a second meeting to discuss a possible payment to Taylor has been referred to.

Book's beauty beats e-book

SMH reporting:
BOOKS need to be beautiful, says the latest winner of the Man Booker Prize, Julian Barnes, if they are to withstand the onslaught of the e-book.
Accepting the prize for his novel The Sense of an Ending, Barnes thanked the book's designer, Suzanne Dean, and said, ''Those of you who've seen my book - whatever you may think of its contents - will probably agree that it's a beautiful object. And if the physical book, as we've come to call it, is to resist the challenge of the e-book, it has to look like something worth buying and worth keeping.''
Barnes finally won the £50,000 ($A77,000) prize after having been shortlisted three previous times and following a bitter controversy over this year's shortlist, which was criticised as being too populist for focusing on ''readability''.
<i>The Sense of an Ending</i> by Julian Barnes. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.

News Corp. Ignored Wall Street Journal Aberrant Circulation

Bloomberg reporting:
Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp., the media company facing an investor uprising over its business practices, was alerted to a plan to inflate circulation at the Wall Street Journal Europe almost a year before the newspaper’s publisher resigned, according to a former employee and internal documents.
Les Hinton, the former chief executive officer at the News Corp. unit that publishes the Wall Street Journal Europe, was contacted with details of the payment practice in November 2010, according to former circulation manager Gert Van Mol and e-mails he provided to Bloomberg News. Todd Larsen, president of the Dow Jones & Co. unit, was also notified.
Van Mol said in the correspondence that a Dow Jones business partner was being compensated at the same time that partner was buying thousands of copies of the Wall Street Journal Europe, effectively boosting the publication’s circulation. Andrew Langhoff, the newspaper’s publisher who stepped down last week, had approved the payments, the circulation manager said in the e-mails.
“It was a non-ethical practice,” Van Mol said in an interview. “I didn’t want to be part of it, so I contacted Hinton and Larsen.”
Bethany Sherman, a Dow Jones spokeswoman, declined to comment on whether Hinton and Larsen had been alerted to the payments last year. She said Dow Jones had been investigating Van Mol for his “business dealings” for several months before November 2010.
Already Under Fire
Sherman said Langhoff, 49, resigned because of the perception the newspaper’s agreement with the Executive Learning Partnership could have compromised editorial integrity. She said his departure had nothing to do with the payments to ELP, a Netherlands-based strategy and consulting firm, or with ELP’s bulk newspaper purchases, which the company said are legitimate.
Hinton, who resigned in July after allegations of phone hacking by journalists at a different News Corp. unit he ran for 12 years, didn’t respond to calls for comment. Langhoff also didn’t return calls for comment.
London’s Guardian newspaper reported the payments to ELP and the company’s bulk purchases last week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What, exactly, are alt-weeklies an alternative to these days?

Poynter reporting:
“It used to be the monopolistic daily newspapers in their towns,” notes former SF Weekly and Phoenix New Times editor John Mecklin, “but both the city dailies and the city weeklies have literally been taken apart by the digital revolution, with whole classes of advertising migrating online where, by and large, dailies and weeklies have been late to the revenue and technology party.” Mecklin questions whether alt-weeklies will be able to continue to fund “the kind of long-term hanging around” that distinguished narrative journalism requires.
The alt-weekly staff cuts just keep coming and coming — I doubt the world will again see an alt-weekly fund a 13-month investigation — and one wonders how long those long, long alt-weekly stories will keep flowing, particularly as more of the business moves online, where revenues are low and the 5,000-word story is often viewed as not just uneconomical, but ludicrous.
Mecklin notes that many well-known writers — including David Carr, Susan Orlean and Jack Shafer — began their careers at alt-weeklies. “That training ground needs to be preserved and transferred into the digital world, somehow,” he writes. “For that to happen, the alt-weeklies’ signature work needs to be monetized online.

Guardian: Lessons from our open news trial

Guardian reporting:
We had a surprising amount of interest from around the world, including this in Le Monde, and I gave interviews to a Canadian radio station and US technology website Mashable
But gradually, the interest from readers began to eclipse the interest from other journalists and a subtle shift began to take place in our newsroom priorities. A good example was our coverage of the UK government's health reforms, which many readers felt didn't do justice to the worrying revolution facing one of Britain's national treasures. We initially responded by ramping up our live coverage of the two-day NHS debate in the House of Lords - attracting over 1,000 comments. But we also asked our health reporter to do a bit of digging and list today an upcoming story on how cuts have already begun to hit services.
Complex issues like this require more than a few hours notice to generate usable tips however, so we are also updating the newslist experiment to include a calendar of upcoming events to give readers a chance to take part in longer-range reporting projects. We have also responded to some requests to add other sections such as sport. I suspect more tweaking is needed to improve communication but am hopeful that this clever work to translate the list into a format that developers can use will help produce a cleaner user experience.

NY Magazine’s Focus On Daily Blogs Leads To Traffic Boost

paid content reporting:
New York magazine’s website traffic has grown significantly in the past year by finding that the sum of the parts really are greater than the whole.
Instead of just repurposing articles from the weekly cultural magazine, NY has put greater emphasis on building out its daily news blogs aimed at entertainment, fashion, food and politics to produce 10.5 million monthly unique users for September, the highest number in the site’s 13-year history. At the same time, NY’s online advertising dollars are pacing up 25 percent since last year, and has already doubled since 2009.
While NY’s traffic numbers are internal, comScore agrees that the site’s monthly uniques have risen 22 percent last month compared to Sept. 2010, though the audience measurement service says the magazine’s site drew 5.59 million visitors that month. (Most site have large discrepancies between their internal numbers and comScore’s monthly tally).
Still, with agreement that traffic is rising, the vertical strategy that NY is employing is one that reflects a successful formula for the web that is the exact opposite of what works in print.
Like Time magazine’s apparent success with its vertical strategy, which entails attracting new and repeat users by giving its tech, politics, health and financial blogs more prominence, NY has created distinct identities for its blogs and their related e-newsletters and apps.
In particular, the separate performance, based on NY’s internal numbers seems to tell the story:
Vulture entertainment destination topped 3 million monthly uniques in September, up 29 percent over September 2010, fueled by original reporting and analysis on the fall TV and movie season (most visited stories included scoops on How I Met Your Mother and The Office, a preview of fall’s big movies, and Emmys coverage).

News Corp’s Sun Settles On Ads Over Fees, Rejigs Sales Team

paidcontent reporting:
News International has finally decided against introducing usage fees for The Sun’s website and is performing a restructure to place more emphasis on advertising sales, paidContent understands.
The Sun will introduce a paid mobile content app imminently; it is currently consulting with readers on the appropriate fee. But it will not be following Rupert Murdoch’s edict in which he appeared to say that all his news titles’ websites should charge.
The final decision is understood to have been made by new News International CEO Tom Mockridge, who recently replaced Rebekah Brooks.
Although Murdoch issued his pronouncement at the height of the advertising crash in 2009, the wind from Britain’s highest-selling paper has been blowing in the opposite direction. The Sun’s advertising fortunes have recently bounced back, with big brands stumping up growing amounts both in print and online.
paidContent understands News International Commercial, which stretches across both The Sun and Times Newspapers, is currently undergoing a restructure to focus less on strategy and more on ad sales.
This could see the number of commercial directors reduced from seven to three.
Even by mid-2010, Sun ad income was nearly a quarter healthier than when Murdoch made his statement. He called it “almost inexplicably good advertising”. The Sun’s ad bounceback is outstripping its stablemate The Times...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oct. 17, 1:30 p.m. Adam Moss: NY Mag publishes new content every six minutes

 NiemanJournalismLab reporting:
Here’s a tidbit that will likely make your organizational productivity seem wildly inadequate: publishes new material every six minutes. Every six minutes.
You’re welcome.
In a talk celebrating the 25th anniversary of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Friday, the celebrated New York mag editor Adam Moss — in conversation with Daniel Okrent — shared that stat.
Moss later clarified: That’s every six minutes during working hours. “It starts at that speed at 8:30 in the morning,” Moss says, “ending about 7.” The rate then lightens considerably from 7 in the evening until the next morning (though “we still publish 8 or 9 things overnight”).
Of course, “everything has a different size,” Moss notes.
As for traffic: “If it gets 10,000 readers, that’s a successful blog post,” Moss says. (For a mag piece posted online, the goal jumps to 200,000 or 300,000 — or more, depending on the piece.)
It’s a nice reminder of the individual energy and institutional resources required to keep the famously doing-well-online NY Mag…doing well online.

Los Angeles Review of Books Publishes eBook Edition

Galleycat reporting:
Today the Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB) launched LARB ePubs, a biweekly eBook series that will republish essays from the review’s growing archive that already counts 150 literary essays.
The individual issues will be sold at Amazon and the literary journal’s store for $4.99.
Here’s more about the series: “LARB ePubs will feature book reviews and cultural essays by prominent writers such as David Shields, Barbara Ehrenreich, Michael Tolkin, and others, delivering LARB’s exceptional content in a format that is tailored to the e-reader platform … LARB ePubs is part of an industry trend towards making long-form journalistic content available for e-publication.”

Amazon leaves publishers in the cold by signing eBook authors directly

CBS News reporting:
Amazon is taking the power out of book publisher's hands and providing a viable alternative for writers to publish books. So, what's the problem? 
An article in The New York Times paints a picture of Amazon pushing book publishers out of the process, leaving behind only the writer and reader.
The online retail giant is upping investments in eBook publishing by signing writers directly, bypassing agents and major book publishers.
According to the Times, Amazon is slated to publish 122 books this fall - in both physical and electronic formats. The company is even building its arsenal of editors and paying top dollar for authors. Actress and director Penny Marshall recently signed an $800,000 deal for her memoir, the paper reports.
Amazon Publishing has even snagged established literary agent and publisher Laurence Kirshbaum to run its flagship imprint, AmazonEncore. The company has a variety of other imprints that include 47North, Thomas & Mercer and The Domino Project.
The nerve of Amazon! To give readers access to books that would otherwise be collecting dust on an agent or publisher's bookcase. What a disservice to consumers.

Guardian readers shape stories during first week of open budgets

poynter reporting:
One week after The Guardian began disclosing its upcoming story budgets prior to publication, National Editor Dan Roberts writes that the experiment is going well. “Whatever competitive advantage may have been lost by giving rivals a clue what we were up to was more than made up for by a growing range of ideas and tips from readers,” he writes. Readers’ feedback now shapes the Guardian’s coverage in advance. For example, many said they wanted more coverage of the UK government’s health reforms. ”We initially responded by ramping up our live coverage of the two-day NHS debate in the House of Lords – attracting over 1,000 comments. But we also asked our health reporter to do a bit of digging and list today an upcoming story on how cuts have already begun to hit services,” Roberts said. || Earlier: Guardian publishes upcoming story budgets, invites reader feedback

Data visualisation: in defence of bad graphics Well, not really - but there is a backlash gathering steam against web data visualisations. Is it deserved?

quardian reporting:
Are most online data visualisations, well, just not very good?
It's an issue we grapple with a lot - and some of you may have noticed a recent backlash against many of the most common data visualisations online.
Poor Wordle - it gets the brunt of it. It was designed as an academic exercise that has turned into a common way of showing word frequencies (and yes, we are guilty of using it) - an online sensation. There's nothing like ubiquitousness to turn people against you.
In the last week alone, New York Times senior software architect Jacob Harris has called for an end to word clouds, describing them as the "mullets of the Internet". Although it has used them to great effect here.
While on Poynter, the line is that "People are tired of bad infographics, so make good ones"...

Wall Street Journal circulation scam claims senior Murdoch executive

paidcontent reporting:
One of Rupert Murdoch's most senior European executives has resigned following Guardian inquiries about a circulation scam at News Corporation's flagship newspaper, the Wall Street Journal.
The Guardian found evidence that the Journal had been channelling money through European companies in order to secretly buy thousands of copies of its own paper at a knock-down rate, misleading readers and advertisers about the Journal's true circulation.
The bizarre scheme included a formal, written contract in which the Journal persuaded one company to co-operate by agreeing to publish articles that promoted its activities, a move which led some staff to accuse the paper's management of violating journalistic ethics and jeopardising its treasured reputation for editorial quality.
Internal emails and documents suggest the scam was promoted by Andrew Langhoff, the European managing director of the Journal's parent company, Dow Jones and Co, which was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in July 2007. Langhoff resigned on Tuesday.
The highly controversial activities were organised in London and focused on the Journal's European edition, which circulates in the EU, Russia, and Africa. Senior executives in New York, including Murdoch's right-hand man, Les Hinton, were alerted to the problems last year by an internal whistleblower and apparently chose to take no action. The whistleblower was then made redundant.
In what appears to have been a damage limitation exercise following the Guardian's inquiries, Langhoff resigned on Tuesday, citing only the complaints of unethical interference in editorial coverage. Neither he nor an article published last night in the Wall Street Journal made any reference to the circulation scam nor to the fact that the senior management of Dow Jones in New York failed to act when they were alerted last year.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Politico scandal: Kendra Marr and the go-go journalism culture

WP reporting:

... in the case of some recent work by Politico Pro’s Kendra Marr, a reporter who joined the Pro team several weeks ago and began cranking out news-and-analysis stories on transportation. Politico’s top editors this week discovered that some of her work was borrowed from the previous work of other outlets. Marr resigned as a result of the findings.
An editors’ note on gives the official line. It notes that editors had found examples of borrowing that violated Politico standards; that there was no evidence of fabrication; and Politico had edited the stories in question to properly credit Marr’s source material.
Beyond that, Politico higher-ups refuse to discuss the matter. Politico Executive Editor Jim VandeHei declined to comment on whether the site would show its work by publishing a side-by-side comparison of Marr’s original pieces vs. the purloinees. Chief Operating Officer Kim Kingsley writes, “Sorry, but we are not going beyond the letter to readers.”
Though answers are not issuing from Politico’s Rosslyn headquarters, there’ll be no suppressing the questions. Former colleagues and friends of Marr produce a unified description of her: sweet, industrious, earnest and dedicated to journalism. Even the editor’s note conveys the affection of the top editors toward this young talent. Her past is pretty much unblemished, save for an incident at Northwestern University, when Marr was studying journalism under a professor who reportedly had ethical challenges of his own. From the Chicago Tribune:

The meaning of 9/11's most controversial photo

Guardian reporting:
In the photograph Thomas Hoepker took on 11 September 2001, a group of New Yorkers sit chatting in the sun in a park in Brooklyn. Behind them, across brilliant blue water, in an azure sky, a terrible cloud of smoke and dust rises above lower Manhattan from the place where two towers were struck by hijacked airliners this same morning and have collapsed, killing, by fire, smoke, falling or jumping or crushing and tearing and fragmentation in the buildings' final fall, nearly 3,000 people.
Ten years on, this is becoming one of the iconic photographs of 9/11, yet its history is strange and tortuous. Hoepker, a senior figure in the renowned Magnum photographers' co-operative, chose not to publish it in 2001 and to exclude it from a book of Magnum pictures of that horribly unequalled day. Only in 2006, on the fifth anniversary of the attacks, did it appear in a book, and then it caused instant controversy. The critic and columnist Frank Rich wrote about it in the New York Times. He saw in this undeniably troubling picture an allegory of America's failure to learn any deep lessons from that tragic day, to change or reform as a nation: "The young people in Mr Hoepker's photo aren't necessarily callous. They're just American."
In other words, a country that believes in moving on they have already moved on, enjoying the sun in spite of the scene of mass carnage that scars the fine day. Indeed, I can't help thinking the five apparently unmoved New Yorkers resemble the characters in the famous 1990s television comedy Seinfeld, who in the show's final episode are convicted under a Good Samaritan law of failing to care about others.