Posts tagged: Newspaper

Is There Any Value Left in Print?

So I jokingly posted a tweet this morning about wanting to start a newsletter. You know those things that people used to print out and mail? Joke aside I kind of really wanted to do it. I don’t know why. I don’t even know what I’d write about that would be better suited for print than a blog.

Sure I may get analog with my note taking but read print? I still like books in print but that’s because it’s something permanent. Books are something I want to keep. I always wanted to grow up and have a whole room that was a library. Of course I also wanted to grow up and be an astronaut.

Then I saw this post from TechCrunch about The Print Blog heading to the recycle bin. And instead of making me toss my idea aside it kind of made me want to go through with it. I don’t know why!

Goodbye, Printed Blog

Remember the Printed Blog? It was a newspaper - on actual glossy paper - that would syndicate posts from the Interwebs. Josh Karp founded it six months ago and he ran through 16 issues and 80,000 copies - all on his own dime. And now it’s dead.

Maybe it’s some kind of weird nostalgia from my college days of printing a ‘zine. (Mine was called Pinion and was the normal drivel you’d expect from liberal arts majors: ranting opinion pieces and bad poetry submissions from me and my friends) Maybe it’s because this was such a point of interest at my last employer HP. Maybe it’s just the contrarian in me that wants to swim up stream. Maybe it’s because I want to see if there is any value in print.

What do you think? Is there any value in print? What would you want in print that you wouldn’t want online?

This post was originally posted on New Comm Biz
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I Don’t Read the Paper, I Read Twitter

Reading the newspaper: Brookgreen Gardens in P...
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I write this post knowing I run the risk of kindling the wrath of my good friend David Heller (@muchosalsa). (BTW I’m *mostly* talking about the physical format of the newspaper in this post) But I have never subscribed to a newspaper in my life. On my way down to Austin last night on the red-eye with David Patton (@spincycle3) I was at a loss with what to do with this stack of newspapers he brought on the plane.

The only value I see in the newspapers is passive discovery. The ability to read something, turn the page and find an interesting article about something you’d never go out of your way to find. The problem is most of the time I have no interest whatsoever in the article on the next page and there’s no StumbleUpon button to take me to the next article that may have more interest to me. I’m just stuck with what’s in the paper. (As a side note I found it much harder to scan a newspaper than a Web page)

AVC, Fred Wilson one of the original early stage investors in Twitter recently gave a speech at the 140 conference: The Value Of Twitter Is In “The Power Of Passed Links”.

To me Twitter is my passive discovery. The thousands of people I follow provide that discovery that most people get from the paper. Except instead of reading one paper I read bits of hundreds of “papers” and blogs.

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What Makes for a Well Balanced Media Diet?

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What Makes for a Well Balanced Media Diet?

Farhad Manjoo over at Slate really kicked up a storm in a tea cup 2 weeks ago (wow, that was a really bad mixed metaphor) with his Kill Your RSS Reader post.

Mashable covered it and did a poll of their users use of RSS. I covered the Mashable post. WebWorkerDaily included my post in their post about RSS and social media.

I have no doubt Farhad’s post generated hundreds of other reactions.  As I went back and reread Farhad’s post and got beyond the obvious link baiting headline I realized that:
A- He has some useful advice about navigating news sites.
B- His post represents 1/3 of the new madia consumption equation.

What are the 3 parts of modern day media consumption?

  1. RSS Readers
  2. Social Networks
  3. Aggregation Sites

Drowning in RSS

Farhad’s problem was that RSS became overwhelming and he couldn’t keep up. Former HP colleague Eric Herberholz mentioned in a comment to my post how he likes RSS just has a hard time managing it.

The problem is that people treat their RSS feeds like email. RSS and blogs are NOT email. You do not have to read them all. RSS feeds arfe like a news paper.

For those of you who read the paper everyday, do you read the whole thing? There are some people who say they read the *whole* paper “front to back”. These people are liars. No one reads every word of any newspaper. I doubt the editors of the papers even do. People really just scan the articles that interest them as they go. RSS is no different. Scan, read what strikes your interest and then move on.

Social Networks and Discovery

One of the arguments old media defenders use against a blog only media diet is there is no chance for discovery. You only consume media from a narrow niche and are not “surprised” by the discovery of an unexpected story. These people argue that physical papers and magazines provide this better than blogs. For once, I mostly agree with them.

Discovery is the fiber in a healthy media diet.

I follow 300 blogs. I rarely see interesting yet “off topic” items. I read 200 posts a day just to stay on top of my industry. Not to discover new things.

While blogs don’t provide discovery, Twitter is better at providing discovery than the newspaper or magazines. Other than talking about food conecting with interesting people, link sharing is the most important Twitter activity. The third most important activity is retweeting (RT).

This is why the latest wave in Twitter apps are link aggregation sites. The current leader and best implementaion of this so far is Tweetmeme. See the bubble and retweet button at the bottom of this post. Click it. It’ll send a ‘RT @tacanderson’ for this post to twitter. The most popular RT’s surface to the top of Tweetmeme. The obvious analogy is that it’s the Digg of RT’s, just without the snarky commentary.

This is how I discover great ‘off topic’ content. FriendFeed would be a better tool for discovery if it wasn’t too much ‘off topic’ content. I realize I could eliminate most of this with filters but that’s too much work.

Aggregation and the Portal Page

So going back to Farhad, he had some great points and suggestions about how to navigate news sites. I’m pretty good with using keyboard shortcuts but he totally schooled me with his mouse tips.

If you think of the wheel only as a tool to scroll with, dear friend, you’re missing out; the middle mouse button does so much more. For example, it’s the best way to open a link in a background tab. You can use the same button to quickly close unwanted tabs, too—click and release a tab you just opened, and voila, it disappears. In Firefox, the middle button has one extra power: Click an empty space in the tab bar and you’ll open up the last tab you closed, which is a godsend if you accidentally sent away something important.

Very cool.

I am going to create a bit of heresy here with my next statement: There is some news that is better consumed on page. There I said it. Many news sites and portal pages have a great UI that lends itself to on page consumption. Most ruin this with pop-ups and flash ads that roam all over the page. There are also several mega aggregators that don’t allow for RSS consumption and even if they did they would flood your RSS reader with nothing else. I like the WatrCoolr sites. Techmeme is a long time geek favorite. Alltop and up-and-comers PostRank also provide better onsite consumption.

(I also find it ironic that newspapers are really just news aggregators anymore. What percentage of news in your average paper was actually written by the paper? Now take out press releases that are repurposed exactly or with minimal re-writing.)

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How Murdoch’s Plan for Paid Content Could Work

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How Murdoch’s Plan for Paid Content Could Work

A lot is being said about Rupert Murdoch’s plan to charge for all Newscorp Web content. Every blogger I’ve read have said that Rupert’s a delusional old media dinosaur (or some variation thereof) and that his plan is doomed.

Personally I think he’s probably a pretty smart guy. The rationale behind this change is that The Wall Street Journal has seen a large increase in subscriptions.

How could Rupert’s plan work: If the content is good enough then I believe that people will pay.

I don’t believe that this new model will support the current media infrastructure. There’s just too much overhead. If Rupert is not willing to innovate the business model of his companies, then he will have to innovate the operating model of his companies.

While I do think this could work for news site like The Wall Street Journal I think that it will work for very few sites. The content has to be better that anything you could get anywhere else.

As a side note I also believe that the future of media lies in privately held companies. I don’t think journalism can give the returns the market demands. Now I said journalism, not  content/media companies.

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The Guardian continues to impress me

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I’ve never been to the UK. I hope to someday but I haven’t yet. That being said, I’m a regular reader of their online content. I thought their US Presidential Campaign coverage was among the best out their.

They have also shown to be one of the more innovative Old Media companies on either side of the pond. Last year they acquired ContentNext which ran the popular site. They now have announced an API for their Open Platform.

Guardian launches Open Platform service to make online content available free | Media |

The Guardian today launched Open Platform, a service that will allow partners to reuse content and data for free and weave it “into the fabric of the internet”.

Part of the deal is that you also have to take their advertising, which is understandable but will limit adoption of their platform. It seems to me that a truely open platform would be a bigger win in the long run.

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Yahoo wins by going old skool

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I think it’s interesting that Yahoo has been able to succeed where Google has failed with the news industry. Instead of trying to be disruptive, Yahoo is just doing what it does best: get clicks on content.

Whatever the newspaper industry ends up looking like after everything is over this could prove to be an important advantage for Yahoo.

Yahoo’s Newspaper Consortium Keeps Growing

Yahoo’s newspaper strategy has seen success because, unlike Google, it never tried to get into the business of selling print ads. Instead, Yahoo focused on helping newspapers get more traffic to their Websites.

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Social Media is Journalisms Future

Newspaper editors aren’t happy with the changes in the Associated Press’ rate structure or the CEO’s comments that I mentioned here. With as valuable a service as they provide it seems to me like news papers and the AP are heading down separate paths. It will take some bold moves from some inovative papers (if there are any) to lead the way. But maybe big management changes would be in order first.

Of local interest to Boise:

- McClatchy: Employee buyouts by newspaper companies struggling with the economy and the industry’s structural problems stemming from the shift away from print to online. The NYT has been trying the buyout route before heading to layoffs

On my other blog I posted about the loss of our papers only tech/business reporter, leaving the Idaho Statesman with one business reporter. If major market papers are hurting mid market papers have to be mortally wounded.

Interestingly enough, I’ve seen reports that hyper local and small town papers are still doing very well. If you think about it though, small town papers share many similarities with blogs:

  • Niche focused
  • Author often knows the readers personally
  • It’s easy for readers to provide feedback
  • Feedback is welcome

Any other similarities I’m missing?

While papers have made small steps incorporating blogs and blog like features, I really think that Social Media and the Long Tail will provide the salvation papers are looking for.

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Old Media’s Dead. Why Should New Media be Afraid?

In case you haven’t heard, advertising is dead.  And with it the oldest of old media is dead; newspapers.

Bob Garfield on the state of advertising:

People don’t like ads

Sure, when your ad characters draw a parade crowd on Madison Avenue or you strut up to the awards stage in Cannes with ratty sneakers and fake indifference, of course you feel loved. Alas, you aren’t, especially. In fact, you are mainly resented. A 2006 Forrester Research survey found that 63% of respondents believe there are too many ads, and 47% say ads spoil their reading or viewing enjoyment. This isn’t just talk. Depending on whose numbers you believe, between 50% and 70% of DVR users skip ads. The historical quid pro quo — acquiescence to advertising in exchange for free or subsidized content — is yet another casualty of the revolution.

Stowe Boyd on Journalism:

Journalists will, yes, have to get other jobs, or figure out how to make it online.

Yes, various services that newspapers provide to local communities will have to be accomplished in other ways. But all the money making aspects of what newspapers do will be dissected into more directed online sites — Craig’s List, Yelp, Moviefone, etc. — and the rest no one cares about much. Legal notices? Someone will create a site that specializes in it, and will charge for it.

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other national rags (USA Today?) will likely make it, although their economics may change. But the average local newspaper is dead. Buffett said that newspapers are “a business in permanent decline.” If you draw the curve they are going to hit the bottom and bounce.

As old media spirals down it will of course take marketing with them.

But why should New Media be afraid?  As marketers scramble to figure out where to throw all that ad revenue social networks and other new media channels will rake it in.  But for how long?  How long will users continue to put up with interruption.  How long before MySpace follows old media to the grave because users are sick of the free ring tone ads?

Marketing is broken.  Marketing creates an artificial barrier between you and your customer.  No one believes marketers.  The best thing you can do is to talk directly with your customers and new media makes that possible.  Talk with them when and how they want.  Be there for them when they have questions.  Listen to them when they have suggestions.  And best of all, give them an experience worth talking about.

If no one wants to talk about you, you’re doing something wrong.

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