links for 2010-06-18

  • Kevin: James Robinson at The Guardian has a good summary of an OECD report looking at newspaper circulation trends around the world. The US and the UK top the table in terms of circulation declines, with 30% and 25% declines respectively since 2007. A few things that stand out in the survey is that US newspapers had an extremely high exposure to the advertising market. On average 87% of their revenue came from advertising. It helps explains why the recession has hit US newspapers so hard. It's a good summary, and the report itself is worth reading as well.
  • Kevin: Laura Oliver looks at Rue89, pro-am news website launched in 2007. They expect to break even in the fourth quarter of this year. They have recently launched a monthly print magazine. They said it the site will become profitable regardless of the success of the print product. It was interesting to see how little sentimentality they had toward the magazine. "If it's a success, it will accelerate our development; if not, we'll stop it before it becomes a burden," said Pierre Haski. There isn't much detail on what has allowed them to move to profitability other than experimentation with online advertising formats.
  • Kevin: David Cohn of Spot.Us talks about a new way that they have increased engagement from users and funding for journalism projects on the site. He calls it "community centred advertising". Bill Mitchell of Poynter described the system as this: "In some ways, it seems like a no-brainer: Encourage consumer engagement with advertising by giving users a stake in deciding how the revenue gets spent … Spot.Us itself is an experiment in transparency and control of money for news. This is just a matter of applying it to advertising."
  • Kevin: I actually think that the headline is incorrect. Journalism isn't dead. Audiences are continuing their shift online. Jason Stverak says that newspaper websites seeing traffic at an all time high rebuts "studies that have shown traditional newspapers are no longer a thriving business model". How? If the newspapers were converting those large online audiences to revenue effectively, that observation might stand up, but the only economic bright spot is that advertising is returning after the recession and the deep cuts are allowing papers to return to profitability. I will agree that local newspapers drawing traffic from cable TV giants like CNN and MSNBC is good news from papers.
  • Kevin: The Times of London is offering tickets to Toy Story 3 and the chance to win a weekend at the Grosvenor Hotel in Dorset to entice people to pay for news online in its new paid content strategy. It's a step up from free DVDs to shift papers.
  • Kevin: From the World Editors Forum blog. Carole Wurzelbacher writes: "The University of Missouri's Reynolds Journalism Institute has recently announced the inauguration of WellCommons, a site designed to improve community communication about health issues." The site allows users to determine the credibility of the article with a sources section.
  • Kevin: Rachel McAthy at has a good roundup of the 12 projects that won funding in the Knight Foundations News Challenge 2010. The 12 projects split the $2.74 in funding. They were all local projects of some description. Some like the one from Stamen Designs were meant to ease the production of local visualisations and many of the others were some variation on a theme of aggregating local information. The grants were relatively small, most in the hundreds of thousands of dollars category. However, that's about what it takes to run a small digital project team for a year.