links for 2010-10-11

  • Kevin: Tim Bray has a nice comparison of tablets including the Samsung Galaxy (he works for Google, and it runs Android), the iPad and mobile phones. He talks about the different ways that you'd use both a 7-inch tablet like the Galaxy and a 9-inch tablet such as the iPad. He also talks about contexts where you wouldn't want to use a tablet, such as for snapping a picture or for checking directions in a slightly sketchy neighbourhood. It's well worth reading.

links for 2010-10-09

  • Kevin: Woah! An HTML5 timeline news reader by the Associated Press. This is the kind of radical design that I had hoped that HTML5 would create, and I didn't expect to see this so early from the news design community. I think that HTML5 and touch-screen navigation really start to push forward some of this interface experimentation.

links for 2010-10-07

  • Kevin: An interesting look at content through the eyes of the seed funders at Seedcamp. Jos White writes: "The Internet over the last few years has been about getting as much content to as many people as possible – bringing an incredible range of content to our screens like never before. The problem is that we are now surrounded by too much content that takes too much time to find, qualify and consume." Out of the 12 winners at Seedcamp, "seven are involved in optimising content in some way and making it more personalised to the user".
  • Kevin: Robert Andrews at paidcontent.co.uk looks at a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau report on the first half 2010 ad revenues in the UK. Online ads are up by 10%, but TV has edged ahead of the internet. Cinema and outdoor increased, but print, classified, direct mail and directories were down. One interesting thing to note about the survey is that search accounts for just shy of 60% of digital ads. That sector was up 8.8%, however online classifieds were up 11%. Display was up by 6.4% by comparison.
  • Kevin: Tanja Aitamurto at PBS MediaShift looks at Aftonbladet in Sweden and their freemium strategy. The premium part of the freemium model is called Plus. "The Plus service includes lifestyle material, such as over 200 different travel guides, health articles, and reviews of cars, gadgets and other products and services." One interesting element of her analysis is looking at the introduction of micropayments in what had previously been a subscription-only paid content strategy. The subs went down after micropayments were introduced.
  • Kevin: Megan Garber does a review and a bit of a live test of Storify, a new tool for collecting social media elements into a story format. It's been created by former AP reporter Burt Herman. She concludes: "And, for breaking news, where journalists might just be interested in the quick curation of tweets and videos, Storify’s drag-and-drop simplicity could be amazingly useful. It’s a simple mechanism for curating and contextualizing the atomized tumult that is the web — a little lifesaver for selected bits of information that otherwise might be lost to the news river’s rapids."
  • Kevin: More details on how to use the open-source Geodict tool to extract location from text. It lists some very useful details on how to get the most out of this tool and also comparing it to other tools such as Yahoo's Placemaker and also more general semantic APIs such as OpenCalais and Alchemy.
  • Kevin: A listing of some of the six and seven-figure salaries being paid in the US to star 'talent'. These hires are described as the top 1% of the talent pool in the article, but the reporter is clearly sceptical that such star power can help the ailing print media.
  • Kevin: Simon Dumenco at AdAge says that Rupert Murdoch is waging a war against reality in his attempt to put his general news sites behind paywalls. "I mean the reality of free vs. paid in the web's general-interest news ecosystem. Murdoch is currently engaged in a quixotic quest to get online newspaper readers to pay up, sealing News Corp. papers, tomb-like, behind paywalls — including, starting next month, News of the World (hilariously enough)." News Corp isn't letting media buyers know the numbers at The Times (of London) and The Sunday Times since they put up the paywall, and media buyers are striking back, with Publicis owned Starcom MediaVest cutting its ads on the sites by 50%. It's a simple issue of knowing what they are buying. If times were good at The Times, they would be crowing from the hills. They are being mum, and the market is punishing them.
  • Kevin: A report from Bloomberg quoting a media buyer from Starcom Mediavest Group, part of Publicis, saying that they have cut their buying from News Corp's Times and Sunday Times by 50% because News Corp's refuses to reveal online figures to media buyers. “I can go to the Guardian or CNN and get an audience,” said Chris Bailes, digital trading manager at Starcom MediaVest. That's a corporate kick in the teeth to News Corp. The Guardian is seen on the other side of the paid versus ad-supported news argument in the UK, and CNN competes with News Corp's Fox News in the US. Them's fighting words.
  • Kevin: A harrowing tale reported by David Carr of the dysfunctional and misogynistic culture under Sam Zell at The Tribune Corp. It is a depressing story of a cowboy corporate culture that equated sexual harassment with innovation and creativity. It also paints an almost comic picture of Tribune management that seems straight out of some sitcom about the media. Apart from the misogyny, the other depressing fact is how executives brought in as FOS (Friends of Sam Zell) have enriched themselves while destroying the Tribune, its sister papers and its flagship radio station, WGN. Just depressing.
  • Kevin: A report from Jan Schaffer, the executive director of the J-Lab at American University in Washington, looking at 46 community projects funded from 2005 to 2009. A third have shut, and of those still operating, they endure because their founders are willing to work for little to no pay. She is very frank that there is still no sustainable business model for these community journalism projects.
  • Kevin: An absolutely must-read post by Alan Mutter looking at community news projects funded by Knight in the US. Of 46 projects under its New Voices programme between 2005 and 2009, a third have shut and the "remainder endure because the founders are working for little or no pay". Jan Schaffer of the J-Lab at American University said: “Community news sites are not a business yet."
  • Kevin: A great post on how to use Yahoo Placemaker and open-source technology Geodict to extract location from content. Geodict has about 2m locations in its database. This is a great tutorial showing just about anyone who is comfortable with the command line in Linux how to use these services.
  • Kevin: Patricio Robles at EConsultancy looks at the imminent release of Google TV. One of the interesting things here for news organisations is that Google TV is working with The New York Times and USA Today to optimise their content for the platform.
  • Kevin: An interview with John Ridding at the Financial Times about their paid content model. "When times get tough, there are two ways you can respond, including, as lot of publications have done, by trying to cut newsroom costs. The danger of that is you get into a death spiral by reducing the quality of what you’re doing and exacerbating the sales and readership issue."

links for 2010-10-05

links for 2010-10-04

  • Kevin: RWW looks at two tools for location analytics, GeoIQ has created a new product that "will now automatically create dashboards showing developers where, when and how their apps are being used along with meaningful statistics and metrics". Another service in beta, Fourscore, will show the rate of turnover in 'mayor-ships' of users of the location-based network Foursquare and also the volume of check-ins. It only works for Foursquare now, but when services become popular, analytics providers soon follow.
  • Kevin: Reuters announces the creation of a commenting system that awards commenters for positive contributions, allowing them to graduate from being trust to expert users. I think it's a great first step in creating better commenting experiences for readers. In terms of Reuters, I wonder if they will one day create a system that builds reputation on specific topics as well. This would seem to me to be something that makes sense given the nature of their readership. For instance, a person with experience in equities markets might know little about bonds. I think this is a logical step. Completely open commenting systems don't manage mass participation well. People must display commitment to build a reputation.
  • Kevin: An interesting view of the movie 'The Social Network' with a view on internet entrepreneurship by Lawrence Lessig. "Instead, what’s important here is that Zuckerberg’s genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without (and here is the critical bit) asking permission of anyone. The real story is not the invention. It is the platform that makes the invention sing."
    Lessig's review is insightful in terms of how old media doesn't quite understand the internet as a platform.
  • Kevin: If you'd like to see how Tumblr can be useful for some good aggregation blogging, check out these 12 media Tumblrs from Mashable. I definitely like the accounts from The Atlantic and Pro Publica (Officials say the darnedest things). I'll have to check out the one from The Economist and NPR's Fresh Air, two bits of media that I quite enjoy.

links for 2010-09-27

links for 2010-09-22

links for 2010-09-21

  • Kevin: An article from 2009 that says that a glut of advertising space was one of the things depressing online display advertising during the recession. I wonder if things have changed as the recession eases. Tameka Kee wrote: "Even if the economy rebounds in 2009, it doesn’t look like the situation will improve because premium and mid-tier publishers are just creating too much content. When you add in the continuous stream of lower-quality user-generated content and social media inventory, the Journal says: 'The Web is likely heading for a shakeout on a scale unseen since the dot.com bust.'" I agree that a shake-out will happen, but like all such inflections, it's a matter of timing.
  • Kevin: Mathew Ingram at GigaOm has an interesting look at the failure of journalism startup NewsTilt: "One of the more glaringly obvious flaws in the company’s makeup is what appears to be a lack of interest in the problem NewsTilt was trying to solve. While the company had an idea of what it wanted to do for journalists — namely, to provide a platform for them to find an audience and theoretically build some kind of business around their content, similar to what True/Slant tried to do before being acquired by Forbes — neither of the founders had any background in journalism. Worse than that, Biggar admits that neither had much passion for the idea either; the startup evolved out of a plan to develop a better commenting system for newspapers."