links for 2009-04-25

  • Kevin: The Wall Street Journal looks at the trials of the last four years for newspapers with some closing, others going online only and many cutting staffs, reducing pensions and putting staff on furlough.
  • Kevin: The superficiality and artificiality of commentary passing as news with respect to assessing Barack Obama's First 100 Days. The artificial mark dates back to FDR, when he met with Congress every day for the first 100 days of his presidency. It was a similar time of crisis as the US was mired in the Great Depression. But now, Howard Kurtz says: "Forget about FDR. It takes nothing more than a glance at recent history to see how absurdly premature this benchmark is. " And then explains the why it's still done. "So why do we do it? The media love anniversary-type stories."
  • Kevin: Jeff Jarvis makes an excellent argument for greater efficiency and less repetition in journalism. "Every day, with everything they do, the key question for journalists and news organizations in these tight – that is, more efficient – times must be: Are you adding value? And if you’re not, why are you doing whatever you’re doing?"
  • Kevin: The latest elegy for free web hosting site GeoCities by Fred Wilson, with Flatiron Ventures. He shares his memoires and lessons learned. "I learned a lot from that deal. I learned that the Internet is all about people expressing themselves on pages they own and control. I learned that a business deal made over dinner and a handshake can turn into hundreds of millions of dollars, I learned that good partners are worth every penny of returns you give up to get them, and I learned that selling too soon is not too painful as long as you don't sell too much. And most of all I learned that you can make 100 times your investment every once in a while. And when you do, it's something special."
  • Kevin: There are a few things worth noting in the Q1 results for US news group McClatchy. Gary Pruitt, chairman and chief executive officer, said: "The impact of the downturn had largely been limited to print advertising in 2008, but in the first quarter of 2009 it began to have a greater effect on digital advertising as well. Still, all categories of digital advertising are outperforming print advertising. In total, digital advertising revenues decreased 4.7% in the first quarter of 2009." But I think even more to note is how digital is increasing as a percentage of revenue. "Excluding employment advertising, digital advertising revenues grew 28.7% in the first quarter of 2009. Also, digital advertising represented 15.3% of total advertising revenues, up from 11.6% of total advertising for all of 2008…"
  • Kevin: Nancy Friedman writes a wonderful satire of Maureen Dowd's irritating interview with the founders of Twitter. In this pisstake, Friedman gives us a glimpse of what might have happened if Dowd had interviewed Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. Here's how it starts:
    ME: The telephone seems like letter-writing without the paper and pen. Is there any message that can't wait for a passenger pigeon?

    BELL: Possibly the message I'd like to deliver to you right now.