links for 2009-05-01

  • Kevin: Alex Lockwood looks into the future of local journalism and local government in the UK ahead of Parliamentary inquiry. Alex repeats what is becoming a more frequent call that journalism, not newspapers, needs saving. He adds: "What is important here is not the newspaper’s historical position. It is not the paper’s brand that make this local journalism worthy of the stamp ‘quality’. It is the standards of journalism itself, which can exist independent of the structures of a local paper: the fact-checking, the transparency, the reporting for the public good. And that can be done by Roy at No.53 on his own blog, or by a crowd-sourced MySociety project."
  • Kevin: Robin Hamman talks about a major study that he is working on with several others to study the BBC's use of user-generated content. As Robin says, it is an ambitious study that that will interview BBC staff and managers as well poll the public on their views of BBC UGC.
  • Kevin: Bill Grueskin at Reflections of a Newsosaur speaks with Scott Karp of publish2 and Gordon Crovitz of Journalism Online, two journalism startups with very different models. Crovitz explains the strategy or Jornalism Online: "he outlined a four-pronged strategy, ranging from providing a commerce system for publishers to devising aggressive marketing plans to sell subscriptions across the board for multiple outlets. His group also wants to help negotiate licensing and royalty deals with aggregators, which may explain why they brought attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson to the company’s board." For publish2, Scott talked about developing a tool that would allow news organisations to pool their reporting resources and expertise. He sees Publish2 revenue streams as "paid, commercial applications of his platform, as well as building a broader advertising network among news organizations." Two different models, and there is a good overview of them both. Well worth reading.
  • Kevin: The title is pretty self-explanatory on this one. Publishers Lunch, a daily paid newsletter, did some reporting and research and found based on numbers from Amazon's Kindle forum that: "over half of reporting Kindle owners are 50 or older, and 70 percent are 40 or older". Joshua Benton at Nieman says after seeing these numbers, "It’s older folks — not the gadget crowd, not the young bookloving crowd, and not the mathematical intersect of the two." If Kindle readers are older, this is not going to capture the demographic that newspapers looking for new revenue streams are hoping for.
  • Kevin: An interesting project from the BBC Audio & Music Interactive team looking to create a Feeds Hub. One thing I like about it is that they appear to be working on an open-source project rather than trying to replicate an existing commercial technology. What they want to do is help the BBC make sense of its own feeds and and also to get usage statistics on those feeds. Other features that I like are feed monitoring to know when something breaks. And they are working on a system that will allow for non-technical staff to set up and manage their feeds.
  • Kevin: Charlie has a good summary of a speech by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung editor Betholdt Kohler. The "elitist and unashamedly so" newspaper is trying to chart a course, but Herr Kohler makes a good case for maintaining the newspaper's traditions. Much like The Guardian, the newspaper is supported by a foundation and isn't subject to some of the pressures of the market. However, some of the practices seem a bit wasteful. Production and distribution make up 60% of their costs. That seems high. But I think that weekly analysis like The Economist has a market. However, The Economist seems to be taking a more sophisticated approach than FAZ, building up an intelligent web presence and strategy rather than dismissing online news sites as tracking "the nervous twitching of news as it happens". That sounds like simple print prejudice.
  • Kevin: I'm going home to backup my Flickr photos. Om Malik looks at some of the cuts and departures from the photo sharing site. I'd have to agree with Om on this one. The cuts at Flickr seem those non-strategic cuts, mass headcount culls by a company in crisis. They had some of clearest thinking about building experiences around social objects, namely photos.