links for 2009-10-24

  • Kevin: An off the record meeting at the New York Times leaked to Nieman Journalism Lab provides a look at how the New York Times is struggling with losses, staff cuts and 'spreading the gospel of integration' in the newsroom. It's really worth reading, and one has to be admire the honesty that they are dealing with these difficult times. It's nice to hear people admit what they don't know.
  • Kevin: Jeff Nolan writes: "By creating a pricing plan that defends rather than attacks a market the company is conceding defeat in print and this strategy will have the effect of slowing audience growth online in the one segment that the paper requires, young people. I am willing to give Newsday and Cablevision some credit for being creative with a multichannel strategy that covers TV, print and online, but this pricing plan is a throwback to a subscription model that simply doesn’t work anymore."
  • Kevin: AOL News is adopting the Knigh Foundation funded hNews microformat. Martin Moore of the Media Standards Trust in the Uk gives an overview of the microformat and a bit about its background. He adds: "hNews, for those unfamiliar with it, makes some basic, factual information about the provenance of an online news article machine-readable. In other words, it makes distinguishable a lot of information that is currently indistinguishable on the web (e.g. to search engines). hNews is not the same as "beacon," the controversial data tag that Associated Press is attaching to its content to help track its use around the web, and allow it, as I understand it, to create a "News Registry" of its users. AP is layering beacon on top of hNews."
    That is good to hear. AP really muddied the waters by not being clear about the differences between 'beacon' and hNews.
  • Kevin: Tom Grubisich writes a critical review of "The Reconstruction of American Journalism" report by Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson. He says: "The Columbia Journalism School-sponsored report shovels out overviews, conclusions and recommendations by the pound, but with barely a few grams' worth of critical thinking." The post is worth reading, but Robert Niles (also of OJR) comment below is also worth reading. Robert is even more scatching. "A generation of news managers and scholars has had more than a decade to confront the what should have been an obvious impending erosion of newspaper revenue due to online competition. That generation instead chose to look for ways to reinforce newspapers' monopoly power over the access to and publication of the news, or to find new ways to fund existing news operations and procedures. (And, often, both.)"
  • Kevin: Anthony Moor writes: "Jeff Jarvis and others have already documented the fact that the 'story' is no longer the endpoint in the journalistic process, as it used to be. Stories are just points in a continuum that now includes instant feedback, commentary, mashing up of new information, updates, rebuttals and the like. It's outdated almost as fast as it's published. That's why traffic to it lives and dies on the Web in a matter of hours.

    Now we're seeing the rise of the topical page as the atomic unit of content. Journalists will no longer write stories, persay. They're going to write topics, which will have story-like elements, but won't look anything like the articles they focus on today."

  • Kevin: Margaret Simons gives this advice to journalists: "Do not allow your employer to prevent you from having access to Twitter, Facebook and the like. Be very cautious indeed about signing anything that restricts your ability to network online." Couldn't agree more.
  • Kevin: One to watch. Managing news "is a robust news + data aggregation engine with pluggable visualization + workflow tools".
  • Kevin: Bill Mitchell of Poynter provides lots of good details from the newspaper experiment in Detroit. One key paragraph: "By the end of 2010, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News expect readers to provide 40 percent of their revenue, a dramatic increase from the traditional newspaper revenue split of 80 percent advertising and 20 percent circulation." The US newspaper industry's exposure to the fluctuations in advertising has been one of the factors in its struggle during this recession.
  • Kevin: Tweetminster tracks the Twitter updates of British politicians and political figures. Last night as Nick Griffin, leader of the far right British National Party, appeared on BBC panel programme Question Time, they analysed the tweets from a group of politicians, political figures, journalists and bloggers. " The aim of the experiement was mainly to test various tools and technologies (that we will be releasing in the near future) around a confined timeframe/event and population (those viewing and commenting on the event).

    The goal is to shake and open up the way analysis is done, to measure the pulse of stuff now, not tomorrow, and most importantly to eventually empower anyone to contribute to an analytical process." They talk about the initial results of the experiment.

  • Kevin: is to relaunch on Monday. The design is a big change from the text-heavy, link-heavy front page it replaces. The page is much more visual, with an emphasis on photography and video. It will also add more opinion and entertainment. In addition to highlighting more of its own video content, it has announced a partnership with tech and design conference TED. The site will continue with existing social media partnerships of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Kevin: Charlie Becket, director of the Polis journalism and society think tank at the London School of Economics, looks forward to the general election in the UK next year. "Political bloggers like to think that they will swing the next election. Big platforms like ConservativeHome and individual muck-rakers such as Guido Fawkes are billed as the websites that might win it.

    But when I talk to MPs it is video that really scares them. Could this be the election when a punter with a Flip camera changes the course of a campaign?"