links for 2009-12-01

  • Kevin: In Europe, governments are paying to retrain journalists and to provide newspapers to teens as newspapers struggle during the recession. Could such plans work in the US?
  • Kevin: Umair Haque writes: " As I point out in my recent IdeaCast, the challenge for newspapers is scarcity — real scarcity, not artificial. Can newspapers offer distinctive perspectives, rich with knowledge, expanded into topics, that make readers authentically better off? That's what scarce, distinctive news might look like."
  • Kevin: One to watch in terms of partnerships. GlobalPost, a network of approximately 70 country-based correspondents around the world, will be helping to supplement the international coverage of US public television broadcaster PBS NewsHour. "As part of the partnership, GlobalPost correspondents and videographers will jointly produce weekly video segments that will air on The PBS NewsHour broadcast and will also appear on the Online PBS NewsHour web site. GlobalPost and the PBS NewsHour staffs will work closely on story selection and on the various production aspects of each report." Sounds like a smart partnership, especially if it gives GlobalPost journalists a stable base to build on.
  • Kevin: An interesting report from Patrick Smith of PaidContent (owned by my employer The Guardian) of a panel discussion about digital investment. Possibly the most scatching comment came from founder Lars Hinrichs who said that the difference between US and European investors was stark. The US investors understood the business model immediately, but European investors lacked understanding of even the basics of the internet (and I'm putting it more diplomatically than Hinrichs). It's an interesting read, and I'm sure will provoke some strong reactions.
  • Kevin: Thomson Reuters is building itself into a data powerhouse. Not only are they buying data companies such as this acquistion, but they have also made some smart buys in terms of companies to make sense of all of that date. (Think Calais.) This purchase seems very smart considering ASSET4's speciality in environmental, social responsibility and governance data.
  • Kevin: This is a good look at the Boston Globe's local search project with some very rare candor. It's also worth reading in terms of the clarity between a search product and a search platform. A search product is built around user intent. A search platform serves up related content within a web page.
  • Kevin: It's about mindset not age. James Gaines is 61. He has worked at some of the biggest titles in US magazine publishing. This piece is a great read of working together to bring the experience of the publishing business and marry it with the digital skills of the internet.
    He says: "MEDIA will change as radically as technology allows, and right now the Internet is moving over the media landscape like a tsunami. But the job I learned to love when young was to tell stories, and the story has lost nothing in this transition. It is as elemental and as riveting as ever."
  • Kevin: A look at two different models – one profit and one non-profit. Demand Media is getting a lot of attention these days for setting up an SEO and trend-driven content creation model that pushes down margins for writers and content creators. It's network of sites is making money by pushing down costs and following internet buzz.
    I think that Bruce Watson misses some important elements of the Texas Tribune's business model. Even before it launched, it bought a lucrative paid political e-newsletter. That's an entirely different business than general news, and it's the kind of niche content that people will pay for.
  • Kevin: "AOL is betting it can reinvent itself with a numbers-driven approach to developing content, based on what Web-search and other data tell it is most likely to attract audiences and sponsors." Seeing as Demand Media has already built a successful media business on this model, there is some sense in this. (AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong owns 20% of Demand.) The blurring of editorial and commercial will offend some journalists, and as the story says, AOL will need to disclose marketing involvement in the content. We're seeing audience data drive editorial, and this will increase as companies look for a way to make content pay.