Tag Archives: journalism

print publishing and online

Mitch Joel has some insight from this NAA report about the print publishing business. The report focuses on the positive numbers that newspaper websites are racking up. While at the same time, newspapers are covered in sackcloth and ashes about their print products. Mitch makes an excellent point here:

Print publications need to embrace the new reality that they have become Multimedia Publications. The big wins are not going to happen by putting their print materials online. The big wins are going to happen when stories are extended leveraging the true power of the online channel – that would be by adding more images, video, audio and interaction into the fray. And, if they’re smart, extending the ability to create content as well.

This seems obvious. But even at this very moment, the offices of newspapers, magazines, radio/TV stations, and other traditional media are full of people who:
1) don’t understand this
2) don’t want to understand this
3) are afraid of this
4) feel that they are already on the cutting edge just by replicating their content online
5) are so caught up in a traditional stylebook of the “way things ought to be” that they are actively fighting online ventures

But, with all things, moderation. While I wholeheartedly agree that a media outlet needs to develop and nurture an online presence that goes beyond the abilities of their traditional counterparts, there also needs to be a master plan for both. Both the online and print editions of a newspaper or magazine need to work on a SINGLE brand strategy and need to push readers from the print to online and vice versa.

And then, there’s a vast silent majority of media outlets when it comes to online. Too many times the analysis of media focuses on a few major national media examples (who SHOULD be on the cutting edge online). The true tipping point for online media will be the vast number of regional and local outlets — many that have little or no web presence.

While national media (major magazines & newspapers, broadcast networks, etc) are just now starting to really fully embrace the online product, there are thousands of local media outlets who are drastically behind the times. I was interviewed on Friday for a publishing company’s newsletter. The interviewer actually asked me if I thought it was important for a newspaper to have a website. My response was: if a newspaper didn’t have a website in 2008, they had already missed the boat.

And let’s also remember one of the major points of the relationship between a traditional print audience and an online product. Column inches bring in more money than pixels. If the traditional print product is providing content and subsidizing the operation of the online edition, there has to be a point where the financial model changes to meet the readership and content distribution model. And for many media properties, that will be a painful transition.

Reality Check

Recently, I spoke to a group of late teens/early 20-somethings about online media. These students were in an honors class in one of the top journalism schools in the country.

In all, they threw me for a loop on what “the online generation” is doing.

Granted, it was only about 90 minutes with 18 people. But perhaps before you invest heavily in online platforms, you should get your head out of the blogosphere where “everyone” knows all about the potential of Web2.0 and you should drop in on a few of the people out in the real world.

I need your help

I’m very excited about my latest iron in the fire.

I will be teaching a class at Western Kentucky University this fall that explores interactive online technologies and methods used in journalism and media.

My big idea for the class revolves around two platforms:
1) discussion/reaction of online journalistic concepts presented to them in online sources, textbooks, and other books. There would be class discussion and each student would react on their personal blog developed for the class (Example: Read X blog, write a reaction on your blog, and be prepared to discuss in class on Monday.)
2) Students doing hands-on projects (website, online video/multimedia, and audio podcast).

I’m currently in the process of developing the syllabus / outline for the course. And in the vein of online content, I am developing it open source in blog form. It’s still in a very rough form and will be edited heavily before the semester begins. And there are large chunks that are missing. You can view it here – http://wku232i.blogspot.com/.

What do you think is missing? What do you think needs to be added? I would deeply appreciate your comments/suggestions and for you to forward the link to people you think might have helpful input.

Media and Marketing in a Tragedy

A few observations about the events this week at Virginia Tech…

Change of the Guard
Where did all these kids immediately turn to for information? They didn’t huddle around a radio. They didn’t gather around a TV. They didn’t even pick up a phone. It was all internet and Facebook. What medium are you using to reach a 22 year old?

Content not Production Value
Some in the media have looked unfavorably at the cell phone footage of the shots being used on the air. But it has become CNN’s most viewed and downloaded clip of all time.
The truth is that it no longer matters what it looks like. It matters what the content is. Look at most of the stuff on YouTube. If it looks like it was “produced”, it’s not as well viewed while the amateur looking stuff is gangbusters. It’s going to take a major realignment of the thinking of media and marketers (including me) to get to the point that polished delivery is not always what the public wants to consume.

Why did he send the package to NBC? The only major network address that I can rattle off the top of my head is 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NY, NY. What about you? That’s an example of a long term brand strategy. A peacock is just a logo.

NBC gets a double whammy of good and bad. On one hand, I’m sure they saw it as an exclusive delivered right into their lap. But on the other, it’s a curse. What do you do with it? Holding it makes people mad. Airing it makes people mad. They picked one of the two bad choices they had.

Citizen Journalists
The kid who shot the cell phone footage and the kids who taped the S.W.A.T team through the peephole have provided content that hangs in the realm of battlefield journalists. People and cameras will increasingly become more prevalent and high profile as time goes by. How long before a “scandal” of improper use of citizen journalism? How long until a citizen journalist becomes injured or gets killed while holding up a cell phone camera?

You can’t own information
A colleague and I were discussing the Virginia Tech student newspaper website today. They have stripped it down to bare bones updates (because there really is only one story on campus and to help handle the server stress.) But there is a legal disclaimer at the bottom of the page about having written consent to reprint/republish/etc their intellectual property. He had actually sent them an email suggesting a Creative Commons license.
Trying to hold on to content is now useless. You want people to take what you’re creating and spread it. Your lawyer wants you to place hurdles in people’s way. You need to make it easy as possible.

There are lots more points on media and marketing about all of this – Jeff Jarvis has made some good ones.

Black Friday

I’ve heard the fake statistic too many times today already not to post this…

The day after Thanksgiving is NOT the biggest shopping day of the year.

You hear this alot from people you know…as well as lazy news outlets who don’t check sources because the day after Thanksgiving seems busy with everyone clamoring at 5am for the next Baby-Wets-Sock-Em-Tickle-Me toy. But it’s just not true. While everyone may be out, they aren’t buying.

As far as retail sales go, the 2 weekends before Christmas show the largest sales figures and the highest sales day is usually either the last Saturday before Christmas or December 23.

Don’t believe me? Believe Google. Search http://news.google.com/news/search?q=%22biggest+shopping+day+of+the+year%22
or here’s a screenshot if you’re not searching on Friday http://twitpic.com/r6s85