Journalism & Newspapers


Mark Felt - "Deep Throat"

Almost 40 years ago, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein began their now famous reporting on the Watergate break-in which ultimately led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.  The developing story had to rely on anonymous sources both inside and outside the Nixon administration.  One of those sources, famously dubbed Deep Throat, was only recently revealed to be Mark Felt.   Today, WikiLeaks is practicing the art of the leak in a more sophisticated manner using electronic drop-boxes and other Internet tools.  But though the methods have changed the reactions of government to embarrassing leaks predictably mimics what occurred during the Watergate controversy.

According to its Wikipedia page, WikiLeaks is”an international non-profit organization that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks.”  The WikiLeaks website was launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organization.  It claimed a database of more than 1.2 million documents within a year of its launch.  The WikiLeaks founders are described as a mix of Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.

julian-assangeThe site was originally launched as a user-editable wiki, but has progressively moved towards a more traditional publication model and no longer accepts either user comments or edits.  WikiLeaks has had its share of problems – financial, operational and legal.  But it has managed to emerge more popular and more talked about than ever.  WikiLeaks has released a wide range of information – war logs from Afghanistan, a trove of 250,000 US diplomatic cables, documents of secret deals between the US government and Japanese whalers and now it claims to have more than 500 US diplomatic cables on one broadcasting organization – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.  According to Assange, these specific cables are “insurance files” that will be released “if something happens to me or to WikiLeaks”.

Julian Assange life currently reads like a soap opera.  He is accused of sexual assault in Sweden and is currently fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden.  The US government  is threatening legal action against the site, citing national security threats, and is claimed to be  privately pressuring media companies to sever their ties with WikiLeaks.  While it is not certain how the various legal actions will play out, one thing can be assured – the leaks will continue.  And, as the video below demonstrates, the whole WikiLeaks drama is proving a powerful whirlpool sucking in politicians and pundits across the political spectrum.

Love it or despise it, WikiLeaks would appear to be the latest evolution in whistle blower reportage on the still rough frontiers of online journalism.  Journalism is defined in part by the challenges it takes on and the boundaries it sets for itself.  The WikiLeaks saga may be helping define those boundaries in the Internet age.

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Jeff_HoweWe are in the midst of a gigantic experiment in journalism – seeing if crowssourcing can work effectively alongside traditonal reporting.  In a post on hte Online Journalism Review, Robert Niles defined crowdsourced journalism in the following way:

Crowdsourcing, in journalism, is the use of a large group of readers to report a news story. It differs from traditional reporting in that the information collected is gathered not manually, by a reporter or team of reporters, but through some automated agent, such as a website.

In his recent book, Crowdsourcing:  Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business, Jeff Howe (right) recounts some examples from the history of crowdsourced journalism, including:

Assignment Zero – Assignment Zero was a short term experiment – the brainchild of Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University, working in collaboration with WIRED magazine. The idea behind the project was to use the combined skills of a crowd to write a comprehensive report on the growth of crowdsourcing.  While the project failed to meet its original goal of 80 usable articles, it did achieve some modest success and highlighted some of the organizational factors that were important in managing a crowssourced reporting operation.

TalkingPointsMemo.com – This political blog posted documents from the investigation into the firing of US attorneys during the Bush administration.  By crowdsourcing the document review to interested citizens, the blog was able to quickly parse through the mass of data to expose potential malfeasance.

Jeff Howe – Crowdsourcing

gas buddy websiteMore recently, we’ve seen numerous examples of Twitter, the micro-blogging service, being used by traditional journalists to get raw materials from a developing story reported by citizens as it unfolds.  The Iranian election protests showed that crowd reporting could effectively counter even strict government constraints on the regular media.  One applications of crowdsourced reporting includes situation where online reports by individuals contribute to a bigger picture view of a story that would be impossible for one reporter or even a small team of reporters to piece together.  Examples cited by Niles include:

  • Earthquake reports across a wide region
  • Reports of gas prices – e.g. GasBuddy.com during the recent gasoline price bubble
  • Accident Watch – This allowed citizens to report theme park accidents from around the country when such data was not forthcoming from federal or state agencies

citizen journalistJust as newspapers and other media organizations have added bloggers to extend their traditional reporting, it seems likely that crowdsourced journalism will rise as news has to be reported with ever shrinking professional staffs.  The lessons learned from the first experiments in this area show that the most successful partnerships combine the data gathering power of widely dispersed individuals organized into a project based community, supervised by professionals with the appropriate editorial skills and journalistic savvy.


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neal stephensonThe term Spew refers to the torrent of information spilling out over the Web.  It was an image first conjured up by author Neal Stephen.  Today the term could serve equally well as a description for the tsunami of tweets pouring forth from Twitter-ers across the globe.  Individuals and organizations have discovered many interesting uses for Twitter:

  • A research tool to plug into the raw elements of news stories while they are unfolding –  e.g. the Tehran protests
  • Live blogging at conferences
  • Distributing news stories – e.g. CDC using Twitter to get the news out swine flu
  • Mobilizing customers – e.g. the bakery in San Francisco that updates local customers on when its sumptuous peach pies are coming out of the oven

Top Twitter Tools Exposed & Explained at Lightning Speed

Not to be left out of the Twitter-mania, authors have also started using the tool to support their book development and marketing efforts.

  • Seek assistance with research for your book
  • Build a following that you can direct to your longer blog posts
  • Respond to comments about your book
  • Announce events such as readings, appearances and book signings
  • Delivering sample book content
  • Share news stories (and pictures) related to your book

twitter-toolsA plethora of Twitter apps are now available to make all these task easier.  The most comprehensive list I have found so far is at Mashable.  Want to follow some authors, agents or the publishing industry?  Try this starter list from Maria Schneider’s blog.  And if you want to track and quantify all your tweet followers and activities, there is a list of excellent Twitter analytics tools available at Social Media Today

Enjoy!


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hometowntimes.com logoThe failure of newspapers in the United States has become a commonplace occurrence over the last few years.  Newspapers are in the middle of a perfect storm– declining readership, higher prices for paper and newsprint, and intense competition for ad dollars.  It is not yet clear how the gap left by these newspaper closings will be filled, but many experiments with new publishing models are underway.  One such experiment is the HometownTimes.com, an online newspaper franchise founded in 2003 by Paul Baron. 

Paul BaronPaul Baron is a successful serial entrepreneur who enjoys taking on tough challenges.  He relished the opportunity to create what’s next for the future of journalism.  Before starting the HometownTimes.com, he had already demonstrated his business acumen through telemarketing, mass-communication advancements, and even a popular New York restaurant.  Today he is focused on filling what he sees as the growing gap in community news throughout the country.   The company, headquartered in Georgia,  now operates more than 500 internet-based news sites across the United States.  I recently had the opportunity to ask Paul about his business and how he sees the emerging future of online journalism.

FPP:  How did you first get involved in online journalism and what was your motivation to start the HometownTimes.com?

PB:  The community in which I live, a suburb of Metro Atlanta, was being underserved by the regional newspaper. They were losing money, cutting costs, and the first areas cut to save money were the advertising, reporting, and distribution of the news and information relevant to the smaller local communities around the city.

FPP:  Can you briefly describe the evolution and growth of the HometownTimes.com since its inception?

PB:  A local entrepreneur, who is now my technical operations manager, founded an online news site to serve the community of Cumming, GA. He created CummingHome.com, which due to my prior observation and the realities of the dwindling coverage from the print media, became a hit with the community. While attracting a large percentage of the local population and many local advertisers seeking to attract a community audience to their products or services, I realized this model of hyper-local online news could be expanded to serve any community in the US … or anywhere.

FPP:  How does the basic HometownTimes.com business model work?

PB:  I formed HometownTimes.com to establish added value to the CummingHome.com site that started this model. I also wanted to create the systems, training, and support that would make it attractive, affordable, and easy to manage as a ‘turn-key’ business for anyone from the experienced journalist wanting to stay in touch with the issues of importance to the community in which he or she lives, to the stay-at-home mom or dad with some basic creative writing skills or otherwise connected to the community through organizations like the PTA, government, chamber of commerce, Rotary, etc. We also leverage the national presence of our 520+ sites today, with national advertisers that would never be likely to advertise with a local paper, but being able to deliver a total national audience with local focus is a key differentiator to the Hometowntimes.com business model. A franchisee can acquire a single community site for only $4,995.00 – including complete setup, training, and support to get started. Ongoing support is included as well, for a small monthly fee that includes placement of all ads, coupons, images & video, and the software technology to deliver the content from local reporting or advertorials.

FPP:  What is the coverage area of a typical HometownTimes online newspaper?

PB:  A small community of 10,000 – 100,000 is the typical coverage area; although multiple adjacent communities can be “bundled” to offer a better business opportunity to the local franchisee and value to local advertisers.

FPP:  How does each HometownTimes.com paper establish its advertising base? Is the advertising all local or do you also supply ads through ad networks?

PB:  The responsibility of the local owner/franchisee or reporters is to acquire local ads. Many local establishments may be franchises (e.g. Subway, Jiffy Lube, Mr. Handyman, etc.) or national brand companies (like airlines, cable companies, Starbucks, Home Depot, etc.); and Hometowntimes.com, as a company, secures national ad agreements and shares that revenue with our franchisees at the local level. We encourage our local owners to market their sites to the local community through traditional means (direct mail, posters in stores, billboards, ads in local print publications, etc.), networking organizations, becoming involved in the community, and by building original content onto their sites to attract both readers and advertisers.

FPP:  How is content produced for each online paper in the HometownTimes.com family? Is there a basic formula to help determine the mix or is it up to each franchisee?

PB:  Our franchisees are provided our Hometowntimes.com Content Management software and training to use this very easy to learn, intuitive application. They write their own stories, solicit content from their advertisers, or others in the community. Our training includes identification of sources. We also have our own proprietary software that can capture information, events, and post this to the sites – that service carries a very small fee, but is very useful in getting such items as obituaries, concert events, and more.

FPP:  What is the profile of a typical HometownTimes.com franchise owner? Are there specific traits or background that you have found that make an owner more likely to be successful?

PB:  The successful Hometowntimes.com local publisher/franchisee can be a stay-at-home mom/pop, an executive retiring who wants to be connected to the community through networking, a college graduate out of journalism or business school, or an experienced reporter or ad salesperson seeking to work from home. It can also be a more experienced general businessperson seeking to manage a team of reporters and salespersons, and who can take over a larger territory to manage the smaller community sites within that territory or metro market.

FPP:  Many large daily newspapers have closed their doors in recent years. Do you see the same thing happening to smaller local/community print publications?

PB:  Yes, if they don’t take advantage of technology to reach the audience they serve through, minimally, a responsive online version that complements and adds value for readers and advertisers.

FPP:  What is HometownTimes.com competitive advantage against established community papers?

PB:  National presence with local footprints and focus. And our technology and features that have proven to gain traction with readers and deliver value to advertisers. We’re using social networking, not in the traditional sense, but to quickly report news or information that might benefit those who have expressed interest in specific events or activities. For example, we can use Twitter or Facebook to alert a community of subscribers who have requested notifications of weather warnings, traffic jams, or the results of Friday night’s high school football game. Mobile text messaging is used to drive customers to stores offering a special discount to our readers.

FPP:  How would you like to see HometownTimes.com evolve in the next few years?

PB:  We want to provide a path to employment or financial independent ownership to thousands of people across the US. We see 3,000 community sites with franchisees delivering high-value local news, information, and events to their local audience and driving customer traffic to help their fellow local small businesses succeed and thrive. Also, we want to promote communication and interaction and growth to our country’s small towns. And, of course, we would like to see financial rewards go to our employees, shareholders, advertisers, partners, and franchisees.

FPP:  What do you see as the long term future of news journalism in America in the coming years?

PB:  It will only thrive with the technology that continues to leverage real time reporting and interaction with audiences. Those companies and solutions that take advantage and deliver a quality product will thrive. Hometowntimes.com looks forward to a bright future for journalism, journalists, readers, and America’s small businesses and communities – we are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this emerging business model to serve communities at the local level to improve the quality of those residents and businesses.


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blog on KindleAmazon recently rolled out a new program called Kindle Publishing for Blogs.  The beta program offers Kindle owners subscriptions to blogs.  Blogger receive 30% of anywhere from $0.99 to $1.99 per reader per month; so for every thousand readers, a blogger could get $999 to $1,999.  (It’s not clear how Amazon determines the price it charges for a particular blog subscription.)   The setup process  takes about 12 to 48 hours before a blog appears in the Kindle Store. 

For bloggers, it offers potentially wider distribution.  As Shawn Farner commented on GizHQ, “Aside from giving the content creator a weak 30 percent, the new system could present an opportunity for blogs to tap into new audiences and become more widely read, and I’m all for that.”

But it’s unclear how Amazon will get consumers to pay for what they can now get for free.  Kit Eaton of Fast Company wondered about Amazon’s larger strategy:

. . . blogs derive much of their power from their nowness–their real-time relevance is what’s presenting a challenge to traditional media reporting. By offering them to Kindle readers as so much dead text…is this Amazon’s subtle way of propping up the ailing newspaper industry?

Either that, or Amazon is thinking far into the future to a time when people will pay to read blog posts. Hard to imagine, but not outside the realm of possibility.

Some other possibilities:

  • Amazon sees blogs eventually supplanting newspapers (and in some cases magazines), at least in the US.  As these blog based news organizations grow in influence and sophistication, they may begin offering premium content for subscribers.
  • Amazon sees a tie between blogs and books.  Blogs can function as the progenitor of books, and as an extension to a published book.  Blogs by popular authors may command a small subscription price and help drive sales of books.  
  • Amazon thinks readers may be willing to pay for a different blog reading experience – something between a computer screen and a printed page.
  • Amazon isn’t sure what to expect but thinks the experiment is worth a shot.

One thing is sure; if the Kindle blog publishing program is successful, other purveyors of e-readers will soon follow with similar programs of their own.

Jeff Bezos and Bestselling Authors Discuss Amazon Kindle


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west-seattle-blog-front-pageThe last few years have been especially tough for newspapers in America.  Many papers which have been in business for more than a hundred years have been forced to close their doors for good; this includes one of my hometown daily newspapers, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  Many of these papers were simply not able to transition in a profitable way from print to online.  However, the news is not all grim.  The lines between bloggers and journalists are blurring and experiments are underway with online-from-the-start news venues – e.g. the Huffington Post – which are showing promise.  One example here in Seattle, is a neighborhood news blog, run by Tracy Record and her husband Patrick, called the West Seattle Blog.

Tracy Record

Tracy Record

Tracy Record has worked to hunt, gather, process, analyze, and share information in a multitude of media pretty much around the clock since age 17.  Most recently, she was assistant news director at KCPQ-TV in Seattle, a position she resigned in December 2007 to work full time on the West Seattle Blog.  Prior to that, Tracy spent 2 years with the Walt Disney Internet Group in roles including executive producer of ABCNEWS.com. That followed 8 years at KOMO-TV, Seattle’s ABC network affiliate, where she was its first-ever executive producer of new media.  Before that she had worked at a variety of TV stations, newspapers, and radio stations in California, Nevada, and Colorado, collecting 3 Emmy Awards along the way.  I recently had the opportunity to discuss the West Seattle Blog and the reasons for its success with Tracy.

FPP –  When did you start publishing the West Seattle Blog and what > motivated you to start it in the first place?

TR– December 2005. My husband (WSB co-publisher/business development director Patrick Sand) and I had lived here for almost 15 years by then, and I had some observations I wanted to share with somebody. I was really surprised to discover that while many people were writing blog-format websites IN West Seattle, nobody was writing in that format ABOUT West Seattle. I discovered the domain westseattleblog.com was available, and off I went.

FPP– How big is your audience now, and were you surprised by the growth of the blog?

TR– Through the first three months of 2009, we averaged 650,000 pageviews a month (per Google Analytics). You can slice and dice the guesstimate of the actual person count a million ways, but we currently boil it down to more than 7,000 homes/businesses a day. The growth of the site – we don’t call it “a blog” though that’s still in our name since that’s how people know us — is more heartening and humbling, than surprising … we moved to news/information/discussion because there was clearly a need for it.

FPP –  How would you characterize your readers?

TR– Majority over 30. And many more over 50 than the cliche’ view of online users would suggest. But more important than age or other demographic definition, a WSB-er is anyone who wants to know what’s happening right now in West Seattle – as well as what’s coming up later today, next week, next month – and who wants a chance to talk about it!

FPP – What sorts of things do you do to build your readership and what have you found to work best?

TR– Far and away, the most important thing we do is to just keep finding and reporting THE NEWS, with text, links, photos, videos, any means possible, relevant, and appropriate. And that involves listening to the community – through what they send us, what they tell us, what we see and hear. Some would-be site operators make the mistake of thinking that as long as they beat a promotional drum loudly enough, they will get and retain an audience. We are from the “if you build it, they will come” school. We do some marketing, though — in the physical space, we sponsor community events and we “table” at events/festivals, as well as doing a little bit of outdoor advertising; in the online space, we do AdWords, of course, and are embarking on some other strategic online advertising. Participating in social media has become increasingly important; we have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, with four-digit “followings” in both places, and we share content, observations, breaking news through both channels, while also receiving information there, and participating in discussions. One important but little-discussed aspect of being present for your community is to be hyper-accessible – e-mail, phone, in person, postal mail, whatever and whenever.

FPP – What sorts of coverage do you provide and how has it evolved over time?

TR– Breaking news (crime, crashes, fires, “why is there a helicopter over my neighborhood”) is huge – and we cover it 24/7. Another major area of coverage involves neighborhood issues – West Seattle has a lot of neighborhood associations and councils and we staff as many of their meetings as we can, as well as trying to stay in touch with their leaders in between meetings. Then there’s development, businesses, schools, politics. Really, there’s almost no topic we haven’t covered. The evolutionary trajectory is pretty simple – we did mostly opinion/observation for the first year, till a huge windstorm threw much of West Seattle into the dark in December 2006, and people started asking us for information that required original reporting — the storm had affected other areas of the region, too, so neighborhood-specific reporting was difficult to find, and no one was doing it on a timely basis here, so we jumped in, and from there, we continued to encounter many more stories that needed to be told, because no one else was covering them – or, they weren’t being covered in a timely manner.

FPP– In what respects is the West Seattle Blog like a traditional newspaper and it what respects is it different?

TR– What IS a traditional newspaper, really? Some have changed a lot, some have not. But I guess I’d point to three areas: 1. Timeliness – we run the site more like a broadcast property, which is natural because both of us worked primarily in broadcast (TV and radio). If it’s happening now, we’ll tell you about it now, even if our first report is a quick “we’re checking on the big fire call on Harbor Avenue,” with more and more added to it as we learn more, like the classic AP bulletin that started with one line and continued to grow. Secondly, the collaboration with our community is a HUGE difference: People send story tips, photos, videos, questions, suggestions, crime reports, so much more – and they participate in comment threads and forum discussions. We “mediate” the information-sharing, as professional journalists, but in the end, the site can be what one WSBer called “a block watch on steroids” – a place that you can use to share information with tens of thousands of neighbors. 2. Truly neighborhood-level news: Some of our reports involve matters that even a community newspaper would tend to consider “too small to pay attention to”
– and yet, for community members, these matters are huge. Think – a really bad pothole. Or a road sign that’s out of place. Or a lost pet (we have an entire lost/found pets page). 3. The aforementioned community participation. Newspapers have tended to function as “one-way media” with the exception of letters to the editor. In our format, the community involvement and comment is much more intertwined.

FPP– The West Seattle Blog currently accepts advertising. Have advertisers been enthusiastic and have you been able to support the operation of the blog with advertising?

TR– We are the first financially self-sustaining, online-only neighborhood-news operation in Seattle. Though we don’t discuss specific numbers, the revenue that we currently get from sponsorships constitutes the sole source of support for our household of three (no other jobs, no savings supplementation, THIS IS IT), while also covering all our business expenses, including paying freelance writers, photographers, and technical help. Regarding advertiser enthusiasm – sponsors tell us they get results, and that’s what matters. Since we have the largest “readership” of any news/information source specific to this area, online or offline, it’s the best place to be seen, and to have community members learn about your business.

FPP– You currently have a number of guest bloggers who contribute to the West Seattle Blog. How did you recruit / attract them, and how does the arrangement work?

TR– We don’t have “guest bloggers.” We do pay professional freelance writers for assigned, bylined articles. If you mean our “Blogs” section, that’s a compendium of RSS feeds from people who write blog-format websites based in West Seattle, and the links all go directly to their sites.

FPP– What advice would you give others thinking about starting a neighborhood news blog?

TR– Depends on whether they want to pursue a ‘blog’ or a ‘news operation.’ We are very serious — and taken seriously — about running this as the latter, which involves a major amount of serious news gathering, processing, reporting, and editing. But if you want to run a “news blog,” think about what you think your neighborhood needs, and how you expect to see that information turn up on the website you start. By no means should you start a site and say Hi! We started a site! Now we need people to write stuff for it! If you are not ready to write a LOT for your site as the primary founding contributor – maybe a little less with time as you find regular contributors, if you want to operate it that way – just don’t waste people’s time. Anyone can start a website; only those serious about operating it and providing content for it TFN should do so. And don’t announce a grandiose mission for what you’re going to do before you start doing it – JUST DO IT. We ran our site for two years before running advertising of any kind. These days, the pump is primed for online neighborhood news and if you do a really excellent job, you could probably have enough of an audience to start selling ads after three to six months, but don’t just hang up your shingle and say hi, I’m going to do news for you, buy some ads from me first, K? The worst side effect of trying to run things that way is that your would-be advertisers waste their hard-earned dollars without reaching much of an audience, and no matter how little you charge, that’s not doing you or them any favors.

FPP– What’s next for the West Seattle Blog?

TR– Working on site improvement and new features right now. Long overdue for a design upgrade since we’re still running on a 2-column WordPress theme that was almost the default when we started the site, but we want to be sure, when we launch a redesign, that it doesn’t “fix what wasn’t broken.”  Also, I’ve had an editor/writer job posted for a long time and hope to finally make that hire soon – it’s a really tough decision when you are bringing somebody officially into what’s been a family business – we’ve talked to some great people, though.


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closing-of-the-rocky-mountain-newsThe death of American newspapers is now occurring at an almost predictable pace.  Every day it seems we hear about another major newspaper closing its doors or declaring bankruptcy.  Today it was Denver’s venerable  Rocky Mountain News.  The phenomenon has become so epidemic there is even a website called Newspaper Death Watch, which, as its tag line says is “chronicling the decline of newspapers and the rebirth of journalism.”  Even in my own home town of Seattle, we will almost certainly lose one of our major dailies, and many predict both within a year or so.  Are we witnessing the end of American journalism and news reporting?

Rocky Mountain News Closing After Friday Edition

In an ironic twist, staffers at the Rocky Mountain Newslive blogged the meeting where the closure was announced.  In a sense, it is symbolic of both the forces at work that are undermining print journalism and the future of journalism.  Newspaper are desperately trying to bridge the gap between print and online.  The 2008 Bivings Report on the use of the Internet by America’s largest newspapers reported the following:

  • Newspapers are experimenting with user generated content. The study found that 58 percent of newspapers allowed for user generated photos, while 18 percent accepted video and 15 percent articles. Overall, 58 percent of newspapers offered some form of user generated content in 2008 compared to 24 percent in 2007.
  • Research shows that the number of newspaper websites allowing users to comment on articles has more than doubled in the last year. Seventy five percent of newspapers now accept article comments in some form, compared to 33 percent in 2007.
  • Ten percent of newspapers had social networking tools, such as user profiles and the ability to “friend” other users, built into their sites in 2008. This compares to five percent of sites that included this feature in 2007. It is surprising that this number isn’t higher.
  • Seventy six percent of newspapers offered a Most Popular view of content in some form (Most Emailed, Most Blogged, Most Commented, etc.). This compares to 51 percent in 2007 and 33 percent in 2006.
  • Integration with external social bookmarking sites like Digg and del.icio.us has increased dramatically the last few years. Ninety-two percent of newspapers now include this option compared to only seven percent in 2006.

Still, the newspaper industry has many apparently intractable issues of:

  • Competition from a variety of media that report the news more quickly if not always in more depth and with greater accuracy
  • Physical overhead that comes with printing and delivering newspapers
  • Collapse of print advertising as advertisers move to lower cost, more measurable ads on the Internet
  • Mismanagement and gutting of jreporting / editorial staff by corporate media parents intetn on meeting unrealistic quarterly earnings targets even if it degrades the end product

ny-times-onlineThough its format may change, journalism, I am confident, won’t disappear.  According to Technorati, many of the largest media properties (by audience size) in the US are now blogs.  The blogosphere, as a medium, is beginning to mature as it grows, and as it gains influence, will no doubt adopt the habits, practices and editorial checks and balances that evolved in newspapers over time.   Many blogs, like the Huffinton Post, have evolved into very successful online newspapers.  The “HuffPo” completed a $15 million financing in November, 2008 which will allow it to do more investigative reporting, as well news commentary.  It’s low overhead and large audience, built in just over 3 years, may reveal why news-blogs are the new newspaper.

The news-blog will, by its nature, be a dialog with its readers – a co-creation of journalists / bloggers and their readers.  Every aspect of the news-blog will be measurable and “tweak-able” which will be good for improving the product and attracting advertisers who will foot the costs.  Just as the birth of modern newspapers took journalism to new heights, so too will the birth of the news-blog.

 


 

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