Newspapers: There is No Magic Bullet, Recovering Journalist
For newspapers, there is no magic bullet.
Charging for online content is not a magic bullet—in fact, in most cases, it may do more harm than good.
Micropayments are not a magic bullet—though they may (or may not) bring in a few extra pennies of revenue for the Wall Street Journal.
The Amazon Kindle (even in doublewide mode) is not a magic bullet—especially when Apple unleashes its rumored large-screen iPhone, aka the Kindle-killer.
Punishing Google is not a magic bullet—indeed, it’s a short-sighted strategy that can devastate traffic and ad revenue.
Times Wire is a useful new product and shows that the NYT is actively tapping into two big trends on the Web currently: real time information and personalization. The ‘river of news’ format isn’t as overwhelming as it is on the new FriendFeed page, where a torrent of content will scroll past the bewildered user in the blink of an eye. I blinked a lot of times over the course of a couple of minutes before I saw an update to the ‘All News’ section in Times Wire. This is probably a good thing for a news site, because people need at least a bit of time to digest news.
The New York Times is proving itself to be a leader among the big newspapers in not only keeping up with the latest Internet trends, but sometimes extending them. This particular product probably won’t be hugely useful for the general public, it seems more like a product that info junkies (like bloggers) and newshounds would enjoy. But it’s definitely a worthwhile experiment.
An Amsterdam based holding company called PPF and the Paris based World Association of Newspapers are funding a fascinating project that will launch 30 different websites covering hyperlocal news throughout the Czech Republic. Google will provide technical training and the sites will run AdSense in exchange. In order to maximize contact with the local community, the project has hired 90 mostly young reporters who will work out of offices with public coffee and internet shops built into the facilities.
Will this idea work? Who knows, but it sure sounds like a fun experiment. There are lots of different factors at issue, not the least of which is the hyper-local nature of the news being reported. Eric Pfanner in the Times says “think garbage collection schedules, not Group of 7 diplomacy.”
John Scalzi on blaming the internet, EatSleepPublish
The problem I have with print people blaming the Internet for their troubles is that blaming the Internet allows them to ignore — and indeed, actively avoid – taking responsibility for their own acts that have contributed and are contributing to their current bad times. This happens with all print media, but SF is really hot on it. And it’s bunk.
This week I came across the description of a “distribute and print” newspaper enterprise in Spain and Portugal. I think it’s fair to call it a newspaper printernet.
From the PressTerra Newsletter:
An agreement between Ontime Transport Logistics and PressTerra will provide expatriates and tourists in Spain with their familiar newspapers as of May 4, 2009. The process is very simple: Publishers make their content available to PressTerra, who in turn ensures that the right type of file is transmitted to the print site and on time. After printing has completed, the newspapers are picked up by or delivered to the Publisher’s preferred Distributor. If no Distributor is available yet for that market, PressTerra will bring the Publisher into contact with an established Distributor and upon request will negotiate on the Publisher’s behalf.
Currently, the model appeals to foreign newspapers looking to reach travelers and immigrants in the Iberian region who want to stay in contact with the “home country.” Various hometown newspapers supply the content in the form of PDF files. PressTerra handles the management, while Ontime Delivery and Logistics handles the delivery and Imcodavila manages the print-on-paper. Oce supplies the digital manufacturing pieces. Other offset printers will be added on as the demand grows.
The promise, risks and reasons for liveblogging, BeatBlogging
Liveblogs hold more potential for televised events where there’s a break or a lull in the action. Baseball and football are good examples where there’s plenty of time that’s ripe for good observations about the game. If the liveblog is set up as a chat, the fans can set the agenda of the conversation, rather than just listen to the announcers; it creates a community space, like having a bunch of buddies watching the game with you.
Liveblogging’s greatest potential is for events where we can’t see all the action or wouldn’t easily comprehend it even if we could. These include court proceedings, political events, terrorist attacks, wars, natural disasters or, on the bright side, space landings and major scientific breakthroughs. Livebloggers become our eyes and ears on the ground, valued for their ability to get details and separate facts from rumors.
Reporter tweets being shot, Headlines and Deadlines
In a nutshell, (teetotal) Tony McDonough was unfortunate enough to be downing a diet Coke in his local Liverpool pub when armed bikers opened fire on the doorway in a “ride by” shooting. Some of the pellets hit him in the face, and he ended up needing an ambulance ride and hospital treatment.
But, in his own words: