08
Jun
09

Links for today | Links para hoje


Renee Barnes is a radio journalist in Australia; she also teaches online journalism there. In her blog News Frontier, she recently asked readers to rank eight skills, or skill sets, for new journalists:

  1. Evidence of blogging and interaction with a wide range of blogs
  2. An understanding and active use of social media (Twitter, RSS, social bookmarking etc.)
  3. The ability to tell an engaging story using still images and audio (audio slideshow)
  4. Ability to shoot, edit and tell stories using video
  5. Basic ability to create interactive story elements using Adobe Flash
  6. Ability edit audio and produce podcasts
  7. Ability to file from the field breaking news
  8. Ability to moderate online discussion

Actually, Barnes said “online journalists,” but I think that means ALL journalists.

Mark Glaser, Executive editor of PBS MediaShift, sent out 10 great tweets over the weekend, from his hospital bed, about ways to save newspapers. Here they are…

“My 10 step plan for local newspapers to survive and thrive in the digital age (without pay walls)…

  1. Do custom small print runs targeted to neighborhoods and interests. Not daily.
  2. Become support for local writers, reporters and bloggers; help market them, sell their ads; decentralize operation
  3. Replace circ, printing, print production staff with tech, SEO, community managers

I am completely biased in this post because of my own studies in journalism. That said:

Newspapers are downsizing. Jobs are being cut. The journalism field is in the midst of a re-invention. Despite the landscape and view people may hold when they think of today’s journalism, enrollment in journalism school has INCREASED!

Recently on the Mizzou Mafia’s list serv (we do exist), an alum wrote about her frustration when a prospective freshman asked her about a career in journalism. She just felt like she couldn’t encourage the girl to go into a field that she felt was losing hope.

However, when my High School Senior, Class of 2009 cousin asked me about it the other weekend, I was thrilled. I still encourage perspective students and recent grads to continue in the field of journalism. To provide evidence as to why and to help spread hope in the journalism field, I write this letter:

Dear May 2009 Graduate,

Here are 40 reasons to still study journalism: (…)

Xark’s Dan Conover, evidently a newspaperman, writes in “The newspaper suicide pact” about the mountain of bullshit that has entered the discussion about the future of newspaper business-models. This is some of the clearest, most interesting, best-referenced criticism of the newspaper industry’s thrash-and-FUD I’ve read:

Newspapers that are turning to paywall plans today are gambling on a risky revenue stream that even the experts aren’t predicting will provide a replacement to their lost advertising revenues (their biggest financial problem is the rapid decline in advertising rates, not the slow decline in print circulation). It’s a “well, we’ve got to do SOMETHING” solution, not a logical, do-the-math solution. And since since most media companies are owned by shareholders, the resulting loss of confidence could be catastrophic.(…)

They don’t get it. They don’t want to get it. And in many cases, they’re literally paid not to get it.

So here’s the real punchline: Advertising ends up having nothing to do with media. They become decoupled. Audience no longer yields advertising. Hell, advertising isn’t advertising. It’s relationships. Media only get in the way. There’s the corner we’re painted into, the chaos scenario, perhaps the doomsday scenario for media.

The newspaper industry’s fundamental problem, Moody’s Vice President and Senior Analyst John Puchalla writes in the report, is that is spending far too much on producing and delivering a printed paper than on creating its content and selling the product.

Moody’s calls it a “structural disconnect” with just 14% of cash operating costs, on average, devoted to content creation, while about 70% of costs are devoted to printing, distribution and corporate functions. The remaining 16% of costs are related to advertising sales — another example of devoting too few resources to the principal revenue driver.

“This disconnect is a legacy of the industry’s vertical integration beyond content creation and into the production and distribution of newspapers,” Puchalla said.

The high fixed costs — combined with high debt among many newspaper companies — is squeezing cash flow as revenue declines.



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