The site is also beta-testing new functionality for page browsing at http://www.newsisfree.com/pages/power
Comment and links covering online journalism, citizen journalism, blogging, podcasts, vodcasts, interactive storytelling, publishing, Computer Assisted Reporting, searching and all things internet.
"Two recent reports, from Nielsen//NetRatings (PDF) and from Scarborough Research (PDF), present conflicting numbers, but both cite substantial unique, unduplicated website usage.I'm off to read these reports for a possible update...
"But is that a good thing? One point of view says that a low overlap means the website is extending the total reach of the newspaper, capturing readers -- especially younger readers -- who prefer the Internet as a medium. Without a robust website, the newspaper might simply lose those readers forever, the argument goes. Scarborough clearly favors the "Integrated Audience" metric as supporting combination print/Web ad sales.
"But there's a countervailing point of view. I know of one major newspaper that has set a multiyear strategic goal of raising that overlap to 50 percent. Pepper and Rogers might support that concept, because it indicates a deeper, more powerful relationship with your best customers. But executing that plan could be difficult. It requires significant attention to creating different products and different experiences online and offline. That raises challenges in the areas of content, services, branding, and promotion."
"At first the comment piece evolved sensibly. But once the newspaper's online monitor had gone to bed all hell broke loose. Discussion of US exit strategy from Iraq gave way to 'Fuck USA' and hardcore pornography. The feature was pulled after 48 hours.
"The newspaper, cheered perhaps by the high ratio of encouragement to derision in bloggers' post mortems, has promised to revive the idea with better policing."
Seems to me, though, the big, big story is the BBC's success at getting people to contribute high quality content online and giving people open access to its creative archive. A public service ethos being truly translated for a new medium. As wired says, "America's entertainment industry is committing slow, spectacular suicide, while one of Europe's biggest broadcasters - the BBC - is rushing headlong to the future, embracing innovation rather than fighting it."
"The first is what’s happening to our readers.
"The second is what’s happening to our content.
"And the third – is what’s going to happen to our classified ads."
On the second he makes these points:
"The prioritisation, structure and design that we have given to our content in our papers – and on our websites - is lost as we all become just one feed among many.
"[...] My three tips for dealing with it are simple to say – but tricky to implement.
"The first is your content itself [...] has to be distinctive – it has to be able to stand out on a global news stand.
"[...] The second is more technical – but has to do with how your site is technically marked up, to make sure that you can offer exactly the feeds that people want, and that the information is presented in exactly the right way.
"And the third is that you have to think of the story page on your site – as your front page."
In New Zealand, where I'm based, the media industry is pretty wary about putting broadcast media content online or about adding to current (essentially shovelware) online content, saying they'll wait till dial-up is replaced by faster, always-on connections for most people. I tend to be sceptical about arguments that technology drives the media, but on this one maybe the changing infrastructure is the next big thing for online journalism, just because it's been holding things back for so long.
"Its results show that bloggers are generally following another agenda, whether that of a political party or another medium, but also highlights the extent to which they can now influence the mainstream media on certain topics. "Sometimes blogs lead and can be very influential and other times they're followers," he says.Writer Owen Gibson comments that in the UK, "With the odd exception (Guido Fawkes' Order-Order.com and Mick Fealty's Slugger O'Toole blog on Northern Ireland for example), there is little heavyweight comment and it is rare to see a blog break a story or substantially move it on" - this being attributed to the "more rambunctious nature" of the UK press, although Neil McIntosh, the assistant editor of Guardian Unlimited,
"... Rathergate showed that when bloggers were able to access primary evidence in the same way as newspaper journalists, they could run with a story."
"says that a breakthrough Rathergate moment is inevitable sooner or later. "You'd be daft to say never. All that it takes is someone to see that a properly produced Private Eye-style blog would work brilliantly on the web. You'll get something like that in Britain." Cornfield also points to evidence of bloggers mobilising the "No" vote in the French referendum on the EU constitution as proof that it just takes the right kind of issue to spark interest."
"At the recent launch of Creative Commons South Africa, attended by none other than the father of Creative Commons himself, Lawrence Lessig, a group of Rhodes University (South Africa) new-media journalism students blogged the conference in real time, on their laptops and with their mobile phones and video cameras. The site was continually accessed by delegates in real time via wi-fi as the presentations happened.
"The innovative students even built their own content management system for the conference. They note on their website, "... One of the features we identified quite early is the use of mobile phones to post images directly from the event to the website. This is done by conference delegates by posting pictures from their camera phones via MMS-to-Email. Our server checks the POP mail account for new images and publishes them on the site. This type of innovative journalism is a small part of our broader approach to change journalistic practice in Africa." "
Jane Singer found that almost none of the 20 US j-blogs she studied allowed users to post comments. Some regional or local newspaper blogs quoted and referred to their readers' feedback, but the big national media had almost no reader content. She also found that, although postings often had links (an average of 2.3 per post), the overwhelming majority were either to the host news organisation website or to a small number of elite news sites (Washington Post, NY Times, etc). Her conclusion: journalists 'are unwilling to relinquish or even share their gatekeeping role'.
I think she's right on the reason why. Most journalists doing blogs for their news organisations see blogging as a high-tech extension of their existing job rather than as something different. Columnists write blogs like their columns and reporters provide info, with links to the places they always get their news from.
"Salaries for new-media types compare very favorably with those in advertising, public relations, and marketing. They blow away the newspaper, magazine, radio, and television salaries for all but the national media in the Northeast.Hopefully, as with many things in the US, the UK will follow.
"The survey shows that the median salary for online/new-media personnel ranges from $53,000 in the South and Midwest to $60,000 in the West and Northeast."