wonder if political reporting/comment will go the same way as financial news: would not be surprised, but how it'll play out idk.
― FREE DOM AND ETHAN (special guest stars mark bronson), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:38 (4 years ago) Permalink
The politics blogosphere (hate that word, but it can be useful) might work against that IMO.
― zero learnt from nero (Neil S), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 12:42 (4 years ago) Permalink
i think the key players, ie the ones with real connections, in the 'sphere are ppl who earn their irl wages as hacks. if that goes tits up i don't see them providing content for nish-all.
― FREE DOM AND ETHAN (special guest stars mark bronson), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 13:02 (4 years ago) Permalink
There's YouTube, there's Facebook, there's Wikipedia etc.: just one or two main providers for each segment. I can only imagine news content will go the same way in the end - there will be just two or three main content providers who will feed the news to newspapers/websites.
This isn't quite right, I don't think: those sites aren't providers in the same way that news organisations are -- each of them gets their content given *to* them from hundreds of millions of little local one-man operations who feed content *up* to them.
It's possible that something similar could happen to news, but that would be a complete disaster, for the same reason that this would:
It's not the best example but let's say I wanted to 'killfile' all headline mention of a certain celebrity or subject from a feed or website. Could be interesting - difficult to implement because there is obviously much overlap between stories and subjects but this is where the power of online news really lies - more of an exchange between provider and reader
The real power of newspapers, and the ability of their journalists to demand answers, comes from the attention they can command, and the fact that everybody gets the same splash. Whether you're just buying it for the crossword, or the sports, or the job listings, you see the same p1 story. So that means if it's some sort of scandal uncovered in an esoteric subject, it's going to be shoved in front of you whether or not you're interested in it. This in turn forces the subjects of that splash to respond, and so the accountability thing rolls on.
If there are only three big outlets, or if everyone is filtering out stories about dull-subject-x, then lots of things can be quietly swept into the darkness. It's this lack of unifying attention that worries me most about net news, far more than the money thing.
― stet, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 15:02 (4 years ago) Permalink
Stet I don't think anyone would be 'banning' the really important stuff in practice tho. No-one buys newspapers JUST for the sport or celeb gossip generally. It may be the thing they like about it most but surely the additional stuff sweetens the deal. I'm advocating a theoretically more democratic process when it comes to deciding what news is most important and I have faith that social and political issues would be better served by this process in the long-run (as much as I have faith in society). I don't believe it can be worse than e.g. the tabloids making celeb news front page because they know it will jerk knees and more effectively, pandering to the lowest common denominator or whatever. Too many people bemoan this approach on a daily basis for it to be something to just accept as 'reflecting the public interest'.
But granted there's a good chance a more user-defined online edition of many papers would only result in more sex and death.
― Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 15:17 (4 years ago) Permalink
Oh I think I see what you mean now -- do you mean where people collaborate on choosing the news, something like Digg without all the Diggness? That could definitely work.
I was fearing something like those old sites where you can personally filter out all the stuff you don't care about. I'd never see another sport or environmental story again, despite actually caring a bit about the latter.
― stet, Wednesday, 25 March 2009 16:04 (4 years ago) Permalink
well i'd like that filter thing too. but i'm not really thinking about it for newspapers because i don't read newspaper sites that often as it is, more BBC and supposedly more impartial channels.
― Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Wednesday, 25 March 2009 16:09 (4 years ago) Permalink
Page 39 of my local newspaper Hamilton Advertiser and I found the headline Scumbags Rob Pensioner, 73
Would you allow that headline at the Herald, grimly?
― Pfunkboy in blood drenched rabbit suit jamming in the woods (Herman G. Neuname), Friday, 27 March 2009 15:08 (4 years ago) Permalink
Umm. What do you think?
― a tiny, faltering megaphone (grimly fiendish), Friday, 27 March 2009 16:32 (4 years ago) Permalink
One of the suspects is described as aged 30, 5ft 8ins and thin.
He spoke with an English accent and was wearing a blue jacket and light blue trousers.
― joe, Friday, 27 March 2009 16:46 (4 years ago) Permalink
Also, did anyone post this article about the Austin Chronicle? Pretty interesting, I thought:
― Your heartbeat soun like sasquatch feet (polyphonic), Tuesday, March 24, 2009 1:48 PM (3 days ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink
good read but i couldn't help but get some immature lols out of this:
South by Southwest now has three vibrant legs — music, film and Web — that come together to create a stool that is the envy of every other American city.
― the worst breed of fong (some dude), Friday, 27 March 2009 16:53 (4 years ago) Permalink
So you're suggesting Grimly has a reason to not publish it? ;)xp
― Pfunkboy in blood drenched rabbit suit jamming in the woods (Herman G. Neuname), Friday, 27 March 2009 17:01 (4 years ago) Permalink
― pfunkboy (Herman G. Neuname), Friday, 17 April 2009 17:53 (4 years ago) Permalink
can't see how mergers are going to help, they'll just mean more journalists redundant, worse quality papers and even less reason for readers to cough up for the same recycled stuff off the wires and press releases that they can read everywhere else.
sly bailey's missing the point if she thinks "news aggregators" are the problem. google news links to your site, so it's bringing in hits and making your adspace more valuable. there's more of a problem with rss, so why not embed ads in the feed mid way through the story or whatever? <<<< does not constitute an entire digital media strategy btw.
otoh as an opportunistic effort to extend local monopolies at a time when some companies are likely to go under it will probably work well. by the time anyone sees any audited figures of how well or badly it is going for the big local news groups - which have had 20 per cent profit margins for years before this sudden period of pleading poverty - they will have got what they want.
― joe, Friday, 17 April 2009 18:16 (4 years ago) Permalink
depressing tale #3495:
speaking to a friend last night who works as the web editor for a regional newspaper in the north-west. one of their reporters has recently been producing articles critical of the local nhs hospital, exposing corruption, mismanagement etc. in response, the hospital has set up a new PR position in a bid to get positive stories out there. this position pays 10k more per year than the reporter earns. she's the only person the hospital approached to take the job. she took it.
― NI, Sunday, 19 April 2009 16:05 (4 years ago) Permalink
the paper won't be replacing her job so in one easy movement the good old money-to-burn nhs has wiped out any criticism they may have faced.
― NI, Sunday, 19 April 2009 16:07 (4 years ago) Permalink
Cooption is a tradition as old as wealth and privilege. Still is depressing how well it works, though.
― Aimless, Sunday, 19 April 2009 17:44 (4 years ago) Permalink
NYT going up to $2 daily. Boston global squeezing concessions from the unions and a representative saying newspapers should be restructured as not for profits. Great times.
― Prince of Persia (Ed), Wednesday, 6 May 2009 20:51 (4 years ago) Permalink
two bucks seems totally fair for all the reading material you get
― Mr. Que, Wednesday, 6 May 2009 20:56 (4 years ago) Permalink
Rupert Murdoch expects to start charging for access to News Corporation's newspaper websites within a year
News Corp's newspaper division barely broke even, with quarterly profits collapsing from $216m to $7m year-on-year.
― James Mitchell, Thursday, 7 May 2009 08:32 (4 years ago) Permalink
Good luck with that, Rupe.
― e.e. cummingstonite (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 7 May 2009 08:34 (4 years ago) Permalink
It's way too late to start charging for newspaper websites. The Wall Street Journal is clearly the exception, not the rule, because financial news works on a different model.
― Zelda Zonk, Thursday, 7 May 2009 08:38 (4 years ago) Permalink
They _should_ be restructured as non-profits and they should receive grants. Newspapers have big positive externalities.
― death from abroad (lukas), Thursday, 7 May 2009 08:44 (4 years ago) Permalink
Not Murdoch newspapers.
― e.e. cummingstonite (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 7 May 2009 08:46 (4 years ago) Permalink
not newsPAPERS full stop. the print model is over but yeah i think some kind of non-profit status for news-gathering orgs might be the way fwd.
― jesus is the man (jabba hands), Thursday, 7 May 2009 09:23 (4 years ago) Permalink
i think charging will work because it has to. at least News Corp has the power to force it thru.
― Hard House SugBanton (blueski), Thursday, 7 May 2009 12:12 (4 years ago) Permalink
Needs to be set up incredibly carefully: if they're dependent on sponsorship and donations, there are bigger conflicts there than there are with advertising. But if they don't have to raise cash, there's a chance they'll get lazy. The BBC doesn't, but it's got plenty of competition and is trying desperately not to lose its free loot.
Also: proper journalism really depends on good competition (lack of it is one of the reasons the big American papers are so corpulent and complacent) so are we going to give grants to lots of them?
― stet, Thursday, 7 May 2009 12:15 (4 years ago) Permalink
(That was about non-profits/grants)
i think charging will work because it has to. at least News Corp has the power to force it thru
... and if every other publisher jumps on board -- which they might well do -- then finally you fuckers might realise newspapers aren't fucking charities, er, it'd be interesting.
― a tiny, faltering megaphone (grimly fiendish), Thursday, 7 May 2009 13:37 (4 years ago) Permalink
(Never underestimate how quickly publishers will jump into bed with each other if the need arises.)
― a tiny, faltering megaphone (grimly fiendish), Thursday, 7 May 2009 13:38 (4 years ago) Permalink
I should add that I think some kind of pay-to-visit model would be shockingly bad. I guess tiered content is the only way to do this ... ach, I keep forgetting I'm not meant to care about this any more.
― a tiny, faltering megaphone (grimly fiendish), Thursday, 7 May 2009 13:39 (4 years ago) Permalink
The execs in charge of this are easily as fucking stupid as the ones in charge of the music industry. IE: why the fuck were they all buying up social networking sites and trying to build comment-audiences instead of buying/supplementing the sites that are stealing their bread? NC should have bought Gumtree, not MySpace.
― stet, Thursday, 7 May 2009 13:43 (4 years ago) Permalink
non-profits don't necessarily need grants. plenty of newspapers have been turning profits while they were sacking journalists because of ownership models that demand not just profitability, but endless growth of profits. a non-profit paper could trundle along quite happily making a small surplus to be reinvested in the business.
the problem with paid online content is that it removes the connectivity - you can't share links with non-subscribers. and it hands a massive advantage to the bbc.
xpost stet massively otm
― joe, Thursday, 7 May 2009 13:51 (4 years ago) Permalink
Paid online content is surely a dead duck. Outside financial services, has anything at all worked using this model? If Murdoch is now relying on it to save the industry, then that's bad news indeed.
I think newsgathering and reporting will eventually prove to be profitable on the Internet, once it has been massively consolidated.
― Zelda Zonk, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:02 (4 years ago) Permalink
just because it hasn't worked doesn't mean it can't. the biggest obstacle is getting people used to the idea of paying for content online. newspaper/magazine content specifically, since they already pay for other kinds of content (music, tv shows, porn, etc). the whole question obviously is how many will pay -- if the nyt, say, can get a million paid subscribers online, that might be enough to offset losing the other 19 million readers a month who read it online for free right now. if it can only get 250,000, that might not be enough. (i have no idea what the actual tipping-point number would be.) and there are ways around the link problem. you could allow links to a headline and first paragraph, e.g. you could also maintain a small free section of the site and rotate top stories through there, as a sort of loss leader. there's also the salon model of making nonsubscribers watch an ad to access any particular story.
― would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:12 (4 years ago) Permalink
The NY Times did try some kind of paid online content, didn't it? And then gave it up. As for Salon, I don't know if it turns a profit or not but its overheads would be utterly minuscule compared with the NY Times, since it doesn't have Baghdad bureaus and the like.
― Zelda Zonk, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:20 (4 years ago) Permalink
a non-profit paper could trundle along quite happily making a small surplus to be reinvested in the business
Oddly, there's a wee piece in this month's NUJ mag about this. Obviously, it's utterly uninformative and raises more questions than it answers, but you're right: it's not an unworkable model. However, right now it can only work for tiny buyouts and (hahahah) start-ups, natch.
the problem with paid online content is that it removes the connectivity - you can't share links with non-subscribers. and it hands a massive advantage to the bbc
Yes, I agree completely on both points. But the worst-case alternative is that everything else disappears completely, which gives the BBC a really quite spec-fucking-tacular advantage.
I think newsgathering and reporting will eventually prove to be profitable on the Internet, once it has been massively consolidated
Er, that "once ..." clause is a bit of a dealbreaker, no?
― a tiny, faltering megaphone (grimly fiendish), Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:21 (4 years ago) Permalink
But the worst-case alternative is that everything else disappears completely, which gives the BBC a really quite spec-fucking-tacular advantage.It'll become news for people who don't care about news, which it is just now anyway.
If large groups of journalists are going to be employed on nothing but journalism, I can't ever see how web publishing is going to fund it. Too much competition, no culture of charging.
― stet, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:25 (4 years ago) Permalink
It is time, though, for a newspaper to be set up not a 20% PROFIT model. Something like a John Lewis of newspapers, where they need to cover their costs and the rest is gravy that goes back into the newspaper.
― stet, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:26 (4 years ago) Permalink
Saw State of Play last night, btw. It's not as bad as reviews made out, and one they've got just about spot-on is the resentment/confusion about the web among hacks. There's a real undercurrent of "newspapers are about to die, sure they did a lot of shit but they also did the odd good thing". The film under the credits though -- which starts at the reporter's keyboard and goes on from the newsroom to film output, into platemaking, onto the press, through the binders, into the mailroom and out onto the trucks -- is incredibly poignant for nostalgics.
Which wasn't our audience, who mostly stomped out.
― stet, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:34 (4 years ago) Permalink
I don't think massive consolidation is great, just inevitable. After all, it's the way everything has gone on the Internet - search engines, bookselling, encyclopedias etc etc - eventually one or two players end up with almost all the audience. I think we'll end up with the BBC plus a couple of other huge newsgathering businesses soaking up 80% of the audience, and then a teeming mass of small operators, mostly run benevolently, taking up the rest.
― Zelda Zonk, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:38 (4 years ago) Permalink
thing is that news doesn't really work when it's consolidated. It needs competition otherwise reporters can be lazy, and even the biggest orgs depend on the river of news that everybody contributes their little bit to.
― stet, Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:43 (4 years ago) Permalink
(i don't mean it won't happen, just that if it does it's likely to heave)
It is time, though, for a newspaper to be set up not a 20% PROFIT model. Something like a John Lewis of newspapers, where they need to cover their costs and the rest is gravy that goes back into the newspaper.― stet, Thursday, 7 May 2009 09:26 (14 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink
― stet, Thursday, 7 May 2009 09:26 (14 minutes ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink
Isn't this the scott trust?
― Prince of Persia (Ed), Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:50 (4 years ago) Permalink
Don't think the Scott Trust really exists as such any more, does it? It's now a limited company -- so has fiduciary duty and all the other excuses of rapacious capitalism to fall back on.
― a tiny, faltering megaphone (grimly fiendish), Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:52 (4 years ago) Permalink
huh, did not know that had happened and slightly disappointed. Just read up on it. Balls to the lot of them.
― Prince of Persia (Ed), Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:56 (4 years ago) Permalink
Yeh, it wasn't the greatest day in GMG history, that one. Sorry to be the bearer of disappointing tidings!
― a tiny, faltering megaphone (grimly fiendish), Thursday, 7 May 2009 14:58 (4 years ago) Permalink
The best they could come up with was Ltd. Did they even consider mutual or partnership options for longer than 30 seconds? What a bunch of cockfarmers? Fields of prize feathered beasts as far as the eye can see.
― Prince of Persia (Ed), Thursday, 7 May 2009 15:03 (4 years ago) Permalink
I think Murdoch might be right actually - and not just for newspaper websites. At some point soon the massive piles of cash that have been subsidising YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other sites that cost fuckloads and have no workable business model are going to run out and they're going to have to find a way to monetise them properly.
What's risky is being the first major publisher to make that jump. NewsCorp is probably better placed than others to do it due to being bigger, and I think SunOnline at least could find some way of including content people are prepared to pay for.
My gut feeling about this is 'too little too late' though. People should have thought about all of this before making pretty much everything on the internet free of charge. Especially as internet behaviour is so nomadic, there'll always be something else new to pick up the users that fall away.
― Enormous Epic (Matt DC), Thursday, 7 May 2009 15:03 (4 years ago) Permalink
i didn't know that about the scott trust either. apparently there was a fear of being hit with inheritance tax, lol irony:
The decision was taken because like all non-charitable trusts, the Scott Trust has a finite lifespan, unlike limited companies.
could they have made it a charity instead? they'd have to give up endorsing parties at elections, but who cares about that?
anyway, part of the problem is not the move to online news in itself, but that we're only halfway through the transition. revenues are down, but they're still paying huge costs for printing and distributing to a smaller audience. an all-online publication in the future may be much more viable: journalists are way cheaper than printworks. that may make competition easier too.
ps: read the other day that the huffington post employs 25 people just to moderate comments. so there will still be a future for subeditors.
― joe, Thursday, 7 May 2009 15:07 (4 years ago) Permalink