The Media Oxpecker: Are Newspapers the GOP of Media?

november 9, 2012  02:59 pm
Every week we round up media news you may have missed.
  • Are newspapers like the Republican Party, with an audience that is mostly white, older, and male? "They, like Mitt Romney, aren't getting their share of the fastest growing population slices in the U.S.," says Ken Doctor:
    Milk the older, white, and male readership — as Advance has been accused of doing in New Orleans and elsewhere with its new strategy — and newspaper companies may stabilize profits in the short term. But fail to come to grips with the changing complexion of America, and revenues — circulation and advertising — will continue to dwindle. In fact, the changing demographics, in addition to digital disruption, help explain the sorry state of newspapering, both print and digital.

    Alan Mutter suggests one avenue for bringing in new audiences on the digital side — linking out to others:
    One way for newspapers to broaden their base is to be far more avid about aggregating and linking to third-party content than they have been to date. While these practices seem to be anathema to many journalists and publishers, they not only enrich a website's content offerings but also have the side benefit of encouraging third parties to link more generously to publishers.

  • If Google is monetizing its search results, which include content from traditional media companies such as newspapers, does Google owe those media companies a cut of the revenue, as some European publishers are arguing? Frédéric Filloux says that within the wider Google ecosystem, news articles bring little value to the table.

    After all, traditional news content doesn't rank high for some of the more expensive keywords in Google's inventory, such as "insurance," "loans," or "attorney." To wit:
    No one is putting ads against keywords such as "war in Syria" or against the 3.2 billion results of a "Hurricane Sandy" query. Indeed, in the curve of ad words value, news slides to the long tail … despite their role in promoting and defending democracy, in lifting the veil on things that mean much for society, or in propagating new ideas, when it come to data, news media compete in the junior leagues. And for Google, the most data-driven company in the world, having newspapers articles in its search system is no more than small cool stuff.

  • The true character of news outlets comes out in crises like Hurricane Sandy, says Simon Dumenco, from the snarky sensationalism of Gawker, to the "honest-to-God journalism" at the New York Times, to the "quasi-clever, page-view-whoring, notoriously link-bait-y" Business Insider.

  • Photographers will soon be the most valuable people in the newsroom, says the page-view-whoring, notoriously link-bait-y Business Insider.

  • How notable has Margaret Sullivan's term as public editor of the New York Times been so far? Very, says Michael Wolff:
    Each of the four public editors before her primarily saw their role as the "reader's representative". A large portion of their columns were prompted by reader letters and grievances (the Times invites readers to direct complaints to the public editor). The public editor was a sort of letters-to-the-editor curator, who effectively wrote a weekly op-ed on the various journalism controversies of the day.

    Sullivan, on the other hand, rather than speaking for the public, has herself become aggressively public. She picks her battles; she's the arbiter; she tackles what's on her mind about what's wrong with the Times. She addresses not only issue with the journalism that the Times has published, but with journalism not yet written. She's an uber-editor demanding more attention, for instance, to drone attacks; and she's a correspondent-at-large, adding her own critique, with her own sources …

  • With the Financial Times up for sale, Felix Salmon has a warning for potential buyers:
    Journalism doesn’t have economies of scale. The bigger that journalistic organizations become, the less efficient they get: salaries rise, new layers of editors and managers appear, and per-person budgets grow all everywhere, for everything from IT to travel expenses. Journalism is a world of diminishing returns: size matters, but it’s also very expensive. If the FT was absorbed into a much larger organization, its editorial budgets would end up rising even before the new owners started investing money in putting reporters all over the world, building the foundations for future relevance.

  • Mobile local ad revenue is expected to grow from $664 million in 2011 to $5.8 billion in 2016, according to BIA/Kelsey.

  • A recent survey of ad execs found lots of interest and optimism about future sales of mobile display advertising.

  • Here's a Nieman Report on "mastering the art of disruptive innovation in journalism."

  • A video about fair use, remix and culture was taken down over … wait for it … a copyright claim.

  • The New York Times gave Nate Silver his own dedicated copy editor on election night.

  • And finally, an ode to readers' quirks. Their "imaginations know no bounds, and with the internet, they're just a click away from sharing it."

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