Rescuing The Reporters « Clay Shirky October 2, 2009Posted by Jonathan Hewett in : delicious links , add a comment
It's the original, local news reporting that counts, says Clay Shirky, after a 'news biopsy' of his old hometown paper. Six news reporters unearthing valuable stories — with 53 other staff in the newsroom. [NB Shirky includes sport and columnists as 'other'.] His conclusion: around a dozen are critical for the good of the town — and so, if necessary, could be transferred to a non-profit employer.
Revamped US Journalism Courses Attract Students September 27, 2009Posted by Jonathan Hewett in : delicious links , add a comment
From the Chronicle of HE (Katherine Mangan):
“Many universities report that journalism enrollments are up this year. Over the past few weeks, a lot of these budding journalists have been blogging, broadcasting, and tweeting their way through introductory courses that have been revamped to embrace the digital age.
Applications to Columbia University’s master-of-science program in journalism rose 44 percent, to 1,181, for the class entering this fall, and an investigative-journalism specialty drew more than twice as many applications this year than last year, up from 54 in 2008 to 121 this year.
Elsewhere, applications to master’s programs were up 30 percent at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 25 percent at the University of Maryland at College Park, and 24 percent at Stanford University.”
Finding a niche: do papers need to focus better on what they do well? September 27, 2009Posted by Jonathan Hewett in : delicious links , add a comment
Jim Brady, web consultant to Guardian America: “You take most newspapers in the U.S., there are a couple things they’re really, really good at, better at probably than anybody else. And then there are a long list of things they’re just no better at—especially if you look at soft sections […]
I don’t think that producing a paper that’s great at 30 percent of the subjects it covers and OK at the other 70 percent really has much of a future on the Web, because it’s just too hard to compete. We’re in this social media world now where if I’m on Twitter or I’m on Facebook and someone sends me an article, three pieces of information come with that: what friend of mine sent me the article, what the headline says, and who produced the article. And I would argue that who produced the article is by far the least important of the three.”
UK news sites see 54% increase in hits from USA September 20, 2009Posted by Jonathan Hewett in : delicious links , add a comment
Robin Goad of Hitwise sets out the figures, noting that the Drudge Report is the second-largest source, sandwiched by Google Search (top) and Google News (third):
“UK Internet visits to News and Media websites grew by 8% last year, but British news sites aren’t just being successful at home. As the chart below illustrates, US Internet visits to UK News and Media websites have increased by 54% over the last 12 months.
BBC News ranked as the 21st most visited News and Media website in US during August, while the Daily Mail was 47th and the BBC Homepage 65th. Other British sites in the US News and Media top 200 last month included: the Telegraph (71st), the FT (115th), The Sun (117th), Times Online (131st) and the Guardian (134th).
The growth of British news sites is somewhat slower in Australia, but then they are starting from a larger base; BBC News ranked 13th in the Australian News and Media category last month, for example, while the corporation’s homepage was 18th.”
Print is still king: Only 3 percent of newspaper reading happens online » Nieman Journalism Lab April 29, 2009Posted by Jonathan Hewett in : delicious links , add a comment
Martin Langeveld does some estimates to get to this three percent figure and concludes:
"So whether you look at page views or time spent reading, only around 3 percent of newspaper reading happens online. I’ve made a few estimates along the way to reach that conclusion, but only a drastic and unwarranted change in my few guestimates would change that result signficantly.
Is it any wonder then, that online revenue is stuck at less than 10 percent of the print revenue? Given the online share of audience attention, 10 percent looks high, actually."delicious links , add a comment
It is not the mere number of journalists that matters; it’s the choices that editors and publishers make about how to use the journalists available to them. [...] Few newspapers have cut sections or types of coverage, choosing instead to cut throughout the newsroom and not to reassign journalists to the kinds of journalism that matters most to society.
It should also be noted that decisions where to cut employment in newsrooms have not been equally spread among employment categories either. According to ASNE statistics the number of newsroom supervisors has declined only seven tenths of one percent since 2000 [...] the numbers seem unusually lopsided to me. If there are fewer reporters and photographers to be supervised and edited, one would expect that fewer editors and supervisors would be required and warranted.
Maybe it’s about time that journalists stop whining about their troubles and initiate some internal discussions about how their own newsrooms are structured and operated.
Getting colleagues on board… TNJN – ICONN conference yields many ideas, possibilities January 22, 2009Posted by Jonathan Hewett in : delicious links , add a comment
From a gathering of US journalism teachers/academics:
"University of Georgia professor Mark Johnson said, "One of the biggest challenges I've had…is getting my colleagues on board."
The common sentiment among the journalism department is "we really need to do something with online – but not in my class," Johnson said."delicious links , add a comment
Following clues from Obama’s 1995 book, reporters tracked down Aunt Zeituni via Kenya, searches of public records, and persistent fieldwork. This took them to Boston but they still needed someone to identify Zeituni positively:
“It was not until Wednesday evening that The Times obtained a formal identification of Ms Onyango by George Hussein, Mr Obama’s half-brother who had known her throughout his childhood.
Whatever the Democrat campaign may imply, there is nothing suspicious about the story or its timing. The only mystery, perhaps, is how so many people read Mr Obama’s book in the US without wondering what might have happened to the mysterious relative, lost in America.”
Swimming Lessons for Journalists | PBS November 5, 2008Posted by Jonathan Hewett in : delicious links , add a comment
Widen your view of jobs in journalism, urges Amy Gahran:
"In my opinion, journalists need to start leaping en masse from the sinking ship of the newsroom and start working for search engines, nonprofits, think tanks, collaboratives, and other kinds of businesses and organizations. In fact, it might even be a good idea to trade in the label "journalist" for the more inclusive "person with journalism skills" […] That kind of humility offers considerable flexibility and room to grow.
Also, today's journalists can — and probably should — consciously shift away from jobs that revolve around content creation (producing packaged "stories") and toward providing layers of journalistic insight and context on top of content created by others (including public information). Finding ways to help people sort through info overload is far more valuable than providing more information."
How the numbers (don’t) add up for newspapers if they axe print October 26, 2008Posted by Jonathan Hewett in : Journalism, Newspapers, Online, USA , add a comment
Alan Mutter (aka Newsosaur) picks up on a point from the ‘New Business Models for News’ summit at City University of New York, arguing that scrapping print isn’t a solution, given that 90% of US papers’ revenue comes from ads sold in the print product.
Assuming it would cut costs by 60%, scrapping the print paper would mean the following, he suggests, for a $100m-revenue publishing company with a 15% operating profit:
If the company abandoned print but were able to double its online sales to $20 million, it would lose $14 million in a year, for an operating margin of a negative 70%. To break even, the prototypical publication would have to more than triple its sales from the current levels. To make a profit of 15%, the company would have to quadruple it sales.
A particularly tough target, Mutter adds, because around two-thirds of online revenues typically come from add-on sales to advertisers who are buying space in the print edition.
But this kind of online-only operation is not a pipe-dream, maintains Tim Windsor. Responding in comments on Cory Bergman’s post, he says making it work would need a much smaller newsroom with one or two community managers to make the most of user-generated content, plus linked/licensed content. A core staff of 20 multimedia reporters, he suggests. (Those comments via Mark Hamilton.)