Media industry trends

Insightful articles about the media, old and new

| Feb 16, 2010

Michael Kinsley critiques reporting at certain sacred-cow media

There is no way I can resist pointing you to this fabulous piece by Michael Kinsley in The Atlantic, disemboweling the boring, dull, pseudo-balanced reporting in The New York Times and Washington Post. He points out how, by adhering to some dubious conventions, these papers sell us short and waste our time. Sorry if he, and we, are tweaking sacred cows. Sometimes emperors have no clothes. Read story. — B.W.

Funding new media: personal ties to bankrollers crucial

Robert Niles, writing in OJR: The Online Journalism Review on Jan. 12, 2009, had an article neatly summed up in its title: “There is no new revenue model for journalism.” It all boils down to direct purchases (such as subscriptions), advertising and donations. And a lot of the revenue comes only from cultivating personal relationships. Read article. (Jan. 20, 2009)

MediaNews reports on its own Chapter 11 plans

We feature elsewhere Steve Outing’s analysis of the implications for journalism of the faltering finances of MediaNews Group, parent of the Daily Camera and Denver Post. The Post‘s own businesslike account can be read here. The terms “prepackaged Chapter 11” and “debt reduction plan” were, no doubt, carefully chosen. (Jan. 17, 2010)

New Online Journalism Ventures Will Flourish…

…or so writes Roy Greenslade in the Irish Times of Jan. 4. And new funding models will emerge over time, he writes. Excerpt:

Online journalism will secure funding because, despite the current cynicism about the big media corporations that tend to dominate in every market across the world, collaborative journalism will give it a new credibility. Indeed, smaller outlets will have a greater chance of gaining public trust.

Read whole story. (Jan 5, 2010)

Freelance Writers See their Income Plummet

Freelance writing fees have been spiraling downward, writes James Rainey in the Los Angeles Times of Jan. 6. Some new models may emerge but, meanwhile, it’s a tough time to be a writer. Excerpt:

Today’s reality is that much of freelancing has become all too free. Seasoned professionals have seen their income drop by 50% or more as publishers fill the Web’s seemingly limitless news hole, drawing on the ever-expanding rank of under-employed writers.

See rest of story. (Jan. 7, 2010)

A Publisher’s “Community” May Not Be Geographical

To build an audience for an online publication or blog, the editor or writer inevitably ends up being a community oranizer, writes Robert Niles in the Online Journalism Review on Jan. 6, 2010.

In organizing your community, don’t fall into the trap that equates physical proximity with community. Just because people live near one another, that fact doesn’t bond those people into a community. Communities form around common needs and purposes, as will yours. So start by identifying what you can offer a community and which community might need what you can offer. This might lead you away from covering a geographic area and toward covering some topical niche. So be it. Go where your knowledge, talent and passion directs you.

See rest of article. (Jan. 7, 2010)