PEJ: News generates more heat but less light, more voices but fewer conversations and bigger audiences but and smaller purses

March 17, 2008

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The Project for Excellence in Journalism released its encyclopedic omnibus study of news coverage across media in 2007. The study is a huge amalgam of information about the state of the news media and its future prospects, with 13 chapters covering everything from ethnic to online news. I continue to wade through the volumes of information offered by the PEJ report, but the exec summary helpfully offers these somewhat counter-intuitive trends:

  1. News is shifting from being a product — today’s newspaper, Web site or newscast — to becoming a service — how can you help me, even empower me?
  2. A news organization and a news Web site are no longer final destinations.
  3. The prospects for user-created content, once thought possibly central to the next era of journalism, for now appear more limited, even among “citizen” sites and blogs.
  4. Increasingly, the newsroom is perceived as the more innovative and experimental part of the news industry.
  5. The agenda of the American news media continues to narrow, not broaden.
  6. Madison Avenue, rather than pushing change, appears to be having trouble keeping up with it.

Based on these trends the builders of online news sites, be they ethnic centered blogs or major corporate affairs, can no longer build their model on the hope of simply informing users. Information is a commodity and the evolution of news must be away from generic information and towards a service which leverages information in some meaningful way. Creating a service, something that users care about , is not easy to do and is based on a skill set not native to newsrooms.


Research Tuesday: Research from around the web

June 28, 2007

Ok, so research Tuesday became research Wednesday Thursday.

Males Love Video Long Time
It’s been a reading week for me. Lots of great stuff to mull over and help shape ones thinking about digital media. Lets start with a report by consultancy Frank N. Magid & Associates with the irresistibly tantalizing header “80% of 18 – 24 Males Watch Online Video“. Only 53% of their female counter-parts are watching an equal amount of video. The report goes on to claim that news clips are the most watched content type. Teenage cat fights, skating injuries and soft-core porn dont even chart according to the report thus greatly reducing its credibility. Via Digital Media Wire

Ladies Love Drunk Texting
Ever gotten a drunk text at 3am from a former girlfriend, proclaiming her undying love and mounting desire for you? Maybe this just happens to me… Well, thanks to a new survey put out by Samsung we now have some fun research on these women. Yup folks, the technocrats at Samsung have put out a pretty funny research report outlining some of the cell usage behaviors of single women. The title is a good indication of the rest of the report: “Single Mobile Females Find New BFF: Their Cell Phone“. It’s a funny fast read lite on details with blog worthy data pulls like 40% of women experience “text shame” the morning after texting while inebriated.

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Andrew Keen’s Against You: Why Old Folks Hate Web 2.0

June 9, 2007


Yesterday, ChangeThis posted an essay entitled Against You: A manifesto in favor of audience, by Andrew Keen. Keen is famous for two things, the 18 month flame-out of Audiocafe.com and the merciless taunting of Web 2.0 boosters. The essay is a jaded, bitter and over-simplified rehashing of Jaron Lanier’s more academic essay, Digital Moaism. Channeling his inner Roger Ailes, Andrew Keen borrows the more reasoned and reasonable arguments from Digital Moaism and stretches them to the Fox extreme (its worth reading for that alone). Read the rest of this entry »


Whats happened? Lots…

June 5, 2007

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The New York Times finds new ways to say the record labels are dead: With the hyperbolic headline “Plunge in CD Sales Shakes Up Big Labels” the NYT outlines the approved list symptoms contributing the labels demise but steadfastly avoids stating any causes.

The software police at the BSA put out a report claiming that “illegal downloading” by 8 – 18 year olds was down 24% over the past 3 years. File this report under official sounding pseudo-science and take it out whenever you need to fertilize your garden. Of the many explanations for the results reported in the survey, my favorite is that with all the lawsuits and media coverage 8-18 year olds have learned how to best respond to online surveys.

The good folks at Big in Japan have stepped in to help everyone who has fallen for Twitter, Jott, Jaiku and WordPress. They created a mashup called Egorcast that allows you to post to all four of these services at once.  Much like Onlywire does for social bookmarking sites, Egorcast is one site to control all your random musings.


ALLofMP3.com: Voice Your Opinion of RIAA

April 13, 2007

allofmp31.jpgOur Russian friends over at ALLofMP3.com are showing the kind of staying power that would make Lexington Steel proud. Despite being perpetually attacked by the bulldogs of the copyright industries ALLofMP3.com continues to evolve their offering and enhance their site. While checking out their latest upgrades I came across a rather incongruous image on the home page.

It was a link in the news section directing people to take a survey being conducted by the good folks at P2Pnet.net a site dedicated to news with a distint anti-RIAA flavor. The survey is being billed as the first online survey of perceptions of the RIAA and its title, The Sultans of Spin, shouldn’t in anyway skew the results.

ALLofMp3.com decision to feature the survey on their homepage is what struck me as strange. Last year the US trade rep was on the war path and tried to get Russian strongman Vladimir “toxic tea” Putin to shut the site down. ALLofMP3.com responded by starting a half-hearted attempt to get their side of the story out but ended-up just ignoring the public altogether. ALLofMP3 seemed more comfortable trying to avoid confrontations with the IFPI, RIAA and BPI by putting out luke warm statements asserting the legality of their service under Russian law. This is what made the prominent placement of what is clearly anti-RIAA propaganda so shocking. When the upgraded their site did they increase the amount of backboneas well?


A Tale from a New Generation

April 12, 2007

stock-kids-phone1.jpgI was playing with my 5 year-old niece the other day as she prepared for a busy day of frolicking and fun. As adults often do to kids I decided to give her one of those slightly condescending quizzes testing her basic knowledge of things like where she lived etc…

“Whats your mothers name?” I asked. She gave me a bored look and answered with her mothers full name, her fathers full name and threw in her full name for good measure. “Whats your phone number?” I continue, oblivious to her growing annoyance at being treated like a 4 year old. This one got her, she thinks for a bit and then mumbles “four… five… nine…” the right numbers were coming out but in the wrong order and she was getting frustrated. So rather then push it I changed the question and ask “Whats your address?” Her eyes beam, she knows this one and is gonna redeem herself, she blurts out with a knowing pride “shymonster@hidden.com” .

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The Music Will Continue but the Labels Might Not

April 9, 2007

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Photo by Lacey

A great article from the Evening Standard out of the UK about a signer song-writer who had a top selling digital track on iTunes for a couple of days without a major label or offline marketing. Her name is Kate Walsh and she record her whole album in a friends bedroom, forever squashing the theory studio quality is necessary for digital success. Two things strike me from the article first is that while the record labels will almost certainly die, the music will not, despite the labels near constant claims to the contrary. The second is that while its happening to labels today it will certainly be happening to the studios and networks tomorrow.


Blogosphere by Numbers

April 9, 2007

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Technorati has belatedly released their State of the Blogosphere report, which runs through some of the stats from their index of the Blogosphere. Its kinda like Yahoo or AOL putting out a report on the state of the Web, it may be great directional information but with more possible meanings then an interpretive dance. Some of the highlights of the report:

  1. Japaneses is the dominant language of the Blogosphere, Farsi is growing
  2. 70 million blogs in the Technorati index up from 52 million last time
  3. 1.4 million posts per day spread across these blogs
  4. 120,000 new blogs created everyday up from 100,000 in last report
  5. ~5% of these new blogs are spam-blogs (splogs)

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Albums are dead, the price of music going to zero and other good news

March 28, 2007

So this week is turning out to be another pretty bad PR week for the old music biz but healthy signs for the evolution of the industry overall. From the NYT and USAT to lawmakers and academics everyone appears ready to call the traditional music business dead! Sure, folks on the net have been talking about the death of the traditional music industry for years but this week the New York Times finally decided to join the party.

NYT reporter Jeff Leeds wrote an article entitled, “The Album, a Commodity in Disfavor” this past Monday that basically highlights the death of the CD format. USA Today blogger Angela Gunn posted a pointer to a story about the RIAA’s attempt to drag a 10 year old girl into court. Meanwhile the Consumerist is running a story about the University of Nebraska’s efforts to bill the RIAA for every copyright complaint sent to the school. Basically the university says it cost them $11 bucks to process each letter and that since they arent agents of the RIAA they need to get paid for doing it. Unfortunately they didnt back up the bill with say a threat not to snitch on their students or spend tax-payers money doing the RIAA’s work for it. Another bit of news coming out of the UK in the form of a research paper written by Will Page of MCPS-PRS, the UK’s version of ASCAP. The paper entitled “Is the price of recorded music heading towards zero?” basically reinforces the notion that music is becoming little more the a commodity. The value in the music business in the future will be in the services that surround the music and the music itself not the format in which its delivered.


Twitter Getting Bigger then Reddit

March 16, 2007

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While I was preparing another post I ran this chart in Alexa and was surprised to discover that Twitter is already par with Reddit in traffic and is clearly on track to overtake them. I compared it to Virb, Reddit, Vox and Multiply. Only Multiply had more traffic according to Alexa’s ranking. I never would have thought that a site where random folks post statements about what they are doing at any given moment would be more popular then a news site where you get actual information about whats going on in the world.

There is something in the addictive, low commitment, ad-free site that is catching on with folks. The question I usually get about Twitter is “whats the point?” And I generally give some glib answer about self-expression and users connecting with each other. The truth is I have no idea why Twitter has caught on. All I can tell you for sure is that its going to be bigger then Reddit by the end of the month and may surpass Multiply by the Summer.

There was a lot of talk about the folks at Obvious being crazy to give up Odeo for Twitter but as they said at the time it was the more interesting project. If your not Twittering yet check out the site and give it a try and see if you get addicted like so many others.