Media Oxpecker: August 30, 2013

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy getting your Snow Fall on.

  • Nick Bilton looks at the contrasting business models of Henry Blodget’s Business Insider (advertiser-supported, lots and lots of free content of dubious quality) and Paul Carr’s NSFWCorp (subscription-based, mostly longform content). Says Carr, “They will both feed each other; there’ll be a nice symbiosis.”

  • Stijn Debrouwere on how the fascination for data and web analytics by newsrooms, who often lack a basic understanding of what they’re looking at, resembles the cargo cults of Melanesia.

  • Alexis Madrigal asks whether Medium — which was created by the founders of Twitter — is a blogging platform, a publication, or something else?

    For us media producers, we have to decide whether Medium is a friend or a foe. They don’t appear to have the financial constraints we have (like making money through advertising or subscriptions), which gives them a design leg up, and they also don’t have the ethical constraints we have in what runs on their site. If we publish something plagiarized, it reflects poorly on us. If Medium publishes something plagiarized, it reflects poorly on the writer … Individual writers, too, should probably know what it means that their writing is going up on Medium.

  • From last week, Felix Salmon on the economics of producing content:

    If you look at the media world as a snapshot, instead of a single site over time, it turns out that editorial costs rise steadily as sites get bigger and more professional. They rise in absolute terms, of course. But they also rise in per-editorial-employee terms, and they tend to rise even in terms of editorial costs per pageview. The lowest costs come where everything is written and published by individual bloggers — think any number of unpaid blogs, or, perhaps, think of the blog network that is Glam Media. The highest costs, meanwhile, come at the large outfits which employ hundreds or even, in some cases, more than a thousand journalists.

  • David Carr tries to figure out why journalists have been turning on other journalists in the aftermath of major government leaks:

    The larger sense I get from the criticism directed at Mr. Assange and Mr. Greenwald is one of distaste — that they aren’t what we think of as real journalists. Instead, they represent an emerging Fifth Estate composed of leakers, activists and bloggers who threaten those of us in traditional media. They are, as one says, not like us … It is true that Mr. Assange and Mr. Greenwald are activists with the kind of clearly defined political agendas that would be frowned upon in a traditional newsroom. But they are acting in a more transparent age.

  • Mobile coupons & the waning impact of printed circulars.

  • “Hyperlocal isn’t the issue, scale is,” says Dan Conover.

  • Former San Antonio Current editor Greg Harman writes in the Austin Chronicle about how he resigned to participate in an experimental magnetic depression therapy.

  • And finally, “What is modern-day journalism? Getting you to click on this link.“:

    I want our readers to know this: All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage. I don’t hesitate to call it stupid bullshit because we all know it’s stupid bullshit. We know it and you know it. We also know that you are probably dumb enough, or bored enough, or both, to click on the stupid bullshit anyway, and that you will continue to do so as long as we keep putting it in front of your big, idiot faces.