Media Oxpecker: Beyond Gloom and Doom

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy replacing the daily’s Weekend section.

  • Ann Friedman makes the case — with GIFs — for why this is the best time to be working in journalism, and explains how to make the most of it:

    Creative risk-taking is now a core journalistic job skill, and it needs to be prioritized. Learning how to adapt and evolve is just as important as preserving hallowed crafts like editing and writing. And if journalism is going to survive, the tension between preservation and evolution has to become a source of fun and inspiration, not gloom and doom.

  • “It’s just a flawed process from the start if a newspaper thinks that digital revenue will completely replace the lost print revenue totals,” says an anonymous former newspaper ad executive:

    Because newspapers are hemorrhaging, there is a terrible urgency that is building to find the next biggest thing — a sort of “Hail Mary” solution. What they’re failing to realize is that the best publishers out there aren’t relying on just one thing to survive or thrive. Instead, it’s a game of yards and first downs (data, collaboration, new products and digital investment) vs. the deep pass. Third-party relationships aren’t really being leveraged properly. From creating content to understanding your own data, these companies enable you to have contemporary conversations.

  • Alan Mutter says print circulation is shrinking at an “alarming” rate:

    Print matters because it still produces approximately three-quarters of the revenues at the typical newspaper … Although most publishers say they are moving aggressively to diversify their revenues away from print by creating digital products and services, the typical newspaper depends on print advertising and circulation fees to not only fund the innovations they hope will secure the future of their franchises but also to stay afloat in the meantime.

  • Who’s making money publishing on the web? Fortune has the (admittedly short) list.

  • Politico announced plans to test a metered paywall in six states — Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont, Mississippi, New Mexico and Wyoming — and internationally:

    The decision to test a broader subscription model represents a shift in our thinking. As recently as a few months ago, we thought it was premature for POLITICO to start asking readers to pay for content, outside of Pro. But, it is increasingly clear that readers are more willing than we once thought to pay for content they value and enjoy. With more than 300 media companies now charging for online content in the U.S., the notion of paying to read expensive-to-produce journalism is no longer that exotic for sophisticated consumers. This is a very promising, if uncertain, trend in our country.

  • What happens when publishers invest in long stories? Fast Company’s Chris Dannen describes an experiment with a new long article format that he calls a “slow live blog” and concludes that “quality, not velocity, is the future of online news.”

  • Mobile ad network xAd sees a shift to tighter, “geo-precise” mobile targeting.

  • What’s the role of agencies when more and more brands are making their own content?

  • CJR’s Ryan Chittum is not a fan of a new section on Business Insider that is filled entirely with sponsored content: “There’s a lot of dumb shit on Business Insider, but we don’t normally get suspicious about why it’s dumb, since its business model is essentially churning out mass quantities of clickbait. But this [content] looks less like hamster wheel sensationalism than it does corporate propaganda.”

  • Why marketers should pay more attention to native ads.

  • The inside story on how the Syrian Electronic Army gained access to The Onion’s social media accounts.

  • And finally, The Onion’s advice for how to prevent your major media site from being hacked: “Reduce interest in your website by cutting down on stories about very popular subjects, such as Syria.”