Media Oxpecker: The End of the River

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy impressing James Fallows.

  • Why did Reuters pull the plug on Reuters Next, its ballyhooed digital initiative to deliver a “river of news” directly to consumers?

    “The back story behind its decision to scrap two years of development work on a new version of its consumer-facing website is a classic one of corporate dysfunction, neglect and diffusion of responsibility,” writes Jeff Bercovici. “It didn’t help that the project had consumed ‘millions and millions of dollars,’ according to one source … It also didn’t help that Next was far behind schedule and over budget.”

    Corporate dysfunction aside, Justin Ellis of the Nieman Journalism Lab says the demise of Reuters Next is emblematic of the identity crisis facing wire services as they expand from their traditional role as a B2B supplier into a news organization with a direct consumer audience:

    The thinking is obvious: We have all these reporters and editors (over 2,000 in Reuters’ case), all around the world, and we’re producing all these stories and videos and photos — can’t we figure out a way to get them in front of readers and viewers without a middleman?

    By abandoning Reuters Next, the company isn’t necessarily shifting away from the consumer market, but at the very least it’s admitting the failure of a very expensive project and as many as 20 web and design staffers are expected to lose their jobs as a result.

  • David Carr tracks down the guy who helped create the first web banner ad in 1994, and finds a man who is troubled by the implications of native advertising:

    He says he thinks native advertising can provide value to both reader and advertiser when properly executed, but he worries that much of the current crop of these ads is doing damage to the contract between consumer and media organizations … “It is a very slippery slope and could kill journalism if publishers aren’t careful,” he said.

  • How Upworthy learned to stop worrying and love the pageview:

    For us, the pageview rat race is actually us doing good in the world. We just made a rule in the beginning saying we’re not just going to publish anything we don’t think will make the world a better place if a million people see it. It’s allowed us to get excited about the pageview rat race because we only publish content we’re proud of to begin with, and we’re totally aligned in thinking the more people who click on it, the better.

  • Four takeaways from the loss of the Boston Phoenix.

  • Leave no stone unturned: “In today’s news media marketing world, success comes not from a single solution, but every solution.”

  • “Journalism has to stop mimicking what’s happening on the Internet.” Highlights from yesterday’s Media Ethics Workshop at Kent State University.

  • Why the media has been wrong about YouTube networks.

  • How Telegraph Media Group uses responsive design to drive digital revenue.

  • And finally, “I wish I had done fewer phoners and gotten sunburned on more boats.” A letter to a journalism student from Pulitzer Prize-winning St. Petersburg Times features writer Lane DeGregory.