Media Oxpecker: The New Normals

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy turning 300.

  • Mobile will shake up journalism as much as the internet did, says Breaking News general manager Cory Bergman:

    As audiences shift, the industry will be faced with more revenue pressure unless news organizations can create new mobile revenue streams to compensate. In many ways, this is similar to the shift from print to the Web. Just porting one business model to the other isn’t the solution. Traditional display advertising on mobile devices makes up a very small, declining fraction of total revenue.

  • A report by the Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism shines a spotlight on four newspapers that are finding innovative ways to generate revenue:

    All these organizations embarked on business-side experiments in the past two or three years after suffering major economic losses in the second half of the last decade. These success stories share some common characteristics such as risk-taking leadership, a commitment to remaking the internal culture and a push to improve the editorial product. Yet, they all introduced different innovations, tailored to the particulars of that market. What worked in a wired California wine community might be a poor choice in a Florida resort destination. Customizing the business model for the community, these newspaper executives say, is a key component of success.

    GigaOM’s Mathew Ingram cites four major lessons from the report: Separate the traditional and digital sides of your business; Know your market; Try almost everything; and go big or go home.

  • Is there any monetary value to what we tweet while watching TV? Twitter’s $100 million acquisition of Bluefin Labs suggests so:

    The deal suggests a new line of business for Twitter, which is under pressure to increase its revenue. Bluefin calls itself a social TV analytics company, one of many that have cropped up as Facebook and Twitter have created an instantaneous stream of commentary that helps inform television producers and distributors. Companies like CBS, which televised the Super Bowl on Sunday, pay Bluefin for information about what is being said about them online.

  • Do affiliate links qualify as a form of advertising? Specifically, is the popular blogger Maria Popova misleading her readers by soliciting donations for her self-described “ad-free” site while simultaneously getting a cut from every Amazon purchase that is generated through her site?

    She explains on every page that “Donating = Loving”, and that “bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month”. The tip jar is more explicit, saying that “Brain Pickings remains ad-free and takes 450+ hours a month to curate and edit”, and Popova has said in the past (although not recently) that Brain Pickings is “not for profit”. The messaging here is clear: I work hard, I put all my time into this, and I have no other source of income, so please give generously to support what I do.

    Popova, for her part, says she has been “completely honest about the Amazon links with anyone who’s ever asked.” Which excludes, of course, the majority of her readers who never think to ask because they take the “ad-free” claim at face value.

  • What happens when a veteran editor at a daily newspaper gets scooped by a national sports blog? If you’re Dave Murray of the Toledo Blade, you say things like this: “The difference between the coverage of this story by The Blade and Deadspin is that [Ryan] Autullo is a professional journalist who has named sources and you can believe what he reports.”

    Politico’s Dylan Byers writes:

    I think I get Murray’s frustration. As editor of a venerable, 175-year-old newspaper, it can be hard to lose a local story to a bunch of profanity-loving kids from a New York-based website. But the inability to accept that Deadspin is a legitimate news outlet — and a strong one at that — is so archaic and tin-eared I’m surprised Murray could even figure out how to post it online.

    A Romenesko reader suggests another reason sports journalists can be so eager to attack Deadspin: “With stories on imaginary girlfriends and sexual harassment, Deadspin broke one of those unwritten rules, and reported on what happens outside the lines. That’s going to piss off a lot of sports reporters and editors.”

  • The DIY economics of hyperlocal blogging.

  • How publishers can get real about mobile.

  • How local media can dominate online promotions.

  • Tech trends affecting journalism in 2013.

  • Are comments a wretched hive of scum or an underused resource for publishers?

  • Counter-argument to a link from last week: Mom-and-pops that don’t invest in social will miss out.

  • Michael Wolff says Tina Brown is old media’s last great illusionist, who “has risen through the failures while so many of the people with her have fallen”:
    For many people, this seems to be the current and cruel reality of the business: a few inexplicably succeeding, rewarded with new opportunities, the rest in free-fall.

  • And finally, “Don’t make it about you.” Why associating a website with the founder is an act of value decimation.