Media Oxpecker: The Service Industry

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy wrangling with the governor.

  • Ken Doctor asks whether the growing marketing/digital services industry can become a third pillar of support — along with advertising and circulation — for newspapers:

    Groundwork for success is being well laid, based on a lot of painfully bought experience from the last decade. I have no doubt that the needs of local businesses, stores and services alike, will grow. There are few businesses that will be able to prosper without some kind of digital strategy. If newspaper companies can really change their stripes — getting away from selling print and digital space — and really put merchants’ results at the forefront of this new business, they’ve got a real shot at success. That’s why most are hiring new, separate sales staffs; execution and changing at least part of company culture will decide marketing services’ fate.

  • Clay Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor who authored The Innovator’s Dilemma, says the media industry is making a classic mistake in their attempt to adapt to technology’s disruptive force:

    Incumbent players in a particular industry routinely fail to make the necessary changes to the way they do things, even when they can see the disruption occurring all around them. In almost every case, they see the disruptors as not worthy of their attention because they are operating at the low end of the market, and either don’t see that as important or are too committed to their existing business models … The key to managing that disruption, Christensen says, is to find those other value-added businesses or markets or functions — “jobs to be done,” as he calls them — that news or journalism consumers are looking for.

  • Another week, another Patch editor voicing frustration with the directives coming from the head office in New York:

    They are getting farther away from the hyperlocal vision and really pushing generic SEO content to try and get unique visitors. But I can’t see why people are going to click on their local Patch to get info about the Oscars or parenting advice. You can get that anywhere.

  • “We were reporting that the whole world had gotten something very wrong,” said Deadspin editor-in-chief Tommy Craggs on breaking the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax story in January. “If you don’t feel the least bit nervous after hitting the publish button on a story like that, you’re a better man than I.” Craggs disputed the notion that his nervousness before publishing the story was a sign that the reporting was less than solid:

    You ask if we have a policy. There is no policy for this, or for anything, really. The whole point of the company is that we trust our reporters to be smart and judicious without having to adopt the ethical pretense that what they’re doing is anything but a sort of professionalized rudeness. I’ll get killed for this, but: Journalism ethics is nothing more than a measure of the scurrilousness your brand will bear. That’s it. Ethics has nothing to do with the truth of things, only with the proper etiquette for obtaining it, so as to piss off the fewest number of people possible. That works fine for a lot of news outlets; we don’t have to worry about niceties.

  • Marin Cogan on the sexual harassment endured by female journalists in Washington:

    As a political reporter for GQ, I’ve been jokingly asked whether I ever posed for the magazine and loudly called a porn star by a senior think-tank fellow at his institute’s annual gala. In my prior job as a Hill reporter, one of my best source relationships with a member of Congress ended after I remarked that I looked like a witch who might hop on a broom in my new press-badge photo and he replied that I looked like I was “going to hop on something.”

  • Andrew Sullivan, nagging salesman:

    Of course, nagging is an integral part to pay-meters’ success. They wear you down. If your experience online is anything like mine, I tend to ignore the pay-us boxes until they finally get too annoying. At some point, if what I’m reading is worth it, I say to myself: “Screw it. Just get this over with.”

  • What would publishers do if they could start from scratch? Digiday asks executives from Gannett, Gawker, MIT Technology Review, Salon, and the Washington Times what they’d do differently.

  • Could publishers take over the role traditionally played by ad agencies? Faster Times Media CCO Joe Lazauskas says, sure, why not?

    With the right staffing and approach, It’s hard to see where agencies outflank publishers. Publishers know how to engage people online and already have an audience ready and waiting. They’re also able to experiment in ways that agencies can’t; just look at Gawker’s vision for a branded discussion platform. There’s a power shift brewing; don’t be surprised when publishers start to take over the marketing world.

  • Google is rolling out coupons and discount offers to AdWords search ads.

  • Poynter’s Al Tompkins explores NASCAR’s claim that it owns the rights to all footage of its events, including fan videos.

  • A profitable hyperlocal network? Meet, which “appears to have found the right balance between costs and ad revenue.”

  • Will hyperlocal forums replace or complement local news?

  • A statistical analysis of why brick-and-mortar local businesses will continue to beat out e-commerce over the next decade.

  • And finally, the easiest way to get around the New York Times’ paywall? Hang out at Starbucks.

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