Media Oxpecker: Why the New York Times Still Can’t Have It All

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy inspiring a Hollywood blockbuster.

  • Overall revenue at the New York Times declined by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2013. The more revealing stat, according to Ken Doctor, is the 13 percent decline in print ad revenue at the Times, which could be “devastating” if that trend continues.

    Circulation revenue is making up some of the Times’ advertising losses, but Doctor has doubts on how long that growth will continue: “In a nutshell, its reader revenue strategy, built atop the smart paywall system it erected two years ago, is working well, but is in danger of plateauing.”

  • “If Jill Abramson were a man…” Ann Friedman on the perception of women in leadership positions.

  • BuzzFeed has hired Lisa Tozzi from the New York Times to lead a ten-person breaking news operation:

    Now that it’s doubling down on breaking news, Buzzfeed will have the challenge and the opportunity that every startup does: It isn’t weighed down by institutional history. It can — and in some sense it has to — invent new approaches to breaking news. And one way it will do that is to take a slightly meta view of what a “breaking news story” is in the first place. The 5 W’s — a Buzzfeed-y list if ever there was one — may work for wire services, but they’re not enough for an organization that puts itself so implicitly in dialogue with the social web.

  • Jeff Jarvis on the role of news organizations during a major — and chaotic — breaking news event such as the Boston Marathon bombing:

    Journalism should add value to a flow of information that can now occur without media’s mediation — verifying facts, vetting witnesses, debunking rumors, adding context, adding explanation, and most of all asking and answering the questions that aren’t in the flow, that aren’t being asked, i.e., reporting … The key skill of journalism today is saying what we *don’t* know, issuing caveats and also inviting the public to tell us what they know. Note I didn’t say I want the public to tell us what they *think* or *guess.* I said *know*.

    And here’s Erik Wemple on how CNN and the AP responded to last week’s reporting errors in Boston.

  • The Sunlight Foundation has released a new tool, Churnalism, to detect whether a story is a genuine news item or just a repackaged press release:

    It will scan any text (a news article, e.g.) and compare it with a corpus of press releases and Wikipedia entries. If it finds similar language, you’ll get a notification of a detected “churn” and you’ll be able to take a look at the two sources side by side.

  • The Washington Post’s new “reader representative” will focus on readers, not newsroom accountability. “In other words, he is not an ombudsman,” writes Craig Silverman.

  • Following a judge’s order, Gawker has removed a sex tape of Hulk Hogan from its website but will not comply with the order to remove the accompanying 1,400-word narrative:

    We publish all manner of stories here. Some are serious, some are frivolous, some are dumb. I am not going to make a case that the future of the Republic rises or falls on the ability of the general public to watch a video of Hulk Hogan fucking his friend’s ex-wife. But the Constitution does unambiguously accord us the right to publish true things about public figures. And [Judge] Campbell’s order requiring us to take down not only a very brief, highly edited video excerpt from a 30-minute Hulk Hogan fucking session but also a lengthy written account from someone who had watched the entirety of that fucking session, is risible and contemptuous of centuries of First Amendment jurisprudence.

  • On Yelp, whose opinions are deemed worthy?

  • Are publishers missing out on a huge opportunity in local search for events?

    Two quick points on what a new local events service might consist of. First, it’s entirely possible that something natively mobile would appeal more to today’s user than a desktop-based site. Second, forget curation. An open, inviting platform people feel like participating in, where all the content is crowdsourced and where useful tools help you build an event, not just promote it, is the type of service that will really take off.

  • Former Boston Phoenix media columnist Dan Kennedy re-imagines journalism in his new book, The Wired City.

  • And finally, a new list by CareerCast ranks newspaper reporter dead last out of 200 occupations — “below lumberjack, janitor, garbage collector and bus driver” — based on factors such as stress, pay, and economic environment. Advertising salesman, meanwhile, came in at 135 on the list.

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