The Media Oxpecker: Google Is Not Impressed By Your Clever Headlines

Every week we round up media & tech industry news you may have missed.

  • Condé Nast is making The New Yorker available via iPad subscriptions, prompting David Carr to ask, “Is the iPad just a new way to give away magazines?WWD says that the “Jesus Tablet” isn’t acting very magical.

    Meanwhile, Time Inc. is opting not to go the subscription route.

  • The New York Timesweb traffic declined 24 percent in April, while Gawker Media’s traffic is finally starting to rebound after its February redesign caused a drop in pageviews.

    Both companies are being beat by the websites of cable news networks, such as and

    “This is a trend that’s been developing for the last three to four years now,” said digital news analyst Ken Doctor of Outsell Inc. “This underscores the fact that when you run a news company, you’ve got to run a multi-media company.”

  • What will become of witty headlines in the age of SEO? The Atlantic has a dispatch from the American Copy Editors Society’s annual conference, and explains the existential crisis facing Las Vegas Review-Journal copy editor Steve Crowley:

    As newspapers embrace search engine optimization, and as young journalists are taught to value Google visibility above all else, many copy editors fear that funny headlines are quickly going the way of the classified ad.

    Despite the fact that Crowley has won ACES’ top award for headline writing, he regularly finds that his funny headlines for the Review-Journal have been re-written by the online desk to be more search-engine-friendly. For example, when Harrah’s casino announced plans to build a new entertainment center with an observation wheel, Crowley came up with the headline “Brave new whirl.” The online desk changed it to “Harrah’s plans retail, entertainment center.”

    It’s a cruel, cruel world we’re living in.

  • Here’s what hiring editors are looking for in reporters today.
  • The Charlotte Observer is laying off 26 workers because of slumping revenues and the weak economy.
  • Staci D. Kramer at paidContent says it’s time to look for readers, not clicks.

  • Bloomberg correspondent Lizzie O’Leary on how Twitter has enriched her reporting:

    The oil spill was actually the first time I came to understand the power of Twitter and started using it personally to get reporting tips. You’d see something pop up about oil coming ashore on Grand Terre or Grand Isle and you could get over there. Otherwise you’d be calling the sheriff’s department, who might not have wanted to tell you where the oil was. When I started covering the oil spill I didn’t know anything about petroleum engineering, and a hydraulic engineer started following me and an oil engineer from Texas started sending me information. They turned into real sources and helped me read through the data that I got my hands on.

    But does that make Twitter worth $7 billion?

  • Americans spent 53 million minutes on Facebook in March.
  • And finally, last week the American Society of News Editors issued its “10 Best Practices for Social Media” guide. Joy Mayer at the Reynolds Journalism Institute says it contains “good advice interspersed with real missteps.”