The Media Oxpecker: People Smarter Than Us

Every week we round up industry news you may have missed while you were busy winning.

  • How did the Los Angeles Times – whose parent company “amassed $2.4 billion in cash since going into bankruptcy in late 2008” – receive a Ford Foundation grant for $1 million while the non-profit publication L.A. Youth – “a free newspaper read by an estimated 350,000 teens a year” – get rejected by the foundation for a grant of $72,500? Alan Mutter on the plight of non-profit news startups.

    David Carr weighs in:

    Shouldn’t financing meant for journalistic innovation go to the green shoots like Homicide Watch and not be used to fertilize giant dead-tree media? I am all for putting more reporting boots on the ground, but the existential dilemma confronting media will require new answers, not stopgap funds for legacy approaches.

  • This week in unfavorable ratios: Newspapers are gaining $1 in digital advertising for every $25 in print revenue lost.

    Newspaper organizations are having some success with non-advertising initiatives like offering Web design and social media services to businesses in their area. And the biggest companies, like Gannett and McClatchy, have profitable stakes in leading electronic classified platforms like CareerBuilder.

  • New York Times assistant managing editor Jim Roberts on linking to competitors on Twitter:

    I think it’s important. I don’t love the feeds that are really driven solely by people’s specific publication. If you’re really trafficking in news, which is what I tend to do, it would be foolish for me to think that one news organization, say, my own, truly has a lock on all the valuable information that there is. The other point is that, as part of my job at the Times, sort of worrying about or overseeing the digital operations, it’s important for me to know personally what other websites and publications are doing throughout the day. So I spend a lot of time looking at our competitors … I look at a lot of them, and I admire a lot of their work, and when I see something I admire and think others would be interested in it, I send it around.

    Ann Friedman concurs: “Be a human with a point of view, not a robotic headline feed.”

  • “I think generally our job is to find people smarter than we are and ask them what they think,” says David Carr, a person much smarter than us. “I mean, I think I’m a good writer and a good thinker but my stuff always gets better with phone calls.”

  • “The minute I get away from the idea that mainly what I’m supposed to be doing is delivering pleasure to a reader, is the minute I get in trouble. The minute I start thinking my opinion is important, that’s when I get in trouble.” – Michael Lewis via Felix Salmon.

  • Publishers are optimistic about the future of newspapers, says survey.

  • A separate survey found that media CEOs are optimistic about the the ability for technology to drive growth.

  • Nearly 70 percent of affluent adults (defined as making more than $75K a year) in the U.S. own a smartphone, according to a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life project.

  • And what are ad execs optimistic about? The iPhone 5.

  • Are mobile advertisers wasting money on accidental clicks by clumsy users?

  • A recent poll found that daily deals consumers are only good for a one night stand.

  • A news startup in Tulsa is betting that its community will pay for quality journalism.

  • Young people think news is garbage and lies.

  • The battle between Facebook and the New Yorker over a cartoon nipple.

  • And finally, does anyone actually know what tech jargon means? An experiment that truly disrupts the disruptors.