What I’ve been reading: Micro payments, chat apps and clickbait

Can the web save the press from oblivion? 

” The idea of micro-payments for journalism has been mooted for as long as digital media has existed, and largely rejected as unworkable or unacceptable to the new generation of readers. In response to the emerging mobile landscape, however, a few innovators are exploring whether the concept can be revived. As a journalist, it can be tempting to see them as the cavalry.”

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What I’ve been reading: Ad-blocking, the growth of off-platform models and branded podcasts

As Print Fades, Part 1: ‘Live Journalism’ at The Times (New York Times)

“What occurs on a New York Times stage is as much a part of our report as interviews conducted over the telephone or photographs made at a news scene. When something newsworthy occurs on an NYT stage, we’ll share it with our readers.”

business models new york times journalism

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What I’ve been reading: The NY Times’ new CMS and local successes (and struggles)

Why, as an online journo, I take no joy in newspapers’ decline

“If the print business-model is broken in South Africa, the business model for online has yet to take off. It is very difficult to make sustainable money from online news sites, especially niche ones. “

journalism local media print newspapers revenue models

*Subsequent to the publication of the above story on http://www.grubstreet.co.za, Media24 issued a statement saying “all current operations will remain intact”.

The mobile majority: Engaging people on smartphones is the next big challenge to the news

“It would be an exaggeration to say that the rise of the smartphone is a shift on par with the rise of the web. But it wouldn’t be that much of one. Seven years after the iPhone, smartphones have moved from a tool of the tech elite to a handheld computer in everyone’s pocket. They’re radically changing how people are getting their news. And I fear that many news outlets still haven’t wrestled with how big a change they represent.”

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Visual content: Takeaways from the SA-UK Digital Editors Network meetup

The Digital Editors Network has been gathering in the UK roughly every quarter since 2007.

Rather a lot has happened in the media since 2007 (if you think that Twitter had barely been around for a year back then, the tablet as a consumer product didn’t really exist, and the New York Times has had three executive editors in that period).

And along the way, the network has built up a loyal following and a reputation as a space where media professionals can share ideas and reflections about their own operations with a real degree of candour.

Digital editors @Jozihub watching - and interacting - with speakers at the #DEN meetup in London.

Digital editors @Jozihub watching – and interacting with –  speakers at the #visualDEN meetup in London.

It is, to quote one of #DEN’s conveners and founders Francois Nel, a “self help group for media innovators”; less a conference than an ongoing conversation among those preoccupied with devising and driving change inside and outside of newsrooms.

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What I’ve been reading: The NY Times Report, Reddit ideas and Economist audio

Like just about everyone in media I suppose, I have spent the past couple of weeks engrossed in developments across the pond at the New York Times – specifically the dramatic executive moves and the subsequent (or consequent?) leaking of the Times’ Digital Innovation Report.

There have been dozens of worthy pieces commenting on what it all means, but I’m reposting here links to just a couple of key ones.

The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age » Nieman Journalism Lab

“The big question: How can the Times become more digital while still maintaining a print presence, and what has to change? “That means aggressively questioning many of our print-based traditions and their demands on our time, and determining which can be abandoned to free up resources for digital work.”

new york times journalism innovation strategy digital newspapers mobile leadership editing

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What I’ve been reading: Wonks, robot journalism and Uber disruption

The debate over pageview journalism ignores the real problem: flawed business models

“Combining quotas and traffic-based performance goals, while still demanding “top-flight” journalism, is a clear example of bean-counters running amok. We should be past that by now.”

journalism analytics performance management business models

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The need for speed: Is fast and furious still a winning formula for newsrooms?

Being first is one of those immutable principles of journalism. And as technology has chipped away at, and then smashed the traditional media’s monopoly of the means of distribution, journalists have had to go from not merely being first, but also fast. Not just faster than the next newspaper, but faster than everyone.

Or do they?

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What I’ve been reading: The case for page views, and fact-checking in Africa

In defense of ‘vanity’ metrics: why page views are still important: Raju Narisetti

“The real challenge still remains that print-centric newsrooms have long derided audience engagement data — unique visitors, page views — as pandering and click-bait. And clearly newsrooms with a brand expectation and reputation to protect have to be wary of negative tipping points on metrics, unlike many newer brands that are scaling audiences quickly, often as part of a “financial exit” strategy.

“But that mainstream derision has also become an easy crutch to continue to live in an outdated, but safe print cocoon of believing every story, especially if it makes the front page, is read by most readers, independent of evidence, and applying that same thinking in many ways to Web and apps, especially regarding story choices and newsroom curation of marquee pages/sections.”

Tags: analytics journalism editing


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What I’ve been reading: Andreessen on the future of news

Netscape founder Marc Andreessen got a lot of attention towards the end of February for his fundamentally optimistic thesis The Future of the News Business: A Monumental Twitter Stream All in One Place. In this post on his blog, he proposes that the way in which technology has broken 60 year old monopolies in the media industry along with the emergence of a new and enormous, mobile phone-wielding and news-hungry market (particularly in places like South Africa where I live) heralds the beginning of a golden age for news media and professional journalism.

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Jelly journalism: Some thoughts on Biz Stone’s new answers app

I guess Jelly’s appeal among journalists might be that it asks questions and that’s what journalists do – ask questions. So it seems reasonable to ask, what can Jelly do for journalists?

Asking a question on Jelly

Asking a question on Jelly

If you haven’t already discovered it, Jelly is the newish question-and-answer app launched by Twitter founder Biz Stone at the beginning of the year.

Where Twitter used to ask “What are you doing?” and Facebook (still) asks “What’s on your mind?”, Jelly asks “What is this?” by allowing users to photograph an object or upload a picture, annotate it with a finger-scribble if necessary, and send it out with a question to their extended networks.

It’s not the first service of its kind – the closest thing to it of any scale I imagine is Quora. While both services allow users to crowdsource answers and both ride on the back of users’ existing social networks, Jelly has a few important features that set it apart:

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