Tag Archives: journalism

Are Traditional Magazines Dead?


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If you’re anything like me, you consume a lot of your news online. However, I also happen to still enjoy reading print magazines and newspapers. I know – that comes as a shock to you. It’s true that much of my life is lived online these days. But that doesn’t mean I cannot possibly tear myself away from the screen occasionally and go back to basics. Many of you are likely shaking your head right now or trying to figure out how to ignore me the next time we meet in public. After all, you wouldn’t want to be associated with the dude who enjoys flipping through a paper book that came in the mail!

Magazines try hard to stay relevant… but even I have to admit that they may be going a bit too far. In an issue of Wired magazine that I happen to have, I couldn’t help but notice the ads that literally jump off of nearly every page. They go far beyond simply trying to sell me a product: they are trying to sell me on the magazine itself. The actual advertisers are reaching a bit far in their attempts to lure me in, as well.

In this issue, Samsung had added an extra little “addendum” to Wired in order to promote the new (at that time) Galaxy S phone. The addendum was slick and full of informative little articles. However, they also included a huge picture of an iPad along with the top must-have apps. Wow. Can anyone explain to me how – exactly – the iPad happens to fit in with the Galaxy S? Samsung knows that the iPad is one of the hottest selling gadgets on the market. They included that particular little piece in order to convince all of you iPad owners that you want a Galaxy S smartphone on the side. It’s slick, I’ll give them that.

Do you still read print magazines? Which ones do you subscribe to, and what draws you in each month? I’m interested in figuring out how many of you still read traditional print media – magazines, newspapers and even books.

Why are Digital Journalists Burning Out so Fast?

An article in the New York Times today discusses the early burnout rate of journalists who work exclusively in online media formats. As I read the article, I could completely understand and empathize with every word in front of me. This is a cutthroat world we live in online. There are thousands of news outlets, all of which have to compete with each other to publish first and publish better. There are more places to read your news online than there are stories to digest. This equates to a niche that is so competitive we are seeing high turnover rates at many big-name media sites.

Google search ranking is the name of the game. If your story doesn’t rank up at the top, it may never be digested by anyone at all. You have to not only crank out articles the very nanosecond they hit the wire… you also much be conscious at all times of keywords, SEO and branding. Gone are the days of writing interesting articles and intensive investigative pieces for the Sunday edition. The world we live in demands to know everything about everyone – and they want to know it now.

Many companies track how many page views each article published on their site receives. Authors are paid (and/or given bonuses) based on these numbers. At Gawker Media’s offices in Manhattan, a flat-screen television mounted on the wall displays the 10 most-viewed articles across all Gawker’s Web sites. The author’s last name, along with the number of page views that hour and over all are prominently shown in real time on the screen, which Gawker has named the “big board.”

While this is an interesting way to attempt to reward and motivate writers, many feel that it is more of a “wall of shame.” If your name doesn’t appear on the board at all times, then you are regarded as not being “up to par.” The stress that these companies are placing on their staff is astronomical. I’ve heard from many of you out there who want to write for a living. There is so much talent and enthusiasm inside of you all. The problem is, I also have seen too many fresh-faced young journalists end up burned out and cynical before the ink on their degree has fully dried.

What are your thoughts? How do you feel we can begin to slow things down to a reasonable pace? Is it possible?

USA Today Delivers News Right to Your iPad

The USA Today is the top-selling print newspaper in the country. Today, they announced that the USA Today app for the iPad will be available beginning tomorrow. Access will be completely free until July 4th, thanks to Courtyard by Marriott. Once Independence Day has passed, the app will only be available by paying a subscription fee.

Newspaper officials say that the app will provide a rich news experience which include graphics and photos. Matt Jones, VP of mobile strategy and operations, said this morning: “Our team is very excited to see the launch of the USA TODAY app for iPad. With its sleek format and vivid touch screen, the iPad is the perfect device to display USA TODAY’s signature design and content. We think we’ve delivered a very high quality product and I can’t wait to see people explore and interact with our news and information in a whole new way.”

The popular paper has been downloaded by millions of people using the iPhone or Android devices. The app looks much like the physical news source you would pick up off of your doorstep in the morning. The layout and design are virtually the same, and using your finger to “turn” pages should make it feel similar, as well.

Maybe if we all switch to reading our newspaper in this manner, a few trees can be saved!

How Will the End of Print Journalism Affect Pack Rats?


How Will The End Of Print Journalism Affect Old Loons Who Hoard Newspapers?

I had to embed this on my blog… it’s fabulous!

With so many newspapers struggling financially, some people fear for their future. However, if print media dies, what will old loons do with all of their hoarded papers? Where will they go? Will our landfills overflow with useless paper, or will our air become toxic due to all of the burning?!

Let’s hear your thoughts. What should the pack-rats do with all that paper?!

Are Bloggers Journalists: Are Blogs New Journalism?

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Is blogging the new form of journalism? Should bloggers be held to the same standards as the media? Those questions were asked of me recently in an email, and raise a lot of food for thought.

I don’t know that I’d say blogging is a new form of journalism, no. Blogging is certainly a newer type of writing style. Blogging and journalism aren’t exactly the same, but they achieve the same results. A blogger writes out of passion, out of an extreme interest for a particular topic. Should a blogger then be held to the same standards as the media? I don’t think so, necessarily. I guess it depends on what your definition of a journalist is, as opposed to a blogger. The only difference I can see between the two is content. They’re both there to produce content. Bloggers write because they want to. Journalists write to get paid, because it is their job.

How many times have you had this happen? I’ll get a phone call from someone who wants to interview me, or include me in a story. They’ll take up a few hours of my time, asking tons of questions. Then, of course, they use only one thing I said or the story/comments aren’t used correctly. How many times have you been watching television, and the reporter just totally gets it wrong. You’re yelling at the TV, telling the person on the program that they are wrong! It happens all the time.

This is the main difference I see between bloggers and journalists. Bloggers tend to write what they know, think and feel. Journalists are supposed to give facts, and unfortunately don’t always get them correct.

In many ways, the Blogosphere is like this huge editorial board. If a blogger comes out with something excellent, it will spread like wildfire. It will be validated. Many people feel that bloggers should be held to the same standards as the media. But… what makes “the media?” Heck, I am the media as much as anyone else is. So who draws the line? Who decides what is journalism, and what is merely blogging? Who is the boss when it comes to standards for sets of people?

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Where Blogging is Feared

This link was passed to me by Gnomedex Keytone Robert Steele. Seems that we live a life of blogging luxury here in the U.S. – Arab bloggers pay toll for truth:

Not all bloggers in the Arab world are so dedicated in their use of this new freedom. Not all make the extra effort to search out and verify the news. Extremists of all sorts have embraced the internet to brag of their activities and recruit new members.

But a small number of online journalists are telling important truths, despite great obstacles, setbacks and flaws of their own.

Rather than hailing the Arab world’s catch-up with the internet revolution, however, some Arab regimes have done the opposite. They have blocked blogs, removed posts and arrested and detained bloggers or prohibited them from travelling, according to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, a Cairo-based group.

The Internet is a country without borders – and now we have to wait for political leaders and oppressive social institutions to embrace that irreversible, uncontrollable, undeniable flat fact.

Big Media and the Blogosphere

Upon receiving the invite for this week’s Seattle-area blogger meetup with KOMO TV, Dave Newton put things into perspective for the community-at-large:

I’m flattered that I made a list of Seattle area bloggers, but not starry-eyed enough to accept the invitation to come and be cooed over by the TV people, no matter how sincere they may seem about recognizing my significance. See, I have been, and plan to continue, commenting upon and sometimes criticizing KOMO-TV, and many other media organizations. So, I prefer not to drink their booze and eat their hors d’oeuvres, thanks all the same. I guess I can’t help thinking I’d have a harder time blogging about them afterward, and that they–KOMO-TV and Mr. Pirillo, the self-styled self-promoter–would like that very much.

I left a comment, which is something I seldom do in blogs these days (choosing, instead, to take remarks back into my own space so that others within my circle might discover them easier). “You shouldn’t stop complaining… in fact, I’d say you should be complaining even louder now. 🙂 Unfortunately, that’s the only way companies listen (in reaction to PAIN points).” Dave responded:

I’m trying to understand what he meant. I think he’s encouraging me. Always dangerous. Anyway, thanks, Chris. You seem to get that I’m not attacking you for promoting. I’m exposing the normal, legal, process of schmoozing communications people to obtain positive coverage. KOMO-TV has a perfect right to do this, and since most bloggers are not journalists, or not professional, or both, there’s nothing in their upbringing to preclude their swooning over any attention from anybody important. I come from a conventional old-time broadcaster background, so I’m not available for schmoozing. That’s all.

Yes, I always encourage complainers – dehypers, if you will (although, I often complain in a hyperactive manner). At least Dave understands that bloggers aren’t journalists – though many of them (you!?) seem to think they are (or should be treated as such). Local news outfits are in even bigger trouble as they face an increased risk of losing their national affiliate status.

More than anything, I see larger media outlets finally understanding their increasing irrelevance with the minds of Americans. Mind you, I’m all for that – as I think ‘big media’ has taken too much away from us (far more than it has given). I’m not trying to kick ’em while they’re down, but I am hopeful that they’ll soon put an end to the separation between themselves and the community. Therein lies an opportunity as I see it – but I’ve been mistaken before.

Color me an idealist. 🙂