Tag Archives: 2009

Amateur Fun: What is Trendy?

Four days ago, I linked a study on major 2009 trends for online journalism. But before diving too far into the study, I wanted to do my own homework.

I could even develop a hypothesis, test it as if I were in a virtual lab and create my own theories based on my pseudo-facts, I thought to myself.

My fun project led me to an even more fun layman tool, Google Trends.

The procedure was very simple:

  1. Find the top social media and news media contenders.
  2. Pluck out the winners and pit them against each other, social media versus news media.

Hypothesis: social media will defeat top news media by a substantial margin.

But the real question in this fun exercise is, which social medium will it be?

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Q: Can Print Still Afford to Predict the Future?

A Day in News Consumption

This morning, my very first headline was Washingtonpost.com’s story on the freshly unveiled federal government bank rescue plan.

I was bleary-eyed from the night before and still banking on my morning cereal and coffee to be ready, but I nevertheless was ready to consume news. So I did.

It was 9:22 a.m. on Monday, March 23.

But hours later at lunch, I snagged a copy of Express, which is a daily free newspaper available in bins spaced about every fifteen feet in my university campus.

(Note: Washingtonpost.com and Express are produced by the same newspaper company, The Washington Post.)

My eyes scanned the second story on the front page: “Bank Rescue May Cost $1T, Administration to unveil plan to buy toxic assets Monday.”

It was 1:35 p.m. on Monday, March 23.

Is Print Prediction Still Cost-Efficient?

Being print, Express‘s deadline was the previous night – or perhaps even the crack-of-dawn this morning.

Since the hurting economy is on the brain, it seems the news of the bank rescue proposal was so relevant that even the I’m-outdated-by-the-day-of-publication newspaper boasted a story on its front page. Unfortunately, since no (known) journalist is psychic, the article couldn’t offer as many specifics as its up-to-date online version.

Instead, it was more of a, we know it’s going to happen and it’s gonna happen today news article.

This is no surprise in many ways. Before the 24/7 news cycle, newspapers had to predict the future, so to speak. News had to wait until the next news cycle – though if my memory of journalism history serves me right, there were historical moments when several issues were published a day when crucial news was breaking.

But today, when ad revenue and subscribers are down, there must be a better way to pay for all the tree-cutting, processing, printing and delivery.

Maybe there shouldn’t be print newspapers at all. From the moment they’re published, they’re yesterday’s news. This idea is not new.

Express may be free, but other print newspapers published and delivered to news stands this morning also couldn’t detail the bank rescue plan unveiled this morning. Since we live in a 24/7, instantaneous world, the old tricks of the print trade seem even more antiquated than ever.

The journalism industry needs to shape up and lose a few pounds.

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State of the Union (for News Media)

One week ago, the Pew Research Center posted a dismal report on the state of news media. The article was the sixth in the news media series, but also the “bleakest,” it proclaimed.

A few pulled quotes from the article:

Perhaps least noticed yet most important, the audience migration to the internet is now accelerating. The number of Americans who regularly go online for news, jumped 19% in the last two years.”

But audiences now consume news in new ways. They hunt and gather what they want when they want it, use search to comb among destinations and share what they find through a growing network of social media.”

And the news industry does not know — and has done less than it could to learn — how to convert this more active online audience into revenue.”

It’s all food for thought. American news consumers are migrating to the online news sources, but no media meister knows quite how to crack the code of making online revenue yet.

Charging online consumers for subscriptions or per article will only cause them to flock elsewhere for news. We live in an era where consumers expect information to be free.

This study also offered a look at major trends for 2009 journalism. Though we’re only about one week away from completing our third month of the year, it seems we already have trends to dissect.

Let’s see what happens.

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