Tag Archives: online

Where Newspapers Still Thrive – the Underground

Train Reads

Newspapers: a reliable commuter companion.

When thinking of the last and only place where newspapers or magazines thrive, the first image to pop into mind was the subway.

Trains, metros, tubes, lines. There are plenty of nicknames for underground trains in the United States, but the lot of them have this in common: they disappear underground for long lengths of time.

During the morning commute, the free newspaper bins are always stocked to full and then ravaged by every hurried passerby. The free morning newspapers are the perfect commuting companion: they’re free, easily accessible and short. Perfect for the train commute into work.

But another convenience is the fact that these free newspapers don’t suffer while underground – you see, there’s no Internet connection to maintain. While even some of the most advanced technologies may lose Internet connection in the deepest New York subways, an old-fashioned newspaper keeps its words on every page without a flicker or blink.

Unless, of course, someone spills their morning coffee and soaks their copy from back to front – then the reading experience is ruined, along with your expensive slacks.

Regardless, even 3G marvels such as the iPhone and Amazon Kindle haven’t penetrated every subway tunnel and crevice. These underground oasises may be the last newspaper haven before the medium reaches its next stage of evolution.

Photo credits to Erich Ferdinand on Flickr.

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Filed under 2.0, journalism, media

What Media “Magic Bullet?”

Recently, the phrase “magic bullet” pops up when journalists discuss the industry’s next business plan.

The story has been told again and again: print is not the ad-selling, cost-efficient, information-spreading medium it used to be, but online distribution does not fill in the money gap. In short, news consumers have grown used to information being free, but news providers can’t provide this free service and still put bread on the family table.

So perhaps it’s natural that the phrase “magic bullet” has come up. This refers to a quick cure that ends all ills without a catch.

Truth be told, a magical cure-all for anything would be wonderful – but as reality goes, that is rarely the case. Therefore, in a plane of existence where journeys are complex and take many loops and nauseating turns before the finish line, let’s look and see at some of the progress journalism is currently making.

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Preview: Westboro Baptist Church Protest Photos

Counter-protesters lined the sidewalks while Westboro Baptist Church visited George Mason University.

Counter-protesters lined the sidewalks while Westboro Baptist Church visited George Mason University.

From 7:40 a.m. to 8:20 a.m. this morning, the Westboro Baptist Church protested at my university.

This organization is most known for its “God Hates Fags” and “God Hates America” slogans.

I rushed to the protest and counter-protest location and snapped some pictures. Head to my photostream (courtesy of Flickr) to view all the photos.

Video from the protest will be posted later in the day.

Westboro’s protest at Mason coincided with the kickoff of its annual PRIDE Week. Considering Westboro’s famous slogan and Mason’s celebrated choice for the 2009 homecoming queen, there was little question why Mason was chosen.

The protest and counter-protest took place peacefully, with the Westboro members occupying a street corner sectioned off by police. Counter-protesters protested in three separate locations, and outnumbered the Westboro members by an estimated ten-to-one.

Again, my Flickr photostream has many more photos from the event. Take a look.

Later on today, I will take time to write more about the experience, and who came to exercise their right to free speech in the chilly morning hours in Fairfax, Va.

UPDATE: jump ahead to the video post.

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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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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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