Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Jeff Jarvis talks digital journalism, online privacy

May 26th, 2010

Jeff Jarvis was at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier this week and I came across an interesting interview he did with Chad Catacchio at The Next Web.

Jarvis is a media pundit and prof, and teaches entrepreneurial journalism. Thanks TNW for the vid.

You can follow Jarvis or TNW on Twitter.

Is Rupert Murdoch’s iPad endorsement a look to the future, or just a sales tactic?

April 14th, 2010

If you’ve been following the hoopla around the Apple iPad, you’ve likely seen two distinct reactions: One is a very positive one that hails the iPad as the Next Big Thing, while the other view is quite critical, saving the gadget is simply an oversized iPod.

While there has been no shortage of news pundits who claim the iPad will revitalize the news industry, I was somewhat surprised to see Rupert Murdoch among them. Murdoch believes the iPad will be the saviour of print media in Australia. While it doesn’t necessarily surprise me Murdoch would recognize an opportunity, his public praise of the iPad comes across as more of a product endorsement than anything.

”I got a glimpse of the future … with the Apple iPad,” Murdoch said to journalist Marvin Kalb. During the interview, Murdoch reportedly sat with an iPad and even demonstrated how to browse through The Wall Street Journal‘s website. ”It is a wonderful thing,” he continued. “If you have [fewer] newspapers and more of these … it may well be the saving of the newspaper industry.”

While much of the iPad-related discussion is often accused of being hysteria created by Apple fanboys, an endorsement from the likes of Murdoch sheds a different light on the gadget. Especially when it’s dubbed a “saviour” by someone as prominent as Murdoch.

”We are going to stop people like Google or Microsoft or whoever from taking stories for nothing … there is a law of copyright and they recognise it,” he recently said to a group of students, journalists and other media professionals. ”When they have got nowhere else to go, they will start paying if it is reasonable. No one is going to ask for a lot of money.”

Murdoch’s glowing endorsement of the iPad is a clear indication his news empire will grow inside paywalls, and a gadget that encourages paid access is clearly a favourite for this media mogul.

Of course, not everyone believes the iPad has any chance of saving journalism, especially when it comes to funding large-scale journalism. As this critique notes:

  • Publishers are only saving the cost of printing and trucking printed newspapers (maybe 30 or 40 cents per copy). Other costs of producing large-scale journalism remain the same.
  • Apple will take the place of retail when it comes to commission; Apple gets a cut of app sales, which is essentially the same thing as a corner store or newspaper stand taking a cut of a paper sale. In the end it’s moving money from one source to another, but not changing an industry entirely.
  • Revenues will decline from readers. Citing Australian numbers, media commentator Eric Beecher notes customers who currently pay $12/week for a printed newspaper will pay a fraction of that when buying apps.
  • Finally, revenue from advertisers will fall, as audiences are smaller.How many media consumers will pay for apps when the Internet is open and free? The iPad is Internet-enabled, and comes with a very functional browser, so it’s not always a safe to assume people will flock to apps.

I think there is a lot of value in this criticism. While I do expect to see a successful future for the iPad, I have to disagree that it will be journalism’s saviour.

In the end, I’m taking Murdoch’s endorsement of the iPad as more of a sales tactic than a premonition. After all, he’s selling papers.

Study: Web-based news surpasses newspapers, radio in popularity

March 1st, 2010
According to a new study released today, 92 percent of Americans now use multiple platforms to consume news each day and the Internet has become a vital part in the daily lives of news consumers.

The survey, conducted jointly by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Project for Excellence in Journalism, revealed the Internet is now the third-most popular news platform. Both local and national television news casts are still the primary source of news in the U.S.

With a quickly evolving landscape and new technologies, the Web has surpassed local and national newspapers as well as radio in popularity as a news platform.

A total of 59 percent of news consumers in the U.S. get news from both online and offline sources each day. More specifically, 46 percent of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms and a mere 7 percent get their news from a single media platform on a typical day.

“In today’s new multi-platform media environment, news is becoming portable, personalized, and participatory,” the report indicates. “To a great extent, people’s experience of news, especially on the Internet, is becoming a shared social experience as people swap links in emails, post news stories on their social networking site feeds, highlight news stories in their Tweets, and haggle over the meaning of events in discussion threads. For instance, more than 8 in 10 online news consumers get or share links in emails.”

The study shows 33 percent of cellphone users now access news on the mobiles; 28 percent have customized their Internet homepage to include news from multiple sources and on multiple topics; and 37 percent of Internet users have contributed to creating news, commenting on news or disseminating news via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. According to Pew, they have done at least one of the following: commenting on a news story (25 percent); posting a link on a social networking site (17 percent); tagging content (11 percent), creating their own original news material or opinion piece (9 percent), or Tweeting about news (3 percent).

Online news junkies are using social networks to filter, discover and comment about various news events. Traditional email is also still used to share stories and comments. “Among those who get news online, 75 percent get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites and 52 percent share links to news with others via those means,” the report indicates.

Getting news has become a social experience, with 72 percent of news consumers indicating they enjoy talking with others about what’s happening around the world. Approximately half of Americans say they rely on people around them to tell them news they need to know.

The Internet has also changed the branding game, as many news consumers have a great deal of choice about who they read. According to the survey, however, the average news consumer visits only a handful of news sites and does not have a favourite.

With the growth of online news sources comes growing frustration or the feeling of being overwhelmed. According to Pew, 55 percent of respondents agree it’s easier to keep up with the news today than it was five years ago, but 70 percent say the amount of information is overwhelming.

In terms of overall consumption, Pew reports:
  • 56 percent of Americans say they follow the news “all or most of the time.”
  • 25 percent follow the news at least “some of the time”
  • And 99 percent of American adults say they get news from at least one of these media platforms in a typical day: a local or national print newspaper, a local or national television news broadcast, radio, or the Internet. 
So what are people searching for online? According to Pew, the most popular online news subjects are:
  • The weather (followed by 81 percent of Internet news users)
  • National events (73 percent)
  • Health and medicine (66 percent)
  • Business and the economy (64 percent)
  • International events (62 percent)
  • Science and technology (60 percent).
Respondents also said they would like to see more coverage of scientific news and discoveries (44 percent); religion and spirituality (41 percent); health and medicine (39 percent); state government (39 percent) and neighbourhood or local communities (38 percent).

The study was completed between Dec. 28, 2009 and Jan. 19, 2010. The results are based on telephone interviews with 2,259 adults (18 and older), conducted by Princeton Survey Research International. The full study can be found online here.

Digital Journal announces Board of Advisers

January 19th, 2010 made a big announcement today so I’m posting it here for all those interested:

Digital Journal, Inc., a leader in social news and citizen journalism, is pleased to announce the formation of a Board of Advisers.

The Board will provide expertise to the company’s management team to spearhead new initiatives to grow Digital Journal’s global media presence. The advisers are highly renowned experts in a range of fields, including new media, online journalism and venture capital.

DigitalJournal is a news network made up of more than 21,000 journalists, mainstream reporters and bloggers who report from 175 countries around the world.

“We’re very happy to have such an experienced and prolific group of individuals on our Board of Advisers,” says Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal, Inc. “We’ve developed an international contributor base and readership, and we’re moving forward to develop new revenue channels and technologies. Along with our Board of Advisers, Digital Journal is poised for strong growth in 2010.”

The board is made up of the following individuals: Jack Kapica, Andrew Waitman, Jen Evans, Kerry Munro and Dr. Michael Geist.

Digital Journal is currently exploring syndication and strategic partnership opportunities, as the company is often approached by organizations looking to tap into the growing citizen journalism field.

Recognized as a pioneer in the citizen-media industry, Digital Journal is often praised for its quality reportage and unique approach to citizen journalism. Journalists are paid for their work through a unique revenue-sharing program. They are taught how to report news, and on-staff editors work hand-in-hand with reporters around the world to fact-check, verify and source stories.

For syndication, strategic partnership or investment opportunities, please contact Chris Hogg, CEO, Digital Journal Inc. // Website Contact // Tel: (416) 410-9675

About is a citizen media site where writers from across the world work with seasoned professional reporters. The company has been recognized as a pioneer in citizen journalism, and the news reportage has been heralded as quality journalism. Contributors known as “Digital Journalists” work 24/7 to report news from multiple perspectives, while special attention is placed on quality and accuracy.

Digital Journal Board of Advisers:

Chairing the Board of Advisers is Jack Kapica, a journalist and editor with more than 40 years experience. Kapica has been a staff writer and editor for The Gazette in Montreal before moving to The Globe and Mail in 1975, where he edited a section of the paper devoted to popular culture.

Jack also contributed to Digital Journal magazine between 2001 and 2007. Over his years at the Globe, Jack contributed to virtually every beat from literary criticism to religion, news and technology. He has been Books Editor, editor of the Letters to the Editor page, and World Editor for the week-in-review Focus section.

In 1985, he published a collection of the best letters printed by the Globe, in a book called Shocked and Appalled: A Century of Letters to The Globe and Mail. Jack helped train Globe reporters when the newspaper became computerized in 1977, and purchased his first computer in 1981.

From 1996 to 1999, Jack wrote many high-tech features as well as a weekly column called Cyberia for the print paper. He also regularly reviewed new products and software.

In 2001, he became the lead technology columnist and reporter for the technology section of the paper’s website,

Jack left the Globe in 2008.

Andrew Waitman is Chief Executive Officer of Pythian and Managing Partner of Blackswan Ventures, an angel technology investment firm.

From 1996 to 2008, Andrew was the Managing Partner of Celtic House Venture Partners, the largest and most successful IT venture fund in Canada, with more than $500-million under management.

He has been involved with more than 75 start-ups and a board member of more than 25 technology start-ups. His current boards include Fidus Systems and Pythian. Andrew has previously served on the boards of DNA13, Third Brigade, ModaSolutions, Diablo Technologies, Overlay.TV, TrialStat, Memsic (IPO on Nasdaq), Sandvine (IPO on TSE), OctigaBay (acquired by Cray), FastLane Technologies (acquired by Quest Software), Pixstream (acquired by Cisco), Abatis (acquired by Redback), OLAP@Work (acquired by Business Objects), BlueArc, Avesta Technologies (acquired by Visual Networks), Orchestream (IPO on LSE) and Ubiquity Software (acquired by Avaya). He sits on the advisory Board of Genesys Capital and the volunteer Board of SHAD Valley. Prior to Celtic House Andrew held senior positions at Eagle & Partners (now Dundee Securities), Citibank and Nortel.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and an MBA with distinction from the Richard Ivey School of Business. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario.

Jen Evans is the founder and chief strategist at Sequentia Environics, a customer communications agency ranked as Canada’s 24th (2005) and 27th (2004) fastest-growing emerging company by PROFIT magazine.

She joined the board of ITAC in 2009 and has been the co-chair of the White Ribbon and was a contributor to The Globe and Mail‘s online tech edition for seven years. since 2005, and also sits on RedFlagDeals’ advisory board. Jen writes a column on business and technology for

Jen has been talking tech on BNN (formerly Report on Business Television) since 1999, and appears in the Technology in the Workplace segment on Jen and Sequentia Environics are pioneers in the world of community and social media, developing revenue-focused social content programs as far back as 1999.

They developed their first community program for Intel in 2004, and current social media and community clients include Yahoo!, TD Canada Trust, Palm, Coca-Cola Canada, Autodesk, and Bell Enterprise. Sequentia Environics’ groundbreaking social measurement methodology, based on customer ethnography, analytics and primary research, has helped more than 40 enterprises establish their social and community strategy and measure success.

Kerry Munro is former head of Yahoo! Canada. Over the past two decades Kerry has led and advised organizations on how to experience hyper growth by leveraging consumer behaviour and demystifying technology as a means to connect with consumers, build a digital brand, and increase revenues and shareholder value.

Recently he was the head of Yahoo! Canada, where it became the fastest-growing and best-performing business unit in Yahoo! worldwide, achieving annual double-to-triple-digit growth over four years and creating connections with more than 19 million Canadians monthly.

Kerry has been recognized as one of Canada’s top influential marketers. He advises executives, boards, growth companies and charitable organizations, and is sought after contributor to national news organizations.

Dr. Michael Geist is a professor of law at the University of Ottawa, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law.

Michael is an internationally syndicated columnist on technology law issues with his regular column appearing in the Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, and the BBC. Michael serves on the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Expert Advisory Board, on the Canadian Digital Information Strategy’s Review Panel, the Electronic Frontier Foundation Advisory Board, and on the Information Program Sub-Board of the Open Society Institute.

Michael has received numerous awards for his work including the Les Fowlie Award for Intellectual Freedom from the Ontario Library Association in 2009; the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 2008; Canarie’s IWAY Public Leadership Award for his contribution to the development of the Internet in Canada; and he was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2003.

Study: 80% of news stories are repackaged from other sources

January 12th, 2010

According to a new study by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ), most of what the public learns still comes from traditional media outlets, especially newspapers. However, the amount of original reporting is on the decline.

The study attempted to look at who reports the news most people consume in their communities; the role of new media, blogs and specialty sites; and how a modern news “ecosystem” in a large American city works. The findings show most people still turn to traditional media to get their news, despite the fact there are more sources of information than ever before.

Using Baltimore, Md, as a test ground for one week, researchers examined all outlets that produced local content and examined six major narratives during that time frame. The study was conducted July 19 to 25, 2009 and the PEJ says this study is an attempt at trying to understand who is producing news and identify the character of what is produced.

According to the PEJ, “Much of the ‘news’ people receive contains no original reporting,” and “8 out of ten stories studied simply repeated or repackaged previously published information.” The report goes on to say 95 percent of reports that did contain new information were from traditional media, mostly newspapers.

Scarcity of content

The PEJ says their analysis shows local papers are offering less content than they once did. According to their report:

For all of 2009, for instance, the [Baltimore] Sun produced 32 percent fewer stories on any subject than it did in 1999, and 73 percent fewer stories than in 1991, when the company still published an evening and morning paper with competing newsrooms.

Furthermore, the study indicates new media is not filling in the content void left by mainstream press, as blogs, Twitter and local news sites typically act more as an alert system or a way to disseminate stories from other websites.

New technology

Researchers concluded the Web is clearly the first place of publication now, as new technology has made it easier to publish quickly. With the rise of new technology, however, news is often posted with little enterprise reporting added. In fact, researchers noted they often saw official press releases posted word-for-word without that fact being disclosed.

They also said citing and crediting sources is an oft-skipped step, as they found many examples of websites reprinting sections of others’ work without credit.

Growth of media outlets

In Baltimore, the number of news outlets has expanded a great deal, as researchers identified 53 news outlets that regularly produce some kind of local content. These outlets range from blogs, to talk radio shows to sites created by former journalists. They also include “multi-platform operations that also make robust use of Twitter as a way means of dissemination.”

However, researchers say 83 percent of stories were repetitive and conveyed no new information, and the 17 percent that did were traditional media outlets. The Baltimore Sun is credited with producing 48 percent of these stories; a specialty paper focusing on business and law produced 13 percent; local TV stations and their websites accounted for 28 percent of enterprise reporting; radio stations produced 7 percent; and new media outlets accounted for 4 percent.

Researchers also note 31 percent of legacy media (newspapers, TV and radio) produced content on new platforms and nearly half of newspaper stories were online rather than in print.

In television, the PEJ says 36 percent of TV news stories were “anchor reads” and “tell stories” which is often material from wire services.

In radio, researchers say there was very little original reporting, with almost 50 percent of segments involving an anchor reading stories and 38 percent of segments including a host interviewing a guest or caller.

The PEJ says there were two cases of new media breaking information in Baltimore; one was a police Twitter feed and the other was a local blog that picked up a story the mainstream press nearly missed completely. A newspaper eventually found the blog and reported the story.

As more and more media outlets scale back on original reporting, researchers say reproducing others’ content has become a big part of the news media ecosystem:

Government, at least in this study, initiates most of the news. In the detailed examination of six major storylines, 63% of the stories were initiated by government officials, led first of all by the police. Another 14% came from the press. Interest group figures made up most of the rest.

The PEJ says new media, local bloggers and specialty outlets are “almost certain” to grow in number and expand capacity.

Topics vary by media outlet

The PEJ says the news agendas of media outlets were “strikingly different,” and “the world one encounters differs dramatically depending on where one seeks his or her information.”

According to their study, 23 percent of TV stories were about crime (double the amount of any other subject). With newspapers, crime reporting was nearly matched by reports on government, followed by business and education. In radio and new media, however, government was the No. 1 topic.

The study can be found online here.