Archive for the ‘Newspapers’ Category

Technology takes news away from journalists

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

The takeover of news via the software necessary for digital platforms may be the  the biggest threat to journalism, not where or how people get information, says the annual State of the News Media Report.

“The biggest issue ahead may not be lack of audience or even lack of new revenue experiments. It may be that in the digital realm the news industry is no longer in control of its own future,” Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell of the Project for Excellence in Journalism write.

For the first time ever, more people regularly get their news online (46 percent) than from print newspapers (40 percent), the study says.  In fact, “Every media sector is losing audience now except online. …  In 2010 every news platform saw audiences either stall or decline — except for the Web.”

Rosenstiel and Mitchell say, “News organizations — old and new — still produce most of the content audiences consume. But each technological advance has added a new layer of complexity — and a new set of players — in connecting that content to consumers and advertisers.

“In the digital space, the organizations that produce the news increasingly rely on independent networks to sell their ads. They depend on aggregators (such as Google) and social networks (such as Facebook) to bring them a substantial portion of their audience. And now, as news consumption becomes more mobile, news companies must follow the rules of device makers (such as Apple) and software developers (Google again) to deliver their content. Each new platform often requires a new software program. And the new players take a share of the revenue and in many cases also control the audience data.

“That data may be the most important commodity of all. In a media world where consumers decide what news they want to get and how they want to get it, the future will belong to those who understand the public’s changing behavior and can target content and advertising to snugly fit the interests of each user. That knowledge — and the expertise in gathering it — increasingly resides with technology companies outside journalism.”

CBS vs. newspapers = WRAL vs. The N&O

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

A story about CBS’s plan to go after local newspapers and “make [the] company’s single-market websites into the new local newspapers” points at Raleigh and how WRAL’s site tops The News & Observer’s.

“[T]he dynamic in the broader Raleigh, N.C., market is remarkable,” MediaPost’s TV Watch blog said today. “Capitol Broadcasting Co.’s site for CBS affiliate WRAL-TV has greater Web traffic than the local News & Observer, which emphasized the Web at a considerable level before many other papers.”

CBS CEO Leslie Moonves told investors on Monday, “We think we can replace the Yellow Pages, replace the newspaper. … [W]hen you get up in the morning, you should be able to turn on that local CBS website and get everything you would need — everything that would be provided by your newspaper.”

Newspapers got a head start on the Web because it’s easy to post text and photos. But video, which CBS outlets have plenty of, is the key going forward, the blog says. People are “less willing to read lengthy articles. They’re hungry for info chunks. …

On Thursday, WRAL.com was streaming a murder trial live [the trial of Brad Cooper of Cary for killing his wife]. And a site visitor’s attention was immediately drawn to the one-click opportunity to get inside the courtroom. On the News & Observer site, there was a story about the case that took some scrolling to find. Pretty telling?”


Gannett to tag properties everywhere

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

How big is Gannett? We’ll apparently get a demonstration beginning next week when it launches its first corporate branding campaign and puts its new logo all over its 81 community newspapers, 23 TV stations and more than 100 digital properties, according to USA Today, the publisher’s flagship, which will also display the logo.

New Gannett logo debuts Monday

The new Gannett logo debuts Monday.

“The goal is to communicate that the company — long identified as the nation’s largest newspaper publisher and a major owner of TV stations — has evolved into a forward-looking digital power,” USA Today says.

All of the company’s properties are to begin more prominently identifying themselves as part of Gannett via the new logo. The publisher will also run ads with the new tagline, “It’s all within reach,” on national cable news channels and in digital, print and social media.

Among Gannett’s digital properties is Captivate, which programs TV-like screens in nearly 9,000 elevators and lobbies, the newspaper says.

McClatchy layoffs continue

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The McClatchy Co. is announcing more of its ongoing layoffs at several papers this week, including 32 jobs cut at the Sacramento Bee, 20 at the Charlotte Observer and 20 at the Kansas City Star.

The firm’s News & Observer in Raleigh announced last week that 20 positions would be cut, and the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., announced the loss of six positions.

The papers are also requiring unpaid one-week furloughs for most employees.

McClatchy is to announce 4th quarter 2010 earnings next Tuesday.

Newspaper gets big numbers with Yahoo! video

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The Washington Post is claiming 1 million viewers on some days for a daily political report it runs in video online.

The Fast Fix is 60 seconds of Beltway news from Chris Cillizza, managing editor of PostPolitics.com and author of the Post’s insider blog The Fix. The show is co-produced and co-branded by The Post and Yahoo!, and has been running since September.

“At 1 million daily views, the non-partisan political show has reached an audience the size of Rachel Maddow’s cable show on MSNBC,” according to Beet.TV.

“The success of The Fast Fix points to the opportunities for newspapers to team with big portals and destination sites  like Yahoo!,” Beet.TV says.

Charlotte Observer reverses e-mail request

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Charlotte Observer Editor Rick Thames said Monday the paper would shelve its request for local residents’ e-mail addresses. “While we did not view these invitations as a ‘commercial use’ of the e-mail lists, we respect the concerns of those who did,” he wrote on his Inside Story blog.

People registered with the Charlotte/Mecklenburg County website received  an e-mail last week explaining that the newspaper had requested the e-mail list and that, because of the state’s open records law, the local government had to provide the names. The request came from the newspaper’s director of strategic products and audience development.

Media critics, this blog included, complained about the move, suggesting that the ability to gather public information for profit is not the point of the state’s hard-won open records laws.

Thames said Monday the paper wanted the addresses “to invite citizens’ input on news coverage” and that they have other ways to do that.

So, is there where we all call them weenies now for backing down?

Elsewhere, Charlotte/Mecklenburg County notified its subscribers that it will seek legislation that would allow it to deny requests for e-mail databases and instead allow only public inspection of this information. Wake and Yadkin counties already have such exemptions.

E-mail info request for ‘better journalism’

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Update: Scott Hepburn, a Charlotte-based PR consultant, social media strategist, trainer and public speaker, explains in his Media Emerging blog why the Charlotte Observer’s grab of private citizens’ e-mail addresses is wrong.

***

Charlotte Observer Editor Rick Thames is defending the newspaper’s collection of what WFAE FM says is more than 20,000 e-mail addresses from Charlotte-Mecklenburg County.

“I’m using them to build better journalism,”  Thames told the radio station. “I think it’s good for the community, but I don’t see it as (benefiting the paper) anymore than it is for people in real estate to have records of home sales. Do you?”

People registered with the city/county website got an e-mail this week explaining that the newspaper had requested the e-mail list and that, because of the state’s open records law, the local government had to provide the names. The request came from the newspaper’s director of strategic products and audience development.

Thames says they want to ask people “if they would like to occasionally advise us on how we’re reporting and what they would like to know more from their government and more about their community.”

Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett calls the request “a blatant misuse of the ‘right-to-know’ laws by a for-profit company that is looking to expand its readership.”

(We were clued in to WFAE’s work on this by @McClatchyWatch.)

Market analyst: newspapers going down

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Don’t let recent good news from newspaper publishers fool you, the stock market analysis website Seeking Alpha warns. The industry is dying.

The site keys on the relatively rosy picture pushed by McClatchy last month, saying “publishers across the board got a big boost when The McClatchy Company announced that its advertising revenue rose during the fourth quarter. What’s more, CEO Gary Pruitt said he expects these improvements to continue this year.

“As the third-largest newspaper publishing company in the United States, McClatchy’s news caused some bullish activity in the industry. But the fact remains that we’re talking about newspapers here. So even though McClatchy publishes more than 70 of them – including The Miami Herald and The Charlotte Observer – they’re still just … well, newspapers.”

And, in fact, since the first of the year, McClatchy’s Kansas City Star has announced layoffs, while at  The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., buyouts have been mentioned by management amid rumors of furloughs and layoffs. At Gannett, one-week furloughs in the first quarter are already policy at most of its papers, while some of its papers in New Jersey face much more drastic measures.

Elsewhere, the Washington Post said this week it returned to profitability in 2010 and expected to remain profitable in 2011.

Seeking Alpha leads the reader through the familiar decline of newspapers, concluding that “a daily paper simply can’t compete with the up-to-the-second Internet in terms of news. Plus, there’s the added incentive that the Internet is free, leaving publishers scrambling to find a way to successfully monetize their online product.”

Online advertising revenue presents a glimmer of hope,  including a 13.9 percent gain in the second quarter of 2010 – the first quarterly gain since 2008, and a rise in McClatchy’s online revenue for the quarter that boosted its stock price.

“But even if this trend continues, it’s still not enough to combat the rapid decline of printed ad revenue,” Seeking Alpha says. “The numbers have been in a freefall for 14 consecutive quarters … with no end in sight.

“The bottom line is that newspaper publishers are going down. They won’t all bite the dust, of course. But it will take a few more years of closings, mergers and tinkering with online advertising before the real winners emerge. So don’t let McClatchy’s bounce fool you – this is one industry to dodge.”

Online ad spending eclipses newspapers

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

A digital marketing and media research firm said Tuesday that advertisers this year will for the first time spend more money for online advertising than for newspaper advertising.

eMarketer says says total newspaper spending [print and online] for 2010 will drop to $25.7 billion, a 6.6 percent decline, while online advertising will jump 13 percent to $25.8 billion for the year. Spending on print newspapers alone will fall to $22.8 billion for the year.

Newspapers will see a gain of a 7.8 percent in online ad spending this year, to $3 billion – making online ad revenue 11.67 percent of the total spent on newspaper ads. (The numbers don’t add up correctly –  the $3 billion online and newspapers’ $22.8 billion for print alone, for example – because of rounding, the report says.)

“The spending gap will widen significantly next year,” the report says.

Geoff Ramsey, chief executive officer at eMarketer, said online ads are typically seen as more reliable because their effectiveness can be measured, whereas print ads “are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result,” according to Bloomberg News. The bad economy has also accelerated the move toward digital platforms.

“It’s something we’ve seen coming for a long time, but this is a tipping point,”  Ramsey told The Wall Street Journal.

Total ad spending in the U.S. is expected to increase 3 percent to $168.5 billion in 2010.

eMarketer also says that total US online ad spending will continue double-digit growth through 2014, when it will surpass $40 billion.

Newspapers cut fewer jobs in 2010

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Paper Cuts, the site that tracks newspaper layoffs, reported far fewer jobs lost at the nation’s papers in 2010 compared to the two previous years, says Fishbowl L.A. Of course, there are far fewer jobs left to be cut.

The industry shed some 2,800 jobs this year –  layoffs and buyouts the site tracks of newspaper personnel “from editor to ad rep, reporter to marketing, copy editor to pressman, design to carrier, and anyone else who works for a newspaper” – compared to about 15,000 in 2009 and 16,000 in 2008. The total does not count jobs lost through attrition, i.e., left unfilled after someone leaves voluntarily.

“But it’s also become more obvious that many papers are laying off employees and never publicly acknowledging it,” Paper Cuts’ Erica Smith told FBLA. “Even with many of those numbers filled in, though, I don’t think the total will hit 2008 or 2009 levels.”

The Paper Cuts site has Google Maps mash-ups that show job cuts at individual papers dating to 2007, including  2010 job cuts at The News & Observer in Raleigh (21; owned by McClatchy), The Winston-Salem Journal  (“unknown”; Media General), the Asheville Citizen-Times (4; Gannett),  the Star News in Wilmington (2; New York Times), NASCAR Scene in Charlotte (18; Advance Publications), the Independent-Tribune of Concord-Kannapolis (“unknown”; Media General), The Herald of Rock Hill, S.C. (7; McClatchy), The State of Columbia, S.C. (12; McClatchy), The Greenville (S.C.) News (7; Gannett), and The Morning News of Florence, S.C. (“unknown”; Media General).