Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bloomberg on journalism

Apparently, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is an iPad fiend. So says the New York Observer. Ironically, he's also a fan of paper, and reminds us what will save the publishing industry: Quality, not gadgetry:

"There is something to the content that we’ve forgotten about, and we’ve gotten so carried away with the technology.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

coming to a screen near you

Go here to read about Sports Illustrated's prototype magazine for the web, accessible via Google, and, at least as far as the prototype is concerned, combining pretty much the best of both print and digital journalism. the plan is that both the web version of the magazine and the Google app store from which you can buy it will be ready in the fall. From the story on "All Things Digital":

Sports Illustrated hasn’t come to Apple’s iPad yet, but the magazine is already showing off a new version of its future: A digital version designed with Google in mind.

This one, which Editor Terry McDonell showed off at Google’s I/O developer conference today, looks a whole lot like the one the publisher says it is bringing to Apple’s gadget soon. The real difference here is the way readers/buyers get their hands on the thing: Rather than buying it from Apple’s App Store and downloading it to your iPad, you would access it via your Web browser, after purchasing it from an app store Google manages.

And here's the prototype, which is pretty similar to the prototype SI developed for the iPad:

Friday, May 14, 2010

more on mags

The WSJ reports on a brand new crowd-sourced magazine, appropriated called "48 Hours Magazine" that was put together on the web over the course of one weekend.

It was all an experiment to use the internet to shake up the old way of producing a magazine. According to Mathew Honan, editor at Wired Magazine and one of the founders of the project, they put out a call to about 5000 likely suspects, asking for submissions, expecting maybe 500 and instead received 1500. From the article:

The magazine was sent to the printers on Sunday. Proofs of the 60-page edition will be back to the editors in about a week, Mr. Honan said, and the magazine will be shipped after that. A Web version is set to go up sometime in the next few days, he added.

There aren’t any subscribers because the magazine will be sold through a print-on-demand service called MagCloud, in another break from the traditional magazine model. So it’s still not clear just how many magazines will be shipped, or even what the exact price will be, although Mr. Honan guessed that it would be about $10 or $11. The magazine has four full-page ads, and with advertising and purchases expects to make enough to pay some of the staff and have money to invest in the next issue.

Mr. Honan said the editors plan to produce another edition of 48 Hours and that he thought the project showed that old media could move more quickly and could take advantage of the crowd-sourcing concept. “If you give people an outlet to do something interesting and cool they’ll kind of flock to it,” he said.

A great experiment and maybe a way to combine digital and print magazine journalism in a way that works. But what I couldn't help wondering when I saw the number of submissions: that's a lot of folks willing to do a lot of work on spec and/or for free. Just one more indication that journalists need day jobs? bk

news vs public relations

Just one example. Easy comparison.

Two weeks ago, the government put out a round estimate of the size of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico: 5,000 barrels a day. Repeated endlessly in news reports, it has become conventional wisdom.

But scientists and environmental groups are raising sharp questions about that estimate, declaring that the leak must be far larger. They also criticize BP for refusing to use well-known scientific techniques that would give a more precise figure.

The criticism escalated on Thursday, a day after the release of a video that showed a huge black plume of oil gushing from the broken well at a seemingly high rate. BP has repeatedly claimed that measuring the plume would be impossible.

Subsea efforts continue to focus on, firstly, progressing options to stop the flow of oil from the well through interventions via the blow out preventer (BOP) and, secondly, attempts to contain the flow of oil at source to reduce the amount spreading on the surface. These efforts are being carried out in conjunction with governmental authorities and other industry experts.

Further investigation of the failed BOP, using remotely-operated vehicles and a variety of diagnostic techniques, has increased our understanding of the condition of the BOP and allowed planning to continue for a number of potential interventions, including for a so-called “top kill” of the well.

This would involve first injecting material of varying densities and sizes (also known as “junk shot”) into the internal spaces of the BOP to provide a seal, before pumping specialised heavy fluids into the well to prevent further flow up the well. Plans for this option are being developed in preparation for potential application next week.

Work continues to collect and disperse oil that has reached the surface of the sea. Over 530 vessels are involved in the response effort, including skimmers, tugs, barges and recovery vessels.

Over 120 flights have been made to apply dispersant to the spill since the response effort began.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

it's the pix, stupid

A new MediaWeek survey shows that magazine readers overwhelmingly (92 percent) prefer print to online versions of their favorite mags. And hooray for those of us who read them -- and write for them.

Could it be the fact that most mags provide something lasting in the way of good photography, not to mention stories that have staying power -- and extend for more than a screen-and-a-half? Not for nothin' are magazines sometimes referred to as "books". From the story:

Amid print media's many struggles, polling by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council finds people who subscribe to magazines are loyal to the medium, and in no hurry to ditch print magazines in favor of online versions.

And these people are scarcely technophobes, though, as many of them say magazine ads lead them to advertisers' Web sites.

Conducted in March and April among adults who subscribe to at least one magazine, the poll found 92 percent of respondents saying they receive print editions of magazines to which they subscribe. Nearly as many, 90 percent, said print is the format they prefer. Just 24 percent said they expect eventually to switch to an e-reader for their magazine consumption.

Indicating the role print publications now play in steering people to the Internet, though, 48 percent of respondents answered affirmatively when asked whether they "go online to find more information about the advertisements in your printed magazines." A somewhat larger number of them, 63 percent, said they'd do so "if the advertising in your printed subscription magazines was customized."

bias by photo editor..

... and headline.

Check this story from CJR that questions the WSJ's choice of a photo of Elena Kagan playing softball. Clearly, it was an odd picture to slap on the front page. Was the editor making a point, playing to the conservative audience? Has the paper changed under Rupert Murdoch? Writer Ryan Chittum, who once worked for the WSJ, says yes.

The post offers good examples of the ways in which the news can be biased in subtle ways: photos, headlines and subtle selections. Read it all here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

quick hits: then again not.

In case you missed these:

Newsweek is on the sale rack. Makes me sad, then again not. Since it changed its format this year, the name of the magazine has been a misnomer. Read more here and here.

Reporting via social media can be efficient and economical, then again.... Go here for an ooops story on how HuffPo came up with the WRONG Facebook page for the Times Square bomber.

On the other hand, here's how found the guy who found the prototype for the iPhone. Yep, it started with Facebook.

Finally, journalism is reportedly dying, but then again not. Go here for a story on the growth of sports journalism classes in university journalism programs. From the story, by award-winning sportswriter Dave Kindred:

Of the many reasons a man would want to be 21 again, number four or five on my list would be today’s full palate of journalistic choices. When I was 21, a reporter/writer interested in sports could work for a newspaper or magazine – end of story. Today’s students have newspapers and magazines (for a while, anyway) along with hundreds of outlets from the big boys at, AOL’s Fanhouse, Yahoo! Sports, and to newspaper websites, blogs, and niche blogs reporting on every aspect of SportsWorld. Today’s 20somethings see sports journalists on television, hear them on radio, read their blogs, follow them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook.

"Sports journalism isn’t dying, it’s transforming," said Tim Franklin, once the editor of The Baltimore Sun and now director of the NSJC. "When I meet with students, they’re excited about the future. They will have a different career path than we had. But when they look around, they don’t see the abyss. They see a changing, but dynamic, landscape. . .