After a haitus of more than a year, just starting to get back into surveying the News Media landscape.
Here’s a video from November 2011 where Jeff Jarvis hosts Justin Smith, CEO of Altantic Media, and John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media, Journal Register, and Media News, at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism speaking on the role that a Digital-First strategy has in transforming their publishing business models and operations.
But I find it interesting to contemplate how leveraging network effects – across both content and ad networks – can be applied to a Community Journalism strategy.
Anyway, that’s that. :)
I’m going to assume that readers of this post are familiar with the WikiLeaks story. If not, I recommend watching the following Chris Anderson interview with Julian Assange at a TED talk in July 2010:
… as well as the following interview with Julian Assange by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now from October 26th, shortly after WikiLeaks’ release of the Iraq War Logs: WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange on Iraq War Logs, “Tabloid Journalism” and Why WikiLeaks Is “Under Siege”. The first part of the interview can be viewed below:
WikiLeaks, Mainstream Media, and the future of Journalism
Rather, I want to specifically explore mainstream media coverage of WikiLeaks, and what it means for the future of Journalism.
The past two weeks has seen the first, sustained, clash between two ages: a new era of complete online freedom and transparency (and all that this entails, good and bad); versus the old world of secrecy, authority and control. And it’s been paralleled in a clash between a new way of doing journalism and the way the traditional, mainstream media does it.
… I have now come to the conclusion that the future of journalism will not come in any shape or form from the current established media – at least in its present form. … the future of journalism does not lie with the mainstream media.
Westbrook authored this post 2 days after he appeared on Al Jazeera with Robert Fisk – a bit of a journalistic hero of mine – on a panel discussing how WikiLeaks is challenging, and changing, the craft of journalism. The video can be viewed below:
I started with Westbrook because his voice is from a younger generation of journalists that looks to the Internet to provide a visibility and transparency that (I believe) was absent from previous forms of media and journalism. Westbrook makes the case that WikiLeaks represents a new form of journalism made possible by the Internet age, and the “complete and utter transparency” that is made possible by the Internet. He contrasts this with an older, more secretive era of both diplomacy and journalism.
Jeff Jarvis has also commented frequently of late on a new “era of transparency”, and supports WikiLeaks efforts in this regard in his blog post from December 4 2010: Wikileaks: Power shifts from secrecy to transparency.
Jay Rosen provides a very interesting angle on the WikiLeaks phenomena in the video below:
Rosen’s line of thought is not so much whether WikiLeaks is a journalistic force for good or evil (so to speak). Rather, he asks the important question of why WikiLeaks as an organization arose as a trusted source for whistleblowers in the first place? Quoting Rosen:
One of the reasons (why whistleblowers trust WikiLeaks with their information) is that the legitimacy of the press itself is in doubt in the minds of the leakers. And there’s good reason for that. Because while we have what proports to be a watchdog press, we also have … the clear record of the watchdog presses’ failure … to provide a check on power …
So I think it’s a mistake to try and reckon with WikiLeaks and what it’s about, without including in the frame the spectacular failures of the watchdog press over the past 10, 20, 30 years, but especially recently.
And so without this legitimacy crisis in mainstream American journalism, the leakers may not be so included to trust an upstart like Julian Assange and … WikiLeaks.
When the United States is able to go to war behind a phony case. When something like that happens, and the Congress is fooled, and a fake case is presented to the United Nations. And a war follows, and hundreds of thousands of people die, and the stated rationale turns out to be false. The legitimacy crisis extends from the Bush government itself to the American state as a whole, and the American press, and the international system. Because all of them failed at one of the most important things that a government by consent can do – which is reason-giving.
That’s powerful stuff.
Glenn Greenwald on Mainstream Media reporting of WikiLeaks
No journalist, however, has done more to expose the conflicted relationship of mainstream media (in the US) and WikiLeaks that Salon’s Glenn Greenwald – who also gets my vote as the top journalist writing for a US media outlet.
It’s hard to even know where to start to cover the excellent journalism Greenwald has done in holding mainstream media accountable for their inaccurries and mistruths regarding WikiLeaks. Here’s just a sampling of my favorite Greenwald pieces surrounding WikiLeaks:
- Wired’s refusal to release or comment on the Manning chat logs – December 29 2010
- The merger of journalists and government officials – December 28 2010
- What WikiLeaks revealed to the world in 2010 – December 24 2010
- The media’s authoritarianism and WikiLeaks – December 10 2010
- The lawless Wild West attacks WikiLeaks – December 6 2010
- WikiLeaks debate with Steven Aftergood – December 3 2010
- The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics – December 1 2010
- More on the media’s Pentagon-subservient WikiLeaks coverage – October 27 2010
- NYT v. the world: WikiLeaks coverage – October 25 2010
- The Nixonian henchmen of today: at the NYT – October 24 2010
Shameful Assange Media Interview award – CNN’s Atika Shubert
But my vote for most shameful Assange media interview of 2010 goes to CNN’s Atika Shubert who (briefly) interviewed Assange in October 2010. First, the clip:
This interview was conducted right at the time of the WikiLeaks’ release of the Iraq War Logs – an event of enormous import. In this interview, Shubert employs (to my mind) the age-old technique of attempting to discredit the messenger when the message is unpalatable. It’s shameful journalism, and Assange was exactly right to walk away from the interview. I thought he handled the situation with dignity and grace.
In Summary – the birth of a genuinely accountable news media?
I believe WikiLeaks sets a new example and ideal for transparency and accountability in both investigative journalism and world affairs. It’s an organization that could not have been born prior to the current Internet era, and its emergence is being resisted by entities – political and journalistic – that for far too long have not been held accountable to public scrutiny. It’s a very encouraging and hopeful phenomenon IMO.
This is the third in a series of posts on key dimensions of Hyperlocal. Other posts in this series are:
In the previous post, we explored the dimensions of Hyperlocal News and Commerce. In this post, we will explore Local Advertising and Hyperlocal Community.
Local Advertising is definitely a key part of Local Business/Commerce, which I explored in the previous post. But local advertising can also be embedded within Local News and Local Community portals. Thus I’ve chose to deal with it as a separate topic.
Insights into Local/Hyperlocal Advertising
First off, I have a few favorite resources for keeping informed in the Local/Hyperlocal advertising space. These are:
Borrell Associates – headed up by CEO Gordon Borrell – also sponsors the Local Online Advertising Conference, which was held in New York city early this month.
Jeff Jarvis also frequently has compelling insights into Advertising strategies for Local News Media. For example, see his recent blog posts from February 2010: Stop selling scarcity and NewBizNews: What ad sales people hear.
Search Engine Marketing/SEO for SMEs
Obviously, SEM strategies are critical for any local online business on the web. My top go-to resources for local SEM/SEO insights are:
- Small Business Search Marketing by Matt McGee
- SEO by the Sea – Bill Slawski’s blog
- Understanding Google Maps and Local Search – Mike Blumenthal’s blog
- Chris Silver Smith
- The Noisy Channel – Daniel Tunkelang’s blog
- David Mihm
- Local SEO Guide – Andrew Shotland’s blog
- Search Engine Land
- John Battelle’s Searchblog
Big Ad Networks
On the solution provider front, you have the big ad networks around Search Engine marketing, some of which include:
Local Advertising Media/Platforms
A number of application/media providers – many with a mobile focus – are positioned to be significant players, including:
Niche/Regional-based Ad Networks and Services
Increasingly, however, you also have your niche/regional-based ad networks and service providers. Here’s some examples:
- Spot Runner
- Sacremento Press
- Village Voice Media
Bargains and Deals
Numerous vendors provide applications to notify consumers of bargains and deals in the local vicinity, including:
Additional Local Advertising Solution Providers
One more advertising solution provider I’ll mention:
So there you have it, a sampling of Local Advertising solution providers. Local Advertising should be a very interesting space to watch in 2010, particularly when it comes to mobile, location-based tools and technologies.
The Local Community view of HyperLocal is about information and events of interest to the Community. Information and Events around the Local Community may be contributed by businesses, community organizations, or municipal governmental sources, or it may be user-generated content contributed by the Community.
When you talk Community, by definition you are talking about Social Networks. Therefore, you have to consider the various social networking platforms, and particularly those that host large social graphs. I’m thinking here most specifically of:
Many of the HyperLocal News platforms are also positioning themselves as Local Community platforms. For example:
You also have open city initiatives/discussions such as those initiated by:
For additional information on open city initiatives, see here.
Then there are do-it-yourself City initiatives and tools, for example:
You have Local Event platforms, such as:
And finally, organizational and community tools around local causes. See:
This is really just a very small sampling of possible ways/platforms for organizing people within a geographic community. I look for a lot of innovation in this space over the next several years.
HyperLocal Business Models
This viewpoint explores various ways to make a HyperLocal business commercially viable. There’s some great pioneering work being done by Jeff Jarvis and the folks at CUNY here – see the New Business Models for News Project at CUNY, and Jarvis’ overview of the work on HyperLocal business models here.
More on this to come.
This is the second in a series of posts on key dimensions of Hyperlocal. Other posts in this series are:
In the initial post in this series, I introduced the following core dimensions of Hyperlocal/Local:
- Local News/Journalism
- Local Business/Commerce
- Local Advertising
- Local Community
- HyperLocal Business Models
This post will briefly explore the first 2 dimensions – Local News and Local Business/Commerce.
An important service to the Local community is News about the Community, or Community perspectives and reactions to the News. A nice definition of HyperLocal News is provided by Christopher Wink here: Hyperlocal news: a definition.
Keeping Informed about HyperLocal News Media
Here are a few of the sites I regularly visit to keep track of happenings in the Local/Hyperlocal News media space:
- BuzzMachine – Jeff Jarvis’ blog
- News Innovation
- Journalism 2.0 – Mark Briggs’ blog
- Lost Remote
- Media Transparent
- HyperlocalBlogger – Matt McGee
There are many, many Hyperlocal blogs and websites currently servicing their local communities. Wink provides a nice overview of some of the major ones in his post Hyperlocal news sites worth following.
This is a core area of innovation at present, and a slew of recent acquisitions by major media companies of hyperlocal news platform providers illustrates this point.
Some of the key innovators:
Real-time News Feeds
Finally, with the rise of Twitter, real-time geotagged feeds are also breaking onto the scene. Pat Kitano‘s Hyperlocal Curation of Real Time News post from November 2009 provides some interesting examples. Kitano’s Breaking News Network is a powerful example of location-relevant breaking news.
And of course, Twitter has launched location-based Trending Topics, would should add additional impetus to this trend.
Here, we’re talking about the commercial aspect of HyperLocal. A profound insight into the potential de-coupling of “core” Local News from Local Business services was recently delivered by Clay Shirky at the Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy in September 2009. A must-listen-to presentation IMHO.
There are many, many players and platforms that service local business needs, with many more soon to come no doubt. Here are a smattering of players in a very competitive space:
Business Listings – General
- Insider Pages
Business Listings – Niche
Services – Niche
- My Builder
As you can see, there are a number of different spaces by which software providers and hosting sites are seeking to provide services for local commerce. In the next post, we’ll look at two additional hyperlocal/local dimensions: Advertising and Community.
The usual great insights from Jeff Jarvis in this interview with Gordon Borrell of Borrell Associates.
Quoting Jarvis from the interview:
Look at Washington. Jim Brady and company are starting Politico Local. And at someone said at a conference I was at recently, “It’s a lot easier to build that from the ground up, than to take the Washington Post and make it into Politico Local.” That’s the problem we have here. We have companies that have 1,000-1,500 employees that are going to be working in a world where it’s probably a 100-person company. And the pain and struggle – both economically and culturally – of going from 1,500 to 100 is probably impossible for them. And that’s really the issue. They’re trying to maintain their old cost structure, and that’s the problem we don’t talk about here.
The crux of the matter IMO.
Following up on these comments, Jarvis also restates his recent thoughts that Newspaper co’s must use the opportunity that bankruptcy protection provides to fundamentally restructure and reinvent their businesses. See also Bankruptcy Squandered and The Opportunity of Bankruptcy.
Thought I’d muse today about a topic I’m going to call Algorithmic Journalism. I’ve noticed a fair bit of discussion lately on the use of algorithms (typically machine-learning algorithms) to make sense of, understand the relevance of, aggregate, and distribute news.
First off, the use of machine-learning algorithms and collective intelligence to determine relevance of search and content are very common place today. They form the basis of Google’s search algorithms, and are heavily used by Amazon, Netflix, etc. However, machine-learning in Newsrooms is another matter. And it’s the discussion of machine learning in the context of the News Media business whose waves are starting to wash up against the shorelines of my personal information space (i.e. Twitter and the real-time Web!)
Here’s some of the articles/blog posts in the past few months that speak to this topic:
- Content farms v. curating farmers – Jeff Jarvis, December 2009
- A Speculative Post on the Idea of Algorithmic Authority – Clay Shirky, November 2009
- The rise of machine-written journalism – Wired Mag, December 2009
- The End Of Hand Crafted Content – TechCrunch, December 2009
- Google’s vision of the future of journalism – The Guardian, October 2009
- The Answer Factory: Demand Media and the Fast, Disposable, and Profitable as Hell Media Model – Wired Mag, October 2009
Note these articles were all written in the past few months. So the topic appears to be only recently breaking into the broader consciousness of the Journalism community.
I’d also point out that the evolution of Algorithimic Journalism is highly dependent on Semantic Web technologies. So look for the influence of the Semantic Web to continue to penetrate the Journalism industry.
Anyway, a topic to keep an eye on in 2010.
So with the new year fast approaching (like 10 hours away), I thought I’d aggregate some of the best insight in 2009 into the future of News Media. As I work in the Publishing industry for a large Canadian media company, I’m going to exclude (for the most part) trends in the Broadcast (i.e. TV) industry, and focus specifically on online journalism.
Insights from a handful of Thought Leaders
So here it goes, links to posts from a handful of thought leaders that provide a good overview of the changing world of News Media as we enter 2010.
One could do worse than review the top Jeff Jarvis posts of the past year to get a feel for the future of news media. Here are some of my favorite Jarvis posts of the past 6 months or so:
- A Scenario for (Local) News
- The annotated world
- Bankruptcy Squandered
- Page & Brin: Icons of the decade
- Google’s synchronicity
- Content farms v. curating farmers
- Media after the site
- The new divide: Walled v. open
- New Business Models for News talk
- The opportunity of bankruptcy
- The balance shifts
- The future of business is in ecosystems
- The future of news is entrepreneurial
- NewBizNews & Hyperpersonal news streams
- Aspen: live
- New Business Models for News Project
- The new news
Vadim Lavruiski at Mashable
Kevin Sablan had an interesting post a few days ago titled 2009, the year social media covered journalism. He makes the point that, in 2009, many social media blogs started to prominently cover the news media industry. No site did this better than Mashable, and no blogger at Mashable did this better than Vadim Lavruiski. Here are my favorite posts from Lavruiski over the past several months:
- 10 News Media Content Trends to Watch in 2010
- 8 News Media Business Trends for 2010
- 12 Things Newspapers Should Do to Survive
- 7 Ways News Media are Becoming More Collaborative
- 8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist
*** Updated January 2 2009 ***
The other news media visionary that looms large over the landscape (that does not work for Google!) is media socialogist Clay Shirky. For a wonderful exploration of the core challenges facing newspapers in the rapidly-changing media environment, please see my blog post Clay Shirky on the future of Journalism – Shorenstein Center talk from Sept 09.
*** End of update ***
Top Trends for 2010
There has also been many posts in recent days on top trends in both news media and the Web generally. Here’s a sampling.
Top News Media Trends for 2010 – Additional Posts
A collection of posts on top news media trends for 2010:
- Media Predictions for 2010 – Pat Kitano
- Out on a limb again: Predictions for 2010 – Martin Langeveld
- 10 trends in journalism in 2010 – Adam Westbrook
- Trends 2010: Hyperlocal – The Guardian
- Seven Predictions for 2010 from eMarketer’s CEO – Geoff Ramsey
Top Web/Digital Media Trends for 2010
A collection of posts on top Web/Digital Media trends in 2010, and a review of Google’s 2009:
- ReadWriteWeb’s Top 5 Web Trends of 2009 – Richard MacManus
- 10 Web trends to watch in 2010 – Pete Cashmore
- Web Meets World – My blog post referencing Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle
- 5 Big Real-Time Web Trends of 2009 – by Samuel Axon at Mashable
- 10 Ways Social Media Will Change In 2010 – Ravit Lichtenberg
- Top 10 Mobile Predictions for 2010 – Millennial Media
- Mobile Advertising: 5 Things You Need to Know to Succeed in 2010
- Google’s 2009: A Glimpse of the Web’s Next Decade
Technology/Spaces I’ll be watching in 2010
And finally, here’s some key technologies and spaces I’ll be watching closely and spending time learning about in 2010 (in the rough order that they occurred to me):
- Social Web and Social Media
- Online Identity
- Real-time Web
- Web meets World
- Google, Facebook, and Twitter
- Machine Learning/Collective Intelligence
- Semantic Web
- HyperLocal and Community
- Image Recognition
- Augmented Reality
- Media Revenue Models
- Business Innovation
In Summary …
Well, there you have it. A quick wrap-up of key insights and trends in the changing world of News Media and related Technology. Hope you found something of value to take away. :)