Posts Tagged ‘News Media’

Change in the Publishing Industry – Eric Hellweg from Harvard Business Review (HBR)

August 28, 2010 Leave a comment

A nice presentation by Eric Hellweg, Executive Editor of Harvard Business Review online, presented at Managing Experience (Mx) 2010:

Hellweg talks about how his team made change happen throughout an organization, and the role of putting the users and the community at the center of these efforts.

There are some classic quotes in Hellweg’s presentation, here’s just a few:

I want to just give a brief bit of context around the Publishing industry … I think everyone knows how challenging these times are, and in many ways, self-inflicted I think on the Publishing industry.

But the context is we are all in a battle of attention; we are all in a battle for an ever-shrinking amount of time for any one media property. I think we’re going through one of the the first actual repricing, reevaluation of advertising.

I don’t know if you’ve read the Ken Auletta book Googled, but there’s a great scene where Mel Karmazin – I think he was at CBS at the time – goes in for one of his first meetings at Google, and they’re explaining how Page Rank and Ad Sense work. And Mel, who’s built this empire literally on advertising, looks at them as says “You’re fu**ing with my magic!”

And that’s exactly what’s happening at large with the Publishing industry – is that for the first time, people are able to actually put a real value on advertising, which for most publishing companies is the crux of what their revenues come from.

That’s pretty profound. It’s a story that has been repeatedly told since the Google advertising model took off, but I think it bears repeating. Continuing:

I think when we talk about these kinds of organizational changes, these kind of cultural changes, that we really remember it’s something that’s happening at the individual level. And I think that one of the things that’s happening in the Publishing industry is at the human level, this is a really searing, and almost existential moment for them – in that the entire value proposition that people thought they had in publishing has fundamentally changed. …

As Brandon mentioned in my introduction, I did a fair amount of writing about the music industry back when I lived in San Francisco. And I remember at the time being a reporter, and looking at this industry and just saying, “How could they be so stupid? How could they not see what they need to do?” It’s so clear to me – a 27 year-old reporter – what this industry needs to do be doing with regards to the industry, and engaging its community, and dropping its litigious approach to strategy.

And I realized to my horror about two months ago, that the Publishing industry was actually doing the exact same thing. And I think they’re now at the stage where they’re about to collapse exhausted, defeated at Apple’s feet.

I haven’t finished watching Hellweg’s video, but I suspect there are some important lessons about user- and community-centered design approaches for the traditional publishing industry.


Changing Interactions with News Media – NY Times’ Alexis Lloyd

August 8, 2010 1 comment

An interesting presentation by Alexis Lloyd, Creative Technologist in the NY Times R&D lab, on profound shifts occurring in user interaction and product design in news media.

So what does working in the NY Times R&D Lab entail? Here’s how Lloyd defines its mission:

The R&D Lab was founded about 4 years ago, and our mission is really to look around corners, to foster innovation at the company by researching technology trends and projecting outward anywhere from 18 months to 2-5 years. And we design and prototype ideas for what future interfaces for news media and content might look like.

Cool. The rest of this post highlights key messages from Lloyd’s talk, and is broken down into 5 sections:


From Static Publishing to an Interaction paradigm

Lloyd says that if she had to boil her entire presentation down to one sentence, it would probably be this:

The web is shifting from a publishing paradigm to a paradigm of communicating.

And this is having profound effects on the way we understand, experience, and create content.

The old paradigm

First, Lloyd presents the traditional publishing paradigm:

She comments:

In the old paradigm, information was at the center, and people actively seek it out. So you have a website, and people make this pilgrimage to your website to experience your content.

The new paradigm

Then, the new publishing paradigm:

Again from Lloyd:

In the new model, people have shifted to the center of this equation. And more and more often, content and information is getting pushed to them rather than them actively going and seeking it out. Which really changes how they experience it, how they interact with it. And furthermore, those arrows are now moving in two directions a whole lot more. So not only is content being pushed to users, but they’re increasingly broadcasting it and creating their own content and pushing that outward.

This new paradigm (or model) can be described in terms of three profound shifts. They are:

  1. From one (or a few) to many Devices
  2. From a web of pages to a Web of Data
  3. From static web to Real-Time Web

These three shifts are described in the following sections.

Next: Trend #1: From one (or a few) to many Devices

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

Open Innovation and Henry Chesbrough

August 1, 2010 3 comments

Henry Chesborough’s work on Open Innovation and Open Business Models


I’ve posted a fair bit on this blog on Business Innovation, but somehow the work of Henry Chesbrough has eluded me. Chesborough is a leading proponent of Open Innovation and Open Business Models, as well as Executive Director for the Center of Open Innovation at University of California, Berkeley.

Chesbrough is also the author of 2 important books on these topics: Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating And Profiting from Technology (2005) and Open Business Models: How to Thrive in the New Innovation Landscape (2006).

Both books discuss opening up a company’s research processes to outside parties. So “open” in this case, has a fairly specific meaning.

Chesbrough on Open Innovation

The following video is worth watching for the first 20 minutes or so as an introduction to Chesbrough’s perspective on Open Innovation:

The slides for the first 20 minutes of this presentation can be found in another presentation Chesbrough gave around the same time here.

BTW, I love Chesbrough’s comments at approximate 10:08 into his talk:

Bill Joy … has a wonderful expression … “Not all the smart people in the world work for you“. So if you’re a company looking for ideas to grow, etc. your initial assumption, unlike 50 or 100 years ago, where maybe you did have to really invest to create the ideas … These days there are lots of smart people in lots of places, and that should be the starting point for thinking about your innovation search for new ideas and technologies.

Now you’re still going to need smart people in this world. But part of the job for your smart people in this world is to identify, recognize, and then connect to the other smart people that are out there.

And so one of the points that Open Innovation as a perspective starts with is this open and distributed model of innovation. That instead of thinking like things in a very deep hierarchy, in the sense that Alfred Chandler might argue for say the book he wrote about scale and scope … We’re instead in much more of a network model. And in particular a network model where there’s not necessarily a central hub, but a distributed network. Where much of the activity is going on at the periphery of the network.


Finally, the slide below really captures the essence of the new model of Open Innovation that Chesbrough describes:

Unfortunately, the above visual probably won’t make a lot of sense until you listen to Chesbrough describe it, which he does from 15:28 to approx 21:00 of the video.

Applying Open Innovation and Open Business concepts to News Media

I work for a Canadian news media organization that is about to set out on a journey that I believe will lead to a fundamental transformation in both our business model, and how we do business. I have a colleague that like to use the term Open Newsroom, as a framework for understanding the “newsroom of the future” (which may be virtual, and will certainly be “open”). While the meaning of “open” … more collaborative and participatory … is different than the sense that Chesbrough uses the term, I’m wondering if some of the same principles and thought processes might be applied.

If anyone has any thoughts or comments on the matter I’d be most interested to hear.


Open Data Strategies and News Media – update

July 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Last year, I had several posts around Open Data strategies – focusing specifically on News Media organizations. I’d like to provide an update. Actually, this post is a compilation of a collection of e-mails, so hopefully it come together in some coherent manner.

Data-driven Journalism

The collection of posts began with a questions as to whether data-driven journalism should be considered a future strategic capability of news media organizations?

The question was prompted by a post from from zero hedge: Another Massively Interactive European Chart, which referenced an interactive chart published by the Economist. It reminded me again of the power of Info-graphics to “enlighten and explain”.

For additional articles on data-driven journalism, see the following:

The Bigger Picture – Open Data

I then briefly explored the importance of Open Data, a capability that would offer strong material for data-driven journalism. I provided the following links:

Also of interest is The Guardian’s strong advocacy for opening up public data sources, in part to put to the service of journalism.

Linked Data – Technological foundation for Open Data on the Web

The following e-mail provided some context for the W3C’s Linked Data initiative. In particular, it provided links to thoughts from Martin Belam, the Chief Information Architect at The Guardian, on how Linked Data will affect the future of News organizations. These links are provided below:

There’s also a very interesting presentation from the News Linked Data Summit in February 2010, where a presentation was given titled News Media Metadata – The Current Landscape. It would be nice to have the video to go with this presentation, but there some great content in the slide deck.

On the topics of semantics, here’s ReadWriteWeb’s archived articles from SemTech 2010 if anyone is interested. Facebook and Google both had a strong presence at this year’s Semtech conference.

Government and Community Open Data Initiatives

A third e-mail followed discussed some of the current movements by various level of government – from countries to municipalities – to freely open up their data to the public.

Here’s an interesting link announcing the pending formal UK government launch of their Open Data initiative, prompted by Tim Berners-Lee. And here’s The Guardian’s announcement of the launch the following day, with a video clip of Sir Tim himself. As The Guardian’s Martin Belam comments in a post days after the announcement, “We now know that, whatever the outcome of the next election, we are only going to see more Government and state gathered data published, not less. So how, as the news industry, are we going to respond to this, and what does the digital news media look like in a world with a high level of semantic state data available?”

The UK Government is a pioneer here for sure, but it’s a trend that many are already promoting in Canada. This represents a real opportunity, IMO, for journalism – as Belam strongly advocates for – for helping people make sense out of government data, to illuminate the broader patterns and relevance to peoples’ lives, and to host discussion around important “topics that matter”. Note the list of Canadian municipalities in this wiki page that are moving ahead full steam with Open Data initiatives. See the following articles for Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary. And here’s a recent Forrester blog post on the topic.

And that’s about that. 🙂


Behind the Scenes at Citizen Journalism startup AllVoices – Mediashift, September 2009

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

An interesting look behind the scenes at Citizen Journalism startup AllVoices – from PBS Mediashift:

There are some interesting observations and comments in this video that shed insight into the core competencies of the future news organization. From the first part of the video, a few observations:

  • Low cost structure – The company employees relatively few staff, where each person where a lot of different hats – the prototypical startup
  • Community Management – Strong emphasis on Community Management, and the role of the Community Manager
  • Copyright – A need to manage copyright violations – for both professional and user-generated content – which AllVoices manages by NLP algorithms (recognizing sequences of 5 identical terms)
  • Marketing – The Community has become the evangelist for AllVoices, which has helped AllVoices tremendously in creating buzz. People promote their content on Social Networks and other sites. AllVocies depends on their community to do their marketing for them … it’s all about the Community.

The second part of the video (starting at approx 5:29) is an interview with AllVoices’ CEO Amra Tareen and VP Social Media, Erik Sundelof. Some insightful quotes in this segment. Here’s a few:

Amra Tareen: So when AllVoices started, what we wanted to do was create a place where people could report regardless of where they are, from any device – cell phone, computer, using MMS, SMS, e-mail, or just going to the website.

When they send us something, what we want to do is geolocate – where exactly is it coming from? In AllVoices, we can detect locations down to any place greater than 500 people … So any city in the world we can detect where the message or report is coming from.

And then we try to geolocate, based on the IP address, based on the cell phone #, based on any tags the user adds to their text.


Amra Tareen: Now there are two types of content that come into AllVoices. One is “user reported”, the other is what our system aggregates from news sources and news feeds all around the world.

So, first, we geolocate, we categorize – whether you’re talking about Politics, Conflict and Tragedy, Sports, Entertainment. Then what we do is break it down, do contextual analysis to “bag of worlds“.

Then based on those bag of words, … we want to showcase the user report, as well as create context around that report by aggregating related information.

… Since we already break it down into keywords, we know what the tags are for that user report. But we let the user add the tags themselves. Because sometimes the machines are not always as accurate as the user is. And that’s what we’ve learned – AllVoices is based on Machine Learning and the Community, and the Community always corrects the Machine Learning.

So some interesting stuff here. Once again (that is, I have strongly advocated this position in previous posts), the future of Journalism will be significantly about a balance between Machine Learning and the Community … and the many, many technologies that support the interface between the two.

Let’s see what Erik Sundelof, AllVoices’ VP Social Media, has to say:

Erik Sundelof: If you are doing cell phone reporting or “in the field” reporting, you have to bring in the context, and [show people that context].

At All Voices, we try to bring in all the different content and media types … By doing this, you will also be able to determine how credible a particular report is.

If user content is coming in very short, very opinionated peices – which I really think is what Citizen Journalism should be about, bringing in the more emotional side, and telling what is really going on on the ground – that doesn’t mean that it’s fact checked. But you can’t fact check the complete flow of information in free-form. So you have to apply technology on top of it.

How does AllVoices’ system deal with “hoaxes” reported by the community?

Erik Sundelof: The way we are attacking the “hoaxes” problem is through “credibility”. A hoax is just another story. We’re still going to apply the same methodology, because everything is a computerized [algorithim]. So this means if the hoax comes in, and no one is talking about it, then it will just drop off the system. It will still have a page, because it’s a free publishing platform. So you will get your page, but it won’t show in the landing pages because no one will view it.

Amra Tareen: And each page has a credibility rating. So every report in AllVoice has a 5-bar credibility rating. So based on the activity level, based on similirity of content we find on AllVoices and off of AllVoices, I think the likelihood of a hoax being report is small, compared to some person individually fact-checking, and trying to figure it out.

Interesting perspectives – again, particular around the intersection of machine learning and the crowd-sourced journalism and content.

Tip of the hat to Stephen Konrath‘s blog News 3.0: The Future of Journalism, where I first came across this video in this post.


Fit to Print – Documenting the decline of the Newspaper Industry

January 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Fascinating. So first I just came across the website Newspaper Death Watch, and I must say I find its perspective fascinating. Secondly, while on the site, I came across an interview with two documentary filmmakers – Adam Chadwick and Bill Loerch – who are producing a documentary called Fit to Print, about the decline of the Newspaper industry in the U.S., I believe with a specific focus on the New York Times. Anyway, here’s the clip:

Interesting times, and yet a time that arouses compassion also.