© Copyright 2013
Kristofor Lawson

Re-inventing Journalism: Why Innovation Is The Only Way To Save The Media


Image by theonlyone

No matter what your interest is in the media it’s hard to escape talk about the possible demise of the journalism industry. Once powerful newspaper companies are now struggling to stay afloat in a market that has primarily moved online. But with an ever expanding and socially driven marketplace the only way to survive will be to innovate. This innovation must be driven by the mobile space and deliver news content in a way users want to read it. A new journalism model must be interactive, it must be engaging, it must be social, and it must be different.

While most companies have shifted their reporting efforts towards the online market it has not come without significant restructuring and downsizing in an attempt to maximise profits from a dwindling advertising market.1 No matter the size of the company, or the significance of their online presence, they have all been affected. The New York Times, for instance, has shed hundreds of staff since 20082 and also restructured the editing of its news service.3 These company wide cuts are despite The New York Times website receiving around 20 million unique visitors every month4. The website alone simply can’t sustain all the resources which the print edition has built up. Other major companies like The Los Angeles Times have also shed staff with almost half of their once 1200 strong workforce axed in the past 9 years.5 Another casualty is the American television network news giant ABC, which has been planning to cut up to 400 jobs from its 1500 strong staff this year.6

The big problem for news companies is that they are still thinking about how money was made during the golden years of print and broadcast. Advertising has always, for most media companies, funded quality news and investigative journalism. News is expensive but these models of journalism and revenue making cannot be directly shifted to the internet without modifying them. They must be modified to make the most of the technology available. Some websites have tried to create the ideal blend by integrating multimedia and social features but these integrations are often only surface repairs, masking an archaic structure. Adding extra content and features has often been merely an afterthought but not the focus of how the websites were designed. Most of these integrated news websites are still funded by advertising with a few exceptions. The Wall Street Journal, successfully use a subscription-based pay-wall system to fund their efforts, and others like the Australian Broadcasting Corporation are funded entirely by Government; but these are the exceptions. For other sites the ads used are still similar to the past just having taken a new form with a combination of banner, video, pop-up, viral, and text. Often these ads can crowd the layout of a website leaving only a small amount of room for journalistic content. This content is often just a replica of a story already published in another medium or has been used entirely from a newswire service. Such poor designs and approaches to online news development may explain why many news websites are seeing rapid declines in the time users spend on their sites.7

While these implementations have worked to some extent they are just mere adaptations of a print and broadcast mindset; they worked for a short time but are no longer very effective.8 The only way to achieve market growth in a digital ecosystem is to target quality and original content to specific platform devices. If advertising is to play a major role in supporting content then it must be beneficial to the user. With a push towards the mobile space this is exactly why Apple has introduced iAds to its mobile iOS platforms. They say iAds will “combine the emotion of TV advertising with the interactivity of internet advertising, giving advertisers a dynamic and powerful new way to bring motion and emotion to mobile users.”9 News companies still have much to learn about consolidating and servicing the needs of their audience.

Image by digitalbob8

Becoming Digital

Journalists themselves have had to learn a new way of working to utilise their news organisations digital offerings. But many have only ever learnt the basics of what is needed to operate in an online environment.

This lack of in-depth online knowledge can be attributed in part to news organisations asking their staff to produce better work, across more platforms, in less time. Journalists working in online departments have to produce video, audio, text, photos, and interact with social media. All of these areas require a specific skill set that must be learnt thoroughly to even attempt to make the most of any combined multimedia production, but often journalists won’t ever receive the training to use the technologies at a professional level.10 There is simply no free time in which to fully transform their skills and they are expected to do so. This effectively stagnates the ability of the industry to evolve with new technology. Most journalists therefore only learn what they think will be necessary to complete their jobs and they rarely voluntarily to learn more.11 While this may be an over generalisation of the industry as there are clearly some journalists, particularly technology ones, who keep up with the trends, it is a valid one which must be made to understand how the media is evolving. Real innovation in news organisations is only a new concept.

Journalists might be partly to blame for their lack of expertise but the significance of, staff reductions, drops in advertising revenue, and old media mindsets, can’t be ignored. News companies have struggled to keep up with how technology is evolving, but they need to. Journalism must find both a new model of operation and a new way of funding the craft. As Ronald Yaros writes, “the challenge for journalists is to create new structures for online news”.12 It’s no longer enough to just have an online presence but you need to know how to make the most of that online identity. Journalism must be re-defined. It will not be enough to just give a journalist a video camera, throw a quick video together and link it to an article. Innovation is now really the only key to making the journalism industry survive in the digital era.

The Decline Of News

Image by Ian Hayhurst

It is all too much to blame the declining journalism market solely on the take-up of online media. The media industry was already starting to see signs of weakness well before the Internet ever became popular.13 But as Nerone and Barnhurst point out, Jon Katz predicted in 1994 the demise of the newspaper. Katz had written in Wired magazine that such printed news entities would not exist within 10 years.14 While he was obviously wrong on the timeframe his prediction still holds significant merit given the current economic situation of the journalism industry. It is clear that for many companies their print operations did indeed cease to exist. Respected news entities like The Christian Science Monitor have moved the majority of their operations online leaving only trace elements of their past paper products remaining in a Sunday edition.15 While others like The Rocky Mountain News, which almost reached 150 years of publication, were forced to close because of increasing market pressure.16

When you combine the decline of newspaper products with the issue of declining revenue across all income streams, online and offline, then inherently this means there is a significant problem built into the current model of journalism. Most news websites originally evolved out of their print and broadcast editions. This meant the layout and design used tried to replicate the modular “scannable” designs developed in the 1970’s.17 When this was translated across to news websites, content owners never thought online news would take off. They looked at online news as a type of free marketing for their modular print editions, however because the content was exactly the same it created a culture where people would read news solely online. After all it was the same content, only free. News companies realised their readers were heading online and so tried to keep them by using their websites to embrace breaking news stories. By keeping users up-to-date via the web on the latest stories they effectively made their offline content irrelevant. The entire foundation of online news is floored and news companies have driven themselves out of business with nobody else to blame.

If the basis of the industry is failing then a new foundation must be found. For this reason the only way to effectively make use of current technology is to start from scratch. To stop thinking about how journalism was done in the past, move away from modular designs, and start thinking about how the media can re-invent itself. Re-inventing, re-imagining, and innovating are the only way to forget the past and to come up with a successful model for the future. The idea of innovation is what the web was built on and is where it thrives.

Innovation Culture

Image via Ross Mayfield

Silicon Valley has long been the hub of innovation in digital mediums. Companies with roots in Silicon Valley often begin with simple ideas; ideas that change, that re-invent, and that solve real problems in the world. There is a culture in the Valley that encourages innovation. New ideas can become big sensations almost overnight. A budding entrepreneur will set out to solve a problem and the solution can often become a rapid success. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Google, all started as ideas to fix problems or holdes in the digital ecosystem and have all seen rapid growth.

YouTube for instance, which was founded by Chad Hurley and Steve Chan, turned itself in just 11 months into a site worth $1.65 Billion when Google purchased it in October 2006.18 The founders wanted a way for people to share videos and the community embraced it. It is a story seen time and time again. While not all of these companies actually turn a profit, all of them have one thing in common, people keep coming back for more, and the more people who come back the more potential they have to make money. It’s a model that is 180 degrees in the opposite direction of how media companies operate. Journalism companies have always focused first on making money, and then promise to deliver a good news product later. The Silicon Valley approach is to start with a problem, come up with a great idea to fix that problem, build a great product, find a loyal audience, and then after you have a mass following, find an intuitive way to make money. By the time companies get to a stage of focusing on making money, their audience is great enough that most schemes will deliver massive returns for the company. It is this cultivation process that is vitally important to making significant money from digital technology, and journalism companies need to embrace this culture.

To follow an innovation approach to journalism, first news delivery must focus on the user. What do people want to experience with their news and how do they want to experience it? Then an innovator must also focus on the social aspects. How might people want to share and distribute this story to their friends? Finding an answer to these few simple questions is far more important for an innovator then asking how to make money. It is an iconoclastic way of thinking. That is, a way of destroying the previous beliefs and mindsets. As Dr Gregory Burns writes in Iconoclast: a neuroscientist reveals how to think differently, “to create something new, you also have to tear down conventional ways of thinking.”19

Journalism by Design

Image by thinkpublic

To event attempt to re-invent journalism the real question must first be asked, how? There are so many different styles of journalism around now on the internet it can be difficult to figure out exactly what works best. However to re-invent an industry it is important to start by looking at a process for innovation.

Large design companies like IDEO have refined innovation down to a series of repeatable steps. This process allows them to innovate across many industries. In IDEO’s case they have an approach which they call “design thinking”.20 The core of this idea is “a means of problem solving that uses design methodologies to tap into a deep reservoir of opportunity.”21 In other words, IDEO CEO Tim Brown says that the basis of design thinking is to strike a balance between “feasibility (what is functionally possible within the foreseeable future); viability (what is likely to become part of a sustainable business model); and desirability (what makes sense to people and for people).”22 All of these constraints are designed to help innovation thrive. But it is only by looking at IDEO’s more detailed 5-step approach to innovation that you can start to realise the importance of such a process in design. The steps are to understand, observe, visualize, evaluate and refine, and implement.23 Using this rather simple methodology within the constraints of design thinking, IDEO are able to look at virtually any industry, with any size problem, and innovate. This method could easily be applied to the journalism industry.

Another way to look at design is by following a hierarchy of needs. Steven Bradley created a hierarchy for design based off Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Maslow’s work goes through basic needs people must have met before they can achieve fulfillment at any higher level. While Maslow’s hierarchy covered things like psychological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation, Bradley’s design hierarchy of needs looks at this from a design perspective. At the base of the design hierarchy is the need for functionality, followed by reliability, usability, proficiency, and finally creativity.24 It is this hierarchy that is probably the most valuable design ideology for re-inventing journalism. Bradley purposely puts functionality as the most basic need, as every design needs to have some kind of purpose and actually fulfill that purpose. It is the same with journalism, as each journalism website or mobile application is realised it needs to do one thing, and do it very well, deliver news content and allow people to read what they want where they want to.

While there are a few important design ideals the hard decision becomes which one is most useful to follow for re-imagining journalism. The answer however is a combination of both. To truly be innovative in the journalism field it will be important to follow IDEO’s design approach, but do so in the context of the hierarchy of needs. This would allow for the greatest amount of creativity while still achieving the core goals and ideals desired by journalists. It is this combined process which will form the basis of the re-invention process.

Design In Progress

MediaStorm.com

Some companies have already started to think about inventing the future, and some have already begun changing how journalism is thought about and produced. Many have done so out of desperation but others have launched as innovative products. One such media company is MediaStorm.

MediaStorm has changed the realm of online journalism by thinking carefully about how they engage viewers. MediaStorm focuses on producing documentary style journalism, which combines video, audio, and even animation delivering these through a website that tries to involve the user in the overall experience. The stories are published very infrequently but the company works on making them as timeless as possible. In the end what is produced are stories that will still be as relevant and interesting in 5 years as they are today. MediaStorm operate by what Bruce Grundy calls an “out-of-the-pyramid rationale”.25 Such a rationale is based on the notion that stories need time and love to be told to the reader in the best possible way. In reality this rationale or style might also be known as “The Storytellers Perspective”,26 or long-form/feature journalism, which takes the time to show the story and portray the intricacies of human emotion. What MediaStorm has done well is innovate the practice of journalism to make the most of available technology. As the president of MediaStorm, Brian Storm puts it, “we need to rewrite how we communicate with each other”.27

Apple has also recently changed the game for how journalism might be delivered in the future. The release of the iPad has already sparked a wave of new innovation in the media with many major news organisations looking to capitilise on the new market. While it is only early days for the iPad, early indications are that it will be even more popular then the iPhone which Apple used to re-imagine mobile phones in 2007.28 In the first 60 days of the iPad’s release over 2 million units were sold worldwide.29 Some of the biggest names in journalism have indicated the iPad is changing the way they think about news production. Rupert Murdoch is one example of someone who says that the iPad has provided a new market for journalism. Speaking at the All Thing’s Digital, D8 Conference in California, Mr Murdoch praised the iPad.

In response to sceptics who say technology is killing the news business, I believe technology is ushering in a new golden age for those willing to embrace it… [It's] giving us new ways to showcase our strengths, enhance our coverage and encourage interactivity.30

Much of Mr Murdoch’s praise was due to the initial sales figures experienced by the iPad versions of News Corporation’s many entities, including The Australian, which had sold 4500 copies at the time.

Wired magazine has also seen the value of the iPad, creating an interactive replica of their print edition. Editor-in-Chief of Wired, Chris Anderson, said that the iPad provided the publishing platform that the magazine had desperately needed. The ability for the iPad to integrate many aspects of technology, according to Anderson, means, “Wired magazine will be digital from now on, designed from the start as a compelling interactive experience, in parallel with our print edition. Wired is finally, well, wired.”31 But there is a difference between what Wired produced and what other news organisations have done. By focusing specifically on all the features available to iPad users, Wired were able to create an experience unlike any other magazine before it. This meant that during the first day of sales, Wired’s iPad version sold 24,000 copies at $4.99 USD each.32

Pulse by Alphonso Labs

The iPad’s platform, just like the iPhone, rewards creativity. If users enjoy the experience of an application, they respond by recommending it to other people and gradually the innovative and intuitive applications become the most downloaded. News reading applications have used the iPad platform to change the way people access their news content. Pulse, an application developed by Stanford University graduate students, Ankit Gupta and Akshay Kothari, has already proven that people want to access their news in a better way.33 It uses publicly available RSS feeds to access news content and then tries to present it in a way that makes news easier and more enjoyable to consume. Users can select which news sources they want to read, but instead of being presented with lists of full-length stories they are presented using headlines and images. Steve Jobs even praised Pulse during his keynote at Apple’s 2010 World Wide Developers Conference for being one of the more exciting apps developed.34

What news organisations have not understood until recently is to start asking questions about how journalism should be defined in 2010. When Apple first developed the iPhone they set out to create something different and it clearly worked. By focusing on simple design principles and not stopping with an average product, the iPhone has rapidly become the most successful mobile platform in history. For journalism to be re-imagined using any platform, and especially for the iPhone or iPad, it needs to be different. There are now over 200,000 apps in Apple’s app store and a large number of them are news apps. It is easy for applications to get lost in all of that, but if a company can focus on their design process and “re-define the rules, not just make something better” then it might stand a chance of succeeding.35

All of the previously mentioned companies have started to re-invent journalism. They have looked at what platforms are available and tried to make well-designed products. Each organisation has examined vital questions such as, what is it that defines a good story? Where do you focus your content? How do you integrate multimedia with text? How much involvement do you give to your audience? What will be the new role of a journalist? However unlike in the past the only way to re-invent is to bring no assumptions to the table. It must be entirely possible for journalism to look and feel nothing like what it has in the past. While all of the companies mentioned have started to innovate, none of them are truly re-defining the market. All have stopped short of creating products that will change journalism forever. There is room still for someone to re-imagine the media and re-design the future. But it all starts with structure.

Re-defining Structure

Image by Chris Halderman

Currently the structure of how a newsroom operates is similar throughout most of the industry regardless of the medium. Always at the head is the Editor or News director. They will likely have a team comprising of deputy editors/news directors, chief of staffs, section editors or program producers, sub editors or associate producers, reporters, photographers, and other associated staff.36 This is the way news organisations have operated for many decades, however in 2010 this newsroom structure may not be the best model. New social technologies such as Google Wave are allowing newsrooms to take on a more dynamic structure without the need for even a physical office location. Such an example is Onward State, a news blog taking on Penn State University’s 112-year-old newspaper, The Daily Collegian. Onward State uses social tools to collaborate with its writers and to float new story ideas.37 Using collaborative online tools can allow greater mobility of journalists who can collectively take on the normal newsroom roles wherever there is an internet connection. It’s a newsroom structure built around involvement rather than individuality.

Social news website, Digg, is another example of how news organisations need to change. Digg is driven entirely by its users who find interesting news and information from around the web and they “Digg” a story if they like it or “Bury” a story if they don’t.38 The idea tries to make use of the wisdom of crowds to find the best and most relevant news. If this social news model was applied to traditional journalism it could change dramatically how a news organisation operates. In such a model the role of an editor ceases to be important, as the editor becomes more of a moderator; they will in the future just weed out the inappropriate stories and allow the good to flourish. Journalists will become, as Charlie Beckett puts it, “the facilitator rather than the gatekeeper”.39 Socially driven news offers some distinct advantages but often there are issues. While the crowd can get it right most of the time they can often allow inaccurate news stories to rise to the top. This is because “when what people want to do depends on what everyone else wants to do, every decision affects every other decision.”40 For small numbers of people this can create issues as news can become skewed, which is why Digg make it clear their “system only works when users actively participate on a large scale.” But other new services like NewsTilt believe quite the opposite to Digg.41 NewsTilt is a service for journalists, which focuses on reporters as individuals. It is this individuality that NewsTilt says is the future of journalism because “you personally are the brand”.42

Collaboration in progressive newsrooms has also moved into the social media realm. Newsrooms have started using social media tools to make the initial step of connecting with users. These social sites provide a streamlined way of crowd sourcing ideas and more importantly of distributing content to people who want to listen. Sites like the Wall Street Journal, one of the few profitable news organisations in the world, are operating up to 100 Twitter feeds in an attempt to connect with very focused audiences relevant to the websites content.43

Finding The Future

Image by Don Solo

Even though many websites have tried to adopt new technologies into their websites, the fact still remains that many major news websites have been based off newspaper designs. As Lynee Cooke points out the modular look of news websites was largely based on “the same visual trajectory” as a 1980’s newspaper.44 By basing many of their initial website designs on newspaper’s, media companies inherently created a culture where they believed the newspaper would still hold dominance over digital space. Had these sites been designed differently then online journalism might have progressed down a completely different design path to what it did. News companies were choosing to work in the past at a time when major websites like Google were reaping the rewards of designs that utilised the Internet’s potential. This oversight may just have cost news companies the edge with funding their digital efforts.

While Google’s clean design eventually made way for an advertising model, often the ads are just as relevant to a users search as the search results themselves. In essence Google’s funding model drives itself. This is not the case with news websites whose archaic structure often delivers advertising irrelevant to what someone is reading and can often border on annoying. But a success likes Google all starts with a good and innovative idea. Many sites have only just started catching up with the technology they once despised. But most news companies have only just figured out that news is social just as the Social Web (Web 2.0) is making way for what experts have termed the Semantic Web (Web 3.0).45 Very soon, if it hasn’t already happened, news websites will have to realize that without constant innovation they will be behind once again.

What Should Journalism Look Like?

Image by practicalowl

Developing a new method of journalism is not a simple process. Not every idea will be able to change and sustain such a large industry, but that is not the point. The point is to kick-start the process of changing the media industry from the ground up. It won’t be an easy process and could take many years to rollout through the industry.46 But by developing a new method of journalism, new models of journalistic practice and of funding journalism will soon follow. Part of this process is experimentation but the other part is passion. Having the passion to develop an idea and run with it is the very culture that needs to be inherent in journalism practice no matter what the industry looks like.

Mobile devices now offer the perfect platform for journalism in 2010 and beyond. As discussed earlier some media companies have already started to see solid indications of growth through the development of applications for the iPad. Many of these organisations had already developed applications for the iPhone but because of the form factor the iPad has been deemed a better medium for publications. While this is the approach many companies are taking it is impossible to ignore the sheer size of the mobile market regardless of the device. There are expected to be more than 5 billion mobile phones in use worldwide by the end of 2010, up from 4.6 billion at the end of 2009.47 If journalism was to be invented today it must have a focus on mobile technology for delivering news content. The scale of mobile technology makes it the most important market available, however mobile news will need to differentiate its content from online.

Providing different news content to different platforms helps to keep a market for news on each device. If someone reads their news on a mobile phone there needs to be a reason for them to access news on their computer. The news can’t be the same for each device otherwise the markets cancel each other out. This has been part of the problem with mobile news to date. News companies have only so far provided syndications of their online offerings, effectively devaluing one of their news properties. By reading news online a readers makes the mobile edition pointless and by reading news on their mobile they make the online edition worthless. Journalism in 2010 should provide content specifically targeted for a particular platform. However this content needs to be accessible from all other mediums once accessed or purchased through a particular platform.

Image by stevendepolo

A new model for funding journalism in the mobile space would be to use micro-payments. News organisations would charge, on a per story basis, a small fee of between $0.10 and $0.50 depending on the content. Users could pick and choose the stories they want to read, but because the content is cheap it is easy for a reader to spend up to several dollars reading news. However users choose to spend their money on content they think is worthwhile rather then spending money on content they don’t ever want to access. Audiences are able to make up their mind as to which content, if any, they find worthwhile. Micropayments put the ultimate control of funds back to the user and force news organisations to offer content worth paying for on a regular basis. People will pay for this content if it is “unique and not available elsewhere… is fresh and frequently updated; is authoritative… and is actionable.”48 Providing news through mobile devices allows news companies to directly push news content to users wherever they are, but if the news is not accurate and interesting people won’t buy it. Mobile news is about instantaneous delivery of content, specific to a platform, offered at a small but actionable fee. Because of the size of the mobile market there is far greater room to grow then with the online market. Some news would additionally be subsidised by advertising, but it would be ads that provide added value to the content.

All of this mobile news would then plug directly into the social networks readers like to use. This allows them to share their content with their friends but provides an extra avenue for funding based on user recommendations. By plugging into the social networks it becomes possible to utilise the wisdom of crowds to work out the best method of presenting content. However as the semantic web, which focuses on using computers and artificial intelligence to make websites more relevant, news companies will be able to deliver content tailored to what a user likes to read. Doing so gives a user more reason to buy news and soon enough a news company will reach a large volume of users who are all reading content they find interesting. Once this happens, news will become profitable once more.

It is this new, socially mobile, model for journalism that will re-invent journalism, and I will be sharing more about it throughout the year.

Show 48 footnotes

  1. Rupert Neate, “Times Newspapers loses £88m as advertising drops,” Telegraph.co.uk, March 23, 2010, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/media/7500527/Times-Newspapers-loses-88m-as-advertising-drops.html.
  2. David Folkenflik, “’New York Times’ To Make Deeper Staff Cuts,” NPR, October 19, 2009, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113942218.
  3. Richard Pérez-peña, “New York Times News Service to Cut Jobs and Relocate,” The New York Times, November 13, 2009, sec. Business / Media & Advertising, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/business/media/13times.html?_r=1.
  4. Zachary Seward, “Top 15 newspaper sites of 2008,” Nieman Journalism Lab, February 19, 2009, http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/02/top-15-newspaper-sites-of-2008/.
  5. John Koblin, “Los Angeles Times Cuts Staff for Third Time This Year; 10 Percent of Newsroom Let Go,” The New York Observer, October 27, 2008, http://www.observer.com/2008/media/l-times-cuts-staff-third-time-year-10-percent-newsroom-let-go.
  6. Brian Stelter and Bill Carter, “ABC News to Cut Hundreds of Staff,” The New York Times, February 24, 2010, sec. Business / Media & Advertising, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/24/business/media/24abc.html.
  7. Jean Chainon, “US: Time spent on top 30 newspaper sites tends to decrease – Editors Weblog,” EditorsWeblog.org, February 20, 2008, http://www.editorsweblog.org/multimedia/2008/02/us_time_spent_on_top_30_newspaper_sites.php.
  8. Ronald A. Yaros, “Mastering Multimedia.,” American Journalism Review 31, no. 4 (August 2009): 28-31.
  9. “Apple to Debut iAds on 1 July.” Apple, June 8, 2010. http://www.apple.com/au/pr/library/2010/06/07iads.html.
  10. Christopher Harper, And That’s the Way It Will Be: News and Information in a Digital World (New York: New York University Press, 1998). 83.
  11. Bob Franklin, “THE FUTURE OF NEWSPAPERS.,” Journalism Studies 9, no. 5 (October 2008): 635.
  12. Ronald A. Yaros, “Mastering Multimedia.” 30.
  13. Bob Franklin, “THE FUTURE OF NEWSPAPERS.” 633.
  14. John Nerone and Kevin G. Barnhurst, “Beyond Modernism: Digital Design, Americanization and the Future of Newspaper Form,” New Media Society 3, no. 4 (December 1, 2001): 468.
  15. Tom Regan, “Where the Monitor Is Going, Others Will Follow.,” Nieman Reports 62, no. 4 (Winter2008 2008): 7-8.
  16. DeBruin, Lynn, and Lisa Ryckman. “Rocky Mountain News to close, publish final edition Friday.” Rocky Mountain News, February 26, 2009. http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2009/feb/26/rocky-mountain-news-closes-friday-final-edition/.
  17. Lynne Cooke, “A visual convergence of print, television, and the Internet: charting 40 years of design change in news presentation,” New Media Society 7, no. 1 (February 1, 2005): 32.
  18. Sarah Lacy, Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth Of Silicon Valley And The Rise Of Web 2.0 (United States of America: Gotham Books, 2008). 1.
  19. Berns, Gregory. Iconoclast: a neuroscientist reveals how to think differently. (United States of America: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, 2008). 10.
  20. Approach – Design Thinking,” IDEO, n.d., http://www.ideo.com/thinking/approach/.
  21. Approach – Design Thinking,” IDEO, n.d.,http://www.ideo.com/thinking/approach/.
  22. Tim Brown, Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations And Inspires Innovation (United States of America: HarperCollins, 2009). 18.
  23. Tom Kelley, The Art Of Innovation: Lessons In Creativity From IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm (New York: Doubleday, 2001). 7.
  24. Steven Bradley, “Designing For A Hierarchy Of Needs – Smashing Magazine,” Smashing Magazine, April 26, 2010, http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/04/26/designing-for-a-hierarchy-of-needs/.
  25. Bruce Grundy, So you want to be a journalist? (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2007). 74.
  26. Jim Willis, The Human Journalist: Reporters, Perspectives, And Emotions (United States of America: Praeger Publishers, 2003). 40.
  27. Melissa Ludtke, “Long-Form Multimedia Journalism: Quality Is the Key Ingredient.,” Nieman Reports 63, no. 1 (Spring2009 2009): 23.
  28. Chris Ziegler, “The Apple iPhone,” Engadget, January 9, 2007, http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/09/the-apple-iphone/.
  29. “Apple Sells Two Million iPads in Less Than 60 Days,” Apple, May 31, 2010, http://www.apple.com/au/pr/library/2010/05/31ipad.html.
  30. Fran Foo, “Rupert Murdoch reveals iPad newspaper app sales figures as Steve Jobs rejects ‘nation of bloggers’,” The Australian, June 2, 2010, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/rupert-murdoch-reveals-ipad-newspaper-app-sales-figures-as-steve-jobs-rejects-nation-of-bloggers/story-e6frg996-1225874602477.
  31. Chris Anderson, “Wired Magazine’s iPad Edition Goes Live,” Wired, May 26, 2010, http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/05/mag_editors_letter/.
  32. Jolie O’Dell, “Wired Sells 24,000 iPad Apps in One Day,” Mashable, May 28, 2010, http://mashable.com/2010/05/27/wired-ipad-app/.
  33. Brad Stone, “The iPad Pulse Reader Scales the Charts,” The News York Times, June 1, 2010, http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/the-ipad-pulse-reader-scales-the-charts/.
  34. Kara Swisher, “Apple Pulls Pulse News Reader for iPad From App Store After New York Times Complaint,” All Things Digital, June 8, 2010, http://kara.allthingsd.com/20100608/popular-pulse-news-reader-ipad-app-gets-steve-jobs-praise-in-morning-then-booted-from-app-store-hours-later-after-new-york-times-complaint/.
  35. Jason Fried and David Hansson, Rework (New York: Crown Business, 2010). 149.
  36. Barbara Alysen et al., Reporting In A Multimedia World (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2003). 5.
  37. Greg Ferenstein, “The Future Newsroom: Lean, Open, and Social Media-Savvy,” Mashable, March 24, 2010, http://mashable.com/2010/03/23/future-newsroom/.
  38. “How Digg Works,” Digg, n.d., http://about.digg.com/how.
  39. Charlie Beckett, SuperMedia: Saving Journalism So It Can Save The World (United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing, 2008). 52.
  40. James Surowiecki, The Wisdom Of Crowds (United States of America: Anchor Books, 2005). 90.
  41. Leena Rao, “YC’s NewsTilt Aims To Help Journalists Create A Business Model For Content,” TechCrunch, April 12, 2010, http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/12/ycs-newstilt-aims-to-help-journalists-create-a-business-model-for-content/.
  42. Paul Biggar, “Our Vision,” NewsTilt, April 13, 2010, http://newstilt.com/newslabs/blog/our-vision.
  43. Bret Schulte, “THE DISTRIBUTION REVOLUTION.,” American Journalism Review 31, no. 5 (Winter2009 2009): 22-25.
  44. Lynne Cooke, “A visual convergence of print, television, and the Internet: charting 40 years of design change in news presentation,” New Media Society 7, no. 1 (February 1, 2005): 39.
  45. Greg Smith, “Web 3.0: ‘Vague, but Exciting’,” MediaWeek 19, no. 24 (June 15, 2009): 19.
  46. Edward Roussel, “To Prepare for the Future, Skip the Present.,” Nieman Reports 62, no. 4 (Winter2008 2008): 9-10.
  47. “ITU sees 5 billion mobile subscriptions globally in 2010,” International Telecommunication Union, February 15, 2010, http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2010/06.aspx.
  48. Jeff Kaye and Stephen Quinn, Funding Journalism In The Digital Age: Business Models, Strategies, Issues and Trends (New York: Peter Lang, 2010). 71.

Comments (3)

  1. The Social Critic

    If I may, I would like to encourage readers to stop and consider old vs. new media through an entirely different perspective:

    FACT: Many of us conceive of the Internet as a "zero calorie medium", when, in fact, it is anything but.

    THEORY: If and when news/entertainment consumers begin to realize that there is no free lunch — that, in fact, Digital Media isn't necessarily "greener" than conventional print/analog news and entertainment sources — the opportunity for print publishing/media to survive in some shape or form will be realized. After all, there are many who prefer the physicality of print. Then, too, there are pragmatic reasons for Print to survive: Unlike an iPad or a laptop, print publications are relatively inexpensive to replace if the dog eats it or a rainstorm or wayward wave takes it out. E-readers and the like are nifty, but our obsession with all things high-tech also represents greater risk when compared to a low-cost newspaper, magazine or book in conventional form. Drop a newspaper and you're likely to be able to pick it up as if nothing had happened. Drop your iPhone or Kindle and it's another matter. Similarly, leave your book on the table while in the restroom at a coffee shop and you're likely to find it where you left it; leave your iPad behind and the outcome is far less certain.

    PRINCIPLE: For every step forward, an equal but opposite step backward.

    Returning to the environmental misconceptions that are partially responsible, I suspect, for spurring the obsession with all things digital: It may sound counterintuitive but here's the reality: Trees are a renewable/recyclable/farmable resource. Internet Sprawl, on the other hand, is largely associated with less-than-Green forms of electrical generation, of which mercury-contamination of land and sea are a growing but under-publicized threat. It is said, furthermore, that the Internet doubles in size every 120 days. This, in turn, translates into yet another out-of-sight-out-of-mind reality: the exponential growth of football-field size "server farms" worldwide. As I've cited in my own blog, Silicone Valley executives have gone on record in the UK press warning that YouTube, among other bandwidth-heavy content providers, are increasingly choking the Internet. Corporations that manufacturer and/or maintain the Internet backbone, are urging restraint — pleading, essentially, for Internet users to restrain their digital appetites. Moreover, it's inevitable, other reports indicate, that the Internet as we know it will have to be scrapped in the not-so-distant future because the interactivity we're pushing through it is beyond the scope of its long-term capacity. What will replace the Internet as we know it is anyone's guess.

    The silver lining is that the print media/publishing industry can leverage these realities to their own benefit. Foremost, blow the lid off the widespread public assumption that Digital = Green. Why? Because doing so will challenge the underlying assumption that Print Media = Dead Trees = Guilt for purchasing "hard copy" newspapers, books and magazines; whereas Internet + Free digital content + Green (guilt free) = PREFERRED.

    I tackle the environmental instigators of the increasing public sentiment that Print "Bad"/Digital "Good" in my own blog post "GreenSmart vs. GreenDumb": http://socialcritic.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/gree

    For those who remain unconvinced, a completely different set of factors are equally, if not more, compelling. Consider how much easier it is to lose non-tangible data (history), for example, to obsolete technology that future generations may have difficulty accessing or reproducing faithfully; the inevitable solar-storm [Google NASA's concern regarding the "Carrington Effect"]; censorship and/or "revisionist history" that may go largely undetected because digital information is frightfully easy to alter at any time post-publication; and, finally, the difficulty this e-Universe has in capturing "local color" and "sense of place" — the snapshot-in-time feel of a traditional book, magazine or newspaper.

    Push too hard for "Information Uniformity", and many hallmarks of our history-in-the-making will be endangered by the intangibility of the Digital Age. More than nostalgia is at risk here: History has been uncovered in the rafters of old homes in the form of print newspapers, letters and photographs. What comparible use will people 100+ years from now have for the discovery of an obsolete CD, DVD or USB Flash Drive tucked away in the baseboards? Its secrets may very well remain hidden.

    As high-tech as we perceive our times to be, the Internet does not represent a permanent storage solution, nor an infallible archive. To the contrary, this medium is easier to hack, wipe or alter than the redundancy of books, magazines and newspapers occupying innumerable shelves, baskets and boxes the world over. Moreover, the more specific to the technology-of-the-moment our knowledge becomes, the less likely posterity is to revive or recreate our memories. Think of it this way: There is a reason why drawings etched in stone by prehistoric societies have survived millenniums whereas Plato's Atlantis — the fabled high-tech Age of Knowledge — left no apparent trace, and hence the debate as to whether or not it existed in the first place. And while no one will argue that remaining technologically backward is the answer, nor should our digitized future be a hop, skip and a wink into ignorance. A digitally homogenized world is anything but a guaranteed boost to historians or to the kind of memorabilia future generations will find accessible or meaningful.

    BOTTOM LINE:

    1) Information Uniformity is not an environmentally or historically responsible answer.

    2) In some shape or form, the print publishing industry must survive.

    3) To those who are struggling to find ways to make print/analog media profitable, I offer this suggestion: Launch an investigative exposé or public service announcement campaign challenging the assumption that A) quality news gathering can and should be available free-of-charge online; B) online news and entertainment content is more environmentally friendly than conventional sources.

    The print news industry must fight for its own survival — otherwise it will have no one else to blame.

    Reply

Leave a Reply