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Shaping the Future of the Newspaper

Date

Fri - 24.10.2014


Gianna Walton

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The Guardian reports that Honduran television presenter Noel Alexander Valladares was killed by gunfire, along with his brother and bodyguard. Valladares is the third journalist killed in Honduras this year alone.

According to Mail & Guardian Online, the Press Freedom Commission in South Africa has released a set of recommendations for new regulations of the press, including hierarchical penalties for "journalistic infractions." The report, which is the product of eight months of research, also proposes a system of "independent co-regulation" of the press, the article says.

Vogue's controversial article about the wife of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is no longer accessible on the internet, The Washington Post reports. The profile, which placed Asma al-Assad in a glamorous light just before her husband's regime began attacking its own citizens, garned a great deal of criticism when it was published.

Three men were arrested after allegedly revealing the name of the rape victim in the Ched Evans case via Twitter, The Guardian reported. Two of the accused are being held in custody for violating section five the Sexual Offences Amendment Act, according to the article.

For more industry news, please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-26 18:30

According to Google, the question that businesses should be asking isn’t whether or not to invest in mobile, but how. And Google is right there to provide the answers with the release of The Mobile Playbook, Mashable reports.

Coauthored by Google’s Head of Mobile Sales and Strategy Jason Spero and Senior Product Marketing Manager for Mobile Ads Johanna Werther, The Mobile Playbook: The Busy Executive’s Guide to Winning with Mobile asks “five crucial mobile questions” that business executives should explore: How does mobile change our value proposition? How does mobile impact our digital destinations? How is our organization adapting to mobile? How should our marketing adapt to mobile? How can we connect with our tablet audience?

Addressing each question, the Playbook also offers several strategies that businesses can use to understand their mobile potential, including using focus groups and surveys to get a sense of their audiences’ mobile habits. Additionally, the guide features case studies of various companies that have been using mobile technology successfully.

“Our goal is to help companies at all levels of mobile sophistication and experience to adopt the concrete mobile strategies that can help you win…in mobile,” the Playbook introduction says. “This space isn’t a sandbox anymore; the mobile revolution is sailing ahead at full steam, and your customers are on board. Embracing mobile can help you win the moments that matter, make better decisions, and go bigger faster, but you’ve got to start somewhere.”

So, how can Google’s guide be applied to the news industry? Well, for starters, Google suggests that “mobile-optimized websites” are key for engaging consumers who actively use smartphones. According to Google’s research, 40% of customers “have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience.” Rather than adopting a strategy that reduces mobile to a “third screen,” then, news organizations should make mobile sites easier to read and navigate than their desktop websites in order to establish reader loyalty.

In terms of mobile apps, Google also suggests that branded apps are crucial. This seems particularly relevant to the news industry; as we previously reported, the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism annual State of the Media report found that readers often go directly to news websites or apps when searching for news, especially on tablets. Legacy media especially, then, should focus on the newspaper’s brand when designing and promoting an app.

And, Google says, smartphone and tablet strategies can also be used to help build a brand—so lesser-known news organizations can compete in mobile by creating rich, interactive media that attract consumers, from HTLM5 web apps to video. In the words of the Playbook, “Let rich media shine on tablets.”

The question of how news organizations should approach digital media is a complex one, as several publishers explained earlier this month during WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Europe conference in London. Although Google’s Mobile Playbook doesn’t seem to have been designed with newspapers in mind, some of the questions that Spero and Werther raise, particularly about digital strategies, could certainly be applied to the news industry, especially in light of the 2012 State of the Media finding that about 50% of mobile owners get news from their smartphones. As Google said in its Playbook, the mobile revolution is well on its way.

Sources: Mashable, Google's The Mobile Playbook

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-26 17:32

In light of Rupert Murdoch's testimony for the Leveson Inquiry today, Mashable examined how three news organizations, The Guardian, Pro Publica, and BBC, have been using digital technology to report on the investigation into the News of the World hacking scandal. Some of the tools used include interactive timelines and live broadcasts of the trial.

Poynter reports that The McClatchy Co. lost $2.1 million in its first quarter, a loss in revenue of 5.1%.  Advertising revenue also fell 6.8%, the article said.

Bradley Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks source, is contending that the case against him should be dropped due to the government's witholding of evidence, Reuters reported. If convicted, Manning may be sentenced to life in prison for leaking classified US documents.

According to The Guardian, Johnston Press reported a loss of £144 million last year, a 6% loss in total revenue, after its new chief executive Ashley Highfield initiated massive job cuts. Johnston Press is the second-biggest regional publisher in the UK.

For more industry news, please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-25 17:55

Paywall, begone—for a limited time, that is. Starting this past Monday and lasting until May 6, The Boston Globe is offering readers a free trial of all of its online content on BostonGlobe.com to show off its new elements and try to gain some new subscribers in the process, paidContent reported.

By entering their email addresses, users will have complete access to online content, including the downloadable ePaper version of The Boston Globe, the article said. The free trial, which also includes a deal in which users can subscribe online for $0.99 for the first eight weeks, is sponsored by Coldwell Banker, according to the Globe website.

Peter Doucette, Globe Executive Director of Circulation Sales and Marketing, told paidContent, “The impetus for the free trial is getting the word out on new features, including the Boston Globe ePaper.”

As we previously reported, The Boston Globe launched its ePaper version, a replica of the print edition that can be read on laptops, mobiles, and tablets, in March. The replica edition comes equipped with several new features, including a text-to-speech option with audio-recorded sections of the paper.

According to paidContent, the newspaper launched BostonGlobe.com in October but has since reported only about 18,000 subscribers, which may be due to content crossover with its affiliated website, Boston.com. Boston.com features a mixture of Boston Globe content and more web-friendly articles.

According to the website, the launch of BostonGlobe.com was not meant to detract from the original website’s content: “Boston.com will still offer its readers wide-ranging news and information and serve as a comprehensive and lively guide to living in Greater Boston,” the website said. “It will carry the latest in breaking news, and coverage of local news (including the popular Your Town sites), arts & entertainment, business, health & wellness, politics, travel, and more.”

In the past, users could access Globe content on Boston.com through the “Today’s Globe” tab, but now the tab redirects the user to BostonGlobe.com. Users can only access the ePaper version, as well as exclusive content such as Globe columns, from BostonGlobe.com or by viewing the digital version on an app.

In order to increase the number of subscribers to BostonGlobe.com, it seems necessary not only that Boston.com drive traffic to the newer site but also that users begin to recognize the two as different brands. With the plethora of original content on Boston.com, as well as the inclusion of certain articles from the newspaper on the site, it may be difficult to persuade consumers that it is worthwhile to pay for a subscription to a seemingly redundant product (especially when the original website is still free). With the increased access to BostonGlobe.com from the free trial, though, perhaps the website will garner the attention it needs to establish itself as a competitive digital news site.

Sources: paidContent, BostonGlobe.com, Boston.com

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-25 13:26

The Financial Times HTML5 app has reached more than 2 million users after launching 10 months ago, The Guardian reported. The web app, which users can access on a tablet internet browser, was created to bypass Apple's policies regarding subscriber information garnered through native apps.

The Wall Street Journal launched a new platform for on-the-go readers which allows for continuous streaming of data, according to Nieman Journalism Lab. The platform, called Markets Pulse, will feature a combination of articles, tweets, photos, and videos related to financial markets.

Poynter discusses eight tactics that news organizations can use to reach young readers, including hiring more young people who better reflect the targeted audience and being careful not to alienate young readers with strong paywalls. Read the rest of the strategies here. 

According to PR NewswireTribune Company announced that it would be investing in Journatic, a hyperlocal content provider, forming an "operating relationship" between the two companies.

For more industry news, please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-24 17:38

Not all paywalls are created equal: RR Donnelly’s Press+ announced yesterday that it would extend a grandfather clause to Google One Pass subscribers after Google closed its paid content platform on Friday, according to a press release.

Press+, a metered paywall platform which launched in 2009, currently has over 300 publications on its service, including newspapers from McClatchy and Tribune Co., as we previously reported. With the Press+ model, publishers allow users on average access to 5-15 articles per month, after which users must subscribe in order to view content. 

“We will maintain subscriber accounts for whichever publishers might have signed on with Google without charging our usual revenue share,” said Press+ cofounder Steven Brill in the press release. “We’ll only charge for all the new customers we generate going forward once our seamless transition is completed.”

Google One Pass launched in February 2011 as a payment system in which publishers charged users for content, allowing them to keep 90% of revenue earned, as previously reported. According to paidContent, however, few US newspapers ever used One Pass.

Perhaps because of its different approach to publisher relations, Press+ saw much more success. At the time of One Pass’ launch, Press+ had only 24 clients, according to the press release. Now serving 349 publishers, Press+ reports that an additional 200 publishers plan to launch paywall systems through its system, the release said.

“Unlike Google One Pass or Apple’s iTunes, Press+ is an independent provider that enables publishers to generate subscription revenues across all digital versions, including through Google’s Android and Apple’s iPad and iPhone,” the press release said. “Publishers using Press+ have the exclusive relationship with their own subscribers, and Press+ does not compete with publishers to sell online advertising.”

Press+ cofounder Gordon Crovitz suggested that the Press+ approach to subscriber data also contributed to its popularity with publishers.

“We never use the data for our own purposes or share it with others such as advertisers,” he said in the press release. “All customer data relating to publishers belongs only to the publishers.”

The closure of One Pass has resulted in Google’s pursuit of other paid content models like Google Consumer Surveys, a “paywall substitute,” paidContent reported.

As we previously reported, Google has recently begun offering consumer surveys, each of which consists of a single marketing research question that users must answer before being allowed access to certain articles on a news website. For these microsurveys, Google charges businesses $.10 for every answer acquired (or $.50 for targeted questions), with publishers receiving $.05 of profits. 

“We are working with existing partners to make the transition from One Pass to other platforms, including Google Consumer Surveys,” said the Google official blog. “While One Pass is going away, we will continue working with publishers to build new tools.”

Clearly, much of microsurveys’ appeal is that they do not create hard barriers between readers and content, while at the same time earning extra revenue for publishers that would be lost without a paywall. As we reported, though, revenue from Google surveys has so far been relatively small, according to publications like AdWeek who are experimenting with the system. 

With the closure of a direct competitor to Press+, will the metered paywall model continue to dominate online? It seems as though many newspapers remain attached to the notion of subscriptions as the most lucrative way to charge for content, and Press+’s client list is apparently climbing. It will be interesting to see, though, if Google can come back from the failure of its subscription model and establish Consumer Surveys as not only an effective market competitor for Press+, but another option for publishers in the never-ending quest for content monetization in the news industry.  

Sources: Press+, paidContent, Google

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-24 12:43

The Guardian announced today on its Developer Blog that the paper is launching the Miso Project, an open source toolkit which will help make the creation of infographics and interactive content a lot easier and faster. The first part of the project is the release of Dataset, a Javascript library.

TechDirt reported that search engine Meltwater attacked the Associated Press' lawsuit against its tracking news service as a "misuse" of copyright law. Read the rest of Meltwater's statement here.

Patrick B. Pexton of The Washington Post highlights the dangers of blogging and aggregation by examining Elizabeth Flock's blog errors and ultimate resignation, suggesting that the Post itself gave her little guidance and failed in its obligation to train her. Flock resigned after publishing a story about Mars life without citing the publisher of the original article, Discovery News, as a source.

Journalism.co.uk reports that French social media users evaded a law that bans people from reporting the preliminary results or exit polls of a presidential election on the day before or the day of the vote. The article explains that Twitter users circumvented the ban and discussed the projected the projected result using of code words and the hashtag #radiolondres.

For more industry news, please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-23 17:39

Chicago Tribune reporter Rex W. Huppke wrote a satirical obituary for facts (cause of death: Rep. Allen West's assertion that 81 Democrats in the US House of Representatives are Communists). Read the story behind the op-ed piece Facts, 360 B.C.- A.D. 2012 on Jim Romenesko's blog.

Bobbie Johnson from GigaOm takes a look at Norwegian tabloid Dagbladet's online video player that "collects seven different video feeds and allows website visitors to easily flip between coverage from inside the courtroom, the courthouse, background interviews and commentary on the street or from pundits in the newspaper’s own studio."

PR Newswire launched a newswire service for bloggers, which offers customized news feeds, event listings, and opportunities for users to interview industry professionals, Journalism.co.uk reports. PR Newswire for Bloggers will also feature five blogs on the service each week, the article said.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University published a report on online-only European start-ups. "Survival is Success: journalistic online start-ups in Western Europe" by the Italian journalist Nicola Bruno and Dr Rasmus Kleis Nielsen has found that new start-ups are still struggling to find business models that can cover their operating costs. The report, based on analysis of nine strategically chosen cases from Germany, France, and Italy, can be downloaded here.

For more industry news, please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-20 18:24

Online newspapers tired of catering to Apple’s in-app purchasing restrictions are starting to bypass the tech giant completely by creating web-based apps using HTML5 technology, Journalism.co.uk reports. The latest title to jump on the trend? Washington’s local paper The Chronicle, which offers the HTML5 app as part of a subscription bundle that includes complete online and print access, the article said.

The Chronicle’s web app is similar to a “native” iPad app in terms of user experience; rather than downloading the app from Apple’s Newsstand, though, one can access the web app through the iPad’s Internet browser and save it as an icon on the homescreen, the article said. App users can share articles through Facebook and Twitter, as well as download stories to read them offline later, the article said.

CEO Scott Karp of Publish2, the platform that supports the Chronicle’s web app, told Journalism.co.uk the HTML5 version is a “seamless extension of the subscription model.” The Chronicle plans to launch an Android-friendly version of the app in the near future, according to the article.

Chronicle Publisher Christine Fossett also said in the article, “Frequent change is inevitable in our work and personal lives. If business is going to keep pace with the desire of customers they must embrace that change.”

London’s Financial Times similarly launched an HTML5 web app this past June, removing its apps from the iPad store, the article said.

There are clear advantages to using a web app over a native app other than user experience. For one, Apple requires publishers to pay 30% of revenue earned through in-app subscriptions. This payment is avoided with a web-based app, so the Chronicle just pays an annual fee to Publish2 for use of the platform, the article said.

Perhaps more importantly, though, is the fact that Apple allows iPad users to choose not to disclose certain information to publishers when purchasing a subscription in the app store, which is valuable subscriber information lost to publishers, according to Gigaom. By using a web-based app, publishers have complete control over subscriber information, which can then be used for advertising purposes or for driving additional sales, the article said.

While the HTML5 model has numerous benefits for the business aspects of publishing, the platform itself is not without flaws. According to FierceDevelopper, HTML5 does not yet have all of the capabilities that native apps have, and it may not even be able to acquire all platform-specific characteristics.

“HTML5 has improved in the last year, adding an ever increasing set of capabilities, which get it close to mirroring native apps,” the article said. “But despite these advances HTML5 remains firmly behind the native SDKs and APIs available on each major platform. While time may give HTML5 the opportunity to catch-up it will never truly be on par … HTML5 doesn't create the 'develop once deploy everywhere' scenario that is often discussed.”

Furthermore, a communal marketplace for HTML5 app distribution does not yet exist, which puts those apps at a disadvantage of native apps sold in popular digital newsstands, the article said. As we previously reported, the top 100 best-selling news apps in Apple’s Newsstand for iPad take in about $70,000 per day.

It seems as though newspaper publishers are just beginning to explore the options available to them through the HTML5 platform. While some newspapers and magazines might view the technological capabilities of native apps as more of factor in platform choice than revenue or subscriber information, HTML5 might be just the mechanism for news organizations looking for a more direct route between user and publisher.

Sources: Journalism.co.uk, Gigaom, FierceDevelopper

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-19 15:41

Social networks are the new hotspots for breaking news: Mashable highlights a new infographic created by Schools.com that shows "how social media is replacing traditional journalism as a news source."

Politico's premium news service Politico Pro is popular among American policy makers, Nieman Journalism Lab reports. Politico Pro, launched a year ago, covers technology, energy, health care, and transportation policy, delivering essential content to mobile subscribers quickly.

GigaOm reports that in Italy a controversial former proposal, which suggested that online publications that receive complaints should have to alter their content within 48 hours or else pay a fine of €12,000, has been resurrected.

A cartoonist at The Economist has animated the publication's style guide. Journalism.co.uk has just posted the video on its website.

For more industry news, please see WAN-IFRA's Executive News Service.

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Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-18 14:44

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