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There’s a big new report out from Columbia Journalism School this morning, entitled “Post-Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present.”
Revenues are plummeting.
Who Owns the News Media is an interactive database of companies that own news properties in the United States. Use the site to compare the companies, explore each media sector or read profiles of individual companies. Learn more about the site . For highlights of a year that included the busiest time in newspaper sales since 2007 and the single largest local TV acquisition in four years, read the summary of major ownership changes in the last year. Top Newspaper Companies Top Online News Companies
In the United States, there are any number of individual hyperlocal sites that are proving sustainable — Berkeleyside , West Seattle Blog , and the like. What’s proved more elusive is a way to take those individual successes and systemize them — to make them replicable across a larger scale. The best known effort to do so, AOL’s Patch , has had a rough go thus far: An activist shareholder estimates that in 2011, Patch’s 800-plus sites generated just $13 million in revenue against $160 million in expenses, and AOL is cutting costs . But across the Atlantic, there’s a more optimistic example. The Netherlands’ Dichtbij — “close to me” in Dutch — is a hyperlocal news platform that’s generating real revenue despite operating on a much smaller scale. Across its 80 sites, Dichtbij is on pace for revenue of €10 million (about $12.5 million) in 2012, according to Het Financieele Dagblad, the Netherlands’ leading financial newspaper.
Ethan Zuckerman of the MIT Center for Civic Media taught a class this semester tailor-made for Nieman Lab readers: “News in the Age of Participatory Media.” The hook: What happens if you treat journalism as an engineering problem, bringing together the efforts of journalists and computer scientists? The course’s final class last week featured a lot of bright students presenting their final projects, which was supposed to be a new tool, technique, or technology for reporting the news. (They were in various stages of completion.) I’ll be breaking out a few of the good ideas in future posts, but here are some of the ones that stood out to me.
Richard Gingras , the head of news products for Google, visited the Nieman Foundation last Friday to talk about Google’s approach to news and information discovery, but also the pace of change in technology and how it has affected the future of news. Recently Gingras has spent time talking about his 8 questions that will define the future of journalism . On Friday he said newspapers need to completely rethink their approach to news, how the design of their site responds to the flow of audience and the ways news companies can separate their business model and content model to help increase audience and generate revenues.
In 2009, the Star Tribune found itself on a dubious list: The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America. That was the year Minnesota’s largest daily entered into bankruptcy after rounds of cost-cutting couldn’t help the company ease its debt load. It wasn’t particularly unusual to see a newspaper company enter into Chapter 11 in those dark days.
The Philadelphia Inquirer was recently saved by a group of investors who bought the paper for "the benefit of the community." Is this a trend that can stabilize the industry? Lewis Katz, center, addresses a news conference while accompanied by William P. Hankowsky, left, and George Norcross III.
Editor’s note : At TechRaking 2012 today — a conference at the Googleplex in Mountain View, sponsored by Google and the Center for Investigative Reporting — a group of journalism doers and thinkers will be talking about how news and technology can evolve together. Opening the gathering was Google’s head of news products, Richard Gingras , a man with longstanding experience in the space where news and tech meet, who provoked discussion by raising eight areas of inquiry that might prove fruitful for the day. Here are those eight, in the form of his prepared remarks. These are extraordinary times. These are exciting times. There has been tremendous disruption, but let’s consider the huge positives that underly that disruption.
Overview Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others. They are much more likely than others to say that if their local newspaper vanished, it would have a major impact on their ability to get the local information they want. This is especially true of local news followers age 40 and older, who differ from younger local news enthusiasts in some key ways. One-third of local news enthusiasts (32%) say it would have a major impact on them if their local newspaper no longer existed, compared with just 19% of those less interested in local news.
Get it while stocks last: the Guardian Android app. Photograph: Guardian Pew research has a new survey showing that tablets and smart phones are now 27% of Americans' primary news source. The overwhelming share of this is phones, not tablets; and a reasonable view says this will rise to 50% in three years.
The Post feels that it first has to accomplish two goals before it would even consider charging for digital content. Step One: The Post has to attract more readers to its Web site. Indeed, the company is increasingly focused on this goal, and according to internal numbers, The Post’s online traffic has steadily, and significantly, grown in the past year. Industry experts say that, to make a paywall work, you have to have a loyal core of readers who come frequently to the Web site and stay awhile. This core has to be several hundred thousand readers strong before it makes sense to charge them and take the risk of losing more fickle users who will go elsewhere for online news.
It’s a story that wouldn’t exactly merit a “BREAKING” crawl on CNN: American newspapers aren’t in great financial shape . But a new report from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism fleshes out that fact, showing that within the industry there’s quite a bit of diversity in how well newspapers are adjusting to the disruption of their business models. Pew found that, while some are doing better than others, the gap between digital and print revenues is still yawning , and that efforts at expanding the digital base — through daily deals, mobile advertising, or other experiments — are only slowly having an impact.
After 18 months of work and countless pinky-shake vows of confidentiality, my colleagues at the Project for Excellence In Journalism have a fresh report out today on the newspaper industry’s search for a new business model . The report, “The Search For a New Business Model,” burrows inside newspaper organizations for fresh internal data and commentary by top executives. The PEJ effort drew six participating companies, providing data for 38 newspapers. Executives from seven more companies agreed to be interviewed on the findings, while keeping their data to themselves. Having contributed modestly to the planning with some suggested questions, I’ll leave it to others to summarize the findings .
Call it creative if you want, but this is what economic destruction looks like. Print newspaper ads have fallen by two-thirds from $60 billion in the late-1990s to $20 billion in 2011. You sometimes hear it said that newspapers are dead. Now, $20 billion is the kind of "dead" most people would trade their lives for.