Everywhere is a glossy travel magazine made up entirely of contributed photos and short pieces by visitors to the site. Published contributors get paid and you can even download the PDF version of Issue 1 and Issue 2.
Every month, the editors select the best articles and photos (based on their editorial team and a system of voting on their website) and lay out a new magazine. This is brilliant for a number of reasons, but most specifically the costs they save on hiring a staff of writers and paying their expenses is put into the production of the magazine which is every bit as professional and beautiful as any other travel magazine likely to be on your coffee table…it will be interesting to see if this model of a completely user generated magazine could work in other industries. Is this unique to travel because of the passion people have for writing and photography in this category, or could it work for any industry?
In the Internet age, however, no one has figured out how to rescue the newspaper in the United States or abroad. Newspapers have created Web sites that benefit from the growth of online advertising, but the sums are not nearly enough to replace the loss in revenue from circulation and print ads.
Most managers in the industry have reacted to the collapse of their business model with a spiral of budget cuts, bureau closings, buyouts, layoffs, and reductions in page size and column inches. Since 1990, a quarter of all American newspaper jobs have disappeared…
…the newspaper companies’ solution to their problem was to make “our product smaller and less helpful and less interesting.” That may help explain why the dwindling number of Americans who buy and read a daily paper are spending less time with it; the average is down to less than fifteen hours a month. Only nineteen per cent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four claim even to look at a daily newspaper. The average age of the American newspaper reader is fifty-five and rising…
…Many newspapers, in their eagerness to demonstrate a sense of balance and impartiality, do not allow reporters to voice their opinions publicly, march in demonstrations, volunteer in political campaigns, wear political buttons, or attach bumper stickers to their cars.
In private conversation, reporters and editors concede that objectivity is an ideal, an unreachable horizon, but journalists belong to a remarkably thin-skinned fraternity, and few of them will publicly admit to betraying in print even a trace of bias. They discount the notion that their beliefs could interfere with their ability to report a story with perfect balance. As the venerable “dean” of the Washington press corps, David Broder, of the Post, puts it, “There just isn’t enough ideology in the average reporter to fill a thimble.”
Meanwhile, public trust in newspapers has been slipping at least as quickly as the bottom line…
…Arianna Huffington and her partners believe that their model points to where the news business is heading. “People love to talk about the death of newspapers, as if it’s a foregone conclusion. I think that’s ridiculous,” she says. “Traditional media just need to realize that the online world isn’t the enemy. In fact, it’s the thing that will save them, if they fully embrace it.”
The Huffington Post’s editorial processes are based on what Peretti has named the “mullet strategy.” (“Business up front, party in the back” is how his trend-spotting site BuzzFeed glosses it.) “User-generated content is all the rage, but most of it totally sucks,” Peretti says. The mullet strategy invites users to “argue and vent on the secondary pages, but professional editors keep the front page looking sharp. The mullet strategy is here to stay, because the best way for Web companies to increase traffic is to let users have control, but the best way to sell advertising is a slick, pretty front page where corporate sponsors can admire their brands.”
…At the time he was approached by the Huffington Post, Thomas Edsall, a forty-year veteran of the Washington Post and other papers, said he felt that the Post had become “increasingly driven by fear—the fear of declining readership, the fear of losing advertisers, the fear of diminishing revenues, the fear of being swamped by the Internet, the fear of irrelevance. Fear drove the paper, from top to bottom, to corrupt the entire news operation.” Joining the Huffington Post, Edsall said, was akin to “getting out of jail,” and he has written, ever since, with a sense of liberation.
Many large companies stand on the brink of blogging, yet they are unwilling to take the plunge. Others, having dove in early, now face the challenge of managing existing blogs without the ability to show that they effectively support business goals. While blogging’ value can’t be measured precisely, marketers will find that calculating the ROI is easier than it looks. Following a three-step process, marketers can create a concrete picture of the key benefits, costs, and risks that blogging presents and understand how they are likely to impact business goals. This, in turn, enables marketers to answer the key questions, such as whether to blog or not to blog, or to make smart choices about an existing blog.
Tech provocateur John Dvorak takes on the news industry:
I think much of the problem stems from what I’ve been harping on for years: redundancy. Simply put, there are too many newspapers selling the exact same news. And because the owners of these papers do not understand the fact that the public hungers for original material, different from all the rehashed AP stories, papers will continue to slide.
I can assure you that if you plot the amount of money paid out to writers against salaries paid to executives at the same companies, the writers get the short end of the stick. Today a competent newspaper reporter could easily make twice as much money if he or she was in PR. What does that tell you about priorities?
Generally speaking, when there are layoffs at a newspaper, first the support staff goes; then the reporters, along with a few editors. This cheapens the product; and the public senses the cheapness and rejects it. The paper’s income is further reduced, resulting in a downward spiral of quality.
During the current downturn, I wonder whether one single paper has said, “It looks like our subscriber base is dwindling, and the young people are not reading the paper. It’s time we beefed up coverage. We have to find more writers and editors and put them to work to improve our product.”
Exactly when did cheapening the product and making it worse become the way to do things in the U.S.A.?
“Hey, our cars are crap. Let’s make them worse!”
“Good thinking, Benson! Give yourself a raise!”
“Hey our airplanes are crashing left and right and people are not buying them anymore. Let’s see if we can make them cheaper! That will solve our problems!”
What am I not getting?
From the LA Times:
Arthur C. Clarke, who peered into the heavens with a homemade telescope as a boy and grew up to become a visionary titan of science-fiction writing and collaborated with director Stanley Kubrick on the landmark film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” has died. He was 90.
The knighted British-born writer died early Wednesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he had made his home for decades, after experiencing a cardio-respiratory attack, his secretary, Rohan De Silva, told Reuters.
Clarke wrote scores of fiction and nonfiction books (some in collaboration) and more than 100 short stories — as well as hundreds of articles and essays. Among his best-known science-fiction novels are “Childhood’s End,” “Rendezvous With Rama,” “Imperial Earth” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
“Nobody has done more in the way of enlightened prediction,” science-fiction author Isaac Asimov once wrote.
“I’d say he was the major hard science-fiction writer — that is, the writer of science fiction that is scientifically scrupulous — in the second half of the 20th century,” UC Irvine physics professor Gregory Benford, an award-winning science-fiction author who collaborated with Clarke on the 1990 science-fiction novel “Beyond the Fall of Night,” told The Times in 2005.
George Slusser, author of the 1978 book “The Space Odysseys of Arthur C. Clarke” and curator emeritus of UC Riverside’s Eaton Collection — the world’s largest publicly accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian fiction — ranks Clarke as one of the three greatest science-fiction writers of all time.
“Clarke, along with Asimov and [Robert A.] Heinlein, is unique in that his human dramas are determined by advances in science and technology,” Slusser, a professor of comparative literature, said in 2005. “He places his characters in a near future where science has changed the way we live and the possibilities for adventure.
“Clarke incarnates the essence of [science fiction], which is to blend two otherwise opposite activities into a single story, that of the advancement of mankind.”
His remarkable record of foreseeing future technologies led him to be known as “the godfather of the telecommunications satellite.”
A radar pioneer in the Royal Air Force during World War II, Clarke wrote a 1945 article in Wireless World magazine in which he outlined a worldwide communications network based on fixed satellites orbiting Earth at an altitude of 22,300 miles — an orbital area now often referred to as the Clarke Orbit.
Clarke’s seminal article, for which he received $40, was published two decades before Syncom II became the world’s first communications satellite put into geosynchronous orbit in 1963.
Brain scientist and stroke victim Jill Bolte Taylor describes the profound connectedness she felt when she survived a brain haemorrhage.
David Meerman Scott comes up an interesting theory on why CEOs can’t blog:
“When CEOs are in a meeting, everyone defers to them. At conferences, people clap at CEO speeches even if they suck. CEOs talk about their company, its products, and nothing else. CEOs happily ignore email and phone calls because nobody expects a personal answer back. CEOs direct others to do their work for them.
“These are precisely the things that make for crappy blogs.
“CEOs and executives expect that the world will stop everything and pay attention and The Wall Street Journal will write about them as soon as they put out their first blog post. The posts they do write shout: look at me! CEOs don’t comment on other people’s blogs or link outside their own little world. Yeah, a few ass kissers might comment but unless the CEO is saying something interesting, the blog will fail to gain traction. Then the executive will quit blogging.
“There are notable exceptions like Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems.
“Great bloggers participate. They link to other bloggers. They comment on other people’s blog real estate. They blog because they want to, not because they have to. They talk about things other than their own products and services.
“Attention corporate executives: check your ego at the door if you want to be a successful blogger.
Michael Skoler from Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media is behind Public Insight Journalism.
“Public insight journalism starts with a truth. On any given story, some people in the audience know more than even our smartest reporters and editors.
“No matter how hard newsrooms try with their hiring, they still have a hard time creating the kind of diversity that exists in the communities that they cover.
“The first thing we need to do is get the public engaged in our news coverage.
“We need them to opt in to helping us cover the news. We’ve done that by creating online simulations, like a budget-balancing game to close the US$4.2 billion gap in the Minnesota state budget, and by promoting on air and sending out online surveys where people can tell us what they know (and how they know it) about specific topics…”.”
“Listeners from all areas of the community sign up as public sources. Those who sign up will receive an e-mail no more than once a month asking them to share their observations and experiences on issues MPR is covering.
“If a source doesn’t have experience or knowledge about a particular topic, they are encouraged to forward the message to someone who does.
“Responses to the MPR Public Insight Network® will land on the desk of a Public Insight analyst, who will serve as gatekeeper for information that is submitted. He or she will read every response and then pass relevant information onto reporters and producers.
“As MPR reporters explore various subjects, the Public Insight analyst will ask people in the Network to share their observations and experiences about these issues.
“These responses will connect reporters with people who have direct experience with the topic, and reveal angles and story lines that may be new to the reporter.
“Reporters may follow up with a request for more information or an interview. Public sources also are encouraged to suggest topics for potential news stories.”
Angry Journalist #1271:
I’m angry that journalists think their job is to change the world by reporting what they believe their readers should think, rather than reporting what actually is. I’m angry that a profession I once aspired to join has sold itself out to the greed of owners on the one hand, and the self-righteousness of ignorant journalists on the other.
Angry Journalist #1265:
I’m angry at every single department except graphics. That’s right, every single one – except the one person who works in graphics- managed to piss me off over the course of two days. Advertising not telling news exactly what they had sold and what had to be on the page until I had done the page – then sending me an e-mail wanting changes on a day I’m not even in. Production for suddenly changing the rules and then making me stay extra time while they sort them out. The IT guys who, if they had to work with the pieces of sh*t computers and equipment we had, would crap themselves. The newsroom for not LISTENING when new technology is explained and then being shocked when things don’t work right. The Internet department for stepping on newsroom’s toes, taking our content without asking and then assuming they are somehow automatically above us in the pecking order. And myself for letting all this get to me, making a good week end badly.
Angry Journalist #1261:
“I am not the editor of a newspaper and I and shall always try to do right and be good so that God will not make me one.”
Angry Journalist #1250:
I used to be an angry journalist.
Then I got sacked.
Then I started working for myself.
I’m not angry anymore.
Angry Journalist #1203:
I’m angry that my newspaper laid me and a bunch of other people off recently, but only after spending almost half a million dollars on a new office and furniture to boot. I’ve been replaced by a new desk. Awesome.
Angry Journalist #1178:
I’m angry that my job apparently involves improving morale for our advertisers. Nevermind that morale in our newsroom has been at rock bottom for a year.