Bloggers get their own wire service, but no moolah

An all-blogger newswire service BlogBurst has signed on The San Francisco Chronicle, The Houston Chronicle, The San Antonio Express-News and the Austin American-Statesman, to display high-quality blog content on their web sites.

The BlogBurst syndication network allows their readers direct access to over 1,200 available blog sources.

Some blogs on Pluck Corp’s BlogBurst roll include TechCrunch.com, Web 2.0 Blog, etc.

“Publishers have been looking for ways to expand the content they offer,” said Eric Newman, general manager of portal solutions for Pluck. “They’ve been sort of enclosed and encapsulated just within the people they’ve hired.”

Bloggers give them the “ability to expand their audience dramatically,” he added.

The incentive for the nearly 1,200 bloggers signed up with the service is exposure. Newman said the company would be open to sharing advertising revenue with bloggers who pull in large amounts of traffic in the future, but warned “nobody is going to get rich off of BlogBurst at the blogger level.”

Despite an often bitter rivalry between the blogosphere and mainstream news outlets -with blogs frequently accusing the press of bias and the traditional media disparaging bloggers as amateurish – both sides might be ready to reconcile as they ponder their future in a changing media landscape.

So far, blogs’ dedicated feature-style content has drawn the most interest from mainstream publishers, said Newman. And at a time when the newspaper industry is making cuts, a blog dedicated to travel can seem like a cheaper alternative to running an in-house travel section.

Blogging is an attractive asset to the mainstream press as it tries to figure out how to leverage content online, said Sreenath Sreenivasan, dean of students at the Columbia School of Journalism.

But as the popularity of blogs grows, traditional media outlets need to stay focused on local content both online and off, said Angie Kucharski, vice president and station manager CBS4. “You’re silly if you don’t explore what content is out there,” she said. “But as we prioritize we want to make sure we have the best local content.”

Update: Dave Panos, Pluck’s chief executive and co-founder, told AP the company is reviewing all blogs ahead of time to make sure they are topical and aren’t apt to use offensive language. However, Pluck won’t vet every post.

Newspapers concerned about quality control can opt instead for prescreened feeds – five to 10 a day in a given topic instead of dozens or hundreds.

MORE.

Telecom NZ stops quibbling, opens last-mile

Finally! Can anything good this way come?

New Zealand Will Open Telecom
To Fixed-Line, Web Competition

By PAULA OLIVER
May 4, 2006

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — The government plans to grant competitors access to Telecom Corp. of New Zealand Ltd.’s national fixed-line network, nearly two years after rejecting rivals’ pleas to unbundle the network.

The regulatory changes announced yesterday are also designed to increase high-speed Internet services. Communications Minister David Cunliffe said the move will allow other Internet-service providers to “compete fully” with Telecom to provide faster, less-expensive broadband services. Critics have said Telecom’s services are too slow and too expensive compared with other countries.

The government aims to have legislation ready for introduction to Parliament around the middle of this year. Mr. Cunliffe said the effects of the changes are likely to hit the telecommunications market in 2007…

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WSJ.com Open House. Free for 10 days

Looks like Wall Street Journal wants to try something new. Online Open House!

For ten days, the website is free. Check it out today at wsj.com

Earlier Jonathan Dube blogged about The Wall Street Journal’s deputy Washington bureau chief David Wessel’s speech entitled ‘Can Newspaper Journalism Survive Blogs, Fox News, and Karl Rove?’ at Yale.

Some quotes:

Barney Kilgore was the founding editor of the Wall Street Journal, the man who took it from being basically stock tables to a real newspaper. In a 1965 speech he said, “The fish market wraps fish in paper. We wrap news in paper. The content is what counts, not the wrapper.

“The content is what counts. Whether you get it on newspaper or not is not really relevant, and somebody — maybe not Dow Jones — but somebody’s going to figure out how to make money delivering your daily newspaper online and getting you to pay for it and getting advertisers to subscribe.”

###

“What is it that has threatened that model of newspaper journalism? As I mentioned in my title, I think there are three elements. There’s technology, there is the polarization of the society, and then there’s the use that politicians make of the press.

“The technology one is actually pretty easy to understand. Today there are 1.75 million subscribers to the print Wall Street Journal, a number we maintain only by persistently discounting our subscription rates.

“There is no growth in our print subscription. We have three-quarters of a million paid subscribers to the online Wall Street Journal. That’s up 8 percent over the past year. Less than half those people get the print paper. So that’s our growth market.

And we know that a lot of college kids only get the news, if they get any at all, by looking at it online, and we know that that’s the future.

But the problem is that we cannot charge as much for advertising to a reader online as we can to a print reader. So the unit of Dow Jones, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, that includes The Wall Street Journal print edition, the online edition (WSJ.com), Barron’s (a print and online weekly we have for investors), and Market Watch (a free website that we bought that serves people interested in business) that unit of the company had revenues of over a billion dollars last year — and lost money. Lost $2.5 million.

“Another way to look at it is: We were very smart. We went early to a paid subscription model for our online part of the Wall Street Journal, WSJ.com, and we figured that the advertisers would move with our readers from print to online. And we were about half-right.

“The advertisers did move from print to online, but unfortunately they skipped right over WSJ.com and went right to Google. That’s no joke. Google, which is a relatively new company, today has revenues in a single quarter equal to what Dow Jones has in a whole year. So we are struggling with a business model that isn’t working for us, and we’re trying to find a new way to do it.”

***

“(During the 2004 elections)rumors came into the newsroom of the Wall Street Journal. We checked them out, found them wanting, and didn’t publish them. But someone else did. So that creates a situation where, while we’re trying to convey information as honestly as we can, as we’re trying not to confirm our existing prejudices or your existing prejudices, as we practice the kind of journalism which is harder and less comfortable, other people are able to practice another kind of journalism that confirms prejudices, reports rumors as fact, and gets a lot of attention. So you have the Right watching Fox News and the Left reading the New York Times, and both of them convinced they’re getting the right story.”

MORE.

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