Johnny Does Read…Online News

High school students not only pay attention to the news on the Internet, they like traditional news sources more than most might think.

About 51 percent of 15,000 students surveyed say they get mainstream news on the Internet at least weekly, and mostly from portals such as Google and Yahoo, followed by national TV news sites, and local TV and daily newspaper sites. Blogs came in 4th place.

On the flipside, 29 percent say they never get news online, while 10 percent of teens said they have no interest in the news, mostly because they feel it isn’t presented in an engaging way.

“We have to find ways to connect with them now. Let’s not shove a 1950s newspaper report down every young person’s throat and say that it’s good for you like cod liver oil,” said Howard Finberg, Poynter’s director of interactive learning in an interview.

The survey by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation specifically looks at online news consumption.

It doesn’t try to measure how much students get news from other sources, such as television and radio broadcasts, and newspapers.

It does show, however, that the majority of students think TV is the best overall source of news, the most accurate and the easiest to use.

“The digital revolution is increasing, not decreasing, the connection between American teens and news,” said Eric Newton, director of Knight Foundation’s Journalism Initiatives.

A majority of high school students find TV, followed by newspapers, to be the most accurate news sources. They don’t trust the accuracy of blogs, according to the survey.

But despite their reliance on traditional news sources, nearly half of high school students say they also get news and information from entertainment programs like “The Daily Show”, “The Colbert Report” and “South Park” and others at least once a week.

In the survey sample, 9 out of 10 teens are wired to the Internet through school and 8 out of 10 through the home.

This 2006 survey is the second part of an update to Knight Foundation’s 2004 study, which questioned more than 100,000 students and 8,000 teachers — the largest survey of its kind — about their attitudes and knowledge of the First Amendment. Dr. David Yalof and Dr. Kenneth Dautrich conducted the research for both surveys.


Blogging and crisis communications

Been researching lately on blogging and how new media tools can be used during a crisis. has an interesting list on crisis communications plan in relation to the social media community.


Have a crisis communication plan in place that everyone is aware of including the procedures, their rol, key contact details, etc. A blog should be set up behind a firewall so it can quickly be released to address issues and customer feedback.


Monitor, monitor, monitor. You should be using the various monitoring tools available on the Internet: Goog Blog Search, T/rati, PubSub, TalkDigger et al. Keep an eye out for any warning signs or symptoms and if any do occur address them quickly. Monitor every blogger not just the prominent ones. The PR pros that choose to put their heads in the sand will be the ones that suffer most.

Know the facts – ALL the facts

If an issue does arise with your client, find out each and every detail. Some clients will be apprehensive to tell you everything, but it’s your job to be fully aware of the situation. Know everything, assume nothing.

Tell the facts – ALL the facts

Crisis hit companies tend to be very guarded and say nothing at all. This won’t stop the bloggers from writing about your client and they’ll make up their minds from what facts they do have. Bloggers appreciate openness – they’re an entirely different animal from the MSM and giving them all the information is the key. Answer any questions they might have; post comments on blogs addressing the issue, ask for their opinions and get their insight. Work with them, not against them. Bloggers look for the truth and not a scoop so take every criticism as constructive.

By applying a two-way symmetric model, the PR pro’s role is to gain mutual understanding between the client and its publics – they should act as the intermediary which should result in a change in either one of the two parties.

And remember, there might be a situation when the rumours or allegations are completely false. This doesn’t mean you can ignore it. On the contrary, you should be applying the same measures no matter what. A reputation takes years to build but only moments to destroy.


All of the above is an effort to limit the duration and spread of a crisis. The more information you give, the more you can contain the issue. Don’t let speculation and assumption run wild.


Okay, you’ve addressed the issue and you’re on the road to recovery. Remember to keep reassuring and easing minds. Take nothing for granted and continue to monitor, monitor, monitor. Try to develop relationships with your critics; get their opinion and ask them: “what can we do to make our product better?”


What was lost? What was gained? How was the performance of the crisis communications plan? What have you learned from this? Is there anything that could be improved? No doubt it wasn’t perfect so take it back to the start and continually improve it.


How a blog came to play in the tsunami crisis in Sri Lanka, just shortly after they were taught how to blog makes an interesting case-study.

Indrajit Samajiva was the person who provided the training.

9 ways to improve news sites

Todd Zeigler of the Bivings Report has expanded his 9 ways to improve news sites two-fold.

In summary:

1. Start using tags.
2. Provide full text RSS feeds.
3. Work with external “social” websites.
4. Link to relevant blog entries.
5. Get rid of all registration.
6. Partner with local bloggers.
7. Offer alternative views of your content.
8. Modernize your site’s graphic design.
9. Learn from Craigslist.
10. Make your content work on phones/PDAs.
11. Allow readers to comment on every story.
12. Improve search features.
13. Use better html.
14. Focus on local and regional news.
15. Open up your archives.
16. Provide multilingual versions.
17. Offer supplemental content.
18. Open up the letter to the editor process.


Adrian Holovaty chimes in.

Google AdWords Goes Mobile

We knew it was coming. How could Google ignore the mobile space any longer? The question is will mobilephone users be as welcoming of text ads on their third screen?[from MediaPost]
Google Introduces Mobile AdWords

GOOGLE IS CURRENTLY TESTING a new service that allows paid search advertisers to distribute pay-per-click and pay-per-call text ads to mobile phones in the United States, the U.K. and Japan, a company spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

The text ads will appear when a user searches using Google from a mobile device; the ads will contain two lines of text, with 12 to 18 characters per line. Marketers must purchase the ads through the standard AdWords interface, and also must have either a mobile Web site for pay-per-click ads, or a toll-free phone number for pay-per-call ads.

David Berkowitz, director of strategic planning for search engine marketing firm 360i, said Google’s entry could make the world of mobile advertising more accessible to smaller advertisers. “Right now, there’s only so much mobile search buying going on, but Google’s done a great job integrating this into their overall AdWords system,” he said. “There’s a lot of mobile advertising companies, it’s a really chaotic, confusing space, so for a lot of marketers, this could be a relief for them.”

Tom Burgess, CEO of mobile marketing firm Third Screen Media, added that Google’s initiatives in the mobile marketing space lend the medium credibility. “To see a company that’s so well regarded as Google pay homage to the opportunity of mobile advertising is a great thing,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of marketers that buy from them. Now that they’ve got a mobile solution, those marketers are going to be further exposed to mobile.”

Rob Curley joins Washington Post.Newsweek Interactive

[from Sys-Con Media]
Converged-media visionary Rob Curley, 35, of “let’s stop making crappy news sites” will assume the new position of vice president of product development for WPNI.

He will lead a team dedicated to innovation in online news and technology.

WPNI currently oversees,, and Slate, all recipients of numerous industry awards.

These properties, as well as WPNI’s, also have experienced rapid user and revenue growth.

Curley joins WPNI from the Naples Daily News where he directed new media and convergence.

Curley has become one of the most critically acclaimed and award-winning online news developers in the world. He has distinguished himself in the emerging new-media realm of hyper-local media convergence.

In 2001, the Newspaper Association of America named Curley its New Media Pioneer of the Year. Curley’s online development teams at the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World, the Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal and the Naples Daily News garnered numerous national and international online journalism awards from Editor & Publisher magazine and the Newspaper Association of America.

[Note: Adrian Holovaty, an LJWorld/ alumnus, and creator of has been working at for a year]

Washington Business Journal reported that the
Washington Post has been looking to new media plays to rescue it from falling ad revenue and circulation at its newspaper division.

It recently tapped Newsweek editor Mark Whittaker, as editor-in-chief of New Ventures at Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, the publisher’s digital division that oversees its Websites, including,, Slate and

Online publishing sales grew 36 percent last quarter, to US$25.3 million.

Photoshop strikes again!

The photoshopped smoked plumes of Reuters’ Adnan Hajj had just wafted away, when CBS’ new anchor Katie Couric received her digital nip/tuck.

And the subsequent blog gripefest over attribution…

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