Anne Spackman: On Google and online media

Posted on November 9, 2007 
Filed Under Journalism

When Times Online Editor Anne Spackman got the job last year, her teenage son retorted: “You? You don’t even know when to double click.”

Jemima Kiss reports on Spackman’s recent comments:

1.Google is the No 1 topic of conversation at News Corp.”One tiny tweak to their algorithm and we all have to re-calibrate our pages. And we can’t afford not to be brilliant on Google News.”

2.News International is hoping for closer integration of the Times website and its newspaper.

3.Smaller screens should be the focus for online news as the development of iPods and mobile speeds up.

4. Journalists now need commercial awareness. “Online demands at least an awareness of skills that were never part of the journalistic parameters,” she said. Knowing who the audience is and working out how to get the news to them used to be handled by marketing and distribution, and that’s a new kind of commercial awareness that journalists have never had to have before.

5. “We are all operating to a certain extent without a business model, and in a world like that you do take risks but with a really strong awareness of what commercial back up there is.”

6.Local news sites have an advantage over national properties because they have less competition. National sites end up competing with international sites.

7.The news industry will become more male. Online news demands a combination of editorial and technical skills that is, she said, more commonly seen in men. “I’ve recruited a lot in the past 12 months,” she said.
(NOTE: I don’t find this an issue in Asia. More women have the skills than ever before, and even if they don’t they’ll pick it up faster.)

Martin Slade reports on Spackman:
1. Google is now ‘hugely dangerous’. When Google tweaked its search algorithm last month, was one of several major sites whose PageRank temporarily dropped. Google also controls a large amount of advertising online, particularly since its acquisition this year of online advertising firm DoubleClick.

2. Local newspapers would be the next to face the effects of the search giant as its Google Maps service transforms the market for local listings and advertising.


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