Thursday, March 31, 2011

Journalism students in Madrid told to "go for it"

During a presentation at the Complutense University of Madrid (center), I talked about the new vision of entrepreneurial journalism (center photo) and some of its advocates. One of the attendees created a collage of the people mentioned: (clockwise, from upper left) Clay Shirky of NYU, Dan Gillmor of Arizona State University, Brian Stelter of the New York Times and Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter.
MADRID -- Traditional news media are suffering in Spain, with some 3,500 journalists laid off in the past two years. Add to that the recent news that one of the country’s most prestigious news organizations, Prisa Group, owner of El País newspaper, is laying off 2,500 workers, or nearly one in five.

The dream of journalism students to work for large media organizations is being crushed by economic reality. I urged a group of 150 at the Complutense University in Madrid to start their own digital media and be news entrepreneurs.

I told the students about a number of news entrepreneurs in Latin America, where I worked for three years, and some of the innovative news projects in the U.S., such as Texas Tribune, ProPublica and Voice of San Diego.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Argentine journalist searches the deep Web for scoops

Versión en español aquí.

Sandra Crucianelli is a pioneer in hyperlocal journalism on the Web. Her news website, (Just Local), provides in-depth investigative coverage of the industrial port of Bahia Blanca, 400 miles from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

She and two partners manage the site, which has 790 registered users and 50 regular contributors of news, videos, fotos and opinion. In a city of 300,000, attracts 4,500 unique users weekly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tech, intermediaries leave newspapers far behind

I came away from reading the State of the News Media in 2011 with the sense that newspapers in particular are being left farther behind by all of the advances in technology and payment systems.

One example is Apple. Although it is selling subscriptions to publications on its iTunes platform, it is taking 30% of the revenue and keeping the all-important customer data and credit card information to itself.

Few news entrepreneurs in Latin America make money

Versión en español aquí.

A study of 54 independent journalism sites in Latin America has found that 20% of these new ventures produce no revenue.

What’s more, only one-fourth of the for-profit operations are covering their costs. Most did not do a financial viability study before launch and less than half are taking advantage of social media.

Those are some of the findings of a survey of new journalism initiatives conducted by the prestigious New Journalism Foundation for Iberoamerica, as reported on the website of ABC in Spain.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New director takes reins at Digital Journalism Center

Versión en español aquí.

Rosalía Orozco, who has directed the journalism program at the University of Guadalajara the past two years, is the new director of the University’s Digital Journalism Training Center.

Rector General Marco Antonio Cortés Guardado announced the appointment Monday while installing the members of the Center’s newly formed Advisory Council.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

2010: Attacks on Mexican journalists more brazen

Versión en español aquí.

The work of journalists in Mexico is becoming increasingly dangerous, and governments at the state and national level are doing nothing to change the situation. 

This is the essence of the new report by the Center for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET). 

At least 139 journalists and 21 media outlets in 25 Mexican states were attacked for reasons related to their reporting, says CEPET. 

During the past year, nine media workers were killed, three reporters disappeared in the states of Tamaulipas and Michoacan, and two other employees of a newspaper in Chihuahua were forced to leave the country after receiving death threats. 

New form of kidnapping  

The report describes "a new scenario in which drug cartels kidnap journalists, hold them hostage and demand that the media disseminate their messages." 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

7 tips to stimulate innovation in newsrooms

Tina Seelig,
Versión en español aquí.

I just finished taking the free online course on innovation offered at NewsU and thought the beleaguered folks working at newspapers could certainly benefit. So could digital news entrepreneurs. The course offers simple, useful techniques to encourage innovation in any newsroom.

The main takeaways:
  • Innovation is a discipline and it can be taught. 
  • The big eureka moments occur when there is a culture of continuous incremental change. 
  • Do cheap prototypes of a product or service early in the process. It reduces risk and produces valuable insights.
  • A new product or service needs to solve a problem. The bigger the problem the bigger the opportunity. No one will pay you to solve a non-problem.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Facebook to overtake Yahoo in display advertising

The rich are getting richer in the online advertising market, which means the antitrust lawyers must be sharpening their pencils. eMarketer is forecasting that Facebook will have one-fifth of the online display advertising market in 2011 and will displace Yahoo as leader in the category.  
The digital research website is also predicting that the top four companies in the category -- including Google and AOL -- will have more than half the market by year-end. 

Google is a relative newcomer to display ads, but it dominates search-related advertising with its AdWords service, which will have three-fourths of the U.S. market in 2011, eMarketer predicts.

Google’s vast storehouses of data on consumer behavior, collected through its analysis of billions of searches, allow it to target display ads more effectively than some of its competitors.
All of these big players have automated ad-delivery systems that reduce the need for salespeople and cut costs to advertisers in terms of cost per impression, cost per click on an ad or cost per transaction. It is tough for smaller advertising networks to compete.

A vote for user comments signed with real names

Versión en español aquí.

A Spanish colleague who has been asked to develop the comments section of a new digital publication asked if it were better to require users to register or allow anonymous comments.

The dilemma is always quantity vs. quality, I told her. If the idea is to generate traffic, comments can do it, and some editors will be content with that.

Although the numbers might please the higher-ups in the short term, don’t expect comments to attract advertisers. YouTube has never made money because major advertisers are skittish about associating their brands with content that might be amateurish or in bad taste. Anonymous comments represent the same kind of risk.