Archive by Author

MSN News: Sharing is Caring

18 Feb

While I was skeptical prior to meeting with MSN News, I was quite impressed with its business model and content strategies. I wouldn’t say I’m sure MSN News will be a success, but there’s no doubt what MSN is trying to do is unique and innovative. 

One idea from the presentation that I really liked was seeking out stories that are likely to be shared. Share-ability, as I now call it, is such an important part of news judgement in the internet age. Sure, some stories will garner cheap clicks, but if the content doesn’t distinguish itself, readers will simply click off the page. If the content truly resonates with readers, they will be tempted to share it with friends, driving more traffic toward MSN News. This is a seemingly obvious strategy, but not one that is always employed. 

Another aspect of the presentation that stood out was the “rumors” section, which I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, I think it’s fantastic that someone will confirm or deny rumors that spread like wildfire in the social media age. Still, when it comes to keeping up with rumors, there is a wide margin for error, which could cause a loss in credibility. 

Finally, I was quite surprised when Steve told the group that he doesn’t consider Yahoo! or Huffington Post competition. Quite frankly, I think he is wrong. Both of those more-established news outlets are producing similar content and using some of the same means to distribute it. 

Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Cat Slideshows

18 Feb

All of the empty office space we saw when we first walked into the Seattle Post-Intelligencer would prove telling in terms of the state of the organization. What was once a 150-person staff producing a print publication has been reduced to a 12-person web-only operation.

It wasn’t the web-only format that perturbed me at the P.I.; we all know that is where the industry is headed. What bothered me was the type of journalism our guides claimed to practice at the P.I. Instead of providing readers with in depth, fleshed out stories, the P.I.’s focus is on what I call “news lite.” This includes photo-centric content like slideshows and celebrity news, fluffy features as opposed to hard news and just an overall lack of depth.

This was my least favorite stop on the trip and, fortunately, it was all uphill from here.

Stephanie Padgett Response

1 Feb

As a Print and Digital journalism major, I am constantly inundated with peoples’ thoughts on the changing state of the news industry. Listening to Stephanie Padgett speak Monday, however, made me realize that the advertising industry is experiencing many similar changes and challenges. Like news organizations, the individuals and companies that adapt to the changing landscape in advertising are the ones who will survive and thrive.

The idea that more targeted advertising is in demand makes a lot of sense, but as Ms. Padgett pointed out, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for traditional media like television and newspapers. The fact that Padgett, someone with close ties to the advertising industry, asserted that it’s only a matter of time before the agency model crumbles was surprising to me, but I appreciated her honest and, more importantly, her acknowledgement of a need to change.

People like Ms. Padgett are the ones who will succeed in the age of new media advertising. She clearly has a grasp on the changing landscape and, more importantly, she isn’t set in her ways. I was very impressed by her desire to embrace change in the industry.

-Alex Silverman

Dan Potter Response

1 Feb

Listening to Dan Potter speak Wednesday reaffirmed my belief that news organizations that produce a daily physical publication desperately need to change their business models. Even as someone who personally enjoys reading a physical newspaper, I still get the vast majority of my news from the internet. It’s undeniable that news consumption is skewing in this direction and, as the Missourian’s finances prove, this trend is having serious repercussions on the profitability of newspapers.

One thing that stuck with me from the class discussion with Mr. Potter was the idea of putting a $5 monthly fee for access to a news website into perspective. As Mr. Potter said, people spend that much daily for a cup of coffee. The question isn’t whether people would be willing to spend this amount of money for news, but the newspaper industry convincing consumers that there is considerable value in its product. To me, this means the news organizations with the best combination of content and marketing are the ones that will succeed in the digital age.

I was also intrigued by our discussion about the impact tablets could potentially have on the newspaper industry. I personally don’t own a tablet, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the best way to view a print publication in a digital form is via tablet at this point. If done correctly, tablets truly could allow magazines and newspapers alike to target a younger demographic, particularly young professionals.

As Mr. Potter said, there are clearly hurdles to overcome, but these hurdles can also be seen as opportunities. There will always be demand for news, it’s just a matter of packaging content in a way that appeals to a modern-day consumer.

-Alex Silverman