Location based News and Media

April 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, SEO, SMO

The MediaShift Idea Lab have linked to a great list of examples of mainstream media using location-based technology in news delivery.

Personally, I like the idea of geo-tagging content so that readers can get a map view of their news across the city, state or country, and then be able to pick out what news to follow in feeds based on particular regions.

I’ve been experimenting with Yahoo!Pipes in trying to do that with news content that hasn’t specifically been prepared to be ‘locative’. It’s certainly time-intensive experimentation while I teach myself, and is yet to yield the results I’d like.

The list linked to by Paul Lamb is by LoJo connnect, who are also conducting a survey of news outlets and their offerings/experiments in locative media.

Via:
Paul Lamb at MediaShift Idea Lab

Newspaper circulation dips further

April 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Print

Print circulation showed another dramatic decline in the US in figures released on Monday.

As Louis Hau from Forbes says in the article linked from Romenesko, circulation decline isn’t the biggest problem, it’s monetising an increasingly online readership.

The industry’s most pressing problem isn’t the state of print circulation, which has been in decline since the mid-1980s. Instead, it is figuring out how to generate more advertising revenue from both its shrinking but still lucrative print product and its growing online properties.

Is it the beginning of the end for newspapers? Not likely, since dropping circulation has been ‘the beginning of the end’ for the last 20 years according to Hau’s quote above.

It’s just the beginning. Smaller community newspapers will continue to provide local news, including in a web presence. Larger metropolitan dailies may become media outlets, of which their newspaper is a component of the news distribution methods they offer, rather than their defining characteristic.

Until someone comes up with an effective monetisation strategy for web and mobile content that can either match current print advertising revenue, or at the very least break even, the doom and gloom outlook for newspapers will continue.

Sourced from Romenesko:

Print newspaper circulation continues on its steep downward slide
Editor & Publisher
Some ABC FAS-FAX numbers for the six-month period ending March 31, 2008:
* New York Times down 9.2% on Sunday, 3.8% daily
* Washington Post down 4.3% on Sunday, 3.5% daily
* Wall Street Journal up 0.3
* Los Angeles down 6% on Sunday, 5.1% daily
* USA Today up .27% to 2,284,219
* Boston Globe down 6.4% on Sunday, 8.3% daily

> How the top 25 daily newspapers performed in the FAS-FAX report (E&P)
> Louis Hau: Why circulation declines aren’t a wholly reliable barometer of overall performance. (Forbes)

Happy Birthday Blog

April 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Today the earley edition blog is four years old.

It was a future filled with optimism and hope when this blog launched during the first semester of 2004.

It was the early stages of the explosion of the new web log, or ‘blog’, craze, and today, in 2008, the optimism continues as digital media takes off.

Here’s to another four years, and more.

SMO: Social Media Optimisation

April 5, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, News, Online, SEO, SMO, Social Networking

Social Media sitesSocial Media Optimisation, or SMO, is gaining momentum as the new content distribution buzzword. Content is increasingly shared, and news content particularly is delivered through social networking sites. Will SMO replace SEO, search engine optimisation, as the way news organisations get their content seen by a wider audience?

A New York Times article last week tried to explain the future of news distribution by describing how ‘the young’ share news online via social networks.

SMO, or Social Media Optimisation, is one of the most important stories of the new media campaign – for several reasons.

  1. MSM (main stream media) are beginning to understand that social content distribution is a serious threat to their current distribution methods
  2. MSM in the main were disrespectfully late in adopting SEO, and
  3. It’s only now, well into the Facebook boom, that people are starting to take notice of the value of SMO.

While SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, will remain very important to news gathering and searching methods, it could soon be superceded by a much more important player in news distribution channels and strategies – Social Media Optimisation, or SMO.

How do people share information online? How do they find it? How does social media facilitate this?

What the New York Times article shows is the acceptance, if only partial, of the concept of SMO – that news is no longer force-fed, it is now shared, social, viral, and word of mouth.

Young people expect to see video with campaign stories
New York Times

“And they’ll find it elsewhere if you don’t give it to them, and then that’s the link that’s going to be passed around over e-mail and instant message,“ says Huffington Post’s Danny Shea. Brian Stelter writes: “Younger voters tend to be not just consumers of news and current events but conduits as well — sending out e-mailed links and videos to friends and their social networks. And in turn, they rely on friends and online connections for news to come to them. In essence, they are replacing the professional filter — reading the Washington Post, clicking on CNN.com — with a social one.“
via Romenesko

Like it or not, for traditional news media the news is a commodity that must sell. For it to sell and make money, it must be traded, clicked, monetised, and advertised. When content went online, MSM (mainstream media) very slowly caught up to the idea of SEO – making content user and search engine friendly.

Arguments from MSM – and let me be brutally honest here – dinosaurs, have been that using SEO techniques in news media is simply bowing to a digital master. Many in MSM have for too long bucked at what they call ‘writing headlines for a machine’.

That argument represents a fundamental lack of knowledge about how the future of information distribution will be shaped, and does not bode well for the necessary rapid uptake of SMO – integration with Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Pownce, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, and numerous other variety of social networking startups.

People use the internet to search for information. When doing so, people looking for a story about the conclusion of the divorce trial between Heather Mills and Paul McCartney would most likely use the search terms, heather mills divorce, or paul mccartney divorce, or heather mills paul mccartney divorce, or even add the word settlement to any of those searches. They will not search using a print headline like “Damnation of Her Ladyship“ or “Lady Liar“, from the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror respectively, both on March 19.

People use a search engine to find what they are looking for, so writing page or article titles that assists them to do that is by no means writing headlines for a machine – it is writing headlines that will help real people find information using a machine.

But as MSM has only recently grasped the importance of doing this, and just as they catch up and start optimising content for search, the rules of the game gradually begin to change again.

MSM need to not be left behind this time. News in the new world of digital media is shared. Social media is word of mouth advertising. Social media is recommending a product to a friend, and whether that be viral video or a news story, it is a link to content of mutual interest, shared among a community of friends, a seperate community of family, another community of professional contacts, and innumerable other communities that gather around hobbies.

That MySpace, or Facebook, may be the flavour of the social networking month and gone tomorrow as another new social networking site enters the friend-swapping fray, is no good reason to neglect to stay in the game. If you’re only just starting to embrace MySpace as the skyrocketing Facebook begins to face new competition from bebo, you’re two full lengths behind the leaders.

The only saving grace for MSM in the past is that they have generally formed a pack that lag behind the innovators. Be warned though, as soon as your competition gets a clue and embraces the reality of online content sharing and community building in their news distribution strategy – you’ll find out just how lazy you’ve been when you lose community respect and relevance.

When the editors and owners hit the panic button and ask, “What the hell have you been doing? We’ve been left behind!“ – What will you say?

Integration is not just newsrooms. Integration is leading innovation, or at the very least keeping up with it.

Traditional media no longer control the news distribution channels.
Seed your content. Link out. Allow your video to be embedded, linked to, displayed elsewhere.