Project Thunderdome Shuts Down – Mad Max and Post Apocalyptic Linotype

April 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Journalists, News, Online

I was genuinely shocked to hear late last week that Digital First Media’s Project Thunderdome was shutting down. Whether accepted or not by the network of papers it was serving, it was a bold project with a plan to save newspapers with a new model for news.

I was lucky enough to visit the Project Thunderdome office in New York just after they started, while on my CNA scholarship trip in 2012. Between the New York office and visiting the Journal Register properties in Connecticut, I was able to meet Jim Brady, Steve Buttry, Matt DeRienzo and even John Paton. Read more

Getty, the world’s largest photo service, is now free

March 10, 2014 by  
Filed under News, Pictures, Technology

Wow. Need an image for your blog/site? Getty, the world’s largest photo service, is now ‘free’. For embeds, anyway. http://buff.ly/1h5nqe7

Like this!

Or this!

Get your thinking hats on – each of these images would normally cost $65.

Value Archived News

September 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Media, News, Online, SEO

With all the talk about whether the content of newspapers is of a quality the public will be willing to pay for online, it took a search of our paper’s archives recently to remind me that … it is. It’s not necessarily the quality of the individual story (although that’s obviously there), but of the narrative – the archive – that presents an ongoing and valuable commodity.

A mistake of mainstream media has been to ignore and devalue that content.

So if there’s going to be a paywall, maybe it should be for archived content. Not just archived material that you can do a text search on, but a powerful database of related, interwoven “smart” content. At the moment that’s largely unavailable. Allow users to follow the background story, or stories, that give context to the current revision, whether that history is contained in text, image, audio or video content.

As such, it equally applies to any media, or content creator, but this particular post approaches it from the mindset of print.

I had reason to search NewsText, a database of newspaper archives, for the entire history of the Queensland Government’s lobbyist issue, where former government ministers were representing lobbying firms on development projects. During the search I saw clearly the linear progression and connectedness of these articles across months, even years, all presented chronologically. It’s there without tags or related story linking, just a regular text search. Where the authors were different, and in some cases even the publication, the full story still unfolded.

But that linear value is completely lost, both in the newspaper because it isn’t possible, and online when it isn’t utilised. In the newspaper it’s only possible to read each article as a standalone piece, without reference or even knowledge of the wealth of background to the story, or the ongoing work a publication or journalist has devoted to covering that story.

There is the capability to do it online but, in most cases, it’s not being done. People can currently pay for this archival content, with access to historical textual news searches through services like NewsText or Lexis Nexis, but the ability to do that should be provided online from the originating news source.

And why not monetise it?

It’s not like it’s a service offered now and, like academic articles, it could provide a story précis or the context in which the search terms are contained. Some kind of context would help the consumer decide if they want to pay for the entire article, or a sequence of related articles and/or other media content.

If it’s done it shouldn’t be prohibitive to pay for articles. Ease of access is the barrier to overcome, and anything over just a few cents per article would quickly become prohibitively expensive.

You only pay $1.69 AU ($0.99 US) for a song on iTunes, and the whole point of that purchase is to have a product you can use (listen to) again and again. Most people who purchase an article don’t intend to use it over and over again. It’s a one time, single use purchase – generally for reference only and a cheap price should reflect that.

It’s wrong that newspapers and other content creators didn’t start doing this much earlier, or adopt the best practices of somebody who has figured it out. It’s not just another “related articles” plugin, although it includes that, but a seriously robust system that makes the archive useful. Content on news media sites is archived online but, if it wasn’t for Google, it would be nigh on impossible to actually find it.

Everyone has failed at converting content to the web and leveraging the value of their archives. Not just mainstream media. Everybody.

The Journalists Formerly Known as the Media: My Advice to the Next Generation – Jay Rosen: Public Notebook

August 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Media, News, Print

The newspaper business model will not be saved with the introduction of paywalls because it is a rejection of the newspaper business model. The current model, entirely based on advertising paying for news, is in the process of being left behind by those who would defend it. It is worrying that users will now be made to pay for news simply because marketing departments are unable to make online advertising work.

The central argument, that users need to pay for news to recoup costs, is an effective raising of the white flag. It’s an admission that, unlike at Google, the media industry is bereft of ideas about how to make online advertising profitable. This extends to the entire industry, all of whom are discussing the merits and timetables of a user-pays model. It just so happens that the News Ltd announcement has thrust that model back into the spotlight.

It reminds me of a rant from David Cross in the outtakes of Arrested Development: “If you can’t market that kind of show and get better ratings, then maybe the problem doesn’t lie here, maybe it lies with marketing”.

In The Australian’s Media and Marketing section on August 10, Mark Day said a paywall would allow newspapers to wrest back control of their business model. How? The way the music industry did, through the “grim enforcement of copyright, uniform action by the music companies and technological advances such as the iTunes micro-payment systems”. The music industry business model was all but destroyed by online, and rather than bludgeoning users to return to the good old days, they instead bow to the consumer who is willing to pay, but demands to control how, when, and what they pay for.

I disagree completely that “the [music] industry was able to wrest back control of its product”. The music industry was dragged kicking and screaming to its knees, finally relinquishing control to a micro-payment model after consumer outrage put a gun to their head and forced the issue. Introducing a user-pays model isn’t about wresting back control of the news product at all, and you could not pick a worse example of an industry to emulate than the music business.

As an aside, in the music industry consumers have always paid for the product. In the news industry, consumers have never paid for the product, advertising has. The cover price of a newspaper wouldn’t cover the cost of the ink on its pages.

Surprisingly there were a few things I agreed with Mark Day about (despite the column’s title, Bloggers may howl, but cash for content makes sense), like his examples of the three strands of news (happening, manufactured, investigated) and what kind of news people might be willing to pay for. It’s a valid argument, and one industry people are having everywhere, but I do wonder if it’s the sense of inevitibility that is now driving the debate. Now that the introduction of pay-per-view content seems inevitable, everyone is expending cognitive energy on the issue, speculating about how the paywall could work, or what content people are willing to pay for. This, instead of developing a model where advertising still pays for news.

Whether it was the classified “rivers of gold” or advertising on the page, the news industry has for some reason given up on that model working online. I find it inexplicable that nobody in the news industry, across the globe, can figure out how to make advertising work online. Google are just smarter, I guess.

No less than the president of media at Thomson Reuters, Chris Ahearn, recently penned a piece titled, Why I believe in the link economy

Blaming the new leaders or aggregators for disrupting the business of the old leaders, or saber-rattling and threatening to sue are not business strategies – they are personal therapy sessions. Go ask a music executive how well it works.

From Mark Day’s Bloggers may howl, but cash for content makes sense

It is clear a free internet has the power to wreck the economic model of newspapers and news-gathering itself. But the irony is, if that were to happen, the most valuable elements of news — that which is investigated, tested and credible — would disappear because of a lack of funding. Ultimately, that serves no one. Society would be the loser.

We do a disservice to society by making that valuable and important news inaccessible, by telling society that, unless you pay, we will withhold the information that informs your understanding of the machinations of government and the economy.

Related reading:

I first started writing this post over a week ago. The biggest addition since then is the Associated Press plan for content charging online, assessed by Nieman Journalism Lab after they got hold an internal AP document labeled, “AP CONFIDENTIAL — NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION.”

UPDATE:
Last week I tweeted about an article that literally took the words out of my mouth in relation to this blog post.
Five Key Reasons Why Newspapers Are Failing | SPLICETODAY.COM
The first point there illustrates this post:
1. Consumers don’t pay for news. They have never paid for news.

Twitter threatens legal action against third party developer

August 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Media, News, Social Networking

A third party Twitter developer in New York has discovered the hard way that Twitter may now be playing tough, threatening to aggressively “take whatever steps are necessary” to protect their rights.  Lawyers representing Twitter have demanded the developer deactivate his website, transfer the domain to Twitter and cease using the API or any reference to “Twitter”.

Yesterday mytwitterbutler.com owner and Twitter third party developer Dean Collins arrived home to find an email from lawyers claiming to represent Twitter,  demanding he cease operating his website and hand over the domain because of his “violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service (“TOS”) and spam rules, and your infringement of Twitter’s trademark rights”.

His website is designed to help users auto-follow people when certain keywords appear in their tweets. Many in the Twitter community frown on auto-following that generates masses of spam, but Collins is vehemently denying misuse, and said he’s using the Twitter API in accordance with the rules.

“Basically they were saying we want you to hand over the domain, stop using and selling your software, and never use the API ever again,” Collins said.
“I think twitter are forgetting how they got so popular in the first place. There are 3000 applications out there all using the Twitter API, all using the rules they gave us.”

In their letter of demand, the lawyers have suggested that use of the word “Twitter” in Mr Collins’ domain will confuse users into thinking his product is affiliated with Twitter.

Twitter is concerned, however, that your use of My Twitter Butler and the related domain may cause confusion in the marketplace by suggesting that you and your site are somehow affiliated with Twitter, or are endorsed, sponsored, or approved by Twitter, which would result in an infringement of Twitter’s valuable trademark rights.

In light of the above, we must demand that you immediately:

1. deactivate the MyTwitterButler.com website;

2. transfer the MyTwitterButler.com domain to Twitter;

3. comply with Twitter’s TOS and rules, which includes stopping your aggressive and automatic following and offering techniques and software for others to aggressively or automatically follow; and

4. stop all use of the My Twitter Butler name, the TWITTER mark, or any other name, logo, or domain name that includes TWITTER or any confusingly similar term.

Twitter’s success has been built on the back of thousands of third party developers who have taken the API beyond what its founders could have ever imagined, and some in the Twitter Dev community have questioned if this is the beginning of the end for open development using the Twitter API.

Mr Collins said he attended a Twitter-hosted event for developers six months ago, where about 200 developers listened to Twitter representatives give examples of how the API could be used.
“Auto-follow was the second example they gave,” he said.
“I’m just using their publicly defined API.”

Some will argue Mr Collins has been warned, as the case is not without recent precedent. At the beginning of July, TechCrunch reported that Twitter had been getting touchy about using the word “Tweet” in applications. While it seeemed to be cleared up that “tweet” was okay, “Twitter” is still supposed to be a no-go for applications.

In a blog post, Biz Stone later said they encouraged the use of the word Tweet, but:

“If we come across a confusing or damaging project, the recourse to act responsibly to protect both users and our brand is important. Regarding the use of the word Twitter in projects, we are a bit more wary although there are some exceptions here as well.”

A quick search by Collins found dozens of third party Twitter applications that used the word Twitter in their domain or application, and he wondered if he was just one of many to receive letters from Twitter’s lawyers yesterday.
“It will either turn out that I’m just one, or it’s a big deal and 30 to 40 are being taken down tomorrow.”

If Twitter succeeds in forcing mytwitterbutler.com owner Dean Collins to deactivate his website, transfer the domain to Twitter, and stop using any reference to Twitter, the future of other hugely successfull third party Twitter applications like twittercounter, twitterfall, twitterfeed and DestroyTwitter could also be in jeopardy.

Read the letter from Twitter’s lawyers in full at mytwitterbutler.com/I’m_Being_Sued/

How much unique content is out there?

August 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Media, News, Print

Last week Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corporation would push ahead with the introduction of pay-per-view online content. Since then there have been suggestions Fairfax would follow, and the Boston Globe’s boston.com has also started to head in that direction.

My question is, “How much unique content is out there?”

The arguments in favor of paywalls have largely focused on the value of unique content that is produced by media outlets. I would like to see an objective analysis and review of unique content. I can only assume some sort of exhaustive analysis has informed the direction we are all being pushed towards.

I had already put this question to journalism academic Julie Posetti earlier in the week in an email, but Murdoch’s comments prompted me to ask the question again publicly.
Are there any in-depth studies looking at unique content in newspapers or their online sites, and what do those studies conclude?

On Thursday night, ABC’s Lateline Business reported plans to introduce paywalls at all News Corporation outlets by next year’s Northern summer. In a recorded teleconference Murdoch is heard saying that, to make a paywall work, News Corp would need to “make our content better and differentiate it from other people“.

RUPERT MURDOCH: We just make our content better, and differentiate it from other people and I believe that if we are successful, we’ll be followed by all the media.

Watch the video or read the transcript of the three-minute Lateline Business report on their site.

Or listen to what was said by just Rupert Murdoch here:
[podcast]http://earleyedition.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/murdoch-teleconference.mp3[/podcast]

The wording used sounds more like a statement of future intent – this is what we must do – but much of the paywall argument to date has focused on the unique content that newspapers and their online sites are currently giving away for free. I think using the Wall Street Journal as proof of concept is a bit flawed, because it is very different to a “paper of record”. If WSJ are generally targeting a specific market with market-related content, then they could be described as a niche publication. Is a paper of record that covers the gamut of local, national and world news able to drill down and provide unique content? That is, content that won’t be easily found elsewhere, and provides value to the reader.

I’m hoping a study exists, or some clever postgraduate student is currently working on it. It would be illogical to discuss the possibility of making people pay for unique content without a thorough assessment of the quantity of same.

An interesting one that just popped up yesterday in The Australian’s Media & Marketing section was that subscription paid off for one site after just three weeks.
Subscribers turn profit for NZ site | The Australian

Related reading:
Murdoch On Leading The Charging Charge | paidContent
This Is Rupert’s Last Stand: Making You Pay
Rupert Murdoch to charge to view news websites by 2010 | Media | The Guardian
Roy Greenslade: Murdoch is wrong to charge for online content | Media | guardian.co.uk
News Limited working on paid net models | The Australian
Bloggers may howl, but cash for content makes sense | The Australian

UPDATE:
To be perfectly clear on this, I don’t see a paywall working as a flat entry fee for the entirety of a masthead news site. It’s no secret that the internet’s disruption to the traditional business model is choice. People will only pay to get *exactly* what they want. Niche markets…you’ve heard it all before.
If there has to be an argument for paywalls, then the case of the WSJ is illustrative: people are willing to pay for premium industry insight and business-critical information. In Australia that might similarly translate to the business section of the paper, or quality reporting on state politics.

But then again, it might not. The biggest threat to the paywall will be free quality content available from places like the ABC and BBC.

Recording Devices in the Queensland Magistrates Courts

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Audio, Media, News

"Themis"   "Greek Goddess of Ju...
Image via Wikipedia

A recent change to the Queensland Magistrates Courts practice directions means members of the media can now use a personal recording device in the courtroom “to maintain accuracy in the reporting of court proceedings”.
Read more

NBN to roll out 100mbps – so why are 16 per cent of Australians still on dialup?

April 15, 2009 by  
Filed under News, Online, Technology

fibre optic
Image by Twilight Jones via Flickr

Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics released their Internet Activity Survey for the December quarter of 2008.

According to the ABS release, their highlight was that wireless broadband subscription across Australia has tripled in just one year, from 481,000 in December 07 to 1.46 million in December 08, which is great.

Looking into the numbers, that massive jump in wireless broadband takeup represents 979,000 new subscribers, more than the entire country’s overall growth of 891,000 internet subscribers in the 12 month period (7.1 to 7.99 million). If the numbers don’t seem to add up it’s because 576,000 subscribers finally ditched their dialup connections. But dialup’s decline actually slowed compared to the previous 12 month period, to December 2007, when 862,000 subscribers left their dialup provider. That drop took dialup connections from 2.75 to 1.88 million, compared to the current period to December 08, where dialup subscribers dropped to just 1.31 million.

What I found unbelievable was to be reminded, in the week that the government rejected all bids for the National Broadband Network (NBN) to go it alone on the internet superhighway to heaven, is that so many Australians are still on dialup. Of the almost 8 million (7.996m) internet subscribers in Australia as at 31 December, 2008, 1.3 million of those are still on a dialup connection. That’s 16% of the country. If dialup is still the price gouge I remember it being 13 years ago, that’s a large proportion of the Australian online community who are overpaying for a vastly inferior product.

Apart from the people don’t have a choice, for reasons like rural or remote areas, I’d be very interested to see some breakdown on who still subscribes to dialup and why. Is there anyone who chooses dialup? Despite having highspeed broadband as a matter of course, I know one person who had to convince his parents recently it wasn’t worth holding on to their dialup subscription “just in case” old contacts still had the email address that was tied to it.

Do you know anyone still on dialup, and do you think they have a good reason to be? Apart from absolute necessity, I don’t see how it could be justified, and part of the NBN rollout should be reducing that 16 per cent significantly.

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Future of Journalism – Brisbane

September 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Mobile, News, Online, Print, Social Networking, Videos

MEAA - Future of Journalism logoI’m not going to go into the Future of Journalism conference last Saturday in any great detail.
There is a post on the Future of Journalism’s Wired Scribe blog with a roundup of several good links to posts by people who were observers and panelists on the day. Interested people can read a roundup there.

You can also read through the live Future of Journalism tweets from various people on the day.

What I’m providing here is just a quick video of a question I asked of news.com.au editor David Higgins about the use of social networking tools for newsgathering.

Video after the jump…

Read more

ABC Online – offline again

July 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, News, Online

Two weeks ago I posted that Australia’s ABC Online was down, showing an ‘outage’ message.

At the time I thought it was because of the Pope’s visit to Australia, but now it’s down again. It would be interesting to know why they’re down, or what’s causing the down time.

Again, the message on the screengrab is the same:

We’re sorry…

We’re unable to supply the service you have requested. This may be due to unavoidable technical problems or very high load on our site. We apologise for any inconvenience and anticipate that normal service will resume shortly.

ABC Online outage

A wending path does lead

July 23, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Online, SMO, Social Networking

As the internet leads a wending path, a range of discussions (starting with Jeff Jarvis and on to Stilgherrian’s comments section) brought me to news.com.au’s live Twitter coverage of the pope at WYD08 on http://twitter.com/popedownunder.
Twitter - popedownunder

I like the live Twitter event coverage (as a personal effort instead of just a pushed RSS feed).
The Twitter account web link was to news.com.au’s in-depth WYD08 coverage page, linking to their What’s on when? page, with an embedded Google map.
Follow that through to the same Google map, full sized, showing, amongst other things, pilgrimage routes, papal motorcade and boat-a-cade routes, and locations for mass.
The creator of that map, news.com.au journalist Alexandra Marceau, has also created 58 other news maps for individual stories. What’s great about creating a map for an individual story is that it’s a mapped record of that story, available through a permanent list of user-created maps.

Obviously, you say, but I’ve been in the habit of giving a quick search-generated map reference link to online for a news story, one that simply points to the intersection where said news event took place, for example. That’s not a permanent record, and doesn’t extend the news into the “user-generated content” section searchable within Google Maps. Creating individually annotated news maps is something I’ll consider doing from now on, time permitting.

It would also be much better if I could mash up a geotagged rss feed with Google Maps to automatically show news down to the street, or at least suburb, level. That’s something I would still like to work on, again, time permitting.

Mind you, somebody much smarter than me is probably already doing that.

Did Pope Benedict crash Australia’s ABC Online website?

July 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, News, Online

The ABC website was down for a while yesterday morning. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen their site offline, and the message would seem to suggest it wasn’t scheduled.

I was trying to find something about a contact who was on Australian Story earlier this year, when I was faced with this ABC Online: Outage page. I tried navigating to a few other pages, but the entire abc.net.au domain was off the radar.

The following screengrab was taken Monday, July 14, 1.50am, and says:ABC Online outage

We’re sorry…

We’re unable to supply the service you have requested. This may be due to unavoidable technical problems or very high load on our site. We apologise for any inconvenience and anticipate that normal service will resume shortly.

Twitter - popedownunder - tallI did wonder if the blue was a nice homage to Microsoft’s universally recognised blue screen of death. The only reason I can think of for the site being down at that time is perhaps an influx of Catholics looking for news about the Pope’s arrival in Australia. Our 1-2am would usually be prime internet traffic time for both the west and east coast of the US (8-9am and 11am-12), as well as Europe (5-6pm).

James Smith – the singing tradesman

July 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Broadcast, Media, News, Portfolio, Videos

I would normally never highlight stuff I’ve done at work, but this guy is a great story.

Either check out the video directly directly at YouTube, or read a little bit about him and watch the video on the story page. If you think it’s worth sharing please send the links around, or digg it.

James Smith first tried singing 18 months ago. That was karaoke – now he’s had 10 singing lessons, and on Saturday night he sang Nessun Dorma and several others at the Bastille Day Grand Dinner Ball.

I shot and edited the video. I rarely get to play with the video cameras these days… This is the first interview James has ever done. A story to rival Paul Potts – the singing mobile phone salesman from Britain’s Got Talent (YouTube link).We had to go with the video before both commercial TV news stations got him, despite my rough shooting and editing skills (back lighting on his porch, and why the hell is there not a tripod in that kit?). Both commercial stations did a story on their Saturday 6pm bulletins, 18 hours after my video went online, but this was James Smith’s first ever interview.

Again, either check out the video directly at YouTube, or read a little bit about him and watch the video on the story page.

I had embedded the video here, but something to do with the code broke my webpage, so visit the links to see it.

iPhone Australia released on Vodafone

May 6, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Mobile, News, Technology

iPhoneHow’s this for awesome? I am of course buying into the hype that is everything Apple, particularly the iPhone, which is yet to be released in Australia.

Vodafone announced today they have signed a deal to sell the iPhone in ten of its global markets, including Australia, ‘later this year’.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Vodafone to offer Apple’s iPhone in ten markets

Vodafone today announced it has signed an agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone in ten of its markets around the globe. Later this year, Vodafone customers in Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Italy, India, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa and Turkey will be able to purchase the iPhone for use on the Vodafone network.

You have plenty of other multi-purpose phones – smart phone, PDA phone, Pocket PC phone – all of which do lots of good things. Is the iPhone the best? How does it rate against the others?

The mobile world is advancing towards that mythical ‘all-in-one’ device that can not only effectively meet the demand for multimedia use of phone, video, audio, image and web, but also realistically meet the needs of those publishing content on the go.

It’s a mobile revolution. The Nokia N95 can’t be bad if it’s the mobile platform of choice for the Reuters Mojo team, so does the iPhone live up to the hype?

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.

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