Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sales, hyperlocal, social media: Read!

(via Flickr: jj_pappas423)
Time to catch up on some reading:

"Robust Ad Recovery Bypassed Newspapers" (Reflections of a Newsosaur): Alan Mutter offers his latest take on quarterly ad sales, noting that while results have turned positive for all other media, newspapers still had a stinky Q3. What's more, he says, the other media generally went from red to black by the second quarter, while newspaper ad sales continued to drop -- although industry executives contend the rate of decline has slowed. Be sure to take a look at the chart Mutter includes on various newspaper ad categories (auto, real estate, help wanted) that compares third-quarter numbers today with those of five years ago. The decline in ad revenue is striking.

"McClatchy CEO: Death of Newspaper Classifieds Greatly Exaggerated" (Poynter): As a bit of counterpoint to the above, McClatchy's Gary Pruitt indicated at a UBS investors' conference that he sees growth at his chain in classified ad sales, one segment of newspaper revenue punched repeatedly by the Internet and the likes of Monster and Craigslist. Interestingly, he credits much of the reversal to the shift to online classifieds.

Video interlude No. 1: Clever (and oh-so-discouraging) commentary on the state of freelancing.

"Determining Paths to Financial Sustainability: The Release of Our ‘Cookbook’" (Local Fourth): A class of graduate students at the Medill School of Journalism was given the assignment of figuring out how to make online hyperlocal news financially viable. As one of those students said in this post:
After 10 weeks of researching the subject, interviewing academics, residents, hyperlocal journalists and editors, one thing is for certain: there is no “secret” to making money in this space.


But the students did come up with a "cookbook" -- what they call "a step-by-step process that can be used to create a business out of a hyperlocal news website." Also take a look at other entries about the project on their class blog.

"Aron Pilhofer and Jennifer Preston on the New Shape of Social in The New York Times' Newsroom" (Nieman Journalism Lab): Not that long ago, it seemed that every media outlet was appointing a social media editor. Now, though, the thinking goes, there's less need for one individual to prod legacy newspapers toward social media (Facebook, Twitter, et al.) and engagement with readers because they're rapidly coming around. Key evidence in the about-face: the New York Times returning its former social media editor to a reporter's role. (News of the change originally broke on Poynter; another discussion on audience engagement is here.)

Also recommended:
  • "The Foreign Correspondent is Dead. Long Live the Foreign Correspondent" ( An appreciation of journalists' work in far-flung, often-dangerous places and why it's still important. 
  • "Survey: iPad Newspaper Apps Could Slash Print Subscriptions" (paidContent): Could it be that the iPad is not the manna from heaven that newspaper publishers had hoped it would/could be?
  • "J-Schools Shift from Learning Labs to Major Media Players" (MediaShift): Geneva Overholser, director of the journalism school at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, says the media revolution/evolution has offered new roles to j-schools. 
Video interlude No. 2: Confused about WikiLeaks' cable leaks? Here's a 3-minute summary.

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