Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend theme: Are readers being served?

(via Flickr: jj_pappas423)
Unintentionally, here's a themed weekend read that revolves around this question: How can publishers create the best digital experience for customers?

" CEO: Centralized Subscription Removes ‘High Frustration Walls’ Between Readers & News" (Ask the Recruiter): Joe Grimm steps away from his usual column of career advice to dive into Ongo, the so-called "one-stop shop" for managing digital news. (Here's its intro video.) Funded by some of the biggest Old Media players, it's supposed to help us survive the constant barrage of online news by channeling the best of the output being offered. So rather than my having to surf various sites for the news, someone else is doing that and depositing it in one place for me -- at a cost of $6.99 a month.

" 'You Are What You Read': NYT CTO Marc Frons on the Paper's New Article Recommendation Engine" (Nieman Journalism Lab): The New York Times, one of the money players behind Ongo, debuted a story-recommendation service that offers other articles -- Times articles, that is -- you might like to peruse, based on your pattern(s) of interest at (Think of Amazon's "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought..." way of recommending subject-related books.) This doesn't get you the best-of-the-best coverage on a topic -- as is the goal with Ongo -- but pushes Times content at you to build loyalty to the brand.

Video interlude: The Brits' sharp humor takes aim at digital devices.

"@Themediaisdying: The Brutal Truth From Two Years In The Twitterverse" (paidContent): Paul Armstrong, a social media strategist in London, uses the provocative Twitter handle The Media Is Dying to draw attention to FAILs (in the Twitter vernacular) by the media. Here he opines that publishers still haven't learned how to service readers in ways that make sense to them, not the media companies. "Stop trying to refine and redefine journalism and/or the written and spoken word and just serve the reader, not the business model," he says.

"The Daily Debut Flops: What Went Wrong?" (Reflections of a Newsosaur): Alan Mutter wasn't impressed with The Daily, News Corp.'s long-awaited digital newspaper built specifically for the iPad. While the mechanics of The Daily have received good marks (aside from the widely criticized download time), the content hasn't. From Mutter: "The lack of intellectual heft makes The Daily feel more like the Etch A Sketch edition of Us Magazine than the ground-breaking news platform it purports to be." Ouch!

Musical interlude: It's Super Bowl Sunday, so ...

Bonus: Here's a useful tool from The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Open Government Guide to state Freedom of Information statutes.

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