It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!
+ Here is the best and worst journalism of 2015 according to the Columbia Journalism Review. If you, like me, ARE the worst, you will really enjoy sinking your teeth into what they deem the worst, which includes Gawker’s big gaffe with the Conde Nast outing and subsequent fallout, Donald Trump, and “Millennials as a symbol of American decline”:
Crafting doomsday Millennial scenarios has become something of an artform. There are apocalyptic predictions of how the generation’s use of technology leads to moral decay, doubts they can handle “adult political discussions,” and lectures on entitlement and disengagement. Reporting and commentary too often veer away from actual differences of this generation—in demographics, in education, in economic prospects—to focus on already tired social tropes. A more useful starting point would be to focus on how young people are using new technology to do young people things. Until then, we’ll swipe left.
Also a sore spot? “Millennial-focused outlets’ interviews with President Barack Obama this year both failed to distinguish them from old media and highlighted shortcomings of their current offerings.”
+ The New York Times‘ twenty stories that best captured your attention in 2015 — #1 is about whether or not to have a big wedding, followed by the saga of Justine Sacco, Inside Amazon and “to fall in love with anyone, do this.” I hope that worked out for everybody.
This Business of Online Media
+ John Herrman at The Awl continues being smart and wise, this time with Access Denied, a compelling look at how celebrities and politicians developing their own platforms via social media has eroded yet another element of the Media Machine: publications as the sole conduit of information from Very Important People to People. Which has also led to the news-makers being more comfortable rejecting coverage from those who refuse positive coverage and privileging those who provide it, as explained in this article from Kotaku about being blacklisted by Bethesda and Ubisoft.
This turn of events is relevant to film reviewers, too, all of whom were denied press copies and/or screenings of the new Star Wars movie. Sportswriters are losing access to athletes, celebrity journalists are losing access to celebrities, and there’s confusion over the right to access for journalists in general, as played out in Mizzou. “Cooperation was never the default,” Hermann asserts, “But the calculation changes significantly when news outlets have less to offer.”
+ The ad-blocking apocalypse isn’t a thing quite yet. “The good news from publishers’ perspective is that the mobile ad apocalypse does not seem to have arrived — yet, at least.” Turns out most mobile users haven’t installed ad-blockers. Other interesting tidbits:
- Bild, a publisher in Germany, made a system where content is blocked for ad-blocker users, forcing those users to disable or pay.
- Salon.com had a $30/year Premium program they launched during the dot-com bust in 2001, which peaked in 2004 with 89,100 subscribers and was down to under 8,000 when they discontinued it in 2014, which “all came down to what’s the amount work going into supporting this versus how much we’re taking in revenue wise. Once the ROI doesn’t balance out, it made sense to turn it off.”
- Slate is finding success with Slate Plus, which has over 10,000 members, and by charging overseas readers for access beyond five articles a month. The reason for that is one we also struggle with here — we work with domestic advertisers, and they refuse to pay for international impressions.
+ Finally, an article about how annoying it is to chase a little x around on your screen to get rid of an ad! How bad are these online ads? (VERY BAD.) That’s why we don’t run any of them.
+ We feel this so hard because of the ridiculous ads that show up so often on our site that we have to play whack-a-mole with — The Guardian is annoyed that it’s so hard to keep gun ads off their site.
+ Paywalls didn’t work at The Sun UK because it limited scale as well as their ability to be “a part of the social fabric of the country.” Instead they’re going to focus on advertisers.
+ Mallory Ortberg talks about her personal finances and financial health and funding The Toast at The Financial Diet.
+ “Hopes and Fears” is a new magazine that wants to “shine a light on the lesser-known corners of the modern urban experience.”
+ The Awl is currently hiring wizards.
This Business of Journalism
+ Diane Rehm is retiring. :-(
+ The Columbia Journalism Review has a piece on Jeff Schmalz, “the man who transformed how The New York Times covers the gay community,” from the perspective of a writer who covered the Pride Parade for him in 1982:
Jeff burned for the Times to cover gay people and issues in a way that wasn’t exotic or judgmental, and he knew the newsroom politics well enough to recognize that such change would not happen easily. Young, straight, sympathetic reporters like me were Jeff’s stealthy emissaries. After all, these were the days when official Times style forbade using the word “gay” except as part of a direct quote.
+ The New York Times is doing a two-part series on the future of local investigative journalism.
+ The National Association of Black Journalists is facing a budget shortage and possibly folding, which is unacceptable.
+ Print is the new “new media.” I love it.
+ “Mostly, I remember wearing a terrible dress to talk to this genial man about how I felt about working for the magazine. Yes, I was a student at a progressive women’s college, but glossy magazines excited me and frankly, I had no problem with lad’s mags, here or abroad.”
+ Journalists and news outlets have failed, utterly, to cover the actual lives and deeds of the One Percent and make plain the terrifying power they hold over our public discourse and public policy.
The End Times
+ Facebook is tweaking its instant articles to make it easier for publishers to generate revenue.
+ Could Facebook be the next big platform for podcasts? COULD IT??
+ Disney invested another $200 million in Vice Media, bringing their share of the company to 10%.
+ A new class at USC teaches students how to produce stories for social media.
+ Yet another start-up aiming to “disrupt the daily meal industry,” Yumist, has landed $2 million to expand from three cities to eight.
+ The CEO Paying Everyone $70,000 Salaries Has Something To Hide: One of those things is that he is going to court on charges of spousal abuse. No really, you need to read this one.