Archives: March 2009
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Pew Research Center for the People and the Press published a new report on journalists’ feelings regarding the movement from print to online. Surveying journalists who largely come from websites linked to legacy media, the report finds that most journalists are optimistic that news websites will turn a profit. As seen in this first graph:
Most of their hopes are still pinned on ad revenue. As seen here:
The real concern lies with the quality of journalism. Read more about it after the jump.
“I ask the question because one of the distinguishing characteristics of this current economic downturn/recession/depression is that it is pushing a lot of workers out of regular jobs and into the ranks of the self-employed, whether they like it or not,” writes John Hollon, editor of Workforce Management. He argues that freelancing—once a lifestyle choice—is becoming an economic necessity. That out of work, talented people are cobbling together a living with contract work, part-time gigs, and other work-from-home projects. And that it’s possible that as the economy bounces back, employers will find they like their freelancers (no benefits to pay!) and employees will realize they can “be successful working for themselves without the BS they get in a traditional job.”
Awesome! But is this really that new? Web gurus have been advocating generating multiple streams of income for years—here’s an article back from 2002. And personal branding, though it’s gotten more attention in the last year or so thanks to Twitter and LinkedIn, isn’t a new concept: FastCompany wrote about the idea in 1997. Working, consulting on the side, and possibly teaching a class or two is a given in the media industry, right? Or is Hollon right, and the economy’s pushing people to fend for themselves on a scale never before seen?
What do you think? Tell us in the comments.
We enjoyed listening in on a Poynter.org chat today about what it’s like out there for jobseekers, especially those still in college and wondering what to do in 2010 or 2011. A few highlights:
Q: I’m graduating in May and am trying to do exactly what this chat’s title suggests. This morning, my journalism professor (a very well-respected man in the field) told my class to pick a state and drive around to find a small 10,000 to 30,000 circulation daily and start there. But I feel like that tactic doesn’t take into account our digital age. Thoughts?
A from Ellyn Angelotti: I’d suggest you drive around online too Pick an area you’d like to work in and see which news organization have Web sites or are on Twitter.
A from Colleen Eddy: That is one way you can approach it. Don’t limit yourself to the 10,000 daily circulation. Look for all online media opportunities as well where you can use your skills and find opportunities to learn and grow.
Q: It’s fairly dire out there at the moment for people wanting particularly to work in papers. Is it ever going to get better, or will everything end up going online?
A from Joe Grimm: I am looking into my Magic 8 Ball … we are going to see more papers close this year and more staffs cut. No question. Are newspapers going all the way down to zero? I doubt that. I think we’ll find a new level of stability. It will be with a smaller total employment than we have now. Knowing that, I would look to all media as options.
And finally, some sound advice for everyone, not just college grads:
Colleen Eddy: There is no field that I find “easy” to get into today. But I hear from many of you that Journalism is a vocation. It is more than a job. If you are passionate about journalism, prepare yourself for going after the opportunities, like you would an investigative piece– like you would your sources. Look in non traditional companies as well as the traditional ones, and plan to use perseverance as well as a lot of time and effort to build your network. Is it smart? You will be the judge. Set yourself guidelines and timelines for going after the jobs. Have a back up plan.
Looking for information about the job hunt, a particular industry or the recruiting process? The recruiting site, RiseSmart has put together a list of the top 100 job blogs online today. The blogs range in topic from moderated lists of legitimate business opportunities for entrepreneurs to Human Resource blog networks like ERE. The list features some of our personal favorite job blogs like Brazen Careerist and One Day, One Job as well as some interesting new sites like Punk Rock HR (on a personal note: this is just about one of the most entertaining HR blogs I have ever read) and Beyond Madison Avenue (for all you industry people looking to keep up with the ad world). Check out the full list of 100 blogs here. It is a great resource for all of your job searching and industry news needs.
The impact of digital communication has absolutely devastated the newspaper industry. Most pundits are sitting around, shaking their heads wondering how this ever could have happened. If you ask most of them, they’ll tell you that even ten years ago they couldn’t have predicted this. That is, everyone but the former publisher of Louisville, Kentucky’s Courier-Journal. In 1981 publisher Barry Bingham Jr. told his Harvard classmates at their 25th college reunion that “by the time they met for their 50th,’most of what we read will be transmitted into our homes or offices electronically.’”
Newsweek has a poignant story today from the late Bingham Jr.’s eldest daughter Emily Bingham. Her father was not shy about his opinion that the newspaper industry was changing, but as we have seen (and his daughter confirms) archaic newspaper men turned a deaf ear, censuring their colleague for “distracting from what they considered their business: getting news onto paper and into a reader’s hands.”
Out of this petri dish of the 1970s, my Datsun-driving environmentalist dad hatched his vision of what he called the “electronic newspaper.” It would arrive, “Jetsons”-like, via cable, satellite or telephone lines, accessed and updated around the clock. Subscribers would pay lower rates. Trees would be spared, fuel conserved. Information was his passion, and his goal was to offer as much of it to as many people as possible…He believed that the future of news lay in allowing readers to decide what was most important to them, as with today’s customizable home pages. To most editors, this was heresy. This frustrated him and he made little effort to hide it.
Find out what happened to the first online newspaper after the jump.
Good news for any tech-savvy writers or graphics people reading: 90 percent of Web commerce businesses will invest in rich media and social networking technologies this year, according to a new survey from Adobe Systems.
Respondents are planning to deploy the following features in the coming year, mostly in the second half of 2009:
- Blogs (32%)
- User ratings, rankings and comments (31%)
- 360-degree spin (29%)
- Catalogs & circulars (28%)
- Podcasts or live video feed (28%)
- Product comparisons (27%)
- Videos (27%)
So, granted, this term “rich media” includes a lot of things–being able to zoom in on a product picture, for example, counts as “rich media.” It’s not the sexiest thing in the world, is it? But anyone with the techie know-how who can create, maintain, or install a product review system, and anyone who can film videos of neat products in action, may find themselves with some job offers in the second half of 2009.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is working on an interesting way to generate revenue for its paper. Star-Tribune Editor Nancy Barnes writes today that the paper will be starting to give more consideration to paying customers. So with that in mind, the paper intends to reserve certain content for paying subscribers first.
While it’s certainly an interesting model, the question becomes how much do people really care about deep content? As we stated recently, 40 percent of bloggers say that they will pay for content. Will that translate to the larger public? Guess we’ll see with the Star-Tribune‘s new program. In this time of industry change, its encouraging to see newspapers attempting to ameliorate their business models.
stories will be marked as print exclusives; over the next few weeks, you will start to see them on every section front in the Sunday paper. We will continue to post all breaking news online immediately, because the era of 24-hour news demands that. The best of our deep, exclusive content will be available online later in the week, unless we have a compelling reason to post it sooner. We have already asked the Associated Press not to distribute this content to other AP subscribers, so that our readers alone will get this content.
Only four months after the Chicago Tribune filing Chapter 11, the owners of the Chicago Sun-Times are also voluntarily filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The paper is hoping it can reorganize its operations, settle a tax liability and make itself suitable for sale, reports the paper.
According to Chairman Jeremy Halbreich the filing was a difficult, but essential decision so the company could “re-establish itself as a self-sustaining, profitable operation. That is worth fighting for.”
While this paper has been suffering during the economic downturn like many, it has the added burden of back taxes and penalties on its docket as well. The IRS claims the Sun-Times group owes roughly $608 million due to misconduct by their former controlling owner, Conrad Black, who is now imprisoned for theft of corporate coffers.
Sun-Times will continue talks with the IRS while implementing a “strong and impressive” business plan. It also will pursue a deal with buyers and has hired Rothschild Inc., which was involved in the bankruptcy of United Airlines’ owner, to field offers.
Several potential buyers have approached Halbreich since he took over Feb. 10 as chairman and interim chief executive, he said. “We’re very confident that there’s going to be some interest here,” he said. “We intend to start that process immediately.”
While this action was taken so that the company could continue paying their employees, the paper may be forced to reduce wages and benefits. And unlike the San Francisco Chronicle, who had to negotiate with their union before such a reduction could occur, this reduction could be imposed upon the union by the bankruptcy judge at his discretion.
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