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Posts Tagged ‘Raju Narisetti’

Spring Link Roundup: Clickbait, and Other Things We Should Stop Worrying About

springcleaning.jpgNow that we’ve made it through April Fool’s Day and the #HIMYM finale safely, it officially feels like spring. Since nothing is worse than cleaning, spring or otherwise, I prefer to take a long, hard look at my clutter. Whether its three pairs of the same Converse sneaker or media industry fallacies, we need to sort through and keep, throw away, and donate accordingly.

Here are a few ideas circling my Twitter feed that I think we need to deal with.

KEEP: The Idea that ‘Clickbait’ Isn’t a Dirty Word Read more

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Can’t We All Just Subscribe? Why ‘Paywalls’ Won’t Get Us Anywhere

Circling in my head this week are two media bits that I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to if I wasn’t still mulling over the state of paid journalism.

The first was an email from Pro Publica, on the tail of its release of “Dollars for Docs,” asking for a donation to help continue the good work. The second was a blog post you can read here about what newspaper execs should really say to users about paywalls.

And here is my conclusion: we have got to stop using the word ‘paywall.’ Now there will be some of you that are in the ‘information wants to be free,’ camp. That’s fine when it comes to transparency and politics, but not so great a business model for news pubs. So let’s stop talking about putting up walls to keep people out. The paywall has only led to griping from consumers who’ve reached their monthly article limit, and unique ways to get around them. We’re wordsmiths, we know words matter, and ‘paywall’ is another relic of the old media-new media debate. Knock it off.

Why can’t we just call it what it is? A subscription. Of course, many in the industry have finally started calling subscriptions (see what I did there?) what they are: a quick fix to make balance sheets look better. They add another revenue source, and that’s it.

Raju Narisetti said in an interview this week:

You have to think of it as a revenue stream from your most loyal people that will help, because it’s a little bit of an annuity, if you will, that will help soften the blow of what’s happening to CPMs of most papers and what’s happening to advertising. It will cushion the blow, it’ll create a new revenue stream, and in time could create more loyalty and potential upselling opportunities for ebooks and events and things like that. But it’s just going to be that — it’s going to be a stream of revenue that you didn’t have, but it’s not going to solve your problems. If anybody out there thinks a paywall is going to solve our industry’s problems in itself, they’re in for a very rude surprise.

Fine, a subscription model can’t be it. And there has to be a way, eventually, to figure out how to make digital dollars with advertising, too. But I think you have to be really cynical about humanity to just assume that no one is going to want to read interesting, enlightening, meaningful content on all the cool toys that tablets will spawn. And that it will be paid for. And that there will be the same sort of selection – from the soapy, poorly targeted tabloids to the wonky and elitist journals — that we  used to have on newsstands. Call me idealist. Call me naive. At least I’m not defeatist.

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WSJ’s Market Pulse Redefines ‘Sticky’ News Site

Most news organizations seem to use streams on a one-off basis. We livestream video or tweets from events, storify breaking news coverage, or create hubs/landing pages for stories related to a single topic or series. But what if the news pages were more like your Twitter stream, always on and always updated? Only better — you don’t have to leave Twitter or load another page to read them?

Now, the Wall Street Journal is playing with just that idea. It announced on Twitter this week the launch of a new feature: Market Pulse.

This always-on stream updates constantly with the latest business and market news. What’s awesome about this — because really, they update Twitter frequently too — is from the Pulse page you can click on the story and read it as you would see it on their homepage (so some content is still subscriber only for full access). When the story opens, you can see the graphics, watch the video, read the full piece… all without leaving the stream. Then close it up and move on down to the next headline that grabs your eye.

Neimen Journalism Lab talked to the editor behind it, Raju Narisetti, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal’s Digital Network, who said:

“Markets is kind of an ongoing story all day, especially when the U.S. markets are open, and there’s an audience that follows it fairly religiously all the time. Rather than having to go to an article or a video in different, discrete places, this allows them to kind of have one place.”

Not every newspaper has the resources to do this. Nor does every news beat need or lend themselves to this kind of always updated coverage the way Wall Street markets do. But this is one of those rare things where I’m hitting my head, wondering how this idea is not already standard for news sites? Yes, many sites will self-refresh after a few minutes, but this one does it just in the stream, so you don’t lose your place, and without any weird clunkiness from reloading everything. (In fact, I was impressed at smoothly the entire thing operated. I didn’t hit any hiccups or slow downs. Everything I clicked worked, and worked intuitively. So kudos to the WSJ team.) It’s like the ultimate sticky news site — readers don’t need to leave your site or this feed at all to stay abreast of the news, as long as there’s always something more coming down the stream to read.