Independent Media

If only print could be more like TV in trying to be more like the ‘Net

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An interesting bit of information from the TV world:

The new Jay Leno Show is particularly successful in one area: reduction time-shifting – which is the practice of watching a show at a time other then when it airs – basically through TiVo or other recording devices.

Last year, according to a report in MediaBuyerPlanner, which cites TiVo as its source, 70 percent of viewers watched NBC’s 10 p.m. programming on a time-shifted basis; only 30 percent watched it live.

The good ...

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Playing the Twitter shellgame

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I’m not giving up on Twitter. Yet. There are still a handful of people whose Tweets are interesting and useful to me.

But it’s a stupid game.

It has nothing to do with how much you have to say or how often you say it. It has everything to do with how many people you follow. I recently attended a webcast on how to build a social network on Twitter. The basic advice: follow a lot of people and they’ll ...

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Trouble with democracy: It doesn’t pay well

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If there’s anything I write about or comment on that is sure to draw a hot and negative response, it’s the insistence that journalists start to get in tune with their true market value. It’s not that I don’t see a huge social value to the work they do. I credit journalists with keeping our democracy alive. But they’ve never been paid by democracy; they get paid by a business model.

My point is twofold:

  1. Journalists have always been part ...
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In a world of SEO, does content matter?

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Well, yes. If you have bad content then it doesn’t matter how many people come to see it. Consider this visual from Mark Smiciklas.

Wait, it’s worse than that. If you have bad content, then the more people who see it, the worse off you are. Because now you’re simply broadcasting the fact that you suck.

I would argue you’re better off with great content that only a few people see — because at least those few people will have good ...

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Wal-Mart redesign cuts magazine aisle in half

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Last week I wrote about Wal-Mart’s next-generation store design (Magazines: kick ’em when they’re down), which moves the magazine rack to the back of the store near music, electronic games, DVD’s and books.

Wal-Mart’s pretty good at figuring out how to maximize the sales of every square foot of space, so while the move is a symbolic kick in the pants to an industry that is suffering from all sorts of afflictions — not the least of which is a ...

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Newspapers getting closer to a paid-content consensus

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In his blog, Reflections of a Newsosaur, Alan Mutter — a Silicon Valley CEO and a former newspaper reporter, columnist and executive — says nearly half of  newspaper publishers don’t believe they can succeed at charging consumers for content.

I think Mutter sounds like a smart guy, and his blog is great; just having stumbled across it I’ve put it on my blogroll. However, what he sees as the glass half-empty looks to me like it’s half-full. I’m pleased and ...

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Not-for-profit news is no panacea

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In the effort to save newspapers, one idea that’s been passed around is that of the newspaper as a not-for-profit institution. The argument is that its role is so central to the public good that it can be protected as a non-taxed, not-for-profit entity.

While the argument may be compelling, I don’t think you can call it mainstream. Well-known newspaper analyst Lauren Rich Fine says for-profit newspapers haven’t done all they can to adapt to new market realities. I ...

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Where were you on 9/11?

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I don’t necessarily make a conscious effort to note the anniversary of the moment the 9/11 nightmare began. But every year, within a couple minutes of 8:52 a.m.,  I seem to look at my watch and then I remember.

I was in a hotel in the Rosemont area near Chicago O’Hare aiport. I was beginning a sales trip and was ironing my shirt while watching the Today Show.

I remember the first sketchy report that a plane hit one of the World ...

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Magazines: Kick ’em when they’re down

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A report at the end of August indicated that newsstand sales of magazines were down more than 12% in the first six months of 2009 compared to 2008.

I can only guess why that might be:

  • A sudden lack of spending money by the nearly 10 percent of people who are now unemployed;
  • A general feeling that, with so much news about magazines shutting down and facing financial ruin, they aren’t the attractive impulse buy they once were;
  • Have you seen the cover ...
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Why the URL is less important every day

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I remember reading, in the early days of the Web, how large companies were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase meaningful URLs. For instance, McDonald’s wasn’t the first owner of www.mcdonalds.com.

About 9 years, ago, I tried to sell a URL that I was abandoning. I found a broker who promised to auction it off, estimating that it might be worth $15-20 thousand. The bubble burst, the auction never happened, and the URL simply expired — sitting unused until ...

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