Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Digital is the Way to Go

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

Back in the mid-90s, many newspaper companies laughed at the internet and considered it a phase that would pass, while others such as Dow Jones embraced the opportunities online offered and built one of the most profitable online news sites with the Wall Street Journal online. They have been using a pay wall since 1995 and the New York Times has decided to follow suit sixteen years later when their site begins to require payment in January. Newspaper revenue is at an all-time low and without a strong push towards providing strong digital content, they will most likely fail.

In Matthew Ingram’s article for http://www.gigaom.com, CEO of the Journal Register John Paton’s strong opinions on this issue are stressed. Paton said, “Newspapers need to be digital first in everything they do,” in his speech at the Transformation of News Summit in Cambridge, Mass. According to Paton, his company was virtually bankrupt last year and has turned it around to raise profit margins to 15% for this year.

Professional journalists have been trying to figure out the new business model since the internet became dominant and left print in its wake. Paton feels that digital is the only way to go. Everything in the world is becoming digital, so news providers need to pay attention to what its readers are interested in. There is also the issue of charging readers for online content. It is quite obvious that the average American would prefer to get their news for free, but that hasn’t been very profitable for many publications that have a full staff that gets paid. Huffington Post is one of the more successful online publications, yet it doesn’t pay the majority of its writers. Not to speak for all journalists, but I think that most would really like to get paid for their hard work.

The New York Times provides the most credible and reliable news available in print. This may be the reason their online site could prove to be successful. Millions of readers depend on the Times to tell them the most important stories and to tell the truth, more often than not. It will be difficult for other papers to gauge their own success based off the Times, but it may cause a chain reaction where most print publications install a pay wall for their online sites.

Paton’s advice could be the right model for print publications to follow for years to come due to the internet’s strong grasp on the public. People want their news faster and easier. The interactivity offered by digital content can’t be matched in a newspaper by far. The evidence against print is nearly insurmountable. More and more newspapers are going bankrupt while more and more successful news websites are being started.

With the success of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, hyperlocals, mashups and the blogosphere, the digital age is in full effect. There are so many creative ways to collect, create and provide news. Any publication that neglects the influence digital content has on the media will be left in the dust. In the highly competitive media world, it is essential to be a main stay as opposed to another piece of dust in the wind.

George Orwell’s famous expression, “Big Brother is always watching” is prevalent today in many aspects of our society, especially on the internet. Advertising companies have taken the role of big brother and are able to look into anyone’s web browser to see their history. This allows them to gear their ad displays toward the particular viewer. There are some ways to prevent this privacy infringement such as setting your browsing to private. People that aren’t very tech savvy probably aren’t aware of this or know how to privatize their internet viewing, if they were to choose to. The Federal Trade Commission is attempting to step in and change this advertising technique for good.

According to the New York Times article by Edward Wyatt and Tanzina Vega, the F.T.C. is trying to institute a “do not track” mechanism that compares to the national “do not call” registry that protects Americans from frustrating telemarketers. The mechanism will hopefully create an easy way for people to privately browse the internet. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with having ads directed at my personal preferences since I’d rather see advertisements about products I might want to purchase as opposed to items I have absolutely no interest in. The problem occurs when people begin to use the information collected from public browsing to steal identities and obtain private records.

However, this isn’t a good sign for online advertisers. Since the internet was created to be shared freely by everyone it’s not built to make money. There is also the dollar-dime concept in which every ad in print that’s worth a dollar is worth a dime on the internet. These factors have made it difficult for advertisers to function efficiently. The ability to gear ads towards the individual has allowed them to gain an edge in a tough market. That edge may be taken away by the F.T.C. soon.

I choose not to utilize private browsing for the convenience of my browser remembering websites I visit and being able to automatically fill out identity information on particular forms. With HTML 5 looming in the near future, which could take the need for privacy restrictions to a different level, I may change my mind. Where does the rest of America stand? If the F.T.C. gets their way, that answer will reveal itself in the near future.

Cable Can Still Be Capable

Posted: October 28, 2010 in Google Tv, Uncategorized

Despite cable’s decline in earnings, there still is a longer future for it than internet providers would like. It’s a lot more profitable for advertisers to make commercials for television. Watching cable is much more convenient and simple than it is to find programming on the internet. While Jon Orlin’s article paints a grim picture for cable’s future, there still is life left in the old method.

For starters, radio was threatened by television, newspapers were and still are threatened by the internet and now the internet is threatening television. All these mediums provide information, entertainment and “infotainment” for different types of people and with different styles of presentation. Radio hasn’t gone away, newspapers are still around and television isn’t going anywhere yet. Americans like choices, and the more choices the better. Just look at the cereal section in the supermarket or a newsstand on a New York City street. People shouldn’t want one source to provide them with the content they desire. Granted in the present situation where News Corp. and Cablevision are squabbling over broadcasting Fox and My9, many people are resorting to the internet to watch the World Series and various other programs. But, they are resorting after all. It’s so much easier to turn on your tv set and press the five button (or 505 on verizon). Thankfully I have Verizon Fios, so many of my friends would rather come over my house to watch football or baseball as opposed to hunting down a website and huddling around their computer. Google TV is attempting to change this by providing viewers with the ability to lean back, rather than leaning forward.

Google TV is quite an intriguing technology that could change people’s perspective on how they watch television. I feel they are making television far too complicated. When using a smartphone, you need to change menu screens to do things such as altering volume and switching over to DVR capabilities. All these are done a lot easier on a remote control. Why would you want to change screens and wait for your phone to load, when it could be done instantly? Using google on a computer is done quite often, but it could be confusing and frustrating at times deciphering what you are actually looking for. If you want to find an episode of a television program, you could come across you tube clips of people acting out the show, snippets of the program, the official website of the show, or even fan websites that simply provide opinions. The google search engine can send you all over the place when you are looking for something specific. Television is exactly what it says it is. There is no confusion when you switch to the channel where you know your favorite show is playing. The success of DVRs allow people to watch their shows whenever they want, eliminating the old television model of once it airs it’s gone forever.

In an age where digital immigrants are still present, the elimination of cable will be delayed. Digital settlers, such as myself, will keep the television tradition alive for years to come. I still enjoy certain nights where new shows air, and a solid line-up of comedies causes me to watch television for an extended stretch. Sunday afternoons in the fall and winter will still be dominated by football and advertisers aren’t going to give up their syndication rights lightly. Why would I go to the trouble of streaming a Russian website to watch my New York Jets when all I have to do is press power on my tv and tune to the proper channel. Until there comes a time when digital natives are running this country, cable will still have a place in many American’s living rooms.

The State of Cable News

Posted: October 7, 2010 in Cable News, Uncategorized

When news consumers turn on their televisions, they have many channels to choose from to get their news. Today, people have the benefit of 24 hour news networks that provide information at all times. The decision on which channel to watch usually falls on the viewer’s personal opinions. Cognitive dissonance proves to be prominent in this decision. American people don’t want to hear from people they disagree with, since their feelings will overpower their best judgement. Talking heads such as Keith Olbermann, Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly thrive on the public’s desire to hear and see news the way they feel and want to. In the New York Magazine article, “Chasing Fox” by Gabriel Sherman, the trials of MSNBC and CNN are broken down and dissected.

Fox News has been leading primetime hours due to its loyal followers that only want to hear about right-wing perspectives and the failings of the current presidency. MSNBC has chosen to do the same for the left-wing. Its only problem has been the many liberals that choose to get their news from outlets that rely on facts rather than outraged individuals yelling at the camera. CNN is a different issue, in which they can’t really figure out their stance on political viewpoints.

The main goal of CNN has been primarily to be objective, yet several programs have made this distinction confusing. This is a major problem in today’s televised news. Nobody wants to watch a straight and narrow program that lacks opinion. Too many Americans don’t want to know the truth. They would rather hear that they’re ideas are the right ideas. Since the advent of journalism in America the heart and soul of a journalist should be to seek and find the truth. When the viewership isn’t even looking for the facts, it doesn’t pay for the media to aim their cable programs at providing facts. Opinions rule the cable world, so unfortunately, networks need to either master the game or face elimination.

What bothers me is the fact that Fox has taken control of this current standing, yet they still try and insult the intelligence of viewers by claiming they are “fair and balanced.” These are two terms that Fox obviously doesn’t understand, because they are the exact opposite of this ideal. If they are going to prey on the conservatives in America at least call it like it is or eliminate the presence of a slogan all together.

I am aware it is quite obvious that I lean more towards the left, but I believe that both the left and the right have some truthful things to say. It just seems that the real “truth” is located somewhere in between the left and right perspectives. Some people on cable are so outrageous with their claims and others can be more realistic. Taking either as absolutely right would be short-sighted. Thankfully though, when a major story breaks that doesn’t require opinion or interpretation, there still is a CNN to tune in to for simply the facts.

More Jobs=Brighter Outlook

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

The fear of journalism as a fading occupation can only be defeated by an increase in hiring. Many major publications are cutting staff to create a better profit margin to please their corporate ownership. Some owners such as Michael Bloomberg are trying to advance the field of journalism by creating more job opportunities. According to the article in the Washington Post by Jonathan O’Connell, that’s exactly what Bloomberg is doing by starting its web-based government information venture in Washington D.C., Bloomberg Government.

The company refers to the unit as “a comprehensive resource for understanding the business implications of government action in real time.” Most importantly this is creating over 100 jobs for journalists including editors, reporters, analysts, web producers, sales reps and product managers. During a time where so many people need jobs, this a great sign for current journalists as well as graduating students. A lot of information shared in a journalism class has to do with the thousands of jobs being cut and outlets folding, therefore it is a relief to hear good news concerning the field that is essential in providing the public with information.

Another positive point of this article is not only the jobs that are being created, but also the goal to provide “deep, reliable, quick, unbiased reporting on government and business, paired with comprehensive data and analysis.” In a time were many people are just concerned with hearing news that they agree with, there needs to be more news organizations that want to be credible and portray stories down the middle. Too many organizations are taking a side to cause their viewership/readership to increase for the sake of a better profit. Especially in Washington, where politicians try to control the information that gets out to better their own image. The more hard-nosed journalists in Washington getting to the bottom of what our government officials are doing with the power that has been bestowed upon them by the people, the better.

I entered my Journalism 24/7 class last Thursday to find out that we had a guest speaker by the name of Jon Pessah. I soon found out that he was a sports journalist, which perked my interest to a level of excitement I haven’t felt in school for a long time. I began my journey at Stony Brook University to become a journalist with the hopes of focusing on sports, for it is a passion I can’t compare to many other things in my life. When I began the program I was surprised at how many facets of journalism there was to learn about and experience. It all was so new and interesting to me and I realized there was so much out there that is more meaningful than sports. Up until this afternoon in class I have not been exposed to anything having to do with sports journalism, but my original dream came roaring back as I sat in my seat and learned about Mr. Pessah’s experiences in the field I feel will make me content in my occupational choice.

Talking about ESPN and WFAN made me feel right at home. When I am relaxing on my couch I’d have to say that one of the ESPN channels are on my television about 75% of the time. If not ESPN, it’s another sports network such as YES, SNY, the NFL or MLB network. There is also the occasional HBO series that occupies my lazy hours when sports are not overpowering my Proscan HDTV. If I am driving to work or school I am catching up on the opinions of fellow sports fans or analysts on the FAN. When they go to commercial I switch to ESPN radio. So, one could definitely refer to me as a sports fanatic. The outcome of my Jets or Mets can absolutely affect my mood as anybody that knows me can attest to.

Learning about the changes that sports journalism has gone through was very important to my knowledge of what I can look forward to in my quest to becoming apart of the sports world. It was unfortunate to learn about the lack of hard news stories still done in the genre due to the entertainment pressures created by ESPN. All my journalistic experience thus far has been centered around finding and reporting on hard news and focused on being as objective as possible. Sports, however, is almost completely centered around subjectivity. Analysts, reporters and beat writers evaluate the performances of players and coaches in the games that have taken place. Then, they will evaluate how those performances will reflect in future games. A large part of this is opinion based. A major part of my personality is how strong my opinions are. Combining my love for sports and need to share my opinions in sports writing can allow me to portray who I am and how I feel in a productive and rewarding outlet. Pessah stated that the challenge of sports journalism today is being able to entertain and write together. I feel that I have the ability to entertain with my better-than-average sense of humor and passionate writing skills. Being a former English major has allowed me to fine tune my writing abilities for several years prior to my journalistic training.

Ultimately I have appreciated and respected the education I have received outside of the the sports journalism realm, but I am eager to progress towards a focus in sports. Despite a decline in print media, sports fans are so passionate their desires to read and watch news about their favorite teams are as strong as ever. In my opinion, sports journalism is not a dying occupation and can hardly wait to enter the field and change along with it or possibly even help be a cause for change.

The newspaper industry is thought by many to be approaching its demise. Due to a lack of advertising from websites such as Craigslist and a lack of an attention span by many Americans that would prefer a faster way to be informed, newspapers are at a low point in its existence. There is still hope as long as people such as Randall D. Smith believe that there could be success in the newspaper industry after much doubt is expressed across the country. In Julie Creswell’s article, “For a Few, Papers Seem a Timely Bet,” she explains the faith that Mr. Smith has in his ability to purchase and maintain numerous media outlets.

There is definitely a need for newspapers in the year 2010, no matter how tough it is to create a high profit margin. People will always want to pick up the day’s paper for their train ride or to pass the time at work. It’s a lot easier to simply pass by an article that you wouldn’t normally look at on a website, because you don’t like the one-line description. A newspaper is a ritual many Americans are faithful to. My mother gets the paper everyday just to fill out the daily crossword puzzle. I always like to see what my favorite sports team’s beat writer has to say about the new acquisitions or coaching decisions regardless of what I saw on television or read on the internet. Whether Americans use the paper to inform themselves about the previous day’s news or more superficial reasons I have previously mentioned, resorting to the internet doesn’t carry that same connection.

Regardless of a person’s personal reasons for wanting or needing the daily edition of the newspaper, if the owners continue to shut down their production the only thing that can save it are the richest of the rich, such as Mr. Smith. Despite the lack of family ownership which allowed newspapers to be loyal servants of the community, these hedge-funders can preserve a crucial element of American media and culture. Newspapers were much stronger before corporate owners saw it is a money making venture, but the main concern for the industry today is doing anything to prevent it from dying out as many so-called experts have and are predicting. Without the money from individuals that have it to spend newspapers could become an endangered species. Under those circumstances the government would have to take them over as seen in several European countries. That is a situation that should be avoided at all costs considering the job of journalists is supposed to keep an eye on the government rather than work for them. This in my opinion would be an ultimate worst case scenario.