The events of Boston this week — from the bombing to apprehending a suspect — brought into stark relief the role of non-traditional news sources and highlighted weaknesses in traditional media systems.
According to the Newspaper Association of America, advertising revenue dropped 6% in 2012. Total revenue was down 2% to an estimated $38.6 billion.*
That’s the doom-and-gloom story.
The one that’s not making any waves that I can see is this: the $3.4 billion in digital ads reported by NAA is more than the $2.6 billion in display ad revenue reported by Google last year.
However, over at Newsosaur, Alan D. Mutter compares newspaper ad revenue ($22.3 billion) to Google ad revenue, calling the disparity a “stunning reversal of fortune for the newspaper industry.”**
I think Mutter is waving a red herring.
Seattle Times executive editor David Boardman has announced that the paper will erect a paywall for non-print subscribers but provided no details. Part of the rationale:
Since The New York Times began charging for full access to its website two years ago, more than 400 daily newspapers across the country — including most in this state — now have digital subscriptions. Full, unrestricted access to their websites is no longer free.
The other part:
In response to a We The People petition, the Obama White House has taken another step in the journey to provide open access to publicly-funded research.
Today the Office of Science and Technology directed all federal agencies that manage “more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research publically available free of charge within 12 months after original publication.”
The open-access movement is not restricted to the United States, but you could argue that we are not moving as quickly or as radically as other nations. For example, last summer United Kingdom Science Minister David Willetts accepted the recommendations of a task force on open access. The first recommendation (pdf): Continue reading
BuzzFeed is (in)famous for its photo gallery stories. A guaranteed click-through engine, but what about the ethics (and legality) of the practice?
Last month, in an article about copyright and photos for PBS MediaShift, I wrote:
In a sponsored post from 2010, BuzzFeed appropriated a copyrighted photo published first on The Daily Mail. The photo on BuzzFeed was cropped to remove the photographer’s ID and copyright line. And someone slightly modified the color of the sky.
Last year, Alexis Madrigal delved into BuzzFeed’s practice of lifting photos from the web. BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti argued “fair use”:
But it’s not just sponsored posts (aka ads). It’s regular “stories” too, as this deconstruction shows.
Just say no to Buzzfeed. And for the sake of all that is holy, don’t share posts like these. It’s a corrupt business model. (We can talk about the Imgur and Tumblr business models another day.)