Dorian Benkoil senior consultant at Teeming Media. An award-winning journalist and editor, he was a foreign correspondent for AP and Newsweek, and international and managing editor for ABCNews.com. At ABC News he moved to the business side, handling sales integration and business development, before joining Fairchild Publications as General Manager for their Internet division, becoming editorial director for mediabistro.com, then a consultant for Teeming Media in New York. He graduates this year with an MBA from Baruch's Zicklin school of business. Learn more about him at Benkoil.com or his blog - MediaFlect.com.
Robert Cauthorn is a journalist, former vice president of digital
media at the San Francisco Chronicle, and was the third recipient of
the Newspaper Association of America's prestigious Digital Pioneer
Award. He launched one of the first five newspapers web sites in the
world and is generally considered to have delivered the first
profitable newspaper web site in 1995. Cauthorn has been in the middle
of the transition from old media to new and is recognized as
frank-talking critic when he believes newspapers stray for their
mission. In mid-2004 he became the president of CityTools, LLC a new
media startup based in San Francisco.
Ben Compaine has divided his career between the academic world and private business. He was a journalist when manual typewriters were considered state of the art, but also led the conversion of his college newspaper to cold type. He has started and managed weekly newspapers. His dissertation at Temple University in 1977 was about the changing technologies that were going to unsettle the landscape of the staid and low profit newspaper industry. Since then he has focused his research and consulting on examining the forces and trends at work in the information industries. Among his most well-known works (and the name of his blog) is "Who Owns the Media?".
Vin Crosbie has been called "the Practical Futurist" by Folio, the trade journal of the American magazine industry. Editor & Publisher magazine, the trade journal of the American newspaper industry, devoted the Overview chapter of executive research report Digital Delivery of News: A How-to Guide for Publishers to his work. His speech to the National Association of Broadcasters annual conference was one of 24 orations selected by a team of speech professors for publication in the reference book Representative American Speeches 2004-2005. He has keynoted the Seybold Publishing Strategies conference in 2000; co-chaired and co-moderated last year's annual Beyond the Printed Word the digital publishing conference in Vienna; and regularly speaks at most major online news media conferences. He is currently in residence as adjunct professor of visual and interactive communications and senior consultant on executive education in new media at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and meanwhile is managing partner of the media consulting firm of Digital Deliverance LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut.
About this blog
Two forces have shattered the news media. Technology is the first. Although media technology is undergoing its greatest change since the day in 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg first inked type, for more than ten years now the news industry has mistaken new technologies merely as electronic ways to distribute otherwise printed or analog products. Estrangement is the second. The news media has lost touch with people's needs and interests during the past 30 years, as demonstrated by rapidly declining readerships of newspapers and audiences of broadcast news. How we rebuild news media appropriate to the 21st Century from the growing rubble of this industry is the subject of this group weblog.
While “we” may be the center of attention as content providers, the top news Web sites list this year, based on the volume of links at Google News, is topped by ABC News, The New York Times and Reuters. Compiled annually by NewsKnife.Com, the list is little changed from last year.
1 ABC News
2 New York Times
4 Washington Post
5 Times Online, UK
7 Guardian Unlimited, UK
8 Voice of America
9 Christian Science Monitor
10 International Herald Tribune
What can be read into this analysis? By the numbers:
• Six of the top 12 are associated with newspapers.
• Two have roots as wholesalers—news services. Only since the development of the Internet have they reached out to an end-user audience.
• Two are related to commercial television news operations, one from a magazine, one is a government agency.
• Three are non-U.S. based, with all three being in the U.K. (IHT is nominally located in Paris, but most of its content is from its New York Times parent)
• One, The Christian Science Monitor, by its inclusion on this list, might seem to have far more prominence in the online world than in the print world, where its circulation is about 70,000.
• They are all—no surprise—English language.
Does this ranking tell us anything about online and traditional media institutions? It is important to understand what this is not: a ranking of the most used news sites, though as might be expected there is some overlap. According to Nielsen data, ABC News.com is the fourth largest pure news site, behind the New York Times (discounting higher ranked sites that are essentially news portals, like Yahoo or aggregated listings such as all Gannett sites taken together, except USA Today). And of the others only CNN makes the Nielsen list.
NewsKnife’s analysis essentially awards the greatest weight to the news sites based on the frequency and prevalence of its links. You can see more of the methodology here.
That said, the NewsKnife rankings do reflect the prominence that these sites have in Google’s aggregation of the news and no doubt drives far more traffic to these sites than they would have without Google News. It suggests that relatively small circulation publications can get high visibility, while being a major player in general in other venues (e.g., CBS News, Associated Press) is not an automatic ticket to top ranked accessibility.
Time Magazine-- one of the icons of traditional media-- named "You" as its "Person of the Year." With a reflective piece of Mylar on a computer monitor screen as the cover, the editors rejected newsmakers such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld or the new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in favor of You Tube and the millions of bloggers and amateur journalists and YouTube contributors.
Richard Stengel, the Managing Editor of Time, wrote by way of explanation:
"The other day I listened to a reader named Tom, age 59, make a pitch for the American Voter as Time's Person of the Year. Tom wasn't sitting in my office but was home in Stamford, Conn., where he recorded his video and uploaded it to YouTube. In fact, Tom was answering my own video, which I'd posted on YouTube a couple of weeks earlier, asking for people to submit nominations for Person of the Year. Within a few days, it had tens of thousands of page views and dozens of video submissions and comments. The people who sent in nominations were from Australia and Paris and Duluth, and their suggestions included Sacha Baron Cohen, Donald Rumsfeld, Al Gore and many, many votes for the YouTube guys.
"This response was the living example of the idea of our 2006 Person of the Year: that individuals are changing the nature of the information age, that the creators and consumers of user-generated content are transforming art and politics and commerce, that they are the engaged citizens of a new digital democracy." (my emphasis here)
Heady stuff for those of us who blog, who read blogs, who have recognized that the significance of YouTube (perhaps about to become the generic term for any user-content video sites, the way TiVo is often used to mean any sort of personal video recorder) just more than just silly pet tricks. Another cause for urgency for change for traditional media.
Juan Antonio Giner has posted a series of photos of newsrooms from around the world at the Innovation Media Consulting Group’s blog. (I am an occasional consultant for Innovation). He reports that traffic to the site has far surpassed any other post. The photos show the attractive as well as the archaic. At one extreme are some cluttered cubicles at the Toronto Star, at the other is the state of the art Daily Telegraph’s new facility.
Giner’s take is that “We must be shamefaced about the design of our newsrooms…The future of newspapers starts in the radical design and redesign of the newsrooms.”
The new Al Jazeera Newsroom
My colleague at Innovation, Juan Senor, writes at the blog: "Open, airy spaces create energy and facilitate communication." He is referring in particular to the UK's Sky News Channel's newsroom. There might be something intuitively attractive about this and other expectations for more thoughtfully desgned newsrooms for a multimedia world. And if one is designing a new space it is a no-brainer to give fresh thought to the placement of editors, other newsroom staff, to lighting and work flow.
The key, though, is "payback." It's obvious why editors and reporters would be interested in how others are living, in many cases envious of the likes of the Daily Telegraph's newsroom. But most publishers and owners of ongoing newspapers, before signing off on an expensive newsroom rewrite, will ask "what's the return on investment?" Is there hard data that a revamped, reorganized newsroom has a return in a better newspaper-- and through that improved circulation, online traffic and/or advertising?