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.
Data points, data points, data points. After awhile they aggregate enough to become trends. Here are several recently observed data points:
• Time Warner’s Time Inc unit announced that it was cutting 150 positions, half from editorial at Time, People, Fortune, etc. This on the heals of a reduction of 600, mostly business side, last year.
• The digital version of Sports Illustrated accounted for 13 percent of profits in 2006 and is projected to rise to 18 percent this year.
• The number of people reading Internet blogs on the top 10 U.S. newspaper sites more than tripled in December 2006 from the previous December—from 1.2 million viewers to 3.8 million.
• On the other hand, viewership of the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts was down by 1.1 million in November from 2005.
• Based on the first six months of 2006, Internet advertising revenue should total about $16 billion for the year, or about 30% greater than 2005. This is roughly 10 times the rate of growth of advertising overall and would make Internet advertising greater than magazine advertising (although some of the Internet expenditures go to the Web sites of magazines).
• A private equity group has agreed to buy the Minneapolis Star & Tribune from McClatchy for less than half of what it paid for the newspaper nine years ago. And presumably McClatchy was happy to be walking away with what it got.
These data points confirm what we intuitively know is happening. But the data adds an undeniable veritas to the generalizations. Time Inc is not waiting until its profit disappears and its publications are in trouble before it takes action. Meanwhile, the editors on the digital side can gather greater respect within their organizations and among their peers—and more importantly, greater clout—as they can show that they have an audience and growing revenue and even profit.
The Coming Storm (portent for 2007?), Puerto de las Nieves, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, 23 December 2006
On November 22nd, a date which marked my 10th anniversary of consulting full-time about new-media to traditonal media companies, after a speech at the Spanish Daily Newspaper Association's annual meeting, I took the liberty of staying in Spain for the rest of the year as an extended vacation in that country's Canary Islands. (Forgive me, but this long vacation was long in coming. My first vacation lasting more than a week in over five years).
I'm back at work now, and want to start 2007 with a suggestion to news websites:
If our new media is to succeed traditional printed and broadcast media, then it also must assume traditional media's responsibilities about press freedom around the world. The world is now in its second ten years of mass use of new media, and I think the time has now come for new-media journalists and editors to begin assuming the mantle of world press freedom in general.
WAN, for example, supplies newspapers with press freedom case study stories, public service advertisements, and even videos, to publish on May 3rds. According to WAN, as of November at least 109 journalists had been killed during 2006 and many more have been imprisoned. WAN is even holding a conference about 'New Media: The Press Freedom Dimension' in Paris on 15-16 February 2007.
On May 3rd, 2007, I think news websites should each devote a story and at least one home page banner ad (even if in rotation) to World Press Freedom. If newspapers can promote it, why can't our sites? Heaven knows, we should be able to do even better than traditional media. And our commitment is only one story and one banner ad on one day a year. Wouldn't it be great to see nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, guardian.co.uk, dw-world.de, oglobo.com.br, and smaller sites reminding what journalists risk on users' behalf.
As a publishing consultant and former journalist, I'm asking my clients to promote World Press Freedom Day online.