Anthony Moor

Exploring Media in Transformation | Transforming in Media Exploration

/ˌtrænsfərˈmeɪʃən/ n. 1: a process of change from one form to another.

Filtering by Category: Digital Strategy

Getting a handle on the 'content ecosystem'

There has been a lot of blather recently about efforts by traditional content creators (read: newspapers) to extract more payment for uses of their articles on the Web. The typical line of thinking on the newspaper side is, "hey, it costs a lot of money to accurately report, write, edit and publish the news that we provide, and we're not getting paid enough for it by the people who read it." Now comes new technology and initiatives to better understand in detail just how the news and information that mainstream reporters publish is used and reused in the virtual world.
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ChicagoNow: Coherent execution of coherent strategy

By now you've probably seen the spiffy video produced by the Chicago Tribune about its soon-to-be-launched blogging/aggregation site ChicagoNow.  They're dealing with the foray of Huffington Post and ESPN into their market, plus the drip drip of social networking sites like facebook eating into their core franchise.

It's only a matter of time before this happens here in Dallas too.

So give the Trib staff credit:  They dreamed this up in December and have clearly executed in a coordinated fashion across the entire company toward a defined goal.  They have taken the time to create the business plan, hone the editorial concept, build the technology, design the Web 2.0 interface, aggregate the voices and develop a marketing pitch.  So it's a good play, well executed, by the way it looks from the outside.

That's how news organizations need to act if they've got a prayer of survival.

Know any companies which could use a dose of that kind of business discipline?

The junta in charge of the Internet Google, for search; Facebook for social and Twitter for realtime socializing.  So says Mr. Jarvis, explaining that content is not king.  Newspapers should take heed, he contends:

I think they should follow the advice of Mark Zuckerberg, member of the ruling junta, that their job is to bring communities elegant organization. In a sense, they always have done that; they helped communities organize their knowledge so they could organize themselves; that’s the essence of an informed democracy.

We're trying a measure of that elegant organization on a shoestring with our new communities pages.  Yes, I know others have done this before, but we're hoping we can build on their attempts.  This is our Plano page, which attempts to organize in an elegant way our listings and other event databases, plus put a blend of internal and external news feeds from selected sources front and center via Yahoo! Pipes.  We're also manually choosing good content from sources that don't have reliable feeds, using Publish2.

At the same time we're launching a series of beat blogs for about 18 of those communities, with dedicated reporters whose mandate is to reach out to the community in a virtual and real way.  We'll bring our scores of citizen opinion contributors in on the project and our NeighborsGo community editors (who solicit conent from users).

This is an exciting project.


Hearst's 100 day 'strategy'

Many of the tactics enumerated in the recent Hearst memo might sound familiar to those of us working at The Dallas Morning News. Martin Langeveld details them and suggests we should applaud this effort, despite the timing.

Hearst’s change agenda is not too little, too late. Viewed in the aggregate, these steps indicate a willingness to take bold steps and to look beyond the short term. Whether the strategy is visionary is hard to say, because we’re not really hearing the strategy. The leaked memo, written for internal consumption (but, one assumes, with the anticipation that it would be leaked) enunciates a variety of tactics, but fails to express a single overarching strategy. “Fundametally change the way we do business” is not a strategy. “Transforming Hearst Newspapers into a fully digital media enterprise” might be.

Next steps for news

Jeff Jarvis asked attendees of his "New Models for News Summit" what kind of newsroom they would build if the paper went bust.

They calculated the likely revenue Philadelphia could support online and then figured out what they could afford in staffing. Instead of the 200-300-person newsroom that has existed in print, they decided they could afford 35 and they broke that down to include a new job description: “community managers who do outreach, mediation, social media evangelism.” They settled on three of those plus 20 content creators, two programmers, three designers, five producers... and — get this — only three editors.

Semantic Web explained

AJR has a nice explainer on the meaning of the Semantic Web. Key definition:

It uses smart programs to tag and link to information across mediums, providing context and depth to stories without much human intervention.

We are working, as are many news.coms, to plug in an automated Semantic engine that will parse our content, label it by topic, and place it in a heirarchy, like a virtual card catalogue. Believe me, this is 'gotta do' stuff. My recent PowerPoint presentation on the subject of data strategy is here. Starting at slide 17 I try to explain how the Semantic Web will unlock our articles and make them more valuable.

Shutter the Web site, too?

Jeff Jarvis suggests in Google as the new pressroom that we should stop trying to create a "local" Web site just as we should stop trying to print a local paper:

Get out of the manufacturing and distribution and technology businesses as soon as possible. Turn off the press. Outsource the computers. Outsource the copyediting to India or to the readers. Collaborate with the reporting public. And then ask what you really are. The answer matters dearly.”

(Thanks, Scott Anderson)

The ethic of the link layer on news

Jarvis writes about links offsitein:The ethic of the link layer on news

" unto others’ good stuff as you would have them link unto your good stuff. This emerges from blogging etiquette but is exactly contrary to the old, competitive ways of news organizations: wasting now-precious resources matching competitors’ stories so you could say you’d done it yourself. That must change. This ethic of the link will become all the more important as news organizations pare down to their essence. I’ve said often that they will have to do what they do best and link to the rest."

He's also got a lot to say about the Ohio revolt over AP fees. In case you've missedit, they've decided to share stories without going through AP first -- because it's cheaper and quicker. Jeff likens this to Web links:

By running other papers’ stories, the newsrooms are participating in a print version of linking to original journalism. Importantly, these stories are not going through the AP mill, being rewritten under an AP style and brand (which its contract with papers allows because the AP is a cooperative). Instead, now the original stories are getting more attention across the state.

New York Times to create open API

NYT is pursuing its 'get our content anywhere' strategy in a new way reports, New York Times to create open API.

Not to soundall I-told-you-so about it, but last week I was discussing how we need to leverage a taxonomy to make this easy to do. Then, we give developers a key that allows them to mash up our articles to create whatever they want. Maybe someone wants to display articles on a timeline or rank articles by emotional score (that they calculate, not us) or, heck, set our headlines to music (maybe headlines that match the top 40 song that was popular when the article published) who knows?

Here's a cool mashup, for instance. The Times Machine. Just announced, it's the Times' historical photographic archives. (The Times did this mashup on their own.)

Of great importance, monetizing this becomes interesting. We could collect a little fee for every API call.