The 2.Doh! Weekly Round-Up, Vol. IV
Vacation this week, so I’ll offer only a few observations from the 2.0rbit. . .
Journalists Make, Google Takes
Two interesting reports this week are linked in a way: a Bivings Report, which offers that group’s assessment of the 10 “best” newspaper sites, along with a Nielsen report on the news sites that generate the most traffic. Assuming any validity to the Bivings Report–a generous assumption, since it appears one of those lists without a lot of intellectual rigor, designed primarily to elicit blog entries like this one–it’s (nonetheless) interesting to see the disconnect between where people consume their news and the sites most could consider the more competent creators of it.
The four top sites in terms of unique users, all aggregators except for CNN (which aggregates quite a bit itself from other Time-Warner properites), generated over 60 million unique viewers in August. The top standalone news-creator site, nytimes.com, generated only 8.3 million, washingtonpost.com 6.1, USAToday 5.4. If ad revenues go to those who distribute rather than create the news, who pays the journalists who report the news?
I’ve read an immodest proposals that Google begin funding the creation of journalism–to ensure it has a supply of news to deliver next to Adsense ads. Odd, it’s August, but I just felt a chill in the air.
To turn the heat back up, read this Robert Niles commentary on Online Journalism Review on an immoderate editorial appearing the L.A. times about Google, the future of news and, yes, a certain O.B. Laden.
Note to Old Media: It’s the Whiteboard, Stupid
“So if you can’t acquire speed, and you can’t teach it, can it still be learned?
“Yes, but it has to start at the very top and roll down like an avalanche. For starters, online-centric publishers don’t think about calendar years, but rather, treat each quarter as a full year and each week as if it’s always the fourth quarter. The pace kept is both exhausting and exhilarating.
“Secondly, online publishers use white boards to track tasks assigned so that when follow-up meetings occur, accountability is staring them in the face. You can’t find a white board inside a traditional publishing company.
“Thirdly, online publishing employees feed off the momentum of those around them because there are no walls separating them. Offices are nice to have, but do nothing to generate pace. Open cubes are awkward at first, but they serve as energy stimulants and as deterrents from time spent on non-business-related tasks.
“And finally, lunch doesn’t happen at online publishing companies. People eat — don’t get me wrong — but the twelve o’clock bell doesn’t signal a two-hour break the way traditional publishing companies treat high noon (I recently met with a vice president of sales of an edgy online publisher at 2:30 p.m., and we went somewhere so he could grab a bite to eat). . . .
“Traditional publishing companies need to rethink their way of doing business if they want to compete with online publishers. If you can’t run as fast as the people you’re chasing, how can you catch them?
And finally, our weekly Noted Without Comment feature