Saturday, June 24, 2006


MGP advisor Dan Gillmor reflect on state of web journalism

June 21-27, 2006

Blog On: Dan Gillmor is busy moving his act from Bayosphere to Backfence.
Blogging innovator Dan Gillmor knows that newspapers need to stop lecturing their readers and start conversing with them

By Najeeb Hasan
The [San Jose] Metro

DAN GILLMOR'S announcement this past January that his experiment with citizen journalism through his website Bayosphere
was effectively over came relatively quietly, especially when compared to the frenzy his widely influential 2004 book, We
the Media, caused.

In the beginning, Bayosphere, started by Gillmor, the former Mercury News tech-columnist-turned-blogging-guru, was
designed to democratize the media from the bottom up. It even attracted some seed funding from eBay founder Pierre
Omidyar's Omidyar Network.
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But in a recent candid post on Bayosphere, Gillmor wrote that the response to his site had been "underwhelming" and that
he had erred by taking the standard "Silicon Valley route" to the ventureÿÿthat is, by trying to have it "pay its own way
out of the gate."

He listed several lessons that he learned from the experiment, including the idea that limiting participation in citizen
journalism ventures isn't "necessarily a bad idea"ÿÿsomething that may sound antithetical to citizen journalism's
democratizing mission.

These days, Gillmor's main focus is on establishing a new nonprofit organizationÿÿthe Center for Citizen Mediaÿÿwhich is
affiliated with both the journalism graduate school at Berkeley and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard
Law School. Bayosphere, meanwhile, has been bought by, a Washington, D.C.-area startup that focuses on
community-driven citizen journalism. Backfence is starting a citizen journalism site in Palo Alto, its first venture into
the Bay Area. Gillmor will continue to blog on Backfence, which focuses on "hyperlocal" news and, like Craigslist, offers
free classified ads to consumers and sells classified and display ads to businesses.

Metro caught up with Gillmor online while he was in a conference in Finland. In a wide-ranging discussion, he explains
why, despite Bayosphere's unfulfilled potential, citizen journalism is alive and well.

METRO: How would you analyze the effectiveness of the Silicon Valley blogosphere? Are there any lessons to be learned
about blogging being effective on a community level as opposed to a "Big Issue" level?

GILLMOR: I'm not sure what "effectiveness" means in this context. Is it audience, quality of work or what? How do you
define community? By geography? Interest? I do assume you are referring to journalistic effectiveness. Clearly, there's
an enormous amount of technology-related blogging, which by any measure is helping to make for a better-informed audience
in and about Silicon Valley. Blogs like GigaOm, TechCrunch, Silicon Valley Beat and lots of others are doing a terrific
job. SFist, CoastSider and other local blogs are capturing the flavor of their communities, meanwhile. The area's
newspapers haven't been sufficiently snarky about the property bubble, so I like reading CurbedSF, which covers "real
estate porn" with some style.

That said, much smaller locales have much more robust blogospheres in a relative sense. The Greensboro 101 operation in
North Carolina, for example, is amazing in its breadth and depth for the region.

In your blog postings and interviews, you've rejected the traditional journalism vs. citizen journalism debate, writing
that rather than the situation being an "either or matter," it should be viewed as "an ecosystem that can and should
support a variety of journalistic endeavors." But aren't newsrooms facing "either or decisions" today by having to
decide whether to invest time and resources in blogs and the "democratizion" of media, or in more traditional old-media
methods of ramping up editorial content, such as investigative and foreign reporting?

Businesses always have to make decisions about how to deploy resources. You might just as well say that newsrooms are
facing an either-or-decision on local nuts-and-bolts news vs. investigations. It's never that binary. The key problem
facing professional news organizations now is declining audiences combined with uncertain revenues and financial
speculators posing as investors. That makes the choices even more difficult. This reality exists independent of what
editors and publishers might like to do.

You'd expect me to say this: Local media will be forced to embrace the democratized media space, and not just because
it'll be a place where they can generate new revenues. If journalism is becoming a conversation, as I also strongly
believe, these newer media forms are fundamental to that evolution. Media organizations that don't use them will fall
behind from a journalistic standpoint.

I don't agree that investigative reporting and citizen media are incompatible. In some cases, enlisting the audience in a
reporting taskÿÿwhere lots of people could ask one or a very few questions as part of survey or projectÿÿcould have
fantastic results. (I suggested this to the Wall Street Journal in its great coverage of the stock-options scandal, which
I have no doubt will end up embroiling more than a few Silicon Valley companies.)

In the hierarchical mainstream media, one of the responsibilities of an editor is to help guide the content of the
publication. Do you see an editor having a gatekeeper role to play in the citizen journalism model? Or do you feel
hierarchical models no longer work for media?

The need for some kind of human intervention isn't going away. At the very least, you need moderation (in several senses
of the word) where people can post publicly.

Sometimes the audience can exercise an editorial function. Sites like Digg and Newsvine, which rate stories by
popularity, are an interesting start toward a more interesting combination of human and machine intelligence, but we have
to add reputation to the mix to get a more worthwhile result.

Pro journalists, if we can afford to pay them (I hope so), will be as much guides as oracles. That's not so much
gatekeeping, a command-and-control function, as something much more interactive.

The investigative journalist Seymour Hersh was asked by a British newspaper about your "We are the media" thesis. He
responded, "The net does one thing great for people like me: It used to be that if I wrote a good hard story for The New
Yorker magazine, and The New York Times didn't pick it up, then we all felt bad.

Now the Internet is so vibrant that everything's on itÿÿon blogs, logs or websites." Do you believe that's the most
promising aspect of citizen journalismÿÿits ability to replicate the public square rather than replicate Seymour Hersh?

Seymour Hersh, like a small number of other great reporters, can't be replicated. They're forces of nature. We need the
work they do.

He's right that the net is making his work vastly more prominent than in the past. That's what tends to happen in an
ecosystem where the highest-quality stuff gets flagged and pointed to.

In the Guardian interview you cite, Hersh also said, "Now everyone's worried that blogs will drive newspapers out of
business, but it's not going to happen." This was a reference to journalistic competition, which so far isn't all that
serious from blogs (though at least a few are clearly doing a better job than their traditional counterparts).

The competition issue that matters in the near term is the financial one. When companies that consider journalism a
distraction take away classified advertising and other revenues that support traditional journalists, you have the real
issue. Blogs aren't driving newspapers out of business; eBay and Craigslist and the host of advertising competitors
might. (As noted, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar's investment company helped me on the Bayosphere project, and Craig Newmark
is a friend who's given some support to the new one.)

Newspapers and other media companies have no more innate right to exist than any other enterprise, but it would be
terrible for our society if what Big Journalism does well failed to survive the current turmoil.

I love the public square part of blogging. I wish more newspapers and local broadcasters would embrace it, too. I think
they'll have no alternative in the end.

Do you find it unsettling that one of the dominant characteristics of the blogosphere is its anonymity, which prevents

I disagree with the premise. Most blogs are not anonymous. Comments often are, however.

We need more transparency in many ways. The pros could tell us a lot more about how they do their work. Certain bloggers
could tell us more clearly when they have a stake in the outcome of what they're discussing. Just as important, the
audience has to update its media literacy skills, weighing what it sees and being much more careful in trusting things.

Alan Rusbridger, the editor of the Guardian, had this to say about blogs at a speech at Oxford University on June 8:
"Millions of websites will aggregate what we do, syndicate it, link it, comment on it, sneer at it, mash it, trash it,
monetize it, praise it and attempt to discredit itÿÿin some cases all at once. But no one will actually go to the risk
and expense of setting up a global network of people whose only aim in their professional lives is to find things out,
establish if they're true and write about them quickly, accurately and comprehensibly. The blogosphere, which is
frequently parasitical on the mainstream media it so remorselessly critiques, can't ever hope to replicate that." How
would you respond to that?

Alan is one of the journalists I most admire, and I largely agree with him. I would hope to replace "parasitical" with
"symbiotic" in a general way, though. Again, I'm anxious that the business model supporting the Guardian will survive so
we can learn what its army of correspondents discovers and sifts.

The context of Alan's remarks is important, too. He and his colleagues have done more than most newspapers to embrace
blogging and other conversational media. They have a long way to go, but they're clearly among the most clued-in people
around when it comes to understandingÿÿand deployingÿÿthese tools.

What's the difference between a citizen journalist and a citizen commentator or punditÿÿand how do you demarcate that

Sometimes they're the same, just as a newspaper columnist is a journalist by almost any standard you can name. Advocacy
journalism is no less the real thing than boilerplate wire-service writing; it's just different. The best journalism is
based on reporting, thoughÿÿon the gathering of data and explaining its context and meaning.

I'm about to start work on some online educational help for would-be citizen journalists. My focus will be on
journalistic principles, not practices. They include accuracy, thoroughness, fairness, independence and transparency.

Keep in mind that most bloggers don't consider themselves journalists, and that's fine. When I was writing letters home
and to friends in the ancient days before personal computers, I hoped my writing had value for them. But I definitely
wasn't doing journalism.

You famously suggested that Yahoo buy the Mercury News. Why do you think no local bidders came to the table?

Famously? The L.A. Times said (paraphrasing) that the suggestion sank almost without a trace. I can't judge others'
motives. But I'd guess that the valley powers-that-be (the real ones) consider the local newspaper business uninteresting
if not ridiculous.

I do think it's a shame that Tony Ridder obeyed his lawyers (OK, he had little choice) when they basically ordered him
not to pursue a local buyout of the Merc while the Knight Ridder sale was under way.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006


ANALYSIS: Can TimesSelect, and newspaper subscriptions in general, last?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Can TimesSelect, and newspaper subscriptions in general, last?

Posted by John Burke on June 21, 2006 at 06:15 PM

No matter how many times I read accounts of New York Times executives reporting the results of their online subscription program, TimesSelect, at various conferences, I just canÿÿt believe behind that cheery disposition that they are actually convinced it is working and will continue to do so.

Sure, 500,000 people have signed up. Sure it has taken in $6 million in revenue, money it would not have earned if it hadnÿÿt launched the program and which, according to CEO Janet Robinson, ÿÿreally bodes wellÿÿ for NYTCo. But the numbers really havenÿÿt changed much since January. And for a new product to stop gaining new users 4 months after it begins doesnÿÿt really bode well.

Firstly, take the fact that only around 175,000 of those 500,000 TimesSelect subscribers are online only NYT adherents. The other 325,000 are print subscribers who receive the service free of charge. Secondly, compare that $6 million to the estimated $600 million the Times pulls in from print subscriptions. Online subs ainÿÿt quite there yet. But are online subs the answer to the future of newspaper revenue? Are subs at all the answer?

Just look at free papers. In ten years, Metro International has turned itself into the worldÿÿs third-largest distributed paper, and according to Media Life has even had fairly good success in the three US markets in which it has launched. Itÿÿs not only the numbers that make Metro look impressive, but the 18-39 demographic it reaches is the golden fleece for advertisers. And the way in which the paper is printed, often with a large ad splashed across the outside cover, acts like a billboard on public transportation, a very attractive feature for advertisers.

What about personalized news? The trend towards readers engaging with only the content they desire is also one that is sure not to stop. And although Michael Golden, publisher of the International Herald Tribune, makes a good point when referencing the ÿÿserendipityÿÿ of newspapers, does he really think that print papers will be able to curb online customized news?

Golden recently spoke out against selling articles one by one (a system of micropayments that has oft been suggested on this blog) because it ÿÿwould undermine the economics of investing across a broad range of areas, as well as change the nature of newspapers.ÿÿ Funny how, since it seems that Golden doesnÿÿt want to tweak the newspaper business model too much, dehe is also quoted in the same speech as saying ÿÿThe challenge is in the business model, the challenge is not in the culture.ÿÿ

On the other hand, a French colleague of Goldenÿÿs, managing director of electronic publishing for Les Echoes, Philippe Jannet, declared at the same conference that ÿÿnewspapers who do not sell by individual stories will die.ÿÿ Back to NYT. Robinson said that with the ÿÿsuccessÿÿ of TimesSelect that the ÿÿcompany is considering ways to put more content on pay tiers. This has already been predicted with the upcoming release of Times Reader, a joint project with Microsoft that hasnÿÿt received the best press. But would NYT be willing to go the un-subscription routes mentioned above? An NYT freesheet? A system of micropayments where readers get only what they want, not New York Region, IHT, Business, Sports and Op-ed columnists all rolled into one $50 package? Chances are, not yet.

But I do have some predictions for TimesSelect.

Expect a large marketing campaign come the end of August. The original (first 6 weeks of program) 135,000 non-print subscriptions will be up for renewal come mid-September. Not only is the Times company going to want to keep those subscribers, but theyÿÿll also want to add to the (not-as-impressive) 40,000 non-print subscribers they have added over the rest of the year.

Expect a high churn rate. To be frank, I lack subscriber reviews of the service to back this prediction. But banking on TimesSelectÿÿs specs, which havenÿÿt changed too significantly, I donÿÿt think many subscribers would consider it worth another $50. New subscribers, however, will be attracted by a discounted price which the Times will probably run throughout the month of September.

(Personally, I used to love reading Dowd, Krugman and Kristof for intelligent wit and wisdom with my lunch. But I donÿÿt
miss them, especially since I can watch clips from the Daily Show for free at will. This is exactly the problem with
subscription services: thereÿÿs so much other free choice!).

Even after the promotion, expect a lower number of non-print subscribers. The plan has been well advertised. Anyone who reads the Times on a regular basis is familiar with it. If they had wanted to sign up, they would have done it by now. Honestly, I wish I could be more positive about NYT and its efforts to charge. But Iÿÿm 26. I find 99% of what Iÿÿm looking for on the Internet free of charge. If I need a quick shot of news in the morning, I open my computer or grab a free paper. Iÿÿm getting by just fine without NYTÿÿs op-ed columnists (although I did buy Freidmanÿÿs last bookÿÿdiscounted on Amazon). It already takes me the entire week to get through my Economist. Donÿÿt even think Iÿÿd dish out over $600 for a year-long print subscription (I could buy 2 iPods for that much!).

Yep, itÿÿs going to take daily newspapers a lot of business model experimentation to ever get someone like me to buy a subscription. And regarding those potential readers 10 years younger than me, Iÿÿm sorry to say the situation only gets worse.

Sources: MarketWatch, Media Life, Financial Times (Golden), Steve Yelvington


This article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Springfield Republican story advances MGP2006 event


Event eyes future of journalism

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Republican [Springfield, Mass.]

AMHERST - The future of journalism will be the featured topic of a five-day summit that will bring White House press corps columnist Helen Thomas and other news afficionados to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst campus from June 28 through July 1. "Democracy and Independence: Sharing News and Information in a Connected World" is being organized by the Media Giraffe Project, a nonprofit research effort housed in the journalism program on campus.

More than 27 sessions and 50 panelists will be featured during the summit to chart the future of journalism and democracy amid the dramatic, technology-driven changes taking place today. "Everybody in the media has been thinking about the sustainability of journalism," said William P. Densmore Jr., editor and director of Media Giraffe Project. "The idea is not to come up with the answer, but some fresh ideas."

More than 150 bloggers, political strategists, educators, media executives, journalists, technologists and others are registered to attend the summit. Key participants include Thomas, New Orleans Times-Picayune Web editor Jon Donley and Newspaper Next project director Steven Gray. In addition to UMass, the summit's sponsors include the Ford Foundation, the New England Press Association, The Republican and MassLive, the Boston Globe Foundation, Omidyar Network and Corante Media Hub.

"I think we're succeeding in bringing together a group that doesn't often join together in conversation," said Norman H. Sims, a UMass journalism professor and head of the Media Giraffe Project. "These are serious times."

The recent sale of Knight Ridder newspaper company, the layoff of thousands of newspaper reporters, the addition of dozens of Internet news sources and dwindling advertising revenues for traditional news sources all are examples of the changing field of journalism. The question is, can democracy survive without watchdog journalism, Densmore and Sims said. "There's been a very long-term trend of mass media fragmentation," Densmore said.

Sims said his concern is no one knows what to do about the problem. "Journalism has always been seen as the way people could find out what was happening in the world and government," Sims said. "Can it continue to play that role when our media systems break down? That's the root cause of concern."

Registration is ongoing. For complete summit details, including schedules, cost and discussion topics, go to

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Spokane daily now webcasts live its daily news meetings


Beginning yesterday (Tuesday), The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., began streaming live online its 10 a.m. and 4:30
p.m. editorial meetings.

Anybody, including competitors, can watch.

I heard about the idea this weekend, while I was in Spokane teaching a workshop for the Society of Professional

For some time now, the paper has blogged about its editorial meetings in a section of its Web site called "Daily

The site includes a nice primer to help the public figure out what is going on during the meetings.

I e-mailed the paper's editor, Steven Smith, to find out more:

[q.jpg] Al Tompkins: Why are you doing this?

[a.jpg] Steven Smith: It's an experiment. The late James Carey once bemoaned the reluctance of newspapers to experiment,
by definition an exercise in which the outcome is uncertain. Editors tend to want certain outcomes before they take a
step. We have built a pretty substantial infrastructure around our "transparent newsroom" initiative, an effort to engage
our readers in conversations about news, the editorial decision-making processes and so on. Our experience is that
readers value the interaction, love to participate and often provide information and feedback that informs our journalism
and gives it focus. But, as journalists, we always retain the right and ability to set our own agenda, to say "no" to
ideas that won't work for us. We remain independent, that independence in no way compromised by reader engagement.

Webcasting meetings, something I've wanted to try for more than 10 years, is a way of taking advantage of current
technology to extend the conversation with readers. But it's an experiment and the outcome is uncertain.

Will anyone actually watch? We have the technology, but we don't always have the drama. Will our competitors gain an
advantage? Will our staff be as open in public as in private? If the experiment does not further our goals, does not help
us do our jobs more effectively, we'll stop. The technology is being used for many other purposes so the modest
investment is not wasted.

[q.jpg] You have been blogging the morning meetings and inviting people to attend your meetings for some time. How
popular has the blog been, and how many people have taken you up on your invitation to attend your meetings?

[a.jpg] The blog readership and meeting attendance vary with the run of news. When the stories are running hot, interest
and attendance are up. On routine days, interest wanes. We have some hundreds of regular readers/contributors to our
"Daily Briefing" and "News is a Conversation" blogs. We'll have meeting guests once or twice a week, a bit more
frequently in the fall and winter.

[q.jpg] How did you get the idea to stream the meetings? Do you know of any other newsroom that has attempted this level
of transparency?

[a.jpg] Well, I first expressed interest in the idea when I was editor of The Gazette in Colorado Springs, [Colo.], back
in the late '90s. We had an innovative Web operation, and Webcasting from the newsroom seemed a reasonable, inevitable
step. But the technology was new and broadband penetration -- a must for this experiment -- was quite low. Now, 10 years
later, technology, cost and broadband penetration have converged in a way that makes this possible. I'm not familiar with
any other paper that has taken this step. I'd guess those few who might have an interest in the idea will wait to see how
things go here. Stay tuned.

[q.jpg] Let's be clear: You are going to broadcast the actual editorial meeting -- not a pretend one for public

[a.jpg] We will start by Webcasting two meetings each day. The morning meeting (10 a.m. PDT) begins with a critique of
the day's paper. During the critique, we'll match our day's performance against our stated newsroom values. We'll involve
readers through their e-mails to There will be no off-limits comments during the critique
portion of the meeting. The second half of the meeting is a first look at the following day's paper. We'll cover the vast
majority of Page One and section-front-worthy content. There will be times when we will not discuss an important
enterprise or investigative story for competitive reasons. Those exclusions will be relatively infrequent and I'll note
to viewers that we may not be discussing an important story on this particular morning. The first meeting is conducted by
me. The second meeting (4:30 p.m. PDT) is the typical afternoon newsroom meeting where second-cut decisions are made on
Page One and local news content, [photos], etc. That meeting is conducted by the managing editor, Gary Graham. Our goal
is to hold back very little. Again, there may be a rare case when a story cannot be discussed publicly. But by that time
of day, our competitors, mostly local TV news operations, won't really be in a position to report even exclusive
enterprise stories. It's important to remember that this is an experiment. We may change the parameters a bit as we learn
how our competitors are using (or not using) the meeting.

[q.jpg] Will you discuss long-term investigations and special projects during this meeting too?

[a.jpg] Our projects and investigations meeting, and our twice-weekly Sunday meetings are not yet part of the Webcasting
plan. We will evaluate their inclusion, as well as the editorial page board's major weekly meeting, as we approach the

[q.jpg] Won't competitors, including TV stations, just pluck your best stories before you get them in print?

[a.jpg] As I noted above, there is a chance this might happen. But we have 134 staffers in our newsroom. No local TV
station has more than six street reporters at any one time. My belief is they'll be unable to catch us on the vast
majority of our stories -- and those few times they try, they'll be doing us a favor by unintentionally promoting our
deeper, better-sourced and better-presented content. This advantage might not exist in larger markets, where TV stations
are better staffed and more competitive. But it's our reality.

Note from Al: The paper also says on its Web site that it "welcomes readers to attend our daily news meetings." The site
even gives a phone number for folks to call to set up the visit. What do you think of this idea? Do you know of any
newsroom doing something similar? To continue the discussion, drop a note in the feedback section of this column.

The article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Sony, Philips make headway with Hearst, Pearson on flexible E-paper editions

ORIGINAL URL:,71131-0.html?tw=wn_technology_2

E-newspapers just around the corner. Really

By Kenneth Li
Monday, June 12, 2006; 11:13 AM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The newspapers of the future - cheap digital screens
that can be rolled up and stuffed into a back pocket - have been just
around the corner for the last three decades.

But as early as this year, the future may finally arrive. Some of the
world's top newspapers publishers are planning to introduce a form of
electronic newspaper that will allow users to download entire editions
from the Web on to reflective digital screens said to be easier on the
eyes than light-emitting laptop or cellphone displays.

Flexible versions of these readers nay be available as early as 2007.

The handheld readers couldn't come a moment too soon for the newspaper
industry, which has struggled to maintain its readership and advertising
from online rivals.

Publishers Hearst Corp. in the U.S., Pearson Plc.'s (PSON.L) Les Echos in
Paris and Belgian financial paper De Tijd are planning a large-scale
trials of the readers this year.

Earlier attempts by book publishers to sell digital readers failed due to
high prices and a lack of downloadable books.

But a new generation of readers from Sony Corp. (6758.T) and iRex, a
Philips Electronics (PHG.AS) spin-off, have impressed publishers with
their sharp resolution and energy efficiency, galvanizing support for the
idea again.

"This could be a real substitution for printed paper," Jochen Dieckow,
head of the news media and research division of Ifra, a global newspaper
association based in Germany, said.

It's easy to see why publishers are keen. Digital newspapers, so called
e-newspapers, take advantage of two prevailing media trends -- the growth
of online advertising and widespread use of portable devices like the iPod
music player.

Nearly all papers run Web sites, but few readers relish pulling out
laptops in transit or risk dropping one in the bathroom.

E-newspapers would cut production and delivery costs that account for some
75 percent of newspaper expenses.

Circulation in the $55 billion U.S. newspaper industry has slid steadily
for nearly two decades as papers compete with Internet news for attention
and advertising dollars.

Some publishers now see new devices as a way to help them snatch a bigger
slice of online advertising and protect their franchise in reading away
from home.

Ad spending on newspaper Web sites grew 32 percent in 2005 but only
accounted for 4 percent of total ad spending in newspapers, according to
the Newspaper Association of America.

Still, little is known about demand for an e-paper. "The number of
consumers who are interested in reading on the go as opposed to listening
to music on the go is probably smaller in the U.S. today," NPD Group
analyst Ross Rubin said.


Sony and iRex's new devices employ screen technology by E Ink, which
originated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab.
Investors include Hearst, Philips, McClatchy Co. (MNI.N), Motorola Inc.
(MOT.N) and Intel Corp.


The company produces energy-efficient ink sheets that contain tiny
capsules showing either black or white depending on the electric current
running through it.

Some of the latest devices apply E Ink's sheets to glass transistor
boards, or back planes, which are rigid. But by 2007, companies such as
U.K.-based Plastic Logic Ltd will manufacture screens on flexible plastic
sheets, analysts say.

Separately, Xerox Corp. (XRX.N) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ.N) are
developing methods to produce flexible back planes cheaply. Xerox, in
particular, has created a working prototype of system that lets
manufacturers create flexible transistor boards much like one would print
a regular paper document.

Production costs are expected to be low enough soon for publishers to
consider giving away such devices for free with an annual subscription.
Data on subscribers could also help publishers better tailor ads.

Sony's reader will cost between $300 and $400. "If you can get one of
these products to cost less than the cost of a year's subscription it
could probably work," Kenneth Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive
Media, said.

He declined to name which other groups plan testing, but said Hearst's San
Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle will likely be among the first
of its 12 daily papers to offer such devices to several hundred
subscribers later this year.

In Europe, Ifra is discussing trials with 21 newspapers from 13 countries.
The New York Times Co. (NYT.N) is a member.

Sony is separately in discussions with some publishers to offer newspaper
downloads in its e-bookstore due to launch this summer, although no
decision has been made, said Lee Shirani, vice president of Sony's online
content service, Sony Connect.


The article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


E&P STORY: Nominees Sought For 'Courageous' Rural Journalist Award


Nominees Sought For 'Courageous' Rural Journalist Award
By Editor & Publisher Staff
Published: June 06, 2006 1:40 PM ET

CHICAGO -- The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is seeking nominees for the second Tom and Pat Gish Award honoring journalists who have "demonstrated courage, tenacity and integrity in rural journalism." The award is named for the co-publishers of The Mountain Eagle in Whitesburg, Ky.

"The Gishes have withstood advertiser boycotts, declining population, personal attacks and even the burning of their newspaper office to provide the citizens of Letcher County the kind of journalism often lacking in rural areas, especially those dominated by extractive industries -- in this case, primarily coal," the Institute said. The Gishes were the recipients of the first award, presented in 2005. Nominations for this year's award are due Sept. 1. Nominations should include details on the courage, tenacity and integrity demonstrated by the nominee or nominees. Nominations can be mailed Al Cross, director, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, 122 Grehan Journalism Bldg., University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042. They may also be made via e-mail to

The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues says it "helps non-metropolitan journalists define the public agenda for their communities, and grasp the local impact of broader issues." In addition to its seminars and published research, it runs The Rural Blog, a daily digest of events, issues, trends and journalism in rural America. It is based in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky. More information is available at


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Monday, June 05, 2006


Meeting in Moscow, world editors focus on how to sustain "free" newsflow

Bertrand Pecquarie ( writes that some 350 newspaper editors from 70 nations are gathering this week in Moscow and a key theme is analyzing how to serve a generation that is hungry for news -- but doesn't want to pay for it.

Pecquarie is executive director of the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers, and its 13th World Editors Forum was set to begin Monday morning, New York time, and run through Wednesday, with seven sessions. The full program is viewable online at:

There's also a a video-blog coproduced by Robb Montgomery of .

Here are the main topics and speakers of the World Editors Forum:

- Outlook 2010: how newspapers can manage the ³free generation²Eli Noam, Professor of Economics and Finance, Columbia University, USAToday¹s newspaper will become a news-integrator, but the problem fortraditional news organisations is that this type of virtual integratorfunction can also be done by others says Eli. He also adds that it is notclear what the competitive advantage of established newspapers is in such avirtual model : « They are too big for the specialist shop model, and tooexpensive or low-tech for the integrator model. »

- Wikipedia and newspapers: two forms of collective intelligenceJimmy
Wales, Director and Founder, Wikipedia, USAWikipedia, the free online encyclopedia is one of the most successfulwebsites on the internet. Together with its news spinoff, Wikinews,Wikimedians have created alternatives to traditional media. Can wikis bepart of participatory journalism a phenomenon now recognised by more and more newspapers?

- Breaking out : How print publications can embrace multimedia Jim Brady, Executive Editor,, USA. Two distinct online newspaper business strategies are emerging; The New York Times strategy of a selective online paid-wall and the Washington Post's focus on free access, large audiences and advertising-based revenues explained by Jim. - How to play more than video games with readers Esten O. Saether, New Media Editor, Dagbladet, Norway The Norwegian newspaper offers its online edition in a format for Playstation Portable (PSP). According to Esten, the PSP version is an interesting new way to attract young readers among other initiatives.

- Google News and the free flow of information Nathan Stoll, Google News Product Manager, Google Inc., USA Google News and the free flow of information -- Google News is sometimes perceived as a threat to brand recognition, online audiences and advertisingrevenues by the newspaper industry. Nathan thinks exactly the contrary and wants to show the advantages of Google News for news websites, journalists, and readers. This discussion will be open!

There are also sessions on e-paper technical developments and on the Danish newspaper publication of the Prophet Mohammed cartoons.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Worcester Telegram story reviews potential impact of PEG funding changes


Jun 3, 2006

Cable access could face cut Funding affects public channels


WORCESTER -- The city's three public access television channels could lose nearly $700,000 in annual funding under major telecommunications legislation before Congress, according to a recent report by the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Community Media.

The legislation aims at creating greater local competition to lower costs for cable TV, Internet and telephone customers, and includes provisions that could alter the traditional .net neutrality,. changing the equal access that exists for all Internet Web sites.

One section of the bill would adjust how public access stations are funded. The report analyzing the potential losses states that Worcester.s channels would lose about 70 percent of the $985,000 they now receive. Other projected losses in the state range from 50 percent in Fall River to 84 percent in Cambridge and Holliston.

.It.s very serious and very important, especially for those of us who believe in democratic media and particularly community media,. said WCCA Executive Director Mauro DePasquale. The House is expected to vote this month on the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is reviewing its own version.

Currently, Worcester.s 56,000 cable subscribers fund the city.s public access stations . Channels 11, 12 and 13 . through a fee based on 5 percent of Charter Communications. annual revenues. Both the House and Senate bills would base public access funding on 1 percent of cable providers. annual revenues. Charter provides cable, Internet and telephone service in the Worcester area.

Public access advocates shouldn.t be concerned with the COPE bill, according to Terry Lane, a spokesman for Rep. Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, chief sponsor of the bill. Since the bill requires that 1 percent of cable providers. revenues be devoted to public access funding everywhere they provide service, Mr. Lane said, some localities with no public access outlet will be guaranteed funds to start one. .There.s a potential that this could actually increase funding for some (localities),. he said.

If the COPE Act becomes law, local governments would collect 6 percent of
telecommunications providers. annual revenues, of which one-sixth . 1 percent of providers. revenues . would be guaranteed for public access. Local governments would have the option of using the rest of the funds for public access, Mr. Lane said. .We looked at it nationally,. he said. .We think the 1 percent number is
balanced and equitable..

The centerpiece of the COPE bill, supporters say, could lower costs for cable, Internet and telephone users because multiple companies would be allowed to compete in a single locality. According to Mr. Lane, the bill.s backers expect competition to bring down rates.

But this issue should not be boiled down to cost, COPE critics say. .It.s more than a consumer issue. It.s really a civic issue,. Mr. DePasquale said. .Is it really that important for me or someone else to watch .Desperate Housewives. a little cheaper? Or is it more important to have an open forum for civic dialogue and a place for cities to mobilize and engage citizens?.

Public access stations allow citizens to produce local programs that commercial media may not otherwise produce.

Mr. DePasquale joined others at the Statehouse last Wednesday to speak out against the legislation in Congress. Similar .National Day of Out(r)age. protests were conducted in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities. According to David S. Isenberg, a fellow at Harvard Law School.s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a diverse coalition has emerged to oppose the legislation because of the potentially far-reaching effects. Opponents of the legislation include liberal advocacy group, the Christian Coalition and financial service companies, among others. Worcester City Council passed a resolution last fall opposing an earlier version of the COPE bill.

Many opponents say they are focusing on provisions in the bill that could let Internet service providers charge Web sites in exchange for greater bandwidth, which would allow those sites that pay to load faster than others. This would end what many call .net neutrality..

.Suppose your telephone company chose which blogs it would give you access to, or which newspapers, or block controversial content as a service to you,. Mr. Isenberg said. talking freedom of the press here and freedom of speech..

The legislation comes 10 years after Congress passed the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which largely deregulated the telecommunications industry and allowed companies to expand to provide cable, Internet and telephone services. Major telecommunications companies, such as Verizon and AT&T, have pushed for passage.

St. Louis-based Charter, which provides cable, Internet and telephone service in much of Central Massachusetts, has not joined with Verizon and AT&T to push for the pending legislation, said Edward S. Goldstein, a vice president of government relations at Charter. It could be too early to tell what the legislation.s potential impact could be on Charter.s services, he added.

.If the lawmakers set this up fairly, that should be good for the consumer,. he said. .There.ll certainly be more choice: different packages of services, different customer service operations..

Copyright 2006 Worcester Telegram & Gazette Corp.


The article above is copyrighted material, the use of which may not have specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of political, economic, democracy, First Amendment, technology, journalism, community and justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' as provided by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Chapter 1, Section 107, the material above is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this blog for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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