Nobody likes commercials, so viewers are finding ways around them – through DVRs and subscription-based on-demand programming. That will make things tough for political advertisers – but certainly not impossible. My latest column at Communities Digital News explores how political video advertising will have to adjust. And they will have to – because video remains the best way to tell a story.
Emily Bell notices a trend among the teams Nate Silver and Ezra Klein are putting together for their new, future-of-journalism companies: There are an awful lot of white guys:
Well, [Klein’s] project X may now be called Vox, but the great VC-backed media blitz of 2014 is staffed up and soft-launching, and it looks a lot more like Projects XY. Indeed, it’s impossible not to notice that in the Bitcoin rush to revolutionize journalism, the protagonists are almost exclusively – and increasingly – male and white.
Bell recoils from Silver’s comments that he hired partially based on “clubhouse chemistry”: “A clubhouse. Do we really still have to have one of those?” Silver probably does, since he works at ESPN. Since it’s a sports network, ESPN predominantly caters to men.
Yet Bell writes this from the authority of her dual posts at Guardian and Columbia University. This is not, apparently, the opening manifesto of her own journalism site. Her screed is merely a complaint from these established beachheads, pointing out that the do-ers aren’t doing enough.
She’s probably right: There might be room for newer, more diverse voices in the marketplace the Kleins and Silvers are trying to occupy. It’s just a shame she’s passing up such a great business opportunity.
Harvard’s Nieman Foundation had a post today about The Slurve, a daily digest of baseball. (While I don’t subscribe, I see plenty about it on Twitter and Facebook from intelligent, baseball-oriented friends to know that I probably will at some point.) Blogger Adrienne LaFrance opines that journalism-by-newsletter may be underrated:
After political reporting and editing stints at The American Conservative and Business Insider, [Michael Brendan Daugherty] decided to quit his job and launch The Slurve, a daily baseball newsletter that began last March on the eve of the 2013 baseball season.
Dougherty saw the opportunity to create a bespoke editorial product for an audience that was inundated with great baseball coverage but had to traverse a huge swath of the web to find it.
Daugherty’s model is subscription, not advertising-based. He has built an audience and feeds it with great content, and the subscriptions continue. It’s similar to the model magazines may have used in their heyday, but without the high costs of printing and distribution.
The Slurve is not the first to use such a model. A few years ago, the National Journal’s Hotiline was required reading when it popped up subscribers’ inboxes right around noon; Ben Domenech’s The Transom treats center-right subscribers to news and analysis each morning. At some point, LaFrance speculates, specialty email list curators might find seats in traditional media. She may be right; former Hotline editor Chuck Todd has certainly done so.
In making her point, LaFrance may have hit on something traditional media need more of as they claw their way into the digital age: a direct conduit into the inbox. Sure, news organizations love to invite viewers to “join the conversation” on Twitter or Facebook. But doing so is a thin attempt to appear multi-directional: CNN really doesn’t care what you tweeted about Syria, even if it posted your tweet on the air.
News organizations are a one-way conduits of information. People who know stuff about the world are paid to tell you about it, if you’re interested. If they are interested in finding your eyeballs online, they would be wise to reach out through your email inbox.
Facebook now allows users to include clickable hashtags in their posts. The decision seems Twitter-inspired, right?
Sort of, but not completely. Though they are using the tags made popular by Twitter, Facebook’s new feature has just as much to do with an old media dinosaur – namely, live television:
During primetime television alone, there are between 88 and 100 million Americans engaged on Facebook – roughly a Super Bowl-sized audience every single night. The recent “Red Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones, received over 1.5 million mentions on Facebook, representing a significant portion of the 5.2 million people who watched the show. And this year’s Oscars buzz reached an all-time high on Facebook with over 66.5 million interactions, including likes, comments, and posts.
Speaking of the Big Game, recall that Super Bowl Sunday was a big night for Twitter this year – half of the commercials mentioned Twitter in one way or another. Watch almost any live programming and you’ll catch hashtags superimposed on the screen almost as ubiquitously as the logo of the channel you’re watching. All this takes advantage of multi-screen media consumption – the fact that audiences usually mess around on their phones and tablets while zoning out in front of the warming glow of TV.
And if you’re a show, product, or even a politician in a debate you want to own both of those screens. Facebook wants to be a gateway to the buzz – and the sweet, sweet marketing dollars that follow it.