Posts Tagged 'newspapers'

Printcasting Offers Hybrid Web/Print Publishing (And Ad Targeting)

To follow up on yesterday’s post about a custom-targeted print ad model, Jason Preston at Eat Sleep Publish points out one fledgling example of this already in existence. He interviews Dan Pacheco of Printcasting, a service of the Bakersfield Californian.

Printcasting provides micro Web sites on hyper local or highly niche topics. So far it’s being used in neighborhood and ethnic-specific publications. Users also have the option to print out the PDF of that week’s issue. The PDF includes custom targeted ads based on interests or demographics. (Can we also hope for behavioral targeting as well that would place print ads based on each person’s Web browsing experience? That online/offline combination would be really interesting.)

Printcasting is also available for bloggers and in theory would allow bloggers, publishers and Printcasting to share in the ad revenue.

Outsourcing The News Business?

The OC Register announced it would outsource some copy-editing and layout work to India, the AP reported. The one-month test will include editing for the flagship newspaper as well as layout for a smaller community paper.

Mindworks Global Media, which does editing, “content creation” (writing) and design, will handle the work from offices outside New Delhi.

Other papers, such as the Miami Herald and the Sacramento Bee, have experimented with the outsourcing production and/or editing of editorial or advertising work to India.

Huffington Post Goes Local, Takes On Newspapers

The Huffington Post, the uber-blog that has taken on the top Web sites and news organizations, is going local. Arianna Huffington’s announcement that her company will be opening “dozens” of local sites across the country marks a potentially new front in the transformation of the news industry. Is this the beginning of a new type of national news chain, like Gannett or McClatchy, but completely online?

While details are scant at this point, Huffington said that the first local blog will be in Chicago. It will start off being run by one editor, but presumably will expand its staff from there.

The move into local news means more competition for local newspapers. Up until now, Huffington Post has not competed directly with local newspapers, instead focusing on national news, in particular political news. But with local news, Huffington Post could provide another source of competition for local newspapers. Most local blogs competing with local papers have been one-man-bands or other smaller scale operations–that have still broken news and drawn large traffic numbers. But Huffington Post, backed by significant resources and carrying a brand name, will present a new challenge.

User Generated Content + News = ?

City University’s Neil Thurman (U.K.) has an interesting study on the use of user-generated content by news companies. Is UGC the solution to the problems that many news companies face–such as declines in print circulation, and blogs and Google sniping at their heels? Engagement is important for these companies, as is building something that fits seamlessly into the existing business.

First, from the audience perspective, how do audiences respond to “citizen journalism”? According to Thurman, the adoption has been slow so far. On a popular debate forum on BBC’s site, 0.5 percent of users contributed, which is lower than the average of 1 percent on many social media sites, noted the Guardian’s Jemima Kiss.

However, news companies aren’t social media companies, and expecting them to have Facebook-like virality is expecting too much. It is still early days and many news organizations are trying to figure this problem out. Some have been working on it for a while. The Bakersfield Californian was an early tester of this model when it launched Northwest Voice in 2004–itself inspired by South Korea’s OhMyNews.

How do news companies react to UGC? Thurman notes:

“A belief in the need to control, moderate or sub users’ submissions so that they met the standards of professionally produced output was strongly held.”

Does user generated content add to news companies’ business? The question is probably better asked as, what is the best way for news companies to drive more traffic and keep readers on their sites? Of course, the business of news is different from that of a Disney or Scion, which are building communities to engage with their audiences around their brands. News companies are built on their reputation and credibility of their news. Mixing hard news with UGC news is a delicate matter. But it is a necessary issue to confront, increasing competition on all fronts. It can be done, and is completely necessary, a number of writers have argued.

Interestingly, in the Thurman study, 80 percent of the methods used to engage users were using moderators and/or pre-editing all of the content. This seems to make it difficult for UGC sections of news sites to scale to the level of the the “professional” news portions of their sites. Either news companies will have to give in and do away with most editing of UGC (and let the misspellings and low quality postings in) or a company needs to come up with an automated solution to edit UGC. Moderated UGC sites are just too expensive, Thurman’s study found.

There are a number of companies working on different aspects of socializing news, such as Mixx, Thoof, Digg and Reddit.

$3,300 To Join A Social Network

Wow that’s pricey. The Financial Times has launched a new social network, FT Media and Technology Executive Leadership Forum. The $3,300 price tag to join includes one free conference and one year of the newspaper. It’s the first in a series of launches planned by FT, with future offerings in luxury goods and property, according to the Guardian.

While media companies are trying many different approaches to engage readers in communities and keep them on their sites–such as working with start-ups like Mixx, Inform, Aggregate Knowledge and Loomia–they are mostly all based on free ad-based models. FT’s move into the luxury area is a very different approach.

<via Mashable.>