Latest Entries »

Today President Obama announced that he would not be releasing photographs of Bin Laden’s body to the public. The president stated his concern for inciting the wrath of terrorists who might use the pictures as propaganda for recruiting new members to their cause, which could further hurt the United States’ efforts to end the War on Terror.

I agree with President Obama’s decision for a number of reasons. First, I think that many terrorists have been angered over Bin Laden’s death, and they may already be planning something in retaliation to this attack on their infrastructure. Why would we want to goad them with violent pictures of one of their leaders?
Secondly, I think it is still not appropriate in this day and age to display graphic pictures to the public. Sure, we as a country have grown more desensitized to violence in the past few decades, but we should still consider that these things are not images that should be thrown about lightly. With the access that many young individuals have to the internet, it could be dangerous to release such graphic pictures to the public without knowing who might see them.

Finally, I feel that even if President Obama did decide to release the photographs, that someone would do something with photo editing software to offend a particular group or religion. Even in the case that the actual photos were not inflammatory, there is always someone out there who has the potential to alter the images in an offensive way. As we saw a few years ago with the political cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, some people get very upset over images, even if everyone else does not see a problem with them.

For the record, I would like to see the images of Bin Laden for myself, as I’m sure most people in America would. 9/11 is a day I will never forget, and the idea of Bin Laden as a criminal mastermind has remained in the back of my mind for the past decade. In order to satisfy the conspiracist in me and know for sure that Bin Laden is dead, I think seeing the pictures would be a good way to close the book on the horrific events of the past ten years. However, I understand that my wants don’t necessarily come before the safety of the people in this country, and I’m ok with that.

Undoubtedly, the pictures probably will be leaked one day. The ramifications of this happening are still unknown, but we can only hope that for now the american people will be satsified with the results of DNA testing and official confirmations from the White House of Bin Laden’s death.

Advertisements

Since yesterday’s Journalism 301 class, I have learned a lot about a little debate called Net Neutrality. In case you don’t already know, here are the basics:
Some internet service providers want to charge content providers more money so that their bits are faster than others. This in essence makes their webpages faster and better than a content provider who decides not to pay more for added speed. The fear is that the ISPs will begin dictating what they want to be faster and what should be slower, which would effectively allow ISPs to control content on the web.

Many people feel very strongly about this issue, and I have to say that I think there needs to be an even balance of both free internet and the option of having a tiered service. For example, if mytinywebsite.com doesn’t want to pay extra for faster internet speeds, it shouldn’t be penilized in any way; however, if Amazon.com is willing to pay more for their site to run smoother, than that’s their perogitive. The real issue at hand is whether or not the ISPs can be trusted to leave content alone and not degrade websites that refuse to pay for higher services. If that is the case, than tiered service should not be an option. I think this is where the government needs to step in and lay down some ground rules to help establish a fair set of rules for all internet content providers and ISPs.

I feel that eventually the two sides of the arguement will come to some sort of a compromise, but for now the outcome of the net neutrality debate is unclear. With new battles being fought every day, there is certainly no shortage of news on this raging debate. Change is a necessary part of life, but it remains to be seen if that change will prove to be better for the consumer as a whole.

In an article on www.paidcontent.org, Dave Kaplan discusses the future of digital magazines as apps. While the apps haven’t been so successful before, many magazines have greatly increased their focus on creating better and more involved apps, including Sports Illustrated and Popular Mechanic.

I’ve never actually read a magazine app, but I have to say the idea sounds really interesting. I love reading magazines more than anything, and back in the days when they were affordable on the newsstand I would usually read at least 3 or 4 a month. But lately, newsstand prices have skyrocketed, putting the cost of a single magazine around 7 or 8 dollars. I just can’t justify spending that much on a single issue of anything.

But if I were to download magazines for my Ipad, I would be able to get all the full color pictures and in-depth articles I love without having to shell out the extra cash for the paper edition. Furthermore, advertisers could utilize these full color apps to create beautiful ads, just like in printed magazines.

I feel like this is the best possible example of the advertising industry and consumers getting their cake and eating it too; magazine apps will arguably be more affordable, and offer the same content that the print versions did before, while advertisers don’t have to spend so much money on the cost of print ads while benefiting from the colorful format of magazine advertisements on a digital device.

I think that magazine publishers should go full steam ahead with their plans for bigger and better magazine apps. I personally can’t wait to be able to read my favorite monthlies again without having to worry about the damage done to my wallet.

CNN.com reports that Facebook has hired former Mashable journalist Vadim Lavrusik to be the first journalist program manager, a move which Facebook hopes will bring more journalists to the site. According to the same article, Facebook hopes to get journalists using the site to find sources and news.

I think this is a really fantastic idea, as most people still see Facebook as a silly time waster to use at work to check up on friends. If Facebook is successful in its attempt to legitimize itself as a serious tool for journalists, it may well win the respect of professionals who may have scoffed at it before hand. Twitter has seen massive success with journalists since last year, so I think that Facebook has a great chance of stealing some of their thunder. I really liked what Lavrusik said in the article about Facebook being the new version of the White Pages, as it really is a way to find people you may not have had access to in real life.

Facebook’s user base of over 500 million viewers already gives Team Zuckerberg a huge head start over Twitter- they need to utilize this lead before Twitter gets the best of them.

I would love to see Facebook become a legitimate tool for journalists instead of a way to play Farmville and Mafia Wars. The site itself has so much potential for networking, so its a no-brainer that journalists would want to access so many potential sources.

In a new article on ClickZ.com, analysts at Publicis-owned ZenithOptimedia have stated that ad revenue this year has gone down because of the events in Egypt and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. However, ad revenue is expected to bounce back in 2012 and 2013, with some surprising results.

Online advertising is predicted to become the second largest advertising medium behind television ads in the next two years. Newspapers currently receive the largest amount of ads after television, but the shifting of the world market towards the internet is about to drastically change this long stable ad model.

I’m really not surprised that more and more ads are being placed on the internet every year. I feel like this is a natural progression of the media and the way people are getting their information in general. More people than ever before are getting their daily news from websites and blogs, so it only makes sense for advertisers to place their ads on these sites.

Even though print advertisements are more effective and longer-lasting, how many people are actually looking at them? Besides the fact that they are 10 times more expensive on average than online ads, circulation of newspapers and magazines has decreased drastically in the last decade. If I had the choice of paying ten cents for an online ad that might be briefly viewed by millions of people, or a more lasting print ad that only reached hundreds of thousands, I would be hard pressed not to choose the online ad. There is a certain power in subliminal messaging, which I think plays a large part in online advertising.

Must...buy...Captain Crunch...

 

So is the Dollar-Dime model of adverting collapsing as we speak? Maybe so. In the next decade, the cost of print and online ad revenue may flip entirely, so that we see the average online ad costing ten times more than a print advertisement. But one thing is for sure: be prepared to see more online ads on your favorite websites in the next two years.

The New York Times recently put its digital pay wall in place, permanently putting unlimited free access to the NYT online to a stop. The years of free access for basically everything online that was previously offered to web consumers is quickly coming to an end as more and more organizations begin to privatize their content, saving the best videos, image galleries, and articles for paying subscribers. This model has been proven to work for the Financial Times.com and the Wall St. Journal.com, so its only natural that the NY Times has begun to follow suit. Even though I’m disappointed that I’m going to have to begin paying for online access, I really do think this is a good idea for the journalism industry. The NY Times just put out two new TV commercials to advertise their new pay wall. You can see the new commercials here. I think both of them are well done, but will they really help to bring more subscribers to the Times website?

My gut says that the commercials just don’t matter. If an organization like the Times is choosing to make viewers pay for their services, then people are going to subscribe, no matter what marketing campaign they have. Will the Times lose viewership? Probably. But I feel they will definitely benefit in the end by making their online readers pay for their services. Just like the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, NYT readers go to the NYT website because they know that they won’t be able to find the same quality news on any free news website. The NYT provides quality journalism that other news organizations simply can’t match, which has allowed them to continue to be one of the biggest news organizations in the world for over 100 years.

Now I just need to take the plunge and actually make myself pay for the online subscription so I don’t need to keep switching computers every time I want to catch up on world events.

Ads in print magazines are seeing a recent comeback, according to the latest issue of WWD.com. In the article, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and Business Week saw impressive gains in their first quarter ad sales, which constitutes the fourth quarter in a row where many major print magazines have seen a rise in advertisements.

This really goes a long way towards rebutting the common thought process that “print is dead”. Sure, the print industry isn’t what it once was (and probably will never be that financially lucrative again) still has the power to attract readers and advertisers.

Personally, I can’t imagine reading my favorite magazines off of a computer screen or ipad- I need to be able to hold the physical magazine in my hand and turn the pages. There’s just something so classic about print magazines that I don’t think digital magazines could ever replace. And I’m willing to bet there are a lot more people like that out there than you might expect.

Print magazines may be pricey, but many niche consumers are willing to pay for high quality journalism. Advertisers shouldn’t abandon the print industry- they just need to carefully pick where they place their ads. Just like we’ve discussed in class, printed advertisements are worth so much more than digital ones. So how come the ad industry is only beginning to realize the importance of print now?

I honestly feel like its been long enough that many people miss printed magazines. In a way, printed magazines are almost “retro” which we all know is always a good thing. Sure, reading the daily on your shiny new Ipad is fun, but you’ll never be able to capture the swish of the pages as you thumb through your favorite newspaper or magazine. Let’s hope that the ad industry continues to back printed journalism so that we don’t forget our literary roots.

Google has just announced a new social aspect to their search engine, simply called +1. As detailed in an article by the Financial Times, (http://on.ft.com/e3dMip) Google is trying to use this new feature to compete with Facebook’s “like” system of judging web content.

Personally, I think this is a really smart idea. Google should be able to use this data to draw advertisers to sites with the highest amount of “+1’s” so that advertisers can see which websites people are most interested in. This in turn could help websites to adjust their prices for banner ads if they have a higher +1 status, or vice versa. In a time when everyone is uncertain of the effectiveness of online advertising, this seems like a likely step in the right direction for ad companies and websites to gauge the popularity of various sites.

If I worked at Google, I would collect this data and then sell it to various websites. That way, Google can turn a profit off of this new system while helping to inform website admins to the popularity of their site. Alternatively, websites might want to pay Google to enable the “+1” feature for their sites when they come up in a search. I really feel like this is a great idea for everyone involved in online marketing, and could definitely boost the ad revenue that is gained by online news media sites. In general, if something works for Facebook, it should work in the broader context of the Internet’s social media capabilities.

Now the only thing left to determine is if Google users will like, I mean, +1, this new feature.

 

 

In this corner... the world champion of all search engines... Google!!!

And in this corner, the fastest growing social network on the web... Facebook!!!

Today I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a discussion panel of graduate students from Stony Brook’s School of Journalism, and what I heard was not disappointing. Four graduate students from various years were present, each with excellent jobs and even more promising career opportunities ahead of them. The grad students each had a very different job, with some working as sports writers, web journalists, and even ethnically-driven news site reporters.

The thing that most impressed me about the grad students was their confidence. Most of them weren’t much older than myself, and already they had an air of confidence, professionalism and wisdom that I struggle to see myself having as a sophomore journalism student. I was amazed by how quickly they had transformed from students like me into professionals in the journalism world. Their success stories and even some of their missteps were inspiring, especially in a field where almost everyone has bad news for prospective journalists.

But these students said yes where others in the industry may have suggested otherwise. I was most impressed with Chris Hunt, a reporter for the Armory Track website. The oldest member of the group at 30, Chris was a down to earth and genuine person who spoke of his success with a great deal of modesty. “Confidence is something you wear,” said Chris. “So make sure it looks good.”

The grad students spoke about the hardships of the job hunt and their personal experience in what to do and also what not to do. I feel like I learned more from this one hour seminar than I have in a month’s worth of classes. Being able to listen to someone who used to be just like you only a few years ago was both inspiring and helpful to my future job hunt.

I really think that the entire School of Journalism could benefit from more seminars such as these. After hearing the grad students talk, I felt really inspired to get out there and give the journalism field everything I’ve got. And that’s a feeling that I fear I was beginning to lose.

After reading the State of the News Media this week, I have to say I was pretty depressed by the results. The decreases in newspaper readership and circulation perfectly matched what we have been talking about in class this semester (I  was hoping to hear differently) Despite the gloominess surrounding the decline in newsprint and cable tv,  there was some good news for online readership. Apparently, more people than ever before get their news online, which may have also helped to bolster online ad revenue.

Finally, some good news! Throughout my journalism career, I have heard about the downfalls of online advertising, but it seems that things may be turning around for digital advertisers. With the growing popularity of online news consumption, it only makes sense that online ad revenue would also increase, since more eyes equals more dollars for marketers. The only concern that I have is with mobile devices and news consumption- where are free mobile apps going to make their money?

I personally read the NY Times on my iPod Touch at least two or three times a week, and there are virtually no ads. I happen to like this a lot as a news consumer, but the journalist part of me worries that these programs will begin to die off if people don’t pay for them and there aren’t any ads to pay for their maintenance. So what is a news organization to do?

Now that almost half of online news consumers use mobile devices to get their daily news, the media needs to figure out a way to offer affordable mobile apps and keep consumers coming back to their apps daily. I think charging something like $5 a month for a news app is a good place to start – in fact, The State of the News Media said that some people are willing to pay for digital news outlets.

As a community of journalists, we need to band together and focus on what works in order to keep our industry strong. Its the only way we can manage to provide the general public with the information they want and need while managing to support ourselves and professional writers and reporters.