Posts Tagged ‘media organizations’


News Organizations Sometimes Bend the Rules of Engagement to Keep Up with Today’s Frenetic Pace of News Cycles.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The 24 hour news cycle is nothing new. It started in 1980 with the launch of CNN, the very first 24 hour news channel. Prior to cable news we relied on the newspaper, radio, or the evening news broadcast to find out what was happening in the world. And if a big story broke during the day or after the news broadcast chances were we would be informed by having our favorite TV show interrupted with a special report from the affiliate’s newsroom.

Over the last few years, however, the rate at which we receive the news has been accelerating and, believe it or not, promises to become even more immediate. Some news organizations are applying extreme and sometimes controversial business practices to keep up with this increasing pace and to survive in the highly competitive online news space.

With more pressure to deliver content to their followers, organizations like Politico and Gawker are helping to ratchet up the intensity to an even higher level when it comes to reporting the news. Pre-dawn start times at agencies tortoise_Hare1along with bonuses tied to the number of pageviews a reporter’s story garners are adding to the sense of urgency in which a story is posted online. Tracking how many people view articles online is becoming a higher priority not only at new media, but old media as well – creating an environment to see who can post the most exclusive stories the fastest.

As a result, when a major national story is in the midst of breaking news, the rules of engagement sometimes become a bit blurred, with more outlets favoring “cut and paste reporting” over actual journalism. Last month Rolling Stone magazine was about to post the General McChrystal story in which he and his aids were critical of the White House – first sending an advanced copy of the story to the Associated Press (customary for magazines trying to promote a story) with some restrictions. But before Rolling Stone had a chance to publish the story on their website, on their scheduled date, two major websites (Politico and Times.com) decided to post a PDF of the entire story to their respective sites.  

Although it was seen by some as a breach of copyright and professional best practices, both companies explained that they posted the story as it was unfolding. Since Rolling Stone didn’t immediately post the article itself they decided to move forward on their own.  Eric Bates, executive editor of Rolling Stone, didn’t see it that way. Voicing his concern not only from his magazine’s perspective but from an industry perspective, he called it a “transitional moment,” adding, “What these two media organizations did was off the charts. They took something that was in pre-published form, sent to other media organizations with specific restrictions, and just put it up.”

However, the exhausting pace of online news isn’t just taking its toll on the media organizations themselves. It is also coming at a price to the individuals supplying the content. The longer hours and added pressure to constantly come up with exclusive stories has contributed to an increased turnover of staff at online news organizations with more journalists facing burnout at a younger age. A dozen reporters recently left Politico in the first half of this year and it’s very common for an editor to leave Gawker after just one year.

While some may debate the future of the media, one thing is certain: The online media race is on.  I’m just not sure if slow and steady wins this one.

Do you think that the media and their audiences, are biting off more news than they can chew?  As a public relations professional, what do you think about news organizations bending the rules of engagement to keep up with today’s frenetic pace of news and how does this impact the way you conduct media relations? If you’re a journalist or blogger, how are you handling the added pressure of constantly having to deliver? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Share/Bookmark

All The News That’s Fit To…Tweet? Re-writing the New York Times Motto

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Flickr Image: B.K. Dewey

Flickr Image: B.K. Dewey

Valerie Simon

Monday morning, as I sat down on the train headed to the Bulldog Reporter 2010 Media Relations Summit, I had trouble getting past the front page of The New York Times. No, it wasn’t the story about “online bullies” or the “G20 agreement to halve budget deficits,” but a part of its masthead: “All the news that’s fit to print.”  

I am bothered by the fact that the motto remains tied to a particular format, when in fact The New York Times Digital ranked 13th on the newly released comScore report of top 50 web properties. I enjoy reading The New York Times online via my BlackBerry, following @nytimes on Twitter and receiving its RSS feeds in my reader. I listen to NYtimes.com podcasts and watch NY Times videos. The various formats and channels each offer a unique purpose and different advantage in storytelling.

When I arrived at the conference I paid particular attention to how other media organizations were evolving. During the first roundtable I moderated, Glenn Coleman, managing director, Crain’s New York Business, discussed the different methods of outreach and subscription types available to readers. Alongside the original print edition, there is a digital edition, several premium specialized newsletters, as well as free email alerts consisting of daily, weekly, industry and company email alerts delivering the day’s breaking business news.

Likewise, at my second roundtable, Joe Ciarallo, editor of PRNewser and manager of PR initiatives for mediabistro.com, noted that the MediaBistro community receives content and information from a wide array of platforms. In addition to its original blog, MediaBistro reaches its audience using targeted blogs such as PR Newser, TV Newser, and Agency Spy, premium content, and opportunities for members,  live events and an active social media presence.

So what is the new standard of newsworthiness – the new goal of media organizations striving to be that essential trusted source of news?  During the conference Rand Morrison, executive producer, CBS News Sunday Morning, wisely remarked that, “Long is shorter than it used to be.” Perhaps an updated motto for The New York Times would be “All the news that’s fit to tweet.” But seriously, the motto should no longer focus on one particular format, but rather on consumption, discussion, or sharing. I’ll put it to you, the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas community. What do you think would be a more appropriate motto for today’s New York Times?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Share/Bookmark

When It Comes to Online Media, Just The Facts Are Free . . .

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism’s annual report is once again upon us. As in the past, it confirms that the majority of us get our information online and that we do not want to pay for it, subscribe to it, or pay-per-click for an article.

The facts may be free, but getting them collected, edited, checked, and delivered to you online or otherwise still costs money. Like almost every else When It Comes to Online Media, Just the Facts Are Freeyou do in this life, you do get what you pay for. The old joke of “hiring’em young while they still got all the answers” may work fine for opining in the blogosphere, but may not cut it in the “knock three times and tell’em Dan sent you” world of investigative journalism.

Then there is this little issue of legality. At the recent OnCopyright 2010 conference put together by the Copyright Clearance Center in New York City, a self-proclaimed investigative blogger lamented the chilling effect of the many defensive lawsuits filed against him. While we may be prejudiced against the larger media organizations at times, they can stand up to this type of intimidation. To preempt the criticism they vet their sources and data prior to publishing and if that’s not enough they have financial resources to support their position.

Back to free; the cry is that everything should be free on the Internet . . . Well it never has been and never will be. The content and information you get every day on the web is being paid for by somebody, usually advertisers. For lots of reasons we can look at later, this subsidy is just not cutting it.

So if we want reliable, vetted information we have to support its creation. In other words, we have to pay for it. The organizations that are creating vetted content are searching for a way to do this. There are a number of models being tried currently.

  1. The pay-wall which is in place at a number of sites and variations are being implemented by the Financial Times and the New York Times.
  2. The pay-by-article model for which you pay only for what you read á la iTunes.
  3. A central subscription service for many participating providers.

I believe all of these are doomed to fail. However, I do believe there is a fourth solution that could prove viable and consumer-friendly. It would be a hybrid of the pay-by-article model and the aggregated subscription combined with some as of yet unreleased technology.

Over the coming weeks, I look forward to examining more closely some of these monetization options and having a bit of discourse on the topic. In the interim, I strongly recommend that anyone whose livelihood, especially journalists and public relations professionals, is tied to media read the Pew Report. And share their thoughts with myself and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Share/Bookmark