Written by Michael on July 31st, 2009
Preview of a series.
Your startup will only thrive if things are changing; if nothing’s been changing, somebody already tried it. So, how is today’s news market different from yesterday’s?
Here are four principles for today’s media market, each of them with a commandment for aspiring entrepreneurs to keep in mind. They’re the guiding assumptions of this blog.
I’ll discuss each in a coming series of posts, and each of these will eventually get a landing page of its own that includes the latest news on the subject.
Written by Michael on July 27th, 2009
I’m a city boy. I love crowds. I believe in crowds.
But let’s get serious about the usefulness of crowdsourced hard-news reporting at the local level.
Every example of how Twitter, etc., is theoretically changing journalism seems to rely on extremely unusual tragedies, disasters or sensations.
I don’t know about your hometown paper, but in the one I work for, almost all of what you’d call “breaking news” (aside from the sports and arts coverage) falls into one of four areas:
There’s more »
Written by Michael on July 5th, 2009
Here’s a distinction worth understanding:
a) Products that rely on the idea that people will simply be too dumb to figure out an alternative. These products rely only on informational barriers: once you know the better way to do things, it’s no trouble to do things the better way.
Like a car mechanic who preys on ignorance in order to sell more air filters, these products breed resentment.
b) Products that rely on the idea that people don’t have the time or effort to pursue an alternative. These products rely on procedural barriers: even if you spent the time to figure out an alternative, you’d need to alter your behavior to take advantage of it.
Like a car mechanic who pokes around in earnest for possible mechanical problems you haven’t yet noticed, these products breed loyalty.
Written by Michael on May 12th, 2009
Here’s a brief proposition I’d be curious to see contradicted:
The common factor among all profitable journalism startups in the last seven years is not Web distribution, user interaction, worse content, better content, more content, less content, paid content or free content. The common factor is a narrow audience.
Written by Michael on April 23rd, 2009
It’s been the formula embraced by every half-crazy, screw-the-system dreamer in history, from Henry Thoreau to Jerry Maguire:
Do less, better.
And for journalists, it’s the way of the future. It’s exactly what consumers are demanding.
How cool is that?
Written by Michael on April 17th, 2009
Follow-up thought on yesterday’s iTunes for news defense: When analysts say things like:
Newspaper content is ephemeral by nature … It isn’t the same as downloading a song and keeping it and replaying it. It loses its value almost instantaneously.
…the speaker is not describing a problem with iTunes. She’s describing a problem with the way news is traditionally presented.
It’s a problem that can be solved.
Update 7/26: Jackie Hai makes a similar point, except phrased better and with extra insights. Read it.
Written by Michael on April 13th, 2009
Here’s a simple principle for general-interest-ish publications an age of abundance:
Most readers don’t want more. They want less. Though they want more of it to be relevant.
Quicker is better.
Simple as that.
And as Eric Schmidt noted the other day: when speed is the goal, print still works faster than pixels.
Newspapers aren’t very fast.
But print is, or can be.
That’s why print is still king among newspaper readers.
It’s something to consider.
(photo courtesy Flickr user mharrsch)