Publish2 launches ‘new Associated Press’

Publish2 has launched a news exchange in an attempt to replace what the Associated Press has up-to-now offered newspapers.

From what I gather Publish2 will provide a market place for newspapers to share their own content or use/buy content from publications, journalists, bloggers and other sources.

CEO Scott Karp outlines his vision:

Publish2 News Exchange solves the problems that have prevented newspapers from creating an efficient, scalable alternative to the AP. We bridge the gap between print publishing and Web publishing by connecting natively to outdated newspaper print publishing systems. We support the standard formats used by the AP and the technologies that newspapers already use to move content between print and Web systems. Our self-serve permissioning system enables newspapers and other publishers to distribute content to whomever they choose on whatever terms they choose.

Publish2 explains more about its offering here and Director, News Innovation, Ryan Sholin gives his views.

I understand the dilemma both newspapers and the AP are experiencing, but I’m not convinced this is the solution (here’s one small reason why: newspapers know they can trust the AP, part of the reason they pay so much for it, while Publish2’s editorial standards are a little lighter. How is it going to guarantee quality?).

Is Publish2 not getting ahead of itself believing it can replace the AP? Does it have to be a rival product?

I’m still thinking over Publish2, but in a comment on TechCrunch’s article, Topix’s Chris Tolles makes a very good point – the newspaper industry owns the AP. Another commenter points to a similar offering from the AP itself.

Think I’ll have to take the tour,

B

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Read All About It – Social Media, Citizen Journalism, iPad and US Presidential Press Corp

Here are links to four articles that I think are worth reading.

First off, some interesting analysis of research carried out by Pew on the types of stories consumed on various new media platforms versus ‘traditional’ media.

It seems to me that news organisations will have to take a different strategy with each platform if they are going to succeed on it. You can’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, which is bad news for budgets and resources. If new platforms continue to emerge how can news organisations adopt a successful platform-neutral approach?

Next up, here’s a nice post from Kimberly Wilson (follow her on Twitter @kimberly_wilson) about crowd-sourced websites. She has reviewed six examples  (from Washington DC, Chicago, Minnesota, Canada, Grand Rapids, and Sonora and Tuolumne County).

Yesterday, Peter Preston had a piece in The Observer about the iPad and newspapers. His thesis is that iPads won’t be the saviour as some have enthusiastically predicted, more just one small revenue stream. He uses numbers and anecdotal evidence to support this theory and asks some good questions along the way.

Finally, Brian Stelter has an article in the New York Times about the decreasing number of journalists travelling with the US president when he goes on trips. The obvious downside mentioned is that news when he’s outside of Washington DC is now coming from fewer and fewer sources.

Have you seen any interesting articles about the industry?

B

Media 2020 Conference – Twitter Stream Highlights

I wasn’t at the Media 2020 conference in Croke Park, Dublin, today.  But using the Twitter hashtag #Med2020 I could follow many of the main points, which were highlighted by tweeting conference attendees as they were made by the speakers.

Here is the summary of points I have picked out from the stream, which I think are relevant for journalists and content producers.

I’ve broken it down by speaker (not all speakers are included) and used one tweeter per speaker to avoid confusion (each point is an individual tweet from the stream). Thanks to all the tweeters for keeping everyone updated!

First off, some overview points that seem to be coming back a lot from the #Med2020 twitter stream:

1) Experiment, cheaply, quickly, if you fail do it fast and learn from it
2) Mobile is going to be massive
3) Revenue models are not clear yet

By speaker:

Maeve Donovan, Former Managing Director, The Irish Times
Tweeter: Niamh Smith (@niamhsmith)

-Can newspapers make the necessary changes? Maeve believes they can based on her 30 yrs experience in the industry

-Roles of newspapers to make the most of the immense opportunities offered by emerging technologies

-Digital revolution has much broader implications than its effect on newspapers or tv

-Hardest words to say are ‘I don’t know’ – and she doesn’t know for sure the future of newspapers

Jonathon Moore, Guardian News & Media
Tweeter: Hugh Linehan (@hlinehan)

-Guardian Eyewitness iPad app: very simple app publishing one photo a day. Video: Jobs sings its praises

-You live or die by user recommendations on the app store

-Big traffic spike on Guardian app at 10.30pm. Technology changing how and when people consume content

-Moore: We expected migration to our app would cause fall-off in use of web browser. Hasn’t been the case

Mark Little, Storyful
Tweeter: Gareth O’Connor (@garethoconnor)

-#Med202 hears from @marklittlenews that basic reporting skills still needed by curators and super-users in new age

-New business opportunities for storytelling @marklittlenews tells #med2020

-@marklittlenews tells #med2020 that 2010 marks turning point in journalism

Ronan Higgins, Local, mobile social software start-up
Tweeter: Niamh Smith (@niamhsmith)

-Apps store – a new walled garden. iTunes-simplicity, quality, speed-applied this ethos to iPhone

Matt Locke – C4 Commissioning Editor, New Media & Education
Tweeter: Hugh Linehan (@hlinehan)

-Facebook picks up tiny snippets of attention and rolls them up into something gargantuan

-Very intelligent stuff – but a bit depressing that the experimental groundbreaker cited is Embarrassing Bodies. Blecchh

-Bingeing on cult content – four or five episodes at a time (I think I recognise myself in this presentation)

-Cult content. The Wire first TV series passed around like a 1970s rock album from friend to friend. User content around Lost

-Events-driven initiatives like ITV’s election debate worm – broadcasters comfortable with that

-What broadcast does well is events. So we’re seeing the eventisation of TV, from talent shows to Lambing Live (!)

-Locke: broadcasters used to own the audience. But with new technology, old platforms have to learn what it is they really do well

Múirne Laffan – Executive Director, RTÉ Publishing
Tweeter: Eoin Purcell (@eoinpurcell)

-Laffan: 3.5 million uniques a month for rte.ie and 1 million of those are overseas!

-Laffan: RTE has a hub and spoke model. Create content in hub and reuse as much as possible

-Laffan: Boundaries to entry are very low. Global opportunities. But getting to market quickly is important. Mobile is huge

-Laffan see every tv connected to the internet in Ireland in 10 yrs!

-Laffan: Consumer expectations are through the roof

Note: Compiling this post this evening has reinforced my feeling that Twitter streams are much easier to follow live and are hard work to use as an archive – looking forward to some journalists’ and bloggers’ analysis of the conference.

**Update – Two good pieces about yesterday’s conference: The Irish Times’ Hugh Linehan (including video of Minister Eamon Ryan) and Fin O’Reilly.**

-B

The Skiff Reader – a saviour for newspapers?

The Guardian has a profile today of the Skiff electronic reader. The article says some of the world’s biggest newspaper groups are eyeing the device.

Gil Fuchsberg, the former journalist and new media deal-maker who has overseen Skiff from its origins as an R&D project within Hearst Corporation, argues that the time is right for magazines and newspapers to follow books, which are available on electronic readers such as Kindle. Fuchsberg says he looks forward to travelling on the tube in London surrounded by commuters reading touchscreen tablets.

Personally I don’t think Mr Fuchsberg is going to see that sight.

At one point I thought there might be a role for a device like this, but that was more than five years ago – when the digital media landscape was less developed. If people are going to consume news digitally they are going to do it on whatever mobile digital device they currently own (that also does video, audio and is in colour!) or on one they purchase that does everything else too – newspapers are not books – they can’t be treated in a similar way. People may pay for an e-reader for books because they are used to paying for them in the first place. Books have a different place in people’s lives. They won’t pay for a special device for newspapers because they are used to getting that for free (aside from connection charges).

The only market this device has is the group that still buys newspapers. Why re-invent the wheel for them – they already buy your device (a newspaper). The Skiff is about selling hardware not content. This is not the solution – newspapers steer clear!

Read All About It – some random links

Paid Content reports that Guardian News & Media sold 9,000 units of its guardian.co.uk iPhone app in its first two days. GNM is charging £2.39 in the UK.

Next up, in yet another bad day for newspapers, layoffs began yesterday at the New York Times, according to New York magazine, just over 70 people took buyouts but with a target number of 100 in editorial the remaining people were notified. On the flip side NYT was named best online newspaper by Mashable readers – they may not have much to read in a few years if staffers keep getting cut.

Finally, an interesting column by Rafe Needlemen over a Cnet. He has a subscription to WSJ online, which costs him $100 a year, but he is complaining that if he wants the iPhone app he will have to pay again albeit at a discounted rate. Would he expect to also get a copy of the paper edition for free too? Just because it’s another digital platform why should it be tossed in gratis?

The future of journalism more promising than ever – Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch is out and about again today in the Wall Street Journal with an opinion piece on the future of journalism.

While I may not agree with all he has to say in this piece, it is part of a much bigger debate that has kicked off about these issues – which is a very good thing.

The opinion piece is a version of what he presented recently to a Federal Trade Commission’s workshop on journalism and the Internet.

Some quick thoughts on what he says:

  • He blames the editors, the producers, bloggers even governments – but why not the media companies who started giving away news for free to begin with?
  • He is on the button when he says newspapers have prospered only because they provide the news that is important to the communities they serve:
  • That means covering the communities where they live, exposing government or business corruption, and standing up to the rich and powerful.

  • I disagree when he says organisations need to give the people the news they want. This idea can be taken too far.  You can serve a community well without pandering to it and there is a middle ground between producing news for prizes and only news people want:
  • First, media companies need to give people the news they want. I can’t tell you how many papers I have visited where they have a wall of journalism prizes—and a rapidly declining circulation.

  • He says customers are smart enough to know you don’t get something for nothing. Well this is what they’ve been getting for the past decade or so and are now complaining about losing – so I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Readers of the Wall Street Journal may be able to see the value of paying for the content of that publication (after-all it helps many of them make business decisions – so it’s a worthwhile investment), but will readers of the more-general publications like The Times or The Sun feel the same way?
  • He says he is open to different pay models, which seems wise considering the various types of publications and products in News Corp’s stable.
  • I am not so sure he is the best person to talk about competition particularly in an article in which he renews his calls to the FCC about cross-ownership.
  • Whether the newspaper of the future is delivered with electrons or dead trees is ultimately not that important. What is most important is that the news industry remains free, independent—and competitive.

Despite asserting that the future of journalism is more promising than ever – this is not the overall tone of this opinion piece.  In fact, it seems to me that even he is not sure of the future or maybe he’s just not ready to show his FULL hand.

B

Sholin on the term newspaper

Industry thinker Ryan Sholin has an interesting post where he argues that the term newspaper is an inaccurate way of describing a large and diverse range of publications that produce news.

I’ve been saying those words in person to people a lot lately:

“There is no newspapers.”

What’s it mean?

It means that if you’re in the business of publishing pronouncements, predictions, prayers, analysis, criticism, or full on takedowns related to the current state of the newspaper industry, please understand that despite the convenience it would provide for said ruminations, there is no such thing as a monolithic, uniform entity called “newspapers.”

You can read it in full here.

I don’t think I agree with him on this one. If the newspaper still has a physical form and if it prints news whether it’s a small-town weekly, an evening paper, or a national broadsheet – it is a newspaper.

Of course there are differences between publications (size, ownership, language, audience, aim etc). But like any large classification there will always be a sub-classifications. I don’t think we need to lose the large ‘monolithic’ classification to better understand the common and individual issues that face these different types of publications, or do I dare say newspapers, as a whole.

Being more mindful of sub-classifications,

Blathnaid