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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the future of news « Previous | |Next »
May 13, 2012

Richard Gingras, head of News Products at Google, recently spoke at the spoke at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard on the future of news in a digital world.

This is a media world where accusations are taken as fact. Rumours are news. Opinion is preferred to news gathering and accurate reporting. News and analysis is instant. Answers are demanded, now.

We have live blogging of the event from Matt Stempeck. He reports Gingras as saying that we look back at the 40 golden years of newspaper profitability and distribution as if things had been structured that way forever. But these four decades was triggered by an earlier media disruption: television. The rise of television advertising caused a contraction in the newspaper business, where major metropolitan markets went from supporting 4-5 newspapers to 1-2 papers, and these remaining papers usually had a business agreement of some sort. The limited number of remaining companies allowed monopolistic pricing.

Newspapers' previous dominance was a matter of geography, and to some degree demographics, but not because of their product. The vertical model of a newspaper makes little sense going forward. Gingras compares the metropolitan newspapers' all-things to all-people product to content portals for specific communities. This strategy doesn't make sense given the possibilities. Yahoo!'s initial success was as a portal. But portals have disappeared online as consumers have learned to navigate the web on their own and found the niche sites they love. News companies must disambiguate their content and business models and devolve from the generalist approach, which is hemorrhaging both readers and revenue.

What we are seeing is a disaggregation of content flows as well as advertising as audiences evolve. Audiences are evolving. Just three years ago, in 2009, the typical news site saw 50% of their unique traffic coming to their homepage, 20-25% from search, and 30-35% from story pages. Social was almost nonexistent. We're now seeing the homepage receive only 25% of inbound traffic, search with 30-35%, and the rest going to story pages, a huge portion of which is driven by social networks.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:46 PM | | Comments (1)
Comments

Comments

Bloggers didnt really take away as much of the real medias cake as what was thought a few years back. Bloggers are still the rednecks of journalism. Blogging as a whole was usurped by facebook and then twitter.