Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/14/2011

Publishing Nuggets


Have I got some publishing nuggets for you!

Lots of insightful publishing and publishing-related tidbits roaming around the internet today! Some I think you will find interesting and learn a good deal from:

IAB Reports 2010 Internet Ad Revenues Up Almost 15 Percent

2010 fourth quarter revenue increases 19 Percent over 2009 Q4.

I wanted to introduce the IAB (the Interactive Advertising Bureau) to you all in this one.

Grading the Tina Brown Newsweek

Packaging, graphics are much improved, but can she walk the “Newsbeast” line?

 

Sports Illustrated Launches App for Motorola Xoom

App is part of Time Inc.’s “All Access” digital subscription plan.

 

Could Google’s earnings feed doubt across the tech world?

Google’s earnings fell short of what analysts were expecting Thursday, sending shares in the tech giant sinking to a six-month low in after-hours trading.

 

AcademicPub Launches New Custom Publishing Option for Higher Education Community

Faculty Members and Their Students to Benefit from Copyright-Cleared Course Materials Delivered in Real Time and Sourced from Great Diversity of Content Sources

 

OnSwipe Brings Tablet Publishing To The Browser (TCTV Demo)

Or they can keep on publishing on the Web and display their websites differently to people who visit them via tablet browsers. OnSwipe is a new digital publishing tools company that wants to make mobile browsing as swipe-friendly as a tablet app.

Great reading and learning nuggets!

Remember to get this great resource blog on your Kindle here!

02/16/2011

Is Content King or Pauper? Value or Valueless?


Some are trying to redefine what content REALLY is…or isn’t. They are doing this by trying to separate content from any measurable value of it’s own and essentially saying that the mass availability of any content somehow makes it valueless.

 Au contraire! In this writer’s humble opinion, content CANNOT be separated from it’s own inherent value…which is simply what the content portrays to each of us. Some peoples dislikes are others love affairs.

Look at basic content (say raw data and facts alone) as a blob of clay (to be shaped later into a unique sculpture) or a painter’s blank palette (to be transformed into a work of visual art)…the content blob has inherent value on its own because it is the substance or heart of what will be (refined content, if you will). Basic content is like the living cells of a larger being. The ability to create this larger literary being is talent loaded with value.   

It’s how the content is structured, analyzed and presented that adds more overt value, insight, viewpoints, education and entertainment to the basic content. It becomes a living, breathing piece of readable gold…And this is the intellectual capital of the author-artist and it is literally PRICELESS!…And deserves proper compensation and copyright protection.

Jeff Jarvis of the HuffPost seems to harbor a different view (if I’m interpreting this correctly) even though he is restricting his comments to news and media…Hell, content is content:

Please read my yesterday’s post on the Writers Welcome Blog  (Is Copyright a Relic?) for more background on what Jeff Jarvis is referring to in his featured article here:

It’s Not All About the Content    

In his New York Times column complaining about Huffington Post and the new economics of content competition, I think David Carr makes two understandable but fundamentally fallacious assumptions about news and media: that the value in journalism is in content and that making content must be work. Because that’s the way it used to be.

In their op-ed the next day in the New York Times complaining about copyright losing its hardness, Scott Turow, Paul Aiken, and James Shapiro extend the error to entertainment, assuming that content is entertainment and content is what content makers make.

Not necessarily.

Pull back to view the true value of these things: information, knowledge, enlightenment, amusement, experience, engagement. Content can be and has been a vessel to deliver their worth. But it is not the only one. That is the lesson of the internet — indeed, of Huffington Post itself. I have argued that the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the BBC, and other media should have but never would have started the Huffington Post because they, like the gentlemen above, still see content as value in itself and further believe that content is their own franchise (granted by their control of the means of production and distribution). So the benefits of content cannot come from others — bloggers, commenters, citizens, amateurs — as new wine in new casks. They instead want to put their old wine in the new skins (witness The Daily). (John’s note: I do believe good content can come from others — bloggers, commenters, citizens, amateurs, etc.).

That is why old media people are missing new opportunities. It’s not about the content (stupid). It’s about the value.

We can be informed now by many means: by our neighbors telling us what they know, enabled to do so by the net, at a marginal cost of zero, doing so not because it is work (and work must be paid) but because this is what neighbors do for each other (John’s note: This has always been the case, even before the net…nothing new here). We can be entertained by many means: by clever people making songs and shows and telling stories because they love doing so and because they are compensated in attention rather than royalties (and that attention may well lead to money when they can finally detour around the gauntlet of old media’s closed ways to find audiences on their own). (John’s note: Again this has been the situation since the beginning of time).

Why do people write on Huffington Post? Because they can. Because they give a shit. Because they like the attention and conversation. Because they couldn’t before. Why do they sing their songs on YouTube? Same reasons.

Is there still a role for the journalist, the professional, the artist in this? Perhaps. I think so. That’s why I am teaching journalism school. But I’m not necessarily teaching them to make content. (John’s note: you can’t “make” content, it already exists due to human existence; you can only interpret and write about it). That is now only one of many, many ways to meet the goals of adding value to information, time, and society. Some of my entrepreneurial journalism students are, for example, creating businesses that will use data to impart information; they will add value by gathering and analyzing it and making it possible for you to find the intersecting points that matter to you. Other of my students are creating platforms for you to get more value out of your own data. Others are creating platforms for people to connect around interests and make and find their own value. Others are finding new ways to sustain reporting and the making of content. They are all valid if they bring value.

If you concentrate on the value, not the form — content — then the possibilities explode.

Turow et al shut down the idea that opening up information can yield greater value that protecting it. Sharers are…

Read and learn more

Remember, you can get Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue on your Kindle at http://alturl.com/t3pkp

12/14/2010

Reuters Positioning to Compete with AP & CNN


With newspapers and other news media scrambling to find ways to cut costs and streamline to improve their bottom line (due to falling advertising, print sales and subscriptions) Reuters has created an alternative for aggregating, selling and distributing news.

The operational process being employed by Thomson Reuters will create more journalism jobs, utilizes more sources and really is quite exciting!

The vetting of news stories could be an issue, but I’m sure that will become a non-issue with this company’s expertise.

Jennifer Saba, a correspondent and blogger for Reuters reports these details:

Thomson Reuters starts service for U.S. news media

Thomson Reuters Corp has launched a news service for U.S. publishers and broadcasters in a bid to win business from the Associated Press and CNN.

The new service, Reuters America, provides text stories, photos and video by Reuters journalists for newspapers, television stations and online publishers. Newspaper publisher and broadcaster Tribune Co is its first customer.

As part of the service, Reuters America also will offer sports and entertainment news from six partners: the Wrap, SportsDirect Inc, the Sports Xchange, US Presswire, SB Nation and Examiner.com

The service comes as newspapers and TV stations try to recover from the worst financial recession in recent memory.

Tribune Co, which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and TV stations in New Orleans, San Diego and Denver, has signed a multi-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.

Reuters is hiring journalists and using outside journalists, or “stringers,” to provide general news stories in addition to its business and financial news. It also will write stories commissioned by its news clients.

“This is being designed and being run in a way that is not one size fits all,” said Chris Ahearn, Thomson Reuters’ president of media. “It gives (publishers) comfort and flexibility that there are other choices than… some of the legacy providers.”

Read and learn more

Another great take on this story Selling the News: Reuters, the AP and Tribune by Robert MacMillan, also of Reuters.

12/05/2010

iPad Falling Behind in the “Savior of Publishing” Race – And Rightfully So!


Holy shitswowski! What’s going on with Apple and it’s stupid approach to putting up roadblocks to potential magazine and newspaper publishing clients in it’s iTunes Store RE handling of subscriptions?

Many popular magazine and newspaper iPad apps have already been developed to allow selling digital versions through Apple…AND the so-called Apple visionaries (idiots is more like it) are not allowing the personal information of subscribers to be accessed and managed by the content providers themselves!

Why? What is the purpose of this greedy hoarding? This should be a win-win situation for all parties to be more monetarily successful. The more direct use of personal demographic info will result in more targeted success for the newspaper and mag clients AND should result in more volume biz for the Apple iTunes Store.

Can someone with more insight than I explain this to me?

If Apple stays on this dumb course I think the popular mags and newspapers will take their business elsewhere. And where is that, you might ask? To the upcoming and surging Google and Android platforms, of course!

Also, Apple is demanding too damn much of a cut (30%) to allow the apps! Remember that great line from the New York gubernatorial campaign: The rent is too damn high!

Read these previous posts of mine for more background on this issue:

From this blog, Time Magazine is Unhappy with iPad Publishing

From Writers Thought for Today Blog, Publishers Becoming Wary of Apple

Here is a current little ditty on iPad News: Apple, Publishers Clash on Subscriptions from iPad.net :

The iPad has been looked upon as the “savior” of the publishing industry, but relations between Apple and major publishers have hit an impasse that may be insurmountable. If the two cannot agree on key issues, the publishers may be taking their business elsewhere.

We’ve been hearing rumors for months that iPad apps for numerous popular magazine and newspaper titles will become available for subscriptions at the iTunes Store. Now the reasons for the delay have surfaced. According to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo, Apple and the publishers are “still miles apart” when it comes to the terms for how to sell subscriptions.

Read and enjoy more

11/28/2010

Market Intelligence for the Professional Publishing Industry


In the digital publishing age a balance needs to be created between the customers’ desire for immediate accessability at any time to enriched text (enhanced with audio, video, three-dimensional objects, full text searching, note taking, etc) and “…publishers’ needs for financial self-sustainability.”

We are at the age where researchers can access works in the form of e-books that are accessable at any time and any place and never go out of print!

This is heavy neatness to the extreme. Publishing and content are moving at warp speed!

Simba Information, publishing and media intelligence and analysis, has outlined a report that exemplifies the ongoing depth of analysis required in this transition time in the publishing industry:

Professional Publishing in the Digital Age: E-Books in Libraries

Electronic books offer creative possibilities for expanding access as well as changing learning behavior and academic research. Content can always be accessible, regardless of time or place, to be read on PCs or on portable book readers. Books need never go out of print, and new editions can be easily created. One can carry several titles at once on a portable reader and, over time, build a personal library.

Professional Publishing in the Digital Age: E-Books in Libraries examines how libraries are turning to e-books to strike a balance between patrons’ demands for openness and convenience and publishers’ needs for financial self-sustainability.

Features such as full text searching, changeable font size, mark-up, citation creation, and note taking are enhancing usability. Print text can be integrated with multi-dimensional objects, sound, and film to create a whole new kind of monographic work.

The report examines questions such as:

– What happens to e-book usage when barriers to inconvenience are removed?
– When patrons can have easy access to scholarly e-books, what does their usage look like and what does this predict   for the future of these types of resources?
– Are these innovative models more or less fiscally sound than their traditional counterparts?
– What will make e-books a viable part of academic library collections?
– What features, rights, business models, hardware and software standards are needed to meet the goals of large academic library systems to support open scholarly exchange?

 Read and learn more

10/29/2010

World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN)


WAN is the host of the World Newspaper Congress, which meets every year or bi-yearly (after some research I’m still confused on schedule for this event)…The purpose of the Newspaper Congress being to bring all worldwide news media members together to discuss present and foreseeable news production problems and solutions…resulting in a more free press.

WAN’s vision is “to be the indispensable partner of newspapers and the entire news publishing industry worldwide, particularly our members, in the defense and promotion of press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses and technology.”

WAN CEO, Christoph Riess, recently visited Viktor Yanukovych, the president of Ukraine, who is lobbying for the 2012 World Newspaper Congress to be held in the city of Kyiv.

If selected, the Newspaper Congress will coincide with the the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly referred to as Euro 2012, also being held in Kyiv.

But, beyond this tidbit of coincidence…and much more important…is the fact that the event could spell the solidification and recognition of a more democratic and free press state for the Ukraine.

This report from Yhiah Information Agency:

Yanukovych meets CEO of World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych met with Christoph Riess, Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN), according to the Press office of President Viktor Yanukovych.

Welcoming the guest in Ukraine, the President reiterated his earlier invitation to the WAN to hold the World Newspaper Congress in Kyiv in 2012. “It is important that it was held in Kyiv,” Viktor Yanukovych said. He reminded that in 2012 Ukraine will be hosting the finals of EURO 2012, therefore all the necessary hotel, transport and exhibition infrastructure will be ready.

“Conducting this very important forum in Kyiv will be the evidence that the state is attractive for free journalists and media,” he said.

Viktor Yanukovych stressed the importance of development of the information market for Ukraine. “It is also the path of democracy and freedom development. For Ukraine, it is its establishment as a democratic state,” he said. The President said the Ukrainian side is interested in any investments in this direction.

Read and enjoy more

09/14/2010

Readers Digest Morphing into 24 New Products


Readers Digest, one of my all-time fave magazines, just emerged from bankruptcy last February and has struggled somewhat. Now RD is moving forward while at the same time going back to it’s roots as a content distiller. RD has just finished a restructure that will get it into the world of websites, mobile apps, newsletters and a new book imprint.

This is exciting stuff for RD and I’m looking forward to viewing the finished products.

Here is more by Matthew Flamm from Crain’s New York Business:

Reader’s Digest will be going back to its roots—and saving money—with a redesign that will launch in January and turn the 88-year-old magazine into a distilled version of mostly repackaged content, said company executives who unveiled their plans for the flagship brand of the Reader’s Digest Association on Tuesday morning.

The company, which emerged from bankruptcy in February, will launch a new website, called the Reader’s Digest Version, as well as a daily e-mail newsletter and a book imprint, both under the name Best You, presenting health and wellness information targeted exclusively to women. The company published several test issues of Best You as a magazine in the last year before pulling the plug.

Reader’s Digest will also step up its newsstand-only publications, adding five new special interest magazines for a total of 13 in 2011, and launch one new mobile application each month. The apps will be built around familiar Reader’s Digest elements like humor and home repairs.

Altogether, the brand will be introducing 24 new products over the course of the next year. The announcements coincided with the company moving its headquarters into midtown Manhattan from its longtime home in Pleasantville, N.Y., as part of the consolidation that followed the bankruptcy.

“What people need is selection,” said Daniel Lagani, president of Reader’s Digest Media, at Tuesday morning’s event. “It’s a return to the brand’s role as the original curator of content.” He added that the many different elements launching next year will be treated as “one entity” and pitched to advertisers as “brand centered, not platform centered.”

Read more http://alturl.com/pgk62

09/07/2010

75 Yr. Old Yankee Magazine Lives on Subscription $$ Over Ad $$


The venerable old Yankee magazine has always stayed ahead of the power curve and continues to do so in this cluster-muck era in the publishing industry.

Contrary to it’s old-fashioned image, Yankee adopted online content way back in the 1990’s and was one of the first, if not the first, consumer mag to offer monthly podcasts back in 2000.

James Sullivan of the Boston Globe offers this picturesque account of Yankee magazine:

Yankee Ingenuity

Robb Sagendorph was a classic Yankee. Frugal and self-sufficient, committed to tradition — and more than a little cranky — he personified the New Englander he hoped to reach when he founded Yankee magazine in 1935.

The tall, dour Sagendorph, who died in 1970, wasn’t exactly prone to fits of laughter. Today, however, there is plenty of good cheer in the halls of the old red barn that still houses his magazine, across from town hall and the hilltop flagpole in this picturesque hamlet.

With its September-October issue, Yankee is celebrating its 75th anniversary. More importantly, the staff is buoyed by the feeling that it is better poised than most magazines to weather the publishing industry’s uncertain future.

In contrast to its old-fashioned image, Yankee was an early adopter of online content, way back in the 1990s. For the 75th anniversary year, the magazine has been publishing a favorite feature from its archives on its website every weekday.

And its inverted business model — the magazine has always relied on subscription fees more than advertising dollars — finds it once again ahead of the curve, as others struggle with dwindling ad sales.

Still publishing features on getaways, design, and home cooking, Yankee has moved away from the historic yarns and short fiction that once defined it.

More readers are now browsers than cover-to-cover types, said Jamie Trowbridge, 50, chief executive officer of Yankee Publishing (and Sagendorph’s grandson).

“We’re still literary, but we don’t print literature,’’ he said.

“People are always saying print is dead. In fact, it hasn’t declined much. What is declining is advertising support.’’

Read more http://alturl.com/wukw4

08/19/2010

What are Shelter Magazines? And Which are Surviving?

Filed under: journalism,magazine publishing,magazines,shelter magazines — gator1965 @ 4:32 pm

Just what are shelter magazines? According to Wikipedia.com ‘shelter magazine’ is a publishing trade term used to indicate a segment of the U.S. magazine market, designating a periodical publication with an editorial focus on interior design, architecture, home furnishings, and often gardening.

Some examples of shelter mags:

Architectural Digest
Better Homes and Gardens
Country Life in America, 1901-1942.
Country Living
Dwell (magazine)
Desert Magazine
Elle Decor
Garden Design
House Beautiful
Martha Stewart Living
Metropolitan Home

Having established what a shelter mag is and given examples of a few, which ones are surviving in the present chaotic publishing landscape where so many mags have been mowed over like dead weeds?

Jason Fell of FOLIO magazine has the answer with numbers to illustrate (interesting stuff) in the following article:

Over the last several weeks, the editorial leaders at the industry’s top shelter magazines have been playing a game of musical chairs, much like the executives at the big publishing companies that own them. The most recent move came at Condé Nast’s Architectural Digest, where longtime editor Paige Rense Noland retired and was replaced by Margaret Russell, the editor-in-chief of Hachette’s Elle Décor. Michael Boodro, Elle Décor’s executive editor, is serving as acting editor-in-chief.

Elsewhere, Stephen Drucker, who had served as editor-in-chief of Hearst’s House Beautiful, jumped to sister title Town&Country, and was replaced by style director Newell Turner. Hearst’s Veranda named Dara Caponigro, style director at now-defunct Domino, as editor, replacing founding editor Lisa Newsom. And Time Inc.’s Southern Living recently appointed former Cottage Living editor Eleanor Griffin as vice president of brand development.

“These changes mean there’s a ‘wanted-ness’ in the shelter category, both in terms of readership and those who want to work in this category,” says House Beautiful publisher Kate Kelly Smith. “From a business perspective, it may be a challenge to some titles because some advertisers like consistency and any changes mean their brands may not resonate as well.”

In terms of business, now that the big shelter magazine die-off—spurred on by the housing market collapse and pullback in advertising dollars across the publishing industry—appears to have slowed if not stopped altogether, the forecast for the remaining titles seems to be that while the category overall is rebounding, the general market is still lagging. “Some aspects of the category are showing modest rebounding, but more mass-targeted brands are coming back slowly,” says Chris Allen, publisher of Hearst’s Country Living, which targets the shelter lifestyle market.

Meredith’s category monster, Better Homes & Gardens (7.6 million circ) saw ad pages through the first half grow 6.8 percent to 823.92, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. Percentage-wise, Elle Décor had the best first six months, with ad pages shooting up 15.6 percent to 474.16.

Read more http://alturl.com/6rrg2

02/13/2010

USA Today Reminds Staff What "Furloughed" Means

Filed under: gannettt,gci,journalism,media,newspapers,usa today — gator1965 @ 5:24 pm

Some interesting statistics and accounting figures inside one of the biggest newspaper (USA Today) publishers: Gannett Company.

Jonathan Beer of Daily Finance reports:

Employees at Gannett Co.’s (GCI) USA Today must be insanely dedicated.

Why else would the nation’s largest newspaper publisher need to explain to the workers at its flagship paper what it means to be forced to take a week off. But that’s exactly what Publisher Dave Hunke decided his depressed workforce needed to hear.

“To be clear, a furlough means no one will be permitted to work while on furlough and no one will be exempt, except for business necessity,” he wrote in a memo to employees that was leaked to the press. “That means when you are on furlough, there is no work, no office phone calls, no voice mail, no e-mail and no PDA checking.”

This raises all sorts of depressing questions. Why is Gannett so worried about employees working for free on their own time? How is this going to be enforced? Should reporters hang up on sources who phone them at home or screen their calls? What if they find Lindsay Lohan and Warren Buffett having a romantic dinner? Should they avert their eyes, or just phone the National Enquirer?

No Longer No. 1

As the independent Gannett Blog noted, other company papers are already doing furloughs, and at least 26 USA Today employees were recently laid off. A one-year wage freeze at the national newspaper, which was scheduled to end April 1, will be extended for another 90 days because business still stinks. Fourth-quarter paid advertising pages at USA Today fell 10.5%, to 705 from 788 a year earlier. Company-wide publishing advertising revenue fell 17.9% to $790.8 million in the fourth quarter.

Last year, USA Today lost its spot as the nation’s No. 1 newspaper after its circulation fell a mind-numbing 17.5%. That was the biggest circulation decline in the 27 year history of the publication that earned the unflattering nickname McPaper. Shares of the McLean, Va.-based company have soared more than 212% over the past year, coming back from record lows as investors bet that the company’s cost-cutting would pay off. Some big shareholders, though, are now unloading shares, according to the Gannett Blog.

To be sure, newspapers have nowhere to go but up. Analysts Borrell Associates expects newspaper advertising revenue to reverse its 2009 decline and post a modest 2.4% gain this year. The forecasters expect newspaper ad sales to be up about 8.7% over 2009 levels in 2014. (Yes, you read that right.)

By the time the publishing industry makes its tepid comeback, the companies will be a rotting shell of their former selves. Workers won’t need to be told what it means to be on a furlough. They will be painfully aware of it.

Jonathan Berr is a former reporter with Bloomberg News whose work has appeared in The New York Times, BusinessWeek and The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2000, he won the Gerald Loeb Award, one of the most prestigious prizes in business journalism.

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