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AP plans to sell news on Apple's iPad via subscription service

post #1 of 44
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The Associated Press is building an iPad app that provides subscription access to news reports, countering the primarily ad-only model for news on the Web.

According to a report in the Financial Times, AP's iPad plans were unveiled along with the creation of a new business unit called AP Gateway, which will be devoted to helping the wire service's member newspapers keep abreast of new technologies ranging from e-readers to mobile phones.

The AP hopes to help its member papers roll out electronic editions of their publications without each paper having to develop its own digital strategy in Web access and mobile apps, something that many papers lack the resources and expertise to do on their own.

You get what you pay for

The move to create paid subscription access to wire service news follows a business model pioneered by specialized newspapers such as the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, which both provide premium access to news to their paying subscribers both on the web and via native iPhone apps.

Reuters and the New York Times are also both planning to roll out paid access to their Web properties over the next year.

Speaking at the Colorado Press Associations annual meeting, AP's chief executive Tom Curley said that, "For publishers, [2010] likely is the defining moment. We must seize this opportunity to reinvigorate our business models as well as our journalism."

Curley said the AP was convinced by three years of anthropological research that its publishers must differentiate their content, and not add to "information overload."

Can iTunes save print publishing?

Traditional print publishers are in many respects in the same boat as music labels were a half decade ago, as they discover that their traditional paying customers are now accessing their creative work for nothing over the Internet.

Apple offers a new business model for print publishers in its iTunes App Store, following a model that that has worked successfully for music labels as well as television and movie studios.

However, just as with the labels and studios, Apple's print partners are expressing an initial wariness about its control over the marketing and promotion of content within iTunes, as well as its control over valuable customer information, such as what content people are buying at what prices.

With the only mobile software store providing tight integration across tablet, smartphone and music player products, Apple's App Store will be hard for rival hardware and software platform vendors to challenge, and extremely expensive for content producers to attempt to replicate, a fact that music labels wasted a lot of efforts discovering in the first half of the last decade.
post #2 of 44
I think the future belongs to individual reporters with a point of view that reflects your own, the news organization will become history.

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post #3 of 44
I guess all of the news agencies will provide a subscription based service now? I'm sure some will provide some kind of free service with ads everywhere.



Quote:
I think the future belongs to individual reporters with a point of view that reflects your own, the news organization will become history.

Sounds good, but the news industry is too big of a machine to let news organizations get too small. It's too much of a business now.
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post #4 of 44
Apple's plans are falling into place.
post #5 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

We must seize this opportunity to reinvigorate our ... as well as our journalism."

Had most news organizations took that route and that philosophy long ago, they may not be as hard up financially as some of them are!

It's not what the news is printed on... paper or iPad... It's what news is printed and how it's printed. Of course they will never learn...

I wonder after all the layoffs the NYT's did, and they have a subscription iPad app or whatever they call it and it cannibalizes the paper version and subscribers are just going from paper to digital and the tally of new subscribers doesn't increase... I wonder if the New York Times would look at the costs of printing vs the cost of digitizing and I wonder if they would make the decision to close down the printing presses? \

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post #6 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I think the future belongs to individual reporters with a point of view that reflects your own, the news organization will become history.

Is this supposed to be a cheering thought?
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post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Is this supposed to be a cheering thought?

Probably not. I think what he means is that the future of news is blogs and people on the Internet. While that is true for some news, like technology (some examples... this site obviously, Ars Technica, Engadget, etc), most other news is more or less delivered by magazines, newspapers, or press syndicates like AP. At least that's the case in the US... over in Britain they have the excellent BBC. Why can't we have an equivalent?

But in the event it's a cheering thought, I still think blogging isn't the end-all be-all that it was originally made out to be for news. Yes, you can get some things from the Internet, but they're not particularly well-researched or discussed in detail. Unfortunately, many newspapers have decided to cut down on actual reporting and just simply comment and name the events happening to save costs. So that's partially why bloggers could replace that portion of news... the commenting and naming of events part. But the other part isn't fulfilled by blogging, so news organizations are definitely here to stay. It's just a matter of how many of them we will need/want.
post #8 of 44
Quote:
Traditional print publishers are in many respects in the same boat as music labels were a half decade ago, as they discover that their traditional paying customers are now accessing their creative work for nothing over the Internet.

Apple offers a new business model for print publishers in its iTunes App Store, following a model that that has worked successfully for music labels as well as television and movie studios.

I don't think the iTunes music phenomena offers much of a model for print journalism. People buy songs to keep and listen to over and over (at least for a while). And at 99¢ a pop, they're the very definition of an impulse buy.

Most people look at news in passing, something to be consumed once, piecemeal, and never referenced again. Even with a subscription service, that's a much tougher sell than purchasing music. People accumulate vast iTunes libraries because they like the idea of "having their music." There is no comparable psychology of acquisition when it comes to the news, which by definition is comprised of ephemera.
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post #9 of 44
Consumers wouldn't want ad-only model. They want to pay for a subscription and get ads.
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Probably not. I think what he means is that the future of news is blogs and people on the Internet. While that is true for some news, like technology (some examples... this site obviously, Ars Technica, Engadget, etc), most other news is more or less delivered by magazines, newspapers, or press syndicates like AP. At least that's the case in the US... over in Britain they have the excellent BBC. Why can't we have an equivalent?

Well then that's certainly not a cheerful thought. If the future of news is blogs and the internet then god help us. A lot of these sites that are supposedly reporting the news are simply reprocessing something they read somewhere else, either a news item which they spin with their own opinion, or somebody else's opinion which they repeat because they agree with it. They don't have to discover a damn thing on their own.

More to the subject of this thread: In the old days, organizations like AP, UPI and Reuters sold their stories wholesale to the newspapers. With the newspaper business on the ropes, they are now hoping to skip the middleman by implementing a retail model, and sell it to us directly. Is this model better, worse, or indifferent? I think worse. It stinks of desperation.
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post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

More to the subject of this thread: In the old days, organizations like AP, UPI and Reuters sold their stories wholesale to the newspapers. With the newspaper business on the ropes, they are now hoping to skip the middleman by implementing a retail model, and sell it to us directly. Is this model better, worse, or indifferent? I think worse. It stinks of desperation.

Given that newspapers aren't providing much value added and the news services are struggling I think it's better if they have a better chance of survival by going retail. I'm including the NYT and WaPo as news services today since they both own one.

I dunno why you dislike it given your hatred of blog news.
post #12 of 44
This is great news. There are many times when I search Google for the AP story and can only find it on other sites. I like the way Google publishes the AP stories, that other sites simply don't get.
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post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Well then that's certainly not a cheerful thought. If the future of news is blogs and the internet then god help us. A lot of these sites that are supposedly reporting the news are simply reprocessing something they read somewhere else, either a news item which they spin with their own opinion, or somebody else's opinion which they repeat because they agree with it. They don't have to discover a damn thing on their own.

More to the subject of this thread: In the old days, organizations like AP, UPI and Reuters sold their stories wholesale to the newspapers. With the newspaper business on the ropes, they are now hoping to skip the middleman by implementing a retail model, and sell it to us directly. Is this model better, worse, or indifferent? I think worse. It stinks of desperation.

I've distilled my news down to the WSJ, my local paper, NPR, (The Diane Rehm show podcast-to listen to on my daily run), Time, Foreign Affairs magazine, and Fareed Zakaria on CNN. I just can't watch Fox News or CNBC any more! They are both inane! Can't watch network TV because of the incessant commercials, either.

Get a few other 'interest' magazines, MacWorld, Flight Journal, Runner's World, etc.

I can't wait for the iPad hopefully to do get everything online and do away with the 'waste' of the paper of the printed medium! And to follow certain topics up more in depth with eBooks from the iBook Store...The war, economy, business, Iran, biographies, history, etc.

As far as news...It has to be a 'quality product' run properly! Case in point, WSJ. One of the few newspapers experiencing an increase in subscriptions and getting paid subscriptions on the net. I have AP stories via an RSS feed and rarely look at them. They aren't written will enough! Sorry!
post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I think the future belongs to individual reporters with a point of view that reflects your own, the news organization will become history.

Ouch. We'll follow Prince and Kasper, not AI?

We hardly knew ye......
post #15 of 44
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Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


We hardly knew ye......

'Alas, we hardly knew ye'.....is that Shakespeare or from 'Love Story?'
post #16 of 44
I was being flippant above.

Actually, in the future, I think that outlets will function more as 'interest groups' that aggregate (or abstract) information and insight on particular topics from a wide range of credible sources. Clicking on, say, something like 'more' will take you to that original source where you'll pay a toll to access the content. The content provider will be part of the ecosystem (e.g., iTunes+iPad) that got you there (in which case, you get the info) or not (in which case, you don't).

So think of AI as a mini Google News on the topic of Apple, through which we enter the world of all Apple-related news.*

The aggregators/abstractors will need to be specialists (very knowledgeable) in their area of interest.

*Of course, for starters, it will help if AI could get its act together and get a semi-decent app going for the iP*-ecosystem. But that's a different issue...
post #17 of 44
I took it as being flippant/funny....Alas, I was trying to be 'funny' back!
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I think the future belongs to individual reporters with a point of view that reflects your own, the news organization will become history.

Not entirely convinced, yet.
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post #19 of 44
What will the subscription cost? If it's reasonable, people might pay, but if they charge $ 30 per month, they won't get many subscribers. Just think AP - $30, NYT - $30, etc? Who would pay that much? And it would eat into your 3G connection limits. Plus you will almost certainly have to deal with incessant advertising on top of paying for the subscription. I wouldn't be surprised if ads took up 1/3 of the space on the screen and half of the bandwidth.
post #20 of 44
All of the current brands in news are so weak. In my mind, AP news used to be simpleminded statements of factoids regurgitated from press conferences and press releases. Nowadays, it takes those factoids and adds some weird quasi-rightish ideological spin that seldom makes any sense. I can't see myself paying for that. Meanwhile, the NY Times caters to wealthy New Yorkers -- lots of stories about how hard it is to find a good nanny and to live in Manhattan with a meager $250k annual income.

As I've said before in response to iPad stories, I would be willing to pay for very high quality news and analysis. I'm envisioning a kind of news aggregator that brings us the "best of the blogs" or something along those lines. While it's true that most blogs suck, it's also true that there are some that are incredibly good because they are written by substantive experts in a field. Imagine that you had health care articles written by a health care economist or articles on the war in Afghanistan written by a former professor at West Point or articles about Somali pirates written by a Somali pirate? An entity that could pull all that together and provide some editorial oversight to make sure that everything written was accessible to a general audience and to do some vetting of the articles (maybe a peer-review process) -- I would totally pay for that, and I suspect others would too.
post #21 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I think the future belongs to individual reporters with a point of view that reflects your own, the news organization will become history.

I know you're quasi-joking, but this clearly is a good description of much network news.

But I think there might be an important distinction between something that you pay for and something that you don't. I admit that I sometimes watch TV news shows simply because they are confirming my existing beliefs -- it can be comforting in a way. But there's no way I'd pay for that. If I'm paying, I want to be getting useful information/analysis that will help me better understand the world as it really is, not the world as I would like to pretend it is.
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I think the future belongs to individual reporters with a point of view that reflects your own, the news organization will become history.

So basically you only want to read news that supports your current bias?

While I don't always agree with what I hear/read in the news. I do like getting both sides of a story...
post #23 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

As I've said before in response to iPad stories, I would be willing to pay for very high quality news and analysis. I'm envisioning a kind of news aggregator that brings us the "best of the blogs" or something along those lines. While it's true that most blogs suck, it's also true that there are some that are incredibly good because they are written by substantive experts in a field. Imagine that you had health care articles written by a health care economist or articles on the war in Afghanistan written by a former professor at West Point or articles about Somali pirates written by a Somali pirate? An entity that could pull all that together and provide some editorial oversight to make sure that everything written was accessible to a general audience and to do some vetting of the articles (maybe a peer-review process) -- I would totally pay for that, and I suspect others would too.

Yes, but... reporting does not require expertise, except at reporting. Journalists are not supposed to be experts in the subjects they report on, they are supposed to be experts at finding out about things. This is where the "expert blogger" model breaks down. They might be wonderful at analysis (and the sort of people who traditionally write op-ed pieces for good newspapers), but they are very likely not out in the field reporting on events themselves. They rely on the people who do. So who takes the place of reporting in this brave new journalism model?
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post #24 of 44
I think what the old established news megaliths (AP, NYT, etc.) are missing is that the subscription paradigm is being supplanted by the on-demand era. They can't quite come to terms with what "being digital" means. We can now buy movies, TV shows, and songs individually based on our personal choices, why should we have buy news as all-or-nothing packages? The print industry needs to implement a micro-payment system and join the future. The iPad isn't going to reverse evolving consumer behavior.

I'd gladly pay a 25 cents apiece to read stories that I'm interested in, but I won't pay $25 a month to subscribe to hundreds that I have NO interest in. The digital marketplace is about choice and customization, not the same old packaging that print has required for years. The industry should offer an on-demand model for news consumption and paid readership (profit) would grow. If they keep alienating consumers by forcing us to buy package we don't want (or can't afford), then they will continue to languish.

The old print media is so entrenched in the way things have always worked for them before that they've become averse to the idea that they can still be successful by evolving. This week Apple just sold their 10 BILLIONTH song -- and the buyer did not have to buy the whole artist CD to get it. Sooner or later somebody (besides Apple) will fully grasp this and adapt to offer new consumer options based on customization and choice. That will be the beginning of how a venerable and important news industry can begin to thrive again in the era of digital delivery.
post #25 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Yes, but... reporting does not require expertise, except at reporting. Journalists are not supposed to be experts in the subjects they report on, they are supposed to be experts at finding out about things. This is where the "expert blogger" model breaks down. They might be wonderful at analysis (and the sort of people who traditionally write op-ed pieces for good newspapers), but they are very likely not out in the field reporting on events themselves. They rely on the people who do. So who takes the place of reporting in this brave new journalism model?

I think that part of the role you're describing will be taken on by the substantive experts. If a substantive expert in, say, federal reserve policy find success in writing stories for a subscription-based news provider, then writing those stories will become a larger part of his/her career. To improve those stories, the writer will need to go out and talk to people in the field, look up facts they otherwise would not have looked up, etc. In other words, they'll become part-time reporters in their area of expertise.

Now, there are a very limited set of roles that reporters play today (or at least they used to play 20 years ago) that the substantive expert model would probably not support. I think the biggest one is the role of looking for wrong doing on the part of public officials, corporations, etc. Conflicts of interest could make it hard for the substantive experts to write those types of stories, or at least hard to put their name on such a story. But I think this is easily solved by having a few people specialize in this type of writing. I think this role could be supported by the subscription model that I'm imagining.
post #26 of 44
News subscriptions on the iPad will be a huge flop. There isn't enough interest in paying for news when you have the internet and free news sites. Its not a long term sustainable model...

iPad is certainly a very cool device, but it doesn't yet replace the need for newspapers and magazines.
post #27 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhartt View Post


I'd gladly pay a 25 cents apiece to read stories that I'm interested in,

Wow. Maybe you read less news than I do.

I'd have spent 3 or 4 bucks just on the Chile earthquake and impending Hawaii tsunami, just today. And the story is just beginning to be reported in depth, and the tsunami has hours to go before it hits.

When a story interests me, I read it in multiple papers. For example, if there's a mideast bombing, I might read both the Jerusalem Post and Al Jazeera. For political news, I read the NYT and the Washington Post and maybe a couple of others.

Financial news? NYT, WSJ, et. al.

For big deal stuff in small towns, like high school shootings, I read the local papers in addition to the nationals.

And of course, I read the Boston Globe for free every day for the local news and events.

In this day of access to thousands of quality sources at my fingertips, for free, I can't understand subscribing to any single source. Not at any price, unless there's something unique about them, such as certain specialty magazines with content which is ignored by the wider media.

And that's just WRT news. Micropayment systems have already been tried in various contexts, and have never done well. The explanation that makes sense to me is that people hate being nickeled and dimed.

I an sceptical that anybody will be able to keep us down on the farm now that we've seen Paree.
post #28 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhartt View Post

I think what the old established news megaliths (AP, NYT, etc.) are missing is that the subscription paradigm is being supplanted by the on-demand era.

I think you have this exactly right(even the parts I didn't quote). And as another poster says, say you want to get a little news from one source, some more from another. $30/month from each source and suddenly you are spending hundreds of dollars a month.

I personally have ALWAYS hated subscriptions of any sort. I tend to read the news when there is something going on I am interested in, I have time to take a long lunch, I am at the beach, have along flight ahead of me, etc. I am perfectly happy in these cases to put a dollar or two for the NYT or a magazine, and would be open to doing this on the iPad. In fact even if the NYT was $10/month, I'd rather pay $2/issue for it - some months I might get it 10X, some times, I might not get it at all. I find that subscriptions usually wind up with you sending someone a bunch of money every month for something you don't use.

I'm not sure why everyone seems to think the iPad is their chance to force feed the repeatedly failed subscription model - to me this seems like it will just: A) kill the iPad, B) Be another case of old media blowing their (last?) chance to do it right. iTunes is more or less the only highly successful paid content service on the internet, and yet business continues to not get that people only WANT TO PAY FOR WHAT THEY USE. When will they get that selling 1,000,000 things for $1 gets you more money than selling 1,000 for $10? With distribution virtually free, additional volume costs THEM NOTHING. How do the music companies feel about that extra $0.30/song on iTunes and all of the volume they lost on it?

The only way I see around this is if they get that CHEAP might work. $3-5/month, and that stuff will move like hotcakes. $20-30, and no one buys it.
post #29 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I think that part of the role you're describing will be taken on by the substantive experts. If a substantive expert in, say, federal reserve policy find success in writing stories for a subscription-based news provider, then writing those stories will become a larger part of his/her career. To improve those stories, the writer will need to go out and talk to people in the field, look up facts they otherwise would not have looked up, etc. In other words, they'll become part-time reporters in their area of expertise.

Now, there are a very limited set of roles that reporters play today (or at least they used to play 20 years ago) that the substantive expert model would probably not support. I think the biggest one is the role of looking for wrong doing on the part of public officials, corporations, etc. Conflicts of interest could make it hard for the substantive experts to write those types of stories, or at least hard to put their name on such a story. But I think this is easily solved by having a few people specialize in this type of writing. I think this role could be supported by the subscription model that I'm imagining.

The problem with this model IMO is the "going out and talking to" and "looking up" parts. Experts in the various fields don't typically do this. They work for academic institutions and think tanks for the most part. If it comes to writing e-mails or picking up the phone, sure they do that. But they are not going to fly around the world to be in the places where events are taking place. If they want to find out about these events, they rely on reporters who do fly around the world to be in these places (many of them quite dangerous). For example you are not going to find an expert in Iranian politics spending much time in Iran with a pen and pad and a camera.

Journalism is a specific skill, which is separate and distinct from expertise in specific subject matters. We have much need for both of these complementary skills. They are much more difficult to combine than you might imagine.
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post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

... I still think blogging isn't the end-all be-all that it was originally made out to be for news.

Blogging is to news what bumper stickers are to philosophy, and what sound bites are to politics; short and often non-sequitur cute-isms or rants that are typically nothing more than personal expression.
post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Consumers wouldn't want ad-only model. They want to pay for a subscription and get no ads.

fixed.
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post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Is this supposed to be a cheering thought?

It's meant to be a statement that reflects reality. Are you aware of the recent massive cuts at ABC News? Expect more everywhere, a lot more. The future is an intrepid reporter sussing out stories on his own or in small work groups, then the individual or small group selling their story to the highest bidder. The Internet and communications technology are the great equalizers, so original reporting can only come from the best connected.

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post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sranger View Post

So basically you only want to read news that supports your current bias?

While I don't always agree with what I hear/read in the news. I do like getting both sides of a story...

When you say "your current bias" I hope you mean that in a generic sense...

Personally, I frequent news sites with views opposite my own just to make sure I'm not developing same-view tunnel vision. I have no idea what the news gathering habits are for the public at large.

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post #34 of 44
The iTunes name is really no longer appropriate for all the different media types it acts as a conduit for....iMedia would be better, which I'm sure is owned by someone already, or perhaps something else....How about Media Center?....no, wait,.....

Actually, iLife would have worked too, but not enough foresight for that. Actually, iBook would have been perhaps a better name for the iPad, but years ago, who knew...
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

The problem with this model IMO is the "going out and talking to" and "looking up" parts. Experts in the various fields don't typically do this. They work for academic institutions and think tanks for the most part. If it comes to writing e-mails or picking up the phone, sure they do that. But they are not going to fly around the world to be in the places where events are taking place. If they want to find out about these events, they rely on reporters who do fly around the world to be in these places (many of them quite dangerous). For example you are not going to find an expert in Iranian politics spending much time in Iran with a pen and pad and a camera.

Journalism is a specific skill, which is separate and distinct from expertise in specific subject matters. We have much need for both of these complementary skills. They are much more difficult to combine than you might imagine.

Why wouldn't a journo seeking 'boots on the ground' confirmation of story points simply consult his or her reliable list of local news sources to fill in the rest of the story? The Internet allows for instant communication from anywhere, why not cull the best of the best from the entire world? The best reporters will have as much access as the lousy reporters, but the difference will be their skill in distilling points of view into a more accurate picture for their (paying) audience.

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post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

The problem with this model IMO is the "going out and talking to" and "looking up" parts. Experts in the various fields don't typically do this. They work for academic institutions and think tanks for the most part. If it comes to writing e-mails or picking up the phone, sure they do that. But they are not going to fly around the world to be in the places where events are taking place. If they want to find out about these events, they rely on reporters who do fly around the world to be in these places (many of them quite dangerous). For example you are not going to find an expert in Iranian politics spending much time in Iran with a pen and pad and a camera.

Journalism is a specific skill, which is separate and distinct from expertise in specific subject matters. We have much need for both of these complementary skills. They are much more difficult to combine than you might imagine.

What's the value of flying around the world compared to simply communicating with people who are already there? A journalist who knows little about India dropping in on India for a few days isn't going to provide any great insights, and sending them there is very expensive. If we want facts about what's happening there, we can ask people who are already there and are better equipped to make sense of the facts. I see relatively little need for a "jack of all trades" journalist.
post #37 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's meant to be a statement that reflects reality. Are you aware of the recent massive cuts at ABC News? Expect more everywhere, a lot more. The future is an intrepid reporter sussing out stories on his own or in small work groups, then the individual or small group selling their story to the highest bidder. The Internet and communications technology are the great equalizers, so original reporting can only come from the best connected.

I'm aware of the scaling back of news organizations worldwide. A lot of journalists are already independent, but they don't make livings with nobody to buy their product, and as we've heard here many times, more and more people expect journalism to come to them for free. And that's the people who are still interested, which is also a shrinking group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Why wouldn't a journo seeking 'boots on the ground' confirmation of story points simply consult his or her reliable list of local news sources to fill in the rest of the story? The Internet allows for instant communication from anywhere, why not cull the best of the best from the entire world? The best reporters will have as much access as the lousy reporters, but the difference will be their skill in distilling points of view into a more accurate picture for their (paying) audience.

Not from anywhere, from places with internet. Even so, you make it sound like all journalism can now be done sitting in a chair, that the person doing the reporting doesn't ever have to come in actual contact with their subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

What's the value of flying around the world compared to simply communicating with people who are already there? A journalist who knows little about India dropping in on India for a few days isn't going to provide any great insights, and sending them there is very expensive. If we want facts about what's happening there, we can ask people who are already there and are better equipped to make sense of the facts. I see relatively little need for a "jack of all trades" journalist.

Journalism used to be called the first draft of history. Reporters were the witnesses to events. So now it's a virtual reality game? A hearsay story? I don't think so, or at least I hope that's not the direction it's going.
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

The problem with this model IMO is the "going out and talking to" and "looking up" parts. Experts in the various fields don't typically do this. They work for academic institutions and think tanks for the most part. If it comes to writing e-mails or picking up the phone, sure they do that. But they are not going to fly around the world to be in the places where events are taking place. If they want to find out about these events, they rely on reporters who do fly around the world to be in these places (many of them quite dangerous). For example you are not going to find an expert in Iranian politics spending much time in Iran with a pen and pad and a camera.

Journalism is a specific skill, which is separate and distinct from expertise in specific subject matters. We have much need for both of these complementary skills. They are much more difficult to combine than you might imagine.

Having worked as a small-market journalist for two decades, my view on the importance of retaining a traditional structure is that it comes down to accountability.

You want there to be some formality to the process, to have those entrusted with gathering and presenting information operating on the premise that if they misstep, there will be consequences. It's fine that we are bombarded with so much apparent information, a lot of it free, but it's important that we not give too much breathing room, if you will, to the very human passion for entertaining but inaccurate gossip. In other words, what we want to avoid is misinformation. Even under the more traditional information-gathering process, of which I played a part, mistakes have been made, wrong impressions generated (often inadvertently) etc. Significanty weakening the traditional sources that have run journalism can only lead to an increase in the distribution of nonsense posing as informed commentary or even worse, as fact.

That having been said, as a former journalist looking in from the outside, I see an industry that has no idea how to move forward. It seems to me that all this talk of a subscription model is mainly a case of wishful thinking. From a consumer's perspective, if we're paying let's say $50 a month for all the TV we can stand and even less than that for a high-speed Internet connection, paying anything close to that to augment so much free news content isn't going to fly.

I find it curious that AP is looking to offer it's content for a fee to the average consumer. AP makes sense charging individual papers for the stories needed to fill out their product. The point behind the service has been that all newspapers (small-market papers especially) don't have the resources to locate journalists throughout the world. You have journalists covering local beats and then fill out your product with items generated by operations like AP, CP and UPI. It's cost-effective to have a handful of journalists producing stories for thousands of newspapers around the world.

I don't know what newspapers are going to do and certainly not what they should do. But I hope they work something out because it is important to have trained professionals carrying out the duties of a journalist. It's not as easy as it looks and all our lives are impacted by the quality of the information we have access to.
post #39 of 44
If i buy an iPhone app right now and it has adds in it I immediately delete it and leave negative comments (telling why I disapprove it) for that app. I just hope iPad developers don't carry that "tradition" forward into it.

Mac Pro Dual 2.8 Quad (2nd gen), 14G Ram, Two DVD-RW Drives, OS X 10.9
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Mac Pro Dual 2.8 Quad (2nd gen), 14G Ram, Two DVD-RW Drives, OS X 10.9
Mac Book Pro Core 2 Duo 2.16Ghz, SuperDrive, ATI X1600, 2GB RAM, OS X 10.7
1TB Time Capsule

Reply
post #40 of 44
As far as I know there is not an independent online news source that generates enough money to employ and operate a full staff of reporters and editors on advertising alone. The subscription/ad revenue model may be 20th century, but until there is a new model that can generate enough revenue to cover the costs and turn a profit it is the only model that makes sense.

A bigger question is can a subscription be offered at a low enough cost to the consumer that they are willing to pay for the service and will that be enough to run a profitable news business.
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