Jeff Bezos Brings His Low-Margin Ways to Newspapers - Justin Fox - Harvard Business Review: "while the decline of American newspapers (especially the big regional papers) was probably inevitable in the age of the Internet, the reluctance and at times inability of newspaper companies to transition from high-margin business models to low-margin ones has made things much worse. Layoffs and other cutbacks meant to preserve profit margins have only sped the decline in revenue, while bold new investments have been few. And for the most part the margins have declined anyway." (more at link above)
Uncomfortable Facts About The Bezos Washington Post -SVW: "There's an astounding lack of critical analysis of Jeff Bezos' planned $250m purchase of the Washington Post newspaper. It is not a viable business, it loses $50m a year and has large pension liabilities. Its purchase only makes sense as a vehicle of influence, and not as a rescue of the newspaper industry." (read more at link above)
Good Luck With That - Pew Research Graphs Bezos' Stunning Challenge -SVW: "There's not much help from digital revenues — precisely the area where Mr. Bezos is expected to help — the situation is getting worse: In 2012 for every one digital dollar earned - $15 in print revenues was lost. Things are getting worse: In 2011 the ratio was $1 digital gained for each $10 lost." (read more at link above)
Bezos In 2012: People Won’t Pay For News On The Web, Print Will Be Dead In 20 Years | TechCrunch: " . . . . Bezos says “We [Amazon] realized that people are willing to pay for newspaper subscriptions on tablets. In the near future, every household will have multiple tablets. That’s going to be the default and will provide momentum for newspapers, too”, so we may see some creative subscription models on the Kindle or bundled with other products. I’m curious to see how Bezos will be applying these ideas to his newly-purchased newspaper. . . ."
Who Just Bought The Washington Post?: "Jeffrey P. Bezos is the founder of Amazon.com. He has spent his career relying on steady growth but says he is ready to push The Post to compete in a changing online world."
One could say hindsight is 20-20, of course, but what made me sad about the sale — and I was very sad when I heard of it — was that these laudable and smart people could not seem to figure it out, and had to turn to a magical Internet wizard to do so. (source infra)
Open Letter to Jeff Bezos From ex-Washington Post Staffer Kara Swisher - Kara Swisher - Media - AllThingsD: " . . . . And it was then and there that I felt the first stirrings of the coming disaster that would soon envelop the Post and so many newspapers like it. Most of them never even seemed to see it coming, even when what was happening was right in front of them. It was there that I also first saw the extraordinarily stubborn resistance by old media — which still exists like some super-barnacle that will not detach from a sunken ship — to what the digital age meant. It happened every day — other reporters playfully mocking me for using email so much . . . or major editors telling me that the Internet was like the CB-radio fad, or sales people insisting that the good times would never end for newspapers . . . ."
Dinosaurs. One wonders if anyone in DC understands that the WaPo is just another example of how hopelessly inept and out-of-touch Washington DC is--particularly the US federal government?
Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales explains its mission to be mainstream | Technology | guardian.co.uk: "Wikipedians plan more outreach for teachers, better tools for developers and simpler editing tools to increase their audience - The 12-year-old website is also planning more outreach work to educate teachers and students, as well as those in museums and libraries, how to use the site. Speaking in London on Monday, co-founder Jimmy Wales said Wikipedia was part "of the edutech gold rush" and that students would learn not by reading but by editing the site. New editing tools being introduced later this year will make editing simpler, he said, and encourage more people to get involved in editing articles. Wales, who has been advising the UK government on open access, said there had been huge progress in the understanding of sourcing material online. "This is a community that will digest and then repurpose information to people in interesting ways – we have a lot to teach on that front … Communities are working to encode more of this information in machine readable ways.". . . ."(read more at link above)
The Google County Times: The Future of Local News? - Christopher Mims - The Atlantic: "Google has hatched a plan to boost the visibility of its existing local news product, and in the process is testing a whole new way to get people to pay attention to the news that is geographically most relevant to them. Google is testing a local news "card" in its Google Now service, which is built into all new Android smartphones and is available on the iPhone through Google's Search app. Google Now is a logical vehicle for local news because one of its primary functions is knowing where you are and providing information that is "contextually relevant" to you, as specified by your interests, the time of day, and your location. . . ."
Washington Post to be sold to Jeff Bezos - The Washington Post: "The Washington Post Co.’s newspaper division, of which The Post newspaper is the most prominent part, has suffered a 44 percent decline in operating revenue over the past six years. Although the paper is one of the most popular news sources online, print circulation has dwindled, too, falling another 7 percent daily and Sundays during the first half of this year. Ultimately, the paper’s financial challenges prompted the company’s board to consider a sale, a step once regarded as unthinkable by insiders and the Graham family itself."
Oh my, the constipated "culture" of the New York Times lays exposed in the wake of the departure of Nate Silver--
Nate Silver Went Against the Grain for Some at The Times - NYTimes.com: " . . . I (Margaret Sullivan, NYT Public Editor) don’t think Nate Silver ever really fit into the Times culture and I think he was aware of that. He was, in a word, disruptive. Much like the Brad Pitt character in the movie “Moneyball” disrupted the old model of how to scout baseball players, Nate disrupted the traditional model of how to cover politics. His entire probability-based way of looking at politics ran against the kind of political journalism that The Times specializes in: polling, the horse race, campaign coverage, analysis based on campaign-trail observation, and opinion writing, or “punditry,” as he put it, famously describing it as “fundamentally useless.” Of course, The Times is equally known for its in-depth and investigative reporting on politics. His approach was to work against the narrative of politics – the “story” – and that made him always interesting to read. For me, both of these approaches have value and can live together just fine. A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work. The first time I wrote about him I suggested that print readers should have the same access to his writing that online readers were getting. I was surprised to quickly hear by e-mail from three high-profile Times political journalists, criticizing him and his work. They were also tough on me for seeming to endorse what he wrote, since I was suggesting that it get more visibility. . . ."(read more at link above)
One commenter: "Comments on fivethirtyeight today reflect the same ideological biases and bloviating that all the other commentary at the (New York) Times displays. "
Amazon defends use of swear word in ad as 'light-hearted' | Media | guardian.co.uk: "Amazon said that the wording of the card "did not target any particular group, nor was it likely to cause offence to any particular race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age". However, Nicola Mendelsohn, chairman of ad agency Karmarama and one of the most senior women in UK advertising, said she was stunned at Amazon's attitude. "It is one of the most vulgar, dreadful words and I'm really surprised that Amazon don't think it is offensive to people, to women," she said. "Germaine Greer said it is one of the few remaining words in the English language with the genuine power to shock." Amazon said that just because a "small minority" might find the word offensive the product should not be banned from being made available for the "wider public" to buy."