NYT: ‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspaper

13 04 2009

There’s a rub:

A number of Web start-up companies are creating so-called hyperlocal news sites that let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, often without involving traditional journalists. …

Of course, like traditional media, the hyperlocal sites have to find a way to bring in sufficient revenue to support their business. And so far, they have had only limited success selling ads. …

One hurdle is the need for reliable, quality content. The information on many of these sites can still appear woefully incomplete. Crime reports on EveryBlock, for example, are short on details of what happened. Links to professionally written news articles on Outside.in are mixed with trivial and sometimes irrelevant blog posts.

That raises the question of what these hyperlocal sites will do if newspapers, a main source of credible information, go out of business.

So says The New York Times, anyway.

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Media insiders say Internet hurts journalism

10 04 2009

From The Atlantic:

In a poll of prominent members of the national news media, nearly two-thirds say the Internet is hurting journalism more than it is helping. The poll, conducted by The Atlantic and National Journal, asked 43 media insiders whether, on balance, journalism has been helped more or hurt more by the rise of news consumption online. Sixty-five percent said journalism has been hurt more, while 34 percent said it has been helped more.

I like the way The Atlantic presents verbatims with the poll results.

“It’s been bad in some ways for the media industry—especially newspapers, at this point—but over the long haul, I think the shift to the Web has helped the practice of journalism. It’s subjected journalists to more real-time scrutiny and opened the profession to talented people not affiliated with major media organizations.”

I think this one gets it about right. I think much of the friction has come from journalists in traditional media reacting badly to this scrutiny, seeming arrogant and dismissive toward the Web journalists, which in turn feeds the “scrutiny” or disdain for the so-called MSM. Isn’t it time to get past all that? 

 





Newspaper editors’ demands rile bloggers

9 04 2009

The vague demands of news executives at the Associated Press meeting this week have met with widespread hostility on the Web. The AP board wants Internet news aggregators and search engines that link to their content to pay up. No one seems to be exactly sure how this would work.

I’d prefer to see collaboration between the old media and the new. The Web needs the branded credibility that comes with the AP, newspaper and broadcast network logos. Web news content will inevitably suffer — has already suffered — as traditional news organs go bust. It seems unrealistic to me for the Webbies to dig in and refuse to consider a payment model. There’s no such thing as free. We all paid for journalism in the cost of our consumer products when advertising supported news. This model is broken, but another must take its place.

Yes, newspapers were slow to react, and their intransigence is largely responsible for their present predicament. That’s the nature of any institution in the face of revolutionary change, but it’s not the whole story. Web purveyors would be wise to stop pointing fingers and start working with traditional media toward a solution.