Save journalism, not newspapers

We're seeing a lot of talk lately about taking newspapers nonprofit.

I've been saying for a year now that all media organizations need to separate creation from distribution. Newpspaper are a good place to start because their distribution model is so broken, the industry is so troubled, the savings potential is huge, and the opportunity is vast.

Creation, especially of quality journalism, is a very small part of the total budget of the newspaper business. Once you take out presses, trucks, paper, rewriting wire copy, rewriting press releases, soft features, laying out pages, and overhead, the actual cost of gathering, writing and editing the news that matters to the continuing function of our democracy is a pretty small part of the total cost of journalism. And it's the part that is most worth preserving.

Modern national and international news organizations already are beginning to look more like wire services than newspapers. It may be time to move that model down to the regional and metropolitan level, as well as up from the ultralocal level to neighborhoods and communities.

By separating creation from distribution, we can create newsgathering organizations that are efficient, worth preserving, and very cheap compared to the cost of supporting them. Matt Yglesias gets this, although I'm not certain I'd endow all the organizations he's considering. I'd prefer to endow entirely new newsgathering operations whose primary purpose is informing the public.

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Digital Britain Report: What it Means for Music Companies

Mark Mulligan[Posted by Mark Mulligan]

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<p><p><p>Digital Britain - The Interim Report</p></p></p>

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What the Digital Britain report means for the UK

I've had an interesting day digesting the Digital Britain report from the UK's Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting, Lord Carter. My colleague Mark Mulligan will be posting his response to some of the detail of the report, but for now I wanted to reflect on why this is a landmark document.

That job title, for a start, is something we haven't seen before. The UK government has never really given the impression that it cares about the web or digital technology, but perhaps as another benefit of the Obama presidency, Gordon Brown decided it was time to create a new role for a big hitter.

For hard core politicos the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has traditionally been seen as a lightweight gig, derided as the Ministry of Fun. Today we had the Prime Minister acknowledging the wider value of a digital  infrastructure, describing it as a "backbone of the economy." As an analyst know that's true, I just didn't expect to hear it from Gordon Brown.

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Everyone wants to look good on Facebook

Barry Parr Posted by Barry Parr

It's easy to forget as we watch penetration numbers rise for social services, what these numbers look like when they hit small communities of connected people. I was reminded of this last night.

Every year, my wife takes photos of the kids in the Half Moon Bay High School musical. The pictures are used in the play program, become headshots for the handful who act in other venues, and are shared with friends and family. She takes a lot of care to produce great-looking shots and it shows.

This year is the first time anyone asked her for a copy to put on Facebook, and everybody asked for her to email them a copy for Facebook.

Mark Cuban Goes off on the Internet Video Lie

Bobby Tulsiani [Posted by Bobby Tulsiani]

I just read Mark Cuban's blog entry on "The Great Internet Video Lie".  If you have time, be sure to check it out - but if you are pressed for time I'll quickly summarize a few of his points:

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Learning the wrong lessons from a century of advertising

Barry Parr Posted by Barry Parr

Shortly after ranting that media properties to start thinking bigger and stranger if they're going to succeed, I came across Jeff Jarvis's spot-on analysis of why print advertising was never the right model for online success and the variety of opportunities that exist for media properties to improve their top and bottom lines.

Jeff says that print advertising worked as a business because there was a limited supply of space. But it also worked as a business because it was staggeringly inefficient. A Realtor had to buy access to a million readers to reach to two dozen who were looking for a neighborhood open house. That model has been broken for at least five years.

He has some great suggestions for new kinds of businesses for media companies. You should read his whole list, but here are my takes on some of them:

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Negotiating the future

This is my first blog post for Forrester, so let me introduce myself. I'm Nick Thomas and I'm an analyst covering media issues for Consumer Product Strategy Professionals.

The hot topic in the UK media sector at the moment is the future of Public Service Broadcasting, and more specifically what funding model the broadcaster Channel 4 will have in the future. I won't go into the detail of the debate here, fascinating though it is. Instead, let me reflect on the bigger issues arising from it which have struck me in this historic week. We are indeed entering a new era.

Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention this morning, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Andy Burnham, offered a sobering view of the media landscape which may have been obvious for the assembled audience of media types, but which from a UK government minister is nevertheless still fairly radical.

"Old certainties have broken down," he argued. "That much is clear in global finance, but it is equally true in media. And this change is happening on many fronts.

"The change that was coming in the multi-channel, online age – the structural threat to the advertising revenue funded model – has accelerated with the change in the world economy.

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iPod Sales Continue to Grow, But Future Less Bright for Digital Music Sales

Mark Mulligan[Posted by Mark Mulligan]

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NYTimes.com has a strategy problem, not an inventory problem

Barry Parr Posted by Barry Parr

I agree with my colleague David Card that the New York Times must cut costs and raise the price of the print edition. David also agrees with Henry Blodget that Times should start charging for its online product. But Blodget's analysis rests on some on a comparison with the Wall Street Journal, which I don't think is useful:

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Digital Licensing Revenue To Change Future Of European Music Industry

Mark Mulligan[Posted by Mark Mulligan]

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