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Times are tough for the traditional news organizations. Their business models battered, many question the future viability of the investigative journalism these organizations have historically funded.
Some suggest that nimble internet-based upstarts, possibly staffed with citizen journalists and volunteers, are the future. With lower overhead, these new media upstarts may be able to step in and fill the void. Or so the thinking goes.
Much digital ink has been spilled this week over The New York Times' decision to install a metered payment system on its website. But all of the hypothesizing about the fate of the paper and its advertising revenues leaves one question unanswered.
The paper won't implement the new system until 2011. Will the paper's talent stick til then around to see their audience shrink?
Reports have surfaced indicating that, after much internal discussion and debate, the New York Times is ready to announce its much talked-about subscription model.
According to sources who spoke with New York Magazine, the NYT has settled on a metered model under which NYT online content will remain free but after a certain number of views, users will be prompted to subscribe for further access.
As consumers gain more outlets for expressing their views online, brands are becoming less concerned with reaching out to professional writers to spread the word about their products. But while getting a positive review from a professional writer may have much of a sales impact, negative consumer reviews are becoming increasingly problematic.
According to Brand Reputation, 84% of the consumers they surveyed are more likely to look for online product reviews than they were just a year ago. And those who have had a negative experience are five times as likely to tell their friends. Brands can do a lot to monitor this shift and arrange their resources accordingly.
Old media and new media may do battle in the quest for consumer eyeballs but they increasingly have a common foe: malicious ad buyers.
Last month, the New York Times fell victim to a sophisticated scam in which a scammer was able to buy ad inventory directly from the news giant posing as a past buyer of ads on behalf of VoIP company Vonage. The Times had to scramble to locate the malicious ad when legitimate-looking ads were swapped for malware-serving ads.
Display ad campaigns have proven to boost brand searches online and even increase sales. But finding the right mix of search and display advertising can be tricky for advertisers. In the case of Travelocity, the popular travel website has moved towards using real-time search data in its display ads.
It seems like a simple enough strategy. The result? A 203% increase in bookings online. How'd they do it?
While other newspapers like the New York Times grapple with how to charge readers for content online, the Wall Street Journal stands out as one of the few newspapers that doesn't have to deal with such issues.
Unlike many other newspapers, the Journal didn't drink the 'content just wants to be free' kool-aid. When it seemed like advertisers had an unlimited amount of money to throw around, the Journal stuck to its guns and ironically, has managed to have its cake and eat it too. Its ad sales are healthy and the mixed model it employs has apparently proven to be the secret sauce.
This week The New York Times announced that it would be making another round of newsroom layoffs (100 to be exact) before the end of the year. The news is sad, and many of the paper's readerstook to the comments of the article announcing the layoffs to show their support for the paper, saying they want to pay for access.
According to Mediaite, 37% of the commenters said they'd be willing to pay for access to New York Times content. That's great for morale at the newspaper, but it still doesn't make a pay wall a good idea.
By just about any reasonable measure, The Economist is doing pretty darn well for a magazine. As the print world frequently looks to be in a state of perpetual implosion, The Economist stands out as one of the print publications that's not only surviving, but thriving.
While struggling print publications like The New York Times mull a paid content strategy from a position of desperation, The Economist is going paid from a position of strength.
It's familiar by now to hear mocking sounds come from new media champions and writers when old media takes a stand against Twitter or Facebook or some other new tech tool. But new Twitter guidelines issued by the Washington Post on Friday came from inside old media.
Why? Because beyond helping a publication gain traction and authority on news items in real time, social media can be a journalists best tool for job stability. And the new rules threaten them more than anyone else.
When visitors to The New York Times website began falling victim to a fake anti-virus ad that attempted to install malware on readers' computers, some, myself included, suspected that the ad was probably being served through an ad network.
According to The Times, about half of the ads that are served on its website come from ad networks and they are an obvious target for scammers looking to distribute rogue ads that deliver malware.
But as it turns out, the rogue ad that was wreaking havoc with some Times readers was actually sold by The New York Times itself.
In the debate over the future of journalism, there are some who argue that stodgy old news organizations aren't necessary. Leaner and meaner ventures can take on the same burdens. Citizen journalists and bloggers are capable journalists.
But a victory for Bloomberg LP in a lawsuit against the United States Federal Reserve highlights the importance of having large news organizations.