The Now/ledge

A Guide to the 'Now' Revolution in News / by Alan Soon

Hot Potato to be shut down as team moves to Facebook

I’m sad to see Hot Potato go — but it looks like their acquisition by Facebook is now confirmed. Hot Potato was a great service that still had plenty of room to grow. It will now be shut down under its new owners. It was definitely ahead of its time.

The announcement can be found here.

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Filed under: Facebook

Finally, as expected — Demand Media files for IPO

Demand Media has, as expected, filed for an IPO. The company is looking at a maximum offering price of $125 million but didn’t say how much would be up for sale. There was no mention of a date either in its SEC filing.

The filing itself reveals interesting insights into the company, especially the risks it perceives. In particular, it warns potential investors about “certain material agreements with Google for a significant portion of our revenue. A termination of these agreements, or a failure to renew them on favorable terms, would adversely affect our business.”

Filed under: General,

The app economy: a better model for publishers?

The plan by The New York Times to license its iPad/iPhone publishing tool represents a big step forward for the newspaper industry.

The platform, simply called Press Engine, will be used by the Telegraph Media Group and newspapers such as Dallas Morning News, Providence Journal and Press-Enterprise in Southern California.

The publishers will pay the NYT a one-time license fee for the platform and then a monthly maintenance fee.

This is a great idea since it reduces the barrier to entry for small publishers, while at the same time, provides major newsppapers like the NYT a chance to experiment with a new revenue stream. This could be a viable business model. Just look at the software industry.

The app economy offers an alternative to the pay-wall model that some publishers have adopted. As I was telling an Indonesian newspaper editor last night, it’s time the industry took a page from the software industry — sell applications, not subscriptions. As a consumer, I’d be more likely to pay for an upgraded app with great features every six months. I wouldn’t — and have never — paid for an online subscription.

Filed under: Newspapers

Tudou.com builds out production facilities with new funding

This is worth watching. Tudou, China’s massive YouTube-like video service, is spending its new-found $50 million cash pool on building out its video production facilities. This is an interesting change of strategy — we aren’t talking user generated stuff anymore. This is professional production. How long before they become a TV media company?

Also — what’s interesting about the fund raising is that Singapore’s Temasek Holdings bought a stake in the company for $35 million. Hmm.

Filed under: General

Has the time come to take photojournalism off life-support?

After 25 years in the industry, Neil Burgess (whose picture agency represents Sebastião Salgado) says photojournalism is over. He explains that given the cuts in funding for photo projects, it’s time we all admit the worst has arrived, and that photojournalism is dead.

“Magazines and newspapers are no longer putting any money into photojournalism. They will commission a portrait or two. They might send a photographer off with a writer to illustrate the writer’s story, but they no longer fund photojournalism. They no longer fund photo-reportage. They only fund photo illustration.”

In his view, photojournalists are the first to go, and it’s the writers next.

“The photojournalists were the first to go, but once the destruction of the printed media business model is complete and still no-one has come up with a new one, then the writers will have to go as well. So we’ll end up with a couple of sub-editors re-phrasing press-releases and dropping in supplied photos. Hell, that’s happening already!”

Filed under: General

Change of leadership at The Jakarta Post

Meidyatama Suryodiningrat is taking over the top editorial post at The Jakarta Post. According to the paper, Meidyatama represents “a generation of journalist [sic] bred in the whirlwind of ‘new media’ change.” (Sadly, however, I couldn’t locate Meidyatama in LinkedIn or in Twitter for that matter.)

Meidyatama is the English-language paper’s fifth Editor-in-Chief and replaces Endy M. Bayuni. The Post says Meidyatama graduated from Carlton University in Canada and recently completed his Fellowship at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Filed under: General

Does journalism need a full-time service dedicated to “follow-up” story telling?

Here’s a thought I know will keep up all night:

“Digital platforms — blogs, most explicitly, but also digital journalism vehicles as a collective — have introduced a more iterative form of storytelling that subtly challenges print and broadcast assumptions of conceptual confinement. For journalists like Josh Marshall and Glenn Greenwald and other modern-day muckrakers, to be a journalist is also, implicitly, to be an advocate. And, so, focusing on the follow-up aspect of journalism — not just starting fires, but keeping them alive — has been foundational to their work. Increasingly, in the digital media economy, good journalists find stories. The better ones keep them going. The best keep them burning.” Nieman Journalism Lab.

This could be the best rationale for blogging — not so much a superficial need to self-expression, but rather a need to keep the story going.

Filed under: General

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