Monday, June 18, 2007

Quick links

Some quick links for a Monday morning:

A NEW STUDY COMMISSIONED BY the Newspaper National Network and performed by Scarborough Research has found a high degree of overlap in the use of online and print newspaper products, with 81% of respondents saying they regularly consumed both. It also contained some encouraging findings about readers' Web behaviors, which suggest that newspapers are well-positioned to expand their online footprint. MediaPost story.

Google, the world leader in Web search services, is the focus of mounting paranoia over the scope of its powers as it expands into new advertising formats from online video to radio and TV, while creating dozens of new Internet services. Reuters.

Think local TV is headed for the dumps, as some commentators have suggested? Apparently the private equity firms don't think so; they're snatchin up the properties even as the ad market appears soft. As MediaPost's David Goetzl writes, "
This may be one reason that private-equity firms are so interested. Part of their modus operandi is to buy companies that are potentially overlooked and undervalued--then use shrewd management to build their worth, without the pressures from Wall Street to show impressive results every three months." And we all know what "shrewd management" is code for, don't we?

Social networks pose threat to newspapers. OK, nothing really particularly new here, just echoing what I and others have said for some time. The story is about a World Association of Newspapers study.
More novel, however, was the finding that "the importance of the social network as a disseminator of news and information is on the rise." The survey elaborated: "Many participants in this phase listed 'discussion with friends' as a top source for news and information, sometimes ranking higher than TV or newspapers."
Well duh. Just ask around any college classroom where students get their news -- Yahoo News is up there, but so are referrals from friends, MySpace and Facebook buddies, and just plain old mom. Some of these things are so viral, I can't figure out if there even is a "patient zero."

Mark Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down," which was backed by a pioneering multimedia Web site, says things still haven't changed much online, but the pressure is mounting for a breakout that will change the way online news is presented. (One of his descriptions sounds a lot like what we do at Newsplex: The old idea of reporters covering a beat might well be replaced by an online reporter/editor who oversees a subject area driven by the entire community - a constantly updating police blotter or transit map, for instance.) And his advice to journalism students -- learn video, learn audio, learn digital.

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