Monthly Archives: February 2009

Finding Creative Ways to Get Audience to Pay for Content

From print to online, how will newspapers get consumers to pay for content?

From print to online, how will newspapers get consumers to pay for content?

Freelance journalist Cathy Young chimes in on the conversation about how to keep newspapers alive even when they move online.

…There is no good reason that online content should be free, other than “people are used to it.” Is it impossible to persuade people to pay for something they are used to getting for free? Not at all. Online music downloads are a good example; so is television. While TV had been free since its inception, large numbers of people proved willing to pay for cable and digital television.

Newspapers and newsmagazines have tried to use the subscription method, as well as the pay-as-you-want system made popular by iTunes where a reader might pay a couple cents for a story. These have not worked.

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Freshmen Congressmen Take Part in Social Media

Two freshman congressmen, Jared Polis and Jason Chaffetz embarked on an experiment a few weeks ago when they began documenting for the world via CNN what it was like to be new to Washington. Their series, which can be found here, show the guys working with committees, sleeping on cots (at least one of them does) and working with constituents.

They also employ other means of social media including Twitter and YouTube. And of course with Twitter, anyone can follow Jason or Jared.

Here’s one of Jason’s additional YouTube videos.

The two men couldn’t be more different. Jared is a Princeton educated democrat from Colorado and the first openly gay man elected to the House as a freshman while Jason is a republican from Utah who played football for BYU in the late 80’s and is now married with three children.

Both Jason and Jared keep diaries and tweet daily so their followers know what they’re up to. Also, if you’re interested in finding out if your congressman is on Twitter, check out this website which lists all the members who are!

New York Post Drops Legendary Gossip Columnist

Liz Smith

Associated Press file photo: Liz Smith

NEW YORK – The New York Post is dropping Liz Smith‘s column this week to save money, leaving the legendary gossip columnist without a newspaper home in the city for the first time in 33 years. “I’m very sorry that that has come to an end, and that I wasn’t valuable enough for them to keep me on,” the 86-year-old Smith said Tuesday.

According to an Associated Press article, the Post simply couldn’t keep paying the “Dame of Dish”  $125,000 per year for her column. One would assume a column that has been a regular in the Murdoch-owned newspaper since 1991 would draw a consistent audience.

Perhaps the demographic has changed too much for that. Now with gossip media outlets like TMZ and Perez Hilton, who are not only free, but also provide videos and photographs and interactive media to include and engage their audience– people seem more likely to leave  legends like Smith (whose content is made up solely of text), and go to a more interactive environment.

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Paying for content…?

I read this article by Michael Learmonth titled “Wanted: Online Payment Plan for Print” – it’s long, but a great read.

“It was as if the media woke up, saw its shadow and realized that the print world, including American capital-J journalism, is in mid-collapse. It’s finally dawning that this isn’t just about the economy, and it’s not going to suddenly get better when the Dow finally starts chugging upward again.”

There are several differing opinions in this piece: President Charlie Tillinghast says, “Consumers won’t pay; it’s just that simple.” But the owner of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Walter E. Hussman, has been charging individuals $4.95 a month to access his publication’s website. He says their circulation has remained “steady” while others newspapers are floundering.

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Top neuroscientist says social networking sites may harm children’s brains


An interesting article I found today on Digg contains claims from a top neuroscientist that social networking sites may have the ability to literally change, in a negative way, the way that children’s brains develop.  Do social networking sites really shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people self-centered?  

Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield expresses her concern:

We know how small babies need constant reassurance that they exist.  My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.

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Does Social Media Make us Better People?

Pete Cashmore wrote this article posing that question as well as, “does social media change the way we act?” and “does it make us nicer to one another?”

The comments at the end of the article are mixed. I for one, do not think that social media makes me a better person. Maybe a person with more access to contributing my thoughts and opinions or a person with more public visibility or a person who is more careful of what I choose to throw around online, but not a better person. I’m not sure you can say “social media makes you a better person,” or “social media makes you a worse person,” as I think that all really depends on how you choose to utilize social media.

What do you think?

Frequent “Retweets”…The Finest Form of Twitter Flattery.

I found This article, posted by Pete Cashmore to be interesting and funny. It’s a must read for anyone who desires to become a master “tweeter.” Evidently, your status as a tweeter is not determined by your number of followers, but by the number of times your posts are “retweeted.” There are even websites, like Retweetist that will calculate your retweets! The article also provides six tips to help you get retweeted.