Shadow

FULL JULY 2002 ARCHIVE

Teaching Convergence at SMU

Southern Methodist University is building an $18 million
digital newsroom and studio to teach students about the
strengths and weaknesses of each medium. "What we want to do is
have reporters go out and get the news as they always have and
then come back to the newsroom and prepare the same story for
broadcast, print and online,"

said Chris Peck, holder of the new Belo Distinguished Chair in
Journalism at SMU
. "This convergence of different mediums is
clearly the trend that journalism and the big media companies
are following." With that in mind,

CyberJournalist.net has begun tracking the latest convergence
headlines in a new Convergence section
.

‘Valuable Information has a
Price’

Factiva CEO Clare Hart predicts that
consumers will have to pay for all online media content
by 2004. ?In order for publishers to continue to pay journalists
they?re going to have to start charging, and that?s a good
thing,?
said Hart
of Factiva, a news aggregator that’s a joint
venture between Dow Jones and Reuters. "Valuable
information has a price." All content might be a bit
extreme, but paying for some content is certainly the
direction the Web is moving in. And CyberJournalist.net is
certainly in favor of continuing to pay journalists!


Charging for Video

ABCNews.com is joining CNN.com and

starting to charge for all its video
. For nearly a year
ABCNews.com had been charging for some of its video. Now all of
it will go behind the subscription wall:

for $4.95 a
month, or $9.95 as part of RealOne’s SuperPass
.
Subscribers get higher-quality video and full broadcasts of
programs like "World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" and
"Nightline." With the high-cost of streaming video, look for
this trend to continue.

Big Ads, Big Payoff

If you hate those big full-page ads some sites are
displaying before letting you read content, then you’re not
going to like this news. But if you’re hoping that they’ll come
through as a successful ad model that can bring in big revenue,
you’re in luck. A study has found that a series of Clarinex
full-page ads on ABCNews.com increased brand awareness 11 times
more than the average online ad. The campaign — in which the
"introduction ads" were supplemented with banner ads throughout
the site — also generated message association nine times
greater than usual,

the study by Dynamic Logic found
. And perhaps even more
interesting, the ad campaign led to a 12 percent lift in
consumers? interest in asking their physician about Clarinex —
about six times greater than usual. Looks like this ad format
might be around a while.

More Kudos for The Note
ABCNews.com’s The
Note
, a daily political news Weblog published since Jan. 14, continues
to get praise in D.C. circles. Recently Washington Post White House
correspondent Dana Milbank
told The
Washingtonian
, "It’s the arbiter of who is on the cutting edge." Now
The New York Times Adam Nagourney
tells the New York
Sun
it’s "the
best thing that?s happened to political coverage in years" and the
National Journal’s Charlie Cook says he?s never seen any publication
become a must-read as quickly.  (Also see CBSNews.com’s similar column,

Washington Wrap
.)

Newspaper Blogger Crosses Ethical
Line

The Houston Chronicle’s Steve Olafson has been writing a Weblog
that criticizes his own newspaper and offers opinions on news
that he covered. But rather than be honest with his readers and
editors, he did so anonymously, under the pseudonym "Banjo
Jones," The (Clute,
Texas) Facts reports
.
It’s generally not acceptable for journalists to spout opinions
on issues they cover — but doing so anonymously makes this a
serious ethical violation. The Weblog has since been shut down,
but for the curious,

here’s a cached version
of it
.

Trigger Happy

Forbes.com got a little too ahead of
the news on July 19 when it reported that WorldCom had filed for
bankruptcy — two days before the troubled telecom company
actually did so! "The intro text of a page in preparation was
released early in error, which is why it was retracted
immediately,"

Forbes.com editor Paul Maidment told TheStreet.com
.
Meanwhile, on
July 24, the Web version of the Dutch daily, the Haagsche
Courant,

incorrectly reported
the death of Prince Claus, the Dutch
prince consort currently in intensive care. The Prince?s
obituary wasn’t officially published on the newspaper?s official
website, but readers found a version, apparently prepared in
advance, through Web search engines.

Let this be a reminder of how dangerous it is for
Web sites to prepare stories in advance of news. It’s still a
good strategy, to get a jump on things — but the proper
precautions must be made to make sure advance material doesn’t
accidentally get published.

Convergence in Oklahoma

The NewsOK.com partnership between The Oklahoman and News9 is
one of the few converged news outfits owned by different
corporate parents. The deal, which allows the site to post
anything that goes out over the air on News9 or that appears in
the print newspaper, has generally been considered a success.
"It expands our ability to gather information,"
News9’s lead anchor, Kelly Ogle,
told OJR.
"We don’t work in lockstep with the newspaper, so we’re still
able to compete as well."

Taking Photojournalism World by
Storm

Brian Storm, who’s leaving MSNBC.com to become vice president of
editorial photography at Corbis, has helped pioneer online
multimedia storytelling through features like
these Picture Stories.
In an illuminating Q&A with
Poynter.org,
he
says
, "We made the still image matter in a very TV-centric
environment at MSNBC and we injected a strong ethical approach
into a medium that requires visual sophistication."

Changing Landscape
In case anyone doubted that digital
media is the future, two new reports bolster the argument: A

new study
by ad firm
DoubleClick Inc. found that the Internet’s most popular sites
consistently deliver larger audiences than television’s
most-watched programs and are comparable in reach to popular
consumer magazines; and

the FCC reported
that high-speed Internet subscribers
increased by 80 percent in 2001 — which is particularly
significant because other studies have shown that people who
have high-speed access tend to get their news online more than
from newspapers.

Salon Blogs
As has been rumored, Salon is launching
a new Weblog section,
powered by the popular Weblog software Radio Userland. Salon is
desperately searching for a way to pull in more money and this
could be it. If users buy into the advertised benefits of having
their blog on Salon.com for $39.95 a year — versus free on
places like Blogger.com — then Salon.com could pull in a
fortune. Salon’s pitch: software and hosting for a year;
affiliation with Salon’s name; and inclusion on the The Salon
Blogs Updates and
Rankings
pages. Watchers of the "blogging as
journalism" debate
, take note: Salon, a respected journalism
outfit, is effectively opening up its pages to amateur authors.

Publishing for International
Audiences

BBC News Online has begun publishing

two different versions of its news site
, one for the UK and
another for the rest of the world. The same information is
available in both editions: the only difference is the selection
of stories on the cover and the navigation. CNN.com also
publishes multiple versions, for the U.S., Europe and Asia. This
is the online equivalent of newspapers publishing zoned
editions. BBC Online has also just begun publishing a version in
Urdu, making it the first
news site to use Urdu text, rather than scanned-in images of
printed materials.

Getting Respect

The Internet has caused newspapers to
change in many ways, forcing them to publish 24/7, for example.
But with Net use still skyrocketing, online divisions are
starting to get more respect.  "In the past I’ve had to
deal with colleagues who saw me as a threat and colleagues who
saw me as irrelevant," Digby Solomon, the general manager of
Chicago Tribune Interactive,

told The New York Times
. "I’d far rather be seen as a
threat. And I think those days of being seen as irrelevant are
rapidly coming to an end."

NYTimes.com Rejects Sony Ads
Kudos to NYTimes.com for

rejecting
ads
from Sony that appear to be news
articles. In new sites ongoing struggle to be profitable, it’s
tempting to lower standards and accept ads that blur the lines
between editorial content and advertising. But in the end such a
strategy can backfire, by making the site less credible and thus
a less desirable place to advertise.

Blocking Ads
Frustrated users are
increasingly turning to ad-blocking software as Web site ads
become more intrusive. Web publishers don’t appear to be too
concerned,

the Wall Street Journal reports
, because they have so many
ad formats at their disposal. The main problem with ad-blocking
software, though, is that it can have unintended consequences:
on many news sites, for example, anti-pop-up ad software will
kill interactives delivered in child windows.

 

Multilingual Web Publishing
Reaching a truly global audience requires
publishing in multiple languages, but since automated systems
aren’t good enough, doing so takes money and time.

Andrew Stroehlein looks at whether it’s worth it
.

First Interactive
Emmy

HBO’s "Band of Brothers" has won

the first Emmy for interactive TV programming
. The show
followed a U.S. Army airborne unit in Germany during WWII, and
viewers could dig into more than 50 character bios, an episode
synopsis, a WWII timeline and other material.

Dissecting Weblogs
Poynter’s Steve Outing examines

eight weblog types
, with examples and suggested uses for
news sites. Note in particular

his discussion of whether Weblogs on news sites should be edited
.
CyberJournalist.net believes they
should be: because the organization is publishing the Weblog and
thus the content reflects upon it. If libel is published, the
organization can be sued. If the Weblog prints inaccurate facts,
the publication looks unprofessional. And let’s not forget the
main purpose of editing: to improve copy. Many Webloggers who
are edited, from the Christian Science Monitor’s Tom Regan to
MSNBC.com’s Eric Alterman, have said they appreciate the editing
because it has helped make their Weblogs better. That said,
Weblogs should be edited lightly, preserving the writer’s style.


Pitfalls of Spam Filters
Spam filters can be a headache for e-mail publishing.
Witness Tidbits, a 12-year-old e-newsletter about Macintosh and Internet
news, which
often
gets rejected
by e-mail server computers around the world because spam-filtering
software can take legitimate words out of context.

Point. Click. Think?
Among all the influences that shape young thinking skills, teachers say computer technology is the biggest one. On the bright side,
these Net thinkers work fast and make connections easily. But,

Laura Sessions Stepp
writes for The Washington Post
, "they also value information-gathering
over deliberation, breadth over depth, and other people’s arguments over
their own."

Online Journalism Awards Deadline Extended
The deadline for submitting entires to the Online
Journalism Awards has been extended until July 24.
Submit your entries here.

Enter TheFeedRoom

Have you seen
The FeedRoom?
It’s quietly become the number one destination for streaming
news content on the web, surpassing both CNN and MSNBC. The
FeedRoom’s Vice President of Sales, Matt Wasserlauf,
tells TVSpy

how they did it: they focused on developing a strong ad model
from the get-go — in particular, a branding-based one. "When
advertisers look at The FeedRoom and they really see that it
models television," he said. The company sees its Web services
as a "test bed" for interactive TV and hopes to deliver the same
on-demand video content through set-top boxes in the near
future.

Has Yahoo Heard of Freedom of Speech?


Yahoo.com has been
quietly
editing the text of e-mail messages
to protect
customers from hacker attacks. So words such as "mocha" and "eval"
— which are also javascript code words that can be used
to do devious things — become "expresso" and "review." At the
least, if Yahoo can’t find a better technical solution and finds
it necessary to do this, it should give users fair notice.


Spam Help

Need help dealing with spam? Read
Spam Help
and Spam
Help II
.

Frustrating Auto-Refreshes
Ever find yourself reading a news site’s home page when all of a
sudden it refreshes? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Adrian Holovaty has
listed the auto-refresh
times of some of the top news sites
in his Weblog on design,
accessibility and other technical aspects of news Web sites. "Not only does
it offer no advantages," he says, "but it presents several disadvantages in
your site’s accessibility and usability."

Where are the Sports Webloggers?

Why aren’t sports journalists and fans producing Weblogs en
masse,
wonders Buffalo News’ Greg Connors
? He points to a few now defunct ones,
such as Bostonsportsguy.com and the Surf Jones Weblog for Sportsjones.com,
and several other decent ones still publishing. But experts say they’re
baffled by the relatively small numbers compared to all the other blogs out
there. Connors also profiles
Los
Angeles sports talk show host and sports-weblogger Brooks Melchior
.
"Most people still don’t understand the potential of the Internet," Melchior
says. "…For me, the site is a marketing and promotional tool that in turn
enables me to increase my profile in the market and make more money through
appearances and increased radio ratings."

Digital Edge Awards Announced
The Newspaper Association of America announced
its 2002 Digital Edge awards. The Washington Post won four
awards and two other sites won three awards —
each one is becoming a regular winner at online journalism
awards:
http://www.Washingtonpost.com
,
SavannahNow from the Savannah
(Ga.) Morning News, and
CJ Online from The
Topeka
(Kans.) Capital-Journal. A New Media
Pioneer award was awarded to Michael A. Silver, vice
president/strategy and development at Tribune Interactive.

Here’s the complete list of winners
.

Is Salon Starting Weblogs?


Rumor has it that Salon may be creating a Weblog
section (Salon already runs a
politics
Weblog by Joe Conason
).
The
One True b!X Weblog

reports spotting
http://blogs.salon.com

on Weblogs.com’s list of recently updated blogs — and when
visited found this note: "The very first post on the very first
blog at Blogs.Salon.Com." Since then it appears the page has
been password protected.

Readers from Everywhere


Seventy-five percent of the Miami Herald‘s
Miami.com comes from outside South Florida, said director of
operations Jeordan Legon, according to E&P.  For many
papers,

E&P reported
, only about 30 percent of their Net audience
comes from outside the local market.


Did Reporter Go Too Far?


Nelson Hernandez, a reporter for The
Washington Post,
posted a message on the online discussion
board of a competing daily, The Free Lance-Star in
Fredericksburg, Va., asking readers who knew the suspects or
victims of a murdered couple to call him with tips or sources
"to build a complete picture." Free Lance-Star Web Editor
Chris Muldrow posted a reply on the board calling it
"unprofessional," but

Hernandez told E&P
, "anything on the Internet is open."
Nothing he did was unethical. Some might consider it unsportsmanlike,
though others might simply call him enterprising.

Read his post and the response here
.

Pop-Up Company Gets Smacked


A federal judge has issued
a
temporary order
for software company Gator to stop
displaying pop-up advertising over Web publishers’ pages without
their permission, in response to a lawsuit filed by The
Washington Post, The New York Times, Dow Jones and seven other
publishers. They’re arguing that the company’s ads violate their
copyrights and steal revenue.

USAToday.com Hacked


Hackers

broke into USAToday.com

and replaced news stories with phony ones (see
screenshot
). This has happened before to other sites,
but generally just the front page or a story were changed. In
this case, the cover was replaced and a half dozen fake stories
were posted, making it one of the worst examples of a news site
being defaced. Most of the content was so ridiculous that no one
would believe it — such as stories claiming President Bush had
named a propaganda minister and another quoting the Vatican
calling the Bible an "April Fool’s joke." What’s even scarier is
the prospect that someone could hack into a major news site and
make more subtle changes that would spin the news but not be
obviously fake to readers. That’s already happened at least once
on a small scale, when a hacker named Adrian Lamo altered a wire
story on Yahoo News last fall, attributing false quotes to
President Bush. He said he did it to prove how easy it would be
to do. He succeeded.

Hustling for Profits


Will online newspapers ever make money? In
the final part of its Future of News package, the Online
Journalism Review looks at
what news
sites are doing to try to turn a profit
,

and includes a


breakdown
of the numbers at a sampling of news sites
.

Strong Web Newspaper Growth
Newspaper sites are growing faster
than the rest of the Web in some of the biggest markets. Online
newspaper audience growth outpaced total Net user growth in
seven of the 10 largest U.S. markets over the past six months,

according to a new study by comScore Media Metrix
. Poynter’s
Steve Outing

makes an interesting observation
, noting that the three
sites that didn’t fair as well — Boston.com,
Philly.com and DFW.com — have a portray themselves more as city
guides than as news sites. Meanwhile, in a
good sign for advertising revenues, the research also found that
newspaper Web site visitors spend more money online than the
average Net user.

Online Newspapers and Consumer
Behavior

Roger D. Blackwell, a consumer behavior expert and professor at
Ohio State University, says efforts to replicate the experience
of reading a print newspaper online will probably fail, because
online readers are less interested in casual scanning and more
likely to be looking for something specific. "He suggests that
newspaper Web sites focus on interactivity with reporters and
editors, supplemental in-depth information such as explaining
the methodology behind surveys and offering additional
statistics, and perhaps building glossaries of terms found in
the print newspaper,"

Editor & Publisher reports
.

Landmark Deep-Linking Decision
In a landmark decision on Web site deep linking, a Danish court
ruled that news aggregator Newsbooster cannot link to Web pages
other than a site’s home page without the permission of
publishers (Reports:

AP
,

CNet
and

Wired
). The decision only prevents Newsbooster from deep
linking to the Danish Newspaper Publishers Association’s 28
sites, but it could pave the way for more lawsuits and rulings
on deep linking around the world. This continues to be a hot
issue, following the criticism that The Dallas Morning News and
NPR recently got for trying to restrict deep linking to stories
on their sites. It’s also a foolish one: most sites benefit more
than they are harmed by deep linking, through increased traffic
and promotion. And those that don’t want anyone deep linking to
their content need not go to court, but simply implement a
technology system that refers all unwanted links back to the
home page automatically.

National Press Club Award Winners
MSNBC.com won the

National Press Club Award
for Best Site for its powerful "Aging
in America
" package. Camus Magazine was given an honorable
mention for its "Under
the Influence
" package.
360degrees.org
, meanwhile, won for Distinguished
Contribution. Newsday’s "Remembering
The Lost
" package, which included a searchable database of
the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, got an honorable mention.



News By Phone
California-based Vitex Inc. is planning a new subscription
service that will deliver business-oriented news from Dow Jones
and The Wall Street Journal by phone. The information, which
will include information on 14 different sectors, will be
presented in three-minute newscasts updated twice a day. "We’re
targeting corporate executives, probably subscribers to the Wall
Street Journal who don’t have time to read it,"

said Vitex president Dan Cooke
. "That makes the drive into
work productive, in the car, on the train, at the airport, in a
cab, or if they’re getting ready, by putting it on
speakerphone."

Is Yahoo! News Journalism
?
Yahoo! News attracts a large audience
but does no original reporting. It has a team of editors, but is their
product journalism? The site has no reporters, no original work, no
journalistic legacy. That doesn’t undermine its authority with the public,
writes Barb Palser in the
American Journalism Review
. "According to the
Online News Association’s Digital
Journalism Credibility Study
, Internet users trust portals and
aggregators such as Yahoo! News more than local TV and newspaper Web
sites, though not as much as national TV and newspaper sites," she writes.
"And they visit them more frequently than all of the above."

Yahoo Internet Life to Fold

Yahoo Internet Life, the Ziff Davis Media
publication chronicling Net culture, will fold in August,

CNet reported
. It’s a sign of the continuing softness in the
technology ad sector that this popular magazine with 1.1 million
subscribers couldn’t make it.

High-School Journalism Internet
Guide

The Radio and Television News Directors Foundation has just
released "Plugged In: Using the Internet for High School (and
Professional) Journalism." The publication includes sections on
legal issues and journalism ethics; Internet training exercises;
Web streaming; top journalism Web sites; and how various
journalists use the Internet. You can download the publication
for free at


www.rtndf.org/resources/highschool.shtml
.

CustomWIRE in Action

Here are three examples of AP’s new CustomWIRE Web news service
in action:

Richmond Times-Dispatch
;

The Advocate
; and

The Arizona Republic
. The

customizable service
enables members to incorporate the
latest AP headlines and content easily into their Web sites.

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