Shadow

FULL MAY – JUNE 2001 ARCHIVE

Web Tops Newspapers
A new study reports that the people who use newspapers most —
those aged 55 and older — say the Internet is a more
important medium to them than newspapers, by a margin of 52 to
37 percent. "The Internet is fragmenting the news
audience, stealing time and attention from other media,
including newspapers," says
John Mc Intyre, managing editor of Content Intelligence, which
conducted the study
. While newspaper subscribers haven’t
stopped subscribing in big numbers yet, they are spending less
time reading the paper edition." Even though newspaper
usage appears to be relatively stable now, the study suggests
that the Web represents a real threat as it grabs more of
people’s time.

Great Work:
Aids in the Caribbean

Poynter.org’s
"Worth a Look" feature
looks at a wonderful Web
adaptation of a six-part series about AIDS in the Caribbean
that ran in the Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale. The online
package, produced in Flash, is a great example of how a
newspaper can take advantage of the Web to tell a story in a
new way online, rather than just repackaging and adding a few
bells and whistles. How did an online site with limited
resources do this? By getting advance notice and working
closely with all departments. The package is also noteworthy
because the paper took the effort to reach out to multiple
communities, producing the online package in English, Spanish
and even Creole. 

Online Publishers
Association Formed

Twelve Internet content companies have formed a new group to
represent the interest of online publishers "before the
advertising community, the press, the government and the
public." The founding members of the Online
Publishers Association
(OPA) include CBS MarketWatch, CNET
Networks Inc., Conde Net, ESPN.com, The Industry Standard,
KnightRidder.com/Real Cities, MSNBC.com, New York Times
Digital, Salon Media Group Inc., USAToday.com,
Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, and the Wall Street
Journal Online. It’s not entirely clear how this group will
separate itself from the Online
News Association
, but it appears as though it will focus
more on advertising and business issues, while the ONA
concentrates more on credibility and quality of work. 

Chew on This

cudABCNEWS.com has introduced a new, innovative
feature called "CUD:
Something to chew on. . .
" — which is basically a
themed page containing short articles, quizzes, tidbits, media
and links related to a particular topic, such as marriage. CUD also includes a
new element, Dingaloids, which appear at the end of lines of
text and look like this: This is an exclamation dingaloid
This is a parentheses dingaloid
This is a question dingaloid.
When a user mouses over one of these small graphics for two
seconds, a message pops up. Generally, the messages are
smart-alecky quips. A clever idea, but the way the Dingaloids
are being used they don’t add much to the content. Perhaps if
ABCNEWS.com starts incorporating reader comments into the
Dingaloids they will get more useful and interesting.

Big Victory for Writers
The
U.S. Supreme Court ruled
that media companies must get
permission from free-lance authors before posting their
articles to electronic databases — a victory for both writers
and copyright protection on the Internet. Many publishers now
say they’ll delete all free-lance stories from their
electronic archives; the National
Writers Union
and free-lancers, meanwhile, are encouraging
publishers to not do so and instead to negotiate with them.

Novel Use of the Net
The Wall Street Journal’s free OpinionJournal.com site has
been running a serial
novel by Danielle Crittenden called, "Amanda.Bright@Home
."
The first installment ran in the print edition and online, and
subsequent chapters have been published online only. A Journal
spokeswoman says the site is running the serial in part
because "gives
us a chance to reach a new audience of women, women at home
."

An Awarding Proposition
During last year’s Online Journalism Awards ceremony
Slashdot’s Robin Miller complained that the entry fee ($100,
or $80 for members) was too high and may have prevented
smaller sites from entering. He told the audience that for
2001 he would pay for entries for five sites that otherwise
couldn’t afford it. Now he’s keeping that promise and asking
for submissions. Check
out what others have suggested and post your own work
.

New Online Content Group?
New York Times Digital’s Martin Nisenholtz is reportedly among
a group of big-name industry executives who are planning to
launch a new trade group to represent the interests of Web
content creators, according
to AtNewYork
. The group will be known as the Online
Publishers Association (OPA).

Sex Sells
A German Web site publisher offered
a ticket to a sold-out Madonna concert in exchange for sex
with sex columnist Shelley
Masters
. Thema1
publisher Bernd Heusinger said 120 readers applied to the
"In Bed FOR Madonna" campaign for a chance to win
the ticket to attend the Berlin concert as his guest. Thema1
is a bit like the Drudge Report, Slashdot and The National
Enquirer rolled into one. Enough said.

Wireless reporters
The Fresno (Calif.) Bee has installed
a wireless telephone network around its offices and production
facilities so calls follow employees wherever they go, in what
E&P calls a "an
apparent first for newspapers
." The costs are minimal
and the reporters are far easier to reach. No more being tied to
the desk while waiting for that crucial call!

Bye-Bye Internet
The Industry Standard has dropped "Internet" from
its slogan, changing it from "The Newsmagazine of the
Internet Economy" to "Intelligence for the
Information Economy." "We really liked our old
moniker, but the term ‘Internet Economy’ has in many people’s
minds become inextricably linked with the world of dot-coms,
and we’ve always been about much more than that," Editor
in Chief Jonathan Weber writes in the magazine
. "Make
no mistake, we’re still big believers in the importance of the
Internet." Yeah, right. It’s lucky when they started the
magazine they didn’t go with one of the title suggestions,
"The Internet Standard."

Net Threat
The head of the Center for Digital Democracy warns
that Big Media will use its control of the broadband Internet
to "wall" content and thus "severely damage the
vitality of the digital world."

Reporter’s requests
exposed

ExpertSource, a service designed to help journalists
anonymously find sources, failed to protect its database,
leaving journalists’ requests viewable through Google.
"The entries included thousands of reporter names, phone
numbers and details on stories they were pursuing," The
Wall Street Journal reported
. The problem has since been fixed

Tribute to Suck.com
The Washington Post’s Joel Garreau took a
nostalgic look
at the recently expired Suck.com, calling
it "the great-granddaddy of all the online newspapers and
magazines you see today."  Suck.com’s readers,
meanwhile, share their opinions about the site in Jim
Romenesko’s MediaNews Letters
.

SAJA Award Winners
The South Asian Journalists Association announced winners of
the 2001 SAJA Journalism Awards contest. CNET News.com and
MSNBC.com were the winners in the new media categories. Read
the winning entries and the runners-up
.

Suck and Feed Cease
Two of the oldest original content sites on the Web, Suck and
Feed, were "placed
on immediate hiatus"
due to lack of money. The Web
pioneers’ edgy content — at times clever, at times random and
rambling — will be missed.

Meet Other
CyberJournalists
Check out our new
feature
, a collection of links to Weblogs and personal
sites of online journalists. Got a favorite site or a site of
your own? Send it
in!

Content Cutbacks
As online news sites have cut editorial staffs, they’ve also
cut original content. WSJ.com
looked at this disturbing trend. Several people quoted pointed
out that sites need to offer something special to keep readers
— and readers are already noticing the difference. "It’s
thinner, it’s shallower, it’s more mass market," one
person says of Salon.com. "It’s just not as good."

Shoddy Synergy
News sites appear to be having trouble seperating fact from
fiction these days — at least when it involves movies by
corporate parents. ABCNEWS.com’s Pearl Harbor package and
Webcast included images from the movie produced by Disney’s
Touchstone Pictures, as J.D. Lasica reported for the Online
Journalism Review
. CNN.com followed that June 6 by
featuring on its cover a
live chat with Tom Hanks about D-Day
, timed to coincide
with the broadcast of the "Band of Brothers" D-Day
documentary on HBO. The site failed to mention that both CNN
and HBO are own by AOL Time Warner. As Saturday Night Live’s
Church Lady character might have said, How conveeeenient!

Tips & Jobs Galore!
Check out the new, expanded Tips
and Jobs sections. Check back often for updates. And send
in your tips
and links to good tips you’ve read. Thanks!

Wild West Online
In the Wild West atmosphere of online opinion-slinging,
journalists are being sliced, diced, skewered and smoked as
never before," writes
The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz
. "…What is it
about the Web that fuels such slashing attacks?" One
reason he gives is that online columnists get "little or
no editing." 

Get Your News Buddy
Reuters will be launching an instant messaging News Buddy in
June. The "interactive agent" will provide news
headlines for free to those who add it to their buddy lists,
while offering links designed to increase traffic to Reuters’
Web site. Clever idea. And with the popularity of instant
messaging, one that other news organizations would be smart to
follow.

Online Journalism Awards
Time
to get your applications ready for the Online
Journalism Awards
— deadline is July 16. It will be interesting
to see how they turn out after so many dot-coms have gone out
of business or cut resources. Even so, they’ve added
two new awards categories: Feature Journalism and Innovative
Presentation of Information. AtNewYork.com
explored some of these issues.

War Stories
The Newseum has put together an
exhibit on war reporting
, much of which can be viewed
online — including an essay by Harold Evans, video interviews
with war correspondents and a Flash presentation of the
coverage of seven wars.

Great Work: Pearl Harbor Packages
Both ABCNEWS.com and MSNBC.com used the much-anticipated movie
"Pearl Harbor" as an excuse to produce impressive
packages on the bombing. Check out the Flash
reenactment of the bombing
produced by MSNBC.com, in
conjunction with Newsweek. ABCNEWS.com offered up eyewitness
accounts, historical media clips, a quiz and a message board
.

(Disclaimer)

Great Work: Virtual Voting
CourierPost Online partnered with the editorial department of
its print brethren, The Courier-Post of New Jersey, in its
push for statewide online voting. They commissioned a private
company to create a
sample, secure, online ballot
, which walks users through
an interactive vote of presidential, congressional and local
candidates. A clever, original use of the Web — and one of
the few original projects by a newspaper’s editorial
department.

Google Groups
Reporters suffered a great
loss with the recent demise of Deja.com, which made searching
and posting to Usenet Newsgroups a breeze. Fortunately, Google
bought Deja.com’s 650 million record database and has just
unveiled a new feature, called Google
Groups
, that enables you to search it quite well. You
still can’t post using Google, but the search feature alone is
a valuable tool for finding sources, leads and ideas.

Online Ombudsman
MSNBC.com has hired an
ombudsman
, a first for an online news organization.
(Disclaimer)

Cool Calendar
WashingtonPost.com put together a
unique Interactive Calendar
looking at President Bush’s
first 100 days in office. The navigation could be a little
easier, but the concept is clever and original. Each day
includes a summary of the news of the
day and links to stories, photo galleries, speech transcripts
and audio and video from that day.

Boosting the Brand
Visiting a newspaper Web site increases the likelihood that a
person will start a subscription to a print newspaper or buy
single copies, according to a
new survey
. Interesting, particularly in light of recent
announcements that some papers will start charging for access
to their Web sites. Perhaps giving the content away for free
isn’t eroding circulation.

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