The Chronicle of Higher Education launches a new jobs site for academics.

Chronicle of Higher Ed takes plunge with digital jobs site tailored to academics

I mostly buy into the theory that one reason newspaper organizations have typically made modest rather than big bets on new digital businesses is the wild success they enjoyed over decades under their old model.

So when Michael Riley, installed in May as CEO and editor-in-chief of the Chronicle of Higher Education, told me 10 days ago that it was launching what he hopes will be a breakout new digital service, I wanted to hear more. In its little bailiwick, the Chronicle has had as sweet a sustained run of business and editorial success as any newspaper I can think of.

Nearing its 50th birthday, the publication had the equivalent of a garage start-up. Corbin Gwaltney, the editor of the John Hopkins alumni magazine, organized his peers at other elite colleges to pool coverage of trends and happenings in the academy.… Read more

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Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013

Richmond Times-Dispatch readers get digital discount if they consent to print

Print and digital subscriptions to newspapers generally work like this: If you subscribe to the print product, you get free digital access. But if all you want is digital, you can pay a little less.

Not so in Richmond.

The Times-Dispatch launched its All Access paywall Tuesday that charges more for those readers who want digital access to the website but don’t want newspapers delivered to their doorsteps. After introductory rates expire, each print subscription option — seven-day, six-day, either of two four-day options, or Sunday-only — will cost a flat $19 per month with digital access included. Meanwhile, digital access without print costs $21 per month.

So is the model forward-thinking and digital-first or is it mostly an attempt to boost print circulation while there’s still some money to be made there?… Read more

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Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013

Cover art from Knight Foundation's report on nonprofit news startups. (Knight Foundation)

Knight Foundation support for nonprofit news startups shifts focus to growth, sustainability

The Knight Foundation has released a detailed new report today arguing that well-run nonprofit news sites can weather their growing pains and operate at break-even or better.

The report itself has a wealth of statistics on 18 selected sites, all operating for at least three years, but I found the subtext even more interesting.

To those venturing to launch nonprofit sites, the good news is that the turn from start-up funding to new and diversified sources of revenue can be done.

To potential foundation funders, the message is that these sites do important work and have a realistic chance to be in business and expanding in three to five years after initial grants have run out.

Though the sites were chosen as examples of good practice, they together showed revenue growth of 30 percent over the three-year period, 2010-2012. … Read more

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Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013

Earns Gannett

Gannett report suggests newspaper industry will lose more than $1 billion in advertising this year

By the third quarter, the revenue picture for the newspaper industry is pretty well set. Now that the Newspaper Association of America has stopped compiling quarterly results, we need to look to public company reports for a proxy. And Gannett, which owns 81 community newspapers and USA Today, is representative all by itself.

So I will hazard an informed guess that Gannett’s earnings report Monday, which showed advertising losses of 5.3 percent so far this year, indicates that the industry will again lose more than $1 billion in advertising year-to-year in 2013.

Here is the math: NAA calculated total advertising in 2012 at $22.3 billion as traditionally counted and $25.3 billion including non-dailies and other new ad related activities. A 5.3 percent decline on just the traditional portion would amount to $1.18 billion less in 2013.… Read more

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Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013

From left, Doug Jackson of Shared Vision Marketing, Jeremy Caplan from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism, and Harry Lin with IMDb, give advice on startups,

Media entrepreneurs: Five myths can stop you before you start up

Let’s begin with this sobering statistic: nine out of 10 startups that get funded will fail.

Reliable and comparable numbers for news-related startups aren’t available, but it’s a good guess that any journalist thinking of venturing out on his or her own faces huge odds.

Three experts urged attendees at an Online News Association session Thursday to avoid five myths that can derail any news enterprise before it gains traction.

Myth #1: I’ll make money through advertising!

Harry Lin, head of business development for the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), an Amazon subsidiary, said the amount of traffic required for a website to pay the bills through advertising is “ridiculous.” More often than not, he said, startup sites end up running network ads, and after the network and ad agencies take their cuts, the sites are left with 25 cents per 1,000 page views.… Read more

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Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013

Word on laptop

How many top newspaper editors are from digital backgrounds? Still darn few

Upward of 1,400 digital journalists are expected in Atlanta this week for the annual Online News Association conference. That’s fairly close to the number of daily American newspapers, at last count roughly 1,380.

With digital transformation the announced top priority for newspaper companies ranging in size from Gannett to community publishers, you would think by now many would have given the editorial reins to a digital specialist. But top editors with a strong digital background remain rare.

With some rudimentary (and I am sure incomplete) checking, I could only turn up a half dozen or so.

I had noted with interest the announcement a month ago that Neil Budde, top Yahoo news editor in the mid 2000s, had been chosen the new executive editor of Gannett’s Louisville Courier-Journal. Read more

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Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013

YAHOO!

Newspapers’ ad consortium with Yahoo reboots

An early attempt to boost digital advertising at newspaper organizations by cross-selling local advertising with Yahoo will be attempting an update and relaunch over the next several months.

The goal remains to use the local sales force of 700 participating dailies to sell retail ads to an expanded audience including those who go to an aggregator like Yahoo as their gateway to finding news.

But much else has changed since the partnership started in 2008, Chris Hendricks, digital chief at McClatchy and Rusty Coats, the consortium’s executive director, told me in a phone interview:

  • The partnership is shedding the dated official name of The Newspaper Consortium for The Local Media Consortium.
  • Yahoo remains as a partner, but not an exclusive one. The consortium hopes to add other significant digital players by the end of the year, Hendricks and Coats said.
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Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013

hand with money

Nonprofit journalism sites are proving to be healthy but slow to scale

A recent Pew Research Center/Knight Foundation roundtable conference on the future of nonprofit journalism had the feeling of an annual physical. After three hours of poking and probing, the sector was found to be slowly getting stronger but with some serious lingering issues.

On the good news half of the examination, sites aimed at doing serious journalism, often investigative, are growing in number. Pew counted 174 in a study released this June.  And some potential heavyweight funders, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and MacArthur Foundation, were represented at the meeting.

Another plus is that many of the nonprofit startups are finding partners in legacy media willing to publish their reports to a wider audience. Many ProPublica stories have a national or regional publishing partner, and the Tampa Bay Times’ recent expose of America’s worst charities was a joint project with the Center for Investigative Reporting and CNN.… Read more

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Wednesday, Sep. 11, 2013

Advertising5

NAA has stopped releasing quarterly figures on ad revenues, which have consistently declined

The Newspaper Association of America has reported a decline in industry ad revenues every three months since a modest gain in the second quarter of 2006. That adds up to six-and-a-half years — 26 consecutive quarters — of revenue losses through 2012.

Without announcement, NAA has stopped compiling and releasing quarterly figures this year. So now in mid-September there is no industry-wide indicator of industry revenue trends for the first half of 2013.

In an interview for the Harvard Riptide project, NAA CEO Caroline Little said she and the organization’s board decided it was time to stop beating themselves up four times a year with the negative numbers. The organization still intends to release an annual revenue report in spring 2014. Little explained her thinking in an interview with Riptide co-author Paul Sagan:

Little: You know, one of the frustrations about doing this job is people just say, “Newspapers are dead.” And all media has been disrupted in the past 10, 15 years.

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Sunday, Sep. 08, 2013

troubled water

‘Riptide’ project explains how legacy media got washed out to sea by digital currents

A massive oral history of the digital disruption of legacy journalism models, released Sunday, contends that big news companies made early, repeated and well-funded attempts to adapt to the digital era but have been overwhelmed by bigger forces.

The work, titled “Riptide,” is likely to be controversial. Its authors — John Huey, Martin Nisenholtz and Paul Sagan — did the study as Shorenstein fellows at Harvard and have published it on the Nieman Journalism Lab site. They interviewed a group of 60 people, noticeably lacking in diversity.

There is very little “mea culpa” and a lot of “it made sense to us at the time” on display. While not elegiac, Huey, Nisenholtz and Sagan clearly tilt to the view — well-articulated by Washington Post Editor Marty Baron — that democracy is damaged as fewer professional journalists do what professional journalists do best.… Read more

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