The Sunlight Foundation, in their quest to have an infinite number of projects starting with “Polit” (joining (Poligraft and Politiwidgets), debuted Politwoops today. It’s a tool for tracking the deleted tweets of political figures, currently limited to presidential candidates and members of Congress, including this doozy from U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller.
This chart — from Mary Meeker’s much anticipated annual slide deck of Internet trend data, debuting today at D10 — is a prime example of the future being already here, just unevenly distributed. In this case, the future is the coming dominance of mobile as a path to the Internet, and the lumpy distribution favors India.
This month, for the first time, the majority of Internet traffic in that country will come from mobile devices, not desktops and laptops. India’s ahead of the curve — globally, mobile’s only about 10 percent of traffic — but anyone with access to web analytics can tell you trends lines are all moving in one direction.
Much scarier for traditional print media companies is this chart, showing the disconnect between U.S. consumer time spent and ad money spent, by medium. Print takes up 7 percent of our time but 25 percent of ad budgets; mobile devices take up 10 percent of our time but only 1 percent of ad budgets. That’s an imbalance that won’t continue forever.
Steve Myers flags this Richmond BizSense piece by Michael Schwartz, which seems to show a remarkably slow uptake on the part of Media General execs. Here’s CEO Marshall Morton:
“Over the past five years, our first thought was that this was heavily due to the recession and, like many other recessions in the past, that this was a cycle. You tighten your belt, freeze hiring and even drop the number of people.
“So we went through a couple years thinking that was the way to handle it. But it kept going.”
It wasn’t until the second quarter of 2011, Morton says, “that we realized the world had changed.”
Steve’s too nice to put too fine a point on it, but that is, frankly, a little astonishing. Below is a chart using NAA data (courtesy Mark Perry) showing print newspaper ad revenue since 1950, adjusted for inflation. The red arrow marks the point Media General’s CEO “realized the world had changed.”
I used to look forward to receiving TribLocal, the weekly hyperlocal news insert in my Chicago Tribune. But now it’s become a worthless piece of garbage…
In its first three weeks, I’ve seen nothing in this new rag but press releases, computer-generated junk and, of course, ads. Major news stories in my suburb are completely ignored. What passes for a police blotter is a long list of street names, one- or two-word descriptions, and a time and date. (This is what you get when you have a staff of four people overseeing 22 publications and 89 websites.)
Steve Buttry argues for both the value of copy editing and the need for change. (Steve’s employer, Digital First, is making big copy desk changes, including killing off the copy desk at the Denver Post.)
Journalists who have treated the copy desk as a safety net need to take more responsibility for the quality of their own work. And journalists who have specialized in copy editing will play multiple roles in a Digital First newsroom.
He recommends a restrained editing style (“Don’t rewrite a clear sentence just because it wasn’t written the way you would have written it”), a focus on SEO and speed, and a shift to social media and aggregation.
Jeff Jarvis is brainstorming “new forms, relationships, and (business) models for news,” and up first is the article form:
I come not to kill the article but to praise it. Machined to near-perfection over a century of production, the article is perfectly suited to its form: headline and lede imparting the latest — the news; nut graf delivering the essence of the story and telling us why we should bother reading the rest; background graf bringing us up to speed; timelines to set context; catalogues of issues and players; quotes from various perspectives; examples — all prioritized so readers can easily navigate the form and extract its value and so that printers with scarce time and limited space in the paper can lop off lines at the bottom without losing the heart of the matter…
Now let’s subtract from the article, deconstructing it into its core assets. Draw that inverted pyramid and its constituent elements and then imagine each as a separate entity in its optimum form.