A Social Media Move By CNN

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I have always been interested in how CNN progresses through this time period, as they have noticeably fell behind MSNBC and Fox News in the ratings. Both of those stations have seemingly taken a side in the political spectrum, but CNN has remained “neutral.” They are staunch believers in simply bringing the news in without attempting to cater to one side or the other of the spectrum. So, due to these reasons, I find myself rooting for CNN to prevail and am happy when they attempt anything new.

In this new example of CNN attempting to change with the times, they are launching CNN Trends. In a nutshell, this innovation takes in the top trends from around social media sites and links 10 stories around each trend from outside sources. “A healthy media diet consists of news, analysis and perspectives from more than one source,” said KC Estenson, senior VP of CNN Digital in a statement. By becoming more social media conscious, CNN may be able to attract more readers, even if they are being linked to other sites for the articles. If a news reader is satisfied with the stories they are finding from CNN Trends, they will come back to find more stories.

In my opinion, this idea may be a big winner. If there is one thing that young audiences love it is social media. Also, by incorporating social media trends to dictate what people read, CNN Trends is going to attract younger readers who may be finding more stories that they are interested in, because, as we all know, these internet trends change rapidly, but the sources we get them from do not (i.e. Twitter). So, best of luck to CNN with this idea!

Newsweek’s Historic Shift

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Well, the time has come. Newsweek, which has been in print for 80 years, is shifting to an online-only magazine. Recently, I wrote about how a magazine was launching on iTunes as an example of the changing landscape of print. However, Newsweek becoming an online-only magazine takes the cake as the leading example of the difficulties that print publications have at the moment.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

“It was never a question of whether, it was a question of when,” she said. The “incredibly archaic” costs of print and the opportunity to expand through digital distribution motivated the change, she said.

This quote, by Tina Brown, who is the editor-in-chief and founder of Newsweek Daily Beast Co, shocked me. Not a question of whether, but when? Incredibly archaic costs of print? Seriously? How bad is this print situation? I read this article and could not believe what I what I was reading. I knew things were bad, but this article makes it seem hopeless for print.

I don’t even know what else to say about this, other than it makes me sad. Magazines belong in print. The feel. The colors. The personality. Magazines are the embodiment of all the things that are right with print publications, in my opinion, as they provide a niche service to their readers. And, although Newsweek isn’t closing, it sure isn’t going to be the same. There is a certain feeling one gets when holding and reading a magazine, and Newsweek will no longer be giving off that feeling.

I guess we are all heading to a future where books, magazines, and newspapers will be read digitally and this day is approaching much faster than I thought.

Tumblr Blogs Becoming TV Shows

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So, you know that whole “I’m moving to Hollywood to become famous” thing? Well, that seems to be changing as both CBS and NBC are creating sitcoms based on popular Tumblr blogs. As someone who watches his fair share of sitcoms, I do not know what to make of this. This is seemingly the opposite of the cyber trend of moving things to the internet. In this case, we are taking something from the internet and putting it in the main stream, as television shows are being made from content located on the internet, instead of platforms, such as newspapers, moving to the internet.

However, even though it may seem like the opposite, this story does show the influence that the internet and social media has on our society as television shows are being created from these popular blog posts. So, one can say, as I did earlier, that this is backwards, but when you really look at it, the internet has never been this influential, as it has driven television executives to create sitcoms from this social trend.

This story sort of reminds me of the impact of Youtube, as that platform cut out the middle man of discovering talent. So, by creating sitcoms from blog posts, essentially the same thing is occurring. The hiring of writers to create a show is being cut out, as these executives got to chose from a crop of talent on the internet.

The internet is a powerful place and is only becoming more powerful and influential.

Magazine Launches On iTunes

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I’ll be honest, I don’t really read physical newspapers. However, I do subscribe to a few magazines. Nothing against newspapers, but it is much easier to get the news on the internet, in my opinion, but I still like to pick up a paper when I can. However, the magazine, for me, has a special place in my heart and provides aspects that a newspaper does not have, like longer feature stories on specialized topics that interest me, like sports and music. Magazines provide insight into stories that I don’t get with newspapers and I do consider myself old-fashioned and love the feel of holding things when I read, like a book or magazine and a newspaper when I can.

That’s why, when I see that a magazine is going to launch directly onto iTunes, I have to wonder how long the magazine format is going to last. It seems that everything these days is heading towards the digital platform. For most people, it is easier and more convenient to read things on a screen and I don’t see anything stopping that trend.

It puzzles me though, because newspapers and magazines both provide services that are useful. Newspapers deliver the news in a comprehensive fashion and magazines, as mentioned before, provide that niche service to people of specialized interests. So, with that said, I don’t see newspapers or magazines going anywhere, but I do see them having to adjust to this changing scheme and adjusting more than they have thus far. Some magazines and papers will close, as advertising profits aren’t there, but I am confident that both industries will ultimately survive due to their ability to provide unique services to the public. Maybe that is my old-fashioned thinking talking. Maybe these are two dying industries. But until they are completely dead and do not have physical copies available anymore, I will always be skeptical.

CNN Joining The Movie Business

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CNN has fell behind MSNBC and FOX News in recent years, which, one can argue, is mostly due to their neutral stance, Since this drop, they have attempted to come up with ways to boost their ratings and increase their popularity. To be blunt, they have failed. However, they are still trying, as they are starting a film unit. I don’t know about you, but this seems like a great idea. I might be biased in my opinion on this matter, as I love film and all that it does, but creating another venue for CNN to gain viewers seems like it cannot hurt.

The article states that “the network, which is searching for ideas to turn around flagging ratings, said the films will air several times on CNN and be accompanied by on-air discussions.” This fascinates me to no end. So, they are going to show documentary movies and discuss them after they air? That’s awesome. If they do that right, it can almost be like a film festival where a director shows his movie and then takes questions from the press. Obviously, it won’t be exactly like that, but I would love to see a discussion after the films with the people behind making the movie. That, to me, is a very cool dynamic, which can not only bring in the normal CNN viewers, it can also bring in viewers interested in the topic of the film and film fans in general. ESPN does something very similar with their 30 For 30 series, which is a series of sports related documentaries. However, these films are done by independent filmmakers and ther is no on-air discussion.

Lastly, the article cites CNN’s wish to show these movies in the theaters too. It does not specify if they are going to show them first on the big screen and then on CNN or if some will be shown through only one medium, but either way, putting their films into theaters can draw in a wider audience too, which is exactly what CNN wants. I am curious as to how they are going to go about this though. If I were CNN, perhaps showing them first in theaters and then again, later, on CNN with an on-air discussion afterwards seems like the best way to go, but that’s me. Any way you slice it though, this is a very interesting development with a struggling news organization and they have my full attention, which they did not have before.

 

Take Part Tv: An attempt to change online television.

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As the world continues to change, it is hard to keep up with everything. One trend is the propensity for people to watch things on the internet. People watch a lot of things on their computers ranging from a live-streaming event to a television show on Hulu, and now, a television network. This network stems from takepart.com and can be found on Youtube, as one of their many channels, and is called Take Part Tv. This is a network that wants to make an impact, mostly with social issues, and has videos that feature the likes of Kobe Bryant, Henry Rollins, and Dan Savage.

One aspect I found interesting was how Evan Shapiro, President of Participant Television and creator of this Youtube channel, said “Television is not a box, a place or a time slot, it’s an exchange of values between an artist and an audience. TakePart TV is a piece of television that happens to be online.” I found that quote intriguing because he is going into the fundamentals of what makes television as “an exchange of ideas.” Shapiro believes that as long as you get that exchange across, it does not matter what medium it is viewed on, as to whether it’s a television or a computer. I couldn’t more. It’s beautiful that we can now scour the web for funny, interesting, or intelligent videos. This leads to Shapiro’s next point that the goal with Take Part TV is to “not just give [their audience] stuff that entertains them, but stuff they want to spread around: The great thing about the Internet is, you’re just a click away from sharing your favorite content with a million people.” This idea stems from the whole “viral video” concept and Shapiro wants to revolutionize what makes a viral video. What if a socially conscious and intelligent piece about the society we live in goes viral over the internet? What kind of impact can it have? This is something that Shapiro is interested in finding out. I’m all for something that could mean more awareness on important issues and less awareness on “Call Me Maybe” parodies.

Overnight Ratings On The Decline For Tv Shows . . . A Problem?

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In this blog, I have talked a lot about the changing landscape of media, but often in respect to how Journalists interact with this changing landscape. However, after seeing this article, I cannot help but to comment. I love tv shows. From “Modern Family” to “Game of Thrones,” I usually cannot get enough. It is challenging, though, with my busy schedule (not that I am busier than the average person), to watch my favorite shows as they air, so I use my DVR to record them and I can watch them at my convenience. However, I always wondered if my viewing went into the ratings for the show. I always felt like it should, as many people did the same thing I did, but now I know it is taken into account and that they recognize its impact.

According to this article, the overnight ratings, which usually meant if a show was popular or not, are becoming less and less important as more and more people are watching their favorite shows at their own convenience and the overnight numbers are less than stellar. I just found it interesting that these ratings are becoming obsolete when, for so long, these ratings were the gold standard in this industry and a good overnight meant success. But now, with this new trend, a show can have a poor overnight and still be acknowledged as successful, which makes me happy. I can now sleep well at night knowing that my viewership was counted for “Bored To Death.”

Social Networks: A Leading Place For News

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It does not shock me to find out that one-third of adults get their news on social networks now. It is just the way our society is shifting. It is hard to go a long time without giving Facebook or Twitter or Google+ a check. And when I say a long time, I am only talking about a few hours. What constitutes a “long-time” has changed and so have the people. News is 24 hours now and going more than a few hours without checking something, anything, can lead to feeling helpless and lost.

Thankfully, there is social media nowadays, so we can constantly check the news, while interacting with the participants. It is so easy to connect to everyone and feel involved in the news process. You can even feel newsworthy by posting a video or a comment about a grand occurrence happening in the news.

News is a community now, and there is nothing young people love more than feeling like they are a part of something. So, connecting with the news doesn’t only keep you informed, but it can be fun at the same time.

So, back to the article, it is no surprise that young people are getting the bulk of their news from social media sites instead of actual newspapers. This is a trend that may likely continue to grow as the years go on and more and more people abandon the “old ways” of getting news.

A large part of this trend is also due to the emergence of smartphones. Many people have them use them for everything, like checking the news apps and using the social media apps installed on the phone. I will admit, I am one of these people. Whenever I have a few seconds, I whip out my phone and check the latest headlines or scroll down my Twitter feed for breaking news and more and more people are doing the same thing.

I don’t want to speak for everyone, but this trend is likely to only increase, as the technologies for these smartphones get better and, at the same time, older versions become more affordable to people who can’t afford them now. Also, I think this trend is good. Our society is, for the most part, uniformed, and a lot of that is mostly due to these new phones. People just don’t care about the news like they used to. However, if news organizations can find ways to increase their popularity on these social media sites, they could be helped drastically. But, I won’t complain too much, because I’m just happy that some young people are interested in actually getting the news from somewhere, albeit a social media site.

Online Radio For Newspapers – The New Thing?

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For the Boston Globe, online radio may actually be the “new thing.” They created RadioBDC, which has been streaming from Boston.com, and they created it with a touch of local flavor. Recently, a popular alternative station was bought out, but the Boston Globe quickly scooped up some of their popular DJs and these DJs are now part of this new format.

As the article points out though, this may only be a regional trend and not a national trend, as this web radio station has momentum from the DJs, who already had a fan base. It was convenient for The Globe to get these popular DJs to help with the launch of this station, but I think this could be a winning formula.

Online ad revenue is cheaper, so perhaps if more newspapers create a similar platform, more advertisers will try get their ads on it, thus creating more profits for the paper. The Globe has already gained a few more sponsors and has expanded it’s male demographic from 21-34 (i.e. men at work), according to the article.

Another possible plus is getting journalists on the air to speak about the news, which, honestly, is a huge plus. A newspaper being able to speak to their audience as news breaks? That sounds pretty cool to me.

But yes, there are inherent costs to starting a web radio station, “like constructing a new studio, obtaining music rights and paying staff salaries.” These costs could cause some hesitation, but I already got into the pluses, which could pay off in a huge way.

Unfortunately, even if this is successful for The Boston Globe, it may not be a trend that catches on, due to the fact that they caught a break with the DJs, which helped jump start the site. However, as I’ve said before in this blog, I love risk takers and this is a risk by The Globe. No paper has done what they are doing, according to the article, and no one may want to do what The Globe is doing until they see if this can be successful or not. One thing we do know, however, is that if this online radio station does work out, there will be plenty of copy cats waiting in the wings to begin their own station.

A Craigslist for Journalists

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Jobs are hard to come by for everybody, no matter what profession you are seeking. Journalists are obviously no exception and with the job market being thin  in the newspaper industry, good journalists are being left on the sidelines, just waiting to find a job. However, a new platform is being created to help freelance journalists aggregate their work and this platform is called Contently, which “aims to help journalists to build their personal brand online and connect them with publishers looking for writers.”

This fascinates me. This is going to be a website that is “dedicated exclusively to journalists and publishers.” I think is a great idea that helps both sides of the equation. It allows a much easier mode for connection between these freelance journalists and the publishers. As Shane Snow, conceiver of Contently, said in the article, “We thought if we could connect good professionals who are now out of work with publishers who care about professional quality work, not SEO, content-farm stuff, then we could create a business out of that.” This model by Snow has a business side to it as he hopes to eventually include workflow and payments, “which Contently streamlines through PayPal.” So, this is not only a place to aggregate, it is also a place to possibly profit.

Another positive of this site is the personalization by the freelancer, who can provide his work, so the publisher can see what kind of style this journalist has. It seems pretty convenient for all involved and I will be interested to see if this website has a lasting impact on the journalist landscape.