Journalism topics to get us through Friday

Google Reader is shutting down. Google is killing off a power tool used by their power users, citing low traffic and growth.

So, naturally, in everyone’s attempts to find suitable replacements other reader services are crashing under the strain. This is a low traffic tool to Google now, though they haven’t seemed to entertained the idea of just letting the thing live without their touch — which wouldn’t be much different than the way they’ve treated Reader anyway.

Jeff Jarvis, who literally wrote the book on Google:

This is the problem of handing over one’s digital life to one company, which can fail or unilaterally kill a service users depend on. Google has the right to kill a shrinking service. But it also has a responsibility to those who depended on it and in this case to the principle of RSS and how it has opened up the web and media. I agree with Tim O’Reilly that at the minimum, Google should open-source Reader.

The killing of Reader sends an unfortunate signal about whether we can count on Google to continue other services we come to need.

In the end the old saying is true. You get what you pay for, even if you are the service yourself.

Lifehacker has some alternatives. Digg is counting down, and building their own reader.

And now journalism things from various other places. From PR Daily, 6 ways to run a media room reporters will love:

“Organization is key,” said Eileen Melnick McCarthy, senior communications specialist at the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement in Ottawa. “Remember the reporter is your client, so do what it takes to ensure they get what they need.”

There are six tips, including pre-plan, notifying the media, being prepared and more.

Poynter has tips on How journalists can become better interviewers:

How do you walk up to strangers and ask them questions? How do you get people — tight-lipped cops, jargon-spouting experts, everyday folks who aren’t accustomed to being interviewed — to give you useful answers? How do you use quotes effectively in your stories?

That one also has several helpful tips including, you guessed it, be prepared.

Salon takes a negative view of the media ecosystem. It defies excerption, but here’s the final ‘graph:

There is probably no better evidence that journalism is a public good than the fact that none of America’s financial geniuses can figure out how to make money off it. The comparison to education is striking. When manag­ers apply market logic to schools, it fails, because education is a cooperative public service, not a business. Corporatized schools throw underachieving, hard-to-teach kids overboard, discontinue expensive programs, bombard stu­dents with endless tests, and then attack teacher salaries and unions as the main impediment to “success.” No one has ever made profits doing qual­ity education—for-profit education companies seize public funds and make their money by not teaching. In digital news, the same dynamic is producing the same results, and leads to the same conclusion.

Meanwhile, Conde Nast is going to video:

The move is part of a broader expansion the company is making into television and digital


For magazine publishers, many of whom are struggling with shrinking readership, building an online portfolio is seen as crucial as both a promotional platform and a new revenue stream.

And speaking of revenues, Alan Mutter discusses why publishers should be worried about retail apps:

From Best Buy to CVS and from Kroger to Macy’s, the biggest buyers of newspaper advertising have launched sophisticated smartphone apps to establish increasingly direct and profitable relationships with individual customers.

These efforts should give publishers the shivers, because this new channel represents a major threat to the retail lineage that constitutes half of what’s left of the advertising sold by newspapers – an industry, lest we forget, whose collective print and digital ad sales are less than half the record $49.4 billion achieved in 2005.

Smartphone apps appeal to retailers, for starters, because they are far cheaper than buying full-page ads and preprint inserts in newspapers. Perhaps even more compelling to merchants is that apps enable them to precisely target offers to individuals, thus achieving not only happier customers but also fatter tickets at the checkout line.

And a new site called FOIA Shaming.

Lastly, stuff from my campus blog:

New York Times sneak peek

When good journalism and good business intertwine

Don’t mistake comedy for the truth

That’s plenty to read over as you head into the weekend. Hope yours is grand!

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