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Study: Newspapers Need to ‘Shed Legacy Costs’ to Capture Online Ad Spending – The Business of Journalism

Study: Newspapers Need to ‘Shed Legacy Costs’ to Capture Online Ad Spending

Bill Mitchell talks about who newspapers will need to transition from print to online, bringing its community with them and finding new innovative ways to produce a revenue.

This is almost obvious to a point, but what could be scarier is that some publishers don’t realize it. Smaller newspapers are putting up pay walls to protect print circulation, instead of using creativity to find new revenue streams.

This has to be the biggest challenge and the highest task on the agenda of every journalism thinker. Online journalism will have a difficult time surviving online if it doesn’t find different ways to produce.

The arguments against strict pay walls aren’t new, in fact they’re at least a decade old at this point. They leave out a portion of the population, do a disservice to the community and encourage free sites to start up that may not cover the community with as much vigor.

Mitchell says 8 percent of advertising dollars are spent online, while 30 percent of people consume information online. This gap will close, Mitchell says, to the dismay of print publications as they lose the print advertising dollars.

While one may say that the dollars may move online, but stay within the organization, they must look at the Internet in a different light. No longer does an advertiser need a news organization as a platform to get a message out. That advertiser could launch a social media campaign on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. They could team together with other businesses and form a self-servicing site.

In other words, journalism shouldn’t count on advertisers to keep them as business partners when they make the switch to the online world.

New ideas are needed, but more importantly, well thought out and concrete ones.

Posted at 6:30pm Permalink ∞

Categories: Uncategorized

Journalism’s ‘New’ Medium Should Maintain Traditions of Ethics, Style

In the past few days I’ve noticed a growing journalism trend around me and I can’t take it anymore. I’ve experienced too many (well, I guess one is too many) and very diverse examples of journalists foregoing rules of ethics, grammar and style.

I’m usually on board with everything online journalism-related, but do words popping up on a screen – and the ability to change them in an instant – remove our principles. Does it matter if we submit copy with hofstra university uncapitalized? Or if we write out two thousand four hundred and 8 dollars? (OK, I made that last one up).

After all, there is an editor standing between the publish button and a reporter. After all, if it gets through the gatekeeper and to the Web, it can be changed immediately.

All to often I’ve seen journalists take the Web as if it wasn’t as indelible on the minds of readers as newspapers are. But what happened to re-reading copy before moving it? Or looking up a term in the AP Stylebook? Now with the number of sloppy copy I’ve come across, it seems that these don’t matter anymore.

In addition, in a discussion with a faculty member at Hofstra, it was said that copy editors are close to extinction as media orgs continue to cut back. An assignment editor can serve as a copy editor, and who needs AP copy anymore when the AP costs so much? 

I don’t argue with this point. That as news orgs slice budgets, the copy desk will get sacrificed, but with it will the necessity, the desire and the pride to have clean copy face the chopping block?

There is a misguided assumption out there that the Web is a flaky cousin of a newspaper. That the Internet doesn’t have the same gravitas as a print publication. But it is the content that decides the importance of a story – not whether it appears in print or in HTML.

Therefore, journalists shouldn’t ignore the proper ethical and stylistic traditions that journalism has just because the medium is changing.

Timothy Robertson
Managing Editor
Nassau News Live

Categories: Uncategorized

Universities as Labs for Journalism’s Future

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment
Tonight I went to an entry-level journalism class to speak about my work at Nassau News Live, what we do, how we do it, and, most important to me, why we do it.

I've stressed several times on this blog why — No. 1 is to give journalism students a rich online reporting experience; and No. 2 is to provide a great service to the four local villages we cover.

But NNL really focuses on No. 1. And in explaining why to one of the budding journalists this evening, the answer just rolled off the tongue. The site is preparing Hofstra journalism students for 2 or 3 years down the road, for when they graduate. They should learn the traditions of journalism – sourcing, ethics, shoe-leather beat reporting etc. – but also how to shoot video and take pictures in a journalistic way that best serves the user.

Finally journalism programs are getting with it. Columbia is opening a digital newsroom. Same with UNC-Chapel Hill. And UC-Berkley is starting a content-sharing agreement with the New York Times through its Bay Area News Project. (Hofstra opened its digital newsroom, the NewsHub in the fall of 2007.)

Universities are a place for growth, and a place to try it all. These universities – and many others ought to follow – should prepare its students for the job market they will face (a digital one), and teach them lessons from the past. Each journalism program should allow students learn and experiment with embedding video, flash, live webcasting, live blogging, social media – and doing it all on deadline.

With this we will build a new crop of journalists that will have new tools to appeal, interact and inspire users. We need to learn how to make young people follow and participate in news. We need to give the underrepresented a place to voice their issues. But first we need to teach student journalists how to achieve these goals and we need to give them the tools to do it.
Tim Robertson
Managing Editor
Nassau News Live

Categories: Uncategorized

Hot 3-Point Shooting Paces Hofstra Past New Hampshire

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

December 12, 2009

Hofstra’s deadly 3-point shooting combined with UNH’s struggles behind the arc help the Pride cruise to a 75-58 win Saturday in Hempstead, N.Y. (NNL video by Timothy Robertson)

Three days after an offensive struggle against Manhattan, the Hofstra Pride men’s basketball team caught fire at home Saturday in a 75-58 win against the University of New Hampshire.

Led by lethal shooting by senior Cornelius Vines (5-6 from 3-point land), Hofstra dominated the Wildcats as the Pride extended its lead to 24 points at one point. Hofstra finished 10-15 shooting from 3-point range. By comparison, New Hampshire shot just 3-19 from long-range, including 0-7 in the second half.

Junior guard Charles Jenkins led Hofstra once again, dumping in 21 points and picking up three assists. The team’s captain entered the game averaging just over 19 points per game.

Freshman Chaz Williams came up a point shy of a double-double as the freshman point guard finished with 9 points and 10 assists. Williams didn’t start for the 7-3 Pride, but played 31 minutes in the win.

After pouring in 25 on Wednesday in a win against Central Connecticut State, New Hampshire guard Alvin Abreu scored a team-high 16 points, but shot 4-15 from the floor, including 2-7 from 3-point range. The Wildcats (3-4) dropped their fourth road game of the season.

The Wildcats return home next Sunday to face intra-state rival Dartmouth at home.

Hofstra will put their 4-game winning streak on the line against St. John’s (7-1 through Saturday) next Sunday at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan as part of the Holiday Festival. The Pride faces either Davidson or Cornell on Dec. 21 at the Garden.

Read the Hofstra game recap.

Read the New Hampshire game recap.

Live Twitter Stream (reverse chronological order):

  • Hofstra has won its last four meetings against the Red Storm and holds a 5-2 advantage this decade.
  • Hofstra 75, New Hampshire 58 Final
  • Hofstra leads UNH 73-49 with 3:47 left in the game. Jenkins leads Hofstra with 21 points. UNH just 3-18 from 3-point land
  • Listen to my audio tweet.
  • Hofstra up 18 on UNH with 15:35 left in the second half
  • Out of the gate Hofstra scores 7 points in 95 seconds. UNH takes a timeout. 50-33 Hofstra ahead of New Hampshire
  • 2nd half under way
  • Hofstra leads New Hampshire 43-31 at halftime. The 3-point arc is the story of the game so far.
  • Hofstra leading New Hampshire 31-24 with 3:23 left in the first half. Jenkins leads all scorers with 7 points.
  • Hofstra up 23-15 over UNH with 7 minutes left in the first. Pride guard Chaz Williams with 5 assists
  • Listen to my audio tweet.
  • Jenkins back with a new number after getting blood on his 22 uniform
  • Hofstra leads 7-6 five minutes into the game. Star Pride guard Charles Jenkins on the bench after he got his tooth knocked out in a scrum.
  • Hofstra vs UNH about to get under way
  • This is Tim Robertson and I will be reporting live from the Hofstra men’s basketball game against UNH. Game time is 4 p.m. #nnl

Hempstead Village Adopts Downtown Vision Plan Unexpectedly

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

A green space near the Hempstead train station would be a focal point of the Downtown Vision plan. The village board of trustees voted 4-1 on Tuesday to adopt this plan and begin searching for a developer after 11 months of inaction.
(Photo from Vision Report, Village of Hempstead Community Development Agency)

After months of inaction, the Hempstead Board of Trustees voted 4-1 Tuesday night to adopt a draft plan for the controversial Downtown Vision development project.

Several residents said they were shocked by the vote and even the placement of the dormant issue on the meeting’s agenda.

“They surprised the community by putting it on the agenda, and no one knew about it,” said Katherine Garry. “Very unexpected.”

The Village of Hempstead devised a plan to revitalize North Main Street near the LIRR train station and the MTA bus terminal. In the fall of 2008, an environmental impact study determined that if the plan could be fully implemented, it would create $7.1 million in revenue for the village, whereas a scaled-down version of the plan would generate $2.4 million.

Mayor Wayne Hall said he is going to start meeting with designers and architects immediately, and put out the development of the village’s project out for bid.

“It is getting ready to get started,” Hall said at the meeting. The Village of Hempstead plan originally called for the board to draft the plan in November 2008 — 11 months before Tuesday’s meeting.

Hall didn’t mention a specific delay during discussion of the proposal at the meeting, but defended his decision not to hold further public meetings despite promises to do so after a large turnout at previous hearings held last year.

“After reconsidering, we heard from everyone that had something to say,” Hall said at the meeting.

Trustee Don Ryan cast the only dissenting vote.

The plan calls for between 2,500 and 3,000 new residential units — a mix of townhouses and condos — that Garry calls “upscale” and would do nothing but force the community out of the downtown area.

The village’s proposal calls for more than 500,000 square feet of retail space, which Garry contends would drive small businesses out.

Hempstead resident Mark Bottoms agreed, and pointed to tax breaks he says businesses would receive to come into the village.

“It’s time for the taxpayers to stop carrying the burden of blighted sites and tax burden, because developers come in and don’t have to pay anything,” Bottoms said in an interview. “The keep selling us out. Where are the benefits for the residents? Why in our backyard?

For complete Village of Hempstead meeting coverage, check our live blog.

Downtown Vision Plan Slideshow

What the 2008 Hempstead Village report says:


  • Increase revenue and strengthen tax base
  • Strengthen the economy while enhancing quality of life
  • Promote a mix of uses including housing in the downtown
  • Redevelop underutilized buildings and surface lots
  • Enhance walkability and pedestrian safety
  • Increase / improve / connect public open space & parks
  • Focus on accessibility / intermodal center

Recommended action suggested by environment study:

  • 120’ height limit within one-quarter mile of the transit center
  • 85’ height limit within half-mile of the transit center
  • Allow residential land use downtown
  • Promote active ground floor retail along Main Street and North Franklin Street with upper level residential uses
  • Create an active and functional transit plaza

The Downtown Vision plan would:

  • Create spaces for multiple public activities
  • Create a “signature” public space at the transit station
  • Provide dedicated bicycle paths
  • Create pedestrian-friendly routes
  • Incorporate sustainable design strategies and maximize transit use

Editors Drive NNL Hyperlocal Coverage

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment
December 16, 2009

A hyperlocal website can’t run with two people. And when it comes to managing 105 part-time reporters, it takes a lot more than a pair.

The biggest change between this semester and the spring 2009 term was major leap our editors made in picking up responsibilities. I developed beats for seven areas that I wanted NNL to focus on. I included sub-beats in several of them, as well. I then assigned editors to each of the beats and began filling in with reporters. I asked editors to develop their own beat plans, and they did. What resulted on some of the beats was fantastic.

Our coverage of the Lighthouse project turned out excellent (before they pulled themselves off the media map). Our politics coverage benefited a great deal from the hard work that we put in each week to find meetings and bring in unique ways to share the stories.

I couldn’t have handled what I wanted to take on without my team of six editors. Between handling story assignments and what’s coming up and jumping on breaking stories each editor shined this semester, and I’m very grateful for it.

In the inaugural semester of Nassau News Live in the spring of 2009, I shied away from handing great responsibility to a team I generally didn’t know. I took a lot on my shoulders and was swamped all the time. This semester I learned how to delegate to produce results. While I thoroughly enjoy finding newsworthy stories much more than managing people, I can take pride in what we accomplished.

We have a bit of turnover at the editor level heading into 2010, but I look forward to training the new crop on our system and how to help me run a 24-hour newsroom. Hopefully, we’ll be able to spread responsibilities out a bit more, and therefore be able to do more with NNL.

NNL Editors:

Jaymes Langrehr — Business/MTA/Lighthouse

Chari Bayanker — High School Sports

Lisa DiCarlucci — Social Media/Community Manager

Michael Salerno — College Sports

David Gordon — News/Politics

Anna Gallese — Video

News Pay Models Need Added Value

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment
November 30, 2009

We all know advertising alone on the Web won’t save journalism, so we must find alternative solutions.

As a part of my master’s work at Hofstra University, I’ll be looking into different models and attempting to find one that will work for a hyperlocal news organization.

While flipping through studies, one says 74 percent of people say they’ll find another free site instead of paying for content, while a second study pins that number at 48 percent.

And the debate on both sides is age-old.

Some comments on some studies contend news sites could work together and all begin to charge a small fee to begin, and “ramp” up the price until it is a sustainable business. The trouble with that is in a highly competitive industry such as journalism, getting rival news orgs to get along and play the same game is a lofty goal.

And if there are questions of whether the public will pay for news on one site, imagine the questions swirling over whether readers will pay to read the same news on four different sites (i.e. the New York newspaper market). This will breed more competition, innovation and perhaps the market would push one in front of the others. While that sounds good, it could result in news orgs shutting down, and leaving the public with fewer viewpoints and voices.

It seems to be common sense that giving something to the public for free for 15 years, then trying to charge $250 a year isn’t a great idea. At the very least, news organizations need to work on Web innovation now in their planning for a future when some content (if not all) comes at a price to the reader.

  • create valuable and evergreen flash products
  • develop workflows for daily online video (packaged and live)
  • grow a community through social media sites
  • survey how much viewers follow live blogs and live chats

Realizing the habits of viewers with these services will only benefit news orgs in the future, and tell them what their audience is willing to pay for. The average online media organization will have to work harder and do more in a day, but after giving their hard work away for free on the Internet for so long, they’ve dug their own hole. Looking into the list above (plus I’m sure many others) may help some get out of that hole, and by charging for those services, help news media turn a profit online.