Opinion | Features
- The future of the media, and in particular journalism, requires entrepreneurial ‘hacker’ journalists argues Merja Myllylahti in this cross posting from The Conversation.
The Guardian and The Washington Post have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their work in bringing to light documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
It is fashionable to sprout doom and gloom about the future of journalism, but The Washington Post’s editor Martin Baron isn’t joining in.
At the recent International Symposium of Online Journalism Baron listed nine reasons to be positive about journalism - arguing there was no alternative to optimism.
First, new money is flowing to legacy media corporates as well as to new digital ventures, forcing the media industry to rethink business models.
Since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post last August, he has “not put his nose in the newsroom”, according to Baron. This implies that Bezos doesn’t influence editorial decision making, and so far has shown his willingness to invest in news production. The Washington Post is hiring 300 new people this year.
Baron admits the business models of news media remain unsettled as digital advertising on news platforms isn’t growing fast enough. As he puts it, “we now have a living laboratory of business model experimentation”, and this phase of experimentation will yield some successes and some failures of which news companies shouldn’t be embarrassed.
In Australia, newcomers are also experimenting in media markets, and the new weekly print newspaper The Saturday Paper was launched in March. Its target is to gain 100,000 subscribers, and time will tell if the paper can capture weekend readers and enough advertising income to support it.
New digital ventures and new jobs
The second reason for optimism is that new digital media organisations such as Vox Media have started to gain momentum, and thirdly the new generation of “digital native” journalists have entered the field. Surely these are positive signs?
Vox Media’s chief executive officer Jim Bankoff hails his company as one of the fastest growing online publications, and he expects his company to be profitable this year. Vox Media’s business model is based on brand recognition, growing traffic and selling audiences to advertisers. Its business model mirrors that of social media companies such as Facebook, which are dependent on traffic numbers.
Pew Research Center’s latest State of the News Media 2014 report found that in the US, digital news organisations such as Vice, Politico and BuzzFeed have produced 5,000 full time editorial jobs. Yet at the same time layoffs continue in many media outlets. For example, at the start of this year, the US based hyperlocal news platform Patch laid off hundreds of journalists after the company was sold to the private equity firm Hale Global.
However, the new generation of news journalists and news organisations is emerging at the same time as Millenials look for a new type of news. Jake Horowitz, CEO and co-founder of youth-focused PolicyMic, says his generation is “incredibly distrustful of mainstream media institutions". This mistrust has triggered young journalists to start up their own media companies such as The Texas Tribune (US), Homicide Watch (US) and The News Lens (Taiwan).
The Texas Tribune is a non-profit media outlet focusing on local politics, policy, government and other matters, and it promotes “civic engagement.” Since the site was launched in 2009, it has received more than 141 million page views from 18 million visitors. The company has 15-17 reporters, and is funded by individual donors, foundations, corporate sponsorships and advertising.
These kind of ventures and developments are impressive, but yet to prove sustainable in the long-term.
We need entrepreneurial ‘hacker’ journalists
The new digital ventures will provide new jobs for journalists, as the PEW figures indicate. But the skills future journalists need have more to do with entrepreneurial and technological skills than learning shorthand.
As Baron states:
Journalists will have to be entrepreneurial — building entirely new companies, working within new entrepreneurial ventures, or behaving as internal entrepreneurs to transform organisations that have stood for decades.This doesn’t mean journalists won’t need strong story telling skills or journalistic values – it means they must also be equipped with technical skills for example in data analysis, data presentation, coding and video production. The industry is looking to academia to produce journalists who are able to build new digital ventures as well as have all the possible tools to produce stories, and investigate information with ever more sophisticated tools. As Bankoff put it, we have entered an era where the hacker culture meets journalism. And that goes beyond Edward Snowden.
Merja Myllylahti is a lecturer and a PhD researcher at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
The TV Week Logie Awards, a celebration of Australian television, is a wild and colourful beast.
Everything from the highbrow Four Corners to the homely Better Homes and Gardens is feted at the industry’s so called night of nights when young starlets mingle with investigative journalists and comedians with children’s TV presenters.[caption id="attachment_221590" align="alignright" width="100"] Dan Ewing[/caption] [caption id="attachment_221591" align="alignright" width="100"] Steve Peacocke[/caption]
The awards don’t always coincide with what some viewers think is the best television and the most popular shows don’t always win. For example, not many ABC viewers would know who Steve Peacocke and Dan Ewing are. But TV Week, which owns the awards, is full of pictures of the hunky Home and Away stars each week and for that audience they are household names.
The Encore Score is a ranking of on-air talent across TV, radio, film and the media which charts how widely more than 1,000 Australian celebrities are recognised, as well as how positively and negatively they are perceived.
When we compared Encore Scores of Australian TV personalities to the nominees for Most Popular Personality and Actor awards we found a lot of parallels: most of the nominees for Silver and Gold Most Popular Logies also have high Encore Scores.
Five of the Gold and Silver Logie nominees have very high Encore Scores of over 100, two are over 50 and three over 20. Rebecca Gibney (231), Hamish Blake (183), Adam Hills (150), Julia Morris (124), Andy Lee (121) and Scott Cam (104) have all been nominated for Silver and some for Gold and they are among our highest ranked TV stars on the Encore Scores.
Gibney has an Encore Score of 231, and is extremely popular among women (254) and older viewers (25-54). She ranks second only to movie star Hugh Jackman who has the highest overall Encore Score. Gibney won the Gold Logie in 2009 as well as Most Popular Actress award. She was also nominated for Gold in 2010 and 2011.
Offspring star and Gold and Silver nominee Asher Keddie has a high Encore Score of 98 and is much more popular among female viewers (166) than male (30). Keddie won the Gold last year despite Offspring not being among our highest rating dramas, because ratings are not always the only indicator.
If high ratings was a pre-requisite for a Logie, why is Ten presenter Carrie Bickmore a Gold Logie nominee this year again? Bickmore’s star power failed to save Ten’s So You Think You Can Dance from oblivion and the news program she co-hosts, The Project, falls outside the top 50 TV shows each week.[caption id="attachment_185268" align="alignright" width="264"] Carrie Bickmore[/caption]
But Bickmore has something elusive that make people vote for her. She is immensely likeable because of a mix of professionalism and raw emotion that is on display on The Project. This year she is nominated for a Gold Logie for Most Popular Personality on TV as well as for a Silver for Most Popular Presenter. In the Encore Scores she does reasonably well, with a score of 43 and a high score of 70 among female viewers. She is more than twice as popular among younger viewers than older, reflecting the demographic of The Project.
Nine will air the 56th TV Week Logie Awards on Sunday (April 27) at 7.30pm, beginning with the red carpet arrivals hosted by Nine personalities Sonia Kruger and Jules Lund. They’re starting earlier this year after last year’s awards dragged on too late because they were screened after The Voice.
Despite the inclusion of peer-voted Most Outstanding awards, which judge talent rather than popularity, the Logies suffer from a credibility problem.
But the broadcast is always popular and the fashions and the winners fill the news pages. While it’s not as cool as an Emmy, no TV star ever turned down an award -- popular or outstanding.
ABC International has reasons to be proud of its recent deal to provide ABC content in a long-term partnership with China’s second biggest broadcaster Shanghai Media Group writes Wanning Sun, in this cross posting from The Conversation.ABC International has reasons to be proud of its recent “landmark” deal to provide ABC content in China. The deal, which will see the establishment of an online portal, also seems to make it harder for the government to justify scrapping the Australia Network, funded by DFAT and functioning as an official instrument of Australia’s public diplomacy initiatives. The benefit of exposing potentially 1.3 billion people to Australian media content is obvious: Australia is competing with many other countries to attract business, resources investment, education and tourism from China; and perceptions matter. Some may think that doing business with the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), the second-biggest media conglomerate after CCTV (Chinese Central Television), may have the added benefit of teaching the Chinese media a thing or two about what media in a liberal democracy look like. But it’s not that simple. Going out and coming in From the Australian point of view, it seems that the ABC has managed to penetrate the Chinese market. In reality, it’s a matter of China wanting to set up myriad reciprocal relationships so that it can maximise its own exposure to the world. From the point of view of the Shanghai Media Group, allowing the ABC to have an online portal in China is part and parcel of the Chinese government’s recent “going out and coming in” strategy aimed at increasing China’s soft power. China has been seeking new ways of pushing its media content globally. It still doesn’t have landing rights in many countries, especially the much-coveted Western countries. As a result, Chinese state media have experimented with diverse, highly pragmatic ways of making inroads into foreign mainstream media institutions. The ABC deal is part of this approach. The deal will allow China to sell its own media content to the ABC and other media groups. A few years ago, ABC and SMG signed a deal to broadcast an hour of each other’s content for a week. For the third year, ABC had a week on Shanghai TV this March during Prime Minister Tony Abbot’s visit, featuring mainly culture, travel and documentary programs. SMG will have its turn in Australia in September. China sees this as a good vehicle to carry its media content to various parts of the world. Not exclusive But Australia is not the only country SMG has invited to come in. A month ago, the Shanghai Media Group signed a multi-year agreement with Walt Disney to co-develop Disney-branded movies with Chinese elements. Sharing budget and resource strictly 50/50, the partnership is described in the Chinese media as an equitable “marriage” between SMG and Walt Disney Studios. If this is the case, Australia is but one of the partners in SMG’s polygamous operation. Nor should the deal be read as a triumph of democracy over communism, or as a sign that Chinese media are becoming more liberal. There is no indication that China will let its partners dictate the terms and conditions of collaboration, what type of content local broadcasters will use and on what platforms the content will be made available. To be sure, more than CCTV, SMG is positioning itself as a more effective instrument of China’s soft power diplomacy, and is encouraged by the government to be at the forefront of the “going out and coming in” initiative. At the same time, SMG has affirmed its commitment to reduce “frivolous” entertainment programs and boost politically sound and serious news content. Given this internal political climate, it remains to be seen to what extent Australia’s media content will be taken up by Chinese outlets, or indeed if and how Australian news, especially news that seems critical of China, will be made accessible to the Chinese-speaking public. Who really wins? Despite the fact that partnerships such as this are considered to be win-win arrangements, China can be expected to do its own cost-benefit analysis. And there is little evidence to suggest deals such as this will lead to a more open and free news media environment. In more than one way, it was a coup for a news and current affairs program such as Q&A to broadcast live from Shanghai. That said, China seems to have gained much more. First, it was able to show the world and its own people that, contrary to the popular belief about China’s lack of press freedom, China is open, cosmopolitan and willing to engage with global media. This is China’s most important impression-management objective. Second, there was little risk of the Chinese audience seeing the Chinese government placed in a bad light. While broadcast live to the Australian audience, the show was not live to the Chinese audience except those in the studio. And it was scheduled to be on the English-language channel of Shanghai TV, a channel mostly watched by English-speaking expatriates and Chinese social elites in Shanghai. To these people, little that was said on the Q&A program was new. Soft power diplomacy is a funny game. Win-win outcomes are always preferable, but who wins more is a matter of perspective.
Wanning Sun is a professor of Chinese Media and Cultural Studies at University of Technology, Sydney.This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
- Our current method of separating creative and media is more expensive and less effective, leaving us with the worst of both worlds, argues 303Lowe CEO Nick Cleaver. Is it time to bring media and creative back together? Who ever actually proved that separating media and creative services was a good idea; that it represented a better more effective model; one that could deliver better value outcomes? The simple truth is no one. The separation of the disciplines was a response by the holding companies to protect margins as the market deregulated and the media commission system was abandoned. Clients were persuaded that a greater level of transparency and accountability was delivered through an unbundled arrangement. They were offered what appeared to be lower planning and buying fees to justify the separation and resource based fees became the popular means to remunerate creative agencies. The belief was that it made sound financial sense and it was delivering a better value outcome. All appeared to be fine and dandy. However, the reality is quite different. It’s questionable whether unbundling ever really lowered fees, but it’s certain that it has contributed enormously to weaker and less effective campaign outcomes (not to mention the increased time clients now spend coordinating competing agencies). The real cost of the separation is a substantially lower return on a clients advertising investment. This is primarily because media and creative thinking too often takes place in isolation of one another and involves an enormous duplication of effort for highly compromised outcomes. All too often creative and media agencies are involved in a turf war for strategic and creative leadership of the account. Both agencies embark on a strategy process that, rather than offering distinct communication and brand strategy perspectives, actually blur into a consumer insight war where one agency claims primacy over the other. This clamour for the killer consumer insight can involve the client in two parallel strategic processes that, rather than dovetailing cohesively, often sees a duplication of resources, time and effort for a disjointed outcome. This dual strategic process is often conducted concurrently and in isolation. The creative agency works in the absence of a communication insight, and the media agency with a scant knowledge of the brand proposition or creative idea. Everyone loses. At its worst and most petty, the mutual agency rivalry and distrust can result in the media agency presenting publisher-led content ideas that require little or no creative agency involvement (a fine way to reduce their relevance and worth!). Or we see the creative agency presenting ideas in media channels that may not offer the best opportunity for consumer impact or engagement. Media-led content ideas can look very enticing on paper. There’s the draw card of a raft of channels, often including television with the very attractive proposition of minimal production costs. Alongside the attractive numbers (“we will be reaching millions of people”) and the seductive ease of creating the executions, (“oh the station will take care of that”), it’s all too easy to lose sight of whether the actual content is compelling and whether it’s going to engagingly present the brand message. Indeed the brand message can get lost in a blancmange of boring irrelevant content. Of course an increasing number of clients are beginning to question the actual cost of the separation. The duplicate time consuming processes, the effort involved in managing two agencies (or more), liaising with two account teams; two sets of planners and all the time endeavouring to bring the thinking together into one effective campaign solution. Not only are clients beginning to question the sense of this dysfunctional structure, they’re beginning to realise it doesn’t have to be this way and that there are some agencies offering a bundled offering (yes 303Lowe is one of them). Bringing it all together they enjoy the benefits of one team, one process, one cohesive strategy and one genuine campaign idea. Creative ideas are stronger when they are inspired by media insights and vice versa. I’m not suggesting media specialist agencies are about to disappear or that they don’t do a very professional job for their clients, but I am firmly saying the separation compromises outcomes no matter how good the participants. The pendulum is beginning to swing back towards agencies that can offer clients a holistic approach. The façade of separating two disciplines that should live together is just beginning to show signs of fatigue. The amount of client dissatisfaction with the system is going to increase as they begin to discover there is a smarter way of delivering more effective outcomes. The media landscape is going to change again, and it’s long overdue. Nick Cleaver is chief executive officer of 303Lowe
- You’ve heard the story about the cobbler whose kids got around in old shoes, it reminds me of the current state of agency brands. Grab hold of any creative agency brand, and barring two or three notable exceptions very little pulls them apart. At a rational level nearly all creative agencies have strategy, creative, account management and production as the services they offer. At an emotive level I don’t get a lot of difference either. At a push the new ones will amplify their nimbleness, smaller size, and possibly independence. The more established ones will highlight the benefits of being connected to a global network. With a lack of a clearly articulated brand most agencies therefore rely on ‘talent’ to differentiate themselves. Unfortunately, when the talent moves on so does the equity of that particular agency (again with some notable exceptions). My question is, if as an industry we are extremely good at helping our clients create powerful enduring brands, why do so many of us struggle to create an equally strong agency brand? Adam Ferrier is CSO / Partner at independent creative and media agency, Cummins&Partners. Twitter @adamferrier
- As huge changes blow through the Australian media agency landscape Nikki Retallick argues the smaller more collaborative companies will be the ones to thrive. It’s a great time to be in the Australian ad industry. The winds of change are blowing. With the recent launch of Department212 and the success of earlier start-ups such as Bohemia, there’s some real momentum towards the rise of the independent, performance-based media agency. The big agencies are starting to follow suit, having seen the ‘race to the bottom on price’ hit their bottom line. It’s all about delivering measurable value now and being able to move the dial on the clients’ business. Last year, IPG Mediabrands announced they’d be moving half their clients to some form of performance-based metric as part of their remuneration model, with global CEO Matt Seiler saying “it’s time for someone to take responsibility for clients’ total business outcomes.” In light of this disruptive and evolving landscape, now is a good time to reflect upon what has changed in the media planning and buying world to enable this brave new breed of companies who are prepared to put skin in the game and who dare to ask to be rewarded for delivering good results. It’s not so long back that media buying was all about scale. Agencies aggregated their clients’ dollars and used the resulting spending power to negotiate bulk discounts and preferential treatment from media sellers. In those days, it made sense that agencies charged percentage fees and retainers. But, the arrival of digital advertising some 15 years ago started to shake things up. Today, it’s the blistering pace in evolution of advertising technology that has really changed the dynamic. Now, like never before, ad technology is allowing media companies and their partners to become more automated in their processes, more integrated in their systems and, thus, better informed and more competitive in their buying decisions. With the advent of automation, potentially any buyer can access the same pools of inventory as the media-buying powerhouses. Scale itself is no longer the differentiator – the playing field has been levelled. Arguably, it’s the smaller media buying operations that are reaping the most benefits – at least in the short-term. Clients are increasingly demanding agencies be agile, data-driven and creative. In many respects, it’s the smaller, more nimble outfits that are better positioned to deal with this rapidly changing landscape as they don’t have clunky legacy systems and processes. Nor do they suffer from the strong resistance to change, which seems entrenched amongst the leadership teams of some of the larger agency networks. Hanging on to tried and tested models of the past is becoming detrimental to business, and agencies are starting to lose long-standing clients who’d been considered part of the furniture. It’s a major transformation, one that is forcing agencies to retrain their ‘Mad Men’ to become 'Maths Men’. Traditional planner buyers are being taught to become more data savvy and technically adept. It makes sense to accomplish this transformation at a group level, creating new business units with specialist skillsets across data architecture, ad tech and operations. The commercial model of these units varies enormously from group to group, with some offering clients more transparency than others. The future isn’t just about automation, accountability and shared goals as measures of success. It’s about being able to do more with less. The integration of tools and technology to enable better workflows across is also critical. So, too, is the concept of customisation. Success will rely on the adaptability of technology and platforms, allowing for the individual needs of clients to be met through openness and interoperability. This will, of course, spur on a brand new world of ‘frenemies’, or competing vendors that will have to learn to play nicely together. When it comes to long-term success for the industry, those companies with an agnostic approach will surely win out in the long term. The next few years, I suspect, will see a major upheaval in how agencies operate. IPG’s Magna Global, probably the most powerful media-trading unit in the US, is aiming for 50 percent automated buying by 2016. Here in Australia programmatic spend is estimated to total AU$5 billion between 2014 and 2017 and it will continue to grow as clients demand more bang for their buck. More efficient processes and richer data to support buying decisions will be par for the course, and using the right technology to facilitate this shift is crucial. But, like anything, wanting to change is, for many, the important first step. Those that do will be paid well for their efforts. Nikki Retallick is senior director of client strategy for Adap.tv
- Last night ANZ launched one of Australia's biggest branded content plays to date. Mumbrella's Tim Burrowes was at the launch.
It took a few minutes too long last night for it to dawn on me why there was a jazz band in the corner of the room at ANZ's Melbourne conference suite. Blue Notes - gerrit?
And what last night's event did make clear is that the opportunities of that developing subset of branded content, brand journalism, are beginning to dawn on local brands.
The movement - embraced early on by Australia's big sporting codes - is now going mainstream. As it begins to look less like a fad, the question is instead shifting to that of: how big will it be?
First though to ANZ's new offering.
Blue Notes is an opportunity for the bank to amplify its voice on financial and economic issues.
Under the leadership of former Australian Financial Review associate editor Andrew Cornell and former Private Media and Fairfax publisher Amanda Gome, the website will pump out news, analysis and video. The resources are decent - a bigger editorial team than your typical specialist or trade magazine, subscriptions to all the news wires including Bloomberg and of course access to ANZ's network of business people.
Its interview with its own chairman David Gonski leans towards the former, albeit written straight, while Cornell's column, on Bitcoin, is analysis that wouldn't have been out of place in his old slot in the AFR.
It's also not entirely clear what success looks like for this project. If the bar is set relatively low as having a great online newsroom, then the site is already there.
If it's about delivering regular engagement with customers (and perhaps more importantly potential customers) then that seems realistic too. That's part of the model of Bruce Guthrie's The New Daily, backed by the super funds, after all. And it also seems to be the thinking behind NRMA Motoring's Live4.com.au, which is about lifestyle and mindset rather than brand.
But the big ask is whether Blue Notes can become a credible voice in its own right, where people interested in the topics it covers automatically turn for information and analysis. That's the big win for brand journalism.
Regardless, the game is changing. When I interviewed Joe Jareck, public relations director of The LA Dodgers on stage at CommsCon last month, he was quite open about how the brand now chooses to release its own news on its own site first, rather than to the LA Times. That way, the Dodgers' own journo would put the Dodgers spin on it, he said.
Blue Notes doesn't yet have it all covered off. Distribution will be a big question. They say they engaged with 60,000 consumers on the first day, via the site and social media. Even if that number is accurate, I'm sure it will initially fall away after the first surge of interest.
Front and centre, the site offers an email signup. Which, unfashionable as it is, in my view remains one of the most powerful news distribution tools there is. (Email distribution is a major plank in Mumbrella's daily reach, for instance.)
But that will be a slow build. How to push Blue Notes to existing customers without annoying them is an interesting question.
[caption id="attachment_221154" align="alignright" width="232"] Outbrain on smh.com.au[/caption]
Outbrain - that widget you see at the bottom of stories on various news sites offering external links to brand content - is becoming an important player in this space. Not only does it offer brands an answer to the distribution question, it offers the existing media owners an indirect new channel of revenue from the growth of branded content. Expect the price of those clicks to go up...
It will also be interesting to see the attitude ANZ takes to sharing of its content. Why not take a leaf from Andrew Jaspan's brainchild The Conversation and publish everything under Creative Commons? With a back link, that would allow any mainstream title to use Cornell's column, for instance.
It would certainly amplify - and differentiate - the bank's voice. The fact that Blue Notes videos are hosted on YouTube already means they are already embeddable anywhere.
Here also is a distinctive chunk of social media that ANZ will get credit for leadership in over its competitors. (It was interesting to note representatives from most of the rival brands were in the room.)
Which of course is at least part of the plan. NAB has been making a lot of the running in setting the agenda in recent years - with The Break Up, for instance, and is dipping its toe into this space too. And CommBank has arguably been doing the most interesting advertising around its Can positioning. This is something ANZ can be known for.
Another factor to be borne in mind is that brand journalism is providing a potential new career direction just at a moment when journos are losing their jobs.
It's tempting to ask who will then grow the next generation of journos for brands to pluck their talent from if the old media owners aren't doing so. But if an organisation like ANZ can build a publishing operation in a few months, it's not unrealistic to think that brands can invest in training too.
And the troubles of the mainstream media is another reason for brands to be looking in this direction. Fewer outlets for their messages is an issue for them too.
But the swing away from paid media to earned media also raises big questions for how brands organise themselves.
The comms people, not the marketing teams, seem the natural guardians of this kind of content. It's about a conversation, not a message.
For a long time, the marketing teams have the giant budgets while the PR and corporate comms teams make do with scraps. But the boundary between earned media, owned media and paid media is blurring. The old fashioned - and still near-universal - divisions between the comms team and the marketing team will have to disappear in time. And more urgently, the budgets could well shift too.
It's a fascinating time.
- Tim Burrowes is content director of Mumbrella
Recently there was another report from the scientists of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) telling us that climate change (what used to be called global warming) is upon us and there are real changes happening now (I bet I’ve lost several readers already!)
The scientists are urging us to heed their warning and change our behaviours, yet we ignoring them in droves. Even though information they are giving us is dire.
The issue is that ‘information’ has rarely been a good behavioural change instrument for the masses. We've just lived through the ‘information age’, a time where all of the world’s information was organised for us and made available to all of our fingertips. How many of the world’s problems did all of this easily accessible information solve?
However, there is one brilliant answer staring us in the face. In fact it’s without doubt the best changer of mass behaviour we have, and it’s called ‘Reality TV’.
Reality TV has made many Australians
- Lose weight, particularly in one country town (The Biggest Loser)
- move to the beat more (So You Think You Can Dance)
- Increase their time volunteering to keep the beaches safe (Bondi Rescue)
- Cook better (Master Chef)
- …and be better handy people (The Block)
- The information gets across. Reality TV entertains first and informs second. (get the message)
- It creates social norms. Reality TV shows are a great way of increasing motivation for a particular activity as they make something feel like it’s already popular and thereby change the social norms. People like to conform so if they think others are already doing something, they’ll do it too.
- Models the desired behaviour. Ever wanted to cook a croque en bouche? Watch how assessable ‘models’ do it
- Get’s people involved: Once you watch a 13 part show on (say gardening) you’ll more likely want to get involved in the activity yourself.
- It gamifies the learnings: We are watching people win and lose – it’s fun.
- The Daily Telegraph has delivered a great piece of old fashioned campaigning journalism, argues Mumbrella's Tim Burrowes Back when I worked in newspapers, I was taught that if a newspaper is going to embark on a campaign, it has to pass three tests. First, and most important: Is it in tune with the readers? Second: Does it have a clearly defined goal? Third: Is it winnable? On that basis, The Daily Telegraph's campaign for a second airport for Sydney is a textbook example of a great newspaper campaign. Later today, the Federal cabinet is set to endorse an infrastructure plan which will see the airport built in the newspapers Western Sydney heartland. While it's impossible to know for sure, speaking as a reader of the newspaper, it feels like The Tele's campaigning on the issue has been decisive. By getting readers on side, it cleared political blockages both at state and federal level. Local MPs worried about local opposition to increased noise and congestion were nudged in the direction of supporting the economic boost, thanks in large part to the cover provided by The Tele. [caption id="attachment_220742" align="alignright" width="201"] How The Tele rounded up its campaign in today's edition[/caption] Perhaps the airport would have been built anyway. But given the fact that politicians have dithered for half a century, that seems unlikely. Best of all for the paper, it is a campaign right in the heartland of its most important readership - Western Sydney. It ties in with the newspaper's wider #FairGoWest campaign. And it's a great example where the product lives up to the position - in this case the "We're for Sydney" slogan the paper launched two years ago. Back then, I interviewed editor Paul Whittaker and he set out his campaigning stall around improving transport and infrastructure in the city. http://youtu.be/R9oHa8H4Xko His job, he said, would be "Identifying the problem, looking at possible solutions, and then pushing governments at all levels to try to get outcomes for the benefit of the people of Sydney." That's exactly what happened with story after story prosecuting the case and chivvying the politicians to get on with it. Clearly the airport's not built yet. And Sydney has plenty more infrastructure issues for the newspaper to get its teeth into. Regardless, these sort of campaigns are what tabloid newspapers, at their best, are all about. Tim Burrowes is content director of Mumbrella
- Following a series of special reports on piracy on Mumbrella this week Foxtel's Bruce Meagher explains why the company is airing Game of Thrones as it is. Much has been made in the past few days of the fact that fans of Game of Thrones are unable to acquire the series through services other than Foxtel until after the final episode airs. Unfortunately, there has also been much misinformation about how Foxtel is making Game of Thrones available to the public. [caption id="attachment_84493" align="alignright" width="113"] Bruce Meagher[/caption] The criticisms relate both to price and the Foxtel business model. Some even conclude that unauthorised downloading is justified because of these objections. As KGB commented in relation to a recent Mumbrella story, that’s like justifying stealing a Ferrari on the basis that the waiting list is too long or the price is too high (maybe it’s because you don’t want all of the features). You only have to state the proposition to realise how absurd it is. Another argument that is sometimes made is that you’re only making a digital copy, not actually stealing an object. Try telling that to the actors, extras, writers, camera crew, make up artists, editors, special effects teams and the many others who make Game of Thrones. The artistry and skill they bring to the production has real value and deserves to be rewarded. Having said that, at Foxtel we recognise the need to be flexible to meet consumers’ reasonable expectations as to speed of access and pricing. That’s where Foxtel Play comes in. Foxtel Play is the best comparison to iTunes and similar services. Foxtel Play is a streaming service available over the internet via a range of devices: PCs and Macs, Sony PlayStation 3, Xbox360, Samsung and LG smart TVs and Samsung Blu-Ray. You can also use your Foxtel Play subscription to activate Foxtel Go on a range of Apple and Android phones and tablets. It takes a few minutes to sign up and there are no lock in contracts so customers are free to come and go on a month to month basis. Because we air each episode Express from the US you can sign up and be watching within a couple of hours of its US broadcast. What’s more you can register three devices and watch on two simultaneously. So, for example, if a member of the family or household is travelling they can still catch the latest episode as it goes to air or on demand even if someone else is watching at the same time. All episodes of Games of Thrones season 4 (plus 2 and 3) will be available in the catch up library for the duration of the series. You can watch as often as you want and new comers can get up to speed with past episodes. As a special Game of Thrones offer Foxtel Play including the Movies and Premium Drama Pack is available for $35 per month for the duration of the series. Plus, the first 14 days are free to new subscribers. For that price you also get a range of other channels and programs, including past seasons of Game of Thrones and other exceptional dramas such as True Detective, Girls, True Blood, Boadwalk Empire, access to around 1,000 movie titles and much more. Of course some people say they don’t care about all of that, they only want the most recent episodes of Game of Thrones. However, HBO has decided that is not the way they intend to sell this season either here on in the United States. As the content creator and risk taker on the show, they are entitled to make those commercial decisions. As I have said elsewhere, dragons don’t come cheap. If consumers’ only choice was full Foxtel, with lock in contracts and a delay in access due to the need to get installed (a fantastic service by the way for people who love great television) I could understand the objection. But with Foxtel Play available those objections vanish. What we are left with is an argument at the margins about a few dollars. Yet some people still feel that they should be entitled to take this show for free without the consent of its creators rather than pay a reasonable price for an extraordinary product. The Lannisters may not be a pleasant lot, but they, at least, always pay their debts. Bruce Meagher is director of corporate affairs for Foxtel.
- This year's Mumbrella Awards are going to be tougher to enter than ever before. Which makes winning one worth even more. As the call for entries goes live, Tim Burrowes explains the changes for this year.
Please don't hate me.
I hear a common complaint about some industry awards, and I'm afraid it's mostly my fault.
About seven years ago, I oversaw the first couple of years of the B&T Awards. In some categories, I introduced a new idea into the market - finalists were invited to present in person to the jury. I'll explain my reasoning in a moment.
So when I launched the Mumbrella Awards, we introduced a similar process in some categories.
Funnily enough, people who have been through the process with the B&T Awards sometimes moan about it to me, unaware that I was to blame.
So let me explain my thinking - and why we plan to increase people's stress levels even further with the Mumbrella Awards this year.
First, let me acknowledge this: sitting with your team in an anonymous hotel corridor waiting to talk to a jury is a stressful process. And that's before you go in and present, let alone take the tough questions that follow.
It's quite hard to organise too. Rounding up high calibre jurors, and wrangling the top ranks of most of the industry into the same place on the same day is a big ask.
This year though, we're going even further. Every one of our categories will be judged this way. If you're going to win, you're going to need to persuade a jury to shortlist you based on your written claims - and then you're going to need to look them in the eye and convince them all over again that you should win.
So why do we do it this way? Because, in my view, the quality of the result is improved.
Over the years, I've heard a lot of juries debate a lot of entries. A common complaint from the jury is when they struggle to know whether to believe a claim. My advice has always been to shortlist based on the entry's claims, and to only select a winner if you are 100 per cent convinced.
A face-to-face presentation gives the jury that opportunity to be convinced. Or not.
In addition, I've heard juries frustrated at written entries and unable to pick a winner. In one category where that occurred last year I was convinced that if the finalists were in the room, they would have easily been able to overcome the doubts. But instead, no winner was awarded.
Conversely, I've never seen a jury which didn't find a worthy winner when it gets to spend time with finalists face-to-face.
And most importantly, when you put finalists in front of the jury (so long as you recruit the right people) they tend to get the result right. I'm proud to say that while a couple of other industry awards have thrown up very odd winners in recent years, I can proudly stand behind all the verdicts of our jurors.
We're going further yet though. For the last couple of years, we've been the only awards where a senior panel of jurors has toured the offices of the finalists for creative agency of the year. Last year this jury covered Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne. For us it wasn't a cheap process (the entry fees certainly didn't cover the jury's flights and hotels, but it meant that we could be certain we picked the right winner and really understood what made them tick.)
And this year, we're expanding to a second roving jury. We'll also be touring the offices of the media agency of the year finalists.
And we won't just be basing our juries in Sydney. In conjunction with our sister site Mumbrella Asia, we'll be judging the regional creative network of the year, regional media network of the year and the new category of regional PR network of the year in Singapore. That jury will be captained by the redoubtable Darren Woolley.
Meanwhile, there are new categories too - including recognition of the fast growing area of content marketing, and for digital services company of the year.
We've also, with the support of industry charity Un Ltd, created the new category of pro bono campaign of the year.
And for individuals, we will be recognising the newcomer of the year.
Also, we're retiring a couple of categories. Post production house of the year got little support last year, perhaps reflecting the state of the production sector. And thinker of the year is also not returning. Hopefully those who fancy themselves as a thinker will concentrate their efforts on the returning Mumbrella Award for Insight.
Meanwhile, we've maintained the price of entry (although late entries will cost you more now).
However, one element of the Mumbrella Awards will be significantly more straightforward this year. We've built a brand new awards site, which involves direct entry of text. Production values will no longer be a factor.
I agree with those who argue that there are too many industry awards, and people will have to be increasingly strategic about where they invest their resource into entering. I believe the ones that thrive will be the ones where winning actually means something.
I do hope you enter. The judging process will be hard work. But imagine how you'll feel if you pick up a trophy at The Star on the night of June 5. And best of all, everyone will know you deserved it.
- Tim Burrowes is the content director of Mumbrella. To view details of the Mumbrella Awards, download this PDF.
- With the battle for early evening eyeballs increasingly important for commercial TV networks Amanda Meade looks at the numbers to see if the most popular newsreaders are the most watched. Despite dramatic changes to the media landscape in the past ten years, the traditional 6pm commercial news bulletin on free-to-air television remains a key building block in a network’s schedule - get it right and you can carry big audiences over to your primetime shows. Some bulletins have even expanded from 30 minutes to an hour in the main markets of Sydney and Melbourne. [caption id="attachment_219545" align="alignright" width="234"] Mark Ferguson[/caption] But getting the right reader is tricky. When the legendary Brian “Hendo” Henderson retired from Channel Nine in Sydney, the bulletin slowly slumped into second place and it took years and three newsreaders for Nine to regain its ratings crown. After Hendo, Nine went through Jim Waley and Mark Ferguson before ditching them for Peter Overton, the incumbent who leads the pack between 6pm and 7pm in Sydney. Similarly, over on Seven, when veteran Ian “Roscoe” Ross retired at 70, ratings began a long, slow decline and Chris Bath - the first woman to front a number one commercial bulletin in Sydney - wasn’t able to hang on to first place and she was recently replaced by Ferguson who had defected to Seven. Overton, Bath, Ferguson - and Ten’s Sandra Sully - all have high Encore Scores, a measure of their standing with the public which was tabulated from a survey of 3,500 respondents last year. The respondents were shown a series of pictures of Australian on-air personalities and asked how they felt about them from “one of my favourites” to “I hate them”. In the entire Encore Score list of 1,000 personalities, only five got a score over 200. Surprisingly, Overton, who has more viewers than Ferguson (96), also has the lowest score of 52 of the four Sydney personalities. But Nine’s ratings may be due to the strong stories and live crosses than the newsreader alone. Overton also scores highly among women, some three times more than with male viewers. Chris Bath (140) who was recently moved aside for Ferguson and Sully (110) performed much stronger than Overton and the other men in the Sydney market. [caption id="attachment_219546" align="alignright" width="234"] Sandra Sully[/caption] Sully is one of the nation’s most popular and enduring newsreaders. Having both a strong national and Sydney profile, Sully is particularly popular among the older (25 to 54 year old) demographic and is more than twice as popular among men than women. No surprises there. Perhaps because she presented the national late news on Ten for so many years, Sully has a strong Encore Score among all Australians (98) rather than just in Sydney. In Melbourne, the reigning king of news is Nine’s Peter “Hitch” Hitchener and his Encore Score of 164 reflects his enduring popularity. But not far behind is Seven’s Peter Mitchell with 141. However, while Ten’s veteran newsreader Mal Walden has an Encore Score of 59, his replacement Stephen Quartermain, who moved across form the sports desk to replace him, scored just 45 in the study conducted last May, and we would expect his profile to be higher now, although he resonated better than Walden in the 25-54 demographic. [caption id="attachment_219556" align="alignright" width="112"] Sharyn Ghidella[/caption] Brisbane’s Sharyn Ghidella is very popular with a high Encore Score of 144. Ghidella has been reading the Seven News in Brisbane since January 2013 and has also presented the local edition of Today Tonight, which perhaps accounts for her high recognition and popularity. Ghidella is four times more popular with over 25s than she is with the 18 to 39s and twice as popular with men as she is with women, which is interesting for a female newsreader. Andrew Lofthouse, a former ABC personality, reads the Nine News in Brisbane and has a high Encore Score of 96. Lofthouse has twice the recognition among older viewers in Brisbane than he does in the under 25s, which is unsurprising as all news bulletins have an older demographic. In Perth Ten’s Narelda Jacobs, an indigenous role model for young women in Western Australia, has always been a strong performer, with an Encore Score of 101. [caption id="attachment_219559" align="alignright" width="174"] Narelda Jacobs[/caption] But Susanna Carr who reads the news on Seven has an Encore Score of 189 in her home State, no doubt due to her longevity. Carr has been presenting the news in Western Australia since 1985. Jacobs, Carr and Seven's Rick Ardon (99) all perform better with the older demographic than the younger respondents in the Encore Score survey. The Encore Score is a ranking of on-air talent across TV, radio, film and the media. The project launched in 2012 with a second round of data compiled in June 2013. The results chart how widely more than 1,000 Australian celebrities are recognised, as well as how positively and negatively they are perceived. Click here to see the full interactive rankings. Amanda Meade The Encore Score is a joint venture between Focal Attractions, Pure Profile and The Acid Test.
- This week Adam Ferrier asks whether PR is starting to mean everything and nothing, and whether it is any different from traditional advertising. I've been thinking about the PR industry lately and where PR fits in the broader communications landscape. I've thought about it a lot, and worked with most models from integration under one roof to partner agencies, and a few things in-between. PR is a mythical beast and one I don't think most people quite get (including me?). There is the behind the scenes classic walking the corridors of power 'spin doctor' stereotype, and there is the moi- darling press release sending glamour puss stereotype. Yet there is also a third type of PR much more prevalent than the first two who I would describe as a strategically creative, conversation maintaining type of PR. The first two can easily be written off as bad, dated cliche's of PR - and although they no doubt both exist - they are clearly in the very small minority of what PR does. However, the third group, the strategically creative set is what I'm interested in. If they are the bulk of PR these days - how exactly do they differ from a modern brand building agency? It seems like everyone is talking about always on communications. Two way communications. Conversations. And so on. So just like digital is starting to mean everything and nothing. Is PR also starting to mean everything and nothing. Is this the reason most agencies who win PR awards are not PR agencies? My question is does a modern PR agency do things that different to a modern creative agency to warrant a whole separate agency supplier - or should the two ideally be combined? Adam Ferrier is chief strategy officer at Cummins&Partners. Each week he sets Mumbrella readers a new question to answer. His book ‘The Advertising Effect’ is available for pre-purchase here.
- After a rare business class flight, Mumbrella's Tim Burrowes argues that brands may miss opportunities when staff treat customers according to their perceived value.
So over the weekend, I finally got to make the metaphorical left turn getting onto a Qantas flight. And it was everything I could have wanted.
Not, I stress, that our first Mumbrella Question Time in Hong Kong was such a raging commercial success, I could justify a business class flight. But I was able to use accumulated points to get an upgrade. (Who knew that,even for business class, these days you still actually turn right, on the A380 at least?)
So for once, I got a brand experience I'm not used to. And it was a very good one at that.
But as someone whose career choices mean that I'm likely to to be turning metaphorically right on aeroplanes for the rest of my life, the fact that I was a temporary visitor probably made me see the brand experience through the prism of what I would soon be returning to.
And it wasn't the Peter Morrissey branded grey Qantas pyjamas that focused my thinking. Even if it did make me and my fellow business class passengers look like overweight extras from Brother Wherefore Art Though.
Or even the newly opened Qantas Hong Kong business lounge with Neil Perry "inspired" dining which was every bit as pleasant as the picture suggests.
From the perspective of a non travel warrior, the experience was impeccable. There was nothing about the service in that business cabin that could possibly make one think "Next time I'll try a different airline". It was speedy, courteous and friendly.
At busy moments attendants swarmed through the cabin in a way that doesn't happen in economy. And nor necessarily should it. You get what you (or your company, more likely) pay for when it coms to staffing levels.
But it was actually a random encounter with the flight attendants at about 4am, somewhere over Queensland, that focused my mind about how brands treat their non premium customers.
I woke briefly, removing my noise-cancelling headphones and comfortable eyeshades, pull back my duvet and getting up from my flatbed (complete with massage controls that I neglected to experiment with) to head through the darkened cabin to the bathroom.
Three of the flight attendants were quietly chatting in their jump seats.
One of them leapt to his feet, offering water, or anything else I wanted.
And that was the moment.
Over the years, in wee small hours bathroom trips on various airlines, I've stumbled on flight attendants on downtime in their jump seats in many an economy cabin.
And never once have they jumped to their feet to see whether I wanted water.
So why, culturally, does a business class customer put staff on their feet, and an economy one does not?
One would assume that in both cases, the crew are equally tired.
Both customers have paid some money and in both cases, one assumes the airline wants them to have the best possible experience based on the resources available.
Is it simply that the best staff get put into business class? The ones most likely to rush to offer service.
Or is it that culturally, as well as economically, there are different classes of customer? Ones that you need to go all out to look after, and ones where it's okay not to try quite as hard.
I've experienced as much with other brands. Sometimes, it's not about what you've paid, but appearance, I suspect.
On a day off, I once walked into a branch of Commonwealth Bank, which at the time was running its "Concierge" ad
A few minutes before, I'd become exasperated by a long, impersonal wait at my ANZ bank, which did indeed involve taking a ticket.
The customer insight was a good one. The investment into the creative work by M& C Saatchi, and the TV ads worked. I walked into CommBank's flagship branch on Sydney's George Street, intending to ditch ANZ.
I had, metrosexual that I am, come from having a facial. So the front of my hair was damp and standing on end. I was scruffily dressed. I may even have had a small backpack with me.
It was also probably inconveniently close to closing time.
There was indeed a concierge who was talking to a colleague, a conversation he carried on for another minute or so after giving me the once over.
When he did ask me how he could help, I mentioned I was perhaps looking to open an account.
His first words: "You'll need your passport." At this point, I'd been living in Australia for five years, but I must admit, I do still have a strong English accent. So yes, I think he assumed I was a backpacker.
The wait for somebody to come and talk to me was long enough that I'd decided that I'd give it one more minute,then walk out, when somebody did come over and bring me through to a cubicle.
By now it was just about 5pm.
I mentioned that I was thinking of moving bank accounts. I didn't mention that I'd likely be buying a home soon, and had a reasonable deposit already in my existing account. I didn't mention that I already owned property in the UK, and had a share of a business in Australia.
I asked about the process of switching across automated payments to utilities and the like. I said this was the only thing stopping me from having made the move. It was indeed a difficult process, she told me.
I assumed there would be a script, in which the next line would be her telling me, that they were there as a bank to help me complete it. But there wasn't a next line.
So I said I'd think about it, thanked her for her time and left. She didn't try to stop me. Two years later, I'm still with the ANZ.
But I suspect that if I had walked through the door wearing a suit and with my hair a bit neater, the CommBank's staff would have reacted to me in a different way, and I'd now be their customer.
And that's the thing that the CommBank experience has in common with non Qantas business class flights. Sometimes, a brand's staff could treat a customer better without it costing anything extra. Sometimes it comes down to culture and training.
Otherwise staff make unconscious judgements. Why leap to your feet for an economy passenger who probably only wants to go to the bathroom anyway? Why go out of the way for a scruffy backpacker who's probably not got much money anyway?
Yet, imagine if you did travel with an airline where the economy class flight attendants tried as hard as the ones in business. You'd be a little more likely to travel with them next time, wouldn't you?
And sometimes, business class customers do travel economy class. Their brand perceptions are formed there too.
I'm ruined now though. I've tasted business class. Please don't make me go back...
- Tim Burrowes is content director of Mumbrella. Although he paid for his ticket and upgrade, he got into the Hong Kong lounge after asking the Qantas press office for an invitation when they sent out a press release about its opening last week.
- This week in his Answers for Adam column Adam Ferrier asked whether agencies should imitate startups. Here Nic Hodges argues agencies need to focus on their ideas, but modernise processes. In his column this week Adam Ferrier asks "would your agency be doing better work if it put data, behavioural sciences, and technology up on pedestal along with creativity? Or is a single-minded focus on creativity still the answer?". Here's a secret - nobody at a startup is sitting around caring about acting more like an advertising agency. It wasn't just this question that got my interest, it was the fact that the question was posed only after the now common call for agencies to act more like startups - Ferrier even asks "is it cooler to attend the Cannes Lions or tweet about the latest gadget unveiled at SXSW?". Agencies don't need to act more like startups. Agencies need to act more like modern agencies - ones that have evolved in response to new technology, tools, and thinking. Because that's exactly what startups have done.Here's a secret - nobody at a startup is sitting around caring about acting more like an advertising agency. For startups, technology such as social networks have allowed rapid distribution due to network effects. New tools like Amazon Web Services and Django mean two guys in a garage can launch and scale a billion dollar idea like Instagram. New thinking around agile development, lean methodology, and user validation means startups can get to the right answer faster. These technologies, tools, and thinking do not define what a startup is though. They are simply components that have been be added to the underlying engine. That engine, according to Lean Startup author Eric Ries, is the desire to "deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty". When Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce founded Fairchild Semiconductors in 1957 (essentially founding Silicon Valley in the process), their engine was akin to the 4-litre dual-carburetored V6 engine available in a Chevy at the time. With the components that have been created since, today's startups have an engine resembling the modern turbo-charged, electronically assisted, hyper-efficient F1 engines. There's a lot of technology, tools, and thinking there, but underneath it's still an internal combustion engine. The engine of advertising agencies is the creative idea. Without the underlying engine, it doesn't matter what components you throw in - whether it's startups, behavioural economics, or big data - the fundamental purpose of the agency is absent. If agencies stop putting ideas at the centre of what they do, if the idea ceases to be the engine, then agencies are no longer agencies. This is not to say that data, behavioural science, technology, or whatever else is in vogue should be ignored. But these things need to be considered as components for the engine, not a replacement for it. As an industry, we're not terribly good at recognising this and creating new components. I've spent the last decade around both agencies and startups, and the evolution of how startups operate is orders of magnitude more than that of agencies. The call to act more like startups bears a striking resemblance to previous calls for agencies to act differently - a couple years back it was big data, before that it was behavioural economics. We are quite adept at creating a convenient fiction of what other domains look like, and how we need to be more like 'them', how we need to completely change our engine. But we don't, and we shouldn't. We shouldn't ignore other domains altogether - there is plenty agencies can learn from startups. But creative ideas have always been, and should always be, at the heart of what agencies do. We don't need to change that engine, we just need to create better components. Nic Hodges is head of innovation and technology at MediaCom Australia
- The future of the media, and in particular journalism, requires entrepreneurial ‘hacker’ journalists argues Merja Myllylahti in this cross posting from The Conversation. The Guardian and The Washington Post have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their work in bringing to light documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It is fashionable to sprout doom and gloom about the future of journalism, but The Washington Post’s editor Martin Baron isn’t joining in. At the recent International Symposium of Online Journalism Baron listed nine reasons to be positive about journalism - arguing there was no alternative to optimism. First, new money is flowing to legacy media corporates as well as to new digital ventures, forcing the media industry to rethink business models. Since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post last August, he has “not put his nose in the newsroom”, according to Baron. This implies that Bezos doesn’t influence editorial decision making, and so far has shown his willingness to invest in news production. The Washington Post is hiring 300 new people this year. Baron admits the business models of news media remain unsettled as digital advertising on news platforms isn’t growing fast enough. As he puts it, “we now have a living laboratory of business model experimentation”, and this phase of experimentation will yield some successes and some failures of which news companies shouldn’t be embarrassed. In Australia, newcomers are also experimenting in media markets, and the new weekly print newspaper The Saturday Paper was launched in March. Its target is to gain 100,000 subscribers, and time will tell if the paper can capture weekend readers and enough advertising income to support it. New digital ventures and new jobs The second reason for optimism is that new digital media organisations such as Vox Media have started to gain momentum, and thirdly the new generation of “digital native” journalists have entered the field. Surely these are positive signs? Vox Media’s chief executive officer Jim Bankoff hails his company as one of the fastest growing online publications, and he expects his company to be profitable this year. Vox Media’s business model is based on brand recognition, growing traffic and selling audiences to advertisers. Its business model mirrors that of social media companies such as Facebook, which are dependent on traffic numbers. Pew Research Center’s latest State of the News Media 2014 report found that in the US, digital news organisations such as Vice, Politico and BuzzFeed have produced 5,000 full time editorial jobs. Yet at the same time layoffs continue in many media outlets. For example, at the start of this year, the US based hyperlocal news platform Patch laid off hundreds of journalists after the company was sold to the private equity firm Hale Global. However, the new generation of news journalists and news organisations is emerging at the same time as Millenials look for a new type of news. Jake Horowitz, CEO and co-founder of youth-focused PolicyMic, says his generation is “incredibly distrustful of mainstream media institutions". This mistrust has triggered young journalists to start up their own media companies such as The Texas Tribune (US), Homicide Watch (US) and The News Lens (Taiwan). The Texas Tribune is a non-profit media outlet focusing on local politics, policy, government and other matters, and it promotes “civic engagement.” Since the site was launched in 2009, it has received more than 141 million page views from 18 million visitors. The company has 15-17 reporters, and is funded by individual donors, foundations, corporate sponsorships and advertising. These kind of ventures and developments are impressive, but yet to prove sustainable in the long-term. We need entrepreneurial ‘hacker’ journalists The new digital ventures will provide new jobs for journalists, as the PEW figures indicate. But the skills future journalists need have more to do with entrepreneurial and technological skills than learning shorthand. As Baron states:
Phone: 1300 664 882
Level 3, 79 Myrtle Street,
Sydney, NSW, 2008 Australia
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