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The Journalism Biz


Can music save newspaper subscriptions?

April 24, 2014

Anthony Guerra

Can a new strategy make online subscriptions more appealing? Well, that’s what two companies are trying to create by offering a new type of digital subscription.

In early February, The Times of London (owned by News UK) and music streaming giant Spotify formed a partnership that gives subscribers the option to combine music and news for a weekly price.  In order to receive the music subscription, potential customers need to purchase a premium subscription to the Times.  After buying the subscription, the customer would have the chance to add the Spotify-Premium to their news subscription. 

Subscribers would pay around £6 or $10 per-week for the news and music subscription.  The premium subscription only gives subscribers access to Spoitfy Premium for one year.  After the one-year period, the subscriber then pays an additional fee if they want to keep the subscription. Customers still have to option to only subscribe to the online news platform and not add the Spotify membership.

What is new about this partnership is that The Times of London, a traditional newspaper, is teaming up with Spotify a company that offers completely different content.  This would be similar if iTunes teamed up with The New York Times to offer new content.

A New Way to Create your Own Newspaper?

Anthony Guerra

In the new age of digital news, Facebook is trying to give readers the power to build their own newspapers.    

On Feb. 3, Facebook launched its new application “Paper,” a news-reading app that allows readers to pick preferred topics to their likings, with the application then displaying articles, pictures or videos that match those interests.  “Paper” provides readers with news stories from major news publications such as The New York Times or The Huffington Post as well as other less-popular news sources.  

The new application is the first released by Facebook Creative Labs, an effort by Facebook to give employees a chance to develop new products, a practice that is common in a start-up company.  According to Facebook, the lab is designed to develop, “new apps to support the diverse ways people want to connect and share.”  Other companies, such as Google, have similar divisions for product development.

University aims to revolutionize journalism through Google Glass course

April 22, 2014

By Jonathan Espinoza

The world’s first Google Glass journalism course is set to start in August at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Dubbed “Glass Journalism,” the course will host about a dozen students and already has a comprehensive syllabus, which describes the class as a “sandbox of journalism, technology, and creativity.”

The aim of the course is to integrate Google Glass into the process of newsgathering and reporting. Students will be required use Google Glass to “explore and experiment” with new applications for the device within a journalistic context.

Vox.com in its infancy

April 16, 2014

By ChinLin Pan

Vox Media, an online publisher for the sports blogs SB Nation, technology news site The Verge, and video gaming site Polygon, launched its news site Vox.com on April 6. Jim Bankoff, CEO and chairman of Vox Media, spoke at the 15th International Symposium on Online Journalism on April 4 about the media company’s goals with Vox.com and about the evolution of online media.

Behind the conception of Vox.com are Ezra Klein, former Washington Post blogger and columnist, and executive editors Melissa Bell and Matt Yglesias.

Vox.com is not just another source of information to the public. According to USA Today, Klein and Vox Media released details on their plans for Vox.com last month, “promising readers news stories packaged with contextual information and graphics” so readers can better digest news.

Mobile media- the death of print? Alaska may give us hope.

April 9, 2014

By: Miku Khezri

On April 7th, Alaska Dispatch, an award-winning online news source announced that it would be buying Anchorage Daily News, Alaska’s longtime print publication. The Anchorage Daily News was sold for $34 million.

Alaska Dispatch was founded in 2008 by journalist, Tony Hopfinger. Former chief financial officer of U.S. News and World Report Alice Rogoff became a majority owner in 2009 and the online news source experienced huge growth. The news site was founded just 6 years ago, displaying quite a gap in age in comparison to the Anchorage Daily News that was founded 68 years ago.
Anchorage Daily News was founded in 1946 by Norman C. Brown, however, there was an ownership change when The McClatchy Company took ownership in 1979. Since then, this print source has been the most widely read newspaper in Alaska to date.

But in a world of ever-evolving and ever-emerging mobile technology, what interest will this merger provide for Alaska Dispatch?

“Alaska is one of those unusual places where community-based newspapers in print are still a business model that readers and advertisers care about” said Rogoff-- a statement that must be foreign to the millennial generation.

Rogoff’s main incentive in combining forces came with the desire to expand coverage and audience in Alaska.

So did the Anchorage Daily News see this coming? Was it a plan brewing secretly under the public’s noses?

It turns out that McClatchy President and CEO, Pat Talamantes, did not foresee the recent merger either.

“We weren’t looking to sell the Daily News, but after Alaska Dispatch Publishing approached us, we saw advantages to local ownership in this case and the opportunities for consolidation that would strengthen both news organizations.” 

The survival of the Anchorage Daily News throughout the years, in itself is impressive, in an age where the industry of print is slowly dying. But it seems that the survival of the Daily News is no coincidence. The publication received two Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service in 1976 and 1989.

“We look forward to working with the talented team at the Daily News to build its future.” said Rogoff in moving forward.

Although both Alaska Dispatch and the Anchorage Daily News are both hopeful about the merger, it is still something that will take time getting used to for McClatchy company chairman, Kevin McClatchy.

“This is a bittersweet moment for all of us at McClatchy. We are extremely proud of the Daily News and its employees, their exceptional service to Alaska’s diverse communities and all of their contributions to McClatchy over the years. However, this sale not only makes sense from a local ownership perspective, but it allows McClatchy to focus more resources on accelerating our digital transformation to better serve our communities.

However, there are individuals that are not so optimistic, such as writer of the New York Times, Leslie Kaufman, who described this as “one more wave of investments by millionaires into the faltering newspaper business,” referring to recent take overs such as Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos purchasing The Washington Post and the owner of Boston Red Sox, John Henry, purchasing The Boston Globe.

The transaction of the two companies’ merger is expected to close sometime in the second quarter of 2014. Although Anchorage Daily News has proven resistance through the mobile movement so far, only time will tell it if will continue to do so. However, this gives an inkling of hope to those at home still clutching their newspapers.

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