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The Journalism Biz


Can digital dimes replace print dollars? John Paton says yes

September 28, 2011

By Mario Carrillo

While newspapers continue struggling with declining revenues from ads and circulation, one CEO says he has the answer. Embrace digital. But to many of those stuck in the past, this idea remains highly controversial.

John Paton, CEO of the Journal Register Company, and now head of the newly formed Digital First Media, firmly believes that digital dimes can in fact replace print dollars.

Market toward the fringe, not the mainstream

By Brenda O’Brian

In a post on The Smart Bear, Jason Cohen points out why so many startups are not only successful, but are taking over the digital landscape: “a startup must be the opposite of a politician.”

By marketing to the “fringe, not the middle,” startups, much like the independent candidate in an election, can gain an audience that is genuinely interested in the well-defined niche many blogs and websites are now focused on. With a narrowly defined audience, Cohen has found its readers are not only more patient when things go awry with the blog, but are more willing to support and pass along the strong message that comes with such blogs.

The Daily Dot: Can online newspapers profit from digital world news?

September 27, 2011

By Chris Goebel

While the online community praises and questions a digital newspaper's decisions, what matters most is if it makes money.

Some bloggers have criticized the online publication, TheDaily Dot, for using the “metaphor” of a print newspaper. Since The Daily Dot covers online communities, such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit and others, Matthew Ingram link of GigaOM article said he doesn’t think people outside of those social groups will have much interest in what the publication reports. He contends the online newspaper will have difficulty finding sponsors who want to advertise on the same page as say, an article about “a video of a girl playing with a dead squirrel,” which was a story covered by The Daily Dot.

The Daily Dot said it's “the hometown newspaper of the world wide web,” and has a physical address in Austin, Texas. Founders NicholasWhite, Nova Spivack and Josh Jones-Dilworth formed the newspaper in September of 2010.

Alex Howard, writing for O’Reilly radar, provided sourceinformation that detailed the complex measures The Daily Dot takes to gather information that determines trending news in online communities.

Suing for copyright may not be a viable business plan

By Diego Cruz
The future looks grim for copyright-enforcement company Righthaven as it faces lawsuits and possible bankruptcy.
The Las Vegas-based company was founded in 2010 by Stephens Media with the purpose of suing bloggers and website owners who made unauthorized use of copyrighted articles. Righthaven had filed more than 275 lawsuits since its inception until it began receiving backlash this summer. 
This June, District Judge Roger Hunt dismissed a lawsuit by Righthaven and denied its right to sue for media clients after finding out their contract with Stephens Media did not grant them full ownership of copyright. Righthaven only retained the right to sue for Stephens Media, who received 50 percent of the litigation’s proceeds, violating Nevada’s litigation rules.
Lawyers from the firm Wayne Hoehn asked permission from a Nevada federal judge to seize the company’s personal assets after it refused to pay more than $30,000 in legal fees and asked for permission to continue suing people to avoid bankruptcy.

Newspapers sell tablets to increase online subscriptions

By Priscilla Pelli

Two Philadelphia newspapers have tried to use new digital technology to revolutionize the future of news subscriptions. The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, which share the Philly.com Web address, recently initiated their new marketing plan in mid-September to sell discounted Android tablets with every online subscription to their digital editions.

The new strategy, announced in July, will provide customers with a 50 to 65 percent discount on the retail price of these technologies, the Android Arnova 10 G2. In addition, customers will receive the dailies’ three paid apps and access to the papers’ free site with a purchase of a subscription.

Greg Osberg, publisher of both dailies, said the focus of selling these tablets was to come up with a “winning” strategy with paid content to expand their marketplace as quickly as possible. The tablet will also come with a new website dedicated specifically for these tablets, Phillytablet.com, as part of a series of digital initiatives created by Osberg.

Hedge fund invests big, but discretely, in the news business

By Ian Tennant

A little-known hedge fund appears to be quite bullish about the U.S. newspaper business at a time when advertising revenues continue to shrink, circulation continues to tumble and there is no guarantee the “traditional” media will be able to successfully transition to the digital platform.

Although Alden Global Capital and its leaders shy away from public scrutiny, the group made news in mid-July when it bought the Journal Register Company (JRC) and again on Sept. 5 when JRC merged with MediaNews Group to form Digital First Media. The new company reflects the “digital first” mantra championed by John Paton, the CEO of JRC who will lead the new entity.

While the merger and its emphasis on digital media was big news for observers of the business of journalism, a few media analysts wondered what Alden’s investments means for the newspaper business.

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