media mechanics

the business of media


July 2015

Ad Blocking: A Problem in Need of a Creative Solution

Instead of Blocking the Blockers, Let’s Focus on Making Advertising Better

The adoption of ad blockers is climbing at an alarming rate, with usage doubling since 2013. The reason cited for this steep incline is that people hate advertising. Wrong. Sure, people hate irrelevant, intrusive and offensive advertising, but all you have to do is ask someone to tell you about their favorite ads and you’ll hear a very different story.

It’s true that we are moving into a period in which many more direct-to-consumer content offerings will become available, but it’s also unrealistic to think that 100% of consumers are going to pay for ad-free content services. Ultimately, content will need to be paid for by someone and even the direct-to-consumer offerings will likely contain some level of advertising, whether it be dynamically inserted or sponsorship integrations. So let’s stop entertaining the notion that advertising is going to go away and focus instead on improving the advertising experience — both its relevancy and targeting — so that, together with the content experience, we can truly delight and not alienate audiences.

READ: Ad Blocking: A Problem in Need of a Creative Solution.

The Story Behind New York Magazine’s Powerful Cosby Cover



By now you’ve likely seen the cover of this week’s New York Magazine. Thirty-five of the 46 women who have publicly accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault appear on the cover, dressed in all black and seated side by side, along with one empty chair representing those who remain silent. It’s a striking, memorable image that puts into perspective the sheer number of women who say Cosby abused them and have gone largely unheard over the course of four decades.

The issue features an essay by Noreen Malone and portraits by Amanda Demme in addition to the testimonies—in text and video—of the 35 women. When it was released online Sunday night, the cover drew widespread attention and prompted others to share their support of the victims and their own stories of sexual assault using the hashtag#theEmptyChair on Twitter. “It became yet another platform for all these voices to come forward, which was incredible,” says Jody Quon,New York‘s photography director. “We could have never predicted it.”

It was Quon who had the idea six months ago to start approaching the women who had spoken out against Cosby and see if they’d be interested in participating in a photo essay for the magazine. Now, after dozens of phone calls, group photo shoots in New York, Las Vegas and LA, and at least 40 different cover iterations, the issue is out on stands and online. (After receiving record traffic on Monday morning, the site went down briefly, apparently because of a cyber attack.) The dialogue that it has sparked online and in the media extends far beyond the allegations against Cosby and addresses a larger culture of silence that surrounds rape.

Read the full interview here:

The Midsize Newspaper Is Toast


There were 32,900 full-time employees in American daily newspaper newsrooms at the beginning of this year, down from 36,700 just a year before. The industry’s modern employment peak was 56,900, in 1990, although it stayed pretty close to that level until 2007. Then the newspaper business fell apart, with a financial crisis and recession accelerating the digital disruption of the advertising-based business model that had sustained the industry for decades even as readership declined.


The #mediadiversity conversation highlights newsrooms’ continued lack of diversity



What can newsrooms do to recruit more people from diverse backgrounds, and encourage more minorities into leadership roles? What opportunities, if any at all, are really out there for aspiring journalists of color to enter the field? What does it feel like — really feel like, on a day-to-day level — to be one of the very few people of color in a media organization? (New data from ASNE released this week found that only about 12 percent of journalists in newspaper newsrooms surveyed were non-white — a number slightly lower than a decade ago — and many corners of the broadcast and online journalism world don’t fare much better.)

A lively discussion on all of the above and more has been taking place on Twitter for the past day and a half, spurred by CNN politics reporter and former New York Times writer Tanzina Vega and other journalists likeGene Demby of NPR’s Code Switch and Latoya Peterson of Fusion. (It’s still going strong: look out for the hashtag #mediadiversity to follow the conversation.)

READ: The #mediadiversity conversation highlights newsrooms’ continued lack of diversity.

NPR releases open source social media tools for newsrooms

The Lunchbox suite of customisable apps helps social media teams create or tweak images for sharing across networks

Newsonomics: The halving of America’s daily newsrooms

If you’re lucky enough to have the right deep-pocketed owner buy your paper and steady it, you’ve won the lottery. If you’re in a town whose paper is owned by the better chains, or committed local ownership, your loss will probably be mitigated. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.

Cigar maker. Elevator operator. Pinsetter. Iceman. Lamplighter. Switchboard operator.

Local daily newspaper reporter?

How soon will we have to add this once-stable occupation to the list of jobs that once were — occupations once numerous that slid into obsolescence? (Not to mention the even more colorful spittleman [hospital attendant], rotarius [wheelwright], and hamberghmaker [horse collar maker].)

In this morning’s released annual census, the American Society of News Editors found its first double-digit decline in newsroom count since the Great Recession of seven years ago. Newsroom jobs dropped 10.4 percent — down to 32,900 full-time journalists at nearly 1,400 U.S. dailies, 2014 over 2013. That’s the loss of 3,800 jobs in just one year. (Detailed table at bottom of this column.)

How do we put this loss in perspective? This is only the third double-digit percentage decrease since ASNE began tracking newsroom staffing in 1978. And this year’s loss happened in the best U.S. economy in close than a decade. Daily newspapers have bled people in good times and bad.

At its top, newsroom employment hit 56,400 in 2001.

READ: Newsonomics: The halving of America’s daily newsrooms.

The Ethics Of Using Social Signals In News | The Whip

NewsWhip CEO Paul Quigley explains why use of social signals in the newsroom has become an essential part of newsrooms’ toolsets. 

Normally, any journalist would jump at the chance to be interviewed for the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR). As the pre-eminent publication for journalism professionals, a journalist turning down a CJR interview is like a musician turning down a Rolling Stone feature.

Yet when CJR Senior Editor Alexis Fitts was researching an article on the use of social listening tools in the newsroom, she was surprised to find staffers at most high profile publishers would ‘decline to comment’ on how they were using social signals to inform their editorial agendas.

Why so shy?



The Ethics Of Using Social Signals In News | The Whip.

The Secret to Harvard Business Review’s Subscription Success: Its Customers

July 27, 2015 | By

Want people to pay for your content? It’s simple: Get to know their needs, and create content experiences that meet them. That may sound simple but as Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) success shows, it takes a lot of work to get it right.

Josh Macht, Harvard Business Review Group Publisher, describes their process as an on-going conversation with customers. These days, that means finding multiple ways to interact with not only HBR’s 285,500 paying subscribers, but also the 5 million people in its database. These interactions take place through live events, in-depth querying of the 19k members of its advisory group, and a significant investment in analytics. Macht says HBR has become “increasingly scientific with data and analytics on the backend” but that all of these approaches in tandem are what provides them with the ability to design products users not only want—but are willing to pay for.

See more at:

7 Brands With Print Magazines That Are Actually Awesome

Written by Dillon Baker
JULY 20TH, 2015
1186 people shared this.

If print is dying, brands haven’t gotten the message. Lately, they seem to be popping up faster than startups pitching themselves as “the Uber of _____.”

So are brands just stuck in 1997? Some questionable fashion choices might make you think so, but it’s more likely that brands have come to a smart conclusion: In a saturated digital media world, high-quality print magazines are a great way to stand out from the crowd.

This trend isn’t isolated to any one industry. As you’ll see from our list below, everyone from big-name startups to iconic fashion brands to global airlines are launching ambitious print mags. Let’s take a look at the seven best.

READ: 7 Brands With Print Magazines That Are Actually Awesome.

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