Apps/Tips Recommended by Your Peers

A few of you recommended today that your classmates try some apps and tools you've been using for journalism and fun. Here are links to your recommendations; please feel free to add comments about how you use these:
  • RecorderPlus - an app for editing audio clips from your smart phone ($3)
  • Magisto - possibly just for fun - the app automatically edits your video and mixes music with it
  • UStream Broadcaster - for the iphone - stream and share live moments from your device
  • Google Drive- replacing Google Docs; you can work on and share documents from your phone or computer
  • Evernote - Save and share things you like, things you see and hear.


What Twitter-Instagram Relationship Means for News

The "Twitter-Instagram photo war," as Poynter has called it, is painting a new picture of how social networks are treating users--and how journalists should be using them. Instagram is no longer allowing Twitter to make its images viewable within tweets. Users can still post their pictures from Instagram in Twitter, but only a link to the image will show up.

In today's Poynter article on the topic, Jeff Sonderman writes, "No matter which company wins, users will lose."

What he means by that is the user experience is no longer the first priority for companies like Facebook (which owns Instagram) and Twitter. They are now moving to "capturing value," meaning they want to lock users into their own platforms and reduce integration.

As journalists, we use social media to accomplish our goals: to interact with readers and bring more people to our sites. But we also have to remember that Facebook and Twitter have their own goals as well--and they might not always coincide with ours.

Mathew Ingram, in another article on the topic, said media companies should think hard about their relationship with Twitter. "It is not just a conduit for your content to reach your users whenever and wherever you wish...it is a proprietary network built by a company with monetization and expansion on its mind, and your content is part of that equation."

But it might not always be. And it is also hard to tell which social media site is going to be at the forefront of readers' minds. It is important for us to follow these changes.


The Washington Post Plans to Implement a Paywall in 2013

One of the biggest difficulties that media organizations have faced as they transition into the new media world, has been in finding a way to make money off of websites and online content. In today’s ubiquitous internet environment, consumers no longer have to rely on a local daily newspaper to get their news and information. Anyone with an internet connection can visit the website of just about any news organization around the globe to learn about what’s happening around the world. This creates a new element of media competition, and news sites have struggled to figure out the best way to encourage visitors to their sites, while sustaining a profitable operation.

The Washington Post announced recently that it would begin rolling out a metered paywall in 2013. This paywall will likely be similar to those of many other news sites, where users are allowed to read a certain number of articles for free before being prompted to purchase a subscription.

The paywall was announced amid an environment of steep decline for the Post’s core business of print advertising. The Washington Post newspaper division reported an operating loss of $56.3 million for the first nine months of 2012. This represents a 14 percent decline in revenue from 2011.

As with many news organizations, the Post has struggled to restructure its business model to adapt to major changes in the news media industry. In recent years, most other major newspapers have elected to implement a paywall to offset losses in print advertising. Despite this, Post executives have been hesitant to implement a paywall, believing that to do so may threaten their national audience, and likewise their digital advertising revenue that comes from that national audience.

Don Graham, the Chairman of The Washington Post Co. is one of those executives that has been skeptical about the merits of news website paywalls. “We are obviously looking at paywalls of every type,” Graham said. “But the reason we haven’t adopted them yet is that we haven’t found one that actually adds profits immediately.”

As an internationally recognized and visited news website, WashingtonPost.com has developed a worldwide audience. While its online readership has increased exponentially, the Post’s print readership has declined dramatically, as has the print advertising revenues.

Post executives are facing a turning point for their organization where they need to make the difficult decision as to whether to follow suit with other news organizations in implementing a paywall or attempt to hold strong as one of the few major news sites that still provides readers all its content free of charge. The New York Times introduced a paywall 18 months ago and now has over 500,000 online subscribers.

The conundrum The Washington Post faces is in how to produce revenue in an environment where news sites are desperately trying to attract and maintain a wider audience, while their competition is giving it away for free.