Code red for US newspapers
Bleak. Black. Bleeding awful. On the face of it, the latest newspaper circulation figures from the US make for woeful reading if you work in the print news media. (more…)
That’s according to Ralph Waldo Emerson, who obviously never worked as a chief sub-editor. In these parts, we try as hard as our little minds will let us to keep that hobgoblin alive by adhering to the rules of the Irish Times Stylebook. (more…)
A terrific piece today by Noel Whelan about how we need a revolution in the way in which information is made available to us, the public. If the whole John O’Donoghue affair is to amount to anything more than a minor footnote in the political nerds’ almanac, then it should spur a proper debate about accountability and openness in this state. (more…)
Your very interesting and provocative comments on the last post have caused a lot of soul-searching in here – thanks to everyone. As I said (comment 85 if you’re so inclined) there’s a few meaty subjects around improving the website, which I grouped into key subjects, one of which (navigation and architecture), I’ll have a first stab at responding to here. (more…)
As I said at the outset, I hope to use this blog to get the views of you, the user, on what we can do to improve The Irish Times. As time goes on, I hope we can discuss specific subjects, different sections of the site, ease of use, making content better, etc. But what the hell, why not just throw it open to the floor?
If there was one thing you’d like to see done to improve what we do, what would it be? All suggestions will be received in good faith, and taken seriously (unless they’re obviously unserious, in which case they’ll be taken in that spirit too). Sarcasm is acceptable, wit is preferred, but I do honestly want to hear what you’d like to see us do better.
By the way, those fond of brevity can get me on Twitter: @hlinehan
Michael Wolff’s article in this month’s Vanity Fair will be read with interest by those trying to figure out Rupert Murdoch’s real intentions. Will Murdoch really start charging for all his online content within the year? And if so, will it work? Wolff, whose book about the Dirty Digger is worth a read, seems extremely sceptical. The plan to hive off the Sunday Times from timesonline and charge for its content is, he implies, more a strategy to protect the paper than to develop the website. If, as the article suggests, 25 per cent of timesonline’s traffic is generated by Jeremy Clarkson (which is a pretty remarkable statistic), and if Murdoch therefore reckons he can leverage those fans into subscriptions to the ST, then one imagines Clarkson’s agent might feel his client is due a new deal, or should even strike out on his own.
Whichever way, there’s no doubt Murdoch’s competitors (i.e. pretty much every media organisation in the English-speaking world) are watching with nervous fascination and eagerness. Don’t knock it till he’s tried it, seems to be the general consensus, as newspapers ravaged by the recession, declining circulation and loss of readers to online cast about desperately for an answer to their woes. Meanwhile, New Media types pour scorn on the plans: the old geezer just doesn’t get it, they say. He’s clinging to a broken model that ain’t coming back.
We shall see. This week’s launch of the paid-for Times+ gives some idea of the way Murdoch is thinking – tailored services rather than old-style paywalls (like the one we had around these parts until last year). Will it work? Well, it’ll be a very interesting experiment. I just don’t believe him when he says “we’re going to have no paper, no printing plants, no unions. It’s going to be great.”