I'm a former journalist who used to work for a metro daily newspaper that has long suffered, as most newspapers have, from declining ad revenue.
For these papers, the only reason to partner with Facebook is because they feel they have little choice. They would much rather have a healthy revenue stream and be self-sufficient.
But so far, the news industry has not found anything that adequately replaces the print-ad-driven business model that served it so well for so long.
So they're willing to try just about anything -- including, apparently, accepting a dinner invitation from a reputed cannibal.
I'm a back end dev at a small non-profit news org and it blows my mind how fast my employer wants us to integrate with FB instant articles and AMP without considering the consequences (AMP traffic staying in Google's network, etc.) Coming from a startup where our data was proprietary and execution meant everything, it feels weird sometimes that I get paid to make it as easy as possible for Google, FB, and others to access our content at scale (for free) while the news organization bears the infrastructure and engineering costs to do so.
These big companies aren't in this to help media companies, they've successfully commoditized content production and demanded news organizations to get with their program or get buried and forgotten.
If you can't convert attention on Google/Facebook into your own ad revenue then you should stop purchasing advertising with content and you should focus on conversion.
I shell out of Nautilus and The Economist. The content is excellent and engaging. The access is reasonable. Ads are not obnoxious or intrusive.
It seems to me that there are perfectly functional models here...
What? Can you explain what you mean? Newspapers have more choices than ever before. The only choice they don't have is one very specific business model: paper routes supported by classified ads.
Other than that, the world is your oyster. The periodicals industry is alive and well.
Basically you would "sell" your readers CPU/GPU time to us via a small JS-script embedded into your page to power ML/DL and scientific computation tasks (similar to BOINC). Thoughts?
1) Getting readers to consent. Oh, sure, they might unknowingly "consent" if it's buried in the TOS. They might even explicitly consent if you present them with a one-time consent form that implies it's making use of resources that would otherwise be idle. But then their laptop starts to heat up every time they visit the site. If they leave the tab open, other apps appear sluggish. Eventually, they're going to notice that they're not actually giving away something that has no cost to them. It's more like loaning someone your car when it would otherwise sit parked in your driveway. Eventually you're going to notice wear on your car, and an empty gas tank.
2) Digital advertising revenue is insufficient, by a significant margin, to replace print-ad revenue. I would expect the revenue from this type of arrangement to be low enough that it doesn't solve the problem, but only stems the tide a bit. Perhaps some publishers would be willing to invest the time to integrate with this, even if it's a comparatively low revenue stream. But I think most publishers are investing most of their energy looking for the true game changer: a business model that can actually sustain their business.
Site archive here: https://web.archive.org/web/20140425180831/http://tidbit.co....
To be honest if I had a dead simple way to pay a few cents to read an article I would do it for a number of publications. But I'm not willing to signup individually to each one.
Google Contributor is a program run by Google that allows users in the Google Network of content sites to view the websites without any advertisements that are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google.
Ideally with some kind of black list or white list feature.
It's been said on HN again and again, but I'm really looking forward to a decentralized digital publishing platform that gains momentum and actually gives Facebook a run for its money.
Anyone know of any such existing platforms up and running now? Last I looked into this, I discovered "Steemit", but it doesn't seem very promising.
I don't think one has a chance of succeeding in the short term IMO. Diaspora, GNU social are attempts. They all are on the wrong side of the network effect / Metcalfe's law. There would need to be a significant downside to using facebook or a significant upside to using the competition to get people to move. I don't think there are much incentives to be had there.
I've seen quite a few comments (on HN and elsewhere) since all the "fake news" buzz started saying essentially "Facebook needs to stop pretending they aren't a news company. They are where people get their news, and they need to take responsibility for that"
And I completely agree. Whether zuck wants to be in the news business or not, he already is. Might as well do a good job of it.
No, they're not. Facebook is a news aggregate. They are no more in the News business than I would be if I wrote a script to scrape news web sites for articles to read myself.
The confusion between actual news sources and information aggregates online has caused this "fake news" crisis in the first place.
6,000+ publishing partners around the world (USA Today, Washington Post, The Guardian, Le Monde, Newsweek, Bloomberg Businessweek, Vogue, GQ, etc.) Unlimited access model, all you can read on your smartphone or tablet.
Two business models:
(1) Consumer subscription ($29.95USD/mo)
(2) Sponsored by a business (stay at one of 10,000+ hotels who sponsor PressReader access for their guests, fly with airlines like Qantas, visit a local library that sponsors access, etc.)
Millions of MAUs and growing at light speed.
Business model: royalties paid to publishers whenever someone reads their content, so generates revenue and audience for publishers.
(Full disclosure: I work for PressReader.)
Is Steemit just a Reddit clone with the blockchain buzzword sprinkled on?
Like the internet?
They were all over the (as far as I know) totally unverified document that an intelligence agency decided to leak to Buzzfeed for some reason.
They wonder why no one trusts them anymore...
So tell me again how they lost credibility by reporting the story as it is.
The New York Times, CNN, Guardian etc all reported the verified facts. Which is that a report was produced by an ex-MI6 spy looking into allegations that Russia had amongst others compromising video involving prostitutes/golden showers and President Elect Trump. This report was obtained by John McCain and passed to the FBI for verification. They didn't publish the report. They didn't publish the allegations. The presence and gist of the report is newsworthy because the spy in question has by all accounts impeccable credentials which McCain and the CIA/FBI made statements about. That is all they reported.
BuzzFeed were the ones who decided to publish the report and all of the above organisations heavily criticised them for it afterwards questioning their ethics etc.
With the former, we have the press doing the job of internet trolls, shoveling serious allegations with absolutely zero evidence given.
Through a political lens it makes perfect sense, it's very sad, and I can't trust anything the main stream media tells me anymore. They've lost me forever unless there's a serious 'come to jesus' moment and they confess their bias and rectify it.
That just makes it worse, doesn't it? The actual allegations are so insane it's obvious they're fake. By hiding them, they make it appear credible.
So if they do publish the report (ie, Buzzfeed) then they get blamed for publishing false news.
If they report that the report was published, they get blamed for making it appear credible
I'll also point out that if they don't report things they get accused of being involved in a cover up.
What do you propose here exactly?
The report was verified to be written by the ex-MI6 spy. The claims in the report are what are yet to be verified.
...turns out it was because they were implicated in them.
Their most egregious breach of ethics to date: On October 31, 2016, the New York Times reported: "CNN has severed ties with the Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, after hacked emails from WikiLeaks showed that she shared questions for CNN-sponsored candidate events in advance with friends on Hillary Clinton's campaign." CNN said it had accepted her formal resignation on October 14, adding: "We are completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor."
What exactly did CNN do wrong here ? By your definition every company that has a employee who makes an egregious mistake is corrupt.
You can't just say everyone is corrupt simply because on one specific day from one specific publication they failed to report their own corrupt behaviour.
Sometimes it's Democracy Now!, a long-running counterculture mainstay that again presents an adversarial view and touches on subjects the mainstream media never would -- finding out about the Dakota Access Pipeline issue and reporting in depth months before the mainstream media deigned to grace it with even a moment of coverage.
Sometimes it's Breitbart. In those cases you are correct but 'alternative media' is an umbrella term that just means 'any group of people who do not behave as a mouthpiece for the political and economic elites'.
After the Telecommunications act of 1996 media has massively consolidated. At this point the 'mainstream media' refers to the media owned by those same 6 extremely powerful megacorporations that control all 'approved' 'serious' discussion. Alternative media means any alternate view.
On the other hand, the biggest, most respected of the mainstream publications, the NYT and the WaPo, have permanently tainted themselves by acting as stenographers for US government disinformation campaigns -- most notably in the run-up to the Iraq war, when they consistently promoted the fake WMD story.
From Morning Joe, this morning, you can already see that the New York Times has learnt lessons from that era:
So the idea that they should still after all this time be permanently tainted is ridiculous and frankly is just an excuse by those who have different political persuasions.
Cokie Roberts is still employed, for example /snark
[EDIT] (just to add something to my post)
If you delete/ommit/censor lies youd end up with:
a) If every lie is removed, maybe everything that was removed is a lie. Which is not true.
b) You end up with a "cry wolf situation", which may blow up hardly on facebook. You don't "cry wolf". You show that the wolf is there. Otherwise, the first time you screw up, you will lose all credibility.
To me, the ends don't justify the means.
(b) "hardly" means something other than what you're thinking. No worries, many Russians make that mistake when speaking english.
(From this viewpoint, I'd see a model like Nextdoor an easier fit for a local news initiative... Facebook's scope just seems too global at first glance for them to do a very good job.)
Any mention of compensating the "participants" that Facebook is, I'd wager, pitching behind-the-scenes as a gigantic pool of free talent / labor ripe for monetization both as advertising targets and content generators!
Disclosure: I'm on Medium and don't get paid diddly for my writings on there, nor spend much of any time investing in the Facebook ecosystem because it reminds me too much of AOL.
honestly though I don't think FB/Zuck is quite so cynical yet
'Emerging business models': Facebook is a large IdP containing identities that they monetize through data mining with the goal of display ads. But this IdP allows their users to log in to other sites and engage in microtransaction-like behavior. Aside from making actual payments to FB, users could trade off 'ad credits' or whatnot. Flattr, Webpass are in this space; Google tried this with Contributor , which is about to see a revamp; Brendan Eich is trying this with Brave, but Facebook's install base and ability to focus and deliver means they could probably pull this off better than everyone else.
Is there any appetite to begin a multi-disciplinary conversation about what constitutes an effective conversation? I feel as if there's disconnect here, one that leaves us all poorer, if only intellectually, as a result.
Frankly I'm quite happy about "fake news" proliferating, it makes obvious how hopeless and useless news orgs are. They peddle claptrap and tripe with reckless abandon.
Facebook could throw ten thousand engineers at the problem and 1) it wouldn't fix that nobody trusts Facebook 2) it wouldn't fix that nobody trusts news orgs. Fox News' "Fair and Balanced" slogan needs to taken as religious dogma -- everybody gets as voice and Facebook has no say in who can't speak.
To any news tweeps reading: combating "fake news" by partnering with Facebook is a partisan attempt at self-fellatio -- all you do is get yourself off without accomplishing anything. Conduct real journalism with well-paid staff that have the time to do their job and anonymously share it with the public is the only way to restore trust, not 1) procuring access to high-value talking heads (eg: celebrities, pundits, "experts") that will regurgitate your propaganda or 2) shoving out unverified garbage (eg: 99% of reporting on Trump this past election cycle) at light-speed.
#1 is just a sad attempt at remaining relevant while having someone authoritative make an empty appeal to viewers and #2 is plain laziness.
It seems to have started out as actual made up news by organisations/people/websites pretending to be news organisations, but actually just making things up - eg. The pope endorsing Trump story and I'm sure loads more on both sides.
Then some professor published his list of fake news sites, and included a bunch of conservative media sites as well as satire as well as obvious fake news, there's probably some liberal legitimate media sites there too.
Then after Trump won conservatives started saying every liberal media site had been peddling fake news when they reported polls etc had him way down and Hillary was winning.
I've probably missed a load more things but my point is, I have no idea what fake news is at this point - but I do know that at least some of it isn't a result of a lack of time by legitimate journalists, some of it is just people making stuff up.
* Completely made-up
* Kernel of truth with context completely removed (see far-Right, far-Left, and sensationalist papers)
That leaves quite a bit of partisan news in the gray-but-OK zone, including several partisan sites that seem to solely exist to signal boost the most embarrassing and negative news of their opponents.
Perhaps the most clever thing, that you note, is the far-fringe groups are now calling the center Mainstream Media "fake news" as well. Which is the height of clever co-opting to me.
Unfortunately fake news has come to mean "news that I disagree with".
Like today when Trump tweeted that the BuzzFeed story was fake news even though there was nothing fake about it. Just that the claims were as yet unverified.
> Coler says his writers have tried to write fake news for liberals — but they just never take the bait.
If you see this and your bias alarm isn't going crazy, then it needs some heavy readjustment.
I can guarantee you that every single editor in the country would like to have well-paid staff who have the time to do their job well.
And if you can come up with a business model to make it happen, well then I am willing to dub you the savior of the news industry.
But absent any suggestions about how news organizations can actually accomplish this, your comment is basically just kicking them while they're down.
They have been using the money raised from their clickbait business to operate BuzzFeed News. Which actually is a very distinct unit containing highly respected, award winning journalists who work on old school, long form journalism.
Unless they make a sincere effort to restore trust by reporting the news instead of trying to shape society by controlling the narrative then I will happily dig their grave. At this point there is no news org I rank higher than Reddit comments -- it's all a stream of piss coming from partisan hacks.
As for business model suggestions, my only suggestion is cut the crap. They can either subject themselves to the indignity of peddling garbage to make money thereby destroying their credibility or they can procure a staff of well-read and well-written folks that have a history of neutrality.
Partnering with FB is a one-way trip to the former while the latter is a logical impossibility, news orgs inevitably stoop to partisan nonsense. Either report the news and don't get scared about alienating your ad sponsors/viewers or you peddle garbage to make money.
The major difficulty traditional local newspapers have faced over the past two decades is this downward cycle:
10 Revenue declines.
20 Cost reductions are needed. First, you trim operational expenses, but eventually, you need to reduce head count.
30 With fewer reporters and editors available, you either overwork the remaining staff, leading to burnout, increased turnaround, and a reduction in quality, or you reduce coverage.
40 Either way, subscribers notice an inferior product. They're getting less than what they used to get, either in terms of quality or breadth of coverage (and likely both).
50 Subscribers cancel their subscription.
60 GOTO 10
So now we arrive at a catch 22. The product is not going to improve in quality unless a lot of people are willing to pay for it, and a lot of people (such as yourself) aren't going to be willing to pay for it unless the quality markedly improves.
I wonder if it might be possible for newspapers to get around this problem by doing a Kickstarter-like conditional pledging campaign. Basically, you have people commit to buying a subscription, but only if a high enough threshold of other people also commit. Then it becomes a win-win. If the campaign reaches its threshold, then everyone involved can feel pretty confident that it generates enough revenue to bump up the quality (assuming the newspaper is actually committed to doing that). And if it fails to reach the threshold, then you're not out any money for an inferior product.
IIRC, It's more like 4-5 decades, and while the cycle is approximately correct for the positive feedback loop now running, it didn't, as I recall, actually start with declining revenues, it started with a wave of newspaper mergers (and acquisition of newspapers by non-newspaper firms) and attempts to increase profits after those mergers by reducing costs, which got you to the step you label "20", and the cycle took off from there.
People like this are just looking for an excuse to ignore all of the mainstream media so that they can plot their own path. Nothing respected organisations can do would change their mind. Unfortunately this path is how we ended up with PizzaGate.
It feels incredibly reductive to group "news orgs" together like this. It's not as if they are all on the same level. Yet, all suffer from the erosion of trust in news media, no matter how good their work might be. Any if they all dies, what replaces them exactly? I'm yet to see anything close to a compelling model (especially from Silicon Valley).
If only that were true. So many people do trust Facebook, and absolutely believe everything they read on it, including blatantly false "news."
It doesn't change it because it's not a fact, let alone a universal one
fake news is a direct result of reducing the time that journalists have to vet and verify content.
No it isn't. "Fake news" is not a synonym for "shoddy journalism" - it's not journalism at all but a deliberate attempt to mislead.
I'd expect reputable news orgs to not touch the issue until we see public statements by public officials but they're talking it up like no tomorrow. This is fake news and it qualifies just as well as shoddy journalism.
That's not what 'fake news' means.
many news orgs have happily reported that intelligence agencies have evidence of Watergate-level wrongdoing and they've thrown in sexual deviancy for good measure
No reputable news organization has reported that. I understand how you can be unhappy with the state of journalism but your arguments are not helped in any way by you inventing 'facts', redefining terms or completely misrepresenting reporting.
I think I agree with most of what you're trying to get across in your post here, but the reference to Fox News is throwing me off. Followed to the letter, being 'fair and balanced' is certainly something that should be aspired to, but Fox's use of it as a slogan has always been a complete joke. Fox's interpretation of 'fair and balanced' is hardly any better than than the 'fake news' alternative.
list goes on
Not in my experience.