At the end of a New York Times piece on keyword ads in stories, there is this fascinating quote:
Kaizad Gotla, an Internet analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings, said there was more demand for places to advertise online than there was original content around which to sell ads. “There is definitely a shortage of supply,” he said. “That leads to this kind of experimentation.”
Not very long ago, no one (really) would have guessed that this would ever happen. But we’ve had the same in Norway, last year the main news sites were fully booked with ads months in advance. So ad prices should go up, but the modest observation here is just this: Even now, after ten years of online journalism, we don’t realize its full potential. Not what it can become financially, not what we can do with it. More notes forthcoming on this. Meanwhile, it’s great to see people experimenting.
Is it really interesting to watch journalists work? To listen into how they discuss how to handle a story? It might be. Editor John Moore over at California local paper Ventura County Star is experimenting with a newsroom blog, where he tells readers what stories the reporters and editors are working on for next day’s front page. The mix of stories is then updated as it changes through the day. Most of the posts seem to be plainly informative, but it’s when Moore gets more analytical the concept really comes alive. As in this answer to readers’ reactions to a concrete ethical choice made by the editors. But will Moore let the reader sit in on the really tough debates and decisions in the newsroom (and won’t he withhold information when the paper has a big scoop the next day? I guess so, otherwise he’d be scooping the paper on the blog!)? With a well-known concept from Erving Goffman/Joshua Meyrowitz: The newsroom is usually backstage, an area where the public is not allowed in. Ever. When Moore suddenly lets readers in there, he really can’t give everything away. So he establishes a kind of middle stage. The lines are blurred. It’s typical that a blog is used for this end. Now, I don’t think readers would be very impressed or shocked by what goes on in the newsroom. But in a time where journalism is challenged on many fronts, it really is a good idea to inform readers as much as possible about the how and especially why of the trade. Journalists will need to define their role, and these kind of initiatives can only help (thanks to Hans Henrik Lichtenberg at Newspaperindex.com, another new addition to my regional media/journalism blog cluster!).
Ever since the web’s breakthrough in 1994-95, there have been attempts at constructing more logical and “correct” Norwegian translations of key internet terms. The web literally means “veven”, so the world wide web must be “verdensveven”. E-mail is easy – “e-brev” or “e-post”. But in real usage, not all these caught on. Some enthusiasts still insist on “verdensveven” – a nice word, any way you look at it – but most of us just say “webben” or (less precisely) “nettet”. “E-post” has had more success, but the verb to e-mail is definitely “å maile”. When the weblog came along, the Norwegian Language Council bravely, and again correctly, suggested “vevlogg”. But the stubborn people just added a g to make it “weblogg”. To blog is “å blogge” and blogging is “blogging”. By accident, maybe, this is close to “bløgging”, which at first sight is something completely different: cutting the throat of a fish immediately after landing it, to drain the blood out of it. Blogging sometimes reminds me of fishing, and some bloggers definitely like to bløgg everything they catch.
Chances are increasing to turn Undercurrent into a more ambitious project. The Norwegian Council for applied media research has accepted my application for funding of a research project on the impact of blogs on journalism. I’ll post more information about the project later. See UPDATE: Undercurrent’s research project: Under the media surface.
Searching for a journalism-oriented blog cluster takes time, but there really is one forming in Sweden:
Maybe some of these are not strictly or only about weblogs, media and journalism, but I’ll count them in anyway, for now. I found a couple of these through the Swedish media intelligence company Agent25, which now has added blogs to its sources. That’s also an interesting twist to the media intelligence market. Following blogs is obviously now considered business-relevant also in Northern Europe.