The Huffington Post has announced the formation of a $1.75 million fund to finance investigative reporting that will be conducted by its staff and freelancers. Read more of this post
Now having plunged into complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at the local level, I find interesting parallels between the state of CAM today and that of the Internet in pre-Netscape days of the early 1990’s. These comparisons feel a little sketchy, but the more I think about them, the more telling they appear. (CAM, also referred to as integrative medicine, includes therapies like Chinese and Indian (Ayurvedic) medicines, acupuncture reiki, reflexology, bio-feedback and others that are increasingly finding places alongside conventional care.) Read more of this post
Peter Krasilovsky in his Local Onliner notes a fundamental shift in local focus within the Gannett newspaper chain, reported by Wired magazine:
“The original prototype, CincyMOMs, from The Cincinatti Enquirer, brought in $386,000 in its first six months and gets 40,000 page views a day. Half of the CincyMOMS advertisers are new to the paper….Wired also notes that Gannett’s 110 papers are being reorganized by interest group. Instead of being seen as single, top-down metro paper, The Enquirer is now envisioned as 270 niche publications, including its suburban papers, neighborhoods WebSites and regional magazines.
“Reorganized by interest group…270 niches”? I can only say: Bingo. Good for Gannett. Now lets see if the corresponding blended revenue streams can fund a robust news operation.
I often find myself wondering if I really read what I just read in commentary on what’s to happen to the news industry, the media industry, the advertising industry. So I delight when finding something I agree with, even if it is six months since posting. In his review of Google’s flirtations with newspapers and the offline movement of digital advertising, Richard Waters of the Financial Times’ ft.com summed up the central task:
“…Assembling a large body of like-minded consumers will involve tapping into a variety of small-scale markets.”
This is particularly true in local markets. We all hop from our positions in one small-scale market to another at our own whim, entwined with a corresponding variety of like-minded folks. I don’t think it is any more difficult than that, is it?
For the full context, check out Waters’ ft.com story:
In 2002 my daughter Libby tore an ACL playing summer league basketball. After wrestling the poor kid to the car and thence to the emergency room, I proceeded to research the injury, the local docs, the rehab, the prognosis. In this process I thought: “I’m not the only one doing this.” Parents have not had a resource that informs their experience hauling kids from games and parks to schools and fields and gyms. “We need one,” says I. I assembled a proto site site with the able assistance of Jonathan Lundardi and Dave Leichtman. It is on the list.
By 2002 people were already describing the “history of the Internet,” and leaving out the essential embers on which the Net rose so quickly. Having been part of the nascient online service industry that grew through the 1980′s, I chaffed at this, well, oversight.
We had by some miracle (did you ever use comm software at 300 baud and wake it up by typing: ATDT?) devised ways to get some 10 million paying subscribers online before Mosaic and Netscape appeared: a handy beta test population that essentially meant everything to the rapid adoption of the net.
I proposed a small project to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which at the time was interested in how the Internet might be used as a complement to collecting oral histories from the scientists and engineers that most of its programs supported. I had the good luck to partner with the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and to have access to the unique collection of online services industry materials and memorabilia and newsletters published in those years by my good friend Gary Arlen of Arlen Communications.
The web site was created, entreaties went out to old colleagues, and personal accounts soon started arriving to be organized by several categories. The problem with oral histories, which motivated the Sloan Foundation to try the net, is the excessive time it takes to record, transcribe and then make public such recollections; sometimes years.
In the brief project period (about five months), action at the web site showed that personal accounts could be collected and presented extremely quickly (each entry was reviewed). Many score of industry practitioners came to the site, many left commentary, and those that refrained said that the online history of the 80′s was indeed important to capture.
The process also showed that the open online capture and presentation of personal accounts we employed was not a replacement for oral histories, by any means, but could serve to expedite and to clarify any oral recordings. It was precisely what the Foundation was looking for.
The project also illustrated the important fact that many of us were still at work, creating businesses, e-commerce sites, Web ventures or “normal” employment of our own, and that it was perhaps a little too soon to stop in mid-sales-call to record the businesses of the 80′s.
(The project site is offline.)