Friday, February 17, 2012

Most consumers are less obsessed with staying out of the "walled garden" than tech writers; publishers should take note of their readers desire for one-pay solutions

Many tech writers and consumers wag their finger knowingly at Apple and accuse the company of attempting to force consumers into "the walled garden" of their iOS and Mac devices. The accusation is that Apple wants to force customers to only use their systems and products.

Those who have been Apple customers since before the Mac (that's me) chuckle at the notion, remembering that it wasn't so long ago that Apple stock was around 10 bucks and the rumor was that the company would close down or be bought out.

For many consumers, however, there is a real desire to make their tech choices easier, to spend less time worrying about how and if things will work. For them, Apple's "walled garden" is a welcome relief from other technology choices that appear random, buggy and faulty.


The example many always give when discussing the complexity of technology is the television remote and the video recorder. Just scheduling a recording, or figuring out the settings on a television can be daunting. But printer drivers are probably a better example. As a Mac users I simply never worry about them, whereas my wife has been conditioned to think that printers should work about as well as an AT&T phone on the west coast – hit or miss.

But the issue is not limited to computer technology. Have you shopped for a coffee maker lately? If you buy one of those single-serve makers you soon have the issue of finding coffee for it: those plastic coffee cups won't fit in every machine, you know.

That's why it always surprises some when Apple drops the ball on a feature, such as AirPlay or AirPrint. We were promised that our iPhone or iPad would be able to print wirelessly, but the fact remains that only a few printer models are AirPrint compliant.

But the lesson for publishers is that consumers are more and more demanding that their purchase choices be simplified and made consistent. If I buy a subscription to your magazine I expect to be able to access the iPad edition for free. But many publishers only look at their own costs and forget that to many readers their brand is one product, no matter how many different versions they produce.

Battling blogging depression on a cold Friday morning

Nothing is worse than working on a hour on a new post for TNM and then hitting the delete button when you decide that it might not be a good idea to post the story.

Today's story that you won't read is on my opinion on the games the tech giants are playing with the media. Both Google and Apple are blowing it, I wrote, and playing a very dangerous game.

You won't read that story, though, because the premise was pretty thin and, frankly, who the hell cares what I have to say on the manner. Neither company gives me the time of day now, they certainly won't after letting them know exactly how I feel about their media relations strategies.


And so I hit the delete button. Bye bye post.

So what to write about this morning? There is lots of news out there: the Congress is going to extend the payroll tax cut (doesn't effect someone like me that isn't on a payroll); Rupert Murdoch is in London saying his reporters are innocent until proved guilty and that he will launch a Sunday edition of The Sun (as well as a new bail bond company, lots of demand); and then there is the new poll in Massachusetts showing Scott Brown beating Elizabeth Warren (chalk up another one for Wall Street).

Usually in such situations I then say "screw it all" and go and check my traffic numbers.

The funny thing is that that exercise can be pretty depressing, as well. The problem is that one gets no perspective when taking a quick look at Google Analytics.

You open up the report and the first thing you see is an overall up or down percentage. This morning it looked good, up over 50 percent! Then you click and you see the chart. Up, down, up down. Where is it today? God, it's down. Yikes, what did I write yesterday? Did I not post enough?

Then you remember that you've made a decision to cut back on the posts to work on the new site. Oh yeah, that explains it.

But perspective gets lost. How does this compare with last year? In TNM's case, uniques are up 59 percent, page views up 35 percent. Those are pretty damn good trends, no? Plus, it doesn't take into account the iPhone app, which didn't exist last year at this time, nor any increase in subscribers to the RSS feed. But TNM had a morning newsletter a year ago, maybe I should restart that?

The fact is that following the media business can get you down pretty fast. It is probably a miracle that I've maintained this site for as long as I have. I sometimes wonder how Jim Romenesko keeps going, though I'm sure the fact that he has such a large following helps. It also helps that he writes about journalism and journalists. Journalists, you see, read – and they like to read about themselves. Media executives don't like to read about themselves, unless it is when they have a new position. Otherwise they think it will be bad news (they are probably right about that).

On the bright side, I got my one reader from Bolivia – thank you, whoever you are. Now go find that reader from Peru because now I'm still down one South American country.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Newsy updates its iOS apps while recently making its first appearance inside Amazon's app store, as well

Newsy, the video news analysis organization, has updated its iOS apps, changing its user interfaces and making other changes, as well.

The apps, Newsy for iPad - Video from Multiple Sources and Newsy: Multisource Video News Analysis for iPhone, now feature a better AirPlay capability that include transcripts and comments in full screen.
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Users can continue to download the videos for offline viewing, a very convenient feature for travelers looking to watch news content when on a flight, or when they are without an internet connection.

Newsy also has an Android version available that can be used on the Kindle Fire (seen at left next to the iPad). While the iPad version contains banner ads from the ad network Jumptap, the Kindle Fire version, is without the same ads (possibly due to the reduced display real estate).

If you've never seen the Newsy videos they follow a consistent pattern: a topic is covered by featuring a news reader behind a background and video clips are aggregated from outside news sources such as CNN. Then the news reader often adds in reactions from blogs or news sites. The formula can be considered either relentlessly objective, or very he-said/he-said.

The Newsy app that I have on the Kindle Fire is one of the few news apps that have made a good transition to that platform as the video content looks fine on the smaller tablet. Other news organizations have generally ported over their smartphone apps to Android and so the experience is more like the iPhone (only larger, of course).

The evolving rules for digital editions will let publishers continue to experiment with their tablet editions

The latest Audit Bureau of Circulation report from the UK shows the digital edition circulation levels for 72 titles, with Men's Health leading the pack with 7,779 digital edition copies.

As the new figures cover a period of time that spans the introduction of Apple's Newsstand app, these numbers are expected to rise in the next reporting period, which would be January to June of this year.

The ABC is relaxing its previous policy rule that a digital edition must not be more than five percent different than the print edition. This has led some publishers to believe that their digital editions must be purely replica editions in order to qualify. But publishers continue to experiment with their tablet editions and now the ABC says that a digital edition can be up to 25 percent additional editorial content. The new rules do state, however, that 95 percent of the print content must also be included in the digital edition.

"ABC is evolving the digital editions rules very fast, for example they have been updated 3 times within the last year," an ABC statement states. "ABC is continually reviewing feedback from publishers and agencies to inform changes to the rules. This is necessary because digital products are evolving rapidly with publishers trying out different approaches, which can vary widely across the industry."

Publishers can also audit their publications on a separate Digital Publication certificate under the new rules, allowing for the auditing of purely digital-only publications.

Journalism.co.uk, whose story can be found here, posted the digital results for the top ten British publications:
  1. Men's Health - 7,779
  2. T3 - 7,327
  3. GQ - 5,731
  4. Cosmopolitan - 5,675
  5. Men's Fitness - 3,987
  6. Esquire - 3,745
  7. MacUser - 3,648
  8. Stuff - 3,630
  9. Wired - 3,190
  10. Total Film - 2,910

Instapaper update addresses security, crash issues

One of the more responsive (and successful) app developers out there continues to be Marco Arment, the developer behind the hugely successful Instapaper.

Today Arment issued an update to Instapaper that not only fixes a crash issue that originated with the 4.0.2 update, but also addresses the security issue that has become the latest source of controversy for Apple.

If you haven't been following the latest Apple dust up, it centers around the fact that its iOS gives developers way too much access to the users address book. Some apps, notable Path, a journal app, were found to be accessing the iOS device owners address book without permission.

“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” Tom Neumayr from Apple told AllThingsD earlier this week.

Clearly Apple will be forced to include a fix for this in its next version of its mobile operating system. But that won't be as easy as it sounds as the timing might be a problem with the new iPad 3 about to be launched. I imagine Apple's iOS team are scrambling right now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Students from the University of Leeds launch the first U.K. student newspaper into Apple's Newsstand

One of the very first newspaper apps to appear for the iPad was from the students at Abilene Christian University. Their app for The Optimist was released just days after initial launch of the iPad in the U.S. in 2010.

Now the students who publish Leeds Student, the student newspaper from the University of Leeds, have launched their own iPad edition today – the first U.K. student newspaper to appear in the App Store.
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Leeds Student Newspaper for iPad is a free app that was created by the student newspaper team including Jack Dearlove, the digital editor, and Lizzie Edmonds, the paper's editor. The app can be found in Newsstand. Readers can sign up for a free yearly subscription so that their newspaper will be downloaded automatically to their iPad.

I spoke to Dearlove via Twitter to find out more about the new app.

"It's all built using @QuarkXPress & their amazingly easy & cheap tools (we also use Quark to build our 'traditional' paper)," Dearlove told me via Twitter.

The app sports both portrait and landscape layouts. There is a January issue available, as well as a newer one from February 3. (The screenshots here are from the January issue.) The

I asked Dearlove how many people on campus does believes would be able to access the iPad edition. He said that the paper currently gets about 50 people who access the website via their iPads, so the audience for the new tablet edition would probably be fairly low.
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"It's an experiment really, 10 years time it might be the only way we publish," Dearlove said.

In some ways it is surprising that there haven't been more student papers appearing in the App Store. The creation of an app for the paper being a great class assignment. ACU's iPad app was created by the collaboration of the tech department and the journalism department.

Last year Odd Magazine was released as an iPad edition by the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. The app was the work of Jelle de Weert, 23, who created an app almost a gig in size, adding nearly 100 new digital pages to the existing print edition.

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Left: the Leeds Student Newspaper can be read in both portrait and landscape; Right: a story in the January issue with an embedded slideshow.

Magazines for the wealthy are living large; new tablet editions from iMirus bridge worlds of replica and native

Last month at this time I wrote for the first time about an app from iMirus, the digital edition division of Riggs Heinrich Media, Inc. That app for Kent State University proved a pleasant surprise as it took the basic idea of a replica edition and went a bit further to create a tablet edition better suited for the iPad.
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Today the company released a series of new apps for Haute Living and other publishers.

The four magazine apps for Haute Living – Haute Living Miami, Haute Living New York, Haute Living San Francisco, and Haute Living Los Angeles – are all pretty much replica editions, though they are often enhanced. The L.A. book weighs in at just under 100 MB, so the download is fairly quick.

All the apps for the Haute Living titles are free, and the magazines are free to access, as well. That is pretty strange considering the audience being served – if any magazine audience can afford to pony up for a subscription it would be the audience targeted by these magazines. Maybe they can create a charitable fund and begin charging for the magazines, giving away the proceeds to the victims of the financial crisis. (I would suggest a $1 million an issue, but that is only a suggestion.)

The luxury magazine category is the one place that someone can find growth. As more of the nation's wealth gets concentrated into the hands of a smaller group of readers, more luxury magazines are being launched. Bloomberg, for instance, is launching a new book aimed at those making over $450,000 a year (how did they come up with that income number?).

The trouble is, of course, that a millionaire can only read so many magazines. Maybe they can hire more domestic help to read all the new titles being thrown at them?

iMirus also released apps today for Light of Consciousness, Muscle and Body magazine, and NetSuite Magazine (screenshots seen below). Only the magazine Light of Consciousness is charging for access to the issues – spiritual awakening comes at a price, I guess.

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Left: the cover page for NetSuite, which appears strangely cut off to me; Middle: the only real criticism I would have for these apps is that they are memory hogs on an original iPad; Right: an ad with embedded video.

Eurozone economies shrink under weight of cutbacks; media feels the strain as austerity shrinks demand

For most companies, attempting to grow one's business in an atmosphere of belt tightening and austerity is a difficult challenge. For media companies it is basically impossible. As Europe's economy shrinks, media companies are finding it difficult to survive, let alone find the investment necessary to continue their move to new digital platforms.

This morning Eurostat, the European statistics agency reported that economic activity in the 17 countries that make up the Eurozone fell 0.3 percent. Even Germany fell 0.2 percent. Only France and Slovakia were able to report numbers in the black.

In the U.K., the International Labour Organisation reported that unemployment remains at a 16 year high, 8.4 percent.

While some analysts are saying that "the worst is probably over", the effects of continued cutbacks in government spending, combined with the continuing Euro debt crisis, is putting a tremendous stress on media firms.

The WSJ is reporting this morning that Deutsche Bank has downgraded its ratings for European broadcasters, and HSBC has downgraded "French advertising companies, Publicis Groupe, to neutral from overweight and JCDecaux to underweight from neutral."

In Greece, where austerity has made the economy dramatically decline, Eleftherotypia, is one of the largest newspapers in the country, has shut down. Serafim Fintanidis, editor of the center-left newspaper, was arrested on tax evasion charges, and the workers have not been paid for months – a common practice in Greece for companies in bankruptcy.

Eleftherotypia was highly leveraged and saw its revenue fall over 30 percent prior to stopping publication.

The paper's website is now offline and some of the staff is attempting to start up their own paper in a highly charged atmosphere prior to national elections in April.



Without sounding too much like Paul Krugman, it is hard to see how media firms can be expected to grow in an recessionary environment – then again, the proponents of austerity have been promising growth through contraction for quite some time, and appear to still have the upper hand politically.

Despite growing evidence that current policy measures are leading to recession the prescription is to double down on the medicine and wait to see if the patient survives (or is carried off to the morgue).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

B2B launch strategy: launch a new magazine to go after new business, or protect the business you have?

In my years of B2B publishing I have led a few new magazine launches – it's actually how I started publishing magazines – and more than a few acquisitions. The reasons publishers launch a new product has always intrigued me… some do it go after a new category or industry, many do it to protect the business they have.

When I was with McGraw-Hill I launched my first B2B magazine for two reasons: first, we weren't getting the advertising with our existing daily newspaper product, and second, we had the staff to do it, no need to hire editorial or sales. The new magazine launch really excited the staff and it turned out to be a modest financial success (very modest).

Through the years, however, it seems to me that the two reasons publishers now give for a launch is that one, a new market has emerged, or two, they feel the need to protect a category of business they are getting.



CM Magazine: my magazine launch while at McGraw-Hill. Don't ask what "CM" stands for, it's a long story.


The first reason is easy to understand: a new technology emerges, like nanotechnology or cloud storage, so someone launches a magazine to cover the industry. (See story on CLOUD Magazine.)

But many, probably too many, magazines are launched simply out of fear that without the new launch the company may lose the advertising from a category, or not get new advertising in that category.

I remember the panic that arose when, as publisher of Roads & Bridges, our sales team learned that a couple of huge new players would be entering the rental equipment market and they these big players would be spending big bucks in advertising in the next year. What could we do to get this business?

We heard all sorts of rumors about what the other magazines involved in construction were willing to do to get this business. We decided to simply make our regular pitch which was that our readers didn't see themselves as buyers or renters of equipment, they say themselves as road contractors, and since we were the #1 book in the field you needed to reach our readers.

It worked, thank God, and we made it onto the top tier of the schedule.

A friend of mine from McGraw-Hill days asked me later how we got the business? When I told him he laughed. "We dropped our drawers, that's how we got the schedule!"

"But," he continued, "you want to know how XYZ magazine got the schedule? They launched a new magazine."

I was stunned. It seemed to me to be a great way to get the schedule, increase revenue, but burn away any profits that could be made. Not surprisingly, that magazine got the good schedule, as well, but that magazine eventually had to be closed.

I still see this logic used to justify magazine launches today, though magazine launches overall are not what they used to be.

But the rise of digital publishing platforms like mobile and tablets may be a good excuse to change my mind. A publisher today could launch a tablet magazine for one category, have dramatically lower production and distribution costs for that launch, and keep the print advertising in their existing magazine. The key is to hang on to that existing business, while at the same time hanging on to that existing profit.

Admittedly the new digital launch will not be without costs, but assuming the media firm is currently committed to developing their own digital products, rather than farming them out, the costs should be minimal – though I wouldn't rule out using a vendor, as well.

The rationale to launch a new print product soon is forgotten when the original main print product start getting thinner. Switch business, any veteran publisher will tell you, is a bad idea. It gets you nowhere.

But digital platforms might prove to be a way of having it both ways.

Is it a crazy idea to launch a new daily newspaper in Philadelphia? Yes, if profit is your motive; otherwise, no

Late last week Bart Blatstein, a local Philadelphia developer, complained that the owners of the Philadelphia newspapers was ignoring his inquiries into buying the papers. The Philadelphia newspapers themselves first reported, then censored, their own stories on Blatstein – eventually reversing course and apologizing for pulling the original story.

"We remain perplexed as to why the out-of-town hedge funds which own the assets of PMN seem uninterested in hearing our ideas, or those of Raymond Perelman, concerning ways to grow the value of the print and digital content to the public as well as our ideas on valuation of the assets of PMN,” wrote Blatstein in a press release. "The startling and unprecedented events of the last few days at the Inquirer and Daily News relating to censorship of coverage of our offer has caused distrust and anger among journalists locally and nationwide.”

“We hope to be invited to join a discussion of a consensual transaction with the sellers of the PMN assets. However, the events of the last few days have dictated our course of action, regardless of whether that process is made available to us or not. We have been heartened by the support and encouragement we have received from dozens of present and former PMN reporters, management and staff. They believe, as do we, that the damage that PMN has inflicted on itself may be permanent," Blatstein wrote.

"Accordingly, today we are announcing our intention, should we not be successful in acquiring the PMN assets, to explore the development of a new and competing digital and print publication.”

Is this crazy? Can someone go ahead and launch a competing daily newspaper in a town as large as Philadelphia. Blatstein seems to be suggesting that his company, Philly Hometown Media, can do it.

“The dozens of highly skilled and experienced journalists who have been forced into early retirement by PMN and its predecessors along with those talented and motivated professionals who no longer see a future at PMN provide an immediately available source of reporting and editorial talent. It may well be that Philadelphia has been a one company newspaper town for too long. Our preliminary modeling indicates that this venture would be successful. Prior attempts at competition have been frustrated by a lack of committed long term capital. Philly Hometown Media suffers from no such disability,” Blatstein wrote.

Well, good luck to that. He's crazy, no?



The traditional view of newspapering has been that owning a daily newspaper in any town was a legal way to print money. Local and national advertising, classifieds, would bring in boat loads of cash and the owners would rake in profits. Ah, the good old days.

In Europe, for many years, the model has been that many newspapers are published as much for their ability to sway politics as for any profit motive. News Corp.'s papers are beginning to fit this model: total profit from publishing was $218 million last quarter, but that was down 43 percent. That is why speculation has begun that Murdoch might spin out his print business. I find that hard to believe simply because they continue to serve his political agenda.

If Blatstein really does launch a competing daily I doubt profits will be his motivation. (Revenge works.)

"Our current timeline suggests that our digital publication would be available within five months with print following three months later. Journalists all over the region are demanding an alternative venue for themselves and their readers, a venue whose credibility is not impacted by political considerations”, Blatstein said.
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As Murdoch's The Daily has shown, it is not hard, technologically, to launch a digital daily. Murdoch's team did it using a decidedly old fashion approach of hiring a fairly large team. As many independent iPad publishers can tell you (yeah, I'm referring to you, Mr. English) it can be done with a bare boned approach.

For Blatstein, launching a digital newspaper, one that is available online and one mobile and tablet devices, is not a difficult endeavor. But we're still not at the moment in publishing history where it can be a profitable venture.

My guess is that launching a digital daily, followed by a free, print newspaper is the model that makes the most sense today. In this regard, building a strong local ad team would be just as important as building out the newsroom. For the first few months of digital publishing the editorial team can work out the kinks of their product while the ad team is being built and start making calls.

Such a launch would be loads of fun, but those that join better be assured that profit isn't the sole reason for the launch, otherwise they should keep their resumes up-to-date.

Regional airline Flybe goes replica for its iPad edition; comparison to new Air France tablet edition is dramatic

Yesterday TNM looked at the new tablet edition from Air France (see below this post). That app was created by their outside publishing team and went out of its way to show off what a tablet magazine is capable of.
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In contrast, today Flybe, the UK low-cost regional airline, has its seen its own in flight magazine released into Apple's Newsstand by its vendor Tri Active Media. The contrast in approaches could not be more stark.

Like other apps released by Tri Active Media, the new app for Flybe is sold not under the carrier's name but under Tri Active Media's name. Upon opening the app the reader is immediately told they should register with the company so that they can access the magazine across platforms.

The reader, though, can bypass this and move on to downloading the latest issue.

Unlike many of the apps from Tri Active Media, this one, Flybe Business Uncovered Magazine (quite a mouthful), is free of charge, as are the issues inside.

Many of the apps from Tri Active Media require you to pay for the app, then pay for the issues found inside. Needless to say that readers have expressed their displeasure at this business model.

Many reviews of Tri Active Media apps also complain of bugs and crashes. I found the Flybe app to be fine in that regard. The navigation is fairly smooth, and the download times were not bad, though it should be noted that any replica edition that contains little or no interactive material should be a quick download.

A comparison between the new Air France tablet edition and the Flybe replica edition might be considered unfair. One app is attempting to create something new, while the other app is just trying to give their passengers with an iPad something to read.

But I would say that these two products are so different that they are completely different genres, despite both being in flight magazines. Like the free alternative weekly that can be found at the coffee shop, the reader's expectations of the freebie are pretty darned low – just give me something to read. For Flybe, this approach may be fine. But for the publisher actually trying to sell subscriptions, I think readers expect more – and if you charge them, will demand more.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Air France brings its airline magazine to the iPad; tablet edition is a tour de force, but also a slow download

If you want to see a tablet magazine that has all the bells and whistles in it, the best place to look is usually at the magazines from the automotive companies. These apps, often produced by their advertising agencies, spare no expense in their development, and are usually free of charge because of their promotional nature.
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The new tablet edition from Air France fits that description, as well. The app, Air France Magazine, is free to download, and offers its in flight magazine free, as well.

Air France Magazine, the app, appears under the Societe Air France S.A. name, while the magazine is published by Gallimard, with advertising sold by Lagardère Publicité.
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One knows immediately that the February issue contained in the iPad app is huge – despite it not showing its size – as it takes forever to download the issue. I have a general rule I like to follow regarding issue download speeds: if my iPad goes to sleep during the download then the issue is too large, or the download speeds too slow. In the case of Air France Magazine, you wouldn't want to download the issue just prior to boarding the plane because you would most likely miss your flight.

Once you open up the issue, though, it becomes apparent why it took so long to download. The issue utilizes both portrait and landscape orientations, contains animation, and the navigation is very attractively done.

The publisher has made sure that the ads can be viewed in both orientations – that always takes a lot of work to get copy for both layouts.
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But the in flight magazine also makes sure that English language readers won't be left behind either. While it is clear from the headlines that the original language of the magazine is French, each story can be read in English by toggling the French/English button.

(By the way, I want to let you know that creating that animated GIF seen above that shows the language mechanism was a real pain to create.)

I'll have to live with the magazine a while before I come to any conclusions about whether all this work is, in the end, worth it. But the tablet edition certain looks great, and functions well (after that initial download).

In the meantime, here is another app that publishers will want to look at to see what creative publishers, developers and agencies are doing with their own tablet editions. You certainly can't beat the price, and it might be a nice read while on a long flight, even if you aren't traveling on Air France.

A shout out to yesterday's tweeters and live bloggers

If much of the mainstream media (in the U.S. & U.K.) did such an awful job reporting on events in Greece, who deserves a shout-out?

Well, for starters, there were the thousands of Twitter users who were actively trying to spread information – though much of its was rumor, and far too much of its was false information.



Yannis Koutsomitis


One of several Twitter users I was paying attention too, however, was Yannis Koutsomitis, who tweets as YanniKouts. Koutsomitis is a USC grad, by the way. He was following the debate in Parliament and provided an immediate a translation – as well as a prediction on the final vote count. He was proved right that the measure would pass, but I think was somewhat surprised that so many MPs would be willing to buck their party's demands that they vote "yes".

Another who stepped up yesterday was Efthimia Efthimiou, a Greek journalist at Capital.gr. Both the media firm's tweets and their website is in Greek, but @EfiEfthimiou's tweets are in English (saving me enormous time from not having to cut and paste tweets into Google Translate.

The Athens News maintained a live blog on Sunday, written by Lamprini C. Thoma and Damian Mac Con Uladh. They did an excellent job, though they should look at The Guardian's live blogs for guidance – more posts would be nice. The blog also made the mistake of embedding live video streams. This is a no-no as these streams have to be paused every time the user refreshes the page – and as the day goes by these videos are lower and lower on the page, making it a hassle to turn them off. A simple link to the streams would be better.

Damian Mac Con Uladh also writes for the Irish Times (here is his piece from today).

The revolution will not be televised – at least not on network TV; old media trades news for celebrity worship

Yesterday was a good day to have a broadband connection and several computer monitors, especially if news was what you were after. While CNN became the 24 hour Whitney Houston network, Twitter users were following the events in Greece as the Parliament debated, and eventually voted on, the new bailout agreement.

While teargas filled the air around Syntagma Square, and while Starbucks was being burned, the old media outlets were letting their viewers know what their editors believed was the most important news of the day. Even in Greece, viewers noticed that the major television stations were reluctant to cancel their regular programming – which, by the way, included American Idol.

CNN was not alone in choosing celebrity over news. Tweets from the U.K. reflected on the BBC's obsession with the BAFTAs - the British equivalent of the Oscars.

As thousands of Greeks gathered in Athens to express their opposition to the latest bailout deal, and the prospects of more austerity, the best way to stay informed was to be chose new digital methods to get the news – Twitter, Facebook, live video streams.

While it might be tempting to blame the media business itself, it should be remembered that these were choices, choices made by supposed journalists.

A good example of these choices is seen with two otherwise good newspapers, the New York Times and The Guardian. Throughout the day, as the crowds battled with police, both papers websites were completely absent any news from Athens (other than stories written the day before).

But the blandness of the home pages – where The Guardian stayed with the Houston story, and the Times reflected a world on vacation – concealed reports their reporters were creating and posting elsewhere online.

Minutes before MPs began to vote on the new package, the NYT finally moved a story it had elsewhere to the home page. The story, written by Niki Kitsantonis, was, and is, fine. But it was like those stories in the Chronicle that tell a reader there was an earthquake. It may be correct, but viewers are hardly unaware of the facts as they pick up their dish shards off the kitchen floor.

As many Twitter writers observed, the media world seemed relieved to have Whitney Houston to write about. Revolution, war and depression can be quite a drag, especially for journalists (or at least their editors).



This is post 2,000 for Talking New Media. Not bad for just over two years of appearing online.

At the beginning it was difficult to get two or three posts up in day. But by the end of the first year of publishing, three to five posts became the norm. TNM today shoots for two to four posts as work has begun on a new, separate website to launch in the summer.

For those who have been here from the beginning, thank you for taking the journey. For TNM's new readers, whether here on the site, or via the Talking New Media for iPhone app, or those that follow using the RSS or Twitter feeds, thanks for coming, and welcome on board.