Thursday, February 22, 2007

The future of news publishing: Opinion & analysis

Many publishers will increasingly echo this: “Pay for exclusive opinion and analysis”.

Jeff Jarvis and Howard Owens have recently written about the oft-quoted slogan, “News has always been free and always will be”. That is all well and fine but how will news businesses make money?

WSJ and Economist have long sold subscriptions for exclusive analysis. Bill Emmott, who left as Editor of The Economist said in an interview that every week, the magazine that likes to call itself a newspaper, makes sure that it has at least 4 or so completely pieces of thought.

The New York Times is trying this ‘pay for opinion’ model in its Times Select offering.

Time, belonging to the almost forgotten age of the Newsweeklies, is considering carrying more opinion and essay pieces.

I read some time back that while Free newspapers will carry the commodity-type news material, publishing houses may consider to sell pay versions with analysis, opinions, op-ed and so on.

Let news be free.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Trust in News: Much ado about nothing

Newstrust is a new online news startup whose staff filters all incoming pieces of information, and going beyond this. They actually filter news sources themselves for trustworthiness.

Now, this may be a noble thing to do when you are trying to take on the likes of social news sites such as Digg. However, I would say that Newstrust is barking up the wrong tree, pardon the cliché.

Trust is often implicit in things.
The saying goes like this: if you can describe truth, it no longer exists.

It is silly when News Sites proclaim that they stand for Truth.
Just as silly, if Obama thinks Blacks will vote for him since he is ‘black’.

Readers will read what they like to read.
Republicans will read conservative slant stories because they like to…

Being creatures of habit, we will read New York Times, BBC news site, Digg, Techmeme, despite of the occasional instances of sloppiness, more so in case with Digg and Techmeme, which often aggregate all kinds of blogs.

The reader is also more intelligent.
He/she would also like to make up his/her mind after having read several pieces on the topic.

It is about being a useful, timely and an entertaining read.

Not surprisingly, the best news sources do not trumpet ‘trustiness’ (apologies to Colbert).

BBC – Putting news first
New York Times – What is fit to print

My point:
When News Sites trumpet about ‘trustiness', they’ leave themselves game to ridicule and cynicism.

High-handed claims such as 'trustiness' may backfire in a big way when you slip just once. Being human, 'trust' me, you will slip.

My suggestion to Newstrust will be: Less noise, more signal please.