New News App Lets Readers Subcribe to Individual Writers

mzl.hvfdonbx.320x480-75[1]When The Magazine was announced last year it got a lot of attention for what (after the fact) was an obviously good idea; paring down a digital magazine to a minimal amount of  content and then selling it to subscribers for only a few dollars each month.

Craig Mod named it Subcompact Publishing, and today I have encountered an iOS app that takes the idea and turns it on its head. Rather than subscribe to a small publication, DNP lets you subscribe to specific journalists.

I see it as the age-old patronage model being played out on a micro-scale. Continue reading

Irish Newspaper Collective Wants to Charge License Fees for Links

NewspapersIMF4-230x150[1]It's a fact of life that legacy industries are often killed off by newer industries spawned by new inventions, so the generally worsening situation of the newspaper industry should come as no surprise as more news moves online.

What does surprise me is that some in the industry seemed determined to speed up the process and hasten the deaths of their companies. I've just read that the National Newspapers of Ireland has adopted a new licensing scheme where they expect websites to pay to link to one of their members.

I'm not kidding. They've been sending out notices, demanding payment: Continue reading

Connecting Real Paper to the Internet

post-itsHere’s an interesting piece on paidContent talking about the possibility of embedding electronics in genuine paper in order to add the ability to play audio, send Facebook likes, and otherwise link up a genuine ordinary paper to the Internet. The net-enabled paper would apparently use electrically conductive ink that would react when touched, like the capacitive screens of modern tablet, but not much is really known about the new technology yet.

The tech seems to be strictly one-way—there’s no mention of any sort of e-ink style responsive display in the article (though the project’s homepage does suggest some hybrid interactive display formats). The videos with it tend to talk about things like making it economically possible to provoke sounds out of various paper things like posters or facial tissue boxes. When used in newspapers, it could do things like collect click counts and provide analytical engagement data for publishers and marketers. The paidContent piece doesn’t touch on privacy concerns at all, which is a bit odd when you have quotes like:

Dundee University product design researcher Jon Rogers says: “For pretty much the first time, in a scaleable and manufacturable way, we’re going to connect the internet to paper. When you start to connect that to news, we’re in a goldmine zone.”

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A Golden Age of Digital Plagiarism Checking

turnitin_thumbPaidContent has an interesting piece on another plagiarism kerfuffle in the news lately, as a columnist from one newspaper used verbatim quotes from someone else without crediting them for it, and the editors of the plagiarizing writer’s paper posted an apology that many felt wasn’t sincere enough. But the interesting part to me isn’t the plagiarism.

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USA Today Seeks Digital Tomorrow

usa_today_logo_3As newspapers are more and more imperiled by Internet e-news, veteran CEO/journalist Alan D. Mutter has a fairly long piece on the potential demise or sweeping change lying in store for USA Today, the paper that basically tried to be the Internet news before the Internet was available to the public. The paper is currently observing its 30th anniversary. USA Today, writes Mutter, was founded with the goal of providing the same newspaper experience—packing colorful infographics and short punchy stories, sound familiar?—to readers anywhere in the country.

The paper was aimed primarily at business travelers, who would have expense money to burn and would want to be able to have the same news-reading experience no matter where they were. It ended up being so popular with travelers that hotels and other businesses started distributing it free to help lure its readers in. By now barely more than 1/3 of the paper’s readers, Mutter reports, seems to like it enough to pay for it.

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