Sunday, September 30, 2007

Notes from the Knight Digital Media Center meeting

Topic: What is the state of online journalism and your place in it?
Speaker: Amy Mitchell, Deputy Director, Project on Excellence in Journalism

Quick notes:
TOTAL AUDIENCE HAS LEVELED OFF but users are going online more often.

Survey says: 37 percent went online yesterday

Survey says: 44 percent watch video weekly, up from 24 percent one year ago

Online news is not so much about building a loyal customer base as it is about getting the hunter and the gatherer. (The readers who drop in via Google searches and etc)

Total ad growth is slowing faster than anticipated. Bad news.

Legacy news sites are no longer defined by their root media. I guess that would be the paper.

People are not worrying about commodity news, just working about unique franchises. Things that would be “just theirs.”

Lots of sites aren't linking off site. Might be worth looking at doing that. Many of your readers aren't there because they love your brand anyways -- they're "accidental visitors.

Discussion: (paraphrases)

Vikki Porter: it's not all about clicks.

Heather Buono (Yahoo): You can put up the giant squid and Britney Spears and the boards will light up. But where will those readers be in six months? They'll click on it, but they won't respect you in the morning. (first laugh of the day) They want a balanced meal.

Heesun Wee, Yahoo: How do you balance the sexy with the broccoli stuff? ... if you jump off the Britney Spears deep end, when you have a news story that clearly can't be ignored, it looks really awkward when you try to put the broccoli back into the mix.

Next up: Neil Chase, Federated Media Publishing
Michael Pond: Media Analyst, Nielsen/NetRatings

3:30 p.m.
Question: Who IS the audience???

Neil asks three quesitons:

1. Define The User of your website. A woman or man? How old? Write down a few words describing him or her.

2. Who is your competition?

3. When you turn to your co-workers at the end of the day and say man, today was a really good day -- what is that day like? What do you define as a really good day?

3:55 p.m.
I just made a big speech about clicks. Neil said "Fascinating." I can't tell if he was just being nice.

Britney. Everytime people talk about the perils of watching clicks and how that might compromise our news judgment and story mix, they invoke Britney. I love that. For the rest of this symposium, every time someone say's Britney I'm going to report it.

Michael Pond talks about site centric analytics. Neil wants to know how accurate the tracking companies are at tracking users inside of universities and big companies.

Michael says: Cookie deletion overstates site visitors by 40-45 percent. (yikes) That's the young male user, the "seriel cookie deleter."

Fortunately, 70 percent of users didn't delete cookies within a 3 month period.

How do you change your website at night? Goes more international at night, because they're a morning read for Europeans

NPR: Puts up more West Coast stories after 5 p.m. eastern, for the West Coast reader who is still at work. More shopping, entertainment, fun stuff later at night

Who is your reader? I wrote down who I want our reader to be, not who they are. 24-35, male, professional. Someone I would want to hang out with.

Guy from Miami who doesn't really want to work in online but was told to anyway: People at work.

Yahoo: Male, 25-35, four-year degree, aspiration, seeking validation in their money choices, parenting choices, etc. Smart answer.

San Gabriel Valley paper: Professionals, but also high school readers and their parents, they come for prep sports coverage

4:25 (paraphrasing all this)


  • 60 percent of people who went online in August went to a news site.

  • In this new world of Ajax, 2.0, rich internet applications, page views will diminish in importance. We made a decision to pay attention to time on site.

  • A smaller number of people cruise the news from work than from home, but most of the time and page views come from people at work.

    Page views on news sites are up 3 percent year-overyear (August)

    Neil: The number of page views per users is going down at the New York Times. We blamed Google. More people are coming in because Google is showing more people the New York Times web site, but they come in and read only one story, then hit the back button.

    Cory, Houston Chronicle: We can do half a million page views on Emmy photos. My bosses say don't do so many of those, because it's like crack.

    I said Britney.

    Note to self: Check out Sphere. They do the related links for

    Survey says, of people who visit news sites:
    59.5 percent visited a general new site
    34.5 percent read any news online yesterday
    18.7 percent primarily read newspapers online
    16 percent: no newspaper read at all yesterday

    People who are consuming news online are early adopters of technology

    I'm an early adopter of break time. We're meeting back up for dinner and chat at 6:30 p.m.

    Vikki looked at my Powerpoint and says it looks okay. She also tells me that more than 100 people have RSVPd for the big event tomorrow. Have I mentioned I don't really feel all that comfortable doing public speaking?

  • See other reports from Journalism in a 24/7 world: Decision-Making for the Online Editor A Knight Digital Media Center presentation:

    Report for Day 1
    Report for Day 2
    Monday (Day 2) Wrap Up
    Report for Day 3
    Go to the Knight Center site here for more info


    kateco said...

    re: 4:05 -- for the rest of this conference, whenever you report someone says Briteny, I'll take a shot of tequila

    ... naw, that was just the luncheon wine talking

    kateco said...

    What?! ... It's Sunday for chrissake!

    Michelle said...

    Dang, I was going to suggest champagne!

    kateco said...

    this is good girl --- keep rolling --- and I like the setup ... you do the blogging and I'll do the drinking --- out

    Rita said...

    About tomorrow...not to worry. You're unique and brilliant - 'break a leg'.

    kateco said...

    wear pearls -- all will be well

    Mark said...

    or if not pearls, at least wear pants.

    Mark said...

    Three online producers go into a bar and order a beer.

    Bartender says, sorry, this is a journalist bar.

    kateco said...