The Cyberbrains

Research and contemplation in new media

Research for the newsroom 9.25.08

For some time I have gathered research and technology reports and translated them into usable notes for the editors at the Columbia Missourian. I will start sharing them here so other may them useful. Look for the report about every two weeks.

Clyde Bentley

Them vs. them vs. us dominated the media research discussion lists in the past fortnight. Here’s a digest of research

and related information of use to the folks in the news trenches.

Mobile society: A seminar at the NAA Marketing Conference focused on the impact of cell phones on surveys, but there is news there for us also. Among the statistics:
• One-in-eight U.S. adults is cell-only
• The cell-only population is demographically different from landliners. While 12.6% of the general population is mobile-only, 29.1% of 18-29-year-olds are.
• 40% of landliners surveyed said they read a newspaper yesterday, but only 27% of cell phone folks did. On the flip side, 8% of landliners read a local Web newspaper, but 12% of the mobile did.
• You actually can call cell phones for a survey and even telemarket to them — but the law requires that you manually dial the number. That aces out most automated researchers and marketers – for now.

Check out the presentation and the report.
Also, Nielsen this week pegged the wireless household rate at 17% and predicted it would hit 20% by year-end. A curious link found by Nielsen: Cutting the cord and moving your household.
So much for multi-tasking: A Mediamark study challenges the common notion that newspaper are distracted by TV, radio, etc. The study indicated 55% of adults who read at home do so without the involvement of other media. It is 54% for magazines, 54% for Internet, 49% for TV and 28% for radio.
On the cover: The September Presstime from NAA cover feature is on journalism schools, focusing on Mizzou. The headline is “Mind the Gap” and the issue is the synchronization of what we teach and what the industry needs.
On the air: A number of papers are experimenting with CoverItLive, software that allows one to post live text, video and audio from the newsroom via computer or from the field via iPhone or Blackberry.

The Rochester Post-Bulletin archives show what the software can do.

Traditional vs. Online audiences: The Readership Audience reviewed the Pew study on audiences, noting that 46% of U.S. adults rely almost exclusively on traditional media, 23% use traditional as the main source but supplement it with online, 13 percent use the Web as the main source and 14% appear to live in caves. ‘Even after almost 15 years of online news, Traditionalists make up half the adult population. Those of us who fall into the Integrator or Net-Newser segments sometimes forget how many people still use news media the way they always have,” notes Rich Gordon of Northwestern. But, he said, those folks are unlikely to change their habits, so we can logically focus our new initiatives at the one-eighth of adults who are Web-centric. It’s a good read.

“Cutting” edge: Attempting to do to e-readers what the Razr did to cell phones, Plastic Logic introduced a black/white device about the thickness (and size) of a magazine.

Different Moms, different Web: Gen Y and Gen X mothers use the Web in significantly different child rearing ways, NewMediaMetrics found. The older Gen X (dob 1965-1981) uses the Web for task-oriented activities like uploading photos or shopping. The Millennial Gen Y (1982-1994) moms uses the Web to connect to other mothers (blogs, video-sharing, online communities). They also like to use their mobile phones to text message and send photos to friends.

On the smaller side: The Suburban Newspapers of America announced its 2008 Newspapers of the Year winners. This list is a good place to see what relatively well-funded smaller newspapers do. At a centennial workshop, the suburban and community papers said circulation was generally up and this year’s losses were only about 3%. They are looking at a profitable 2009.
• Non-Dailies, Up to 10,000 Circulation — The Riverdale Press, Richner Communications
• Non-Dailies, 10,001-22,500 Circulation — Coast Reporter, Madison Publishing, Ltd./Glacier Media Group
• Non-Dailies, 22,501-37,500 Circulation –The Chilliwack Progress, Black Press, Ltd.
• Non-Dailies, Over 37,500 Circulation –The Era Banner, Metroland Media Group, Ltd.
• Dailies, Under 30,000 Circulation — The Beacon News, Sun-Times News Group
• Dailies, Over 30,000 Circulation –Arizona Daily Star, Lee Enterprises, Inc.

The St. Louis American was second in non-dailies over 37,500. In the Missourian’s size, the Beacon News of the Chicago Sun-Times group ( ) has an interesting way of displaying blogs. One of the common traits of all the winners’ Web pages: Pictures of kids.

September 25, 2008 Posted by | Clyde Bentley | , | Leave a comment

Doctors, blogs and disasters

Ralph Kurtenbach makes a Doubting Thomas’ argument for blogging on his blog, A Box of Curtains.  He, like others in our profession, was suspicious of citizen jouralism.  But when doctors blogged from disaster sites, he revisited his notions.

September 10, 2008 Posted by | Clyde Bentley | Leave a comment