Roger Cohen, The Quest to Belong
Next year’s Thanksgiving grace.
Gawker is apparently surprised that the old school newspapers — the ones still printing on paper, for crying out loud — have old people writing on their op-ed pages. Big surprise.
Still, it was worse than I thought.
Why are newspaper opinion columnists so consistently baffled by the politics, technologies, and social mores of the 21st century? We’ve crunched some data, and we think we’ve figured out the answer: They’re old as hell.
We examined age and gender breakdowns of the regular opinion columnists at the country’s three most prestigious opinion sections—those of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal—as well as the opinion stables from four of the largest press syndicates—The Creators Syndicate, Universal Press, King Features, and Tribune Media, which provide column material for many of the country’s smaller papers. (For now, we left off regular columnists for other sections of the papers.)
Of the 143 columnists we looked at, a scant 38 were women. Just as bad was the age distribution: Average and median ages on the whole hover around 60. Tribune Media Services had the oldest columnists: average and median ages are both around 64. The businessy Wall Street Journal, whose average columnist is a sprightly 56 years old (median 54), is the most youthful—although that’s still older than the paper’s average 48-year-old reader.
Only one woman under 35, Alexandra Petri at the Washington Post.
Another good reason to read elsewhere.
Only one national daily records rise, according to National Readership Survey
The repercussions of the web are starting to make serious inroads in the UK, where six ‘national’ newspapers saw serious declines in the past year.
Six national daily titles suffered sizeable falls in readership over 12 months up to June, according to the latest set of figures from the National Readership Survey (NRS).
Compared to the same period the year before, The Independent lost 26% of its daily audience. The other five losers, in descending order, were the Daily Star(-16%), The Guardianand Daily Express(-14%), Daily Mirror(-13%) and The Sun(-11%).
NRS also regards the 6% drop in readership for the free daily, Metro, as statistically significant.
Only one national title, the Financial Times, increased its audience, recording a 2% rise.
Expects several of these to go out of business in the next few years. I am betting that The Guardian and Financial Times will make it.
The decline in newspaper circulation is now hitting Germany, a decade after the US. I remember predicting this was going to happen at a Germany conference, I think it was Next in 2009, and being told that Germans were different than Americans, and wouldn’t switch to online news and entertainment. Sure.
American adults this year will for the first time spend more time each day using digital media than watching TV, according to a new report by eMarketer.
Adults in the U.S. are averaging five hours and nine minutes daily with digital media, up from four hours and 31 minutes last year and three hours and 50 minutes in 2011. The amount of time they spend watching TV has essentially stayed flat in that time period. It was pegged at four hours and 31 minutes this year, down slightly from four hours and 38 minutes in 2012.
Overall, the amount of time spent consuming media in all its forms — digital, TV, radio and print — is cranking ever upward, though radio and print are dropping off, according to eMarketer. U.S. adults are spending an average of 11 hours and 52 minutes every day with media, up 13 minutes from last year.
The surge in digital consumption has predictably been driven by mobile. U.S. adults now spend an average of two hours and 21 minutes per day using their mobile devices for activities other than phone calls, up 46 minutes from last year.
Jeremy Peters, The Atlantic Turns a Profit, With an Eye on the Web (2010)
They actually started with the concept to imagine themselves as a venture-back silicon valley start-up designed to disrupt The Atlantic and steal away its readers. That led to a game plan to cannibalize the compny leaving behind only the parts that matched the concept of the start-up.
Another paradox to live by: today, in the postnormal, every company must kill itself to survive.
Tom Critchlow, The Time For Content Marketing Is Now
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions Of Man (1964)
The last few paragraphs of Understanding Media, where McLuhan peered into the last days of the postmodern and over the lip into our present day, the postnormal. He somehow avoids the wrenching disruptions involved, and the human costs of a transition to a time when 99% are unemployed artists, and 1% own the machinery and resources that makes everything necessary for life.
Karen McGuane, Don’t Let Paper Paradigms Drive Your Digital Strategy
It’s not just paper paradigms we need to avoid, it’s the paradigms of the pre-social web. Here’s a talk I gave in 2010, anticipating liquid media’s future dominance: Social Media Blur | Blogs, Networks, Streams. A quote:
Now, we are headed into the fourth phase of social media, where the growing market impacts of streams will begin to impinge on computing in general, so we will see streams become primary design elements of operating systems for computing and mobile devices. As this advance spreads, the premises of the earliest phases of social media can begin to be considered as layers in an architecture. Old school blogs and other publishing models that create static web pages will increasingly be treated as an archive, or as a source for social objects referenced by URL, but where the URL is used to fetch the content and display it in the stream, just as today photos are being resolved in Twitter clients. In the near future, all media types will be resolved in place, in the stream. This will create interesting issues with advertising revenues and other media control issues, but in the long run, ads and other metadata will be pulled along with the context-free slow media into the socially-embedded context of streams.
These are the chunks McGuane is alluding to, and the OS-based streams are finally appearing in iOS 7. It’s coming on.
I think Pullquote is a very smart tool. It runs as a Chrome extension or bookmarklet, allowing me to create a short URL pointing directly to a specific location on a web page. That would be helpful enough, but the developers behind it (led by my old friend Henry Copeland) have now added comments, as you can see in the screenshot above.
It will be interesting to see how that plays out. At the moment the only way to see the comments (if any) are by following the Pullquote URL. And it appears that only those with the plugin can see or add to the comments. Bummer.
Also, the comments don’t show up in the stats view provided by Pullquote’s plugin:
I would like to see the count of comments and their contents in this display, and it should be a public web page, not just something rendered in the plugin’s settings.
James Gleick, “Total Noise,” Only Louder via New York magazine