LI Entrepreneur Ferries Supplies To Haiti

January 27, 2010

There have been so many heartwarming examples of the Long Island community extending a helping hand to the Haitian people in the wake of the tragic earthquake earlier this month. But I stumbled across this travel journal by LI Pulse publisher Nada Marjanovich and it blew me away.

My wife ran supplies to a local church. I donated $10 online. But Marjanovich personally took a plane load of supplies to the devastated island nation. Amazing! Click on each photo for details:

Full disclosure: Yes, I write for LI Pulse. But this is a great example of a local entrepreneur going above and beyond.

Blog originally posted at LI

The Coming Media Shift

September 16, 2009

One year after the collapse of Wall Street signaled the start of the Great Recession, another struggling industry is moving fast to change. And by change I mean charge. There’s been a seismic shift in online journalism, from a philosophy of free content to one where everything may soon disappear behind pay walls.

Say goodbye to the era of the Free Internet. The New York Times recently wrote how Steven Brill and Journalism, once the lone venture seeking to build a paid online model for newspapers and magazines, suddenly has competition.

Times reporter Richard Perez-Pena said media mogul Rupert Murdoch, and tech giants Google, Microsoft and IBM have each announced plans to develop pay systems for media companies. Murdoch owns the Wall Street Journal, the one major paper which already successfully charges for online content.

Read the Times story here:

What’s interesting about the looming shift in online journalism is how the media itself has resisted. From reporters and editors to industry insiders and executives, the cry has been that a pay model would never work.

Many news organizations tried to charge – unsuccessfully — for content at the dawn of the Internet in the mid 1990s. Back then, customers revolted because newspaper penetration was high in most communities and the online content was little more than a less-glitzy version of the print edition.

Not today. There’s far more content online, including multimedia offerings such as video and photo galleries, than in the daily paper. And with the advent of Open ID-style systems, a pay model to view content from multiple news sources is possible – and inevitable.

The traction for this move has come in the last year. The latest economic crisis forced many businesses to rethink how they operate. An advertising crunch has online media considering a fundamental shift. And it’s coming fast.

On Long Island, Newsday has a unique path toward this. Cablevision bought the paper last summer and has moved quickly to use the content as a selling point to fend off hard-charging Verizon. So what does it mean locally? If you already subscribe to Newsday or Cablevision — nothing. But if not, get ready to lose access to Newsday.

Also, Cablevision, in partnership with Newsday, is launching MSG Varsity, a high school sports channel. It’s the first such network in the nation. And once again, it’s content that’s available only through Cablevision. Expect more innovation to come in the next few years.

Blog originally posted at LI

Future of LI Media: Uncertain Forecast

February 6, 2009

As I sat in on the Press Club of Long Island’s forum on the Future of Long Island Media at Newsday on Thursday night, it became obvious that the esteemed panel — and the companies they represent — were still grappling for answers on how to weather the current storm.

Newsday Publisher Tim Knight hinted the age of free Internet may be over. It’s a topic several newspaper publishers have openly discussed in recent months as papers continue to lose revenue to big search firms such as Google and niche products such as Career and The struggling economy has only heightened the media industry’s troubles as fewer companies advertise.

“I have a family,” Knight said. “I have to find a way to make this work. This is hand-to-hand combat for every advertising dollar. It’s being really smart about what news you put out there. It is a much more challenging business.”

Ad dollars aside, several panelists concluded the current media model may well be broken, a sentiment echoed by Long Island Press publisher Jed Morey. “Our thing is broken and people don’t want to pay for it anymore and we have to figure that out.”

While Newsday isn’t going away any time soon, not every business will survive. The free weekly Long Island Press comes to mind. It’s a sobering thought for anyone in the media business. Check out the Press Club of Long Island for more on this topic.

Blog originally posted at LI

The Problem With Social Networks

January 7, 2009

I’m a big fan of social networks. I’ve even developed Facebook apps and used Twitter to deliver news. The Internet has made the ability to communicate over multiple platforms an exciting time for grass roots journalism.

But for big media companies, this is not good. It’s judgement day.

In case no one has noticed the sky is falling! Classifieds are gone and the current economic climate has forced everyone to reevaluate how they spend ad dollars. Seriously bad news for newspapers — headline in 80-point helvetica bold. The free flow of information on the web has served one purpose in the case of newspapers — to steal a product that costs money and manpower to create.

How do you right this imbalance? My suggestion is to turn the clock back to 1995 and start charging for access.

Media organizations need to own their content and develop their own audience — independent of the Facebooks of the world. And lock down their content.

By the way, in my opinion, another problem with chasing these social networks? It puts more and more burden on reporters to update blogs, Twitter, etc. It takes time away from going out and reporting a story or working the phones. Oh, and don’t forget to post a web-only story ASAP and then edit video you shot while writing the story for the daily paper. Even Matt Drudge would choke on all that…

Blog originally posted at Wired Journalists

Financial Crisis Ripple Effect

October 10, 2008

As an entrepreneur running a startup online publishing company, I look a the bloodletting on Wall Street — and my IRAs and stocks — and wonder what effects this will have on the advertising climate moving forward. For me the losses are paper. It’s as if it’s not even real. Not yet anyway.

But my concern is how the financial crunch might impact our industry as a whole. The industry was already well into a time of transition and falling revenues. So are even tougher times ahead? Will companies stop advertising? Will people stop taking out classifieds or buying photos from our web sites? Maybe even stop subscribing to the daily paper (I know this already happened) or monthly magazine to cut costs?

No one seems to be looking ahead. We’re all rubberneckers driving by a car wreck. But I can’t help but wonder — fear — what’s next.

What are your thoughts or observations?

Blog originally posted at Wired Journalists

Backpack Journalism

March 7, 2008

I thought the latest issue of Quill, the SPJ mag, had some interesting reads on the trend that’s now called backpack journalism. (I’ve been doing it since 2002 and never knew it had a name.) Particularly interesting was a feature on a news startup in Texas. Here’s the link:

Blog originally posted at Wired Journalists