Moved to Seattle! (And other important updates)

Hi guys,

I know it’s (acceptable contraction for ‘it has’?) been a while since I last posted, and I’ve undergone some major changes. My friends have been left in the dark about what’s up with me, causing them to wonder why the hell I didn’t tell them what I’ve been up to. So in case I’ve missed anyone, here’s what’s been going on in the Life of Bryan:

1. I moved to Seattle

Having been a former resident of Seoul, I can say I’ve lived in some of the world’s largest cities. But I’ve never lived in an American metropolis… until now. I even work on the 13th floor of one of the high-rise buildings that dot the Seattle sky. Speaking of work…

2. I’m an intern at a global PR agency.

I’m finally putting my major to work for me as an intern at Weber Shandwick’s Seattle office.  I can say I’m finally using what I learned in college in the real world. I love what I do and actually look forward to coming into work every day. And yes, this is the first time I’ve ever said that about a real job and meant it.

3. I gave up freelancing. 

It’s something I always said I’d do if I ever started working in PR, and I did that to ensure that I would give 100 percent of my focus to my job. I think it’s a good decision that I do not regret. Freelancing taught me a lot about running my own business and working hard enough for myself, and I’m using the life skills that freelancing taught me in my internship. But it’s time to move on, and freelance writing is in my past.

That’s more or less it. I want to promise that I’ll upload more frequently in the future, but I’ve made that promise before and it never works out.

What is the future of news media?

The Internet and today’s economy are calling to question the survivability of newspapers… but everyone already knows that. What everyone wants to know (including myself) is what are newspapers going to do to survive? Do they get rid of their print editions and focus on making their online versions profitable? Do they concentrate on advertising revenue (as current online media are), or do they find a way to get money from their readers?

Hoping to better understand the situation, I read three articles (recommended by my communication history instructor) and have posted what parts of each article were most insightful to me. These highlight the problems that newspapers face, and offer some direction as to where media needs to go:

Atlantic Magazine — End Times:

Print media brings in more money than online content. There is more space for advertising, and people pay for their newspapers. Online print is unable to utilize advertisements the way print media is (there just is not as much space on a web page for ads like there is on a newspaper page), and readers do not have to pay for online versions of newspapers in most cases.

The conundrum, of course, is that those 1 million print readers, who pay actual cash money for the privilege of consuming the paper, and who are worth about five figures a page to advertisers, are far more profitable than the 20 million unique Web users, who don’t and aren’t.

How do newspapers extract revenue from readers who already expect their content for free? And what can newspapers do to earn more revenue from their advertisers?

Time Magazine — How to Save Your Newspaper:

The Time Magazine article talks about the importance of generating revenue from the reader base is important. The writer (Walter Isaacson) argues that generating revenue from advertisements alone not only limits revenue, but it also jeopardizes the quality of the reporting.

In an advertising-only revenue model, the incentive is perverse. It is also self-defeating, because eventually you will weaken your bond with your readers if you do not feel directly dependent on them for your revenue.

Isaacson argues that it is possible to make money online from readers, and that charging them is not an absurd idea.

Back then there were a passel of online service companies, such as Prodigy, CompuServe, Delphi and AOL. They used to charge users for the minutes people spent online, and it was naturally in their interest to keep the users online for as long as possible. As a result, good content was valued.

[…]We invented things like banner ads that brought in a rising tide of revenue, but the upshot was that we abandoned getting paid for content.

The Daily Anchor (An editorial on the potential closing of the San Fransisco Chronicle):

They argue that newspapers that are losing revenue need to close (a libratarian perspective) and that print media is dying. This is a good thing, they argue, not just from an economic standpoint, but also from an environmental standpoint.

… if market forces are changing the way we receive media, then the market must adapt and evolve.

[…]Newspapers are limited. Static. Outdated the second they’re printed. Websites and blogs can publish articles in real-time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and be updated on the fly, even from a cell phone.

…I would wager that within the next 10 years, 85% of all print newspapers in operation today will be out of business or exclusively online. And you know what? They should go out of business. They’re dinosaurs, and the web is a meteorite/volcano/climate change/the best thing that’s happened since slice bread.

So what do newspapers need to do to survive? That’s the million dollar question, and that answer may be different for different newspapers.

If the New York Times, for example, can get each of its 20 million daily website visitors to pay $.05 each day they visit their site, they can make $1 million each day!

But that’s not going to work for papers whose online presence is small. Smaller daily newspapers probably do not have that option, and bigger dailies (such as the San Fransisco Chronicle) may not have enough time to create a large online following before they go out of business.

But as the Daily Anchor pointed out, there will likely be many fewer newspapers still printing by the time the whole financial fiasco is over. And that may be a good thing in terms of the environment and in terms of innovation.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on the subject. Feel free to leave a comment (or publish a response on your blog and link to it in the comments  section). Look forward to hearing from you!


Dependency

Dependency Theory- The theory that the underdeveloped world is behind that of the developed world because of Western/developed world hegemony. Not %100 complete, obviously.

It’s also the subject of International Communication (J396 for all you UofO kids).

By the end of the class, I’m sure my professor will be expecting me to be able to talk about why the developed world has defeat modernization’s approach to communications development. Of course, there are all sorts of underlying assumptions and value judgments made in this assertion which I hope to bring to light.

We’ll see how it goes.

It’s Art!

I’m tired of hearing that journalistic writing is too dry, too boring, or too rule constrained to be art, especially that last point. Journalistic writing is artistic; it just takes a refined taste to see it for what it actually is.

Too confined in rules? Think of haiku poems. Haiku’s must be written 5, 7, 5 syllable lines. Few dispute whether or not they are art.

Too boring? Too dry? Maybe it’s just that we as Journalists see what others don’t; that is, perhaps we detect the subtleties in the writing.

I can look at every journalistic piece I’ve ever written, and just by the writing style, I can tell you what was going through my head when I wrote it, how I was feeling, ect. I can picture what other writers are feeling as I read their pieces as well.

It’s art.

Dammit.