The Media Oxpecker: Rethinking the Pyramid of Desirable Media Jobs

december 16, 2011  06:05 pm
The Media Oxpecker: Rethinking the Pyramid of Desirable Media Jobs
Every week we round up media & tech industry news you may have missed while you were busy serving as inspiration for Shepard Fairey illustrations.
  • Jaws dropped earlier this week when Politico's Ben Smith announced, on Twitter, his plans to depart for the prestigious halls of ... Buzzfeed? Here's Choire Sicha on why Smith's move – along with Don Van Natta's recent move from the New York Times to ESPN – is significant:
    This means a thing, and it's different from recent hires like "Tina Brown offering people oodles of money" or "Bloomberg View offering people oodles of money," but I can't put my finger on just what. In part, it's that there's no longer what was once so clearly a "pyramid" of desirable media jobs, with the Times right on top like the eye on the pyramid.

    Indeed, the way Adam Clark Estes explains it, Buzzfeed's co-founder enticed Smith by selling the notion that "content is moving towards the social web."
    In a number of ways, the burgeoning BuzzFeed model for journalism doesn't sound too different than HuffPost. After he starts on January 1, Ben Smith will continue to scoop up talented young reporters … and start to roll out content verticals specific to what the new breed of BuzzFeed journalists will be covering. Like HuffPost, the BuzzFeed approach to journalism aims to break the mold. Instead of just reporting on a major story, Peretti explained, BuzzFeed's new editorial team will "refract that story in a lot of different ways." Instead of just reporting that a teenager won the Siemens prize for developing a potential cure for cancer, we'd imagine, BuzzFeed would cover the news as well as the Internet memes that the story spawns as well as other fun, shareable reactions.

  • Speaking of new models of journalism, here's a piece by author and journalist David Wolman explaining how publishing an e-book through The Atavist opened up new ways of telling the story of the Egyptian revolution:
    What I couldn't appreciate about e-publishing until we were near to closing was just how much other information we could weave into and around the piece. While I was doing what I normally do—reporting, writing and rewriting—[Evan] Ratliff and Atavist producer Olivia Koski had been scheming ways to enliven the reader experience. They commissioned a graphic artist to draw the scene of a tense meeting that occurs in the opening section. They pinpointed places mentioned in the story on a Google map of Cairo, which readers can jump to with a click. They embedded a video clip of the protests and sprinkled some of my photographs from Cairo and Alexandria into the text. They commissioned an infographics wizard to put together an elaborate timeline of events, and we also decided to pay for an Arabic translation, which we give away for free.

    And for journalists considering writing a book, electronic or otherwise, here are a few cautionary tips to consider before making the jump from writing 3,000-word stories to 300-page stories.

  • What does it look like when a news story "shows its work" by embedding its sources? ProPublica has done just that, and the results are pretty awesome.

  • Apps are not the future, says Dave Winer. Why is the humble web browser superior to the app environment? Because we can link to other sources on the web.

  • Does having a payment model that rewards controversy encourage writers to bait readers with offensive material? Perhaps that's what drove Gene Marks to write the ill-advised, "If I Were a Poor Black Kid," which we won't dignify with a link.

  • Newsosaur Alan Mutter says that as digital heavyweights such as Google and Amazon go after the local space, "Most local media companies have no idea what’s about to hit them – much less a plan to respond."

  • Over 5 million people have signed up for the Washington Post's "frictionless sharing" Social Reader app.

  • Paid search drives $6 in local sales for every $1 in sales online, says a study.

  • In the face of fierce competition from Google, Apple is softening its stance to lure mobile advertisers.

  • Facebook is planning to move into the mobile ad space by the end of March 2012, reports Bloomberg.

  • eBay is planning to take on Groupon by offering coupons based on users' buying habits and mobile phone locations.

  • After some initial resistance, Microsoft says that its "Tag" app will now recognize QR codes and, eventually, Near Field Communication (NFC).

  • A recent study says that users are more likely to engage with web ads that use video, match the site's content, and are synched with other ads on the site, among other factors.

  • And finally, here's an infographic on media consolidation and the illusion of choice in what we read, watch, and listen to, courtesy of Frugal Dad:

  • Media Consolidation Infographic
    Source: Frugal dad