The Media Oxpecker: The Inevitability of Facebook's Commenting System

december 2, 2011  02:55 pm
The Media Oxpecker: The Inevitability of Facebook's Commenting System
Every Friday we round up media & tech industry news you may have missed while you were busy thanking the battleship tacos.
  • Gannett will furlough its employees without pay for the equivalent of one week in the first quarter of 2012. The Gannett Blog notes that employees have endured five furloughs in the past three years, losing a combined $67 million in salary since 2009.

    Separately, at the MediaNews Group-owned Denver Post, nineteen newsroom employees volunteered to take a buyout offer to leave the paper.

  • The outlook is much brighter at The Economist, which keeps growing at a time when other publications are shrinking. Part of its success, Megan Garber explains, can be attributed to its careful crafting of an "Economist identity" that will be crucial to maintaining loyalty from readers who are migrating to tablets:
    The Economist has an interest in shaping itself as a kind of imagined community, a social space where fellow-thinkers are implied if not actually seen … The "lean-back, immersive, ritual pleasure" [CEO Andrew] Rashbass believes consumers take from the tablet experience is predicated on an old-fashioned notion of brand identity. It requires that consumers know enough, and care enough, about The Economist to download the app and subscribe to its content in the first place. It requires that they be, on some level, "Economist people."

  • The New York Times has become the latest major publisher to implement Facebook's platform for user comments on its site. It has also added a Gawker-like "trusted commenter" status so that certain users can post comments without moderation.

    GigaOM's Mathew Ingram says that while some readers will resist the change, the Times is taking a step in the right direction:
    This kind of tiered system takes the same approach to community that massively multi-player online games such as World of Warcraft do: in other words, it creates incentives for good behavior by allowing users to “level up” — that is, improve their online character, add features, etc. — and that investment by users creates a stronger bond between them and the community.

    Also switching to Facebook comments: USA Today.

  • News racks have returned to Raleigh-Durham International Airport as the result of a successful legal effort by several newspapers, including USA Today and The New York Times, which established that banning news stands violated the newspapers' First Amendment right to disseminate the news. (h/t: Jody Colley)

  • The Washington Post says that 83 percent of its Facebook social news app users are under the age of 35 and that a whopping 20 percent of them are based in India.

  • U.S. online ad revenue is up 22 percent from a year ago, reaching nearly $8 billion in the 3rd quarter of 2011. And while video ads comprise just 6 percent of all web ads, their presence is growing, and users are showing a remarkable willingness to view them.

  • WordPress announced the creation of WordAds, a Google AdSense competitor for select users of WordPress.

  • QR codes are so six months ago. The next hot technology will be near field communication (NFC) which "will eventually trump QR codes in terms of usability, security and capacity."

  • "I used to think that publishing weeded out the weak ones. Now I think it just weeds out the poor ones, the ones who can’t afford a couple of years of internships … But I think everyone now has the (largely mistaken) idea that they can write. Whether or not they have something to say. It is a generational thing." Kids these days.

  • How Time Inc. is preparing for a future in digital news with a j-school of its own.

  • And finally, meet Little Printer, a newspaper for the Twitter age: