Social media drives traffic, but the prize is direct users

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Referral traffic to news sites

Facebook is an important source of website referrals for many news outlets, but the users who arrive via Facebook spend far less time and consume far fewer pages than those who arrive directly. The same is true of users arriving by search. Our analysis of comScore data found visitors who go to a news media website directly spend roughly three times as long as those who wind up there through search or Facebook, and they view roughly five times as many pages per month. This higher level of engagement from direct visitors is evident whether a site's traffic is driven by search or social sharing and it has big implications for news organizations who are experimenting with digital subscriptions while endeavoring to build a loyal audience.

Great piece by the Pew Research Center on "How social media is reshaping news."

(Image from Pew Research Center)

 

Evolving is a painful process


Tne Tennessean

For many, working at a newspaper doesn't seem all that fun anymore.

Chas Sisk had had enough.

The Tennessean had just fired Sisk and the entire staff of the paper the day before and asked them to reapply for their jobs. The reorganization was announced in the paper by executive editor Stefanie Murray as a "bold step forward in our evolution."

The Nashville Scene

The old and the new


The old knoxnews (a design in use for just over seven years) and the new design, launched July 22, 2014. The old site was on the "Ellington" platform; the new one uses "Endplay." What's up with the German ads? We use a screenshot service whose ip addresses are in Germany.

(Click on the image for a larger view.)

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John Quinn, John Seigenthaler, 2010 in Nashville

(Journalists John Quinn and John Seigenthaler chatting at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2010.)

Some good pieces on the large life of John Seigenthaler:

I only ask however you can, whenever you can, please stand up for what Ben Franklin called a precious gift, worth preserving and protecting.

-- John Seigenthaler

Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change small events, and those acts can write the history of our generation.

-- Robert F. Kennedy

Another year, another year older


Researcher Greg Harmon of Borrell Associates says the average age of a print newspaper reader is 57 and the average newspaper web visitor is 51.  Saying the industry's aging demographics ought to have "everyone's hair on fire," Harmon notes that newspaper readers have been getting a year older every year for more than a decade. 


-- Alan D. Mutter

A great piece from Om Malik on media. There's lot of food for thought in this piece.

Among his highlights:

  • No one could've predicted FB and Twitter as the boosters for media and this is why we've seen so much change and new models.
  • The problem with media is that it's trying to find a answer within itself and not looking at what readers want.
  • The internet as we know it is at an end. The Chinese and Brazilian internets are developing in their own way and pace.
  • Putting a paywall on a thing people were getting for free is a backward move. You must create a new, compelling, useful experience.
  • My open source tools are a paper and a pen.
  • Journalism schools need to teach journalism for the social media age.
  • Big publishers are in the habit of always 'taking' from users, not giving back.
  • We are limited by the industrial definition/model of journalism.
  • It is time for big publications to think of themselves as technology platforms.

CheerleaderLibelLaw2l.jpg

The fate of a law that was passed in the infancy of the commercial Internet and which created the legal underpinnings for everything from anonymous comments by trolls on news stories to your pet photo on Facebook was argued today in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

The case involves a defamation lawsuit by a former Cincinnati Benglas cheerleader against a gossip website.  The cheerleader, Sarah Jones, sued gossip site The Dirty in 2012 claiming allegations on its site about her sex life were untrue. A Federal jury awarded Jones $338,000.

In the appeal heard today, The Dirty's attorneys argued the case should have never been heard because the Communications Decency Act of 1996 grants immunity to websites from content posted by users.

"If Judge Bertelsman's ruling stands, the Internet will have a nuclear meltdown," Arizona attorney David Gingras said. "It'll change the rules across the board for everyone. ... Mark Zuckerberg could be dragged into court for what users post on Facebook."

While that quote is more than a bit of hyperbole, the case is being closely watched by web content firms who say upholding the lower court ruling would  "significantly chill online speech" . Read more.

Photo caption: This Monday, July 30, 2012 file photo shows Sarah Jones, a former Dixie Heights High School teacher and Cincinnati Ben-Gal cheerleader, arriving at the Kenton County Justice Center, in Covington, Kentucky. An appeals court is considering whether an Arizona-based gossip website should have been allowed to be sued for defamation by Jones, convicted of having sex with a teenager. Attorneys for both sides argued their case Thursday, May 1, 2014 before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/The Enquirer, Patrick Reddy, File)

Newscast bunnies get into some sexy business


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Local TV station WBIR has been in the news as an Easter segment last week went viral. 

What made everything from Gawker to the Today Show were some bunnies that in an on-air segment in front of the anchors did what ... ah ... rabbits often do.



The Gawker headline: "Bunnies Have Sex Like Bunnies on Local News Channel's Easter Broadcast"

And CNN:

Even another Gannett TV stations have had fun with it.

For its part, WBIR and staff have had a good sense of humor about it and are just rolling with it.

Here's Christy Moreno, WBIR News Director:

About that comment


What's new in comments about comments. The debate on anonymous comments on websites continues while publisher retool or junk their comment systems. Meanwhile, a few interesting new experiments are happening.

See the bigger list of links on comments.