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Mary Meeker of American venture capital firm KPCB has released her annual Internet Trends Report. This year she highlights several important trends, including a section extracting lessons from the Chinese tech market, data on the eye-popping rise in tablet shipments worldwide, and indicators for the increasing adoption of wearable/flyable/scannable technology. Essential reading for anyone interested in reading the tea-leaves of tech and social media.

Public service broadcasters (PSBs) are a central part of national news media landscapes. In many countries, PSBs are the first choice of citizens when it comes to news providers. And in perhaps more countries still, PSBs are thought of as specialists in provision of hard news. We test this proposition here using survey data from a large crossnational survey involving indicators of current affairs knowledge and media consumption. Specifically, we examine whether exposure to public versus commercial news influences the knowledge citizens possess about current affairs, both domestically and internationally. We also test, using propensity score analysis, whether there is variation across PSBs in this regard. Results indicate that compared to commercial news, watching PSB has a net positive influence on knowledge of hard news, though not all PSBs are equally effective in contributing to knowledge acquisition. This knowledge gap between PSB and commercial news media consumption appears to be mitigated by factors such as de jure independence, proportion of public financing, and audience share.

In our findings the business models of the cases fall into two main categories: those which have storytelling-orientated business models and those which rely on a more service-orientated model.

The sites whose business model is based around storytelling are still prevalent in our findings. These sites focus on making money from producing original content, news and stories, for audiences. The difference to the mass media model is that in the online world the target audience is smaller. Online journalism relies heavily on niche audiences built around targeted themes such as hobbies, neighborhoods or psychographic tendencies. In this niche journalism there is a tight triangulation between journalistic content and advertised products.

The other group, service-oriented business models, seems to be growing. This group consists of sites that don’t try to monetize the journalistic content as such. For example citizen journalism sites are more like platforms that curate and moderate citizen-oriented content, or news aggregators compile stories form other outlets. Some startups have specialized in selling technology, information, training or diversifying to redefine what it means to do news.

New research: The SuBMoJour study maps sustainable journalistic startups in nine countries. It includes an online database detailing the business models of these entrepreneurial sites.

This article explores the role of the news media in overseeing intelligence services and their work. As an informal mechanism, how do they fit into the wider landscape of intelligence oversight? By drawing on examples of US counter-terrorism efforts in the post-9/11 era, the article identifies three roles for the news media in intelligence oversight: as an information transmitter and stimulator for formal scrutinizers, as a substitute watchdog and as a legitimizing institution. Yet there is a danger of the news media acting merely as a lapdog. Other limitations include the impact of regulatory frameworks, government secrecy and the media strategies of intelligence services. The article concludes that the news media play an important role in the wider intelligence oversight landscape, but that their ability to scrutinize is uneven and ad hoc and as a result the picture they produce is blurred.

The existing public broadcasting system is built on the proposition that a certain portion of the broadcast spectrum should be set aside for media with a public mission. However, the emerging craft that is defining full-spectrum public media recognizes that the field of play has expanded tremendously. We are working in accordance with the fact that citizens are not only consuming radio and television over the air, they are downloading, creating, remixing, and sharing all kinds of media on small and large screens, and increasingly, in the street via mobile devices. Multimedia installations once confined to museums are now sprawling out into public spaces exclaiming “this is public media!” Text, image, audio, video and dynamic user-generated submissions are all converging, spawning dynamic new media life forms. Our policies have yet to catch up with this lived practice.

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