Monthly Archives: November 2006

Content expert Gerry McGovern on US elections

Odd post from the author of some fairly decent content books (decent enough to be published by the Financial Times’ book division).

Read his latest post on how content made an impact on recent elections in the US.

The lack of any universally agreed web content conventions means that anyone can ‘own’ the best practice content conventions area. Does anyone else rate McGovern’s approach to content?

Government to kill off print job ads

This has been mooted for a while, but now reports suggest the government has admitted it’s looking to move public sector job ads from newspapers to the web.

The government’s advertising is thought to account for 12 per cent of all recruitment ads, so this is no small event.

A story on Brand Republic suggests that the DTI is talking to publishers on ways to smooth the transition. What isn’t said is whether this is a two stage migration – where job ads are moved to publishers online, then eventually posted on a government run website. Perhaps publishers will be invited to run sections of a government run website.

Publishers, like the Guardian, both offline and online, will be watching these developments like a hawk.

Merge your print and online news rooms – why the big debate?

Another day, another commentator discussing the potential perils of merging your web and print production teams.

Who knows if the Telegraph’s current wheel and spoke newsroom strategy will work? Will newspaper publishers in the north of England really be able spread their news across print, web and video?

Allow me to venture a guess: combined web and print newsrooms work.

As shown by the hugely successful NME, which merged its print and web newsrooms back in 2000, it’s a no brainer. Working in a merged newsroom myself (also back in 2000), one news editor with responsibility for both ‘channels’ simply keeps the following in mind:

  • Keep all exclusives (ie news and interviews no one else is likely to have) for print. When the mag comes out, then release them online – allowing time for newstand sales.
  • Report all news agency output, PR’d and diary items – ie anything that’s public domain – on your site. But report items with your own unique twist / flavour.

There. It even works for video and radio content. Treat them the same way as all globally breaking news. If you’re lucky enough to have users signed up to a premium service, then again hold back the exlcusive content for that money making operation.

Separate news rooms can be frought with problems. As well as competing for news, these teams are competing for ad revenue. But it’s obivous that an ad sales team’s position is stronger if they can offer slots across both operations.

Okay, the Telegraph is a case in point – it has issues with perceivably going down market / trying to appeal to a younger audience – but the question of ‘whether to merge or not to merge’ content production teams has to be put to rest. Please?

Google – the saviour of print ads?

Today Alan Rushbridger, editor of the Guardian newspaper suggested that classifieds are in their death throws. Alan predicts that by 2007, search engine ads will have taken over.

But Google’s now said to be trialling a service where AdWords customers can buy print newspaper ads online.

Customers can select a newspaper title from a list, then upload their graphics, copy etc.

A very nice service indeed. Will we see this eventually being extended to video ads? Okay, so Vauxhall won’t upload their new TV ad via a Google ad platform, but they might upload it for use / advertising on Google and other partner sites which support video. After all, newspaper publishers are starting to look at producing video content e.g. Manchester Evening News, Daily Telegraph and The Times.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.

Monkeymag is here. Yay?

After months of waiting, Monkeymagco.uk, Dennis Publishing’s online magazine for boys is here.

The verdict: nice new technology, same old content.

Well, new in the sense that as well as offering a ‘virtual magazine’ form of navigation, it includes video and interactive elements. Sadly, when it comes to content it’s same old same old.

If Dennis is trying to crack the Nuts / Zoo market and steal a march on their eventual focus on the web (will the print versions still be selling 100,000 a week in a year’s time?), then great, objective acheived.
I was, however, hoping that Dennis would take this opportunity to move on in terms of content , not just repackage the usual girls, gadgets and g…sport. Okay, it’s cheap, but give the reader at least one feature to read at length.

This might explain why NME.com is doing so well. Despite the focus on music, it appears to be the only refuge for teen male audiences looking for well crafted writing.

P.S. My machine kept grinding to a halt when I tried to flick through pages in quick succession. Be interested to hear anyone else’s thoughts on monkeymag.co.uk.
***UPDATE! Monkeymag had a myspace.com profile…then it didn’t! Find out more***