Saturday, March 26, 2011

Prevent Choking AND Abuse

Net neutrality is vital to the future of America. The American spirit is alive and well in the minds of children through the elderly, able to instantly access all of the information that the internet has to offer, including entertainment. Stopping this for a moment will hurt the users of the internet, and especially the entrepreneurs that are pioneering new and exciting tools on the internet.

Charging content providers for access to consumers is Ludacris, and will go nowhere for our economy. I was infuriated by the comment in the SFGate article that took the “this stance is ridiculous” position. Yes, the ISPs pay billions of dollars to create the infrastructure, but that is what the CUSTOMERS pay for. As a customer that pays for internet access, I pay for the internet provider to give me access to the internet, not some of it. The startup companies pay for the other side, providing access to the internet provider. Billions of dollars are spent in server space, hosting, electricity, cooling, etc. Forget about that Mr. Henry Blodget? Startups are paying for the privilege of access to their consumers, don’t bully them because, as the “Neutrality or Bust” article puts it, “the edge has no single representative.” Don’t bully those without proper representation.

At the same time that it is not proper to be biased against content providers, it is not fair to let people use more than their fair share of the pipeline. Just as we charge for electricity, water, and shipping distribution, few businesses can sustain a purely unlimited model. I have always been a proponent for a pay-as-you-go model, based on the real cost of the usage, so people understand the implications of their use. I do not like the idea of standard insurance just the same, I do not go to the doctor on every sniffel because this translates to real costs for the insurance companies and real cost increases when too many people do it. When people have an incentive to abuse a service without implications, they will.

Net neutrality for content providers is incredibly important to keep the American spirit in innovation alive.

New prompt: Net Neutrality

Since the moment of the realization that the Internet could become a commercial arena, the issue of net neutrality has been an issue. Should the web remain open and free, or do companies have the right to charge for access to certain sites, or at certain speeds?

This week, take a position on this long and hotly debated issue. Be sure to demonstrate you understand the widespread implications of net neutrality, but create a short argument for how you think net neutrality should be legally applied to the web.

Is it important to free speech, democracy, and the economy that it remain open to all? Or is it fair in a capitalist system that companies should charge for access to certain sites, or charge more for higher-bandwidth uses, especially considering that some users use far more bandwidth than others?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The New Wave of Information Sharing->Go Digital

In the mass media there are issues that are taken for granted, deemed unworthy of attention. The people in charge of making these decisions-sometimes without realizing it-are setting up agendas propagated by the professional political elite. Journalists shape and move public opinion based on what is “legitimate debate.” What is not worthy of attention or what is viewed as truth at face value are not debated in the traditional press (printed and digital). Fortunately-and a disgrace for some-the online community provides plenty of amateurs and bloggers to step up, and legitimize the disenfranchised news, opinions, events, and issues. However, this comes at a cost of sacrificing editing and financial losses to newspapers in circulation. Still, we are in an ever-changing world characterized by wider access to the globe and with it multitude of perceptions that need to be addressed and legitimately discussed in an open forum. The internet has transformed the way we receive ideas about the world and the people with which we share information.

In the article Audience Atomization Overcome: Why the Internet Weakens the Authority of the Press, the author mapped how the press (now turned mass media) shapes public opinion and information. According to Jay Rosen, journalists focus on the “legitimate debate” sphere to deliver news, analysis, and information. Legitimate debate is created by the political elite that provides what the public should know or think about. This is the field in which journalists work to deliver news, analysis, and information. However, Rosen argues that there are other sides of the spectrum of public information such as the deviant and the conventional wisdom spheres. The former is composed of radical information while the latter are “facts” taken as absolute truth...thus, not worthy of discussion. These two spheres are important because they are seldom included in public discourse shaped by journalists.

Many individuals are wary of information presented by established institutions. Sarah Ellison, in The Man Who Spilled the Secrets, states that “[some people] distrust everything that institutions stand for.” Thus, skeptics want alternatives that fall between the deviant sphere and challenges to conventional wisdom sphere. These alternative suppliers of information range from amateur journalists to bloggers to twitter updates. Ellison argues that professional journalism focuses on editorial and providing an understanding on facts, but alternative outlets, such as Wikileaks, want to deliver information raw, and have people formulate opinions by themselves based only on the data. This undermines the authority of the media and the press, as Rosen had speculated.

Ellison implies that the press focuses on editing information that causes public risk to individuals and data that is of low relevancy for the purpose of the analysis. She argues that Julian Assange had not deliberately sought to preserve editorial values by his “transparency” philosophy in which information is provided without alternations so that people can come to conclusions on their own. Ellison states that Assange allegedly did not take the necessary precautions to edit his secret documents for names of Afghan civilians. This may put at risks lives and make unnecessary information public. As such, alternative information outlets undermine what the press has sought to preserve for centuries...the integrity of sharing information cautiously.

Further, in Newspapers-Summary Essay, the authors demonstrate the decline of the printed press industry. According to the summary, newspapers are losing revenue and circulation due to several factors; the recession, the internet, and geographic impediments. Nonetheless, the internet is the main drive behind the decrease in newspaper industry. The authors do not project a good scenario for the printed press to compete against the internet in a profitable way. They do, however, state that newspapers “are beginning to make small strategic investments in their future”, such as going online and participating in advertising campaigns through their websites, among others. However, the prospects are still uncertain.

To meet the ever-changing patterns that the internet is delivering (different views and more people together), newspapers gain from collaborating in bringing alternative information to the public and going online.
The Guardian (British newspaper) Ellison argues is more friendly toward crowdsourcing information but it keeps its editorial standards. The newspaper also has a well-kept website that has expanded its horizon to include an international audience. Nonetheless, The Guardian is subsidized monetarily so it wouldn't suffer as much as other newspapers as it strives to provide information as it has by tradition. Other newspapers should follow suit with The Guardian by acquiring subsidies if they want to survive in the digital age. As it stands today, the printed press is deemed to keep loosing ground against the increasingly digitalized and alternative news-reporting.

Internet is the New Media

I remember when people used to watch the 5 o'clock news or read the newspaper to get the "inside" scoop of whatever was the hot topic. These days, however, both seem to have taken a very far backseat to the Internet. Quite honestly, it makes sense. Why pay for a newspaper service when you can get it online. While online services cost, it is a fee most people are already paying. Fees aside, look at the convenience. People can access the "scoop" 24-7 on the internet. There is no waiting till the 5 o'clock news comes on or waiting until the paper is delivered.

All the convenience and ease aside, the internet is killing traditional journalism and media. The sales of newspapers have decreased. According to "The News Media: An Annual Report on Journalism, Newspapers: Summary Essay" by Rick Edmunds, over the last 3 years circulation has decreased, advertising revenues fell 43%, and newsrooms shrunk by 25%. These aren't statistics of a thriving business.

Unfortunately, the internet will only continue to grow and those who do enjoy traditional media will pass, leaving behind a generation thirsty for immediate gratification whether it is factual in nature or not. So in keeping with the times, traditional media outlets need to jump on board the gravy train so to speak and find a profit in the distribution of news on the web. While im all for the saying the "oldies but goodies" , the oldies are going to have to adapt to "stay alive."

Multi-device subscription prices for some of the web's most populars services.

* Source:

When The New York Times announced its new subscriptions for last Thrursday I wasn't that shocked. The Times had mentioned a suscription service would be coming sometime in 2011 last year and most newspapers have been fumbling with similar ideas lately to stop the ad-revenue suck caused by the Internet. On the other hand, when I sat down and looked over the pricing my calm understanding faded, as the tweet below illustrates. (Which nobody from class commented on, leading me to believe that either no one reads my tweets for this class or you all thought it was best to leave the crazy guy alone.)

“Why should we make it affordable? Poor people can’t read.” #nytimes #umdiic

As we all well know, the Internet has effectively destroyed traditional media’s business model. Facing decreased demand for the more traditional formats newspapers, magazines, television news stations, etc. introduced online, digital versions of their product. Save for a couple outliers, most media companies made this new content available to its audience for no charge and slowly began tapping digital advertising to financially support it. And this worked, for a while. But as the market became saturated advertising rates dropped, as did demand for traditional media. This has left companies that invest significantly in the creation of news and content struggling to pay the bills and keep shareholders happy.

This brings us to the introduction of The New York Times digital subscriptions (and the subsequent announcement of the “digital dailies from Wall Street Journal now being sold for $1.99”). The first of many experiments in paid digital content we will be witness to. Indefinitely.

My initial thoughts? I’m not a fan. No, I’m not of the mind that all information should be free. Information – especially the enormous amounts available today – needs mediation as Sarah Ellison noted in the Vanity Fair article and I tend to agree. Furthermore those mediators should be paid for their work. My complaint with the NY Times subscriptions is not their utter existence but their insane cost. The lowest priced subscription, at $15 every 4 weeks or $192 a year, is fairly reasonable. Let’s just hope I never want to read the paper on my computer and on my phone and on my iPad all in the same month. If I did I would find myself shelling out $455 a year for the privilege. Compared to the other media and services I already consume online, many of which are featured on the chart at the beginning of this post, this price is ridiculous.

I can only assume that these rates were seen as the “best case scenario”. Likely agreed upon under the assumption that if there was excessive backlash it would be easier to calm readers with price cuts than it would be to increase prices, and thus revenues, if the new subscriptions were wildly popular.

As for me? I will not be subscribing, preferring instead to scan the print edition at the coffee shop in the morning and read an article online only when it really grabs me all the while crossing my fingers that I don’t hit that magic number of 20.

The Internet Vs. Newspaper: Round 1

With the internet emerging as such a dominate form of media, many people are wondering what is going to happen to the many other forms. I would say for classic newspapers, the outlook isn't good. They simply do not have the same adaptability that online news does. A quote from the article "Newspapers: Summary Essay" from The State of the News Media website ( has some hard numbers that should be taken note of:

"Roughly 13,500 jobs for full-time, newsroom professionals disappeared during that period, the total falling from 55,000 to 41,500, a count which includes some 284 new jobs at some online-only newspapers now included in the industry’s tallies. That means that newsrooms have shrunk by 25% in three years, and just under 27% since the beginning of the decade"

25% newsroom reduction in three years is huge. If this trend were to continue, simple math can show that it would not take long before what was left of standard newspaper businesses all but evaporated.

The internet is superior to classic newspapers in almost every way. For example, producing online articles does require ink or paper, so it is more friendly to the environment. Also, server storage and website creation is fairly inexpensive in comparison to the physical components necessary to produce a standard newspaper, such as printing presses. It's also much cheaper to display beautiful, colored pictures on a monitor than it is to print them in a newspaper.

Also, online news can be delivered almost instantly. Newspapers come out once per day; news online is constantly being released and as stories evolve, they are updated. If there is a change in the story at the last minute, standard newspapers either need to be completely reprinted or the story needs to be saved for another day. Online, a simple edit and re-upload of the article anytime, from nearly anywhere, can bring a story up to speed.

Even the newspaper's one main strength, its mobility, is being challenged. Smartphones and portable computers are becoming ever more popular. Things like the Kindle, iPad, netbooks, smartphones, etc. can be taken almost anywhere and with an internet connection, they can update the news as it arrives.

There will probably always be a niche market that simply prefers the old fashioned method, but the question is how long will the size of this niche group be large enough to continue catering too. Printed type will be popular with people not accustomed to technology, as well as with people who encounter severe eye strain when staring at a screen for extended periods of time.

I think the final factor in the demise of printed type will be environmental concerns. As the world tries to be come more and more environmentally friendly, habits that are viewed as wasteful will be reduced and eliminated whenever possible. Mother Nature would prefer we do our reading electronically, and while I do not foresee an immediate collapse of the classic newspaper, it will happen sooner or later.

Will the Internet Kill the Movie Star?

Being a fan of going to the movies, and enjoying the theater experience, I’ve marveled as the advances in technology combined with the massive talent pool of artists available have ushered in what I consider a mini-golden age of film making. But, will the rises in technology ultimately hurt this form of media as more and more people wind up getting their movie fix at home on their television or on their computer? I think it’s definitely something to consider.

In my 30 years of being an avid moviegoer I’ve clamored for two things: better technology and better acting. In the last 15 years I feel my wishes have been fulfilled. Just as the printing press ushered in a new world of media in its era, the computer is ushering a new age of media in ours, particularly in the movie business. Gone are the days of stop motion animation and superimposed blue screens in which we had to consciously practice our suspension of disbelief. Now we have a seamless reality between a director’s creativity and his ability to express exactly what he wants on the screen. But how long will this last?

Putting all this technology and talent to work costs money, and I mean big money. For example Peter Jackson’s next movie The Hobbit will be released in two parts, with a total budget of over half a billion dollars. As more and more of us have access to better home equipment and greater access to movies on our terms, we are going out less. How will this drop in revenue be handled in Hollywood? Will the movies of the future mirror the cheaper programming model that currently invades our living rooms, as talented directors, actors, and writers are sidelined by unscripted and largely untalented reality based entertainment? Or worse, will our actors just be models whose likenesses are morphed into a digital reality, thereby negating the need for any actual human element. Let’s hope neither scenario happens.

Ultimately, I think that the answer to this dilemma is in the hands of the studio executives, which is kind of scary. But history has taught us is that no matter what the media or excuse, whether it’s VHS, DVD, Piracy, or just plain apathy, when Hollywood produced a superior product we all lined up and turned over our money. Hopefully, the increased competition due to emerging technologies will cause Hollywood to get better at what it does, thereby benefiting us the movie going consumer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In U.S.A.'s war on cable, the internet is pursued by the detectives of the Major Cable Providers. These are their stories.

     "You won't have to pay your cable company for the dozens of channels you won't ever watch just get the ones you do." says Henry Blodget in his article called Sorry, There's No Way To Save The TV Business. 
     Looking simply at the title of his article, I agree. The internet has given us faster and less expensive ways to watch what we want to watch, when we want to watch it. We don't have to just sit in front of the TV to see what's on one of the 6,000 channels that DirectTV is charging us $300 a month for, only to find that there's nothing good on. If we have all those options at our fingertips, why waste all that money for stuff we don't want anyway?
     Personally, I'd hate to see TV go because I hate having to sit at a desk to watch my shows. But with today's technology, you can hook your laptop to your TV, plug your external hard drive into your PS3 or just browse the internet right on your big screen , so in a way, my pet peeve isn't even legitimate anymore.
     One thing I liked about Blodget's article was that he outlined what would happen if the internet (and sites like Hulu and Yahoo) was to take over. The networks and producers would all make money off of the advertising as usual, and the sites would make money from memberships that would be much more personalized for the viewer. It would mean losing the "triple play" bundles, the ancient home phone technology and DVR, but we'd be able to watch our favorite shows, and ONLY our favorite shows.
     I scrolled down a bit on this article and took a look at some of the comments. The very first one brings up a good point - what about sports?? Internet would have to get much faster and much more reliable before you put live streaming sports on there. It's tough to watch live programming period, let alone something as fast paced as a hockey game. I guess if you're going to comment on this to stir up debate, respond with your thoughts about broadcasting live sports on the internet! Is it a good idea? Would it work? Would you pay for it? Would you prefer they be online instead of on TV, provided the predictions in Blodget's article are true (lower prices, only paying for what you want, etc.)?

Change change change...

The traditional and older forms of media, newspaper and television, are threatened by the rise of a faster and more tech-saavy way to connect - the Internet.

Clay Shirky describes the fall of newspapers to the Internet in his article "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinakble". The newspaper business is expensive to operate. To print and distribute material to its readers is much more expensive for a newspaper company vs. publishing articles online. I think the most interesting point Shirky makes in this article is that what used to work, does not work today. People's wants and needs continue to evolve with time, as technology grows rapidly. Convenience and fast information is very valuable to our society, because things are much more fast-paced.

In "Sorry, There's No Way to Save the TV Business", Henry Blodget asserts that the TV business is doomed. Simply put,
"Because eventually the cable-satellite-airwave monopoly over TV content in local markets will be circumvented by simple, global Internet distribution."

TV is threatened by newer forms that are gaining popularity and new audiences. These include video games, Internet, Netflix, YouTube, etc. Blodget points out that you will only have to pay for the content you want and subscribe to - instead of paying for a bunch of channels and only using a few of them. And, the cost will be much more reasonable than that of cable TV or satellite. Although TV has made efforts to maintain its customer base and keep up with technology by going digital, offering DVR, and enhancing cable packages with extra channels - this won't be enough, Blodget argues. He believes that this will take place over the next 5 to 10 years.

It is obvious that the newspaper industry has taken a hit, especially in our area, with the closing of the Ann Arbor News in 2009 and also with the scaling back of the Detroit Free Press. The change can be especially difficult for areas like ours in Metro Detroit, that are experiencing challenging economic times. I think it is natural to resist change at first, and more so for the older audience who have incorporated reading their local paper every morning as part of their daily routine for years. I think that the Internet will continue to grow and become firmly planted as the number one form of media.

And I think that although this may be very difficult for some to accept initially - it gives us a new opportunity to embrace a new form of media. I can remember loving to read newspapers such as the Detroit Free Press and Ann Arbor News since late grade school. This love for the news was one of the reasons I have always dreamed of pursuing a career in journalism. Reading the newspaper was a big part of my routine every day - and this has now shifted to browsing sites such as or An advantage of reading the news online vs. a print newspaper is that you can explore the news anywhere in the world and you have so much more information at your fingertips.

How the Internet has killed newspapers

The Internet has removed the need for traditional media because it allows its users to join in social networking and other information sharing. The web allows anyone to use its services 24/7 instantly. The fact that the Internet has real-time updates and audio/ video channels has made traditional media, such as newspapers, archaic and cumbersome. All of these benefits undermine the best feature of the web's information, it's free! Simply put, the Internet has revolutionized daily life.

Traditional media, specifically newspapers, have been replaced. There is no point in buying a newspaper because it is wasting natural resources and is not up-to-date with current news. The cost of operating print-based media is much higher than virtually-based media. In addition, with the decreasing customer base of newspapers, print-based media loses value to advertisers. It has without a doubt been replaced, as shown by investments. In 2010, newspapers devoted $1.6 billion less annually to news. If news companies want to survive, they will have to convert their print-based services into web-based services.


tvphonepaper the future

I personally don't think that the internet will take over the television market. Sure the internet is faster and easier to find what you want to watch and you can watch it when you want, but it won't kill television. I feel that it can only help television, they can intergrate them into one beautiful piece of equipment. Google is starting this process with their new Google TV. This brings together you cable provider and the internet. You can search for the news, weather or to just see what is on.

As far as newspapers are concerned, yes I believe the day of printed newspapers is coming to an end. It may be unfortunate for some people but just think of the possibilities. You can get the news and coupons on your cell phone, tablet, computer, and iPod. You can then "clip" coupons and just send them to the register. Near field communication could make this possible. Allowing you to just send the info as you approach the register, and heck if your credit card info is in your Linkphone you can have paid the bill too!

I believe that the way television brought sound and video together, newspapers, internet, and television can be brought together to give us the greatest thing since the cell phone!

a slow death

Cable companies don't hold the monopoly on video content anymore. This fact has been true for a while. The relatively new powerhouses that are YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, et al., have made sure of this.

Just like the distribution of print media has evolved beyond Gutenburg's scope, the same must happen for video. With so many developments occurring, it is a logical step for TV broadcasts to be surpassed. TV will eventually be killed off by the internet, but it will surely be a slow death. Cable companies will cling to their last breathes and hang on as long as they perceive themselves necessary, and audiences clinging to nostalgia will certainly aid in their losing battle. The same behavior is occurring right now with newspapers, who are still fighting for their place in the new world, a medium that has obviously outlived its usefulness.

For clarification of a misconception, when many speak of "the death of TV" they aren't actually referring to TV's at all, and sometimes not even what's appearing on the screen. The big issue is how that material is getting there. The television itself is going to stick around for a long time, longer than broadcast media will, it's just soon you won't be plugging a cable line into it, but instead will be hooking it up to a wireless network. This brings up another point why cable broadcast's death will be slow.

The fact is that sitting in front of a 16" computer monitor streaming compressed video isn't quite as gratifying as sitting in front of a big TV with broadcast quality images. High quality programming (in terms of picture quality, not content) is more readily available through cable, however there is a severe lack in variety, which the internet has. Once more interfaces are created for TVs to link to this internet content, people will be more willing to accept the change, so they can still sit in a daze on their couch.

The move to the internet also poses another problem: Piracy. The more access to material you grant to people on their own computers, the easier it is to steal it. It's harder to pirate content on a TV than it is on your computer. Anything that is streaming on Hulu or Netflix can be easily recorded on someone's computer with relatively unsophisticated software. This will obviously impede the transition.

Beyond that, another threat this poses to the internet is the death of the amateur videographer. Content generators will remain unaffected by the move to internet TV. Only their distribution changes, which means higher quality programming more widely available on the net. The innovation and creativity of amateur content generators, like users on YouTube, may become underplayed and ignored as people opt for professional work.

There are obvious positives that play in counterpoint to the above point. Advertising will gain the ability to become even more focused and cater to not only specific demographics but to specific individuals. Commercials and advertising on internet TV, like many ads on websites, will take into account personal information and statistics. This does pose some threat to privacy, but also now commercials will be actually directed at you. If you have to watch an ad, it is all the better if it interests you.

The whole idea of the internet helping regular TV is a mute point. Tweeting and posting about various shows have helped TV ratings, this is true. But when internet TV picks up speed there will be no reason to cross platforms. Now, someone sees a tweet and they turn on their TV, soon, when a person reads a Tweet about a show they'll just have to check it out online. This closed system will further help separate regular TV broadcast from the internet, striking a blow to cable TV in the long run.

Here's the best part of all this: You'll be able to enjoy the same exact content as before, have access to more content, and you won't have to deal with (or pay) for content you don't want.


How many of you guys watch TV shows online?

Well first of all, I’m so busy now that, truthfully, I don’t even have time to watch TV. But if I hear about some show that I just MUST watch (because friends are going ballistics over it or its making headlines?) then I might just look it up online. I have never really been into watching shows religiously or following a sitcoms season after season. The only show that I’m obsessed with is The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air I have pretty much all the seasons on DVD =D. So I easily just pop a DVD in and watch it over and over again, and never get bored. Anyway, the point is that whatever I want to watch is at more convenience to me online because I can choose the time I want to watch it and if I needed to stop it I could.

After reading the Business Insider’s article – Sorry, There's No Way To Save The TV Business – I agree but to some extent.

“After saying all this same stuff for years, the newspaper industry figured out the hard way that, eventually, reality intrudes, that you can't stuff the genie back in the bottle. And over the next 5-10 years, the TV industry will figure this out, too. “

What the article is basically saying is that, within the next few years, cable, dish and broadband, will no longer be able to afford staying in business. This is because the online video/network streaming sites are already, and will be, offering the same shows for a very small fraction of the price of cable and etc. Meaning the audience will only pay for what they want to see and none of the extra channels.

To fight back against total Internet control, the TV industry is basically limiting what can be streamed online (for example not every episode is available online or single episode downloads that expire after 24 hours), shifting times for shows, and even offering triple-play packages with phone Internet and TV.

I love digital. I can totally see all this happening, however, I do not think TV will COMPLETELY die out. One of the main reasons is because of FAMILY TV/DINNER TIME. I understand that as days are passing, our world is becoming even more and more insane with less and less time in our hands but TV is a simple form of relaxation and free time. There is no need to log on, search for the video then wait for videos to load then watch it.

More so, at the end of the article it was listed that The best content creators will do just fine." and The lousy content creators will disappear." Obviously if the best content creators remain on top, their fans and audience will be there also, therefore their channel will run. As for the not to great content creators, well, they were bound to disappear sooner or later.

So, even though most of us are too busy to sit down and watch some good quality TV programming, we still appreciate the good stuff that comes on when we do get a chance to watch. Not to mention the popular TV guide that people like to flip through just for the hell of it. As times goes on the cable companies will lower prices, and cable TV will become default with our phone lines and internet. We probably wont even stop to think about paying that extra $5 for cable TV, it will just be there for us when we want it.

Modern Day Newspaper

The general feeling about content on the Internet is that pretty much everything should be free. It's the Internet, after all; the largest place in the world for the free exchange of information. This belief is hurting newspapers pretty badly, especially since they can't afford to not use the web and publish articles online, as well as being forced to reduced the number of physical printings they do just to save money.

Newspapers need to use the web to publish articles, but they need to find a way to get some kind of money for all of the people who don't subscribe to a physical copy. Some major newspapers like The Wall Street Journal use paywalls, which usually force users to pay for access to articles if they exceed a certain number of free viewings. This gets them money from people who look at a lot of articles and are willing to pay, but it also pushes away people who are not willing to pay. These people might go to a rival newspaper's website or simply look at a general news site, but the bottom line is that the newspaper is not getting money from them. The New York Times is trying out a paywall that offers a lot of workarounds for getting access to articles after you've hit your free limit ( ). There's still the issue of people being unwilling to pay for something they find on the web.

The feeling of entitlement to free things on the web, combined with falling newspaper subscriptions and the double-edged sword of needing to publish articles online is slowly killing off the traditional newspaper. Soon print copies will be gone and all that will be left will be websites that don't know whether to charge people for their content or to give it to them for free and try to make up their costs through advertisements.

Cut the Cord on Cable

Comcast Triple Play! Now only $2 a month for the first month with rates going up to $300 billed directly from your soul twice monthly for the next 2 years. Payment in the form of organs to be sold on the black market accepted. Does this sound or look familiar? With internet access, most shows are available on Hulu or any of the major network channels either immediately after the first airing of the show, or within 24 hours. The time is (nearly) upon us to cut the cord on cable.

If you're a fan of sports, each sports league's website offers games under subscription packages. For instance, offers the standard version of MLB.TV for a one time $99.99 for the season, or $19.99 a month (which ends up being more expensive), while the NHL offers it's season package for a one time charge of $79.99 (which is higher at the beginning of the season) or $19.95 a month. Both of these subscription services offer HD broadcasts when available, for those concerned about the highest quality and crispiest images. America's most popular sport, football, has your favorite on local channels at no charge to the consumer, so a basic TV subscription would be necessary for that. As the NFL is currently in a lockout, no subscription service plan is posted for viewing games live within the US.

According to Business Insider, TV providers have reacted to the onslaught of available content online "By trying to port its existing model to the new world and maintain its hold on power and money." With Hulu and the major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) all now offering shows online, they have inserted advertisements in the shows, none longer than about a minute per break in the action. Often, the entire episode is sponsored "with minimal commercial interruptions" by insert company name here. These are reasonable trade offs, and I wouldn't even mind a bit longer commercial break (no longer than 2 minutes, though).

For those who say they don't like watching shows, movies, or sports on a small computer screen, there is an alternative. You can by a connector for your laptop or computer and hook it up to an HDTV to display what's on your screen. Now, newer HDTVs come equipped with the ability to connect directly to the internet, so you can go online on your TV and access Hulu, Youtube, and other online subscription services.

There are several big drawbacks to cutting the cord on cable. Individual subscriptions to premium channels such as HBO or Showtime are not available as of now (or I couldn't find them) without a subscription to a major cable company. Also, live news broadcasts from channels such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, or even the local news are not available for streaming online. The biggest advantage that cable currently has, however, is that everything is in one spot, channel 2-999. For those who are not used to the online culture, it's simple to just press the channel button up or down, or even use the guide feature.

Ultimately, the time of cable is slowly but surely coming to an end. Once the online experience becomes more streamlined and includes more premium programming, people will say bye bye cable.

The Internet: It Has NOT killed TV

Throughout time, media such as newspapers, radio, and television have had such an impact on society. They have changed the way we get information and also enjoy entertainment. Everyday there are more and more upgrades for technology that are being put on the market to make getting information quicker and more efficient. This week I will focus on how traditional media is changing for the better with the increase of technology and the internet.

I definitely agree with the main point of the article, Water-Cooler Effect: Internet Can Be TV’s Friend. As stated by Leslie Moonves, “The Internet is our friend, not our enemy.” The Internet works with television to provide people to be doing multiple things at one time. Corporations such as Comcast offer different packages that include telephone, high-speed Internet and cable all included in one. This allows people to multitask. Now with all the technological advances, such as iPhones, iPads, laptops and Smartphones, this makes it even easier for people to do their daily routines and still be connected with news and friends on the go.

It is safe to say that the Internet has affected television viewing and has generally enhanced it. Shows that are on television have websites that allow viewers to re-watch episodes they have missed, and give additional clips or behind the scenes that are only available on the web site.
Also, we have access to thousands of websites of businesses that have been advertised on television. We can get our information more efficiently and quickly with the help of the internet. The Internet has changed the way people get access to these types of advertisements and news phenomena.

The Internet as well as technology and other media have been such a big part of today’s society it is hard to believe that it hasn’t always been available throughout history. We rely on the Internet and technology to let us know what is happening thought out the world and in our own social lives.

What does this mean for society? The answer is simple. The Internet will continue to change our everyday lives and the way we communicate with each other, the way information is distributed and the way we enjoy entertainment. Our society needs to adapt to the rapid changes that technology is producing. Overall, the Internet is changing traditional media for the better, and only helping our society expand to be able to create new ways for technology to excel.

Journalism dying? Or on verge of break-through?

As an aspiring journalism student, when I think of how the Internet is impacting traditional media outlets like newspapers and TV, I can't help but to wonder how this will affect my own career goals of working in the field. While I'm not restricting myself to just print journalism, I wonder just how successful a career in journalism can be.

With the rise of Internet and blogging, there's no doubt that journalism is being altered, and the key for it to be as successful as it once was lies in the power for internet to take the journalism field to heights never before seen.

But, can this be done?

According to columnist Scott Bradner of Network World, "The three most important observations to me are that power is shifting from institutions (like newspapers) to individual journalists; that people increasingly want news "on demand" rather than scheduled, like the evening news; and that there has been a raise in importance of minute-by-minute judgment in political journalism."

Bradner adds that "these trends greatly benefit the Internet and Internet-based journalists. The latter two trends also benefit the full-time cable news channels, but only when the cable is available. And, in the office, cable is not generally available."

From what some see as a negative impact that is killing journalism, TV, and papers, the internet seems to serve as a new outlet for journalism to break-through. Though blogs, tweets, and even Faceook statuses serve as innovations in sharing news and information with new and broader audiences, journalism still relies on complete stories being told with educated and trained writers needed to tell these stories.

So does this mean there still is a chance?


Bradner said that "news business -- like the music and movie businesses -- will need to completely rethink its business model." Some have tried new routes by taking their papers online and charging for certain stories, like ESPN, the Detroit Free Press and New York Times. Bradner said that newspapers that try to block search engines to preserve obsolete models, as the ones in Belgium did a few years back, will just ensure that they will have fewer readers, and go out of business sooner. Clearly, new strategies must be implemented.

So, while I believe that the original news publications are faltering (and have already faltered) due to the Internet, the industry has the potential to recover if an effective plan can be mapped out. Though people may be reluctant to pay for news online, I believe there is a way that content will be packaged and sold to retain readers and even bring more in. Once a system is put in place, though, I think journalism will undergo a nice transformation.

In the end, only time will tell.


Internet Won't Kill TV

For someone like me who never really watched TV, I probably seem like the one person who should not comment on internet helping TV.  However from personal experience, I can see how internet has aided in boosting views for TV.  I spend a lot of time online.  Between Twitter and Facebook, I am always up-to-date on certain shows.  Sometimes I have to avoid being on the internet so the result of shows won't be spoiled for me.  As Rachel Velonza said in the New York Times article, “Even though knowing ahead spoils the program, you just can’t help but see for yourself what all these people are talking about."  Often times, these moments go viral, and continue to be watched months later.  Sometimes the internet makes me want to tune in to a show.  When all of your friends are spending time talking about one topic, I can't help but to watch even if I've never bothered to watch the show before. 

If you happen to miss something, YouTube is guaranteed to have it.  For example, I continued to see people talking about Charlie Sheen on Twitter and Facebook.  I was totally confused.  A simple search in Google brought me to his in-home interview posted on YouTube.  I also missed Chris Brown's live interview on Good Morning America yesterday, but I didn't miss the opportunity to view the clip.

Therefore, I must agree with the New York Times article that the internet can be TV's friend.  "The Nielsen Company, which measures television viewership and Web traffic, noticed this month that one in seven people who were watching the Super Bowl and the Olympics opening ceremony were surfing the Web at the same time."  Most importantly, internet has helped to somewhat make TV what it used to be when families all gathered around to watch a show together.  The difference now is that the family is spread all around the world, but everyone can still converse about the same thing.  "If viewers cannot be in the same room, the next best thing is a chat room or something like it."

On the other end, there is worry about Hulu and YouTube taking away viewers from TV.  I have to disagree.  There are some things that are just better viewed on TV, and there are some people (older generations) who just won't get into using the internet.

Internet Takes Away from TV or Helps It?

Is the internet going to replace television one day? Will people flock to their computers to catch their favorite shows every week? At one point this is the way we thought that the world was going to turn to and the television would slowly become a thing of the past. This idea has gone in a completely different way though. The internet has worked to make TV even more than it was before. Thanks to all the social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, advertising for events has increased on the internet which leads to a larger amount of people watching the events on TV. People also seem to use the internet as they watch different events to converse with friends or to tweet about them. From our reading we saw that one in seven people were on the internet during this years Superbowl. I can say that I was one of those people and was also part of those that was constantly posting my thoughts on the game and the commercials on Facebook as they happened.

I think that the internet has also helped television by being able to catch up with past shows. This allows the viewer to stay on track with shows that they missed so that in the upcoming week they are able to watch their show at the scheduled time and raise the viewing audience of the show.

Changing Times: How the Internet Will Help the Newspaper Industry

From this....

To this?...

Okay, so we, as Humans, are not so great with change.  Most of the time, it takes a looooooong time for change to come about.  Whether the change is societal, institutional, technological etc., we don't generally like change and we need a lot of convincing that the change is good for us, at least for the most part, in order for us to go along with it. (I remember when DVDs first came out and I thought they were ridiculous...true story.)  For this week's blog, I would like to focus primarily on a technological change that we are learning about this week: How the Internet is changing Journalism.  Specifically, I want to focus on the impact of the Web on print Newspapers.

What makes this agent of change, in this case I mean the Internet, different than most is the speed at which it facilitates change.  Technology is advancing at light speed and we are struggling to adapt to it.  The newspaper arena is a classic example of this.  Clay Shirky in his blog, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable, suggests that the increased incorporation of news media from print to web is a "revolution" of sorts, similar to that of the invention of the printing press in the 1500's.  The Internet, much like the printing press of the 1500's, vastly altered the number of people who have access to news and other information.  The difference is that the Internet "revolution" allows information to be shared almost instantaneously and much more efficiently, allowing widespread change to happen almost overnight.  Shirky mentions that "Web use is a normal part of life for a majority of the developed world," so it only makes sense for newspapers to adapt to these changing times.  Shirky also explains that with the Internet, "the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public has stopped being a problem." 

So what is the problem then?  Why are we hearing horror stories of newspaper companies all over the nation going out of business by the hundreds?  Well, I think that the problem is drastically overstated but also that some newspaper companies are not adapting quickly enough to the rest of society.  Rick Edmonds notes in The News Media: An Annual Report on Journalism that "newspapers are not dying off in droves, only a half a dozen of any size went out of business" but he also warns that "far too many American papers are at risk of becoming insubstantial."  People want to be able to access their news at any time of day, from any location, on their cell phones, laptops and iPads, instead of paying for a bulky print newspaper.  Edmonds points out that "online sites of newspapers continued to add audience..and have become the locus of breaking news and offering web-native features like blogs, discussion chains and video."  This, to me, suggests that newspaper companies can survive in today's fast paced world just by paying attention to what their techno-savvy consumers want and then finding a way to give it to them-and it would seem that the Internet is just the tool for the job.

The Death Of Traditional Media

     It is not necessary to sugar coat or beat around the bush regarding this topic, but the Internet is killing traditional media!  If you can’t see this then I am afraid you are literally blind.
     First, let’s look at the progression of the amateur journalist and breaking news.  Cell phones, portable video cameras, and YouTube have made the average person a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize.  The earliest examples take us back to 911.  The earliest footage (plane crashing into the World Trade Center, and over all destruction) were from regular citizens.  Whether this media was from a cell phone, or video cameras they were first.  In fact, major TV News outlets broadcast this amateur video, because at that point they had little live, compelling footage.
     Second, we should fast-forward to present day, and how the Internet will affect broadcast news.  Let’s look at Henry Blodget’s model for the original ideas presented through television.
  • Not much else to do at home that's as simple and fun as TV
  • No way to get video content other than via TV
  • No options other than TV for advertisers who want to tell video stories
  • No options other than cable--and, more recently, satellite--to get TV
  • Tight choke-points in each market through which all video content has to flow (cable company, airwaves), which creates enormous value for the owners of those gates.
This seems very primitive compared to the advancement in technologies, and the rise of the amateur journalist.  Not much to do at home that’s as simple and fun as TV?  As Blodget mentions we now have the Internet!  No way to get video other than TV?  Youtube, every major news website, and well again the Internet!  No options other than TV for advertisers?  Can you say Fire Fox Ad Blocker? 
     Listen to my warning, TV news is on its way out, and here’s why.  Remember a month ago the incident with the bomb in the airport?  There was cell phone footage on the Internet within minutes of the explosion!  Sure the video was subpar quality, but the fact that technology allows for this is amazing.  Where was Anderson Cooper?  Where was any reporter that CNN, or FOX News had set up in that area in case anything happened?  Oh yes, they simply were not there, or arrived long after this amateur footage made its circulation.  Listen to your humble narrator when I say that broadcast news is going the way of Old Yeller.  Now anyone with a cell phone and an Internet connection can be a version of Walter Kronkite! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Shift from Paper to Tablet, Publisher to Aggregator

Having delivered the Ann Arbor News on Sundays and Mondays back in early 2009 (temporary job), I saw first hand the decline in subscriptions and remember getting spreadsheets every week detailing the growing number of lost customers that I had to stop delivering to. Listening to NPR on the six hour rural (dirt road) route, I recall one day hearing a story about the rapid decline in newspaper subscribers nationally and thinking that I was seeing the last wave roll into shore. Listening to the other drivers, some that had clearly been delivering for well over a decade, I combined the multiple sections of the paper and bagged them while standing outside the loading docks in the sub-freezing temperatures. The rumors were all grim, sure enough, just a month after quitting the job the Ann Arbor News announced that they were shutting down for good. The spin-off web based paper,, was where only a small portion of the Ann Arbor News writing staff found employment.

Blogger Clay Shirky explains that, "During the wrenching transition to print, experiments were only revealed in retrospect to be turning points." There have been many experimental news sites in recent years, Digg comes to mind as a major turning point in the way news is shared. Content aggregators such as Reddit and Digg will replace large news publishers (The New York Times, The L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, etc). As Clay Shirky stated in a blog post, "Printing presses are terrifically expensive to set up and to run." With the death of the printed newspaper, comes the enhanced tablet version that will fill the need for a more economic content distribution system. As companies like Digg rush to be the new go-to distribution source, traditional newspaper companies will maintain their presence with virtual versions for devices such as the iPad. NewsCorp just launched The Daily tablet based newspaper, while other companies are right around the corner from creating tablet optimized (interactive) versions. The pay-wall will eventually kill most of these attempts at creating a next generation newspaper.

Digg has already made the transition by offering the option of becoming a preferred content provider. After signing a contract, a preferred content provider receives better ranking (placement) in the news stream. Freelance writers will likely pool together to create small companies that enter agreements (trusted/preferred content providers) with large content aggregators like Digg and Reddit. Instead of routing users to an external website for the news story, preferred content provider submitted stories will instantly appear on the aggregator's site. This will provide a more consistent experience, helping solve the issue of simplicity that still keeps some people from ditching the traditional newspaper. The aggregator will pay preferred content providers using the ad-based revenue. Local newspapers will shift to a smaller staffed web-based version, just like the Ann Arbor News did.

I have a boombox in one hand and the sports section in the other.

When I was in third grade and at the height of the Bad Boy era of the Detroit Pistons era, my older brother would read the sports section and I would read it during breakfast. In sixth grade when the Wings starting winning and going to the playoffs on a regular basis, it would be myself and my younger brother fighting for the sports section. The newspaper would come 8am each day and my mother would have it on the table when we got home from school. I thank my parents for that as I read the newspaper and my pursuit of journalism and the fine print continues.

The internet blindsided the newspapers. It is that simple. I write for as a freelance writer. I write for a online publication which was 2o years ago your local newspaper. It is the fault of the newspapers for not adjusting to the internet. The internet took the newspapers and made it localized and made the information so instant. Right now as I write this blog, The Birmingham Patch Twitter is updating Country Day winning in basketball. How cool is that? To know how your high school is doing in a basketball game you cant attend while your sitting at home doing homework or serving dinner.

What you know about the newspaper as you grew up is gone. Every major publication still prints but guess where most of the ad dollars are going ? That's right on the net. Blogs are being sponsored. Most ads are on the net. New ways of writing are popping up every day. Granted, the News and Free Press writers are taking a hit in their salaries and some of the writing has suffered as the writers leave to start up sites and Mlive. I think this will expand journalism and make us aware that when changes are coming, to change with them or get left behind.