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Kindle update

Update on 2/24 Kindle post:  Slate Magazine put out another article last week on the Kindle: "The amazing Amazon Kindle is bad news for the publishing industry." The point it makes (Kindle could give Amazon control over the book industry, and while they are paying publishers well for the electronic books right now, if they have a monopoly, they could charge what they wanted, potentially wiping out money that before had gone to writers, bookstores, and book publishers) would be applicable to newspapers, too, if they became popular on the Kindle.  So while an electronic reader like Kindle might seem like a useful (small) revenue source for newspapers right now, it could mean more bad news in the future.

Hearst newspapers tapping citizen journalists

It was reported this week that Hearst Newspapers would start carrying content from the citizen journalist website Helium.  Lincoln Millstein, senior VP for digital media at Hearst, said in a statement that this would help reduce costs:  “Sourcing Helium’s top-notch writers will allow us to continue to deliver superior local and lifestyle content to our readers while also taking the necessary steps to get our costs in line with today’s economic realities.”

This story made me think back to an earlier interview I did with Michael Tippett of NowPublic, another citizen journalist website.  NowPublic was

How will Kindle affect newspapers?

Earlier this month, Amazon released a new version of its electronic reader, Kindle 2.  It was created primarily as a replacement for books (you can carry over 1,500 books on it, and it's as thin as a pencil), but you can also read newspapers from it. For $13.99/month, Amazon automatically sends the paper to your Kindle every morning, and you get everything that's in the print version, minus some graphics and things like classifieds.

That makes Amazon a delivery system for the New York Times, and on January 12, Slate's Jack Shafer wrote that the New York Times shouldn't be giving over this power:

Interview with's Mark Karlin

We've just added another video to our archives. Here, Mark Karlin, editor and publisher of, describes the mission of this progressive, pro-democracy site. He also discusses the user donation funding model and future models for journalism. Karlin was interviewed in 2006 by Bill Densmore, director of the Media Giraffe Project.  Watch interview highlights below, or go here for the full 56 minute version.


White paper released on public media's future

This week, the Future of Public Media Project released a white paper outlining how participatory, social networks should be the basis of public media going forward.  The project is funded by the Ford Foundation, and the paper was headed by Jessica Clark, director of the Future for Public Media Project, and Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media.  In an email to the Media Giraffe Project on Monday, Aufderheide

Medpedia to go live today

The announcement that Medpedia, a Wikipedia-style medical resource, is going live this week (read today's NYT article), made me think about Jimmy Wales.  Medpedia is not affiliated with Wales' Wikipedia (it's associated with Harvard Medical School and Stanford School of Medicine, among others), and, unlike Wikipedia, only PhDs or Physicians can edit it.  Others can suggest changes that have to be ok'd by the editors.  A few years back, in interview with the Media Giraffe Project, Wales talked about the possibility of an open medical resource.  He said that it would pose different

Battle Plan for The New York Times

This week, The New York Times had the dual role of trying to figure out how to stay alive, while also objectively covering the process of newspapers dying.

In an article on their website today, "Battle Plans for Newspapers," they asked eight people to come up with plans for how to save newspapers, though they didn't mention their own desperate need for such a plan.  One of the plans, "'Culture of free' is Suicide," was written by Steven Brill, who

Time weighs in on fate of newspapers

Here's a follow-up to my post a few days ago.  I wrote about the rash of articles recently published on the fate of the newspaper.  Today, Time published "How to Save Your Newspaper," an article by Walter Isaacson (former managing editor of Time).  His theory?  Web advertising is not delivering enough to give content away for free.  It's time to start charging.  And he advised small payments for content, rather than subscriptions:

News Entrepreneur Boot Camp

The Knight Digital Media Center is now accepting applications for a News Entrepreneur Boot Camp.  There are a total of 12 expenses-paid slots. They are looking for applicants with innovative journalism ideas (with a focus on the digital) who would benefit from training in business and marketing.  The training runs from May 16-21 and is in partnership with the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.  Read more about it here; you can register at this page.  The deadline for applications is February 16.

January was the month for interventions

January seemed the month for considering the waning health of newspapers (specifically, of The New York Times), and for interventions.  It made me think of a family gathering where everyone knows what's best for the one relative who can't get his life together.

The Atlantic ran a much-cited article by Michael Hirschorn in their January issue, titled "End Times."  It predicted that the end of the print New York Times may be coming sooner than people think.  It concluded:  "Ultimately,

Chris Busby of the Portland, ME Bollard on local online journalism

We've added another video to the MGP archives.  Here, Chris Busby, Publisher and Editor of the Portland Bollard, talks about his online venture, The Bollard---its role in filling in gaps left by mainstream media, in providing a different perspective to local issues, and some of its challenges.

Busby was interviewed in 2006 by Bill Densmore, the director of the Media Giraffe Project.  You can read Densmore's article on Busby here.

First winners announced for new Knight grant

The first recipients were announced last week for a new Knight grant:  the Knight Community Information Challenge.  This five year, $24 million initiative is to help community foundations "meet the information needs of their community," with a focus on innovation.  This release includes information about the grant (the list of winners is at the bottom).  The next round of funding will open at the end of February.

March 20-22, Nieman Conference in Boston

Here is some information on the upcoming Nieman Conference (click on "read more" to read the entire release):

Graduate students, midcareer journalists, writers and academics are invited to join more than 50 award-winning broadcasters, filmmakers and online experts at the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism. The March 20-22 event is at the Sheraton Boston hotel.

An interview with Frank Blethen from the Seattle Times

We just added a new video to the archives. In this 2006 interview, Frank Blethen and Mike Fancher discuss the Seattle Times' 110th anniversary, and the challenges of running a locally owned family newspaper. It addresses media and newspaper consolidation and Blethen's role speaking out on these issues.  (A summary interview is below, click here for the full interview.)

Summary interview (9:19)

Upcoming: Journalism That Matters Conference

The Poynter Institute and Journalism That Matters are joining together to host a three-day conference: "Adapting Journalism to the New News Ecology."  The conference will run from March 1-4, and will be held in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Apply before February 1, 2009 to get a reduced rate.  You can click here to learn more about Journalism That Matters, and to read about past conferences.