Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category


Paid-for versus ad-funded journalism

April 16, 2009

In order to make sense of the world, we need filters. The media does this nicely – by printing story A, for example, as opposed to story B.  We can also use clever tools like Twitter or Netvibes to suck in information from places we trust or like.

So how skewed is the information we receive?  We rarely wonder at the incentives behind media selectivity.

In February, Walter Isaacson, former managing editor of Time magazine told Jon Stewart on the Daily Show why he thinks micropayments may be essential to rescue the newspaper industry.  It was not just a financial point – as he said, when you depend on an advertising funded model, “your loyalty ends up being with the advertisers, not with the readers.”  Quite so.

This recent (real) advertising roll from a UK national newspaper’s website home page is surprising, because all the advertisers are related to driving and holidays – in some cases, both:

Renault. Fiat. Mini. Europcar. RAC. Spain. Relais & Chateau. Chicago. France. Mauritius. British Airways. Singapore. Holiday Inn & Crowne Plaza. National Express. Eurotunnel.

Does this make the paper unnaturally complaisant towards travel and transportation?  Probably not much, if at all, but it shows how we are potentially unaware of the real influences on the filters we choose.


Protesters got sophisticated, the FT got pwned

March 28, 2009

You have to give it to the people who have put this together – they have achieved an April Fool’s trick to rival the best of them.

Entitled “not the Financial Times”, and dated 1 April, it looks at first glance to be the real pink paper. It seems to be on the right newsprint, and the typeface has been aped brilliantly – though not perfectly. But the editorial is irreverent, and in places downright offensive. And there is no doubting the target of the derision – big business and Government. Welcome to anti-G20 week.

It’s hard to agree with some of the sentiment contained in the 12-page paper, though it does attempt to maintain a sense of humour about what it’s doing. On balance, it’s a winning formula. It may just be because I’m a PR guy, but this had me in awe for fifteen minutes while I examined it in detail. (Bear in mind I’m slightly obsessed with media – for example I’m still pretty sure I can tell every UK national newspaper just from it’s newsprint and typeface. Not proud.)

Look out for similar devices in the week to come.