11 December 2009

2010 - what will it hold for you?

Christmas is coming, the goose is on a credit-crunch inflicted diet and as the journalism world licks it wounds from this year's squabbles, many are starting to look what next year is set to bring.

Firstly, Patrick Smith brings a tale of caution on PaidContent – if you thought hyperlocal news was going to be your big thing of 2010, you may want to have a quick re-think.

He reports that whilst the promise for hyperlocal’s place in UK news is there, the boundless optimism is not in doubt and there’s even hints of a local business model emerging, the delivery of quality post-code level news across most of the country still a long way off, and sustainable revenues and—dare we say it—profits are even further.

He also says how unless the ifs and maybes surrounding the use of hyperlocal models do not turn into certainties the Digital Britain project won’t be up and running till 2012 and that includes any role that public money would play.

So, he says, 2010 will not be hyperlocal’s year. But, he counters, the signs are auspicious: increasing levels of online literacy and broadband connections mixed with more inevitable local newspaper closures mean it’s natural that readers—and advertisers—will shift to new outlets.

Next, acknowledging that talking about journalism and its future is the “lifeblood of Academia”, there’s a nice piece by Harvard’s Nieman Lab writer C.W. Anderson on what we have learnt from 2009 and what new squabbles will arise in the new year.

The article jokes how bloggers and journalists seem to have finally made peace and accepted their perceived war is over; that we realise not all content will be free but the new business models may not be enough to counter the financial losses many news organisations have suffered; and that, because of this, journalism will be produced in a different way – by smaller, niche publications.

Instead, our attentions will turn to the kind of politics facilitated by the digital world and the policies and laws that will govern this world (and whilst the focus of the article is on the US, it is still relevant to the UK as the government faces up to a growing campaign to reform libel law, something it has been considering because of the impact of the internet).

It also talks of the type of networks that might emerge in the new “media ecosystem” – that we may see that it is large media companies that have diversified and created a local branding – and how journalism schools will need to adapt as the industry itself mutates.

It also talks about what the increased use of a semantic web may have for the future of news in a world of Demand Media and computational journalism. Big questions indeed but something new to think about at least.

Finally, for any of those curious to know if the Manchester Evening News’ launch of an iPhone app was worth it – HoldtheFrontPage has the numbers.

They have reported that over 6,700 readers have downloaded the app to follow the latest updates from the paper.

This means that it has been downloaded at a rate of approximately 900 a week since its creation.

There are section for news and show business, among others, while fans of Manchester United and Manchester City can keep in touch with dedicated sections for the two teams.

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