It may not seem promising when you learn that only 12 percent of Internet users have downloaded a podcast for later listening, according to research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. But note that it doesn’t say “have listened to” — it says “have downloaded.” (I think many people listen online without downloading.)
Then compare that number, from an August 2006 survey, with a comparable finding of only 7 percent of Internet users who reported podcast downloading in Pew’s February-April 2006 survey.
Then I’m recognizing a significant increase. That got my attention.
However, few internet users are downloading podcasts with great frequency; in both surveys, just 1% report downloading a podcast on a typical day.
Men are more likely than women to report podcast downloading; 15% of online men say they have downloaded a podcast, compared with just 8% of online women. And those who have used the internet for six or more years are twice as likely as those who have been online three years or less to have downloaded a podcast (13% vs. 6%).
Podcast Alley lists more than 26,000 different podcasts, totaling more than 1 million episodes.
In 2005, four MBA students and their professor surveyed the field of podcasting and observed:
Given the ease with which podcasts can be created, the only true barrier to entry — or at least a barrier to generating a sizable listener base — is product differentiation. Given the ease with which podcasts can be subscribed to and discarded, consumers are only going to tolerate podcasts that appeal to them. This creates a challenge for new podcasters — how to differentiate their podcast from the thousands of others already on the Internet. Clearly focusing upon a niche area in which one has significant expertise is one means of doing this. However, as with traditional radio, insightfulness, entertainment, and creativity will be necessary to create audience interest and a listener base of any significant size.
“Your knowledge is worth more than your audience.” By this, Geoghegan means that someone will pay you for the expertise you bring to the table, rather than for the size of the audience you are able to amass.
How to make money? Geoghegan suggests you “find one or two corporate clients” to “underwrite all of your podcasting, plus have enough left over to pay your mortgage.”
And finally, he urges you to “podcast your passion.” The only way to find success at this, he says, is to do podcasts about what you really love.
JD’s post says a little more and links to the video.
Newspapers may submit video and interactive graphics as part of their entries for the Pulitzer Prize, effective this year. The AP had the story (see The Washington Post’s copy) on Monday.
For the awards handed out earlier this year, online material was allowed as part of all entries for the first time but limited to written stories or still images in 13 of the 14 categories. The exception was the Public Service category, which has allowed material such as streaming video and databases since 1999.
Here’s what is new:
Entries for the 2007 Pulitzers may contain online material such as video, blogs, databases and interactive graphics for all print categories.
It used to be that most of the “online” jobs in newspaper newsrooms were brain-numbing robot labor, cutting and pasting in the middle of the night, and not much more. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness” indeed.
Here are highlights from an ad from a small group of newspapers in Pennsylvania:
Lancaster Newspapers Inc. seeks a journalist with experience in online publishing who is well-versed in developing story lines and comfortable working in a fast-paced, breaking news environment.
Responsibilities include: working closely with our editors to keep fresh content, from staff or wire services, flowing into our Web site.
Bachelor’s degree in journalism or related field preferred
Sound news judgment and web publishing skills
Ability to write sharp headlines and summaries, and perform basic copy editing in the process of publishing articles, photos, polls, audio/visual, and interactive content
I found this ad interesting because it almost sounds like robot work (“Come in at night and fix all the errors that a bad system introduces as it ‘automatically’ feeds our print stories onto the Web site.”) For heaven’s sake, it doesn’t even mention that the person ought to know Photoshop.
But then there’s that line about Flash. (Yes, I see that it’s called a “plus” and not a firm requirement.)
Probably what it means is that someone who says he or she knows Flash will get the job. And then there will be this strange Jekyll/Hyde existence in which the person has hours of robot work to slog through — and oh, by the way, could you build us some interactive multimedia stuff too?
This job ad is a far sight better than many; at least it doesn’t ask that the journalist also “know” six programming languages and how to edit video.
But I would like to suggest that there is a disconnect in the minds of newspaper managers who think that a journalist can be a headline writer, a copy editor, a fixer and tinkerer in words, and in his or her spare time (yeah, right) can whip up a few Flash packages for the Web site.
I suggest that if you want multimedia production, you hire a person to do that. The person might be a news graphics artist or a designer or a photographer. The person might even be — like me — a former copy editor. But the production of online content has to be the main part of that person’s job, not an afterthought when all the headlines have been written.
Rob Curley, the guru of innovation in online journalism, talked with MarketWatch’s Frank Barnako (here’s the MP3) — summary and commentary at The Local Onliner. It’s a very good summary; I especially liked what Rob said about video.
None of these require any downloads, and they work in any Web browser.
1. Technorati Mini opens a custom browser window that self-updates and lets you monitor a word, phrase or URL of your choosing. Use it on-the-fly as you keep an eye on current buzz about breaking news, or a new meme. You can keep more than one Mini window open to track multiple topics. (You do not need a Technorati login to do this.)
2. Your own del.icio.us network lets you reap the benefits of other people’s skills in selecting and sorting information. Take a look at my network (I chose to make it public; you can keep yours private, if you prefer). The list of names at top right there shows the people I have placed in my network. The list below that shows people who have place me in their network. (Obviously, the two don’t need to match.) You choose people whose choices you admire or respect. Then you get to see their selected pages, sites, blog posts — whatever they choose to save to their del.icio.us bookmarks.
You might add strangers to your network because whenever you search del.icio.us for a particular topic, that person’s links are always new to you, and valuable. How else can you find these wise folks who would be assets to your network? When you see a low number in the “save by” link — for example, “saved by 4 other people” — appearing after a link you saved that you think is really excellent, click it and scope out that person’s other links! If you like what you see, click “Add [name] to your network,” which appears at the top left when you are in that person’s bookmarks. You can always remove people from your network later if their links turn out to be less great than you had expected.
Now you understand, don’t you, why it’s called “social bookmarking”?
You’ll need to create a free user account at del.icio.us to do this.
3. Tailrank calls itself a “memetracker.” Its back-end software monitors 150,000 blogs (soon to increase, they say) to find interconnected conversations. The hottest topics are determined by how much a particular topic is being blogged about and linked to. The main page covers everything, and there are separate pages for technology, politics and entertainment news. You can also set up your own page to track only sites that you want to include (My Tail) — this part requires that you create a free user account. If you allow it, My Tail will determine which sites you visit frequently and import those. This is hit-or-miss — about half of the sites it found for me were not those I would have picked. But the other half were spot-on.
4. Techmeme works on principles similar to those of Tailrank (above), but — as you might expect — its focus is technology stories, including a lot of business deals among software companies and Web giants such as Google. It is neither gadget-oriented nor uber-geeky. I find it far more useful than any of the human-authored sites because it taps into all of those but serves up greater variety.
What’s most cool about both Tailrank and Techmeme is that you don’t have to bookmark or subscribe to any blogs to reap the benefits of millions of bloggers digging into and uncovering all kinds of useful information. Both of these sites sideline the mainstream media to discover what the public is talking about. Now, in many cases, that might be a story that appeared in the mainstream media. But in a lot of cases, it’s a story that has not broken yet. It’s a story that is bubbling up through the blogosphere and will likely appear in the news a couple of days or a week from now.
5. I Want Media is an old-fashioned human-authored site that keeps me up-to-date on the mainstream news about the mainstream media. Maybe I’m wrong to put it on a “tools” list, but for me, it is a great information tool. It’s updated weekdays from myriad sources including major newspapers, wire services, Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek (and before it shut down, the Press Gazette). Below the latest general headline links you’ll also find links to coverage of these categories: magazines and newspapers, television and radio, Internet and digital media, advertising and marketing, and media companies.
I like I Want Media more than Romenesko or TVNewser because it leaves out the gossip — I know that for many folks, that’s their favorite part, but I just don’t have time for it.
6. Last but not least, Bloglines is the tool that forever changed the way I read blogs. It’s a 100 percent Web-based tool (no downloads), and all you have to do to start using it is create a user account.
It’s NOT ONLY for reading blogs, by the way! Take a look at the BBC News feeds (look down the right-hand side for the orange icons) or the New York Times feeds — you can put these in your Bloglines!
You might have a bookmarked list of blogs (or news feeds from newspapers, etc.) that you check when you find the time. This is inefficient because you might often open the page and find that no updates have been made. With Bloglines, all of your subscriptions appear in a list down one side of the browser window — and the number of new items appears beside each link! No new items? Don’t open it today.
Also, Bloglines enables you to scan the high-volume blogs and news sites very efficiently in a plain-text format with big (linked) headlines. Want to read the whole thing? Just click the headline. You can edit each of your subscriptions (or the whole set at once) to display either summaries or full text of each post.
You can use Bloglines on most Internet-enabled mobile phones (bloglines.com/mobile) and on all of the computers you use — because it’s fully Web-based, Bloglines always has your complete list and keeps track of what you have already read. There’s no need to synchronize or copy your preferences from one computer to another. You can even check your Bloglines from a cyber cafe.
Once you have set up a Bloglines account, don’t log out! Then whenever you click the orange Feedburner icon on a site (like the one near the top right corner of this blog), you will instantly get the one-click option to “Subscribe with Bloglines.”
You can organize all of your feeds in folders with names you create. Editing and re-ordering these folders (and the subscription links inside them) is very easy. This system makes it possible for you to keep tabs on hundreds of news sources, sites and blogs with very little wasted time and effort.
Conclusion: You can manage your online information sources efficiently and effectively!
You can also harness the power of millions of other people online who are doing their best to manage their information sources.
Don’t be stuck using old-fashioned browser bookmarks that go out of date and are never on the computer you’re using when you need them! Take control of your online information environment, and you’ll make your news-junkie habit more manageable.