Catching up with a crushing load of unanswered email, I wrote this in response to a query from a grad student who asked about contextualized journalism:
Earlier this week, Google's Chrome browser project announced it was dropping support for H.264 video, and immediately there was an uproar as if Google had desecrated a sacred object and posted the video on YouTube.
Most people actually have no idea what this means. A lot of people have drawn conclusions that I think are fundamentally wrong. All of this is very important to the evolution of Web media, and I'm going to try to make some sense of it.
Let's start with the word "open."
Things I wish tech journalists would learn:
Counts are not the same thing as surveys.
Surveys yield projections that have margins of error that should be disclosed and explained.
Survey methods should be disclosed and critically examined. If a survey was conducted in order to generate a press release for marketing purposes, it's probably bullshit.
Units in distribution pipelines are not the same as units sold to consumers.
Lines outside of stores are a publicity stunt.
"OK open systems beat great closed systems every time." I've cited that quote (from Scott Kurnit, circa 1994-95) often, and we're now looking at yet another example: Android and the Web are winning the mobile space. Your stats may be telling you something different. They're probably wrong.
We've launched robust mobile news sites for most of our newspapers, properly integrated with our non-mobile sites, fully supporting social link-sharing and commenting. We also have some apps from a couple of different vendors. In terms of usage, the mobile sites are slaying the apps.
A couple of recent interactions reminded me just how stuck in the last century many newspaper people continue to be.
Here we are, 10 percent of the way through the 21st century, and we're still thinking like it's 1999.
Or 89, 79 or even 69.
Newspaper industry analyst John Morton, who for the last couple of decades has been part and parcel of the self-destruction of the newspaper industry, has trotted out that tired old claim that newspapers are suffering because they failed to put up paywalls at the dawn of the Internet era.