Big boats don't make sharp turns

I was in India twice in the last couple of months, and reminded of how different are the business models of newspapers around the world. Indian newspapers are paid-circulation broadsheets but at very low prices. For revenue, they are overwhelmingly dependent on display advertising -- "classified ads" on the American model just aren't a factor. They're big, really big, with national and regional titles published in localized editions around a country with four times the population of the United States.

The broken marriage of content and advertising

Last week at the WAN-IFRA India 2018 conference, I said the marriage of convenience that has existed between journalism and advertising has been broken.

I want to go into a little more detail about that.

Much of what I am going to say here may seem elementary and will come as no surprise to senior managers, but journalists (who are rightfully focused on journalism and not on the business side) may learn a few things.

The horrible history of the headline, from print to social media, with a shout-out to Preet Bharara

There's a question floating around on Twitter: "What‘s something that seems obvious within your profession, but the general public seems to misunderstand?" One answer that I've seen several times is that "the writer of the story doesn't write the headline."

And then there's a tweet from @preetbharara, who declared "The worst members of the press are the people who write the grabby headlines for stories they don’t seem to have read."

Ban targeted advertising?

Writing in The New Republic, David Dayen says  "The surveillance economy should die. This manner of advertising doesn’t serve the public and it’s not even clear it serves advertisers."  It's an intriguing idea: let's return to the era of mass media. Rather than conjure up complicated schemes to regulate entities like Facebook, just remove the incentive for corporations to spy on our every click. Want to reach a relevant audience?

We live in the Panopticon

We were warned, over and over, although many of the warnings pointed to the wrong bogeyman.

We now find ourselves in a Panopticon society, one where our locations and contacts and interactions are constantly monitored, where our data is mined and used for behavior modification.