Mindset of the Class of 2015

Deborah Potter over at NewsLab shared this gem on her blog today.

 ..one of my favorite rites of fall, Beloit College’s Mindset List.  Before school starts each September, Beloit Professor Tom McBride along with the college’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief trot out a list of social and experiential realities that have shaped the lives of incoming college freshmen.  The list is meant to give educators insights into the mindset of their students so there can be more productive classroom learning and dialogue.  The list is not only instructive for college professors, it’s also useful for businesses, advertisers, marketing executives, and yes, even news organizations.

Find your focus, already!

Have you ever watched a television news story or read something in print or online and wondered afterwards what on earth it was about? It happens all too often when stories have no focus. Reporters who spend much of their day collecting information, pictures and sound seem to feel obliged to cram as much as they possibly can into their minute-thirty or less. The end result can be fuzzy at best, and at worst, almost incomprehensible.

Try these suggestions from NewsLab for finding a focus for your stories as you’re reporting, and before you start to write. If they help, please let us know.

Americans Using TV and Internet Together 35% More Than A Year Ago

Yes, we can watch TV and use the internet at the same time.  This news will chagrine my wife who used to challenge my ability to read the newspaper while watching TV. For the rest of us, this is a largely untapped opportunity.

The evidence: The Nielsen Company’s latest Three Screen Report.

Between the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2009, “simultaneous use of the Internet while watching TV reached three and a half hours a month, up 35% from the previous quarter. Nearly 60% of TV viewers now use the Internet once a month while also watching TV”, according to Nielsen.

“The rise in simultaneous use of the web and TV gives the viewer a unique on-screen and off-screen relationship with TV programming,” said Nielsen Company media product leader Matt O’Grady. “The initial fear was that Internet and mobile video and entertainment would slowly cannibalize traditional TV viewing, but the steady trend of increased TV viewership alongside expanded simultaneous usage argues something quite different.”

Persons 2+ Watching TV and Using the Internet Simultaneously At Least Once Per Month At Home
  Dec 2009 June 2009 Dec 2008 % Diff Yr to Yr
% of Persons Using TV/Internet Simultaneously 59.0% 56.9% 57.5% 2.7%
Estimated Number of Persons Using TV/Internet Simultaneously (000) 134,056 128,047 128,167 4.6%
Time Spent Simultaneously Using TV/Internet Per Person in Hours:Minutes 3:30 2:39 2:36 34.5%
Average % of TV time Panelists spent also using the Internet 3.1% 2.7% 2.4% 29.7%
Average % of Internet time Panelists spent also using TV 34.0% 27.9% 29.9% 13.9%
Source: The Nielsen Company

So, Mrs. Potter, and anyone else can read the entire report here.

The Multi-platform Nation

You’ve got to wonder who the 8% of Americans are who don’t use multiple news platforms on a typical day.  92% of us are “multi-platformers”  according to Pew Internet & American Life’s latest survey, “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer.”

Eds. Note – A warning: This is not a quick read.  But it is an important one. 

The days of loyalty to a particular news organization on a particular piece of technology in a particular form are gone. The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms to get news on a typical day, including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, radio, and national newspapers.

Some 46% of Americans say they get news from four to six media platforms on a typical day. Just 7% get their news from a single media platform on a typical day. The internet is at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. Six in ten Americans (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day, and the internet is now the third most popular news platform, behind local television news and national television news.

The process Americans use to get news is based on foraging and opportunism. They seem to access news when the spirit moves them or they have a chance to check up on headlines. At the same time, gathering the news is not entirely an open-ended exploration for consumers, even online where there are limitless possibilities for exploring news. While online, most people say they use between two and five online news sources and 65% say they do not have a single favorite website for news. Some 21% say they routinely rely on just one site for their news and information.  From: Pew Internet & American Life’s latest survey, “Understanding the Participatory News Consumer.”

Meet AOL’s Fresh-Faced Future Of Local News

EDS. NOTE:  According to an internal communication with employees, AOL (AOL) plans to expand Patch, its network of local news blogs, from 30 sites to “hundreds,” by the end of 2010.

The goal: “To be leaders in one of the most promising ‘white spaces’ on the Internet.”

Silicon Valley Insider’s Nicholas Carlson profiles the next generation of editors who will run local new blogs as the company ramps up its “hyper-local efforts”.

Heather Collura is a Jersey girl at heart with a passion for journalism.

As far as we can tell, CEO Tim Armstrong’s plan to turn AOL into a next generation media company involves three editorial groups:

A massive group of 10,000+ freelancers who are assigned stories through Seed.com.
A mix of fulltime bloggers and high-profile old media types who will assign those stories and write for 100+ branded blogs.
Hundreds of “Patch” editors who will run local news blogs to keep tabs on small suburban communities.
It’s this last group of Patch editors that interests many of us the most. Two reasons:

These are those journalists who, by themselves, will try to replace the role newspapers played in local communities.
We’re all excited to see how AOL will earn enough money through local advertising to actually pay fulltime journalists.
AOL is hungrily hiring more Patch editors every day. But right now, there are just 20. They are mostly fresh-faced recent college graduates with little or no experience. A few are long-time newspaper vets.

Let’s meet them, shall we? (editor profiles) →

TV Viewing Up – Top Media Trends in 2010

Two reports out today offer hope for our business in 2010. They also portend continued change and the clear message that we must manage that change if we are to survive as broadcasters.  Add your thoughts.

Even though Americans are pushing domestic boxoffice revenue to new highs, an increasing number of them are indicating they’d rather save money and watch television.
According to Deloitte’s fourth annual “State of the Media Democracy” report, due out today, 34 percent of Americans cite TV as their favorite medium, up from 27 percent last year. Second through fourth, respectively, were Internet, music and books, all of which are perceived by the average consumer as being less expensive than a night out at the movies.  Rest of this article

This is truly a golden age of anytime, anywhere media. And rather than Americans replacing TV with the Internet or a mobile device, they are just consuming more—often simultaneously. Despite the availability of video content on the Internet, TV viewing is up by about 20% over the last decade, and the average American watches 141 hours of programming each month. Online video consumption stands at more than three hours a month—up from virtually nothing ten years ago. Mobile viewing is growing, too, as devices and connectivity become more widespread. Smartphone usage is climbing and text messaging is through the roof. On average, teens use more than 3,500 text messages a month and adults about 500.

Top Cross Media Trends in 2010:

  1. Convergence is in demand. As American consumers continue to outfit their “home bunkers,” they will invest in the next generation of TV’s that are Internet enabled giving universal access to content across screens combined with the devices in which they’ve already invested, such as HDTVs, DVRs and “over-the-top” systems. And 4G networks make it an all-Internet world.
  2. Second and third screen initiatives grow. More content originally for the TV will be accessed on the Web, long-form video content for mobile phones will expand and efforts to make over-the-top systems will become more compelling for accessing Web content.
  3. Audience fragmentation continues. The increasing variety and sophistication of media options will make it a challenge to keep viewers engaged and receptive. Evolutions to the media universe will need to follow the new laws of increasing portability and increasing content.
  4. New and varied approaches to content are created. New, low-cost models are key (e.g., Jay Leno’s nightly 10 p.m. program on NBC). Low-performing networks will go extinct and free on demand online offerings will need reconsideration.
  5. Multiple distribution opportunities are formed. Deals—including the Comcast/NBC deal—will create new outlets for programming, while studios replace the traditional executive brand builders responsible for a number of distribution channels.

OTNB IDEA: News directors invite viewers to virtual story discussions

Last week, I alerted you to some of the uses for the new “YouTube Direct”. (Is YouTube Direct Right for your News Organization) Here’s another great idea to engage your customers in a powerful, new, way.

Stations’ Story Meetings Offer ‘Public Option’ By Michael Malone — Broadcasting & Cable, 11/30/2009 2:00:00 AM

While the typical station story meeting has six or eight people present to pitch ideas, WITI Milwaukee might have 60 or 80 at its daily 1:45 confab. That’s because WITI opens up the editorial meeting to the public through live blogging and a live video stream, along with a Web program that allows users to toss in story ideas while commenting on others.

TV’s role in balloon boy story

TV’s role in balloon boy story (0)

10/20/09 •
The runaway balloon that didn’t have a six-year-old inside was one of those made for television stories, all right. TV newsrooms didn’t know just how manufactured the story apparently was until it was all over. Were they snookered? Sure, along with everyone else.
It’s easy to say now that the cable news networks went overboard with […]

Media Usage Study: Online & Radio Up; TV Still Most Credible

From MarketingCharts.com

Americans are increasingly turning to online and radio sources for news and information, and are spending less time with daily newspapers and TV, according to (pdf) a media use and credibility survey commissioned by ARAnet and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.  

Daily newspaper usage dropped 4.1% and TV usage dropped 3.6%, while radio usage increased 2.9% and online usage increased 1.9%, the study found.

Credibility ratings for nearly all types of media except TV rose slightly from a year ago. TV is, however, still deemed to be most credible.

The national study of US adults, now in its second year, measured the percentage of news and information Americans receive from various media sources each month. Consumers reported getting 31% of their news and information from TV, and 19.4% from both radio and daily newspapers.

The media-use rankings from the survey, compared with last year’s results:


  • Television: 31.1% (down from 34.7% a year ago)
  • Daily newspaper: 19.4% (down from 23.5%)
  • Radio: 19.4% (up from 16.5%)
  • Online: 14.6% (up from 12.7%)
  • Weekly community papers: 4.4% (down from 5.1 %)
  • Free shopper newspapers: 2.9% (up from 2.2%)
  • Magazines: 2.1% (up from 1.6%)

Educated, Affluent & Hispanic Demos Flock Online

The survey also measured media use among specific demographic groups and, according to ARAnet, revealed a trend toward  increased use of online sources for news and information among the college educated, Hispanics and those making more than $100K per year, compared with the general population.

Not surprisingly, the research also found that the younger the respondent, the more reliant that person was on online sources.

Key demographic differences:

  • Respondents with household incomes of $100K or more receive considerably more news and information from online sources (23.1% vs. 14.6% for the general population).
  • College grads report using online sources more frequently (20.0%).
  • Adults ages 18-34 report the highest reliance on online sources (22.2%).
  • Hispanics are more likely to prefer online sources (21.0%).

“The data showing an increase in online use and drop in daily newspaper consumption echoes what we’re hearing from consumers and media partners,” said Scott Severson, president of ARAnet. “Consumers want more of their information online.”

TV Drops Slightly, Still Most Credible

The was designed to gauge which media sources Americans view as the most credible sources of news and information. With the exception of TV, which dropped a tenth of a rating point, all media types stayed steady or increased slightly in credibility from a year ago.

The survey asked respondents to assign credibility scores to seven types of media, ranging from one for “not at all credible” to 10 for “extremely credible. Credibility scores:


  • Television: 6.5 on a scale of one-to-10 (down .1 from a year ago)
  • Daily newspaper: 6.3 (same as last year)
  • Radio: 6.3 (up .3 from a year ago)
  • Online: 5.7 (up .1)
  • Weekly community papers: 5.4 (up .2)
  • Magazines: 4.9 (up .3)
  • Free shopper newspapers: 4.3 (up .8)

Other survey findings:

  • College grads are more likely to trust online news (giving online a 6.3 rating vs. the 5.7 rating by the general population), and are less likely to trust TV news (giving TV a 6.1 rating vs. the 6.5 rating by the general population).
  • Respondents with annual household incomes of $100K and above trust online sources considerably more than the general population (giving online a 6.5 rating, compared with the 5.7 rating by the general population).
  • Higher-income respondents also view daily newspapers as more credible (6.8 vs. the 6.3 overall rating).

About the survey:  The survey was conducted with 1,000 US adults, ages 18+. It was conducted by phone September 10-13, 2009.