The Digital Gloss Files

...with Margaret Tran

Worried that the digital future of journalism will shorten reader attention spans and dumb up the rest of the population? According to former New York Times Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati, there's no need. He told Nieman Journalism Lab that the audience for aficionados of long feature articles has actually been growing:
We have metrics at The New York Times that show that people absolutely click the 23 clicks through to the end of the story. When I was at the magazine, the longest pieces in the magazine were the best-read, the most-read, the most-emailed. The pieces also tended to be, at the end of the year, the pieces that got the most pageviews of anything the Times ran.
The NY Times Magazine also recently launched its new look in both design and content. Ironically, those much loved long-running columns are no longer as new editor Hugo Lindgren looks to move away from the traditional make-up of the Sunday edition of the paper.

Pictured left is the magazine's new look,
right is the lo' begone design.

Speaking of the NY Times, readership for the most-read newspaper site in the world will not drop when it begins charging for content - at least according to CEO Arthur Sulzberger. Plans for a pay wall have been in flux and/or "in it's final stages of testing" since the decision to charge for content came about last year, but it is estimated that readers will be charged less than US$20 a month for full access to the newspaper online.

Over at New York Magazine, "Magazine Editors Respond to Criticisms Over Dearth of Female Bylines".

Journalism in the age of social media came under the online microscope this week as
Facebook put the word out for a Journalist Program Manager on the back of their new search tools to help make the social-networking site easier for journalists to use.

Mashable also explores Facebook's growing role in social journalism, citing a "500+ Million-Person Directory of Sources" and more and more people feeding the pool of content. With 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook on a monthly basis and growing, who can argue with the value in that?

Community news site Rockville Central in the USA is shutting down its website in a move to be a Facebook-only news outlet. In doing so, they aim to build on reader engagement and "its publishers hope, a more efficient approach to the content of the journalism itself."

Journos might also benefit in looking at how the social media buzzwords of 'Like' and 'Share' might influence news habits online. See "search engine optimisation (SEO)" vs. "social media optimisation (SMO)". Consider your reading habits now - are you more likely to go out of your way to search a news story or read something "shared" to you by a friend?

Of course, if Facebook isn't your thing, budding journalists can also get involved with a bunch of other online initiatives to help kick start your online profile - including the Online News Association and the Carnival of Journalism, where like-minded individuals share their views on a common topic each month.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to make like Justin Bieber in taking over the world. Topics covered include the power of building support and engagement with your audience - with, of course, a little talent to help you along. Anyone else wondering if the Biebs hired a full-time TA (Twitter Assistant) to man his account? ME TOO.

Image: Allegri/AP via NY Daily News

Locally, Oglivy PR is consulting bloggers on the tricky art of engagement in accordance with new blogger code. Check out the Aussie Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics and have your say.

Eminem is now the most popular living person on Facebook and YouTube, surpassing Lady Gaga. Rihanna and Linkin Park behind followed by Shakira. Justin Bieber is placed 6th despite all accounts.

Despite the collapse of much-loved bookstores Angus and Robertson and Borders, the future of books is shiny for independent bookstores. Don't mind me - I'm still reeling from much fewer bookstores to traipse through.

According to mashable, one in three mobile users consider themselves mobile gamers. Cross-platform applications like Words With Friends and Angry Birds (both now work across iPhones and Android devices) only seem to push this trend. And endorse interactive eating when this brilliant family is involved.

Video courtesy of electricpigtv @ YouTube

Traffic figures for popular Australian news sites come under the microscope as the question begs - what is the measure of engagement? Is it pageviews, unique visitors, time spent?

SBS is under fire for a lack of digital identity, according to The Australian.

While Ten is also under pressure to go multi-platform (via The Australian)

Crowd-sourcing for charity grows ever popular with the launch of Love It Up, which allows consumers access to some of the best deals among the community while also doing their bit for charity. (via mumbrella)

Newly launched site for the ladygeek, The Mary Sue aims to destigmatise women who clock up more hours of video-gaming than their male counterparts. Or appreciate comic books and sci-fi - hey, it's not a guilty pleasure if I'm not guilty (woo!). According to associate editor Susanna Polo, "the only thing 'women's' sites and magazines make me feel regularly is the distinct impression that Iím not in their demographic. Even though Iím a woman. Not coincidentally, this is frequently how I feel whenever a game advertisement or comic book cover assumes that I am male. Even though I am a gamer/reader."

Another blow to online privacy is struck by Facebook's latest garb with Facebook users now put in charge of electing whether or not applications may have access to their addresses and phone numbers.

Facebook has unleashed its new third party commenting system without Google, Twitter or Disqus integration (Google and Twitter pulled out at the last minute for undisclosed reasons). Most importantly, it will force would-be commenters to log in with their Facebook accounts before being given the ability to comment, thus attributing any comments made to people's real names. This may perhaps even push active commenters to question the increasingly blurred line between their public and private identities - or discourage them from participating in online discussions altogether.

There's a great proportion of the active online audience who thrive on enriching conversations online, especially on topics they might not otherwise be given the opportunity to discuss with their real life counterparts. If a content provider - say your favourite blog or Mamamia - chose to integrate Facebook comments into their blog, there would be little chance of those delicious discussions that help drive one of the reasons why we visit those places in the first place. Pondersome times!

In other news: the iPad 2 is set to land sometime today much to the breathless glee of many an Apple fangirl/boy. It will be interesting to see if there are any groundbreaking additions to the already very popular tablet device and how that will affect publishers and content providers already feeling their way around mobile technology.

Mr Selby is in town... Melbourne, that is, The Design Files reports.

Also just in - Rupert Murdoch is in the running to own nearly half of Britain's mass media with his bid for the 61% stake of British Sky Broadcasting Company. That is, NewsCorp will own Sky News if his bid is successful.

Margaret @ Girl With a Satchel