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Mediabistro: The best/worst selling magazine covers of 2010

March 8th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Magazines

Mediabistro has been taking a look into the best and worst selling magazine covers in the US last year. For Time magazine the best selling cover was of Mark Zuckerburg, for New York magazine it was about the best place to live in New York. Mediabistro blog Fishbowl NY has pictures of the best selling covers.

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#cablegate: Time magazine interview with Julian Assange

Time magazine has published in full an interview it carried out with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange on Tuesday (30 November) following this week’s release of secret and confidential diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world.

In the interview, which is carried out by Time editor Richard Stengel via Skype, Assange discussed the impact of the release so far.

I can see that the media scrutiny and the reaction from government are so tremendous that it actually eclipses our ability to understand it. And I think there is a new story appearing, a new, original story appearing about once every two minutes somewhere around the world.

He also talks about social media, adding that the wider online community has not been as involved in the “heavy analytical lifting” of the data as he expected, this role instead taken on by professional journalists.

The bulk of the heavy lifting – heavy analytical lifting – that is done with our materials is done by us, and is done by professional journalists we work with and by professional human rights activists. It is not done by the broader community. However, once the initial lifting is done, once a story becomes a story, becomes a news article, then we start to see community involvement, which digs deeper and provides more perspective. So the social networks tend to be, for us, an amplifier of what we are doing.

See the interview transcript in full here…

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Could Taiwan’s wacky news animations catch on?

Following the growing trend for animation re-enactments of news stories in Taiwan and Hong Kong TV broadcasts, Time Magazine this week detailed the successes of one of the companies behind these videos, Next Media Animation.

According to the report, the Taiwan news service produces more than 30 computer-animated re-constructions every day, from Lindsay Lohan’s prison term to Gordon Brown’s rumoured bullying to the actions of Steve Slater, the US air steward who abandoned his plane by emergency slide after an altercation with a passenger.

The company reportedly had a bid for a cable licence denied last year, due to “the sensational nature” of some animations. As a result Next Media launched as an online news channel and has been live for around two weeks, according to the feature.

Next Media’s commercial director Mark Simon is quoted by Time Magazine as saying that in the near future “if you don’t have an animation in your news sequence, it’s going to be like not having colour photographs in a newspaper.”

Following the Time Magazine article, Lostremote.com picked the story up and asked whether animations like Slater’s slide exit, which it reports is receiving more than four million views a day on Next Media’s site, could become a hit with Western audiences.

I can imagine it starting with tabloid TV, but can’t rule out some station using a variation of animated news. After all, we use some animations already (think of an animation showing a plane going down a runway, taking off and crashing). This is another step entirely. While it’s clear the stuff is animated, will that be enough to keep news from crossing the line into fiction? Judging from the popularity, it’s clear the audience likes this stuff. But is it local news-worthy?

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MediaMemo: Time Inc. on paywall plans and print/iPad-only content

As reported by Nieman Journalism Lab, Reuters blogger Felix Salmon noticed late last month that a Time Magazine story he had followed a link to online wasn’t there, instead there was this message:

To read TIME Magazine in its entirety, subscribe or download the issue on the iPad.

The next morning the story reappeared in its entirety.

Yesterday reporters at Nieman noticed that “nearly every major article” on Time Magazine’s website was no longer available in full:

Check out the current issue of Time Magazine at Time.com. Click around. Notice anything? On almost every story that comes from the magazine, there’s this phrase: “The following is an abridged version of an article that appears in the July 12, 2010 print and iPad editions of TIME.”

This afternoon MediaMemo has confirmation from parent company Time Inc. that there are title-by-title paywall plans and content across its publications will increasingly be print and iPad only. Spokesman Dawn Bridges outlines the publisher’s policy:

We’ve said for awhile that increasingly we’ll move content from the print (and now iPad) versions of our titles off of the web. With People, we haven’t had hardly any content [SIC] from the magazine on the web for a long time. Our strategy is to use the web for breaking news and ‘commodity’ type of news; (news events of any type, stock prices, sports scores) and keep (most of) the features and longer analysis for the print publication and iPad versions.

Full story at this link…

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‘The imperatives of the news cycle': A licence to steal?

Last week we highlighted some of the criticism being directed at Rolling Stone magazine for its decision to hold off publishing the now notorious General McChrystal article online.

The magazine’s hold-for-the-newsstand tactic led Time.com and Politico to make full PDF copies of the printed article available through their websites – copies which were not provided directly by Rolling Stone, as was first thought, but by third parties.

In the wake of Rolling Stone’s much-derided decision, New York Times’ Media Equation blogger David Carr turns his attention to the behaviour of Time.com and Politico, which later linked back to Rolling Stone’s website when the magazine finally published online.

Publishing a PDF of somebody else’s work is the exact opposite of fair use: these sites engaged in a replication of a static electronic document with no links to the publication that took the risk, commissioned the work and came up with a story that tilted the national conversation. The technical, legal term for what they did is, um, stealing.

Jim VandeHei, executive editor and a founder of Politico, defended the site’s move by claiming that “the imperatives of the news cycle superseded questions of custody”.

Full story at this link…

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#FollowJourn: @catherine_mayer / magazine journalist

November 30th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Catherine Mayer

Who? London bureau chief for Time Magazine.

What? Started her career at the Economist in the 1980s; frequent speaker at events (eg. at the LSE).

Where? On Twitter / Time Magazine.

Contact? On Twitter or via Time Magazine.

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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Will Time Warner sell Time magazine?

September 28th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Magazines

Reuters is reporting, originally via BusinessWeek, that Time Warner Inc  will eventually sell the Time Inc magazine unit and could buy holdings in its core entertainment category – according to Gordon Crawford, managing director of its largest shareholder.

“Time Warner just spun off their cable division, they are going to sell their print division, they are going to spin off AOL and they’re just going to be Warner Brothers, HBO and the Turner Networks,” said Crawford, managing director of The Capital Group during a roundtable discussion at the USC Annenberg School for Communications.

Meanwhile, Peter Kafka of All Things Digital suggests that Crawford might not be right:

“[H]ere’s the thing: The body language from Time Warner executives in recent months makes me think they intend to keep at least part of their magazine business in the family. More than body language, actually: ‘Time Warner without People? I can’t imagine it,’ one well-placed Time Warner official told me recently.”

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Adam Westbrook: 6×6 business for freelance journalists

August 24th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Freelance

This is the fourth post in a series of six blog posts by Adam Westbrook, each with six tips for the next generation of freelance multimedia journalists, republished here with permission.

Follow the series at this link or visit Adam’s blog.

Business
While the news industry is still in an uncertain and uncomfortable state of flux, one certainty has already emerged: journalists can no-longer just be journalists – they must be entrepreneurs too. It’s the difference between the ‘passive’ freelancer who writes to a few editors and waits for the work to come to them, and the ‘active’ freelancer who runs themselves as a mini-business.

Until j-schools start adding business skills to the curriculum this will be something we’re all going to have to teach ourselves.

1) Diversify
If you went into journalism to become a TV news reporter, and just a TV news reporter, the sad news is those days are over. As are the days of being paid to stay in nice hotels in foreign lands drinking cocktails.

In order to maximise your income, you will need to diversify your skills base. That means selling a range of skills and service, and not just journalism-related ones. I know radio journalists who have a nice sideline designing websites; video journalists who run training courses; and photojournalists who work for non-profits.

Training can often be the most lucrative of these – but only consider this if you really know what you’re doing!

Diversify too in your client base. Pity the news-snob who just pitches to the New York Times and The Guardian. The digital revolution means there are more online-only news outfits and they can be easier to pitch to.

Freelance science journalist Angela Saini offered me this advice recently: “I think it’s almost impossible to survive right now unless you freelance in more than one medium – so as well as doing VJ work, you may have to do radio and print too.”

If you’re a radio journalist you won’t survive as a just a radio journalist. Pitch for video, online, print… everything! Profiling multimedia journalist Jason Motlagh, David Westphal notes:

“Motlagh doesn’t just write stories. He shoots still photos. He shoots and edits video. He does audio. He blogs. He narrates slide shows. And because he does all of those things, he says, he has a huge advantage over freelance foreign correspondents working in a single medium.

“Having multiple media skills is ‘still unusual’, he said. ‘There aren’t a whole lot of people yet who have gotten up to speed. If you are, you can make clients an offer they can’t refuse.'”

2) Find new markets
The entrepreneur, although a business profession, requires a lot of creativity. Just ask Richard Branson. From what I’ve gauged you have to be constantly brainstorming new markets and potential clients. And thinking outside the box reaps rewards.

Career evangelist and author of the popular new book ‘Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love’ Jonathan Fields explores how to sidestep traditional career paths to forge your own unique way. He talks about ‘moving beyond the mainstream’ and finding new markets in six different places:

  1. finding a hungrier market
  2. finding the most lucrative micro-markets
  3. exploiting gaps in information
  4. exploiting gaps in education
  5. exploiting gaps in gear or merchandise
  6. exploiting gaps in community

The first two are about digging deeper into the industry and possibly connecting two unrelated ones. A great example comes from a friend of mine, filmmaker Oliver Harrison. He loves cooking, and loves making films but couldn’t find a way to make any money out of either. After a lot of searching, he and business partner Simon Horniblow started talking to universities – and combined the two. They now run studentcooking.tv a very successful online cookery website for students. Would you think to do that? Think outside the box!

To Jonathan Fields:

“In thinking about potential alternative markets, or trying to find smaller, more lucrative submarkets, think about fields, careers, jobs, or paths where the elements of what you love to do are valued, but in short supply. You are looking for a market where your passion leads to: differentiation, hunger [and] price availability.”

Be practical and realistic though: is there really a demand for your new idea?

Here are three examples of journalists who digged a bit deeper to find new markets:

Weyo found a new market in non-profits looking for quality storytelling
Weyo found a new market in non-profits looking for quality storytelling
Journalist Martin Lewis exploited a gap in the market for impartial financial advice
Journalist Martin Lewis exploited a gap in the market for impartial financial advice
Duckrabbit ex[ploited a gap in education and produce training courses in photography and audio design
Duckrabbit exploited a gap in education and produce training courses in photography and audio design

3) Bootstrapping
Bootstrapping means starting your freelance business with little or no cash. It means learning how to get things done for free – and most valuable of all – learning to be careful with money.

The great news is you don’t need any money to start out and market yourself. A website domain name will cost you a small amount. But social media means you can market your talents absolutely free (see the previous 6×6 on branding).

Josh Quittner, writing in Time Magazine uses the term LILO – to mean ‘a little in, a lot out': “At no other time in recent history has it been easier or cheaper to start a new kind of company. Possibly a very profitable company,” he says. “[Bootstrapping] means your start-up is self-sustaining and can eek out enough profit to keep you alive on instant noodles while your business gains traction.”

If this recession has taught us anything, it’s that the best business is built from the bottom up, on the funds available (not borrowed).

4) Dealing with inflexible income
The biggest fear of starting a freelance career is money. Oh, and failure. ‘What if I don’t get any business?’ ‘How will I be sure I’ll always pay the rent?’ Truth is you won’t ever be sure, but that’s part of the thrill, right?

Still there are some things you can do to make the ebb and flow of freelance income a little more stable.

A good tip is to open up a separate bank account for your business earnings. Get Rich Slowly offers this advice: “Every month as you earn income, receive it (and leave it) in your business account. This is where you accumulate your cash. Because it’s in a high-yield account, it earns interest as it waits for you to use it.”

They recommend paying yourself a monthly salary from that business accountand leaving the rest for tax and other investments. The worst thing is to use the profits from a bumper month to pay for a bumper holiday, only to return to slim pickings.

But the best advice for living on an irregular income? Learn to live lite. Cut back on unnecessary spending wherever you can. Back to David Westphal profiling Jason Motlagh: “He lives modestly and accepts that there may be periods in his work where he’ll have to do something besides journalism to pay the bills.”

5) Find your creative time
Sure, for some freelancers the appeal of being your own boss is getting up at 10, watching some TV, doing some work, heading out on a night out without the guilt… and that might work for some. But the creative entrepreneur’s life is most likely to be a different one.

Just ask Mark McGuinness. He coaches creative freelancers and says for the successful ones, it ain’t no bohemian life:

“After scanning my diary and surveying the tasks in hand, I was faced with a depressing conclusion. I was going to have to get up early.”

He’s up at 6 in the morning, every morning, getting the crap out the way, like emails and the like.  He then says he has several hours free to work solidly on creative tasks, before the rest of the world gets up and the phone starts ringing. Know when you are at your creative best and ring fence it, so you can’t get disturbed. It might be 6am, it might be midnight. Whatever, just make sure it’s protected.

“[W]hen I look back over the last couple of years, the time when I’ve created most value, for myself and my clients, has been those first hours of the day I’ve spent writing blog posts, essays, seminars and poems. It’s the creative wellspring that feeds into all the coaching, training, presenting and consulting I do when I’m face-to-face with clients.”

Treat it like a full time job too. If you can, work somewhere where you can commute to, or have some ringfenced office space at home. I recommend Mark’s excellent (and free) ebook ‘Time Management for Creative People‘.

6) Be lean, but don’t be mean
If you’re dreaming of going freelance, you might be thinking about holding off until after the recession. No need, says Leo Babauta 0f Zenhabits fame:

“This is the best time to start. This is a time when job security is low, so risks are actually lower. This is a time to be lean, which is the best idea for starting a business. This is the time when others are quitting – so you’ll have more room to succeed.

“And with social media and networking taking off, this is the easiest time to start a business, the easiest time to spread the word, the easiest time to distribute information and products and services.”

Starting now though won’t be easy – and you’ll need to be lean. But that is such an important skill to keep things afloat later on. Be sensible with your money, don’t overspend. It’s the thing the big companies can’t do, and the reason they lose money hand over fist. And don’t be mean: journalism is a small village – make friends and keep ‘em!

The final word:
Journalism.co.uk offer some great practical advice for freelancers, which cover things like registering as self-employed, pitching for new work and managing finances. And if you’re still unsure of taking the entrepreneurial route, just watch this video.

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Another update on the 10 doomed newspapers list

Yesterday Alan Mutter joined the bloggers dismissing the accuracy of the ‘ten most endangered newspapers in America’ list published on TIME.com.

Many interpreted it as coming from Time magazine, but in fact it was a 247WallSt.com post, reproduced on the TIME.com site, under a syndication deal.

Journalism.co.uk asked its author, 24.7 Wall St’s Douglas A. McIntyre, if he defended his selections for which newspapers would next face the chop:

“The list may be viewed as controversial, but that is not its goal. The newspaper industry which was one of the largest employers in America two decades ago is falling apart. Most big cities have not comes to terms with that. This is an accurate list of which papers are at the most [at] risk and why,” McIntyre told Journalism.co.uk

A spokesperson from Time confirmed that TIME.com has been syndicating content from 24/7 Wall St. since January 2009. “This list was not something written by Time.com editors,” the spokesperson said.

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PoynterOnline: ‘Future of newspapers’ transcript from Charlie Rose’s show

February 13th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Editors' pick, Newspapers

Read the “Future of Newspapers” transcript from Charlie Rose’s show on February 11 at this link…

It features: Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal; Mort Zuckerman, owner and publisher of the New York Daily News and the editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report; and Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute (formerly the editor of Time magazine.)

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