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Advertising revenues keep USA Today iPad app free to users

July 20th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Editors' pick

USA Today’s iPad app will remain free for now due to strong advertising interest behind the product, according to a report by the Editor&Publisher.

Brands including Coca Cola, Barnes and Noble, Capital One and Chrysler have all signed up to sponsor the app, creating enough revenue to support it in the near future.

As a result, the publication has scrapped plans to charge users a subscription fee, with promises that the app will remain free “at least through the third quarter”.

According to the report, the USA Today iPhone news and travel apps have also proved popular, with download figures of more than five million in the 18 months since their launch.

See the full post here…

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AdAge: Demand Media to supply original content to USA Today

April 8th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

USA Today’s new online Travel Tips section has been outsourced to content generation company Demand Media. The section already has around 4,000 travel articles provided by Demand Media’s freelancers.

Demand Media (…) is paying to generate the content and is selling keyword advertising in the section. USA Today is selling its new display ad inventory. The two are splitting the revenue.

Demand Media’s CMO Dave Panos defends the editorial standards in place at the company and claims it does not deserve to be thought of as a ‘content farm’.

‘Content farm’ is not a term we prefer, because it we think it has a negative connotation and that it paints a picture of a nameless, faceless organization that churns out low-quality, thoughtless content. This is not at all what we do. We think our studio bears a greater resemblance to larger, distinctive content-creation companies like Reuters. Our studio is made up of thousands of creative professionals, and each piece of content is touched by 11 qualified individuals with a high degree of editorial oversight.

Full story at this link…

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E&P: Ban on airport newspaper racks violates First Amendment

The U.S. Appeals Court has ruled that a ban on newspaper racks in Raleigh Durham International Airport, North Carolina violates the first amendment, following a challenge from a group of US newspapers including the Raleigh News & Observer, Durham Herald-Sun, New York Times, and USA today.

The Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority removed the racks, claiming that they were a security threat, a traffic impediment, and that they reduced revenue for airport stores that sold newspapers. But the majority of the Appeals Court panel voted to uphold the November 2008 U.S. District Court ruling that the ban violated the First Amendment.

“The government interests asserted to justify the ban do not counterbalance its significant restriction on protected expression,” the panel said in a 35-page opinion.

Full story at this link

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Independent and USA Today launch headline apps

The Independent and USA Today have both launched new tools for accessing news headlines. The Indy’s Newzdog widget and Newsdeck both aim to alert users about daily headlines.

Independent.co.uk's NewzdogThe Independent’s version is a downloadable widget that notifies you of the latest news headlines relevant to the topics of interest that you specify. The widget can be minimised to a yellow star on the system tray and when there is a news story of importance to you the star turns red.

Jimmy Leach, editorial director for digital at the Independent said in a statement on Independent.co.uk: “This is a great way for users to make sure they know what’s going on in their areas of interest. Users often have topics they want or need to be kept in the loop about quickly, so this will be an excellent way of them creating their own mini-news service.”

USA Today's NewsdeckMoving on to USAToday’s Newsdeck – the site collects headlines from the paper’s website and organises these into up to eight different subject areas, such as life, travel etc, making it easier for users to find what they are looking for.

Each of the sections allows you to scroll down to see more, which links to the full story.

There is also an option to switch between the top stories and the most popular stories.

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Gannett Blog: ‘Why I’m shutting down this blog’

July 6th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Newspapers

“(…) I had grown concerned about health problems I’ve experienced as I’ve tried to keep up with the demands of blogging about a company with 41,500 employees, and many more who have left,” writes Jim Hopkins, former USA Today editor and owner of Gannett Blog, which has been chronicling the fortunes of the newspaper group.

“In the past year, I have lost quite a bit of weight as I’ve neglected proper nutrition and exercise. I could have made better choices, to be sure. But I am a very competitive journalist. I wanted this to be the best newspaper blog possible, because I think the employees deserve that much.”

Hopkins will shutter the blog on July 10.

Full post at this link…

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AP: USA Today to launch paid-for e-edition

June 11th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Online Journalism

News that USA Today is developing a paid-for, digital version of the paper, which will be distributed by email to readers from August 3.

Full story at this link…

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Media Release: FT and USA Today partner Plastic Logic e-reader launch

February 10th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Media releases

Content from titles to be made available on Plastic Logic e-reader – to be launched end of 2009.

Full story at this link…

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Bivings’ top 10 US newspapers: missing the news point?

February 9th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism

The Bivings Group‘s recently released Bivings Report of the top 10 US newspaper sites in 2008 consisted of:

  1. New York Times
  2. Washington Post
  3. Wall Street Journal
  4. Florida Times-Union
  5. Philadelphia Inquirer
  6. USA Today
  7. St Paul Pioneer Press
  8. Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  9. Arizona Republic
  10. Columbus Dispatch

The study, which picks the list based on usability, design and web features of the US’ 100 largest newspapers, is purposefully limited to covering US-based, newspaper sites.

But as one commenter on the Bivings blog says, ‘No Mention of any of MY best news sites’ – he then goes on to list his own top 10, including Huffington Post and EveryBlock (which another commenter then takes as the Bivings’ list).

Is comparing like-for-like really that useful – newspapers aren’t just competing with each other – or other mainstream news organisations – anymore. What the Bivings Group rates the sites on may be completely different from the readers’ criteria – particularly if these comments are anything to go by.

It reminds me of this Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) study from 2007, which found a different news agenda on UGC sites than mainstream platforms (e.g the agenda decided by journalists).

Users’ online agendas are different (and that’s not to say news organisations should completely adhere to UGC inspired schedules – that’s a debate for another day) and influenced by a plethora of different online sources. As such their expectations of newspaper sites will be shaped by the other tools and information websites they use. Ranking newspaper websites against each other won’t deliver the kind of comparisons that these sites can take away and use.

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Launch round-up: USA Today, Daily Record, Economist

January 13th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Handy tools and technology, Mobile

Round up of online launches from news sites:

  • The Economist has introduce a mobile update service for UK readers. Texting ALERT to 80801 will get you Friday morning round-up highlighting the key issues from the week’s edition.
  • The Daily Record has added to its online portfolio with a new motoring website. Car sales site www.roadrecord.co.uk features some very refined search facilities and tag clouds based on the most popular searches, a release from publisher Trinity Mirror says.
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Gannett Blog: Gannett launches ‘single monster site’ for 85 newspapers

Gannett has begun its trial of ContentOne – a single website for all its US newspaper titles that can be sold to national and local advertisers.

Most content on the site will be generated by USA Today, while local titles will add the site to their own and rebrand it with local news and info.

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