May 27, 2010
If I had to choose just one newspaper, it would be The Guardian. That’s a rather archaic opening sentence in this age of digital plenty, including as it does the terms choose just one and newspaper.
But I remember buying the dead trees version. I particularly remember running in to the newsagents next to Edmonton (north London, UK) train station to get my Guardian before getting on the train to work.
Most of the time I lived in France, I subscribed to The Guardian Weekly, which included articles from Le Monde and the Washington Post as well as from The Guardian itself. The articles from Le Monde were translated into English, those from the Washington Post not so much.
I now live in Washington Post territory. I’ve yet to buy the Washington Post newspaper, and I doubt I ever will. I do have the Washington Post website bookmarked, and visit it often enough to get annoyed at the register/login hurdle.
I visit the Guardian online multiple times most days. I appreciate its openness, as well as its content.
So I am particularly interested in the Guardian’s open platform. I read about it in a couple of recent articles by Mathew Ingram at GigaOM. Lest it seem that Mathew and I are uncritically besotted with openness, I’ll choose this quote from the first of his articles.
The Guardian’s ownership structure — it’s owned by the Scott Trust — likely has something to do with the paper’s interest in an open API, and its willingness to provide its content to others despite the lack of any immediate return, since it can afford to think longer term rather than just focusing solely on quarterly earnings.
In other words, media owned via financial markets and other mechanisms of impatience would find it harder to do what the Guardian is doing. Here’s my favorite quote from Mathew’s second article.
Open APIs and open platforms aren’t all that new. But The Guardian is the first newspaper to offer a fully open API… We thought it was worth looking at why the paper chose to go this route, and what it might suggest for other companies contemplating a similar move… I explore the topic in depth in a new GigaOM Pro report (subscription required).
I love this quote because, even as Mathew writes in glowing terms about the openness of a 190-year-old newspaper company, he tells us that we need to provide a credit card to have full access to his coverage. This from GigaOM, cutting-edge new media property, running on open source software, etc.
See, I haven’t lost my British sense of humour. It’s that same sense of humour that allows me to smile rather than curse when I note that the Guardian’s site is misbehaving as I write this. It reminds me of the paper being formerly and fondly referred to as the Grauniad, because of frequent tpyos.
April 4, 2010
John Yemma, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor, thinks so.
There is, however, a bold future in relevant content.
Universal Adam highlights the CSM’s success with online-centric publishing. Back to John for an explanation of what that means.
A year ago, we ceased publishing the daily, 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor newspaper and launched a weekly magazine to complement our website, on which we doubled down by reorienting our newsroom to be web-first. Our web traffic climbed from 6 million page views last April to 13 million in February. Our print circulation rose from 43,000 to 77,000 in the same period.
No-one is claiming that CSM has solved the problems facing the media. John remarks that the newsroom is still “evolving.” What works for the CSM may not work elsewhere: CSM has the support of the church, whereas other publications have the support of, say, Rupert Murdoch.
But CSM has taken a bold step (as bold as Intel’s when it got out of memory chips to concentrate on processors?), and the limited and early indications we can see are positive. I recommend reading John Yemma’s piece in full.
June 3, 2008
I was disappointed to find that it’s a ranking of large US daily metropolitan newspapers. So my favorite newspaper website doesn’t get a look in. I thought it was the world wide web.
The New York Times gets the top spot and an A grade from 247WS. However, it doesn’t get a link, and neither do any of the other sites. Evidence that 247WS doesn’t get the web mounts.
The Boston Globe is about halfway down the list, in 12th place.
It is odd that NYTimes.com is such a good website and Boston.com has such a long way to go. Both are part of the same parent company… There are some creative sections, like a homicide map of Boston, to keep readers on the site… But, the overall effort is uninspired. Grade: C.
My favorite newspaper website is The Guardian. Here’s a rather lovely bit from an interview with Ravi Shankar, in which the sitar man talks about being scheduled to follow Hendrix at the Monterey festival in 1967.
“I thought he was fantastic, but so very loud,” Shankar says now, shaking his head. “And then he would do that thing with his instrument when he would open up a can of gasoline and burn his guitar… for me, the burning of the guitar was the greatest sacrilege possible… I told them that even if I had to pay some kind of compensation to get out of playing the festival, I just couldn’t do it.” The organisers’ solution was to give Shankar his own stage for an altogether more civilised afternoon performance of assorted ragas, during which Hendrix sat quietly in the front row.
It might appear that my preference for the Guardian over the NYT, etc., is a bias in favour of the UK and against the USA. Let me reassure you that it isn’t. Why, I’m even in favour of the idea of naming July 4 Independents Day, rather than Thanksgiving.
January 25, 2008
If you’re interested in contrasting media coverage, horrific late-night bloodbaths, or reasons to read the Boston Herald, take a look at Universal Adam’s case for a two-newspaper town. Adams’ contrast between the Globe and the Herald is as vivid as… the Herald’s coverage of a bar where “it’s always past midnight.”
If you want to see a clumsier contrast involving two newspapers, go to New York: If Facebook is the New York Times, then myspace is the NY Post. Facebook is less like the NYT than it is like… I don’t know, a gooseberry. At least a gooseberry is bubble-shaped. (By the way, Fred Wilson usually writes rather well; that was his brain on Murdoch.)