Friday
January 6
2012

Rose Weeks

Best Ideas of 2011: Innovating for Life New, Frontiers for Development Communications

How will publishers sustain the endangered print media species? With dwindling revenues from print ads, more were leaning hard on web teams to answer this question in 2011. While there were many compelling new ideas from savvy digital reporters and developers, it could be said that their counterparts in the world of development communications were innovating just as fast.

Traditional media sources spent 2011 exploring virgin digital territory to generate non-print revenue sources. They might consider relocating business to Asia, where The Economist reported recently that circulation is up by more than 15 percent. The Times of India is the most-read English newspaper with a circulation of more than 3 million compared with about the New York Times’s diminished circulation of 1 million. How are print media sources faring in the new terrain?

  • In February, 78-year old Newsweek merged with Tina Brown’s 3-year old Daily Beast, a “warp speed 24/7 newsite.” Their jointly-managed website, the saucy TheDailyBeast.com, now attracts 10 million unique visitors per month.
  • The Times paywall came back in March. But the paper reported later in the year that it had doubled its digital subscriptions with 1 million overall subscribing via Kindle, iPad or other mediums. A few months later, editors inside the steel mesh-like Renzo Piano structure in Times Square applauded their first female executive editor. Jill Abramson assumed the position after spending considerable time overseeing the Times’s web content department the previous year.
  • The Washington Post Social Reader surpassed 3.5 million subscribers in November, two months after its launch. Partners like ProPublica, the Associated Press, and significantly The Hindustan Times drew in additional users. Nearly 20 percent of people using the app, which informs Facebook friends what you are reading, are in India.
  • Eustace Tilley’s old school New Yorker offered iPhone audio tours with writers (go vintage shopping with Patricia Marx!) as well as iPad-exclusive collections of food writing. There was also this digital finger painting column.
  • Local web papers like the Baltimore Brew upped the ante on the Sun, historically one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious papers, but continually dwindling in size and reputation. The Brew took an activist tone on issues like poverty and corruption to demand change from city leaders.

Indeed, the line between advocacy and journalism blurred more in 2011. The Gates Foundation reaffirmed its support for the Guardian’s Global Development web hub to the tune of $2.5 million-a welcome progression also cited by my colleague Oscar. The Guardian explained the partnership to its readers by writing:

The world’s news organizations can no longer rely solely on advertising and sales revenues. So, as we look beyond traditional sources of funding, the backing of third parties who are willing to support our journalism while respecting our editorial freedom enables us to explore important subjects that may too easily be neglected elsewhere.

How will publishers sustain the endangered print media species? With dwindling revenues from print ads, more were leaning hard on web teams to answer this question in 2011. While there were many compelling new ideas from savvy digital reporters and developers, it could be said that their counterparts in the world of development communications were innovating just as fast.

Traditional media sources spent 2011 exploring virgin digital territory to generate non-print revenue sources. They might consider relocating business to Asia, where The Economist reported recently that circulation is up by more than 15 percent. The Times of India is the most-read English newspaper with a circulation of more than 3 million compared with about the New York Times’s diminished circulation of 1 million. How are print media sources faring in the new terrain?

  • In February, 78-year old Newsweek merged with Tina Brown’s 3-year old Daily Beast, a “warp speed 24/7 newsite.” Their jointly-managed website, the saucy TheDailyBeast.com, now attracts 10 million unique visitors per month.
  • The Times paywall came back in March. But the paper reported later in the year that it had doubled its digital subscriptions with 1 million overall subscribing via Kindle, iPad or other mediums. A few months later, editors inside the steel mesh-like Renzo Piano structure in Times Square applauded their first female executive editor. Jill Abramson assumed the position after spending considerable time overseeing the Times’s web content department the previous year.
  • The Washington Post Social Reader surpassed 3.5 million subscribers in November, two months after its launch. Partners like ProPublica, the Associated Press, and significantly The Hindustan Times drew in additional users. Nearly 20 percent of people using the app, which informs Facebook friends what you are reading, are in India.
  • Eustace Tilley’s old school New Yorker offered iPhone audio tours with writers (go vintage shopping with Patricia Marx!) as well as iPad-exclusive collections of food writing. There was also this digital finger painting column.
  • Local web papers like the Baltimore Brew upped the ante on the Sun, historically one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious papers, but continually dwindling in size and reputation. The Brew took an activist tone on issues like poverty and corruption to demand change from city leaders.

Indeed, the line between advocacy and journalism blurred more in 2011. The Gates Foundation reaffirmed its support for the Guardian’s Global Development web hub to the tune of $2.5 million-a welcome progression also cited by my colleague Oscar. The Guardian explained the partnership to its readers by writing:

The world’s news organizations can no longer rely solely on advertising and sales revenues. So, as we look beyond traditional sources of funding, the backing of third parties who are willing to support our journalism while respecting our editorial freedom enables us to explore important subjects that may too easily be neglected elsewhere.

How will publishers sustain the endangered print media species? With dwindling revenues from print ads, more were leaning hard on web teams to answer this question in 2011. While there were many compelling new ideas from savvy digital reporters and developers, it could be said that their counterparts in the world of development communications were innovating just as fast.

Traditional media sources spent 2011 exploring virgin digital territory to generate non-print revenue sources. They might consider relocating business to Asia, where The Economist reported recently that circulation is up by more than 15 percent. The Times of India is the most-read English newspaper with a circulation of more than 3 million compared with about the New York Times’s diminished circulation of 1 million. How are print media sources faring in the new terrain?

  • In February, 78-year old Newsweek merged with Tina Brown’s 3-year old Daily Beast, a “warp speed 24/7 newsite.” Their jointly-managed website, the saucy TheDailyBeast.com, now attracts 10 million unique visitors per month.
  • The Times paywall came back in March. But the paper reported later in the year that it had doubled its digital subscriptions with 1 million overall subscribing via Kindle, iPad or other mediums. A few months later, editors inside the steel mesh-like Renzo Piano structure in Times Square applauded their first female executive editor. Jill Abramson assumed the position after spending considerable time overseeing the Times’s web content department the previous year.
  • The Washington Post Social Reader surpassed 3.5 million subscribers in November, two months after its launch. Partners like ProPublica, the Associated Press, and significantly The Hindustan Times drew in additional users. Nearly 20 percent of people using the app, which informs Facebook friends what you are reading, are in India.
  • Eustace Tilley’s old school New Yorker offered iPhone audio tours with writers (go vintage shopping with Patricia Marx!) as well as iPad-exclusive collections of food writing. There was also this digital finger painting column.
  • Local web papers like the Baltimore Brew upped the ante on the Sun, historically one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious papers, but continually dwindling in size and reputation. The Brew took an activist tone on issues like poverty and corruption to demand change from city leaders.

Indeed, the line between advocacy and journalism blurred more in 2011. The Gates Foundation reaffirmed its support for the Guardian’s Global Development web hub to the tune of $2.5 million-a welcome progression also cited by my colleague Oscar. The Guardian explained the partnership to its readers by writing:

The world’s news organizations can no longer rely solely on advertising and sales revenues. So, as we look beyond traditional sources of funding, the backing of third parties who are willing to support our journalism while respecting our editorial freedom enables us to explore important subjects that may too easily be neglected elsewhere.

How will publishers sustain the endangered print media species? With dwindling revenues from print ads, more were leaning hard on web teams to answer this question in 2011. While there were many compelling new ideas from savvy digital reporters and developers, it could be said that their counterparts in the world of development communications were innovating just as fast.

Traditional media sources spent 2011 exploring virgin digital territory to generate non-print revenue sources. They might consider relocating business to Asia, where The Economist reported recently that circulation is up by more than 15 percent. The Times of India is the most-read English newspaper with a circulation of more than 3 million compared with about the New York Times’s diminished circulation of 1 million. How are print media sources faring in the new terrain?

  • In February, 78-year old Newsweek merged with Tina Brown’s 3-year old Daily Beast, a “warp speed 24/7 newsite.” Their jointly-managed website, the saucy TheDailyBeast.com, now attracts 10 million unique visitors per month.
  • The Times paywall came back in March. But the paper reported later in the year that it had doubled its digital subscriptions with 1 million overall subscribing via Kindle, iPad or other mediums. A few months later, editors inside the steel mesh-like Renzo Piano structure in Times Square applauded their first female executive editor. Jill Abramson assumed the position after spending considerable time overseeing the Times’s web content department the previous year.
  • The Washington Post Social Reader surpassed 3.5 million subscribers in November, two months after its launch. Partners like ProPublica, the Associated Press, and significantly The Hindustan Times drew in additional users. Nearly 20 percent of people using the app, which informs Facebook friends what you are reading, are in India.
  • Eustace Tilley’s old school New Yorker offered iPhone audio tours with writers (go vintage shopping with Patricia Marx!) as well as iPad-exclusive collections of food writing. There was also this digital finger painting column.
  • Local web papers like the Baltimore Brew upped the ante on the Sun, historically one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious papers, but continually dwindling in size and reputation. The Brew took an activist tone on issues like poverty and corruption to demand change from city leaders.

Indeed, the line between advocacy and journalism blurred more in 2011. The Gates Foundation reaffirmed its support for the Guardian’s Global Development web hub to the tune of $2.5 million-a welcome progression also cited by my colleague Oscar. The Guardian explained the partnership to its readers by writing:

The world’s news organizations can no longer rely solely on advertising and sales revenues. So, as we look beyond traditional sources of funding, the backing of third parties who are willing to support our journalism while respecting our editorial freedom enables us to explore important subjects that may too easily be neglected elsewhere.

Meanwhile, in the Times, Nick Kristof’s columns – popular while being sniffed at by some for a tone resembling “nothing so much as a den mother addressing a troop of Brownies” – advocated strongly for a host of underreported issues like action to stop bombings and siege in Sudan. Good Magazine unpacked and enlivened complex issues like Economic Crime Around the World in colorful, irresistibly sharable Infographics.

People working in the development field have simultaneously become increasingly creative to raise awareness of neglected issues, fundraise and meet other goals. Interesting standouts include:

What’s next? It’s likely that other editorial print bastions will follow the Guardian into hybrid waters, combining news with paid editorials, at least on neutral topics like education and health. Development organizations will invest here in the interest of catching the eyes of potential donors and other influentials. This already happens, unofficially, particularly in developing countries. Try organizing a press briefing at a posh hotel oversees – be it in Abuja, Amman or Amritsar – and see if any journalists don’t show up to get the latest scoop on a wholly obscure health issue.

Further integration with global news sources – already the focus for those working to effect policy changes in the developing world – will make domestic news sources more relevant to young, international readers. The issues of the day from austerity protests to climate change will be broadcast more effectively over global digital sources with plenty of room for advocacy. Print media will eventually thrive in this new terrain, albeit in thinned herds surrounded by its hitherto unknown compatriots Twitter and Tumblr.

The good news for development communications is that many digital media tools are well within the reach of those working on nonprofit budgets. Many of the interactive tools developed by for-profits can be adapted by creative communications professionals advocating for social change around the world. We look forward to embracing these tools and further changes in the traditional mainstream media-advocacy relationship.

Categories
Technology
Tags
technology, video