Hauling a tool chest of ideas back from Missouri

The speed version of the better part of last week during my stay in Saint Louis. My hotel was just across the street from the arch, but, unfortunately, I never made it to it.

Here are some resources and thought-starters from the Associated Press Managing Editors “Inspiration Starts Here” conference.

Amy Webb did a rapid fire presentation on trends to watch. Val Hoeppner leveraged off Webb’s list of trends with a blog post with a list of cool resources and tools of particular interest to journalists and another set of resources was added to the APME09 twitter stream by the Journalists Toolbox.

And then there were three great innovations.

Jill Geisler of the Poynter Institute had some advice for managing change in a presentation called You’re Not Crazy, Clueless or Cruel; You’re Managing Change. She had some links:

Kurt Greenbaum and Jack LailThere was a great update on APME Online Credibility Workshops. Michele McLellan blogged on one intriguing aspect being looked at in the credibility projects: When to unpublish news. Kathy English, public editor at the Toronto Star, is heading that effort and has produced this white paper called “The Longtail of News.”

And, oh yeah, there was the panel that Kurt Greenbaum of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and I were on involving social media tools.

(Video by AP’s Tim Donnelly. Flickr photo by Kyle Spradley).

Living a “Gutenberg Moment”

Larry KramerOn Sunday, I caught up with an excellent podcast with former MarketWatch CEO founder Larry Kramer that was posted in late September.

Kramer is a reporter turned editor turned entrepreneur who still loves journalism and believes content is king.

He is interviewed by Gregory Galant on the VentureVoice blog. Since focus of Galent’s site is not about entrepreneurs, journalists and Old and New Media executives may have missed this one, but it’s worth your time.

Kramer sketches out his journey from journalist to CEO, his ride on the Internet economy rollercoaster, and journalism, inlcuding paid content.

On paid content, he pointed out what happened when his site, what was known as CBS MarketWatch, pursued a multiple streams of revenue strategy mostly dependent on advertising while Jim Cramer’s rival site, TheStreet.com, pursued a paid content model. There’s some lessons in that for today in the renewed paid-content discussion.

Kramer’s take: Don’t be a purist in either camp. He notes Cramer’s paid-content strategy with theStreet.com prevented it from becoming a mass brand.

He points out the content the companies he was involved with could most easily sell to consumers was “actionable” information, stock information for active traders, and sports odds and information for sports betting gamblers.

He also talks about the role of journalists in curating the Web. “There are new roles we need to learn to take,” he said. “In journalism, one of them is curation.

“We were always curators in that we get 100 press releases at the paper, we’d pick the two to write about. The difference today is everybody gets the hundred press releases. We still have to help our customers, our readers to determine which ones are worth reading.

“We don’t the distribution system anymore. But we do own, what we hopefully own, is an intelligence, and an  ability to help our customer or the people that work with us to get what they want out of life.”

Kramer said we’re still in an “Gutenberg moment” with the Internet in which every industry will be changed, much as the media business is already changing.

“The biggest problem we have is people trying to protect their business model,” Kramer said, “not their product. not what they do.”

Good stuff from a guy who was involved in “digital media” before the consumer Internet.

I also found this Beet.tv video with Kramer from earlier this year as well as mediabistro.com piece.

(Photo from Beet.tv)

Newsroom cuts hurt economic health of newspapers

Interesting budget season reading (emphasis added is mine) from Editor and Publisher:

This summer, Esther Thorson, dean of graduate studies and research at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, as well as Shrihari Sridhar and Murali Mantrala from Missouri’s Trulaske College of Business, presented research taken from the extensive confidential financial data compiled in Inland Press Association’s annual Cost and Revenue Study.

They probed the spending on newsrooms, circulation and advertising sales and developed an econometric model to see how much revenue would be affected if the mix of spending was altered.

“Could they have distributed those dollars differently to make more money with good journalism?” Thorson asks. “And the answer is virtually always yes, very consistently across hundreds of newspapers. They under-spend in newsrooms by a pretty significant amount, and they overspend in circulation — though not nearly as much as they overspend in advertising.”

Specifically, their model suggests that “under-spending” in the newsroom isn’t just missing an opportunity for greater revenue — it actually damages the business. Cutting back investment in the newsroom just 1% is three times worse than the same percentage cut in circulation or distribution, and seven times worse than making that cut in ad salespeople. The deeper the newsroom cut, the worse the damage, this research contends.

Wither the ‘Average American’

The 2010 Census data (being collected now … we completed our form last weekend) won’t begin to be available until 2011, but experts already are making projections:

“The iconic American family — married couple with children — will account for a mere 22% of households.”

“The average American has been replaced by a complex, multidimensional society that defies simplistic labeling.”

— Demographics expert Peter Francese in 2010 America, a new Ad Age white paper.

(via Silicon Alley Insider)