Another year, another year older

Researcher Greg Harmon of Borrell Associates says the average age of a print newspaper reader is 57 and the average newspaper web visitor is 51.  Saying the industry’s aging demographics ought to have “everyone’s hair on fire,” Harmon notes that newspaper readers have been getting a year older every year for more than a decade. 


Alan D. Mutter

The weight of establishment and tradition

A great piece from Om Malik on media. There’s lot of food for thought in this piece.

Among his highlights:

  • No one could’ve predicted FB and Twitter as the boosters for media and this is why we’ve seen so much change and new models.
  • The problem with media is that it’s trying to find a answer within itself and not looking at what readers want.
  • The internet as we know it is at an end. The Chinese and Brazilian internets are developing in their own way and pace.
  • Putting a paywall on a thing people were getting for free is a backward move. You must create a new, compelling, useful experience.
  • My open source tools are a paper and a pen.
  • Journalism schools need to teach journalism for the social media age.
  • Big publishers are in the habit of always ‘taking’ from users, not giving back.
  • We are limited by the industrial definition/model of journalism.
  • It is time for big publications to think of themselves as technology platforms.

The cheerleader, The Dirty and the court case that could change the Internet forever

CheerleaderLibelLaw2l.jpg

The fate of a law that was passed in the infancy of the commercial Internet and which created the legal underpinnings for everything from anonymous comments by trolls on news stories to your pet photo on Facebook was argued today in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

The case involves a defamation lawsuit by a former Cincinnati Benglas cheerleader against a gossip website.  The cheerleader, Sarah Jones, sued gossip site The Dirty in 2012 claiming allegations on its site about her sex life were untrue. A Federal jury awarded Jones $338,000.

In the appeal heard today, The Dirty’s attorneys argued the case should have never been heard because the Communications Decency Act of 1996 grants immunity to websites from content posted by users.

“If Judge Bertelsman’s ruling stands, the Internet will have a nuclear meltdown,” Arizona attorney David Gingras said. “It’ll change the rules across the board for everyone. … Mark Zuckerberg could be dragged into court for what users post on Facebook.”

While that quote is more than a bit of hyperbole, the case is being closely watched by web content firms who say upholding the lower court ruling would  “significantly chill online speech” . Read more.

Photo caption: This Monday, July 30, 2012 file photo shows Sarah Jones, a former Dixie Heights High School teacher and Cincinnati Ben-Gal cheerleader, arriving at the Kenton County Justice Center, in Covington, Kentucky. An appeals court is considering whether an Arizona-based gossip website should have been allowed to be sued for defamation by Jones, convicted of having sex with a teenager. Attorneys for both sides argued their case Thursday, May 1, 2014 before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/The Enquirer, Patrick Reddy, File)