Internet is pushing American news media to the coasts

I read a fascinating article by Joshua Benton on NiemanLab.org about how the Internet is pushing the American news business to New York and the coasts. “Rather than creating geographic diversity, digital news has pushed the industry into a few tight clusters. That has real impacts on the journalism we get.” Here are more highlights from his piece:

“Let’s start by thinking of the pre-web news business. Physical distribution of newspapers and over-the-air distribution of TV signals meant location was all-important for daily news. Journalistic talent was arrayed to match, with substantial newsrooms in every city.

“Digital changed that. Think of the most prominent digital-native news companies, like Vice Media, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Gawker Media, Mashable, Vox Media — all of them are in New York or D.C. (Vice adds a sort of geographic diversity by being in Brooklyn instead of Manhattan, I suppose. But you could still visit a dozen of them without your Uber bill climbing too high.) There are smaller hubs in the Bay Area (for tech reporting), Los Angeles (all about video), and even Miami (for Spanish-language and Hispanic-targeting media), but the increase in concentration is unmistakable. Journalism jobs are leaving the middle of the country and heading for the coasts.

“This won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s studied cluster theory, the idea that industries naturally tend toward concentration in one or a few places — think autos in Detroit, oil in Houston, or music in Nashville. Small geographic advantages start to snowball; companies that want to work with the big players naturally want to be near them, and talented people know that, if they want to do interesting work, they’d best go where the innovation is happening.

“So if the news business is becoming even more centered in New York, what sort of impacts would that have on our news? For one thing, you’d expect it to make the media more liberal — culturally and politically. Journalists don’t like it when conservatives point out that they, as a group, lean farther left than the country as a whole. But you don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to believe it: College-educated liberal arts grads who live in cities — a group most American journalists fit into — are more liberal as a group than the American median. And those who live in New York or San Francisco are going to be more liberal as a group than those in Cincinnati or Knoxville.

“America is a big, highly distributed place. Our democracy is structured around cities and counties and congressional districts and states. Our media used to be too. As an industry, it’s our responsibility to make sure we don’t become too myopically focused on a few square blocks in Midtown Manhattan.”

At Carney & Associates, we specialize in media relations and spread our clients’ messages through traditional and digital news outlets wherever they may be. Contact Kathlene Carney for a free consultation to discuss how our publicity services can spread your message through the news.

NPR memo discourages promotion of podcasts on member stations

In another example of old media vs. new media, NPR is discouraging its member stations from promoting NPR podcasts and the new NPR One app.

Nieman Lab broke the story last week. In a nutshell, “NPR can’t promote NPR One — the lauded, loved app that is basically the future of NPR — to what is literally the group of people that would be most interested in it, NPR radio listeners. NPR is investing substantially in developing podcasts — but it isn’t allowed to tell radio listeners where to find them or how they can listen to them.

“NPR is an entity based in Washington, D.C.; ‘public radio’ includes it, but also other radio distributors like PRI, APM, and PRX and, most importantly, the over 900 NPR member stations that dot the landscape. And these players don’t always have the same interests. A local station’s greatest asset is its connection to the local community, symbolized by the broadcast tower that, uniquely, lets it reach radio listeners in cars and homes. NPR’s greatest asset is the value its audience sees in its content and brand, which might be delivered via a radio signal, a website, a mobile app, or a podcast.

“This tension — between the local stations who pay the largest share of NPR’s bills and the network that sees a future beyond terrestrial radio signals — is basically everywhere you look in public radio. (NPR’s board is majority station managers, which is at the root of it all.) And it’s the right frame through which to view this new “ethics” policy from NPR. Here’s Chris Turpin, NPR’s vice president for news programming and operations:

As podcasts grow in number and popularity we are talking about them more often in our news programs. We are also fielding more and more questions from news staff and Member stations about our policies for referring to podcasts on air. To that end, we want to establish some common standards, especially for language in back announces. Our hope is to establish basic principles that are easy to understand and allow plenty of flexibility for creativity. These guidelines apply to all podcasts, whether produced by NPR or by other entities.

— No Call to Action: We won’t tell people to actively download a podcast or where to find them. No mentions of npr.org, iTunes, Stitcher, NPR One, etc.

GOOD: “That’s Linda Holmes of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast and our blogger on the same subject and Bob Mondello, NPR’s film critic. Thanks so much.”

BAD: “OK, everyone. You can download Alt.Latino from iTunes and, of course, via the NPR One app.”

— Informational, not Promotional: When referring to podcasts, and the people who host, produce, or contribute to them, we will mention the name of the podcast but not in a way that explicitly endorses it. References should not specifically promote the content of the podcast (e.g., “This week, the Politics Podcast team digs into delegate math.”) If you feel a podcast title needs explaining (e.g. Hidden Brain), some additional language can be added (e.g., “That’s Shankar Vedantam, he hosts a podcast that explores the unseen patterns of human behavior. It’s called, Hidden Brain”). Just to repeat: Be creative in how you back announce podcasts, but please avoid outright promotion.

— No NPR One: For now, NPR One will not be promoted on the air.”

At Carney & Associates, we excel in radio media tours and have placed our clients on thousands of radio shows and podcasts. For a free consultation on how our publicity services can help promote your book, product or service, please contact Kathlene Carney.

 

Sierra Magazine: The Fracking Fallout

Sierra Magazine recently featured an excellent review of our client’s extraordinary book,  Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the Wold’s Most Powerful Industry by Andrew Nikiforuk, and published by Greystone Books. Enjoy:

SlickWater_CoverFINAL02.indd“This exposé about the dangers of fracturing rocks deep underground to extract oil and gas might jolt you like the earthquakes the technique causes. Poisoned water, contaminated wells, stews of toxic chemicals, exploding toilets, unbearable noise, and torn-up landscapes from Alberta to Arkansas are presented in all their horror by Canadian journalist Andrew Nikiforuk.

“But his story focuses on the efforts of one woman, Jessica Ernst, to halt fracking where she lives in Alberta. Ernst was an industry insider who ran a business arranging agreements between oil drillers and landowners, part of which involved mitigation of environmental damage. This equipped her to appeal for protection from regulatory boards when her own water and that of neighboring ranchers and businesses became so contaminated with methane that they couldn’t take a shower with it, let alone drink it.

“After being repeatedly stonewalled by the boards, which even fudged data to try to prove that the methane was naturally occurring, Ernst sued the agencies and the fracker, Encana, in 2007. The defendants’ lawyers managed to drag out the case until it went all the way to the Canadian Supreme Court, where it is still pending. Nikiforuk shows clearly how the industry’s legal maneuvers allow it to evade accountability and bad publicity in many other places as well. With plaintiffs worn to a frazzle, suits often get settled out of court and forgotten.

“Because of people like Ernst, there’s growing knowledge of the dangers of fracking, and increasing opposition, but much remains to be done. Nikiforuk, for instance, notes the ‘Halliburton Loophole’ in the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005, which exempted fracking from crucial clean-water regulations, and which the Senate refused to close this year. And who toiled mightily to frack this loophole? None other than Dick Cheney, ex-boss of major frack supplier Halliburton.

At Carney & Associates, we provide publicity services for people who improve our world, and we’ve had the honor of working on Andrew Nikiforuk’s book publicity campaign for several months now. For a free consultation about how we might provide public relations services for your book or product, please contact Kathlene Carney.

West Coast Live Interviews John Muir Laws

Just a quick note to say that my awesome client John Muir Laws, popular Bay Area naturalist, educator, and artist, will be interviewed on the  syndicated public radio program West Coast Live with Sedge Thomson tomorrow, March 5, between 10am-12pm PST.JohnMuirLaws

John  (called “a modern Audubon” by The Washington Post) will be talking about his new book  The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Law (Heyday Books, March 2016) .

From our press release: A potent combination of art, science, and boundless enthusiasm, the latest art instruction book from Laws is a how-to guide for becoming a better artist and a more attentive naturalist.

In straightforward text complemented by step-by-step illustrations,  The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Law includes dozens of exercises to lead the hand and mind through creating accurate reproductions of plants and animals as well as landscapes, skies, and more.

While the book’s advice will improve the skills of already accomplished artists, the emphasis on seeing, learning, and feeling will make this book valuable to anyone interested in the natural world, no matter how rudimentary their artistic abilities.

A growing body of evidence demonstrates that spending time outdoors in nature is good for us, and doctors are increasingly “prescribing” time spent outside in nature. Studies show it lowers levels of cortisol and stress, and increases white blood cells – which can help fight cancer and infections.

“Nature journaling trains your eyes to see deeper into the mystery and beauty of the world, and with practice you will also retrain you brain to be able to draw what you see,” explains Laws. “You do not need to start as an artist or a naturalist, but you will become one, and journaling can become a habit that fundamentally changes your life.”

West Coast Live is a fabulous show and this week, will be broadcast in front of a live studio audience in San Rafael CA. It’s described as a “rich mix of writers, thinkers, comedians, and musicians come mostly from the Pacific Rim and the Western United States, but also from further afield as feels right to do. Think Bill Moyers meets David Letterman, according to one reviewer.”

You can reserve tickets at Brown Paper Tickets  or by calling their 24/7 hotline at 1-800-838- 3006.

This interview is one of many placements we’ve secured during this book publicity campaign. For a free consultation about how we might provide public relations services for your book or product, please contact Kathlene Carney.