By paulgillin | March 21, 2018 - 1:29 pm - Posted in Fake News, Google, Paywalls

With the media world buzzing about the fake news engine that is Cambridge Analytica, news about a new Google initiative to support quality journalism might easily be overlooked. The multi-faceted investment covers everything from website analytics tuned to the needs of publishers to machine learning tools that identify potential subscribers.

Of particular note is Subscribe with Google, a service that enables readers to easily subscribe to a news source using their Google accounts, with payments handled automatically through Google’s established payment mechanisms. The search giant handles all of the back-end accounting securely and lets publishers handle all subscriptions in one place. The company is also applying machine learning to identify revenue opportunities for publisher with its Insights Engine Project, which delivers better ad targeting and peer comparisons for ad performance.

A particular interesting new dimension of Insights Engine is a feature that identifies readers who are likely to become subscribers and helps publishers to optimize offers when they are most likely to pay. With big papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post collectively boasting more than 4 million paying subscribers, this is an opportunity for small publishers to cash in on the paywall trend.

The problem Google hasn’t conquered yet is how to identify and elevate trustworthy information ahead of fake news. If it can figure that out, it can perform a much greater service than just identifying revenue opportunities for publishers; it can restore civility to our national conversations.

By wpps-support | April 5, 2010 - 9:49 am - Posted in Fake News, Paywalls

Victor Navasky and Evan Lerner throw some cold water on the iPad party, suggesting that e-readers could save the floundering magazine industry at the expense of journalistic standards. They point to research by the Columbia Journalism Review (which Navasky founded) that revealed  that magazine editors admit their practices are sloppier online than they are in print. Copy editing and fact-checking standards are looser and editors are more aware of the need to drive traffic to their work, which increases the temptation to sensationalize or invent. “Where advertising is based on traffic, and traffic is thought to depend on the speedy posting of new content, we’re seeing a gradual breakdown of [the ad/edit firewall] as journalistic standards become even more flexible to allow for greater and greater speed,” they write.

Apple iPadTheir oped  raises an important point about the influence of traffic on journalistic quality and the declining value of circulation. As we noted last September, circulation at some of the country’s largest magazines is down between 60% and 75% over the last eight years. This threatens the business models of these publications and the journalistic standards that they support. Here’s why.

Circulation is a complex and arcane discipline that is critical to the health of publications. Publishers manage circulation carefully, each seeking an ideal balance between subscription and newsstand sales. For consumer publishers, a high percentage of newsstand sales creates subscriber churn which delivers new blood that is desirable to their advertisers. For professional and trade publishers, many of which don’t distribute on newsstands, renewal rates signify reader loyalty, which their advertisers crave. In all cases, circulation quality is at least as important as circulation quantity.

All magazines have paid subscribers who contract to receive the publication for a defined period of time, regardless of whether they actually read it. Subscriptions provide a degree of security for publishers because they increase the likelihood that a reader’s perception of the product will be shaped over time rather than by one headline. One of the reasons newspapering has been such a stable business for so many years is that renewal rates for newspaper subscribers have been astronomically high. Subscriptions create incentive for publishers to produce information that has broad appeal to their target audience. While some would argue that this leads them to “dumb down” content, it also gives them the luxury to deliver information they believe readers need to have, even if they don’t want to have it.

Google Is the New Newsstand

Michael Jackson death on TMZOn the Web, of course, there is no circulation. While a few professional publishers do limit access to their content to paying subscribers, most rely upon search engines and referral links for the traffic that sustains their business. This severely disrupts their business models. When the luxury of subscribers is gone, publishers must compete for readers on every single story. This means that speed, sensationalism and search-friendly headlines like “Top 10 Tips for Whiter Laundry” become more important factors in delivering a volume of visitors that can be monetized (Consumer magazines honed this to a fine art years ago). It also creates an incentive to shortcut quality for timeliness. A notable example of this was the death of singer Michael Jackson last June, which was first reported by the celebrity gossip site TMZ. The Los Angeles Times reportedly had the story at the same time but held the news because of lack of verification. Quality lost out to speed.

The impact of the industry’s shift from subscriptions to search results and links is enormous. Publishers now have to compete on every single story, which means anything that doesn’t deliver a large audience is bad. You can imagine how this influences reporting on niche topics. It also creates an incentive to make stories bigger than they really are. The problem is compounded when editors are rewarded solely on the basis of page views. Balance gives way to expediency and errors are more easily excused when they can be quickly and quietly fixed online.

Navansky and Lerner implore people who care about journalistic quality to “take up the challenge of debating and discussing — and, we would add, codifying — the values, standards and practices that ought to prevail online.” It’s an admirable call to action but unlikely to result in any enforceable standards. As long as publishing success hangs on a thin thread like traffic, the temptation to practice bad journalism will remain strong. If publishers can come up with a persuasive way to sell the quality of their audiences, then the tide might begin to turn. Until then, we’re going to see a lot of articles on whiter laundry.


Speaking of the iPad, TechCrunch reports that Apple sold 300,000 units in the US as of midnight Saturday. That’s about 10% more than the total number of iPhones sold during that product’s first week on the market. However, it’s worth noting that when the iPhone went on sale, there was no iPhone to compare it against. In contrast, the iPad has the momentum of the iPhone’s popularity along with a substantial base of applications. On that note, the product’s opening week performance is notable. Apple said customers downloaded over 1 million applications and over 250,000 e-books.

By wpps-support | March 9, 2010 - 1:32 pm - Posted in Facebook, Fake News, Paywalls

TechCrunch has an interview with Marc Andreessen in which the Internet boy wonder advises media companies to “burn the boats,” an analogy to the instructions Cortés supposedly gave his army upon landing in Mexico nearly 500 years ago in order to insure that the soldiers pressed on.

Print newspapers and magazines will never get [to new online business models], he argues, until they burn the boats and shut down their print operations. Yes, there are still a lot of people and money in those boats—billions of dollars in revenue in some cases. “At risk is 80% of revenues and headcount,” Andreessen acknowledges, “but shift happens.”

Andreessen has a point that it makes senses to abandon failing models in the long term, but setting fire to profitable print operations is the wrong strategy at the moment. After years of fretting over declining circulation and trying desperately to rejuvenate a dying business, newspaper publishers are finally adopting an intelligent strategy. They’re milking all they can from their profitable business while trying to manage it down to a level that new models can take over. It won’t be easy.

The strategy that most publishers have recently adopted has three parts:

  • Raise subscription rates in order to milk as much revenue as possible out of an aging but loyal reader base;
  • Manage costs downward in a manner that preserves profitability without alienating traditional readers;
  • Invest in growth markets that can preserve the brand and generate new profits.

The New York Times reported last year that its second-quarter subscription revenues nearly matched its advertising revenue. Aggressive price increases, combined with a substantial reduction in discounted circulation, are turning paying subscribers into a profit engine. Other publishers are adopting this approach, which is why the seemingly catastrophic declines in circulation of the last couple of years aren’t as devastating as they seem. Many businesses have legacy customers that generate a small but profitable business. Successful long-term franchises, however, also have the skills to move on.

A Successful Online Model

New media news entities have demonstrated that they can earn a profit with about 20% of the revenues of print organizations. That’s because their operating expenses are about 90% lower. These organizations are profitable, but a lot smaller than print publishers.

In their most recent round of earnings reports, most publishers stated that they are now deriving between 12% and 16% of their revenue from online advertising. Most of them have also not done nearly as much as they can to monetize other sources such as events, transaction fees and value-added and classified advertising. Once publishers reach the threshold of 20% online revenue, they can conceivably shutter their print operations while sustaining the business and the brand. They’re trying to get to that threshold gracefully, though. Lots of money can still be made in print if publishers can manage that asset down steadily while reducing costs in lockstep.

That’s a tricky process. If publishers cut costs too deeply, they risk losing loyal print subscribers and circulation revenue could enter a free-fall. They also don’t have the luxury of much time to complete the transition.

Even harder is the third bullet point. The people who run newspapers are skilled at operations and asset management, not visionary investments in emerging markets. In the TechCrunch interview, Andreessen correctly points out that technology companies are adept at dealing with constant disruption to their markets, a situation that faces Microsoft right now. Successful technology companies manage this challenge through a kind of creative destruction process. Successful executives are experts at learning to identify new opportunities and quickly discarding old product lines without looking back.

However, technology companies don’t have the luxury of a loyal legacy base that newspaper publishers have. The audience of committed daily readers may still buy the newspaper industry another 10 years of life in print, although that business will eventually become unsustainable. It isn’t crazy for publishers to want to milk the cash cow for a few more years. The hard part is finding new opportunities and having the stomach to invest in them in the face of inevitable shareholder demands for greater profits.

Burning the boats isn’t a wise strategy at the moment. But it’s a good idea to start collecting firewood.


Newspaper executives and their largest advertisers will gather next month in Orlando to discuss the transition to a digital media world. Advertisers in attendance include Staples Inc., Walgreens, Best Buy,  Home Depot, RadioShack, Target and many other print media veterans.

It’s good to see the industry tackling its challenges head on, but we have to wonder if this is the right crowd to do it. Nearly every person in the room will have a career and a business built on a crumbling advertising model. It seems unlikely that much innovation will flourish in that atmosphere. And if you believe what people like Mark Potts and Steve Outing are saying, then the future of these companies is about diversifying revenue and cultivating local advertisers, not finding new ways to squeeze more blood from the display advertising stone.. Meanwhile, the agenda is packed with speakers from the newspaper industry. We trust Huffington Post wasn’t invited.


Meanwhile, Outsell has a new report predicting that US companies will spend more on digital marketing than print for the first time ever this year. Of the $368 billion that Outsell expects US advertisers to spend this year, roughly $120 billion will be spent online and $111 in print. Of the total online spending, 53% will be on company websites. Outsell expects print newspaper ad spending to drop 8.2% to $27 billion. The report costs $1,295. More here.

And Finally…

The folks who brought you the wonderful Fail Blog have aggregated some of their best media miscues into Probably Bad News, a site whose tagline is “News Fails, because journalism isn’t dying fast enough.”You can upload your own favorite typos, double entendres and acts of sheer stupidity for others to vote upon. Many of the examples are computers gone haywire, which lack the sheer hilarity of printed mistakes, in our view. But there’s some good stuff there, anyway.


Dan Bloom has been pushing the idea of renaming newspapers “snailpapers.” He’s put the cause to music. It’s six-and-a-half-minutes of countrified banjo-picking. Watch it if you can.

By wpps-support | February 12, 2010 - 11:45 am - Posted in Facebook, Paywalls

During fourth-quarter earnings calls, several newspaper executives tried to put a positive spin on their financial situation, noting that the rate of decline in advertising revenues has slowed. That’s true, says Martin Langeveld, but it’s still a dismal situation overall. Langeveld totes up the numbers from the five publishers who have reported earnings so far and forecasts that the US industry as a whole will show a decline of 16% for the quarter. That’s better than the average 28% decline of the first three quarters of last year, but the overall trend is still in the wrong direction. It’s even uglier when you look at the last five years in aggregate: Total revenues for 2009 will come to about $28.4 billion, compared to $49.4 billion in the boom year of 2005. That’s a decline of 43%.

Langeveld analyzes the earnings announcement so far and finds scant reason for optimism. Publishers are talking of “stability” rather than growth, which means that their dramatic cost cuts of the last year are finally generating some profits. The good news is that this will enable them to finally pay down some of their huge debt burdens, but any growth into new areas still seems a long way off given that most publishers still derive less than 15% of their revenue from online advertising. The sole bright spot was Media General, which reported that total revenues in December “were essentially even with December 2008.” Langeveld takes that to mean that they were only down in the single digits. Still, any stability is a good thing. There’s much more on the Nieman site.

In other good business news, McClatchy’s debt ratings were upgraded by two major credit ratings agencies. While the upgrades were small, they moved McClatchy out of the “highly speculative” category. The company just concluded a sale of $875 million of senior secured notes that pays off impending loans and stretches maturities out to 2017, giving it some breathing room.

Things are getting worse at the Boston Globe, though. The newspaper, which failed to sell for a reported asking price of $25 million last year, suffered a 20.3% drop in advertising revenues in the fourth quarter. Full-year revenue was down nearly 16%. The only glimmer of good news was an increase in circulation revenue, but the Globe, which has been frantically slashing costs since its near-death experience a year ago, continues to sink while it’s much smaller crosstown rival, the Herald, is reportedly earning a small profit.

Optimize Socially

“The old gatekeepers are disappearing. We’ve become our own and one another’s editors.” That’s one of the gems from Ken Doctor’s post this week on Nieman Journalism Lab in which he weighs in on Google Buzz and the rapid socialization of the Web. Noting that the bit.ly URL shortening service, which is one of about a dozen on the Internet, is now processing about 2 billion link referrals a month, Doctor suggests that news organizations must tap into the link-sharing patterns of social networks to identify new readers. “Are Facebook users of a certain kind more likely to convert to become regular users of NYTimes.com (or Dallasnews.com or VoiceofSanDiego.org) than Twitter users?” he asks, citing one example.

It’s an excellent point. Social network practitioners who frequently refer their friends and followers to content from the same source should, in theory, be more likely to become paying subscribers to that source. The tricky part is how to find these people. Amid the deafening social cacophony of the Internet, pinpointing fans can make the task of searching for a needle in a haystack look trivial.

Doctor cites an emerging discipline called “social media optimization,” that is about making content more appealing to people who like to share. This goes beyond packaging or optimizing headlines for search; it’s also about making stuff easily shareable and getting the content producers embedded into the networks that grow around their products.

The Death Watch on Facebook

Our day job is helping businesses understand and adapt to the social Web, so it seems only natural that the Death Watch should go up on Facebook. Well, here we are. We’ll use this platform to point to the many stories we read but don’t get  a chance to summarize in our occasional blog entries. We’ll also post some discussion topics and would like to hear your comments on the choices we make. Fan us! It’s hot in here.

Miscellany

Gerald Posner resigned from the Daily Beast this week amid a swirl of charges of serial plagiarism. In a post on his blog, Posner admitted that he had copied material from the Miami Herald, among other sources, but insisted that the plagiarism was inadvertent. Posner’s shame highlights a risk of the copy-and-paste nature of Web publishing, in which original information quickly becomes intermingled with notes lifted from other sources. While that’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation of how the need for speed, combined with the portability of printed words, can be a recipe for disaster. When in doubt, select the text and copy it into Google. You’ll quickly see if you’ve violated someone else’s property.


The Berkeley Daily Planet, which isn’t daily, will cease print publication and go online only, although the owners held out the possibility of a return to the newsstands. Distribution was only one of several problems the paper faced. The city of San Francisco’s recent ban on freestanding newspaper stands hurt distribution, and the Daily Planet’s often critical reporting on local businesses didn’t help with advertising sales. The newspaper also suffered from a campaign by a group of East Bay Zionists to dissuade businesses from advertising because of editorials that criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

And Finally…

Two amusing closing items today:

The funny folks at 10,000 Words are back with their collection of Valentines for journalists. Although vaguely suggestive, they’re mostly G-rated and should be good for a laugh if your beloved happens to end his or her love letters with “-30-.”


It was 113 years ago yesterday that the phrase “All the News That’s Fit to Print” first appeared on the front page of The New York Times. The phrase was actually being used in marketing and advertising prior to that date and had assumed a modest place on the Times’ editorial page, but it was a slogan contest organized in late 1896 by publisher Adolph Ochs that catapulted the now-famous slogan to the banner. W. Joseph Campbell, whose 2006 book entitled The Year That Defined American Journalism documented the momentous events of 1897, recounts some of the entries that didn’t win the contest and its $100 prize.  They include:

  • Always decent; never dull;
  • The news of the day; not the rubbish;
  • A decent newspaper for decent people;
  • All the world’s news, but not a school for scandal.

We think Ochs made a good choice, though his choice of words probably didn’t anticipate the Internet.

By wpps-support | February 3, 2010 - 7:12 am - Posted in Facebook, Fake News, Google, Paywalls

Alan Mutter is stirring things up again with a spreadsheet that journalists can use to value their work. His thinking: Stop debasing yourself by working for peanuts. Figure out what your time is worth and charge accordingly.

With his characteristic eye for detail, Mutter figures such factors as the self-employment tax and capital expenses in his calculations. The sample shows a fictional reporter charging about 55 cents a word to cover his/her fully loaded costs figuring an average pay rate of about $30/hour, which is union scale in Pittsburgh. Your mileage may vary, of course.

If journalists “don’t put a value on what they do, then no one else will, either,” Mutter declares, noting that media organizations are using the explosion of blogs and citizen media operations to “pick off writers, photographers and videographers on the cheap.”

We have enormous respect for Alan Mutter, but we find ourselves in complete disagreement on this one. In our view, journalists who draw lines in the sand and start charging only what they think they’re worth will find themselves practicing a lot less journalism.

Are media organizations taking advantage of plummeting freelance rates? You betcha. Is what they’re doing wrong? We don’t think so. Supply and demand is the underpinning of a capitalist economy, and if the rules have changed in a way that devalues quality journalism, well, those are the cards we’re dealt. It sucks, but it’s how the system works.

Journalists can try to charge what they think they’re worth, but they’ll ultimately live or die by what the market is willing to pay. With the arrival of Web 2.0-style publishing, millions of people have started playing at journalism and it turns out some aren’t half bad at it. The trouble is that many of these casual journalists don’t make a living as reporters. Their journalism is a sidelight to their day jobs. They may be happy to work for a vague reward defined as “exposure” if it pays off in speaking jobs, consulting work or book contracts.

Mutter is outraged that people contact him asking “to commission an article or reprint a post in exchange for the ephemeral compensation known as ‘exposure,’” but the reality of the market is that a lot of people are willing to work for that (full disclosure: we recently approached Mutter about contributing to a for-profit website in exchange for a modest fee; he politely declined). For example, many book authors write extensively about their expertise for free in exchange for exposure in major publications.

We sympathize with journalists who have seen the market value of their work collapse over the last couple of years. We’ve experienced some of that pain personally and we have many friends and colleagues who are suffering because of it. However, the market has spoken, and the solution to collapsing fees isn’t to insist on getting a rate that employers will no longer pay.

Is there a solution? Well, journalists who specialize in everything from geography to gastroenterology can still command higher prices than general assignment reporters. Also, a lot of journalists work for commercial clients on the side so that they can afford to practice their craft. There’s money in speaking, consulting, writing books and corporate ghost-writing. Some of that work may be distasteful, but at least it pays the bills.

That doesn’t solve the problem of who is going to embed in Iraq for six months at 25 cents a word. That’s a much tougher issue and we wish we had better ideas how to solve it. But drawing lines in the sand is career suicide.


Indianapolis-based freelance journalist Christopher Lloyd sees things our way. He’s passionate about movies and has contributed free movie reviews to some area newspapers since being laid off by the Indianapolis Star. “I knew I wasn’t going to drop my passion for film criticism. If I was going to do it, I might as well have it published,” he writes. Plus, movie studios won’t pay attention to a journalist whose work isn’t being read by anyone. He’s still plugging away and some of his clients are now paying a modest fee. He’s also got a site for film buffs called The Film Yap, where contributors work for, you guessed it…


Speaking of careers, a university professor has analyzed six months worth of recent job postings and discovered that traditional and non-traditional news outlets differ in their criteria for hiring journalists. Dr. Serena Carpenter, an assistant professor in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, looked at 664 online media job postings and concluded that established media organizations such as newspapers tended to favor candidates with solid writing and reporting skills while new media operations looked favorably on what she calls “adaptive expertise.” That includes broad-based experience and creative thinking.


Seth Lewis, a former Miami Herald editor and Ph.D student at the University of Texas, has joined the Nieman Journalism Lab as a contributor (paid?) specializing in journalism education and he’d like to know your ideas for what J-schools should teach. Perhaps stealing a line from the research noted above, Lewis is inclined to recommend a focus on adaptability. He defines that as the skills “to work in unpredictable settings, to generate their own funding as needed, and otherwise learn as they go.” In the process of interviewing for a faculty position at various academic institutions, Lewis says he was often asked what journalism schools should teach, which indicates that the profs at those schools are perplexed as well. Maybe you can provide him with some guidance.

Miscellany

Opponents of government subsidies for media organizations overlook an important detail: US media has been subsidized for 200 years, reports The New York Times. Citing a report released last week by the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California, the Times notes that government support of newspapers has actually been declining in recent years as mailing discounts have diminished laws requiring businesses to buy newspaper ads for certain kinds of legal notices have been dropped. In fact, the study’s authors estimate that annual government support has declined from more than $4 billion in 1970 to less than $2 billion today.


News organizations are starting to figure out how to monetize social networks. The Austin American-Statesman is charging for tweets and actually booking revenue. Local businesses can buy two tweets per day of up to 124 characters (to allow for retweets). The messages are labeled as ads and must prompt the reader to take action. Huffington Post is experimenting with the same idea. The New York Times is also selling packages of ads against visitors to its Facebook site. Nobody’s making much money at this yet, though.


Gannett executives demonstrated a rarely-seen attitude during this week’s earnings call: Optimism. “”We are very excited by what we are seeing,” said CEO Craig Dubow. Circulation is beginning to recover and profitability is returning to the income statement, enabling Gannett to pay down some of its debt. Profitability was still driven more by cost-cutting than by revenue growth, however. Classified revenues were down nearly 22% in the quarter and digital revenues fell 7.2% due largely to the dismal picture state of employment advertising. More coverage.


Newspaper readership continues at record levels when you factor in online traffic, according to the latest results from Nielsen Online and the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). More than 72 million people — about one quarter of all Internet users, according to the NAA — visited a newspaper site in the fourth quarter, racking up 3.2 billion monthly page views. The NAA declined to provide year-to-year comparisons, citing a change in Nielsen’s measurement technique.

By wpps-support | December 14, 2009 - 10:02 am - Posted in Facebook, Fake News, Paywalls

Revenue20_logoIn one of the final feature stories in Editor & Publisher, which is closing after 125 years, Jennifer Sabba has an interesting dissection of the circulation experiment at the Dallas Morning News. That paper was one of the first to dig into the economics of circulation pricing in order to better understand elasticity. Newspapers have traditionally derived only about 20% of their revenue from circulation, but the wholesale collapse of categories like classified advertising has forced them to get creative. The Morning News is one of several newspapers have experimented with turning the screws on loyal customers to see how much more they would pay for a print product.

It turns out that pricing elasticity isn’t absolute. Research conducted by the Morning News found that readers were willing to pay more if they thought they were getting more in the bargain. Specifically, the most important topics they identified were national news, local news, business, state, sports and investigative journalism, in that order. “If the paper raised the subscription price but readers felt they were getting more content, the fall-off in volume would be around 10%. At the same price, if readers felt like they were getting less content, volume would fall by 40%.”

The Morning News responded by jacking up its home delivery prices an audacious 66% in one year. However, it also expanded its news hole and launched a free edition that’s distributed to about 200,000 homes four days a week. As a result, in the most recent six-month period, the paper reported one of the largest circulation declines of any major newspaper: 22.1%. But that may not be a bad thing for the bottom line. The paper is sticking with its pricing strategy in the belief that the overall business impact will be positive. That’s the philosophy executives at Hearst Corporation adopted with the San Francisco Chronicle last year. The Chron has hiked its subscription rate 63% in the last 18 months and seen circulation plummet. However, it has reportedly also stabilized a business that was losing $1 million a week in 2008.

Sabba’s story provides a new context for understanding the dizzying drop in newspaper circulation over the last few years. While the declines are troubling, they are at least in part voluntary as publishers shed unprofitable circulation and focus on loyal readers. This isn’t a long-term growth strategy, but print isn’t going to be a long-term growth proposition anyway. The thinking behind the strategy actually makes sense in light of the inevitable shift that news organizations must make from print to digital distribution. If there is a cash cow, then milk as much profitability out of it as possible while transitioning the rest of the business to a new economic model.

Debating Paid Models

rupert murdochRupert Murdoch is apparently getting sick of being portrayed as an old fuddy-duddy who wants people to pay for information that should be free. So he’s taken his case to the Wall Street Journal. In a December 8 opinion, the News Corp. CEO says journalism is the foundation of a free society and blogger “theft” of the hard work of reporters and editors is undermining the value of quality information. Murdoch rejects suggestions that news organizations should become nonprofits as well as the possibility of a government bailout. “The future of journalism belongs to the bold, and the companies that prosper will be those that find new and better ways to meet the needs of their viewers, listeners, and readers,” he writes. But he also states that the economic future of the industry can’t be sustained by online advertising. Instead, readers must be convinced to pay a “modest amount” for good information. “The critics say people won’t pay. I believe they will, but only if we give them something of good and useful value. Our customers are smart enough to know that you don’t get something for nothing,” Murdoch says. Unfortunately, he provides no research or factual evidence for his belief.


Karthika Muthukumaraswamy has a thoughtful post on Online Journalism Blog about how to make paywalls work. She summarizes conventional wisdom that paywalls only succeed when the publication has content that has a high perceived value, usually for a focused audience. The problem with most news organizations is that they’ve been trained to make their information appeal to the broadest possible readership. So how do you change the mindset? Muthukumaraswamy suggests that the best course may be a dual track: continue to deliver broadly appealing information for free while analyzing traffic to determine where the high-value readers are. Then ask them to pay for access to that information. In that vein, “Steven Brill’s Journalism Online plans to charge only the most frequent users who seek very specific content while allowing cursory surfers to avail of most topical news for free.” Don’t demonize Google – she quotes research estimating that search engines can deliver about 50 cents a day of revenue per unique visitor – but don’t make it an either/or proposition, either. The key is to get focused on the numbers and seek your area of highest value.


Speaking of pay walls, The New York Times is mulling the online subscription option but isn’t tipping its hand about its plans yet. Senior Vice President for Digital Operations Martin Nisenholtz told the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York City last week that there’s too much at stake to make this an all-or-nothing proposition. The company values its relationship with Google but is looking at the paid options employed by the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, as well as the possibility of just staying free. There is some evidence that the financial free-fall is turning around at the Times, and staff cuts that have trimmed 25% of the workforce could reestablish some stability.


Traffic figures are in for the first month of Newsday‘s bold experiment to charge a $5 monthly fee for access to most of the content on its website. Declines of 21% in page views and a little under 20% in unique visitors were within expectations, according to management. Year-over-year page views were down 35% and unique visitors off 43%, but that compares to unusually busy election year numbers from a year ago. Management isn’t saying how much of the advertising revenue decline was made up by subscription fees. Newsday‘s numbers also can’t be taken as a benchmark for the industry, since a provision of the plan enables the many Long Island subscribers to Cablevision’s Optimum Internet service to get access for free.

Miscellany

The Journalism Shop surveyed 75 former Los Angeles Times journalists and found that more than half believe the paper will not survive in the long term. Only one in six thought the Times would weather the storm that is buffeting the industry. The poll is hardly scientific, but it has some interesting findings about how the former staffers see their future jobs (more than a third expect to exit the profession entirely) as well as whether and how they believe journalism can survive. The generally dour findings show that the journalists believe the media is descending into a mud pit of top 10 lists and celebrity gossip.


Google continues to try to make nice with newspaper publishers while at the same time introducing new products that threaten their business. Editors Weblog points us to Living Stories, a Google Labs feature that aggregates news from around the Web and organizes it by content. The prototype uses content derived from a partnership with The News York Times and the Washington Post. The feature appears to be a modest evolution of Google News at this point, although there is certainly potential for more innovation. One neat feature is a timeline atop some of the news packages that tracks important milestones in the evolution of a story. According to a post on the Google blog, the content is being maintained by staffers at the two newspapers. Google continues to insist that it has no plans to get into the original content business. The blog entry also says the company will provide open source tools that news organizations can use to adapt the service to their own needs.


It appears the Associated Press has begun to turn the tide of customer defections that began last year when the service raised its rates. Some 180 newspapers canceled their AP contracts after the revised rate structure was announced, but now 50 have come back, although not necessarily under the full licensing plan. The Minneapolis Star Tribune is the latest to rescind its cancellation.

By wpps-support | November 23, 2009 - 10:34 am - Posted in Facebook, Fake News, Paywalls

The dismal circulation figures reported by the US newspaper industry a couple of weeks ago may actually have been optimistic. There’s new evidence that many publishers took advantage of recent changes to Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) rules to actually overstate their real readership numbers. The blogosphere is having a field day with this one.

The catalyst was this AP piece that points out that changes adopted by the ABC seven months ago now enable publishers to count “bundled” subscriptions of paid and online editions as two subscribers, even if only one person is doing the reading. This continues recent trends by the bureau to loosen rules and give its publisher customers more flexibility to pump up their numbers. In the spring of 2008, for example, the ABC made it possible for publishers to declare as paid circulation copies that sell for as little as a penny.

The AP story doesn’t pinpoint how many news organizations benefited from the rules change in the most recent reporting period, but notes that 59 newspapers counted at least 5,000 electronic editions in their weekday circulations. If those numbers were backed out, the record 10.6% drop in the most recent six-month period would probably have been even worse. The story cites several examples of papers that showed declines in print subscribers but were still able to post circulation increases by counting delivery of electronic editions.

However, numbers games don’t fool anybody in the world in which smart people with spreadsheets can quickly analyze them. As Mark Potts points out, “Fudging the numbers may make internal constituencies happy, but they’ll bite you in the long run. Advertisers can count, too.” In other words, you can slice the numbers any way you want, but it doesn’t count for a hill of beans if customers don’t come in the door.

Electronic editions are basically digital versions of the print product that readers can download for the sake of convenience, ecology or availability. Jim Brady tweets wryly, “Nothing shows that you ‘get’ digital more than trying to deliver it to people in exactly the same form it appears in print.”

The circulation gains are part of a broader campaign by publishers to distract people from the reality of plunging circulation and ad revenue. Scarborough Research released a much-cited report recently that documented that 74% of American adults read a paper in print or online during the past week. These statistics look impressive, but qualifiers like “adult” and “in print or online” color the numbers. The newspaper industry has largely lost the youth market and online distribution is a mixed blessing at best.

Publishers are playing numbers games of their own. Mark Hamilton notes that the industry has largely abandoned circulation figures in favor of research-driven readership numbers that report the number of people who have read or looked into a newspaper in the past seven days. These figures serve to buttress the argument that newspapers are still a core element of American life while obfuscating the fact that subscribership is down.

And even large circulation numbers don’t equal business success. Alan Mutter contrasts the circulation strategies of two Bay Area publishers: Hearst’s San Francisco Chronicle and MediaNews Group. The Chron has all but abandoned discount circulation in a quest to cut its operating losses and drive circ revenue to 45% of total sales next year. MediaNews is taking the opposite course. It has used aggressive discounting to become the most widely circulated publisher in the area. The combined circulation of MediaNews papers in the region is now nearly triple the Chron’s. MediaNews president Jody Lodovic calls his strategy a long-term view, but is junk circulation good for anybody? The Chronicle‘s strategy is to stabilize its business, which may be a more rational plan in an unpredictable economy.

Whatever the numbers, advertisers are speaking more loudly with their dollars. US newspaper advertising revenue fell by nearly 28 percent in the third quarter from $8.9 billion to $6.4 billion. If you extrapolate that out to a full year, the US newspaper industry has shrunk by nearly half since 2006, when it reported $49.2 billion in revenue. The AP quotes Newspaper Association of America (NAA) president John Sturm positioning the figures in the context of a dismal economy, but it’s hard to find any bright spots when even online advertising was off 17%.

Miscellany

All may not be lost for the East Valley Tribune, which earlier this month announced plans to shut down at the end of the year. The paper reported on Friday that an unnamed buyer has emerged who plans to keep the paper operating both in print and online. The buyer also plans to keep a “substantial” number of Tribune employees on the payroll. There were no other details. Freedom Communications, which owns the Tribune, has been seeking a buyer since early this year, but no serious offers emerge prior to a Sept. 1 bankruptcy filing. In fact, Freedom’s chief financial officer said one bidder offered to take over the business only if Freedom paid him to do so


Count Twitter cofounder Biz Stone among the army of skeptics about Rupert Murdoch’s plans to remove News Corp. properties from Google’s search index. Saying Murdoch’s scheme is likely to “fail fast,” Stone told a London audience that the Australian media magnate should instead focus on “how to make a ton of money out of being radically open rather than some money by being ridiculously closed”. He suggested that Twitter’s crowdsourced model offer some opportunities and that the company would be willing to work with newspaper publishers. Twitter executives also said last week that the service will soon announce a plan to start making money off of the estimated 60 million members it has acquired.

And Finally…

Ed Padgett pointed us to this clever music video by Christopher Ave, the political editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch who isn’t a copy editor but who is sympathetic to the plight of wordsmiths around the country who are falling victim to layoffs. The slick production, which looks like it was recorded in a newsroom, includes the following refrain:

I was there to fix your grammar
When you thought it wouldn’t matter
Cut all your extraneous blather down

AP Stylebook is my bible
Helped me stop a suit for libel
But nothing ensures my survival now

And I don’t know what I’ll do
After I am through
Killing my last adjective

Mallary Jean Tenore tells the story behind the video on Poynter Online. It has less than 800 views, so go visit it and add to its five-star rating.

By wpps-support | November 19, 2009 - 11:44 pm - Posted in Facebook, Fake News, Google, Paywalls

Detroit Daily PressAfter nearly losing its two daily newspapers a year ago, Detroit is actually adding one to the stable. The Detroit Daily Press will launch next week with daily newsstand distribution at first and home delivery scheduled to begin in about a month. This is actually the title’s second appearance; it originally appeared in 1964 and lasted for about four months before folding. The owners, who said they came out of retirement to take another shot at the Detroit market, plan to distribute 200,000 daily copies and charge a fraction of what their competitors charge for newsstand sales and advertising space.

Brothers Mark and Gary Stern say they have enough capital to make a go of it for two months and need 150,000 paying subscribers to break event after that. In light of that short timeframe, the quote in Editor & Publisher seems a little odd: ” “This is a permanent situation for us.” However, the brothers say they have raised private capital and have a much more efficient operating model that does away with unions and captive printing presses, so perhaps they have cash on hand to last much longer. The operation will employ about 60 people. It has recruited several veterans of the Detroit newspaper industry.

The Detroit market was roiled early this year when the Free Press and the News scaled back their home delivery operations to three and two days per week, respectively, in the name of saving costs. Few details have emerged on the financial success of the experiment. Both saw circulation declines in the first half of this year, but well within the average range for the industry

Local writer Isak Dinesen notes that the Stern brothers are Detroit natives and so may have an affinity for their local area. She also points to a Facebook page and online mockup (above) of the new title. The promotional language advertises “paper delivered seven days,” which is a direct reference to its competitors’ reduced schedule.

Miscellany

The question of whether readers are willing to pay for news appears to come down to how you ask the question. Alan Mutters tallies up recent research and finds that the percentage of Americans who say they’d crack open their wallets ranges from a low of 20% (Forrester Research) to a high of 53% (American Press Institute). The amounts vary widely, too. We’d suggest the wording of the question and the makeup of the sample group has a lot to do with the variations. That and the fact that Internet research is inherently unreliable. Forrester at least has been doing this for a long time.


Jeff Jarvis hits the nail on the head again with an essay about the new business model for news organizations. He observes that the cost model for a successful online title is about 10% that of a print property. In other words, there’s money to be made online, but requires the cost structure to be radically changed. The problem is that most newspaper publishers  can’t stomach the idea of eliminating 90% of their staff. Of the major metro dailies that have closed this year, only one — the Seattle Post-Intelligencer — has successfully shifted it is cost model to match the online revenue opportunities. Recent reports have indicated that the P-I actually is profitable online, although few details are available.

It isn’t human nature to shoot nine out of every 10 employees. So for many publishers, it’s easier simply to go under completely. That’s why Jarvis argues that bankruptcy is a bit of a magic potion. It’s an opportunity to get out from under debt, blow up the unions and completely restructure the way an organization works. Unfortunately, he correctly points out that those publishers that have gone through the bankruptcy procedure — which is most of them — have mostly failed to do more than trim a few expenses here and there. That isn’t going to save them; it will just postpone the inevitable.


The New York Times will end its Times Extra aggregation experiment in two weeks, about a year after launching the feature. The company insists that the decision isn’t a backtrack from the goal of aggregating outside content but rather than the content would now be presented within stories rather than on a dedicated site.


The New York Sun, a weekdaily that shut down a year ago, has been rejuvenated online. It will be resurrected for a 20-week run featuring crosswords from famous puzzle editor Peter Gordon for $1 per week. No word on whether management will decide whether to continue publishing the paper, but we expect that revenue will be an important factor.


BusinessWeek is reportedly set to lay off 100 people in the wake of its acquisition by Bloomberg LP. It appears that layoffs will be across the board, with employees who are in the line of fire being asked to submit resumes, news clips, and 250-word statements about their qualifications for continuing to work at the esteemed business publisher. BusinessWeek becomes property of Bloomberg on Dec. 1.


The Associated Press laid off 57 union workers, including 33 editors. The newswire is seeking to cut its personnel expenses by 10% by the end of the year.


Citizen journalism startup AllVoices will start paying professional journalists to cover beats, although the compensation is a meager $250 for now. The site has more than 200,000 registered members, most of whom contribute their work for free. AllVoices’ CEO Amra Tareen said the program is intended to recognize that these are “tough times for many journalists as news organizations downsize” and noted that reporters could earn more than the basic fee if their stories generate a lot of traffic. We profiled AllVoices last year.

And Finally…

Go to the basic Google home page and start typing a question. See what the Genius Google, in its near-infinite wisdom, thinks you’re asking when it provides all those “helpful” suggestions in a drop-down box. It turns out that certain kinds of queries generate amusing suggestions. For example, type “Is there any” (sans quotation marks) and see what Google suggests you really mean. (Okay, so we stole that from TheNextWeb.com.) Let’s get creative… Type in “why will” or “how come” or even “why is it that” and see what you come up with. The results are so strange that this feels like a big practical joke on Google’s part, but it does lend itself to endless experimentation.

By wpps-support | November 16, 2009 - 9:22 am - Posted in Facebook, Fake News, Google, Paywalls

The debate over whether search engines are friend or foe to the newspaper industry continues to grow and become more complex.

Rupert Murdoch says he will really go ahead with his stated plans to remove his portfolio of publications from Google’s search index. Jonathan Miller, News Corp’s chief digital officer, told the Monaco Media Forum on Friday that the company would begin blocking Google’s search spiders within a few months. Miller said Google brings in an army of one-click visitors who are “the least valuable traffic to us…You can survive without it.” He also said Murdoch intends to lead the industry in the just-say-no campaign. A Google spokesman responded that the search engine sends about 100,000 clicks to news organizations every minute. TechCrunch estimates that Google drives about one quarter of the total traffic to The Wall Street Journal.

While there’s no doubt that Murdoch is serious about drawing a line in the sand on this issue, the decision to talk about it this far in advance indicates that this is a negotiating tactic. Much as Hearst and the New York Times Co. wrung concessions from unions by threatening to close the papers they own, Murdoch may be looking to extract some kind of licensing deal from Google in return for backing down.

The Journal and the Financial Times are the only two daily newspapers that are having any success with a paid subscription model because both provide information that subscribers see as essential to their business. Few other newspapers can make that claim, which is why paywalls have been so difficult to implement.

Miller’s comment about drive-by visitors is worth noting. Publishers and auditors tend to look at traffic as the ultimate metric of success, but there are different kinds of traffic. Sex and celebrities drive page views just as they sell newsstand copies, but that kind of traffic is undesirable to most advertisers and extremely hard to monetize. If Murdoch has decided that his core base of paying and print subscribers are sufficient to run the company, he may be choosing to press his advantage while he still has leverage. The Wall Street Journal was the only large US newspaper to show any growth in the recent Audit Bureau Of Circulation report and Murdoch may have decided that he doesn’t need the casual visitor in order to be successful.

The Bing Factor

Media entrepreneur Jason Calacanis thinks Murdoch wants to do a deal. He suggests that the publishing tycoon could strike an exclusivity agreement with Microsoft Bing. This would have the win-win effect of driving revenue from Microsoft’s deep pockets while also upping the ante in the search wars. It’s an intriguing idea, and few other companies have the throw weight to pull it off.

Bing appeals to news executives as a foil for Google. TechCrunch reported last week that Microsoft held a secret meeting with representatives of some of Europe’s largest newspapers to discuss throwing its weight behind ACAP, a protocol that provides a variety of access controls over content. TechCrunch says Microsoft told the European publishers that it’s ready to commit £100,000 to fund development of ACAP, which permits search engines, for example, to index the full content of an article while displaying only part of it to a casual visitor. The report speculates that Microsoft may be hoping to use publishers as allies in a flank attack on Google by striking deals that give Bing exclusive or semi-exclusive access to their content.

Bloom Fading from User-Generated Content Rose?

Is user generated content beginning to lose some of its shine? Current TV, the cable channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore is in the process of retooling its content model to emphasize acquired and compiled programming while cutting back on standalone viewer submissions. The company will lay off 80 people in the process. Current TV says that while it’s as gung ho as ever on user-generated content, it will shift to a style of programming that sounds more reminiscent of America’s Funniest Home Videos than full length amateur documentaries. Chief Operating Officer Joanna Drake Earl also said “viewer-created ad messages” have been a huge success, with viewers preferring them by a 9-1 margin and advertisers reporting higher recall rates.

The Current TV downsizing bookends a year that began with the shutdown of another prominent user generated media company, 8020 Media. That publisher had a brief moment in the spotlight when it produced two print magazines consisting entirely of submissions from readers. The experiment proved that user-generated content is no panacea, however. The task of sorting through thousands of articles and photographs and turning them into professional-looking copy was little more efficient than working with professional journalists. The advertising downturn didn’t help.

The troubles of these prominent experiments shouldn’t be seen as a referendum on citizen media. Scores of other ventures are ongoing and an increasing number of events are being reported first through channels like Twitter. The most viable models appear to be those that combine citizen reports with moderation by professional editors. Perhaps America’s Funniest Home Videos had this all figured out years ago.

Miscellany

Maxim GrinevIf you’re following this Twitter thing that everyone is so excited about, you should check out a couple of new resources. Twitter Times is “a real-time personalized newspaper generated from your Twitter account” and it’s a pretty good metaphor for the way trust is awarded in the new world of democratized information. The service chooses news and blog posts mentioned in the Twitter streams of people you follow. The result is a digest that looks like a newspaper, only the stories are selected by your friends.

The algorithm behind Twitter Times is obscure and the site appears to be the work of a single Russian programmer named Maxim Grinev (right). While it doesn’t try to capture every recommendation from trusted sources, its constantly changing selection of content pretty much reflects the topics we are interested in. Users can share personalized home pages with each other and, of course, follow tweeters mentioned therein.

Also check out MuckRack.com. It’s a collection of jounalist Twitter feeds set up by a small group of people who call themselves Sawhorse Media. Journalists have to apply for inclusion and list a publication they are affiliated with before being added to the list. The qualification criteria seems a bit outdated to us in this age of citizen media, but the resulting list is a pretty good lineup of media pros. MuckRack is one of 16 identical sites that run the topical gamut from beauty to beer. It seems that lists are all the new rage on Twitter.


The wrangling over Philadelphia’s two bankrupt newspapers continues to grow more bizarre. A Federal district court judge last week ruled that the creditors trying to take control of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News must make a cash offer for the papers rather than simply taking control of them from the bankrupt Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC. The two parties have engaged in months of legal wrangling, even trading accusations of document theft. The new ruling opens the bidding to third parties as well as current ownership, with the courts apparently trying to steer the matter toward a resolution that keeps both newspapers operating.


Publishers can take heart in recent numbers from Scarborough Research that indicate that newspapers continue to be at the center of American reading habits. Writing on Media Post, Scarborough’s Bob Cohen cites the following 2009 stats:

  • 74% of adults read a paper in print or online during the past week. Newspaper readership in some markets reach upwards of 90%;
  • 19% visited a newspaper website during the past week;
  • 70% of American adults read a printed newspaper during an average week.

Scarborough’s numbers jive with other data that indicates that newspaper readership — online and in print — continues at all-time highs. The problem is monetizing the low-value web traffic. Cohen suggests that publishers need to do a better job of selling the centrality of their products to the audience’s daily habits. “Aggressive self-promotion, while not a natural inclination of this culture, could go a long way in these unusual times,” he writes.

By wpps-support | October 30, 2009 - 3:11 pm - Posted in Facebook, Paywalls

National Post front pageJust minutes ago, an Ontario judge allowed Canwest Global Communications to save the hemorrhaging National Post by moving it the paper into a group with its other dailies. Why Canwest wants to do this is not clear. Today was set to be the end of the line for Post, a conservative broadsheet tabloid that has shouldered much of the blame for parent Canwest Global’s financial troubles. The Post has apparently been losing prodigious amounts of money – 139 million Canadian dollars over the last seven years – but has also had a curious booster effect on Canwest’s other properties by buying services from them and spreading around corporate overhead costs. The Post’s value as an accounting tool may have reached its limit, however. A committee of Canwest creditors said it would stop covering the paper’s losses after today. The last-ditch effort to shuffle the paper in with its peers won’t save it in the long run if losses continue.

Former CIO Takes Over at Boston Globe

The publisher of the Boston Globe is retiring after 27 years with the New York Times Co. and three tumultuous years at the helm of its New England properties. He’ll be succeeded by a former chief information officer, which is an interesting choice given the need for the Globe to transition to the digital age.

P. Steven Ainsley, 56, called his three years as publisher “difficult but enormously gratifying.” He’s certainly right about the first part. Ainsley navigated the organization through a near-death experience this year, eventually wringing more than $20 million in concessions out of stubborn unions. This week the Globe reported a record 18.4% year-over-year drop in circulation, making it one of the worst performers among the 300-plus US newspapers tracked by the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

Successor Christopher Mayer, 47, is a longtime Globe executive who is currently Senior Vice President of Circulation and Operations and formerly chief information officer for the New England Media Group. He’s the first Globe insider installed as publisher by the NY Times Co. since its 1993 purchase of the paper. His most notable recent achievement was a price increase that “drove revenue up sharply,” according to a Globe report. His technology background should be an asset in helping the organization transition to a digital world. It’s also notable that he has no sales or editorial experience. Mayer appears to be an operations guy, which is what floundering newspapers need right now.

Miscellany

A survey of 2,404 US adults by Ipsos Mendelsohn and PHD found that 55.5% say they would be “very unlikely to pay for online content” while only 16.5% said they might pay. Be careful of reading too much into these figures, though. If the question was worded to ask respondents if they want to pay for something they now get for free, it’s not surprising that the majority said no. Publishers who are erecting pay walls are presumably offering some value that readers don’t get for free today, right? Right?


A bankruptcy judge early this week formally approved the sale of the Chicago Sun-Times and more than 50 suburban publications to a local businessman who bought the whole package for $26.5 million. There were no serious bidders other than financier James Tyree, who insisted that unions agree to 15% pay cuts before he’d proceed with his offer. They did agree after mounting a feeble bluff attempt. Tyree said he plans to “grow the company by seeking new revenue opportunities, to adapt and lead change in the rapidly transforming news industry, and to become profitable.” The Sun-Times Media Group’s financial position was severely weakened by a damaging series of scandals involving several former executives who are now in jail.


Two university researchers analyzed front-page coverage in four Argentine newspapers and found an inverse correlation between government funding and journalistic scrutiny of the government. The research indicates that, at least in Argentina, the government can buy favor with the media. Researchers compared the quantity of front-page coverage of government scandals over a 10-year period and matched that to publicly available data about how much the government spent on advertising month to month. The correlation was “huge,” said the Harvard and Northwestern University researchers. In fact, if “government ad revenue in a month increased by one standard deviation — around $70,000 U.S. — corruption coverage would decrease by roughly half of a front page.” Talk about measurable results! Advertisers should have it so good.


Writing on Nieman Journalism Lab, Joshua Benton wonders whether this should be an argument against a government bailout of public funding for distressed media companies. Perhaps, but given Argentina’s history of political repression and media censorship, it seems a stretch to compare the scenario to the US.


The Newport Daily News doesn’t want you to visit its website and it’s taking steps to make sure you don’t. The 12,000-circulation Rhode Island weekdaily is demanding that online visitors pay nearly two-and-a-half times as much for a yearly subscription as print subscribers do. That’s right: It’ll cost you $145 per year to get six weekly issues of the Daily News delivered to your door but $345 to get it online. “Our goal was to get people back into the printed product,” publisher Albert K. Sherman, Jr. tells Nieman’s Edward J. Delaney. Adds the newspaper’s executive editor, “It will be a print-newspaper-first strategy.” The Daily News´ strategy is helped somewhat by continuing problems at the Providence Journal, which has cut back on Newport coverage amid layoffs.

And Finally…

David E. Rothacker sends along this quote:

The mass-production city dailies, aimed at common denominators in the market for newspapers, seem to have passed their heyday. …The reason the mass-production dailies are declining is not, however, that there are no significant similarities in a city’s total market for news, but that the job once done by mass-production newspapers has been largely duplicated by television and radio news and feature programs, and by the mass-production weekly news magazines.

Sounds straightforward enough. Except Rothacker points out that it was written 40 years ago. (Jane Jacobs, The Economy of Cities, (Random House, 1969), 240.)