Ian Hislop: “Twitter creates clouds of viral ignorance”

From an interview with the Private Eye editor in Vice Magazine….

On  the bad and good of Twitter

The bad side is in this country, where it creates clouds of viral ignorance that swoop around picking the wrong targets and cocking it up. There are no rules, no standards, no verification, so a lot of what is on there is rubbish. The main effect of it here is that it allows newspapers to not bother to interview celebrities because they can just copy what they’re saying on Twitter. It was important in the Arab Spring and China in the freeing-up of information, which is the good side.

On the MailOnline

The Daily Mail, whatever its faults, in its print version does have some journalism – it covers stories, it ask questions and puts information out there. It does a lot of other things that people hate, but it does do that. If Mail Online is the future of journalism, it’s just sad. There’s a huge amount of money spent on the cult of celebrity – paying people to hang around for days in the hope of seeing Kim Kardashian fall over or get out of a car.

The commercial imperative is split between quite a prudish, old-fashioned print paper and creepy semi-porn online, and the only connection seems to be ownership.

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The paradox of sharing: the more you give it away, the more they’ll pay

Craig Mod’s subcompact publishing manifesto is worth reading in full but I’ve picked out the following because it goes to the heart of a paradox of online publishing which I suspect is true but have yet to see any data to support it:

Users are much more likely to share a link to the full-text of an article than a truncated version. Increased sharing means more eyeballs, and more eyeballs — if conversion rates remain static — means more downloads and subscriptions.

In other words, the more you give it away the better the chance you have of making money. Counter-intuitive? Certainly. Nonsensical? I’m not so sure.

(For some more things worth reading this week take a look at the Digital half dozen over on Press Gazette.)

“The Daily had over 100,000 paying subscribers. That ain’t nothing!”

Most salient thought on the demise of News Corp’s The Daily comes from Joshua Benton:

Here’s the thing: The Daily had over 100,000 paying subscribers. That ain’t nothing! With most subscribers paying $39.99 a year (others paid 99 cents a week), minus Apple’s cut, that’s around $3 million in annual revenue — and that’s before you add in advertising revenue. At various points, it was the highest-grossing app in the App Store in 13 different countries. In the United States, it’s been in the top 5 of news apps by gross since launch and, until this summer, consistently in the top 20 of all apps — even including Angry Birds and the rest. You can absolutely build a real online news organization on that kind of revenue.

You just can’t build one that has 200 staffers. Or 150 staffers. Or 100 staffers.

My thoughts are here.