Category Archives: Conferences & Seminars

Exploring Freedom of Expression in a Digital World

On Thursday afternoon, we’ll be speaking about Credibility & Responsibility in an Age of the Individual’s Media at the University of Missouri’s Center for the Digital Globe. CDiG is holding its 2nd Annual Fall Symposium, entitled Exploring Freedom of Expression in a Digital World.

The other speakers will be Art Brisbane, publisher of The Kansas City Star, and University of Missouri Professors Suraj Commuri of the College of Business, Patricia Fry of the School of Law, and Clyde Bentley and Charles N. Davis, both of the School of Journalism.

When Matt Drudge’s reporting and not traditional journalism leads to the Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal, when bloggers’ concerns spark stories that ultimately lead to the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, when dozens of stories in The New York Times are discovered to be false, when the National Enquirer refuses to publish exposes about gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarznegger but The Los Angeles Times does, which media should a citizen consider to be credible?

UK Association of Online Publishers Awards Winners

Emily Bell of Guardian Online won The UK Association of Online Publishers‘s best Consumer Editor Award and David Molony of Emap Media’s TotalTele.com won the best Business Editor Award. The Web site of the Financial Times won 2003 AOP Chairman’s Award for “proving that people will pay for valuable content,” according to AOP Chairman Bill Murray, the managing director of Haymarket Motoring Publications. Among other winners at last night’s AOP Awards banquet in London were Reuters, which won an innovation award for offering its Reuter Raw Video news service; Runner’s World UK for best site launch; Dennis Interactive’s Maxim for best integration of consumer media and IDG’s TechWorld for best integration of business media. AOP Chairman Murray’s company won the best consumer publisher award and Reed Chemical Group won the best business publisher award.

Hermitage Won't Cure Insularity

Last week, we criticized the decision of Advance Internet President & Creator Director Jeff Jarvis not to speak at the Online News Association‘s annual conference because the ONA plans to charge each speaker a regular attendee’s registration fee. We think the ONA’s policy is wrong, but we think Jarvis’s reaction is wrong, too. However, another reason Jarvis mentions is:

    “…I said that what makes these industry organizations worthless to me — the reason I have maintained a hermit’s distance from them — is that they are usually just newspaper people talking to newspaper people. And that may be fine for newspapers (that’s for them to judge) but it’s not for this new medium.
    “What an ‘Online News Association’ should be doing is expanding its worldview to incorporate and learn from new definitions of news and new challenges to old views of how news is gathered and how it is used.”

We entirely agree with him that most of these conferences (including the Newspaper Association of America’s ‘Connections’ and Editor & Publisher magazine’s ‘Interactive Newspapers’ conferences) are woefully insular and regurgitate the same topics and discussions each year. We remember the wisdom of Christian Science Monitor Online Associate Editor Tom Regan, who once said that a newspaper executive will learn far more attending any consumer electronics, graphic arts, or other conference outside his industry than he will attending an online newspaper conference.

Nevertheless, online newspaper conferences will continue to be insular unless speakers speak in them about how insular they are, bring them outside ideas, new concepts, and shake them up. (That sounds like a wonderful opportunity for Jarvis, whose savvy could benefit online newspaper executives.) Being a hermit — neither attending nor speaking at those conferences — won’t solve the problem.) It’s a cop-out, not a solution.

Seybold Sparse This Year

The Seybold San Francisco 2003 Conference this year was, in the words Wired.com, “barren and sedate.” Attendence was down to only one-third the usual at this 21st annual Seybold show, which was held not in the main Moscone Conference Center but in an annex across the street. Many major companies reduced their exhibitions and Apple, a mainstay of the graphic arts industry, was absent. Seybold’s organizers, who also had organized Comdex and undewent bankruptcy last year, will have many challenges bringing American’s major conference about graphics arts & printing back to its former glories.

Predictions for Printers: 2003-2040+

Here are the conclusions that Adobe Systems Inc.’s Principal Scientist Dov Issacs, and Rochester Institute of Technology Professor of Digital Printing Frank Romano, who more often than now have differing or opposing viewpoints, gave in the concluding session yesterday at the Seybold-Romano Future of Print Conference during the larger Seybold San Francisco 2003 Conference:

  • Romano thinks that weekly newspapers will survive better than dailies. He believes that weeklies feature more local content than do dailies, real local content that consumers can’t get from radio or TV and that most daily newspapers no longer report. Romano believes that daily newspapers can no longer compete with broadcast as the consumers’ first source of news and so will become more like magazines, featuring mostly news analysis and entertainment content.
  • Isaac is even more sanguine and that that daily newspapers will largely cease to exist as a major medium. He believes that the behavior of reading a newspapers has been declining during each human generation and will end within a generation, particularly since young people already no longer read them.
  • Romano noted that three quarters of the 62,000 new book titles published each year in the U.S. don’t sell and become remaindered and pulped. He believes that on-demand book printing technologies will revolutionize the book industry eliminate those costs.
  • Romano also believes that the post office will become primarily a delivery mechanism for promotional material. As traditional interpersonal or regular business mail continues to migrate to e-mail, the post office will by process of elimination be delivering mostly promotional mail. Because the U.S. Postal Service is a commercial organization, that will make it favor direct mail companies more and more.
  • Both Romano and Isaac predicted that printing packaging and labeling materials and printing brochures and promotional material will be the only certain growth areas for the print industry.
  • They predicted that the printing industry will see only 1% to 2% annual growth through 2040 and then begin to decline. That small growth isn’t sufficient to maintain the printing industry. This will cause mergers and consolidations and layoffs throughout that industry.
  • Let Them Eat Dialup!

    Pity our friend Jeff Jarvis, president & creative director of Advance Internet, publishers of Web sites of more than 20 major American newspapers and for all the Conde Nast magazines. The Online News Association asked Jeff to sit on a panel about blogging at the ONA’s annual conference.

    “But I just found out that they not only want me to fly to Chicago on my dime “and stay there on my dime (in a hotel with no Internet access — did they say this was the Online or Offline News Association?) and ruin my weekend (why would anyone have a conference on a weekend? — I smell a trend here and I don’t like it) and participate in creating the very content that is the conference … but then they want to charge me $475 for the privilege. That’s nerve,” Jeff writes in an entry entitled Cheap bastards his blog. So Jeff declined the ONA’s invitation.

    Yes, how dare a non-profit organization that has no endowment, no funding, is operated out of its members pockets, and is devote to improving the ethics of online journalism, invite a senior executive of a multi-billion dollar company involved in online journalism and not reimburse his obviously considerable travel expenses from New Jersey to Illinois! Worse, this organization about online journalism dares hold its conference at a hotel that features only dial-up access! Of all the nerve, indeed!

    We’ve accepted an invitation to moderate one of the ONA conference panels. Like Jarvis, we were blindsided by news that we’ll be billed a registration fee to speak at the conference. However, we’re willing support a well-meaning poor non-profit organization that could benefit by our participation and expertise, even if we have to pay a fee to give that knowledge to them at their request. If the ONA had an endowment or indepedent funding, we’d ask the ONA to waive these fees. But ONA is being funded out of its members own pockets. We don’t think it’s right for us to reach into our peers’ pockets for reimbursement.

    As for using dialup access, well, don’t 80% of all Internet users? Get real, Jeff. Fly coach if you’re worried about the expenses. Would it help if we pass the hat and take up a collection to pay for your participation?

    The Future of Printing

    UDC E-book.gif

    Electronic paper will begin to steal market share from print as soon as 3 years from now, predicted Michael Kleper, the Paul and Louis Miller Distinguished Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology‘s School of Print Media. Moreover, within three years, printers won’t be printing only paper but will also be lithographically printing electronic displays on various materials (paper, plastic, linoleum, metal, etc.) and within five years this will become a lucrative business for them.

    During Monday’s session of Seybold-Romano Future of Print Conference at the Seybold San Francisco 2003 Conference, Kleper, author of the Handbook of Digital Publishing and the Kleper Report on Digital Publishing, gave a tour of the state-of-the-art in electronic paper technologies and how to print electronic displays.

    These included the versions of electronic paper now being manufactured by the partnership between E-Ink and Philips Electronics, by the Xerox spin-off company Gyricon, and SiPix. Although these companies’ e-paper products are currently being manufactured for use in retail signs — a far more lucrative market than newspapers and magazines — these companies are working on e-paper prototypes of electronic periodicals.

    Those technologies use electrophysical (i.e., apply current and a metalic ball or powder shows black or white images). However, Kleper was even more enthusiastic about newer e-paper technologies that use Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED). Invented in 1987, OLED are manfactured from organic materials that not only glow when electrified, but continue to glow even when the electric current is turned off. Modulating that current changes their intensity. Although OLEDs currently cost about 50% more expensive than LED to manufacture, those costs are declining even more rapidly than LED costs and OLEDs.

    Kleper showed an e-paper prototype from Universal Display Corporation, a startup company that hopes to commercialize OLED e-papers. The color prototype (illustrated above) e-paper rolls into a pen-shaped CPU/battery. A variety of consumer products are already using OLED displays for smaller purposes, such as the display on the Philips-Norelco 8894xl electric razor. Rolltronics is another manufacturer.

    Another very promising display technology is Light Emitting Polymers (LEP). Being commercialized by Cambridge Display Technologies and Add-Vision, LEPs are electronic displays circuits that can be screen-printed onto any flat material, such as paper, marble, linoleum, metal, etc. The screen-printing doesn’t require a dust-free ‘clean room’ and can be done by any commercial printing who has the right equipment. Imagine a pub’s with bartops that display today’s games. Or magazines pages (paper) that display animation when opened. Etcetera. This displays can be permanent (i.e., laminated under a protective surface) or disposable (lasting about six months, according to Kleper’s description of the current printing technologies).

    He and other experts here at the conference believe that LEPs will be a major new market for commercial printers. Printers will print electronic displays rather than ink on paper.

    So promising is this new market for printers that Flink Ink, the major American producer of printing inks, earlier this year announced that it will move into manufacturing of conductive inks and European companies (including Philips, Siemens, and Thomson) are forming a consortium to prevent American dominance of this new electronic technology.

    Electronic devices and electronic displays won’t kill the printing industry. It will be the printing industry, not the electronics industry, who will print those displays.

    Kleper’s demonstrations and predictions that electronic paper technologies will begin to steal market share from print as soon as 3 years were in marked contrast to the subsequent presentation, The Medium is the Message: Information Distribution, by Howard Finberg of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Finberg noted the existence of the e-paper manufactured by E-Ink, saying he’s a big fan of that company. But Finberg predicted that consumers will be using e-paper to receive newspapers by 2025.

    No Long Enough Business to Sustain Print

    Although the printing industry’s business has grown by 5% to 7% per annum for most of the past 20 years, that growth has permanently ended, according to Frank Romano, who holds the Roger K. Fawcett Distinguished Professor of Digital Publishing chair at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the college with America’s premiere printing & publishing curriculum.

    In his opening address during the Seybold-Romano Future of Print Conference, held during the multi-topic Seybold San Francisco 2003 conference, Romano said that printing won’t be killed by online technologies, but it will be wounded and will play a lesser role in communications and society.

    Romano predicted that digital devices will soon become so inexpensive that “by the year 2015, Time magazine will give away its PDA to consumers in exchange for a four-year subscriptions.” He predicted that hybrid electronic devices — the converged PDA, phone, eBook readers, MP3 players, pocket computer — will costs only $300 by 2005 and only $70 by 2015 — cheap enough to almost give away.

    NetMedia 2003 Conference

    “Leading figures from the world’s online journalism community gathered in Barcelona this week for the ninth annual NetMedia conference on digital journalism,” Journalism.co.uk reported about last week’s NetMedia 2003 Conference in Barcelona.

    Around 200 journalists, students and publishing professionals from across Europe and the U.S. met at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra on July 3rd for the one-day conference. Its them this year was Making Online Digital Media Pay Its Way.

    Marilo Ruiz de Elvira of El Pais; Mary Mangan, formerly of Ireland.com; Tracy Corrigan of FT.com; Peter Vandermeersch of De Standaard of Brussels; Gumersindo Lafuente of El Mundo; and Eduard Ramos of Lavanguardia Digital, spoke about their online newspapers’ conversion from free-access to partial or totally paid-access content business models. Which model works better? See our ClickZ column this month for our opinion.

    Steve Yelvington, vice president of strategy and content for Morris DigitalWorks, and Neil Budde, founder and former publisher of the Wall Street Journal Online, gave presentations about how to increase the numbers of users or subscribers to online newspaper sites.

    Then, according to Journalism.co.uk, “Digital media veteran Vin Crosbie delivered a lively presentation on understanding the economics of the web, sparking some debate with his controversial statements on the problems of generating revenue online.” This was basically a sequal to my NetMedia 2001 speech about why periodical will fail to profit on the Web.

    “Comparing the economics of web advertising with that of broadcast and print, Mr Crosbie also suggested that web advertising causes a problem for publishers. A print publication has a finite pagination, so as circulation increases the advertising space becomes more valuable and the publisher is able to increase advertising rates. A similar situation exists for broadcasters. But on the web, traffic increases do not increase the value of advertising space. In fact, because online space is sold on a per-view rate basis, the publisher actually has to sell more space, putting pressure on them to decrease their advertising rates,” reported Journalism.co.uk.

    Dan Gillmor gave a presentation about how new technologies are letting consumers themselves publish news online as easily as traditional publishers can. And Luis Angel Fern

    NetMedia 2003 Awards

    BBC News Online won eight of 21 awards presented at the NetMedia 2003 Online Journalism Awards in Barcelona last week. Among the BBC’s awards was Lifetime Achievement to Mike Smartt, editor-in-chief of BCC News Online. Vincent Landon, science correspondent for Swiss Radio International, won the Internet Journalist of the Year award for his story of how malaria continues to devastate children in the third world. LaMalla.net, a Spanish news portal, won the Best Overall Journalism Service award. In a first for student journalists, two from the Danish School of Journalism won the Best Use of Multimedia award. Transitions Online from Prague won the Best Innovation in the Online Journalism category. There were more than 1,000 prize entries this year, from 20 European countries. The judges were 118 online publishing professionals from European media organizations and journalism schools in 20 countries.