Business model options for small local daily papers

Claudia Elliot, ex-Editor of the Porterville Recorder, our local paper, and current Editor and General Manager at Tehachapi News joined a facebook discussion on the Recorder’s page today. The discussion is regarding the usefulness, appropriateness, and value of online news delivery of news vs. sticking with traditional print distribution and she asked the insightful question:

Have to wonder, what would a person be willing to pay for such a service — people who go out and gather news and take photos and develop and maintain an infrastructure for others to be able to access? What would most people be willing to pay?

I responded:

One that has not been asked here before!

My own sense is that there are a couple of suppositions in that question that should be considered:

1) Do people in Porterville read local news at all? Clearly many don’t. That’s kind of a shame. I (and probably you) wish it was 100%. But it isn’t, and there are a lot of socio-econoimic reasons for that mostly beyond the control of the paper.

2) Whether people read local news or not, they increasingly get their news online, and the demographic of folks still wedded to the print edition are probably older and so it won’t last forever.

3) The idea that people have paid for “news” in the past is an open question in the industry, as you might know. Some posit that people paid for the ads, the gossip, the entertainment, the comics, the puzzles, and that the news was incidental. At least after say ~120 years ago when comics and modern advertising were invented.

4) So it may well be that adverting as a sustaining source of revenue may not ever support a news-only site. And as for those other categories of information online, it is already clear people won’t be looking ot newspaper sites for them in any appreciable amount.… Read the rest

David Gong agitates Measure H, I respond

David Gong, recent City Council candidate posted on facebook tonight

It would appear I hit the nail on the head when it came to Measure H funds being spent inappropriately. I’m not the brightest guy in the world, but if the city had to pay back $60,000 on the consultant group….where does that money come from? The consultant group should pay the money back….not our city!

I responded, provocatively I suppose, as below…to me, the issue is that we are treating the kids as an afterthought with the hope they won’t make us spend additional money later in police services when they hit puberty and beyond. Talk about hope and a prayer!

Instead, it would be better to insist our volunteered tax dollars, a rarity anywhere, let alone here in Bible Belt/Tea Party California-land, be spend on teaching the kids to value learning and education for its own sake, more so than the teachers and the parents and the elders of the town.

That ain’t gonna happen, and neither will any measurement towards the stated goal of the taxation Measure H. Sadly some of these kids are going to die at the pointy end of a Porterville Police Department bullet if history is any guide.

See my facebook response after the jump….… Read the rest

Revised TOS Gives Facebook Perpetual Rights to User Content – MarketingVOX

Revised TOS Gives Facebook Perpetual Rights to User Content – MarketingVOX.

The revision grants Facebook complete, perpetual ownership of content uploaded or added to Facebook — including the rights to sublicense said content:

You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses.

I have seen this kind of licensing before. Early social network had it, and may still have it, I don’t know. But they never acted on it yet.

Facebook on the other hand, is far more likely to act on these onerous terms. Wit their growth, they are going to need to feed the marketing maw with materials about how people are using the site.

That means that merely by using facebook, you become am unpaid producer of content for them. Your pay is in their letting you use the site at all.

I am not a lawyer, but I wonder if this would even be enforceable, at least in the US. Regardless, any legal action would surely be after the fact and the damage in loss of intellectual property rights would be lost forever.… Read the rest