Archive for May, 2013

Celebrity news. Some call it gossip. Call it what you will, but most of us like to hear the highs and the lows of the rich and famous every now and then. What’s the best way to get this news? Although the traditional ways, such as magazines, newspaper, radio and television still exist, there are good reasons for going to your desktop, tablet or mobile to catch up with the Kardashians and others. Here are my top 10 reasons to go digital for celebrity news.

#1: No ink-smudged fingers. Have you ever gotten black, ink-smudged fingers after reading the newspaper? You won’t have this problem with digital media. There’s enough dirt in the content of celebrity news – there’s no need for your fingers to get dirty, too!

#2: Access to breaking news. With digital media, you can access late-breaking news. Royal watchers will be able to find out almost immediately when the Royal baby is born. Or when Kanye and Kim’s baby is born. You choose which is more important.

#3: Photo galleries. Want to bet that many David Beckham fans checked out photo galleries of him online when his retirement from soccer was announced last week? More specifically, want to bet that many fans (especially the female fans) checked out his H&M underwear ad photos online? With digital media, there is an endless inventory of photos available.

David Beckham H&M Ad

David Beckham H&M Ad

#4: You can seek out the content you want. Want to find out more about which celebrities are supporting Oklahoma tornado relief efforts? With traditional media, you have to wait for the information to come to you.  With digital media, this information is available to you at the click of a button.

#5: Video. Video is a strong component of digital media. Why just read about Reese Witherspoon’s drunken arrest when you can watch it?

#6: Accessibility to old news. Have you lost track of who Jennifer Aniston dated throughout the years? No need to peruse old issues of People or Us magazine. Simply look it up on a search engine. Her love life is etched in history online.

#7: Live and breathe with your favourite celebrity. Social media allows celebrities to connect with their fans. Want to know what Justin Bieber is thinking and doing? Follow him on Twitter like his 39.5 million followers do. Think what you want about his music; this guy knows how social media marketing works.

Justin Bieber's Twitter Page

Justin Bieber’s Twitter Page

#8: Information is available anywhere, anytime. With digital media, you don’t to wait for the latest issue of your favourite entertainment magazine to come out or television show to air in order to find out if Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are “on” or “off” again. With your smartphone or tablet, you can access that information online while at the beach, in line at the grocery store, in the middle of the night or during your lunch break.

#9: Sharing. Have a favourite celebrity story you want to share with your friends? It’s easy with digital media. With “share” buttons beside the story, you can quickly and easily share the story via Twitter, Facebook and more.

#10: User Generated Content. Did you bump into a celebrity at your favourite restaurant, or did you see her shopping at a local store? Many websites want access to breaking news and invite readers to share what they know. For example, on the home page of tmz.com,  it shows how you can email or phone them toll-free with your tips.

Digital media has opened up a whole new way of celebrity-watching. It has made the news more immediate and accessible than ever before. How do you access celebrity news? Are you more of a traditionalist or do you embrace digital media?

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The newspaper industry is changing around the world, as readers migrate from reading a printed product to consuming the news on their mobile, desktop or tablet. This shift has dealt newspaper owners with the task of  working with the demand for digital news while keeping a healthy profit margin. What threatens profits is the fact that revenue from digital advertising does not bring in the same revenue that print advertising brought in during previous years. The industry has had to develop new revenue models in order to survive. An example of a new revenue model established by some newspaper organizations is the paywall, where readers are charged for access to online news content.

What other new revenue models can help the industry?

On Digg, I found an intriguing article from McGarr Solicitors in Ireland that showed a new revenue model for the newspaper industry that I have never seen before. It could be called revolutionary by some, or protectionist by others. What caught my attention was the controversy that surrounds the model. The Irish newspaper industry is demanding that links to news stories from their websites belonged to them, and that ” … they had the right to set the rates for those links…” should they be used by others. Further, the industry is pushing for unauthorized linking to be declared illegal. McGarr’s article shows an example where a women’s charity was advised to purchase a licence for a newspaper link it made on its website. It’s worth mentioning that the link was to a story that spoke of some of the positive work the charity group had made.

Ironically, none of the Irish newspapers has mentioned any of this in its news stories.

As emphasized in Rohit Bhargava’s 5 New Rules of Social Media Optimization, social media should “Make sharing easy”. If the Irish newspaper industry restricts this sharing, it also misses out on the benefits of social media that include branding, relationship-building with readers, establishing itself as the news authorities, to name a few.

I can somewhat empathize with the industry’s potential arguement that charging for link-sharing will help offset the costs of paying for the industry’s journalists. It could be argued that these educated and experienced journalists bring editorial integrity and value to the news industry. Unfortunately, what the Irish newspaper industry is ignoring is the irreparable damage from the massive online community that will simply find its news elsewhere. For free.

If you were part of the Irish newspaper industry, what would be your next steps?