Nieman Journalism Lab
Nieman Journalism Lab
Pushing to the future of journalism — A project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard

@niemanlab archives: August 2009

Barney Frank went viral: 1 million views in 4 days. Detailed stats shed light on how news videos spread 
@cattwitter Inorganic, yes, but also invisible to the naked eye, apparently. Cheers from Cambridge! 
@themediaisdying He is not, however, killing the news. The site’s traffic has plunged 
New term for me: “visual affordance.” LA Times, NPR websites chided for not distinguishing links in text 
Mind-bending and screen-bending: Invisible LEDs promise flexible, transparent displays (HT @nickbilton
Why did Newser’s readership fall off a cliff? A lesson that not all traffic is created equal 
Good morning! Average headline size among popular news sites is 25.6px, and sans-serif fonts are the norm 
@dankennedy_nu Higher prices, focus on profitable circulation, and lack of new subs (which is cannibalization). Remaining readers loyal. 
@dankennedy_nu Point taken, but evidence of cannibalizing current print readership is thin. Longterm, yes, but we agree: not the issue. 
Think giving it away on the web cannibalizes the print edition? @peterfeld offers a succinct rebuttal 
Silicon Alley Insider: “Go ahead, embed this post!” In comments, @hblodget says they might seek sponsors 
Before Photoshop: How the LA Times used to draw clothing on bare-chested celebrities. Hilarious 
Serendipity, you say? YouTube is trying to improve its recommendation engine to avoid “Van Halen fatigue” 
The Guardian, already the UK’s leader in database journalism, is making a smart “local data landgrab” 
@gwfrink3 Also more likely that *new* organizations will experiment with new models, rather than existing for-profits making the shift. 
What’s holding back the “low-profit” model for news? As with paid content, there’s a “you first” mentality 
Good morning! Bigger isn’t better: Study finds smaller online ads can be more effective than large banners 
@LisaSink Searching for cases without a docket number is a pain. And I guess, generally, I don’t think the government should charge for it. 
@ClaraJeffery @AndrewKroll So glad it’ll be put to use! is also really helpful. 
Sky News ran @Joe‘s crime-scene Twitpic. He asked for pay, launched a hashmob: #skypic. Now he’s getting £330 
If you ever tangle with the federal court system’s tortuous PACER database, this Firefox plugin is for you 
Newspaper ally to share sports content: Online, the rule is brief excerpts and a link back to source 
@rowlikeagirl Fine line between “distracting” and “attention-grabbing.” I don’t mind the BMW or Apple ads, but it’s a tricky balance. 
@ryanchittum @megangarber I think, like most media, news sites will push advertising to the limits of user tolerance. It didn’t bother me. 
While we’re on the topic, here’s the New York Times R&D Lab’s vision for the future of advertising 
BMW calls its takeover of NYT homepage “edgy.” Times calls it “unique.” User calls its “super-annoying” 
Quick video (2:25) to start your day: Why news sites are like pointing TV cameras at radio shows 
Good morning! 54% of Google’s most-popular search terms trend in predictable patterns. Other half? Call it news 
Background for #focas09: What Walter Isaacson (and Arthur Sulzberger) said about charging for news — in ’95 
Appeals court in D.C. lays down strict guidelines for protecting anonymous speech on the Internet 
Where to turn for the lowdown on health care reform? @megangarber makes a great case for Wikipedia 
Exclusive: Pay wall brewing in Milwaukee? Journal Sentinel signs with Steve Brill’s firm, Journalism Online 
Good morning! “How the web has changed job searching” spells out why newspaper classifieds aren’t effective 
Update: @AdrianHolovaty says he talked to a “bunch of people” about acquiring EveryBlock, won’t say if any were newspapers 
CUNY’s verdict on non-profit news: It’s no reprieve from selling ads #focas09 
The making of NPR’s new iPhone application (Follow this blog! It’s endless insight.) 
New York Times vs. Wall Street Journal: the quietest newspaper war in America 
@CodyBrown FWIW, MinnPost CPM for ads served to local readers is $15, though that’s highest I’ve heard among local sites 
@greglinch @jeffjarvis @CodyBrown @mathewi Yes, and Knight News Challenge is open to for-profit ventures. I imagine Knight is thrilled. 
@greglinch @jeffjarvis @CodyBrown @mathewi @semmerson My read of @adrianholovaty‘s post is that code won’t be open-source going forward. 
MSNBC buys local data aggregator EveryBlock. @AdrianHolovaty says they’ll become “something much bigger” 
Catch “Mad Men” last night? From our archives: How the show’s ads keep you on the couch 
Diving into the just-released “New Business Models for News” report. Lots of data (It’s a @jeffjarvis project at CUNY.) 
Plugins are the scourge of news sites with custom media players. BBC demos the plugin-less future of HTML5 
NBC’s local news sites getting in touch with your emotions: New feature is aimed at audience engagement 
Cover of this weekend’s NY Times style magazine used a Flickr image. Photographer credits her use of tags 
Good morning! Overnight, the English-language Wikipedia published its three millionth article 
Have a great weekend, everyone! Thanks to’s resurrection, here are my 40 most-recent links, ranked by clicks 
@MaryBrace Yeah, they’re both owned by Tribune Co. and were part of a company-wide redesign. Makes sense they’d reuse code, but still funny. 
@brianboyer @ckrewson Haha indeed!