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Survey: Slack Editing on Magazine Web Sites

11:32 am on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Survey: Slack Editing on Magazine Web Sites [nytimes.com]
The only thing standard about magazines’ Web sites is that there are no standards.That is the chief finding of a research project conducted by the Columbia Journalism Review, which surveyed 665 consumer magazines on the practices and profitability of their Web sites.

“There isn’t yet a generally accepted set of norms for this new medium,” said Victor Navasky, chairman of the magazine. “There’s chaos out there.”

12:14 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes... I agree with the chaos comment!
2:28 pm on Mar 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Not having seen the questionnaire, I suspect that some of the segment of respondees not fact checking online texts were not doing so because they were posting the print version, which had already been checked.

Only a third of the Web sites reported making a profit.

Until a couple of years ago, I worked at a commercial magazine publishing house in London. There, web publishing offered far greater profit margins than did the respective paper products. Printed publications have very high overheads - paper, printing, distribution. Online offerings have none of these costs associated with them.

I just don't get it. How can two thirds of the publishers surveyed be failing to turn a profit on their sites? It's crazy. These people must lack any sort of real-world business acumen!
3:29 am on Mar 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think because advertising on the web does not match advertising in print. Also those overheads have got to be partly covered by their cover price, something the web does not have very often...yet.

I have found it profitable (just) but difficult to run a few fairly busy news/magazine sites but we cannot afford to do the sort of location/investigative reporting the big newspapers do. This is the problem someone will have to fix if quality on-the-ground and reporting is not to become the sole domain of global news agencies. Likewise for lengthy investigative assignments.

In terms of standards most websites just don't have (cannot afford) the editorial hierarchy newspapers do so things slip also probably less likely to follow strict rules in terms of style etc.
7:27 am on Mar 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Maybe there is not so much difference between "news" and "retail". Entrepreneurs who may never have been able to operate a B&M shop are making fistfuls of $$ online.

Savvy individuals can actually provide a limited amount of good quality local or niche news through websites or blogs. Better, in some cases, than a large news organization can.

Maybe the market will fragment into "Local" vs "International" organizations. And maybe the big guys will learn how to downsize their print operations while still making money online.

I can only imagine the gnashing of teeth if a publishing bubble were to burst ala the recent real estate meltdown.

Wonder what is the total overhead and salary for an average reporter in NY or London?