The WWW and Newspapers

Newspaper circulation still falling; but website readership seen growingpdf

Newspaper circulation continues to decline in Massachusetts and across the country, according to a report issued yesterday. But for the first time, the data also included figures for newspaper websites to measure the growth of online readership.

Sadly, the online article doesn’t include the data, so here are scans from my morning paper and then tables from the scans:

Declining circulation

Average paid weekday circulation of the nation’s 20 largest newspapers for the six-month period ended in September

Note: The Chicago Sun-Times has not yet resumed reporting following being censured in 2004 for misstating circulation figures

USA Today 2,293,137 up 1.04%
The Wall Street Journal 2,011,882 down 1.53%
The New York Times 1,037,828 down 4.51%
Los Angeles Times 779,682 up 0.50%
New York Daily News 681,415 down 1.73%
New York Post 667,119 down 5.24%
The Washington Post 635,087 down 3.23%
Chicago Tribune 559,404 down 2.90%
Houston Chronicle 507,437 down 0.13%
Newsday, Long Island 387,503 down 5.62%
The Arizona Republic 382,414 down 3.75%
The Dallas Morning News 373,586 down 7.68%
San Francisco Chronicle 365,234 down 2.29%
The Boston Globe 360,695 down 6.66%
The Star-Ledger (Newark. N.J.) 353,003 down 2.78%
The Philadelphia Inquirer 338,260 up 2.31%
Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) 335,443 down 6.53%
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) 334,195 down 0.81%
Detroit Free Press 320,125 down 2.61%
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 318,350 down 9.08%
Online figures

For the first time, some newspapers reported to the Audit Bureau of Circulations the readership of their websites

Unique Visitors Page Views
The New York Times 13,857,000 370,200,000
The Washington Post 8,552,000 132,598,000
San Francisco Chronicle 8,256,412 74,197,265
New York Daily News 5,691,311 31,863,946
Los Angeles Times 5,318,000 52,497,000
Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) 4,955,193 59,473,452
The Boston Globe 4,175,000 61,046,000
Seattle Post-lntelligencer 3,739,856 100,088,332
San Diego Union-Tribune 3,589,545 31,519,805
Houston Chronicle 3,530,000 77,609,000
Chicago Tribune 3,316,000 61,733,000
Salt Lake City Tribune, Deseret Morning News 2,892,277 24,671,308
The Arizona Republic 2,544,000 67,170,000
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2,448,000 80,297,000
St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2,318,496 49,259,083
Indianapolis Star 2,181,818 38,100,318
Newsday, Long Island 2,065,000 30,724,000
Orange County Register 2,034,229 17,208,272

Also More Readers Trading Newspapers for Web Sites

Wow — Someone’s Paying Attention

Effort for open Net resumespdf

A series of controversial actions by telecommunications companies has given new life to a political movement that would force telecom providers to treat all data transmissions the same.

Senator Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine, and other members of Congress are renewing their drive for “network neutrality” legislation. A bill cosponsored by Snowe and Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, failed to pass last year. No action has been scheduled since it was reintroduced in January.

But Snowe and Dorgan want the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to hold new hearings on the issue, after several incidents in which AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, and Comcast Corp. restricted or blocked Internet communications carried on their networks.

The Cato Institute’s take is predictable, too:

Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, agreed that network operators have made some poor decisions recently. But Harper said Internet performance could suffer if network managers were barred from setting limits on their traffic. “How do you write a law about this?” Harper said. “This is technically challenging and unsettled.”

As for the controversies at AT&T and Verizon Wireless, Harper noted that both companies quickly changed their policies under fire.

“I think this is a really good example of the market working quite well,” he said, “because a lot of people were investigating and talking about this.”

Yep, nothing like a market — backed by the threat of effective refereeing on the part of the government

Mossberg Asks

Free My Phone — and Google answers? Google unveils cell phone software and alliance

Google officially unveiled Android, the new mobile phone software, during a press conference Monday morning. Thirty-four companies have said they will join the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance that will work on developing applications on the Android platform. Members of the alliance include mobile handset makers HTC and Motorola, U.S. operator T-Mobile, and chipmaker Qualcomm.

The Android platform consists of an operating system, middleware, a user-friendly interface, and applications. Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008, Schmidt and others said on the conference call.

The Android software stack is expected to provide handset makers and wireless operators an open platform they can use to develop innovative applications. The new software will compete directly with smartphone software from other companies like Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm, and Research in Motion. Unlike some of these mobile operating systems, Android will not be tied to a specific device. Instead, the software will be able to work on a broad array of devices from handset makers such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG just to name a few.

(also Google sends Android to conquer mobile world and Google Enters the Wireless World)

Sampling’s Murky Status

With a nice case review: Why hasn’t Diddy tried to save music sampling?

Why would Combs, one of the biggest names in hip-hop, fail to defend sampling? Maybe it was simply inadvertence. Maybe it was a strategic decision (albeit a very bad one, as it turned out). Or maybe it was more calculating. Combs and his label can afford to pay for samples. Many aspiring artists and their fledgling labels—the next generation of would-be moguls hungry to unseat Diddy—cannot. Maybe Diddy cares more about the benefit of reduced competition than defending the work of the artist and the technique that helped create his empire. Tell us, Diddy, what were you thinking?

Gotta Love Librarians

Librarians Say Surveillance Bills Lack Adequate Oversightpdf

A little-remarked feature of pending legislation on domestic surveillance has provoked alarm among university and public librarians who say it could allow federal intelligence-gathering on library patrons without sufficient court oversight.

[…] “It is fundamental that when a user enters the library, physically or electronically,” said Jim Neal, the head librarian at Columbia University, “their use of the collections, print or electronic, their communications on library servers and computers, is not going to be subjected to surveillance unless the courts have authorized it.”

Under the legislation, the government could monitor a non-U.S. citizen overseas participating in an online research project through a U.S. university library, and gain access to the communications of all the project participants with that surveillance target, said Al Gidari, a lawyer with the Perkins Coie firm who represents the Association of Research Libraries and the American Library Association.

The bills, which would replace a temporary law amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, would not require the government to demonstrate “probable cause” that the foreign person targeted is a terrorist or a spy or to let the FISA court, which grants surveillance warrants, know that the tap will be on a library.

Groping Toward the Next Music Business Model

Getting Along Famously

In an interview with Rolling Stone published earlier this year, Bob Dylan commented that “the relationship between a performer and the audience is anything but a buddy-buddy thing.” The role of the Dylan fan, he suggested, is to appreciate Dylan music. This seems out of step with the pop zeitgeist. While the impact of digital technology on record labels gets more attention, it also affects the fan-star dynamic: online social networking tools promise us more interaction, or a more direct connection (to use the buzz terms of the moment), with artists. This version of the “buddy-buddy thing” has obvious appeal — so much so that the birth of a company like Buddylube seems almost inevitable.

Buddylube was founded last year by two music-industry veterans who spotted a new need in the marketplace. The founders, John Eaton and Jonathan Cohen, started an artist-management firm in 2003 and of course noticed the online world’s potential to forge a “direct connection” between client bands and their fans, Eaton says. Cohen discovered Snapvine, an online network built around Web voice-mail technology, and Eventful, whose services include a way to vote for (or “demand that”) a particular artist come to your city or town. They added these features to the MySpace pages of client bands like Mudvayne and HellYeah, and fans loved them. Along the way, they noticed that many so-called Web 2.0 start-ups were scrumming to be the next MySpace — or at least to drum up enough of a user base to build a profitable business model. One way to do this, they figured, was to be associated with music stars. “The artists need promotion,” Eaton summarizes. “And all these new technologies of social media need artists.” So what if there was “a one-stop shop” — a Jiffy Lube, if you will — for celebrity-centric social media?

Reciprocity

E.U. Seeks Data on American Passengerspdf

American travelers’ personal data would for the first time be exported to all European Union states by airline carriers flying to Europe under a proposal to be announced this week.

The data, including names, telephone numbers, credit card information and travel itinerary, would be sent to E.U. member states so they could assess passenger risk for counterterrorism purposes, according to a draft copy obtained by The Washington Post. The European Commission proposal would allow the data to be kept for 13 years or longer if used in criminal investigations and intelligence operations. It would cover all passengers flying into and out of Europe, not just Americans.

More Net Neutrality Positioning

Groups Press FCC on Comcast, Net Neutralitypdf

Several consumer groups are challenging federal regulators to stop Comcast from interfering with Internet traffic on its network.

The groups, including Free Press, Public Knowledge and Media Access Project, filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to take action against the cable giant. Comcast has been criticized for interrupting Internet access to subscribers who are using popular programs like BitTorrent to download and exchange songs, movies and software programs.

The petition, filed Thursday, will serve as the first test of the FCC’s position on the issue of net neutrality, which has become a hot-button topic among technologists and policymakers in Washington. Net neutrality refers to measures that would bar Internet providers like Comcast and phone companies from giving preferential treatment to content on their networks.

The five-member FCC has said it supports the concept, but has not been pressed to enforce it. The agency has also said Internet providers have the right to manage their networks.

Niche Envy in Social Networking

Widgets Become Coins of the Social Realmpdf — giving my privacy away, one drop at a time.

To a consumer, the process is essentially a quid pro quo. In exchange for using a widget, which might be a game or an interactive tool, a user must agree to allow the designer of the widget access to the information on their social-networking profiles. Ad companies can then mine personal data from the profiles and target their messages. So, for example, if someone says his or her favorite band is the Shins, that person is considered likely to buy a Shins T-shirt and music by similar bands.

“Advertising and sponsorship are clearly where the money’s coming from,” said Steve Anderson, founder of Baseline Ventures, which invests in tech start-ups, including widget developer Weebly. “Advertising on a widget allows you to pull together things like age, demographics, geographic information, and the new holy grail: who users’ friends are.”

(The entry title is a reference to Joseph Turow’s Niche Envy)

An Exhibitionist Culture?

Yours For The Peeping

Like the clothes Marc Jacobs designed for his own label and for Vuitton this fall — skirts bunched into the waistbands of pantyhose at the back, see-through dresses with bras and panties sewn onto them — Graft’s peekaboo interiors are a sly commentary on a culture that continues to find new ways to display ever more intimate, and mundane, details of domestic life. In a YouTube world, one’s home is no longer one’s private retreat: it’s just a container for the webcam.

In New York City, where the streetscape is being systematically remade by glassy towers like the W, which have been spreading like kudzu in the seven years since the first two terrarium-like Richard Meier buildings went up on the West Side Highway, the lives of the inhabitants are increasingly on exhibit, like the performance art wherein the artists “live” in a gallery for 24 hours and you get to watch them napping or brushing their teeth.

It’s not always a pretty picture.

[…] Jeffrey Cole, the director of the Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication, has been researching teenagers and their digital communities, where the glass house metaphor feels most urgent, and most dangerous.

“My experience is that teenagers, and teenage girls especially, don’t know that on Facebook they’re living in a glass house,” Professor Cole said. “They are lulled into a feeling that in their networks it’s just them and their friends who only have their best interests at heart. And who will always have their best interests at heart. They have very little sense of permanent record. I think essentially we have no privacy, or we have fewer and fewer areas we can retreat safely into.”

Related, on Twitter: The Global Sympathetic Audience