Google’s Mayer on how to write online news

May 7, 2009

Just about everyone has thrown a thought or two by now into the great bubbling pot of stew that is the future of journalism. Latest in line is Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president of search products and user experience.Mayer, one of Google’s earliest employees who gets reams of newsprint in Silicon Valley for her cupcake spreadsheets and love of Oscar de la Renta, spoke before a Senate subcommittee on a future of journalism hearing on Wednesday.Apart from defending Google, which has come under attack from the news industry — most notably the Associated Press — for profiting from content, Mayer gave some tips on how journalists should write their stories.Mayer talked about something she called the “atomic unit of consumption” — a news article rather than an entire newspaper, much like one song downloaded digitally instead of buying an entire album. Here’s an excerpt from her prepared testimony:

The atomic unit of consumption for existing media is almost always disrupted by emerging media. For example, digital music caused consumers to think about their purchases as individual songs rather than as full albums. Digital and on-demand video has caused people to view variable-length clips when it is convenient for them, rather than fixed-length programs on a fixed broadcast schedule.Similarly, the structure of the Web has caused the atomic unit of consumption for news to migrate from the full newspaper to the individual article. As with music and video, many people still consume physical newspapers in their original full-length format. But with online news, a reader is much more likely to arrive at a single article. While these individual articles could be accessed from a newspaper’s homepage, readers often click directly to a particular article via a search engine or another Website.

Microsoft glams up MSN home page

April 22, 2009

Microsoft is trying out a series of new home pages for its MSN web portal in an effort to drum up some new — and likely younger — readers to attract advertisers.

The Obama effect: even Yahoo gets a boost

November 13, 2008

As America celebrated a historic presidential election on Nov. 4, US newspapers also celebrated their (one-day) revival as all major city newspapers were cleared off the shelves the next day. Media industry watchers hailed President-elect Barack Obama’s media Midas touch, as if he could even save the long suffering newspaper business.

First-time voters want *less* election news

September 8, 2008

yawning-boy.jpgI’m skipping the attempt at a witty first sentence and going straight to the press release: