Jon Lebkowsky: Google News Boss on Trends in Online Access — Intelligence Producers Could Learn…

Advanced Cyber/IO
Jon Lebkowsky

Richard Gingras at the International Symposium on Online Journalism

The leader of Google News gave an insightful talk about the current state of online journalism. Here are my tweets during his keynote. Appreciated his visionary thinking about the state and future of news, especially the extent to which the concept of a “news story” is being redefined and reshaped as the Internet evolves past old media paradigms (page/periodical/book) and new forms of distribution emerge that are a more natural fit for technical and social networks. One caveat: he doesn’t really have to think the same way as some of the other speakers about finding a new business model – Google already has one that works. Also note that he was feeling good about Google+. (You think Facebook has Google+ beat? We used to think that Apple was never going to be a leader.)

(Pardon my typos.)

Phi Beta Iota:  Tweets distilled below.

George Lewis introducing Richard Gingas, Google News. Both former NBC. #isoj

Gingras: “Creating the Future of News: Questions to Consider.” #isoj

Google News and Google+: looking at algorithms to “connect the dots. #isoj

There are no longer any barriers to publishing, everyone has a printing press; no gatekeepers. #isoj

The future of journalism can and will be better than its past. – Gingras #isoj

Gingras not saying that everything must change, but a comprehensive rethinking is critical. #isoj

Not the first disruption in media; nor will it be the last. This pace of change will not abate. – Gingras #isoj

Shifts in distribution shape business model for journalism. Golden years triggered by television disruption. #isoj
Open distribution via the Internet eradicated print distribution leverage. – @RichardGingras #isoj
Internet = openness of distribution = print disruption. What does that mean? Marketplace drives product definition. #isoj
Content economy less about demographics, more about context and relevance. @RichardGingras #isoj
We’re seeing a tremendously disaggregated open marketplace filled with many niche players. #isoj
Cross-subsidization, important for newspapers, more difficult due to many niche players. #isoj
In market rich with niche players, does an all things to all people “portal” make sense? Or stable of focused brands? #isoj
Audience flows and impact on site design: optimize sites for multiple entry points. Many doors to the same set of rooms. #isoj
“We actually have to fight these battles on the users’ terms.” @RichardGingras #isoj
More users funneling from social environments? How to convert to regular users? Rethink product design. #isoj
75% enter through story pages vs 25% via home page. Story page needs more focus. Home page focus is the wrong approach. #isoj
How do changes in audience flows impact site design and trigger rethinking of the definition of a website? #isoj
Some news orgs may no longer have web sites, but floating objects of content that can be consumed in many contexts. #isoj
Capacity is unlimited; we’re not in an edition-oriented world anymore. #isoj
We’re not about ephemeral streams of articles in editions, that’s the old model. Haven’t seen enough change here. #isoj
How can we use computational journalism such that we can create living persistent resources. #isoj
Huge value in developing tools to support reporter’s efforts. #isoj
Benefit from systems that allow small news orgs to collaborate, work together? #isoj
Culture of innovation: not a luxury, can’t be intermittent: must be part of an organization’s DNA. #isoj
Thinking innovation is often defeated by bureaucracy. #isoj
Apple: “they think outside the box even when it comes to the box.” #isoj
Quality journalism is more important than every. Printing press in everybody’s hands. (He hasn’t mentioned curation.) #isoj
We can no longer say “trust us because you should trust us.” Need transparency, depth. Journalist disclose political affiliation? #isoj
Can a journalist build more trust by hiding information about herself? #isoj
The future of journalism HAS TO be better than its past: apply our passion and creativity to that achievement. #isoj
Too many news organizations are still not putting digital first. #isoj
Sharon Strover notes supply side perspective of Gingras talk. How about users and their contributions? #isoj
Gingras: audience is collective term for users – common term at Google is users. #isoj
A huge percentage of very active users are consumers, not creators. People who like to read, not write; follow, not lead. #isoj
Google considering how to incorporate users, creating a funnel that opens up the mechanism to anyone’s participation. #isoj
Why doesn’t Google news publish a list of sites it indexes? #isoj
Gingras: Who gets to decide which organization is a news organization? Questioner: You do! (laughter) #isoj
We want to continue to open it up at Google News, but manage for bad actors (e.g. Adsense farms). #isoj
Two powers we have: search and social. Before that, needed extensive marketing to tell your audience who you are. #isoj
In social networks, rely on your audience to curate and filter (my words). #isoj
What is the role of social media? How do you get everyone in the org to take advantage of that? #isoj
How does Google address competition with FB and Twitter? #isoj
Google+ still in its latency. Why bother (given FB)? We’re just writing the first chapter re social networking. #isoj
Social networking moving from being about people you know to people you don’t know, but maybe you should. #isoj
Gingras says Google may start putting mobile first in some contexts. #isoj
Optimistic and very pleased about Google+ so far. #isoj