Archive for December, 2009

My dispute with Expedia has a happy ending, though that ending has nothing to do with any responsiveness from Expedia.

Summarizing what I blogged last week:

I booked a flight to Ottawa through Expedia, which confirmed the flight for $528.46, then tried to raise the fare to over $700. I got no satisfaction by calling “customer service,” but after I tweeted about my frustration, @Expedia tweeted that it would try to help. (more…)


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This decade is ending with much less fanfare than the past one, which was the turn of both a century and a millennium.

This decade passed without really getting a name — the Oughts didn’t quite stick, like I guess they did a century earlier (they so didn’t stick that I don’t even know or care whether Oughts or Aughts would be the preferred spelling).

If you don’t have much patience for self-indulgent reflections, this might be a good time to go read something else, because I’m going to look back on the past decade of my career. (more…)

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Reviewing 2009 on my blog (mostly for my own information, but I share it because that’s what bloggers do):

My most popular post by far (more than twice as many views as anything else) was my Blueprint for the Complete Community Connection, posted April 27. I proposed a detailed new business model for community news organizations. It received more links from other blogs and more tweets than anything else I’ve written this year. And interest in C3 remains strong. (After traffic on that post declined from June through September, it increased in October and November. December didn’t quite match November, but exceeded August, September and October). C3 gets more attention in a slow month than my average post gets total.

Everyone wants a blog post to go viral, but I’m glad I didn’t write something quirky that went off the charts. C3 was one of the most important things I’ve written this year (or in my career), so I’m pleased that it received more attention than any other post. I’ve been invited to make presentations dealing with C3 in Florida, Nevada, California, Texas, Siberia and Canada. I hope in 2010 to be writing about how Gazette Communications and other organizations are carrying out the vision of C3.


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I thought I booked a flight Sunday to Ottawa, Canada, on Expedia.

I learned in a half-hour phone call with Expedia Tuesday that the travel service that invites you to “find your perfect trip” online doesn’t honor the reservations that it purports to make. So I won’t be flying to Ottawa on an Expedia reservation. Or anywhere. Ever again. I can’t understand a business that doesn’t honor its commitments.

My experience with Expedia underscores three important principles of doing business in the digital age: (more…)

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I have become a bit tiresome, I suppose, in pushing my views that news companies need to stop pursuing paywalls, move beyond advertising and find a more prosperous future in direct transactions.

Well, Dale McCarthy of Fairfax Digital in Australia is showing the wisdom of this approach. A story in B&T reports on McCarthy’s dismissal of paywalls, speaking at a recent media conference.

McCarthy said the internet’s real “rivers of gold” is transactions. (more…)

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Whew! Publishers are expecting the plunge in newspaper advertising revenues to level off next year. Maybe now we can stop the bleeding and not feel so much pressure to change.

Or can we?

Alan Mutter wrote yesterday of the publishers’ projections in his Reflections of a Newsosaur blog, asking, What the heck are publishers thinking? He cast doubt on the publishers’ projections, reflected in a survey by Kubas Consultants.

I sarcastically tweeted: “Wonder what these optimistic pubs predicted for 2009,” then went on with whatever I was working on at the time. But I wondered it again today when a couple more people tweeted about Mutter’s blog and the Kubas survey. So I stopped wondering and called up the Kubas report on what the publishers expected for 2009. (more…)

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Journalists fight for openness in government, business, universities, religious institutions and pretty much everyone we cover. But transparency for us? Not so fast.

I hope no one was walking by my office when I was reading Paul Bradshaw’s post at Poynter Online, about a journalist who interviewed him by email, then denied him permission to post the exchange online. I’m sure my mouth was agape, stunned at the journalist’s nerve and cluelessness. (more…)

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Read this post in Russian, translated by Google. Читать этот пост на русском языке, перевод Google.

I guess I was showing some travel fatigue the other day in Barnaul. As our interpreter translated for a Russian speaker, I felt a vibration from my iPhone and looked down at a text message from Mimi, sitting about four feet away on the other side of the interpreter.

“U ok?” my phone asked. My stomach was grumbling a bit. “Maybe,” I texted back.

We exchanged a look and I shrugged and resumed listening to the interpreter. Then the phone vibrated again and I looked again: “U ok?” I might have rolled my eyes. Yes, I was fine, just a bit tired. I looked over at her and nodded. She looked back at me quizzically. (more…)

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If you have any doubts about the need for a mobile-first strategy, check out these numbers from a Frank N. Magid & Associates study:

  • Nearly 90 percent of mobile device owners are interested in live news and weather programming on the go.
  • 46 percent find the idea of watching live TV programming on their mobile device appealing.
  • 36 percent would pay for premium mobile content.
  • 49 percent would watch commercials on a mobile device.

Read the study.

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In a comment on my most recent (and rather lengthy) blog post on mobile-first strategy, Chuck Peters suggested a table of contents. So I have combined three blog posts on the topic into one pdf with a table of contents:

Or, if you prefer, you can read them on the blog:

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Read this post in Russian, translated by Google. Читать этот пост на русском языке, перевод Google.

Twitter is an excellent crowdsourcing tool.

An email from Jim Cremer, who’s team-teaching a class with me at the University of Iowa next semester, asked if I could geotag my tweets. Our course will teach students how to develop iPhone applications and Jim wanted to show a current course something about geotagging. He thought some geotagged tweets from Siberia would be fun to show students.

I had seen that Twitter was going to be adding geotagging soon, but didn’t know whether it was available yet. I had already left Siberia and was in St. Petersburg. I would be leaving shortly for a walking tour of the city. To tweet without outrageous international data roaming rates, I would need to use the hotel’s free wifi. (more…)

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