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Hello, I'm Andy Ross. You can find me on twitter at @AJMROSS.

    Print Is Dead. Long Live the Print.

    The Media Guardian have today reported that City AM’s profits have dropped from £439,000 in 2010 to £20,365 last year, that’s 95%.

    Take a closer look at the financial freesheet’s figures and I’m struggling to explain how City AM manages to only make a £20k profit from £8.6m revenue? But what about the future of print…

    Since 1995, when the Metro was established in Sweden, over 300 free daily newspapers have been introduced in almost 60 countries, mostly in Europe. We know that the model is based on selling content to readers and access to those readers to advertisers and it is generally considered that newspapers are financially ‘healthy’ when up to 70% of their income is derived from advertising. Today’s figures show us that 90% of City AM is based on selling advertising space, and if you picked up a City AM you will see that it roughly has a 50:50 advertising to editorial ratio.

    It is interesting to note that City AM increased spend can be part accounted for the investment in digital development of the paper. Without doubt, Virgin Media’s rollout of WiFi across the London Underground network will have a substantial impact on the freemium publishing model.

    In March this year industry anaylst Douglas McCabe was quoted as saying that that the WiFi rollout would mean the publishing industry would: “… need to shift from a content supply and push model to a service model, understanding needs at different times of the day, which needs a different management mindset… ”.

    Funnily enough in the same piece Lawson Muncaster, managing director of City AM, said that “people do not choose content because of the platform it is delivered through; it is selected due to the quality of the content.”

    “Remember that in terms of mobility, there is nothing more mobile than a newspaper,” he says. So why the significant spend Lawson?

    Perhaps he’s looking towards the Metro for digital leadership.

    Back in August ran a feature on Matt Teeman, looking at how the Metro’s new Commercial Director is moving beyond the reliance on print advertising revenue (remember that 90%) and moving towards a brand designed to be consumed on the move at different times of day.

    Print is not dead.  Lawson is right, the portable nature of print means its still has great following and plenty to offer – IF (BIG IF!) it embraces real innovation. Print publications becoming web portals becoming social media outlets becoming twitter channels becoming virtual radio and TV stations – that’s the future Lawson – get on it.

    — 1 year ago
    #newspaper  #digital  #print  #publishing 
    The history of communications and its implications for the Internet

    I’m currently reading a paper from back in the year 2000 about the implications of comms history on the Internet. The paper was written by Andrew Odlyzko of AT&T’s Labs Research team, and I’m guessing this paper formed the basis of his "Content is Not King" paper from 2001. This paper makes a fantastic read with today’s social web in mind.

    I’m only currently a quarter of the way through the paper, the first part of which discusses the introduction of telegraph and the postal network in the mid 19th century, it’s impact on business and point-to-point communication - and how lessons can be learned and adapted to the increased usage of the Internet.

    I just want to lift a couple of lines out that have struck me so far.

    I wonder if the Zuckerburg’s and Dorsey’s of this world had read the following:

    There are persistent fears that the Internet will homogenize the world’s societies, turning them all into slight shades of the American culture. Such fears are not new, since they were also associated with the telephone, and later with radio and television.

    The Internet has stimulated a series of sociological studies, some of which claim that it decreases human contact, while others come to the opposite conclusion This is just what happened with the telephone. It is certainly true that proportions of different types of interactions have changed. It appears hard to categorize them easily, though.

    “For better or worse, I expect these changes to facilitate a continuing transformation away from interaction in solitary communities and workgroups and towards interaction in farflung, sparsely-knit and specialized social networks.” [Wellman, 2000]

    As I mentioned earlier, this paper no doubt formed the basis of his infamous 2001 paper, and for those of you who thought “content” was THE buzzword in 2012, you’re more than a decade late:

    The Internet is widely predicted to produce “digital convergence,” in which computing, communications, and broadcasting all merge into a single stream of discrete bits carried on the same ubiquitous network. The popular images of convergence are heavily tinged with the flavor of Hollywood. “Content is king” is the universal buzzword, where content is usually taken to mean professionally prepared material such as books, movies, sports events, or music.

    Although the paper does profligate the position that point-to-point communication has more worth, and is more valuable than content.

    And this, well this just made me smile, especially if you’ve ever worked with a stickler for punctuation and grammar:

    Those who lament the lack of style in current letters compared to the often essay-quality compositions of the 17th or 18th centuries need to realize the different environment we operate in. We do not have weeks to compose a letter, and speed is of the essence. This trend is exacerbated with email. Email messages are often sadly deficient in style, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Instant messaging is typically even worse. However, when it is necessary to deal with scores of email messages per day, it is natural to treat them as informal conversations. After all, are we expected to always speak in grammatically correct sentences?

    New communication technologies require new modes of acceptable usage. Today people complain about rudeness of cell phone users in restaurants or on airplanes, and wonder at the strange sights of cell phone users with headsets who seem to be talking to themselves. The phone also required development of new rules of etiquette [Fischer, 1988]. Even the wider use of mail for social communication led to “a burgeoning market for how-to-manuals to teach ordinary Americans the once-arcane custom of maintaining a correspondence with distant friends and family” [John, 1998].

    I’ll share some more insight as I continue the read of my commute, but for those interested, you can download the paper here:

    — 1 year ago with 1 note
    #communications  #communication  #web  #digital  #history of communication 
    The Life and Times of Edward Laurens Mark

    If we can all think back to university for a minute; what was the worst part of your time there? Was it this? Could it be something along these lines? No, the man who ruined it all and a name that should send a shiver down your spine is Edward Laurens Mark – the pioneer of parenthetical referencing, or the Harvard System.

    Having spent the last few days with colleagues standardising references in a soon to be published text, my disdain for Mr. Mark has reached new heights.

    Edward’s first foray referencing came in his role as Hersey professor of anatomy and director of Harvard’s zoological laboratory. In 1881 Mark published a landmark paper on the common garden slug, then on page 194 of that work appears a parenthetic author-year citation accompanied by an explanatory footnote. Indeed, a former student of Mark, Theodore Roosevelt, was one of the first students to write his thesis using this style. Mark’s basic system, which only became known as the Harvard System in the mid 20th century, remains intact and is still in use by many students, journals and academics to this day. [Source:].

    All in all, my contempt for Edward is similar to schoolchildren who bemoan the work of William Shakespeare. Similar to taking Benilyn cough syrup for a cold. Hard to swallow, but when it’s all said and done – it’s good for you.

    Referencing has moved on a little since the days of Edward Laurens Mark, so here’s a little social media referencing 101:


    • Krums, J. (2009) There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy. Twitter [online] Posted 15 January. Available from: [Accessed on: 08 March 2012]

      Tip: if real name is unknown, reference the username.

    Facebook status

    • Obama, B. (2009) Humbled.
      Facebook [online] Posted 9 October. Available from:
      [Accessed on: 08 March 2012]

      Tip: if using a brand/fan page, reference the brand/fan page name.


    • McDonald, M. (2012) (2012) Mountainous, Nature pinboard. Pinterest [online] Posted 03 March. Available from:
      106679084893337155/ [Accessed: 08 March 2012].
    — 2 years ago with 1 note
    #harvard referencing  #edward laurens mark  #social media referencing  #social media  #digital 
    Bumper infographic on the Social Media lifecylce, via uberVu.

    Bumper infographic on the Social Media lifecylce, via uberVu.

    — 2 years ago with 1 note
    #Social media  #digital  #infographic 
    Brand Olympic

    The anticipation and excitement surrounding the Olympics has reached new heights with the games now only a year away. However, how do you engage with such a large audience on such a large scale? At Beijing we saw live streaming going head-to-head, Silverlight and NBC vs. Adobe Flash and CCTV (China), which enabled the interactive viewing of different events online, (in 2012 there will be up to 12 sports taking place simultaneously). In addition to mobile coverage also becoming comprehensive in Beijing, leading brands used social media in their Olympics campaigns, anyone remember McDonald’s ‘The Lost Ring’ or Coca-Cola’s ‘Design the World a Coke’? In 2008, the Olympics became an on-demand, 24/7 experience whilst being one of the first testaments to the sheer engaging power of social media in brand building. So what may we see from the Olympic brand a year from now? There is the opportunity to utilize Twitter as a channel to connect vs. a channel to push content, the interactivity and conversations that stem from Twitter’s two-way relationship can increase the Olympic ‘buzz’ significantly. In Vancouver, a verified Olympian list worked well and the I.O.C. took its first steps into the world of Facebook. [Check out this video for an insight into how the Olympics, social media and Vancouver came together]. The Olympic brand speaks directly to collaboration and community building, two of social media’s best and brightest. The I.O.C. should be THE content aggregator that takes their best content and that from other committee organizations, as well as media outlets worldwide, and act as a town-centre for Olympic related content, with Olympians as the town criers. Give or take Phillips Idowu or Charles Van Commenee. Away from the Olympic brand, the BBC will certainly be putting social media centre stage. It has been said that “the Olympics will do for digital media what the Coronation did for television.” As host nation broadcaster is there an opportunity to embrace social TV commentary? For this we must wait and see, but there is no doubt that if there ever was a perfect candidate for social media coverage,  then the Olympics surely must be it. Plans are afoot for a CIPR Social Summer session featuring the BBC, sport and the Olympics in September. In addition, for PRs, one of the many challenges will be getting valuable content in front of journalists during the Olympics and legislation governing PR activities relating to London 2012 and the Olympic brands – this will be the topic for the 3 August edition of CIPR TV.

    — 3 years ago with 13 notes
    #public relations  #pr  #digital  #branding  #olympics 
    Old Post #8 - Lights, Camera, Action

    Engaging with your audience by broadcasting through social media - Russell Goldsmith, markettiers4dc  [Click to view slide deck]

    Last Thursday evening at Social Summer, Russell Goldsmith of markettiers4dc gave the case for using broadcast/video as a tool to engage with audiences online. As PR’s have won the land grab for social media, it is fitting that we become more keenly involved in the creation of video content. So is the camera mightier than the cursor? It is estimated that 33 billion videos have been watched across the web, with an average video duration of 4 minutes. YouTube, one of many of different video-sharing websites, has 31million unique users every month in the UK alone – that’s a reach of 60.5%, over 3 ½ times that of Twitter. Video also makes you stand out online. Facebook’s ‘Edgerank’ algorithm, is used to rank posts on a user’s ‘top news’ feed to determine which posts should, and shouldn’t, be shown on top of the ‘top news’ feed. Edgerank decides that your ‘top news’ is the news that has the highest level of interaction, amongst others such as recency, personal behaviour, author etc. By their very nature, videos (and pictures) encourage interaction, create click-throughs and generates discussion. Google works in a very similar way. Russell ran through some terrific examples of work markettiers4dc have undertaken recently. A great standout from the deck is work done by Jaeger who, to maximise viewing, embedded LinkTo™ technology on their catwalk videos to enable the audience to engage with the video to gain more information on featured products and add them into their shopping basket. Is this the interactivity of the future? Imagine watching live football on TV and it being possible to pause and purchase your favourite players football boots, or the replica match ball? All in all if a picture is worth a thousand words a video is definitely worth a couple of thousand. Oh and if you need further convincing to invest in that video tech, Ragan’s PR Daily gives 10 great reasons why it’s an essential investment. If you want to check out more of the Social Summer content from the CIPR go to and you will find a link that will take you to the previous session’s decks. Also, Russell is running a Freshly Squeezed session in early September titled ‘Using Video Online’.

    — 3 years ago with 14 notes
    #broadcast  #video  #public relations  #pr  #digital  #social media 
    Old Post #6 - Disaster strikes - Social media “No No’s”

    Ged Carroll - Social media no nos [Click to view slides]

    A cringeworthy rendition of U2’s ‘One Love’ and Stewie from Family Guy’s reaction to a certain viral internet video were included in the order of service at Ged Carroll's highly entertaining CIPR Social Summer presentation. The theme of the evening was to highlight what NOT to do when undertaking social media activity. Ged explained to the audience that the key to a great social media service was to understand the ‘Golden Rule’ - one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. It isn’t rocket science. A few choice disasters not mentioned by Ged, and a worth a lesson (and a cringe!) are:

    So what should be done to avoid such an epic fail? Simple, make sure you have a detailed social media policy/strategy plan in place.

    1. Decide what steps your company will take to deal with an escalating crisis, who will flag comments, and who will deal with immediate responses.
    2. Understand what the worst-case scenario is and understand the impact this would have on your organisation or brand.
    3. Make sure your responses are quick and well-thought but personal and direct.
    4. Stand up to the mistakes you’ve made, honesty and openess are key in a social world!
    5. Don’t panic, understand the benefits of being open and social. People will always complain and you can’t make everyone happy. However, not responding and putting your head in the sand will make the situation 10x worse.

    If you want to check out more of the Social Summer content from the CIPR. Go to and you will find a link that will take you to the previous sessions decks.

    — 3 years ago with 9 notes
    #public relations  #pr  #social media  #digital  #crisis communications 
    Old Post #5 - Churning it Around

    Yesterday evening I attended a debate on Churnalism with @EmmaJaneCIPR held by the Media Standards Trust. The motion, “This house believes news articles based on press releases should be marked ‘advertorial’. Basically should PR be marked as paid advertising?

    The result was a few hours of very interesting debate, combined with plenty of jumping over each side of the fence from both sides. From the outset a consensus emerged that to mark stories based on press releases as ‘advertorial’ was not only erroneous, but it didn’t take into consideration the more complex relationship between PRs and journos. However, the issue that caused the most heated debate, and emerged from an agreement among the speakers, was regarding transparent sourcing in journalism.

    In my mind and as a recent academic (and this was a point that was raised by an audience member) it is taught at university to reference each one of your sources, and your comment on those sources should be original input, but would referencing all your sources work in the real world of journalism? This call for transparency not only means marking ‘this comes from a press release / advertorial’, but as one gentleman in the room put it, most exclusives should be marked a ‘leakatorial’… how many journalists would reveal their close sources and their wine-and-dine relationships? Futhermore, in the words of an audience member “transparent sourcing would lead to journos abnegating responsibility for assessing source credibility.”

    What could be concluded from the discussion? Press releases shouldn’t be considered news and taken for fact, they are a point of information, I imagine many PRs would prefer a journalist not to cut and paste, but to pick up the phone and go and get an original quote from the CEO or the board. Trevor Morris said that “PR is a subsidy for journalism” – I agree. As such, this was more than a debate on churnalism, it was lazy journalism vs. lazy public relations.

    Of course, after the events of the past few days, the polemic nature of journalism has reared its head, and a case of bad PR has poked its head around too. The Guardian’s role in this shows excellence in investigative journalism, whilst the actions of the News of the World (a 168 year old title and the best selling English language newspaper!) show the dark side of journalism we all knew existed, but perhaps with not so much disregard for ethical and moral standards.

    For PR? Julio Romo hits the nail on the head in saying “This is a going to be a text book PR case study of HOW NOT to manage a crisis and solve the reputation of an established news outlet.” Furthermore, and in relation to churnalism, the other side of the fence should perhaps consider the multi-dimensional nature of PR and what it can bring to the table. As for a final point on churnalism, from my side of the fence, simply marking press releases as ‘advertorial’ is too crude a cure for journalism’s woes.

    — 3 years ago with 2 notes
    #public relations  #pr  #social media  #digital 
    Old Post #2 - Me and Bjork aren’t engaged


    Bjork is releasing a new album in which the 10 separate ‘album’ tracks are being released as individual iPad apps done by the best designers in the biz. But will this be a boundary pushing multimedia extravaganza? Pitchfork calls the strategy 'forward-thinking' and Michael Cragg’s (The Guardian) article at the start of the month praised Bjork’s for making her ‘biggest leap forward’ and I imagine Michael is lifting right from the press release when he writes ’(Bjork’s) app project explodes the scope (of her previous obsession on the inner self) on to the macro level, taking in the entire universe and drawing far-reaching parallels between the ever-evolving technological landscape and the natural landscape around us’. However I question that. I am a fan of Bjork. Volta, her previous album, was fantastic and she plays a very impressive visual live set. Crystalline, the first track I’ve heard off her Biophillia project, and the inspiration for writing this, is a decent song, not her best, but a cracking ending. The question still keeps bothering me though, do I want to consume my music sat in front of a screen watching visuals flicker as I attempt to battle a chronic virus attacking my screen? I do value App’s. I like the accesability they offer in a 3G environment. I also enjoy the odd bit of Social gaming too. But what is my biggest App pet hate? One which blocks the music I’m already listening to. Bjork is attempting to enrage (not engage!) me by giving me no option to consume online content whilst listening to her music… I look forward to having a peek at the finished article and being proven wrong, but this isn’t new ground, it’s essentially a new release strategy, but after Kaiser Chiefs and Radiohead (probably the most innovative consumer engaging release I’ve seen online) what’s next? It is my opinion that the Biophillia project is just a snappier version of what used to happen when I used to stick my favourite CD in the PlaystationOne … a desperate scramble for the remote to turn the contrast down and brightness off. For all of the regular music consumers out there fortunately we’ll be able to get our hands on the digital version of Biophillia online at some point in September. FYI Pitchfork and The Guardian, I’d buy more into this ‘forward-thinking’ stuff if there wasn’t actually a regular digital and physical release. If you want your music forward thinking, go and buy Zaireeka! - borrow a load of CD players, and enjoy!

    As a side I discovered a new website today when doing some research on Bjork, so thought I’d share it with all. Groovecount. Mission statement is ‘(we) measure online reach and fame of music stars across the world.’ Right? If your into Music PR, is this your bible? Probably not but it sounded interesting. So what are they tracking? Groovecount looks at the Big 3 social networks as well as and Spotify. Simply this measures the Facebook likes, the YouTube views etc. Not all that engaging… but anything that lists Coldplay as the number one band with the biggest reach in the United Kingdom … I’ll leave that up to you. As for Bjork, she’s consolidated her spot at #142.

    — 3 years ago with 4 notes
    #music  #bjork  #social media  #digital